The Lost Art of Dating

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I love to hear about college sweethearts, but let’s be realistic: how many couples start out their “How We Met” story with, “Well, we were grinding in a dark basement off-campus, and when I felt him hard against my ass, I turned around and knew it was love.” 

Disturbing, right?

Even stranger still is the reaction I’ve gotten after telling friends that I’ve gone on a date. Somehow, the notion of dinner & a movie has become more shocking than grinding your most private of parts against a stranger and expecting to find your soulmate. Name a place more hopeless than a fraternity basement. I doubt anyone but Rihanna could find love there.

Dating is a lost art, one whose definition has fluctuated in recent years. In past years, women would fret over whether or not giving up a kiss on the first date sent the wrong message. Now, girls frequently put out with little to no expectations of a relationship. This isn’t to say that casual sex is a bad thing, per se. But when it comes to achieving the end goal – finding a boyfriend, for most girls – the rules of the dating game have absolutely changed, or maybe even disappeared completely.

When I go shopping, I walk around the store, items in hand, comparing all of my potential purchases before I commit completely.  Will this go with what I already have? Is the price worth the investment? Which of these really fits me the best?

Dating should be treated the same way. A perfect setting to get to know someone, it’s an excellent chance to understand what you really want and need in your significant other.

Fernando was an intelligent and business-minded gentleman I had the pleasure of spending a year with. After a week, he had already confessed his love to me, and a month later, BAM. A diamond ring. Not that it wasn’t beautiful and flattering, but a man who can give away his love that quickly…It just wasn’t for me, and I realized that I couldn’t be in a serious relationship with any man who hadn’t fully grasped the English language. Lesson learned.

Charlie, the sexy baseball player lawyer I dated for a hot two weeks, sounded perfect on paper. But when he told me that he didn’t want his friends and girlfriend to mix, I knew it was an issue. Not to mention his latent hatred for his parents…I’m no daddy’s girl, but I definitely don’t condone familial hostility. Beautiful as he was, I knew he was not my Prince Charming.

Jamie wiggled his eyebrows too much, and dropped name brands every time we hung out. Anybody that superficial was clearly not a great match for a girl who can’t be bothered to keep up with fashion trends.

I’m sure these men will all make someone very happy some day. The chemistry just wasn’t there for me, and that’s more than okay. But if I hadn’t dated these men, carried them around before making the final purchase, I wouldn’t have learned so much about myself.

So don’t be afraid to date. There are plenty of people out there to wine you, dine you, maybe even 69 you. Even if you only get a free dinner out of the whole experience, listening to him rant about his favorite sports team and realizing you could never, ever date a Yankee’s fan, might help you narrow down what you want in a life partner. And if you happen to enjoy a passionate night along the way, it’s all the better.

Magazine Journalism > Syracuse University

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