It’s been forever since I’ve been on a date. In fact, I can barely remember the last time I went on a date. And I’m not talking about a formal date, a dinner date, or a blind date, either (God knows I’ve had enough of those to last me a lifetime). I’m talking about a date – a real date – one accompanied by bells and whistles and being picked up at 7 P.M., wearing my cutest dress and getting those butterflies in my stomach because I have no idea what the evening has in store for me, but it just might have the potential to be great. You know, that kind of a date. Or maybe you don’t know, because here’s what – people don’t date anymore.
And here’s why:
1. Chivalry is Dead…
That’s what they tell us, right? It’s what they’ve been saying for years now. In fact, they’ve probably been saying it since women got the vote. It’s unacceptable, though, and in a wonderful and recent wave of nostalgia, men have been stepping up to the plate, opening doors, looking a little more dapper. We could chalk it all up to Mad Men, but I think the rise of the post-modern gentleman has a little less to do with TV, and a little more to do with the fact that guys miss it. If he wants to be your big strong man, then by all means, ladies, let him. Something to keep in mind, however, is that we have a long ways to go in terms of reviving those old school ways – and I’m not just talking about the boys here. Both sexes play a part.
2. …and Social Media killed it
Why put in the time, or the work, when we all have convenient little apps on our phone that do it for us? It’s no secret Tinder and Grinder and the numerous other programs we can download in an instant have helped more than they’ve hurt, but they have hurt. After all, what’s human about surveying mere pixels, taking a thumb to a screen and swiping YES or NO before even hearing what somebody else has to say for themselves? It is painless, sure, and easier than approaching somebody face to face, but life isn’t supposed to be painless, or void of rejection. The struggle and the process build character, and these are the things that eventually lead you to the person you know you’re meant to be with. The one you’ve been wading through all the others for. The one you’ve been waiting for.
3. We hide behind our screens.
Ever been out with friends and looked around the club, or the bar, or the dinner table, only to find each and every one of them corresponding with somebody who’s NOT with you? Somebody who’s not there at all? Repeat after me: MY PHONE IS NOT MY FRIEND. This is why nobody approaches another human being at a bar anymore, or at a coffee shop, or on the subway, or in a café. Those Meet-Cutes? The ones in the movies? They used to happen all the time. Back then, nobody had a screen to hide behind. It was a move-it-or-lose-it situation. If you saw a cute girl studying in a coffee shop or walking past you down the street, if you really thought she was a babe, and if you lived before the Digital Age, you’d have to get over yourself and say hello. Tell her she looks pretty. Ask her out. Take her out. Today, we dismiss those cues, ignore those opportunities, let them pass us by, because at the end of the day, if we’re really that interested, we could always just stalk them on Facebook. That’s where it all went wrong.
4. Etiquette has gone out the window.
Pursuers: take notes. If you finally get the object of your affection to agree to go out with you, if you’ve actually mustered up the courage to ask them on a real date, and if they’ve finally said YES, then by all means, take charge and plan it all out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked out, only for my pursuer to follow their proposal with, “So what do you wanna do?” A first date is a chance for you to impress me, and not the other way around, especially if you were the one doing the asking. Think of it as an audition – the few hours I take out of my own busy life to spend with you should be a window into how great that busy life of mine could be with you in it. This is key, and so often forgotten.
5. Read the room.
When you pick her up (and do try to pick her up), don’t just honk your horn outside her place like a taxicab, or like those loser boyfriends in the movies. Lean on your car like James Dean and wait for her to come out. If she’s a slow walker, for God’s sakes walk beside her. If he looks nervous, put him at ease. If she can’t walk in those high heels, give her your arm or your hand (NEVER make fun of the shoes). If he’s a sweetheart who’s trying to make you laugh, then laugh. If he’s the kind who’s full of himself, tease him and give him a hard time. Make the most out of every moment, because let’s face it – in this day and age, who knows when another date – a real date – will come your way again.