The Who, Why, And WTF Of 20-Something Dating

Romance is effing hard.

It was awkward in middle school, totally nuts in high school, caustically casual in college, and now that I’m in my 20s, I still have no idea what’s going on. Maybe it will always be this way and I’m still young and stupid enough to believe that someday it might get less convoluted.

Paging ‘the Universe’: I could definitely use some cosmic wisdom right about now.

Everybody wants someone, but no one wants the dreaded “label”. No one wants to feel bad, yet it seems that so many people run around treating each other badly. We use these words like “fun” and “casual,” but is forced ambiguity really that fun? And even if there is no label, is getting naked with someone on the regular really that casual? I’m thinking not.

Common Casual Dating Phrases:
“So are you guys together?” Answer: “Umm. Well, we’re seeing each other…?”
“Why do we need a label if we both know how we feel?”
“I like you, but I just want to have fun.” 

(Let’s get real. You’re really saying: I would like to get naked. The end.)

The worst of it is… I am absolutely part of the problem! This kind of attitude frustrates me, yet I find myself doing and saying the same things all the time.

“Let’s just see how it goes.” 
“Let’s play it by ear.” 
“I’m not looking for anything serious.”

The last time I was, “looking for something serious,” I was 15 and still thought that Evanescence, platform sandals, and those weird puffy fabric tops were cool. In my head, ‘just seeing how it goes’ really isn’t a bad idea, but when translated to the real world, it always seems to get warped. At the moment, I truly don’t want to be anyone’s girlfriend, but I also don’t want to be the ultra-classy 2am text that says: Hey what ru doing ;) Um? Not you.

So where does that leave me and all the others I know who are in similar situations?

As a generation, it seems that we don’t even have to correct language to describe what it is we do want. Someone who is a friend and lover, but not your boyfriend/girlfriend. Intimacy without a label. Being close in private, but distant in public. Some would say that technology is to blame, others might say it’s the changing socio-moral landscape, others still would say that we are a generation of entitled, lazy, and immature perma-children.

Who knows? Maybe it’s all of those things, but then again maybe it’s not.

Me? I have no idea. I recognize these traits in myself in others, but have no idea how to change, and to be frank, I’m not so sure I want to. Though a part of me occasionally wonders if I’ missing out on something by choosing not to hop aboard the RSS Let’s Get Serious, the stronger and louder part wholly rejects the idea of being accountable to someone else in terms of where I am, what I’m doing, and who I’m doing it with. Is that selfish? Probably. But I have things to do, places to go, and people to see. There is only person I know who is 100% committed to my dreams, shares my varying interests, and doesn’t mind my quirky personal habits. That person is me. And I’ve wasted too much time with people who can barely make it around the block, much less the world. TC mark

featured image – Laura Thorne

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