Modern Love

Lessons From a Retiring Dating Writer: A Goodbye Post

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Today is my last day as a writer for HowAboutWe. Since starting in 2010, I’ve written 1344 dating blog posts, not including this one, which I wrote for Guest of a Guest the day I first heard of the site.

In 1344 posts (and a book) I’ve said more than I ever thought I would have to say about dating. But, shockingly, there are still a few odds and ends left unsaid! Or at least worth repeating.

You Can’t Let the Statistics Freak You Out

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Oh, it’s a terrible time to be a dater, haven’t you read? Especially if you’re a woman, or a millennial. Women outnumber men in all the major cities. Men have no interest in relationships, lesbians have nowhere to meet each other, gay men are burning out on Grindr. Entire generations, having discovered that monogamy is a construct, that we were not born this way, have eschewed love for meaningless sex. Everyone is destined to remain unhappy and alone — you, especially.

Except, despite the media’s best efforts to present a doomsday narrative of love, people around me seem to be coupling up at an alarming rate. If you ever get discouraged about your dating prospects, just think of all the couples that exist now, in 2013, that didn’t exist before.

No matter what happens in the world, people will continue to fall dopily, sappily in love, people will continue to find one person they want to spend time with above all others, people will continue to not just have sex, but hold hands and show up to parties together and go to brunch on Sunday mornings. Dating isn’t sock hops and dance cards anymore, but it’s a long way from dead.

By the way, the couple from this date? Is still dating. And if you ever need to reaffirm your faith in love, look to this couple. Or these photos. Or this essay.

Don’t Wait to be Picked, Do the Picking

5454481065_186477240790846528_0bw9WF2t_c_xlargeThe happiest daters are the ones who feel like they have control over their dating lives, who participate actively in dating rather than just letting to be something that does or doesn’t happen to them. They’re the ones who are dating online, flirting in bars, going to parties and concerts, joining groups, and taking active steps to accommodate romance in their life.

The unhappiest daters are the ones who feel totally hopeless — but who are actually doing very little get a date because, subconsciously, they still believe that a boyfriend or girlfriend is someone who finds you. It’s not true anymore! Only if you’re very very lucky, but why gamble?

Easy ways to take charge of your dating life: ask people out. Make an effort to make to friends — even platonic ones! Force yourself to talk to strangers, to try new things. Give people a chance. See your dating life as an open slate, not a closed door. Do the picking.

On Online Dating

People ask me all the time, “Do I really have to date online?” If you’re serious about finding a relationship, then, yes, quite frankly. Online dating doesn’t mean you stop meeting people in real life. It just means you have options.

GChat, Texting, Sexting, Snapchatting…

I don’t think technology is making people worse at dating. I think, in fact, it makes it easier for shy people to flirt! The only danger is becoming someone who can only flirt and communicate well through a computer, and never in real life, when it counts. Technology can be the ice breaker, but face to face is what really matters, where dating is concerned.

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But definitely turn off “auto-preview” of your text messages.

And definitely double-check before sending anything.

For the record:

I still believe that texting is better than calling, that you should go on a date with anyone who asks you, and that GChat is the worst thing you can do in the early stages of a relationship.

But I’ve changed my mind regarding men using exclamation marks,  IKEA as a possible date spot, the acceptability of picking someone up at the gym.

Here Is The Best Worst Date Story I Heard

A girl who’s date messaged his ex, while on the date. From her Facebook account.

Here Is The Best Sex Disaster Story I Heard

First time hooking up. Lights are off. In the middle of…things…he discovers he has a nosebleed. They turn on the lights, and discover the blood is all. Over. Her. Face.

“The blood was even in my eyes. And when he looked at me, mortified, he had tissues stuffed in both nostrils. I thought he was going to cry.” (Direct quote.) (Her eyes!)

Shocking and gross, but I actually love this story, because of the way the girl in question managed to swallow her visceral disgust in order to assure the guy — who was mortified — that it wasn’t that big of a deal. Crazy things happen during sex and the best sex partners are the ones who know how to just roll with it.

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Most Popular Thing to Say While on a Date With a Dating Blogger

“So, are you going to write about this?”

The Best/Easiest Way to Get Things Started

“It’s getting late. I think we should start making out now.”

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Millennials are a Completely Lovestruck Generation

The idea that millennials aren’t romantic is so short-sighted. People today are truly as sappy and sentimental as any other generation that’s preceded us, it’s just that romance looks a little different these days.

Here’s how millennials express love:

In tweets and Facebook likes.
In post-date texts to see if you got home okay.
In staying at work twenty minutes later than necessary because you’re having a great GChat conversation and you’re not going to end it just yet, just because the workday is over.
In transparently casual, “Yo, you around?” texts, and the heart-stopping, stomach flip-flop upon receiving “Cool, be there in 20″ back.
In telephone calls. Because who uses the phone anymore? Only the truly in love.
In books read, music listened to, old seasons of The Wire watched simply because someone you went on a date with emphatically promised that, “Oh my god, it’s so good, no really, you have to watch, you’d love it.”
In DVR’d episodes of Breaking Bad and self-imposed Twitter moratoriums, because you won’t, you promised, watch it until you can watch it together.
In the twenty revisions and edits it takes to write a line of text to invite someone out.
In sex that’s casual, commitment free, but not meaningless.
In Hannah Horvath’s deep dysfunctionality, as penned by Lena Dunham, who’s instagram boasts pictures of her boyfriend and dog.
In ordering in 90% of meals but making pancakes for breakfast.

I feel really lucky to have had the opportunity to explore — in such depth! — this fun and awkward and fascinating and human topic over the past few years. Thank you so much for reading, and for sharing your thoughts and stories with me!

It has been such a pleasure.

Happy dating!

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