Dating is an interesting sort of business.
In the right mood, it can even be entertaining.
As one may have guessed, I am not in the right mood.
Maybe I just need a Snickers, but my patience with the dating world is wearing thin. I’m in my mid-30s, and I’ve already been married, divorced, and had my heart broken more than once.
I’ve also spent a lot of time working on my own issues and dealing with my baggage. I even love myself! So there’s no use handing me out the usual advice of focusing on myself (been there), loving myself (done that), or how I need to address my own issues before I try to meet Mr. Right (got the t-shirt).
What I think needs to happen for many of us to find true love (or even a decent relationship) is for the dating world to get its sh*t together and stop with some of these ridiculous trends.
Let’s start with the one that tops my list: dick pics.
Oh. My. God. Please quit sending these! First of all, unsolicited naked pictures should never be sent out. Consent is important. A lack of consent means harassment. So, ask already. But when one clarifies (ahem) that they do not, in fact, want a picture of your “manhood” as you so eloquently put it, stop asking to show it anyway.
And definitely don’t send the video of you masturbating (you know who you are!) when your first photo is summarily rejected. Can we please back it up a bit and actually meet in person for a drink or something before we see each other’s private bits? I would love to grab a shovel and bury this particularly appalling dating trend.
And don’t get me started on ghosting!
If we’re done with someone, we should just say that. It’s as simple as, “Hey, I’m just not feeling this anymore.” In the world of social media, just because we ghost someone doesn’t mean we actually disappear. They may wish us dead, but they can, in fact, see us living out our lives on Facebook or Instagram or Tumblr, so having disappeared completely from their lives without a word is just a slap in the face. So let’s grow up and be honest with people when we want to end a relationship.
I think I’ll throw benching into the mix because it’s prevalent also.
Benching happens when we put some potential dates on our second-string list and keep them around just in case. We string them along on the off chance we need a fall-back date. With online dating, I get that any one person is likely talking to a number of interested parties. So noted. But that doesn’t mean we should bench the ones we’re hoping to save for later while we focus on the ones we prefer. No, no, no. We should never leave someone else hanging, thinking that we’re interested just in case it falls through with someone we like better. That’s rude as hell.
Hoovering is a tough one, and it’s particularly tough when we get lonely.
Hoovering is when we try to pull someone back into a relationship. We let them go for a while, and then we try to suck them back in. I will admit that I have been guilty of this following a breakup. But we have to realize that a relationship that’s over probably needs to stay that way and stop trying to pull each other back into it because we miss them or just plain get lonely.
Misrepresentation is a dating trend I will always include in a list of what not to do.
We should all be who we are. That means that we should post current profile pictures, not manipulative, filtered pictures that look nothing like us. Further, we should be honest about who we are and what we want. It shouldn’t be some big secret. That’s a great way to waste each other’s time. If we want sex, say it. If we really want a relationship, say that too. If we don’t know what the hell we want, we’re allowed to say that, and then let someone know when we figure it out. Or if how we feel changes, that’s allowed too. But we don’t need to pretend to be one thing when we’re another.
I’ll venture into one more area that I’m not even sure has a name yet. I’ve come across this one too many times.
It seems that there is an entire subset of people who want to participate in phone sex or sexting without ever having sex in real life.
I don’t even want to go into how I discovered this was a thing, because one can imagine the types of messages I have received that has led me to the conclusion that this isn’t an isolated incident. Yes, there seems to be a group of people who want to use online dating and virtual interactions as a part of their masturbatory practice. My reaction? Masturbation is a single player game; why the hell are you involving me?
First of all, most women don’t need assistance with this. We can manage by ourselves. But it seems there are many men that prefer the virtual interaction to actual interaction, which leaves me stymied. I can’t even think why this might be. Perhaps some hitherto unknown performance issues? I’m not really sure, but we’ll call this the “Virtual Lover,” and this trend needs to go to. Most of us aren’t looking for a pen pal, much less one used only to fuel your single-player fantasies.
Dating can be complicated enough just with different personalities. It can be challenging to find someone we really connect with and enjoy being around. There’s no need to further complicate it by any one of the above trends. In fact, I’d like to see every last one of these trends die in the new year. I have a feeling that misrepresentation will always be a part of dating culture because there are always people who won’t step up and be honest about who they are and what they want. But I’d like to think that we could bury these other practices along with bad fashion trends and other relics of the past.
But maybe I just need to eat a Snickers.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Flickr/Pro Juventute
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social Editor: Emily Bartran