(The landscape of dating has changed dramatically, so what now.)
This week a couple of you sent me the New York Time’s article “The End of Courtship”.
The author, Alex Williams, argued that evolution of dating is “subverting the rules of courtship.” The typical one-on-one dating structure has evolved to “hanging out” in groups and text messaging where you’re “dropping a line in the water and hoping for a nibble”. This development away from the romance we’ve seen in movies is happening for better or for worse, and both genders are to blame for it. But is it really a bad thing?
If you put aside all the romance of a date, it’s an investment. It’s an investment of time, money, and energy in to something that will usually never pay off. And this investment is a lot more significant for men than women. Men have to pursue the girl, plan the date, and pay for dinner/drinks putting a significant amount of ego and money on the line; all a woman has to do is figure out what to wear and show up. So now that one-on-one dating is going the way of the brontosaurus, this is beneficial for men because it’s going to take less of an investment for men to get whatever what they want. Instead of taking a girl out to the antiquated dinner and a movie and spending $70 on a stranger, it makes more sense to invite her out to “hang out” with you and your friends. Also, with the recession and changing gender roles there’s a good chance the woman makes more money than him so he’s going to be even more economical with who he decides to take out.
The first date is typically when you get to know the basic framework of a person such as their “background, education, politics, and cultural tastes” but now with Google and Facebook you can know all of these things instantly. Everyone that goes out with someone types them in to Google, and it shouldn’t be called “Google stalking” anymore — it should be called “Google due diligence”. You’re an idiot if you don’t research someone before you go out with him. So if you approve of the basic framework of what you find when you hit “search” then all you have to do is see how well you vibe together in person. Now there’s even less on the line because you have a basic idea what this person is about and what you’re getting in to.
On top of that, everyone constantly gets Facebook invites, E-vites, and text messages that can quickly change social calendars in a matter of seconds. Both genders, but especially women, like to keep their options open so they will never commit to something unless it’s on that same day for “FOMO” (fear of missing out). You can text a girl back and forth consistently for an hour and then as soon as you ask her out on a date, it’s radio silence. That’s why men have learned to never commit time or money to this new type of woman. Why would any smart guy buy tickets to a play or take time out of his schedule for a specific girl, especially in a big city like Los Angeles where there are women everywhere. With this new dating evolution many men will choose to just make their own plans, and if a girl wants to come along then great. The stakes are lower and a man’s ego and time aren’t tied up to just this one girl.
A couple of you (me included) are going to be like the person at the end of Williams’s article where you will stubbornly say, “if this person is really interested in me, she has to put in some effort. The problem with this logic is that you’re eliminating good people because you’re holding on to what are now outdated ideas of romance and the world is evolving with out you. Just because he didn’t ask you out on a solo date doesn’t mean he’s not interested in you. These “group dates” are just becoming what men are conditioned to do, because it’s a lower investment.
There’s no point in bemoaning the revolution because it’s happening. So we all have to adjust our playbooks and update our fairy tales. Even though you may believe the “end of courtship” is bad your opinion doesn’t matter, because it’s happening whether you like it or not. If a relationship or a date is what you seek, you’d better get on the train or be left at the station.
[Photo: Outside of Mexican Water, Arizona on the Utah border. ]