What I’ve learned from dateless dating

After watching Ilana and Lincoln’s hilarious non-relationship bloom on Broad City (you know, Lincoln’s sly and undying devotion paired with Ilana’s blatantly cool indifference), it hit me: I’ve had a few of these “non-relationships” over the years, sure thing, but I never really noticed how important they were to my own personal growth: these no-strings-attached situations with guys helped me discover what I did and did not want out of future boyfriends. And while Ilana may have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude with Lincoln, I like to think she’s also paving the way for the rest of us to learn our own lessons from these types of dateless dating situations, because who knows—one day we might want to make it FB official (or not, whatever).

I’ll admit it. I’ve been known to think real hard about the nature of so-and-so’s cryptic vocabulary lighting up my iPhone screen on a Friday night. As a general over-thinker of all things large and small, this can be an issue, and what did he mean by “let’s get dinner”?

When dateless dating, it didn’t really matter what the text said, because no strings were tethering me to a committed relationship. I could ignore that text and go back to sleep, or keep on watching reruns of Frasier on Netflix. NBD. The takeaway here: Even if you’re dating for real, life is so much easier when you’re not hyper-examining every emoji.

I recently stopped following a former dateless-dating-datee (I’ll just call them DDD’s from here on out) on social media because he kept posting pictures of his. . .  bathroom habits. And let’s just say that those habits were not of him scrubbing the tiles. This was one of those defining moments in my 20s when I realized that I was the company I kept (even on social media). I cut the already very loose cord and realized the bonus of all this dateless dating: it’s easy to drift out of a DDD’s life when there’s no major investment. And in the big picture, I know what’s important to me—someone who doesn’t air their bathroom habits in a public forum. Point taken.

There’s something to be said about the ability to go out on your own on a Friday night to drink a a happy hour cocktail, meet people, and generally be a social human. And sometimes you may just want to pretend to be a French spy and slip some guy your number—you can be anyone you want to be! When I was dateless dating, it was fun to be spontaneous and not feel the pressure to impress someone by acting better/prettier/less loud than I actually was, and what I actually am is someone who loves pizza and beer and watching Twin Peaks on Netflix so much that it warrants the “Are you still watching Twin Peaks?” message, and having the time to be that person is kind of priceless. It’s also a reminder for when I am date-dating, that I’d like a partner who appreciates these unique habits of mine and who I don’t feel compelled to pretend around. I just gotta be me, you know?

If it’s one thing I’ve learned from Ilana and Abbi, it’s that there’s a certain magic in finding your own adventures. If the DDD wants to tag along to a dinner party, sure! But the beauty is that there’s a mutual understanding that you can find your own entertainment, float around and enjoy your conversations with folks instead of worrying that your date is entertained by their surroundings (and when I’m in a relationship, this is a consistent issue with me because I’m a southerner and we always want people to be entertained). But what I’ve learned from dateless-dating is that people are capable of entertaining themselves, and holding their own in a room. And so am I. I just need to relax and let a DDD or a real D do their own thing.

Lesson 5: What’s with the rush? 

There’s a time in everyone’s life where I think they should enjoy the life of dateless dating. There’s no pressure, it’s a fun way to hop around town and meet people, and you never know where it might take you—if you’re anything like Ilana, it might take you on a lot of fun journeys of self-exploration (and boat parties). And when the time is right to turn a DDD into a big D, it’ll happen naturally. Hopefully, those lessons learned will seep in too and make real dating a lot less stressful.
[Images viavia]

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