Going on Dates
by the Dating Diva
Helen called me up last night upset. Very upset. As in, spending-the-last- 48-hours-cleaning-her-house-from-top-to-bottom-and-even-disinfecting-the-refrigerator upset. The problem was she'd had a date last week and he had yet to call again. This was, in fact, her first date in some time and she now remembered why she'd dropped the whole process in the first place. Rejection, after all, can ruin a girl's day. She was ready to throw in the towel again, dating sucks, and she likes her dog better, anyway.
Here's the thing -- on a scale of one to ten Helen said this guy was, say, maybe a six and a half. A six and a half! That's translates to a D, if you do the math. Just in case you're wondering, Helen is extremely attractive, extremely intelligent, and a gourmet cook to boot. Yet here he was topping out at 6.5, and she was upset she hadn't heard from him. Something is very, very wrong here.
And I know what it is. Kids today -- they just don't date.
My parents used to say this to me and I would get all huffy. I have, after all, done the dinner and a movie thing on numerous occasions. Just because I never went through some ritualized letter-jacket-borrowing, his-class-ring-wearing, pinned-getting routine doesn't mean I don't date.
But I've since realized that just the word "dating" means a far different thing to them than it does to my friends. To them "Dating" sums up this whole middle ground between friends and lovers. It's what you did with people you liked, but with whom you weren't necessarily in love. It's what you did to have fun on a Saturday night, not just to hold Boyfriend auditions. And, it certainly wasn't about commitment, at least not until something important -- pick your accessory of choice: jacket, ring, or pin -- changed hands.
Nowadays, we've lost this middle ground. Too many people think there are only two categories: Boyfriend/Girlfriend or NOT Boyfriend/Girlfriend. And dating is what one does with the former. I have one friend who says she would never go on a second date with someone whom she couldn't imagine marrying. Excuse me? This way lies madness.
This is how people like Helen's Mr. Doesn't-Even-Muster-A-Seven end up becoming more important than they should. Helen liked him enough to consider going out with him again, and so he got plunked down into a potential Boyfriend category. Consequently, she cared far too much when she didn't hear from him.
And so she wanted to go back to her non-dating ways. But the answer isn't to go out less. It's to go out more. If you go out more, each individual date isn't as important, as confusing. Each individual prospect isn't so important and confusing. And we might, just might, be able to bring back the middle ground, a bonafide third category -- the Date -- and open up whole new vistas of relationships.
So, all together now -- repeat after me: We are going to go on dates. We are going to go out on second dates. We are not going to perceive dates as an all or nothing affair, where at the end we have to decide if they are close enough to a soulmate to keep around. No, we only have to decide if they were a cool enough person to hang out with occasionally on a Saturday night. And, most of all, we will not confuse a Date with a Boyfriend.
At least not until he lets us wear his letter jacket.