Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday News Roundup: Making a Connection

Two articles about sex/dating caught our eye this weekend.

The first one comes from the Lavanya Ramanathan at the Washington Post. It’s called “Making a Connection,” and it discusses the unique challenges of dating in three decades: your 20s, your 30s, and your 40s. You can read the full article here, but here’s an excerpt from the section on dating in your 20s:

What we're about to say may infuriate you. It may prompt you to send us angry missives about ageism. But here goes:

The rest of us could learn a thing or two from the dating habits of 20-somethings.

Our dating experts all suggest the same approach to dating at any age: Relax (or at least appear to be unaware of the incessant, pounding tick-tock of your internal clocks) and your charms will shine through.

No one does this better than people in their 20s. (The first dates that can make the rest of us so nervous? A 25-year-old will casually call them "hanging out.")

Of course, 20-somethings have good reason to be relaxed about love. Their dating pool is a virtual ocean, still teeming with cute, smart, upwardly mobile types. And they often have the opportunity to dive right in: There are bars, work outings, social groups and even strange, retro sports leagues that can all serve as venues to meet that special someone…

Twenty-somethings get out there. If a relationship doesn't work out, they keep optimistically forging ahead -- a strategy everyone should try…

Washington does pose some major challenges for 20-something daters, not the least of which is trying to go out in the city on a ramen-noodle budget…

At any age, first and second dates should feel organic and low-pressure. Hit the zoo, a festival or an art event. Check out a jazz club. Walk there if you can.

Our verdict: We like the idea of taking each date one step at a time and not worrying about whether or not he’ll make a good husband just because he ordered pâté on the first date. We also agree with the article’s take on breaking things off and moving on as soon as you realize that it’s not working, and its suggestion that meeting guys in bars is a terrible idea.

But we don’t think they got everything right.

While dating in your 20s might not be as hard as dating in your 30s and 40s, it certainly isn’t easy. We’d love to find Ms. Ramanathan’s “virtual ocean” stocked with an infinite number of “catches.” In our experience, the problem with dating in DC isn’t the price of an entrée at 1789, it’s finding a person you actually want to spend an entire dinner with.

Yes, there are probably more single 20-somethings than there are single 30-somethings. But that doesn’t mean that your future partner is going to be a cute guy in a suit who asks for your number at Potbelly’s (or posts about you later on Missed Connections).

You have to wade through a lot of ex-frat boys with huge egos and significantly smaller potential to find the one guy who’s worth investing in. And if you sit back and wait for it to happen, your chances of finding someone you can start thinking about a future with are going to drop.

This doesn’t mean you should approach guys in bars. It doesn’t mean you should lower your standards or freak out because you’re not going on enough dates.

But it does mean you should act in a way that’ll make the good ones want to stick around.

Ms. Ramanathan complains that:

Books tell us the only way to master dating is to approach it like chess players: He makes his move, then you make yours. Then no one calls anyone for three days.

But those of us who have attempted to find The One know there's about as much strategy involved as fumbling for a light switch in the dark. You try bars, friends-of-friends, the Internet. You consider arranged marriage.

Yes, it’s hard to find eligible bachelors. But what she seems to argue is, when you find the right guy, you don’t have to worry about playing games, because all the cards will fall into place. The problem, according to the author, is finding that guy.

But if finding that guy is so hard, why do things that will set you back in the dating game? Why bring a guy home for a naked make-out because you’re only 25, and there are plenty of guys out there who could turn out to be “The One?”

The thing about The One is, you usually realize he’s The One after you’ve already started engaging in less-than-girlfriendy behavior, like going over to his apartment at 2 a.m. for sex and thinking that will encourage him to make dinner plans with you.

First dates are awkward and nerve-wracking, and it’s hard to decide if you click with your date when all you can think about is whether or not you have food stuck in your teeth. You might write him off because he blows his nose in his napkin, put him on the “hook-up only list,” and three weeks of booty calls later, realize that he shares your love of French poetry.

While it’d be great if the pressure could somehow be lifted from first dates, it’s not going to happen as long as the fear of rejection keeps third-wheeling. And if you start approaching dates as “hanging out,” most of them are going to take place in a tiny studio in Georgetown, and there’s going to be a lot more hooking up than hanging out.

Because good dates are so hard to find, you don’t want to blow it. And while it may seem silly and immature and unfair, playing hard to get will get you more second dates than texting him five minutes after he drops you off.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent suggestion the zoo is perfect, especially for an early Saturday morning when the animals actively partaking in their morning routines.