When you’re a vintage girl in a hook up culture, dating is interesting.
It’s even more interesting when you get out of a decade-long marriage where pre-marital dating did not involve the use of text messaging or social media. And it’s further made interesting by trying online dating.
So here I am: 33, newly divorced, a mom of all things, and back out there on the dating scene. It’s complicated. For those of you in the same boat, here’s your crash course in online dating.
First, you have to learn the environment and the lingo. In the online dating world, every man posts his height, a picture with a child (may or may not be his), a picture with a pet (may or may not be his) and a picture of himself standing without a shirt in front of a mirror- preferably doing an athletic activity. Oh, and it helps if you have a picture holding up fish (because it’s a well-known fact that women dig fisherman?).
Then you have to read the profile if you want to know more than just that they have an attractive face. Apparently, ladies, “Netflix and chill” does not involve watching any movies at all.
Next, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the term “d*ck pic” because you’ll be using it with your friends when you describe what happens when you give out your cell phone number to your online match. You’ll get one of these.
Also, expect to be asked if your profile picture is recent, and when you are asked this, you will know it means that their picture is not: Beware.
Expect profile pictures that include an arm around the member of the opposite sex. Clearly, these people are swingers. Or looking for something other than a monogamous relationship, unless said person clarifies that the person is a relative (may or may not be true).
Next, you’ll find that everyone is mostly concerned with getting straight down to business. I am a perfectly healthy young woman with all of the appropriate wants and needs, but I feel like Rip Van Winkle in the dating world. It’s now considered the norm to see someone naked by text before you ever do in person, if you ever see him in person at all.
Prepare to hear descriptions of what will happen if you do decide to meet in person. Expect great detail. Even if you avoid the ubiquitous “d*ck pic”, it seems like everyone wants to clarify in advance whether or not sex will be on the menu for the first meeting. So far, I have encountered maybe 1 or 2 exceptions to this rule (thank you to those exceptions; your restraint is appreciated).
In the over-sharing culture of social media, we’re now expected to clarify if a sexual relationship will happen before we meet someone, before we determine if we’re actually attracted to them, before we determine if we have any chemistry at all, and before we’ve established any relationship whatsoever. While it is sometimes a tantalizing thought (come on, ladies, you can admit it), it also seems indicative of a culture where half of the marriages end in divorce, and one night stands have become more of a rule than the exception.
Be prepared to have all of this clarified within the first couple of texts with your match.
As I process my own experience, I don’t judge the choices of others to engage in whatever type of relationship that suits them. Since I identify as a vintage sort of girl, let me explain what that means to me.
Part of the allure of dating was meeting someone and enjoying the chemistry. There were so many exciting “firsts”. You could have a first date and a first kiss and a first dance and a first everything. This could even happen on all the same night. Typically though, you had a little build-up. A little foreplay, if you will. You could meet someone and enjoy the slow burn of a budding relationship without rushing it. You could let it develop naturally without planning in advance the time, place, and nature of an expected sexual relationship.
I like a good game as much, maybe more, than the next person, but I will say that there is a place inside me that looks back and remembers when we weren’t all in such a damn hurry to close the deal that we forgot to treasure all of the small glances and touches and tender moments along the way. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned but I use a current profile picture, and I don’t post kid pictures because there is such a thing as predators (of both genders).
I won’t be sending you a naked picture. Not only do I not keep such a thing handy to send out to whoever asks, I don’t share my body with just anyone, not even in picture form. I truly don’t want a picture of your d*ck. If I want one, I’ll ask for it. Do not send me unsolicited pictures of it.
And while I do love some hot and heavy flirting, don’t feel that you have to f*ck me via text. It’s unnecessary. Can we get to know each other first? Also, how about we meet for a drink or dinner and see where things go? Maybe you’ll like me. Maybe I’ll like you. How about we just see how we feel?
Dating isn’t easy. Dating as an adult is further complicated by jobs and children and adult responsibilities. With a society that’s mostly social only online, online dating is a logical step for singles to meet. Another twist in the current dating culture is that most relationships remain undefined. From my experience, people don’t actually have the “defining the relationship” conversation so you’re probably not in one if you haven’t updated your relationship status on
Facebook. It’s probably inadvisable to be the one to do it first, but since you’re not talking about what your relationship actually is this could be somewhat of a stalemate. The vintage girl in me just wants to know: are we or aren’t we? Be prepared for this struggle.
For every 10 people who read this, 9 of them will probably not have a problem with any of the things I’ve described. To you 9, I’m not implying anything about your character. You take your sexy self and do whatever makes you happy.
For the other vintage girls struggling to connect in this hook-up culture: you are not alone. We’re out there. We know what it is we want, even if we feel like it doesn’t exist anymore. Sure, it does. Maybe we’re not looking in the right place. Maybe it’s just a matter of timing. Just know that it’s okay to feel what you feel and to hold out for what you need. Take a chance and put yourself out there.
While online dating is certainly complicated, there are many stories of couples who have successfully found love, romance, or what have you online. I hope this guide will help you navigate these waters.
I hope you find what you want—just don’t settle for less.
Stay classy, and be who you are without apologies or compromise.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Editor: Erin Lawson
Images: Flickr/Marcos Andre // Flickr/simpleinsomnia
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