Classic dating games and modern technology

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You’ve likely heard of the classic dating games. The old “playing hard to get”, “men are hunters”, “don’t be too available” and wait until at least the third date to have sex. What you may not have heard is that our modern day advances of technology and online dating coupled with the classic dating rules are game changing and next-level-fucked-up.

Some of you might argue; “but playing games keeps relationships spicy!” You know what keeps relationships spicy? Sriracha sauce on top of a fireball whiskey shot when they aren’t expecting it, sassing and bantering with each other playfully and not being a starfish in the bedroom. That’s what keeps things interesting; not emotionally manipulating another human being to get them where you want. Now, I personally am not into dating games. I prefer the real approach and that’s because I have experienced way too many of these old school games, and they get lost in translation with modern technology. The book “Why Men Love Bitches” or “Sex and the City” fail to highlight that the realities of modern dating include endless text messages, the lack of actual phone calls, and that men showing up on your door step with flowers to apologize after a blowout is now considered creepy and warrants a restraining order. I have read countless articles and books on how to win at the dating game, but the rule book needs an update to coincide with our new hand held lifestyles, and here’s why…

Lazy Communication

Texting has ruined what should have been a handy technology when it comes to dating. Now, with texting, if you hurt someone’s feelings or heaven forbid, send the douche-y breakup text, you have the luxury of not having to deal with the persons emotions on the other end afterwards. It used to be that we actually had uncomfortable conversations face-to-face which allowed us to feel empathetic and view the weight of our actions and words and how it affected others. This is how we learned how to treat one another with respect and courtesy or at least evolve ourselves emotionally. Now, with the simplicity of firing off a few words through a hand held device, and then going radio silent, we no longer have to suffer the consequences of seeing how our actions and words affect another human being; and that is a sad day, my friends. It’s a traditional behavior made lazy and impersonal with technology. If you can’t communicate via text the same way you would in a real physical setting, you should probably re-read the book of manners; for dummies.

Oh, and then there’s the whole “wait four hours to respond” tactic, because you know, we can’t seem “too available” as if most of us aren’t right beside our phones all day with 30 seconds and thumb muscle strength to spare. Be a modern person and stop pretending you weren’t just scrolling Facebook taking a “What color is my underwear” quiz.

Dates are last minute, or blown off easily

Thanks to technology, we have options for social activities coming our of our asses. We have up to the minute updates on friends, and even other potential romantic interests. “I’ll let you know” and “maybe” are the new way of saying “until something better comes up.” And when it does, you’ll get a text cancellation and you’ll be lucky to get a reschedule. Instead, you will likely get a 4 pm phone call on a Thursday for a whimsical last minute plan that evening. Planning proper dates is so vintage, not even hipsters are into it. Stop playing this game. Keep plans or don’t make them. This maneuver doesn’t say “I’m hard to get” it says “I’m a flake.”

Commitment derailment

Label free relationships due to the online illusion of having plenty of options opens the door for cheating that wasn’t technically cheating because “we weren’t ever official sooo….” – this was actually said to me by the last dude. I felt like saying “sooo having things at your place, sleeping over routinely and taking me to your family events makes me what exactly? Your stand in trophy until something better comes along?” This doesn’t work and never ends well for one person. This newly viewed life altering decision never existed 20 years ago. You were either together, or you weren’t. Commitment phobia wasn’t so common. There was none of this “in limbo” bullshit. And if you were that person, you were known as a “player” not the “catch.”

Texting instead of coming to the door

This is the equivalent of that Corvette guy who honks his horn when picking up the girl in an 80’s horror movie. The Dad never likes that guy. Don’t be that guy.

There are many ways that modern advances can benefit dating. You can book and make reservations online for just about anything now but mostly, it’s made things more exhausting when it comes to the initial courting and way we used to play games and have a “hard to get” attitude. Now we must lie, deliberately not answer the phone, date multiple people to create more desire, act like we don’t care when we actually do and it just brings me to the point where I no longer give a fuck. I’m exhausted with these new dating rules and standards. In a world so fixated on eating organic, we sure have evolved into behaving inorganically. How can we create something to feel natural and unfold naturally when we manipulate the process? Our downfall is mainly in our communication advances. We have the technology to create better intimacy and communication but we are not utilizing these advances to improve upon them, instead we are abusing them and making things worse. It’s all so complicated now. We want tradition when it suits us, and embrace technology when it suits us, and it creates more blurred lines than Robin Thicke. Old school dating games + New technology = No Bueno. It doesn’t work. They are called communication advances for a reason. So start advancing or GTFOffline.

