I’ve never had a truly bad date. I’ve never had wine thrown on me, I’ve never been stood up and I’ve never been catfished. I’ve enjoyed long dinners into the night, hole-in-the-wall pub dates in London and even a golf date out on the local links. Overlooking the fact that many of the dates I went on in high school and after my first year college all took place at the same diner, I am not unlucky when it comes to these things.
I enjoy the whole process, though for many now, it seems like a lost art. Why grab food when you could just “hang?” You don’t have to pay for food, you don’t have to worry about spinach stuck in your teeth and sometimes, you don’t even have to leave your apartment. It has become easier to ask someone to hang out than to ask them out. There’s a non-committal attitude that exists, one that stops us from the possibility of exploring something further with someone else. I could be talking to someone for a while, but the second they say “we should hang out,” I’m turned off from them. I’ve gotten quite bored with the whole “we should hang out” mentality, and at this point in my life, I would rather have a nice conversation over dinner and really get to know someone.
Looking toward the next few, cold months, I wonder if this “just hanging” behavior will change. We are entering the historically coined “cuffing season” where the weather gets colder and people get together. Within the past few months, I’ve been witnessing what can only be described as the “un-cuffing” season, where many of my friends who were in relationships ended them. I got close to one, but I ended it because I knew it wasn’t what I wanted.
The belief that people date in patterns is an interesting one. As it has been described, cuffing season starts when the weather gets cold and runs until the end of winter. As the warm weather returns, so does an overwhelming desire to see what else is out there. This isn’t the general pattern for everyone, but it is an interesting cultural trend to observe. Facebook posts and tweets proudly announce its arrival, “cuffing season is coming,” and discuss all the implications of the cold weather. This pattern somehow continues to exist in spite of the immediacy and passive culture perpetuated from apps like Tinder, and the ease of meeting people you may never see again.
I want to go on more dates to get the full spectrum of the experience. The first week of college, I wrote a paragraph in my diary describing all the things I wanted to happen and dreams I wanted to achieve within my four years at college. In this extensive list, I detailed how I wanted to be stood up, have a bad date and have a great date so I could see the tangible difference. I wanted all of these experiences because I believed them to be part of what college would look like.
Dating is a wonderful, interesting, sometimes painful experience. As much as I enjoy getting to know someone, I am always overwhelmed by a desire to bail at the last minute. I’d walk to the restaurant, or I’d ride up the very long escalator at the tube station in London, and I’d consider turning around and going home. Before the date, being the anxious mess that I am, I would go through every possible situation in my head, and always land on the worst one. He’s not going to like me. The pure thought of being unliked would settle in my brain and I would suddenly get the urge to run away as far as I could. That’s why I always knew I had to keep going.
Dating is exciting because it scares me right out of my wits. Logic, and sometimes even words, evade me when I’m on a date. I don’t have the time to craft the perfect message like I do when I am messaging someone on my phone. I make terrible jokes, even worse puns and usually embarrass myself when trying to compliment them. Not knowing exactly what to say and when to say it is one of the best parts of going on a date. You present as the rawest version of yourself, making mistakes, hoping the other person thinks you’re funny, charming and hopefully endearing.