Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dating? From which decade is that practice?

Setting the scene:

A guy and a girl hit it off, they are chatting and smiling and having a good time. The guy realizes he'd like to get in this girl's pants (or poodle skirt) so he invites her to go for a burger and shake at the local diner. They sip on a single shake with two straws and later go park off some scenic road to neck or something.

A guy and a girl hit if off, they are chatting and smiling and having a good time. The guy realizes he'd like to get in this girl's pants so he hopes she buys herself enough booze to get tipsy. Maybe he'll buy her a drink. They'll get shitfaced on cheap beer and whiskey and maybe share an order of Pel'meni (probably Taco Bell for people "down South"). They eat their single order of horrifying drunk food with two plastic spoons and later go to someone's house and drunkenly have sex.

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The guy and the girl realize that they are really compatible: they both bought that new single from the record store, they both hope the football team makes it to state, they both aspire to have a house with a white picket fence and 2.5 children. They go on more dates, they dance together at the sock hop, they fall in love. Unless he get's killed driving Dead Man's Curve, they will get married and live out the American Dream. How romantic!

The guy and the girl realize that they are really compatible: they both have that really obscure album from that really obscure band on their iPods, they both read that brand new novel from the old great and thought it was terrible, they both aspire to live in an apartment with a garden, fully energy efficient. They see each other out at the bar, getting drunk on cheap beer and just above well level whiskey, they dance together to that local band, they sleep together a bunch more. Unless he's a closeted republican, they remain in relationship limbo, avoiding commitment and paying for their coffees separately. How romantic!

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The idea of romance and dating seems so quaint to me, but the practices of my peers today aren't really fantastic, either. One of my friends threatens to leave Juneau because she says that there is no one to date. Another of my friends is thankful that she was already engaged when she arrived because dating here would suck. And I am asking myself, what is the definition of dating anymore, any way? It would seem that it isn't the traditional dinner and a movie that we once held as the standard. It's hardly even the quirky dates that are considered so sweet. At the same time, dating cannot be redefined as meeting at a bar and hooking up, can it? That's not romantic, often it's not healthy, and very rarely is it in any way conducive to building relationships.

Many of my "relationships" in the past have revolved around going to the bars, spending the night together, maybe having breakfast in the morning, exchanging text messages, the occasional evening at someone's house doing some activity that isn't drinking at a bar. But these are the same "relationships" that never got labels, that never went very far. These are the relationships that skirted the borders of "mature relationship" but never quite lived up to the standards. I've had one relationship that involved going on dates, talking about feelings, even some romantic gestures. And I think that it was a relationship from another decade because, well, he started dating in another decade. Not the 5o's as I used in my parallel dating universe, but he's a bit older than I am.

Having a crush on someone in my peer group seems like an exercise in futility. What I described happens, there are awkward quasi-dates, attempts to hang out in a location that is neither a bed nor a bar, and eventually it fades away for heading nowhere or someone freaks out that the other person is getting too attached or maybe someone just moves to Portland or Seattle. I'm not looking to get married any time soon, neither are most of my friends, but I can't blame us for being disappointed in dating in this day and age (and city?).

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