From Our Readers

Check Yes or No (And Quit Wasting My Time, Bro)

As a newly single girl living in Manhattan, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about everything the “rules of dating” tell us not to do. Don’t appear needy or desperate. Don’t text him first. Don’t be too available. Don’t Don’t Don’t, because let’s face it, dating is a game; one that I’m admittedly horrific at, for the record. When he says this, he really means this. When I say this, I really mean this. Be mysterious, but not weird. Expect him to pay, but still offer. Don’t talk about past relationships, but don’t make it seem like you’ve never been on a damn date before. Be interested, but not stalkerish. Include that you like to write, but don’t mention your blog because he’ll instantly know you’re a real loser.

It’s illogical to the point of exhaustion. It’s false advertising at its finest. It’s a power struggle: How many times each of you say you have other plans before finally meeting up. The number of screened calls before an answered one. How long it takes to text the other one back. It’s like some sick competition. Constantly trying to one-up one another with how well one can balance the high beam of simultaneously interested and uninterested.

My girlfriends and I talk a lot about this horribly masochistic thing called casual dating (ok, that’s a bit dramatic but you get the point). Some of my friends are more emotionally distant than most men I know, others have a new future husband every week. We compare notes on how we made jackasses out of ourselves, how we played it cool, and how great or how much of an a**hole he is. We discuss the common misconceptions and failures in perceived intentions. (No, wanting you to text me back in an appropriate length of time does not equate to me wanting to introduce you to my mother, moron). No, just because I’m single doesn’t mean I’m perpetually on the hunt for my next relationship. Me saying “You’re really funny,” isn’t code for “I have a Lisa Frank notebook at home with your name written in hearts in twenty different fonts.”

Why is it so difficult for people to say to one another “I think you’re really cool, and I’d like to spend time with you again,” and that be it. Nothing more, nothing less. And how much easier would that be? Because then you’ll cut to the chase and hang out sooner and save yourself both some time by seeing if they actually do suck. Instead, this ridiculous “it takes forever to go on a few dates because we can’t be overly eager” dance continues, that’s about as sexy as Nancy Grace’s cha-cha on Dancing With The Stars.

Now I’ll admit- it’s starting to get to me. Not in the “I’m throwing in the towel and joining a convent” sense, but I’m just finding myself increasingly discouraged by the lack of openness that we’re expected to exhibit toward one another. I think that it’s especially difficult for me because I’m transparent by nature, as much as I try to be guarded, I’m an open book. I can be dramatic, stubborn, insecure and a whole cocktail of less than flattering attributes, but dishonest I’m not, kids (Insert cliche Marilyn Monroe/Sex and the City quote here).

So I’m going to try to be a little less schemy and manipulative for a bit and see where that gets me, probably the fast-track towards my next blog post entitled “True Life: I’m Apparently That Overbearing and Crazy Girl.” No big deal.

You can read more from Whitney Smith on her blog and follow her on Twitter.

  • Lucy Forsdike

    Love this post! I’m recently single after a scary 13 years and this whole dating thing is crazy! Why can’t you just be honest and say I’d like to go out for a drink with you without the other person thinking you must be a crazy stalker! I’m going to join you on this honesty quest and let’s hope it gets us both somewhere. Thanks for this, glad I’m not the only one that finds this whole thing draining!

  • Cam Dlr

    I understand this so well, I’m still scratching my head as to how yesterday’s positive action has become today’s negative reaction; When you see people trying to play games with you it makes you seriously reconsider whether your time would be better spent elsewhere. As for the honesty angle, I have experienced it as a double edged sword: it can cut down the most tedious social constraints and allow for a great opportunity to get to know someone, or leave you open to an unexpected counter strike from someone you just enjoyed shared interests with. I stick to it though because I feel that if I can’t rely on the consistency of others, at least I’m consistent and approachable.

  • Evie Totty

    I can totally relate

  • Shannon May

    I’m in the same boat! My recent favorite is dealing with a guy who’s been “sooo hurt in past relationships” that he has a hard time committing. Since I’ve been burned so many times in the past and I’m able to find the courage to get up and try again, I have a hard time giving in to that excuse! But anyway…my advice is to keep being you! Tell him you have a blog and that you think he’s funny! Because the right guy will love your adorkable hobbies (i have a blog too, lol) and he’ll be flattered that you think he’s funny <3

  • Meaghan Ramsey

    I am a bit of an extrovert and I refuse to play this dating “game.” I tell men exactly how I am feeling. Many of them have been completely turned off by this, but hey that means they aren’t the one for me, right? In this day and age woment should be able to share their feelings openly and men should stop being so ‘offended’ by it!

  • Lisa Wright

    Ultimately I stopped playing the aloof game. Being my most authentic self has given me the best results. Truthfully, not everyone will like this, but that’s okay. The guys who do like you for (*gasp*) who you really are?! Those are the ones you want around. When I did this, I weeded out a lot of duds and met the love of my life.

  • Jeremy Winchester

    I really enjoyed your post. As for me, I don’t know the first thing about dating. I ended a 12 year relationship only to jump immediately into a 4 year one. I am now single and the only thing I’m looking for at the moment is an honest connection. So many girls I come into contact with seem to be more interested in ‘the hookup’. Call me old fashioned, but I find more enjoyment in learning someone, picking their brain–the physical stuff can wait.

  • Alycia Lourim

    It’s ok I’m overbearing and what some would call “crazy” because I speak my mind but frankly I’m fed up too haha. Its easier than people think to say how you feel then lie. Yet that’s all we do. I hate it too. But I’ll continue to be honest and straight forward till I find a guy who appreciates that.

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