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Last single standing

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Nobody longs to be the last single person standing amongst their group of friends but alas, here I am as just that. At an all-girls dinner the other night with my dearest girlfriends, it occurred to me as I sipped my slush infused vodka drink whilst listening to the wedding, pregnancy, “we” and “us” chatter among them that I had nothing relatable to share in the conversation. I mean, I don’t always like to talk about the last dip-shit I dated and it wasn’t like I was going to just be like “Aww that’s so cute, here’s a video of my cat!” (Insert crazy cat lady jokes here) to try and feel somewhat included. Instead I sat and listened intently and let it dawn on me that I am officially the last single girl in my crew. And it was okay.

For the past three years I have attended numerous events without a plus one, unless you count the bottles of wine or six packs’ I carry in tote as my “dates.” I’ve been to baby showers, children’s birthdays, housewarmings, pre-dominantly coupled holiday events and gatherings, engagements, and I will happily attend at least two weddings next year with excitement to celebrate the incredible milestones with the people I love and care about. But this is it; this is the divide. I am in a league of my own now.

Sometimes people try and tell me “they know what it’s like to be single” and tell me to embrace this time in my life. Well let me tell ya, I’ve embraced the crap out of this life for three years now. I am awesome at this life. Mind you, most people are comparing said experienced single life to that time that single meant wearing a hip hugging mini-dress, stumbling around in heels and being woken up by Mom vacuuming on Sunday morning before embarking on brunch with your previous night’s hangover victims. In your late twenties and early thirties, single means paying rent or a mortgage, student loans, car payments, vet bills and every other bill you never had at 21, having a responsible adult non-calling-in-sick-for-a-hangover attendance record at your job (which you now call a career), spending your single person income on endless celebrations for others whilst supporting yourself in the process and of course, keeping that liquor cabinet stocked, because you’re going to need it! It’s no cake walk either and there are pro’s and con’s to both lifestyles. Many hands make light work. Single hands make many trips. Sometimes it’s exhausting (though I have mastered the art of carrying 12 grocery bags up two flights of stairs in one trip- BOOM!) Sometimes I wish I could throw an “I’m single and surviving” party with a registry at the BC Liquor Store. I’d wear a Superman Cape. The “S” standing for “Single” (and Super.)

It’s not that I’m not happy being single, it’s just that I am overexposed to relationship chit-chat and it makes me feel so pressured into fitting in with the norm, and fitting back in with my friends. I have friends stressing out about not wanting to wait any longer to have children because they will be too old I’m just sitting there, all single and shit thinking “uh-oh, I am going to be that too old person they fear!” and it’s just like this endless cycle of feeling inadequate about my status even though I shouldn’t. Am I the last single girl in my circle? Hell yea I am. Does it mean I’m defective? No way. I’m not “too picky”, I’m not “looking too hard”, I already “love myself first” and whatever other stuff people are always feeding me to justify the reason I’m still single. I am single because simply, the right guy hasn’t come along yet, and that’s okay.

Being single sometimes feels like it comes with a negative stigma at a certain age. People ask you “what’s wrong with you?” or assume that you have higher expectations than you should. In this modern day and age, 30’s are the new 20’s and so the process of defining our own individual sense of self while putting the puzzle pieces of life together before inviting someone to join you takes longer. I may not have a child by the the time I planned to several years ago, but you learn to let go of expectation in favor of facing what your destined for.

The truth is yes, I’ve had some bad luck and maybe I’ve even made some of my own mistakes along the way (who hasn’t?) One of my neighbours told me when I met her nearly three years ago “this is our learning life” and the statement lingers in my mind every time I go through an ordeal. I’ve learned a ton on this journey, none of which I would have ever learned if I would have been in a relationship. I would have married the guy I was with three years ago and been standing in a kitchen barefoot and pregnant right now completely unaware of the amazing potential ahead of me. I also would never have started this blog. I wouldn’t be writing a book. I wouldn’t have a cat who plays fetch and makes me laugh every day. Through the process of truly embracing this single life and the dating world swirling around it, observing and learning from my friends relationships from the outside, to experiencing a wide variety of different personalities from the inside, I know without doubt that I am one hell of a catch -a sturgeon full of caviar. Once someone rips these walls down, I’ll be gleefully participating in mutual conversation with the girls at dinner; and in the meantime, there’s always vodka.

