There are many reasons that I don't date, which makes it kind of hard to know where to start. It's not something I've chosen and if it were up to me, I'd be dating a lot. I don't think it's any secret that I am LDS and families and marriage are a large part of our religion. It's pretty stereotypical that people think every single, young, LDS person in Utah gets married before they're twenty. While this may have had more truth to it 10, 20, 30 years ago, it's not that way anymore. While it is true for some people, it is moving far away from that. Lately, I see more people of different religions who seriously date and are in substantial, progressing relationships and as far as I know, they don't have the same amount of encouragement and religious importance placed on it. But, religion aside, overall it's our entire culture that isn't dating. Recently an article came out stating that there are currently more single people in the US than married. Now, I must clarify and say that I'm not dying to get married tomorrow. Far from that actually. But it would be nice to have the occasional night out and get to know people. So what is stopping me from dating?
It's all just a game
Dating used to be about spotting the player and avoiding them. Now, the players are the majority and those who take it seriously, the rare and almost extinct, minority. Nobody is looking for a substantial relationship that stems deeper than the "let's maybe hang out sometime" and an occasional noncommittal, nonchalant "what's up" text message. You don't have to look very far to see that playing games is the new "norm". One word, Tinder. This so called "dating" app is in all honesty everything but. The newer version of Hot or Not encourages hook ups based off of a few pictures and a sentence or two about yourself. If you like what you see, swipe right. If not, swipe left. If you swipe right and it's a mutual match, it will pop up and notify you and do you know what it says?
- send Lee Mealone a message?
- keep playing
Playing! Even Tinder acknowledges that dating is really nothing more than just a game. And you know who wins this game? The person who cares less. The person who plays the other person harder wins. The person who has no investment in anything wins. The person who is not looking for anything wins. The person who puts no feelings or effort in wins. The people who want to date, who want a relationship, who want to meet people, are those who are condemned in the "dating" world.
No such thing as a date
I can't recall the last time I went on a "date". I could easily tell you the last time I "hung out" with someone I was interested in who was interested in me as well... But it wasn't a "date". He asked me to "hang out". Even though it had many components of a "date", one on one, one person paying, cuddling, hand holding, etc. but when it came time for a second "date" it was only a "want to hang out?"
As I said earlier, marriage and families are at the center of the LDS religion and as a result it is often encouraged by the church leaders that twenty-somethings stop hanging out and actually date. I recently had a conversation with one of my friends after he went to a meeting where the single guys were encouraged to date.
Me: how was conference?
Him: I feel like I've been to better. but overall it was good. The single guys were called out and told to be social and date.
Me: I'm glad. I feel like guys are too chicken to ask girls out and no one dates anymore.
Him: I agree. But it's more fun to just hang out and not go out so to say.
So there you have it. A twenty-something guy flat out admitting that he won't date.
Apparently, hanging out requires less effort and guts and is the easy way out, which leads me to this...
No relationship = no break-up
If you're not dating and are only "hanging out" it requires less involvement on your end, and apparently people hate involvement. If you're only hanging out, you're free to come and go as you please. Hang out with them one week, disappear for two and come and go as you please. Want a make-out or cuddle buddy? You have one on hand and when the night is over, you have no obligation to call them or text them tomorrow or the day after cause you're only "hanging out" with one another and not in a relationship or dating them. We have this attitude of people like the "chase" and playing hard to get and coming across as playing it cool or not caring is the best way to land that special someone. And to those people who view it that way, I say look around, because it's obviously not working. People think that if there isn't a "break up" it will hurt less and it won't be as bad. But, doesn't it hurt just as much to have someone, who you're obviously interested in, randomly disappear and fall off the face of the planet without any sort of explanation? I stray from the majority when I say that I'd rather have a clear answer rather than some pathetic, gutless, complete cop out of a disappearance.
Too many options
There are so many people out there yet we choose to be lonely. There are thousands of people on tinder yet it almost encourages extreme pickiness. It is all based off of looks and basically disregards what really makes up a person. What about personality, life experiences, ambitions, sense of humor? I think we have all met that one person who was no Adam Levine or Carrie Underwood but once we got to know them, they became more attractive as their personality began to show.
Along the lines of too many options I can't help but think of something we talked about in one of my advertising/marketing classes. Take a shampoo company ... They have over 30 choices and types of shampoo to choose from. The consumer can stand in front of them for 10 minutes and still not know which one to pick or what will be best for them and as a result they walk away, empty handed, no shampoo.
A world without dating
I think it's clear that communication has drastically changed from times in the past. We "socialize" through Facebook, Instagram, and text messages. The actual face to face conversations are rare and are becoming more and more avoided. It's easier to say things through a text than to someone's face. There's not as much risk involved. It's easier to "like" someone's status or picture rather than have an actual conversation about what is going on in their life. Since when does a "like" qualify as a friendship?
With actual human interaction dying down, the old idea of a courtship has died with it. Long gone are the days of actually asking people on dates and persuing them in a straight forward fashion without the chase and the games. I feel like to find these days we'd have to go back to the times of stage coaches and corsets. And unfortunately Back to the Future is only a movie.
And that my friends, is why I don't date.