It has been said that modern day dating is like trying to find the least damaged piece of clothing at a thrift shop – that doesn’t smell. Putting it simply, dating is tough.
Nearly half of the adults in the U.S. say that dating has gotten harder over the last 10 years, according to Pew Research Center. While there are many reasons that could explain why people perceive dating has gotten progressively more difficult, perhaps the most obvious explanation is that traditional dating is just not as common as it once was. Thus, less people going out on dates makes the dating pool that much smaller and the chances of finding that perfect sweater at your local Goodwill, that much tougher.
Nowadays, taking someone out on a proper date is oftentimes replaced with the far more casual “hang out.” It is because of this that the “Netflix and chill” generation has ruined the art of dating.
So what’s the difference between dating and hanging out you may ask? Well, that’s the issue. It’s hard to know for sure, which leads to mixed signals, increased anxiety and misunderstandings. So dating, an activity that is already fraught with fear and vulnerability, becomes even more so.
Unlike previous generations when it could be assumed being asked out on a date was a sign of genuine interest (after all someone is going through a lot of effort and sometimes expense to spend time with you) the hangout has no such guarantees. In fact, oftentimes it doesn’t even require the one who initiated the get together to get off the couch.
As someone who considers herself a serial dater, I am not immune to the pitfalls of the hangout no matter how hard I have tried. Having a date spend a lot of money is not a prerequisite for a good date night, but wanting him to show a little bit of effort is.
I can’t begin to tell you the amount of times I have been asked to coffee or to dinner by someone who says they want to get to know me better, only to have him call me the day of pulling the good ‘ole bait and switch.
Whether the excuse is the hard, tiring week he’s had or how he cleaned his room and he’s really excited to show me the results of all his hard work (because he is apparently the only man in Ellensburg with a clean room?), the question that follows is always the same. “So do you mind if we just skip going out and just hang out here and watch a movie or something?”
Yes. Yes I do mind. I have probably already spent hours of preparation between planning makeup, hair and outfit choices. Or, maybe even days if you count the zit cream I have applied religiously and the prayers I have said nightly in hopes the goiter in the middle of my forehead goes down in time for the big night.
But, while all that is frustrating, it is the “or something” that I find particularly offensive. Nothing screams “I want to get to know you better” more than silently watching a movie in a dark room together “or something.” Any way you slice it, neither of these activities require a whole lot …….