Cheers!

Family and relationship values

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The other day, my father gave me a pep talk about my recent state of anxiety stemming from a bad dating experience. It was the first time in two years my anxiety had spiraled and it caused me to close up in my usual way of speaking up for myself. “This is not you. You are a happy, vibrant, and outgoing and you have your shit together. You are always trying to accommodate others. If someone doesn’t treat you right, you have always told them to fuck off and you write about it. That’s who you are. That’s what you do.” That’s when I realized that I was not defending my own right to happiness by letting someone else walk all over me and trying to keep a peaceful demeanor when they didn’t deserve it. The light bulb went off and I did what I needed to do for me; for my happiness and for my own peace. The anxiety I have been feeling the past five weeks instantly stopped. I finally feel like myself again. It made me think about who I am and who we all are as a result of our upbringing. My father and my parents marriage has set the standard of what I expect and search for in a partner. Having been married for nearly 32 years, and watching them communicate and handle their life struggles together as a team, I realized that my relationship values and the way I defend my position has everything to do with how I was raised. I am my mother’s daughter with the communication patience of my father.

I adore the relationship my parents have. My mother is a tough cookie and like myself, and she speaks her mind. Sure, she may be difficult at times (what woman isn’t?) but she’s tough as nails and my father loves her dearly, even if sometimes that anger is directed at him. He is patient with her. They communicate. They tackle life and all of it’s challenges together. They are in their mid 50’s and they still date and have fun like teenagers. My friends are always saying how awesome my parents are and how fun their relationship is. They don’t have all of the same interests, but they believe in the same core values about life. They support each other and still have time to themselves to keep their own sense of individuality. Not every couple is like this and it stems from what relationship values were displayed to us while growing up. We didn’t have much. It was never a glamorous life of luxury and having a ton of money, but the love that existed in my home was always felt and worth more than any material items could ever compare to. My brother and I fought like crazy at times, and sometimes we got in trouble from our parents when we rebelled, but at the end of the day, we always communicated and fixed our issues, because we wanted that loving feeling and warmth when we went to sleep each night.

Some of us come from broken homes, some of us only had one parent growing up, some of us don’t know who our biological parents are, and some of us watched our parents ignore each other for weeks on end whenever issues would arise. No relationship follows the same pattern but one thing is for sure, we get our relationship morals from what we started witnessing from a young age; no matter how many Disney and Rom-com movies we watched, although we can dream! We take the expectation from our reality rather than our fantasy, and there’s nothing wrong with that but it is about understanding that the person you are with may have a different perception of how they think a relationship or marriage is supposed to be, and sometimes that can be the deciding factor in your overall compatibility together for the long haul. Some of us defy this rule and some of us follow it inherently. There really is no right or wrong way, but overall happiness is achieved in relationships by understanding that shared values are better than shared interests. Two people need to understand that their personal beliefs are a fundamental part of who they are and are generally consistent throughout your life based on your personal upbringing. There might be exceptions to this such as a traumatic event in life that causes a shift in perception however, mostly we are who we are based on how we were raised. I’m a person who was around a healthy level of love, intimacy, communication, and ritual family bonding times; such as always spending Christmas eve together going to Christmas movies as a kid to playing board games with cocktails as an adult and routine family attendance at my brother and my soccer games, my mother with the oranges, and my father as the coach. We were always, and are still extremely close knit.

Sometimes we forget that who we are as people results from how were were raised and what examples were displayed to us. Whether you grew up eating Sunday dinners at the table as a family with the “good China,” or in front of the football game with TV trays, chances are you have taken those habits forward with you in your own adult life. While I was fortunate enough to have been raised by two loving parents who had problems that they met with solution and growing from the experiences, not everyone will share the values that I perpetuate forward within my own self. Identify your relationship values. Who are you and what is your expectation of a relationship in comparison to the values of the people you date? I’ve been analyzing my pattern of failures and with exception of two long term relationships, I haven’t been dating men that share a similar value system as I do. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how wonderful a person’s lifestyle or interests might be, we will live a happier life when we harness the relationships with the people whose values match our own.