Is it me or are men just getting lazier and lazier about courting? This year has been exceptionally RIDICULOUS.
John approached me at the gas station. Good chemistry, good conversation, so when he asked for my number, I didn’t hesitate and was looking forward to his first call.
Only, it wasn’t a call. It was a series of Text messages.
“What are you doing?” was the first Wall-of-Shame Text.
“Nothing” I typed back with great restraint instead of “Answering your dumb Text.”
“Me either” quickly flashed across my screen and I blinked disbelieving.
I know technology has made it possible to carry on “non-conversations” without ever actually picking up the phone, but NOT in the beginning.
Just this summer I’d laughed when a single, young Millennial friend mentioned routinely getting random pings like this instead of traditional sometimes-awkward-though-endearing First Phone Calls, but I thought my generation was old enough to know better.
“And when you know better, you do better,” Oprah has often said.
With new people, Texting it in is comparable to showing up in PJs with eye snot and a paragraph-long resume for a dream-job interview.
What happened to putting your best foot forward when you want something?
Got a Tweet from Sean, a friend of a friend of a friend: “You are so Cute and Cool, let’s hang out. ;-}”
“What’d you have in mind?” I replied wondering why I had to ask follow-up questions for details and it took him two days to Tweet back “Saturday.”
Millennial cracked the code for me. “Hanging out is the new dating,” she said, “which is sort of like a non-date with no plan so you could end up at the mall, Starbucks, some random tailgate party, or your place with NetFlix.”
“We’re post-courting?” I moaned, more sad for her because at least I’ve had real dates and wooing.
“It sucks, but it’s a cultural norm now. A guy pings you on your smartphone and you go hang out.”
Not moi, I assured her.
Keith smiled as I entered the library, and gave me his phone number after a brief introduction. I wished to God I hadn’t noticed the folded paper didn’t look fresh because he did favor crazy-sexy-cool Blair Underwood.
“Call me sometime Beautiful,” he added as I stared at his number wondering how long it had been in his wallet and how many times he’d said this.
“What do you like to do?” I asked since he hadn’t.
“Uh…make you feel good,” he said licking his lips. My mind was saying Hell No. My body was saying Maybe. Trying to avoid those dreamy chocolate eyes, I slowly handed the crinkled paper back to this grown man who was trolling the library for f-buddies. “Hey, what’s wrong with sex?” he grumbled.
Absolutely nothing. But, what’s wrong with Working. For. It? At the risk of sounding like a fossil, long ago, there was some attempt to make a girl feel special first. A promise of dinner-and-a-movie, flowers, compliments and a general show of interest and effort.
Later that day I consulted a male friend, and he said, “Men don’t want to work that hard and I can make do with just about any woman if she isn’t fat, doesn’t nag and can get on my page.” How flattering. I knew he was part of the #lazydatingifIcangetawaywith movement but it was worse than I thought.
Wagging my finger at him, I recited the Bob Marley quote which hangs in my bedroom:
“That’s ancient,” he laughed. “Besides, wasn’t Marley stoned half the time?”
And then there was Will, who I tried not to be stuck in stone with and counted as an experiment. When he Texted for a Starbucks “hook up”, I went with Millennial vicariously cheering me on. Good chemistry, good conversation, Barry-White baritone—check, check, check—except that was the only time he “asked me out.”
He wanted to see me. He just didn’t want to court. I cooked for him or made reservations, let him tag along on self-planned outings and quickly realized I was wooing myself, so what was the point of him?
“How come you didn’t ask me?” he pouted one night by phone when I told him was going to a comedy show.
None of this came out of my mouth, mind you, but the picture bubble over my head said, “Because my girlfriend asked if I was up for Wanda Sykes and I said ‘Do you want to have dinner at the casino too?’ and she said ‘Yeah and let’s go early and play the slots first and it was on.”
Do I want to abandon actual dating for Girl’s Nights Out? No. Do I want a return to ancient dating rituals where serenades, sappy poetry, and savage fights for a woman’s affection were par for the course. No. Do I want romance, forethought and energy that says I’m worth the effort? Absolutely. And, Millennial, I want it for you too.