Dating: Don’t. Defend your hearts and bodies, of which your truest friends will ask nothing. Then maybe if you’re lucky one of them walks alongside you for a time. That’s all I figured out.
People have been encouraging me toward dating since grade school. Those people were insane. I didn’t date until my twenties. Still too soon, I feel. Anyway, I have some notes:
I don’t believe that anyone who is looking to meet a romantic partner through, or with the–I’m writing this on the internet presently so shall we say–regular involvement of, internet media services can fall in love with you or stay in love with you. I say this as a person who falls into and stays in love. I think Facebook and OKC reduce us to profiled shadows of our true selves, Instagram reduces us to a box of Polaroids, Twitter reduces us to a bunch of impulsive notes, and Tinder reduces us to all those things with desperation. Maybe LinkedIn will make you homeless, or maybe it’ll make you happier. Then, that content and those interpersonal effects are capitalized upon to provide revenue to someone. It’s dark. People may go out of their way to “prove me wrong” about this, which is an exercise that seems useless and boring to me, but which is more concerned with how they stay entertained, and at least for me that entertainment has a measurable personal cost.
If you have a problem with profiling practices by private or public entities, and you think it’s fallible or unfair or useless, why would you want profiling in your social, love, or work life? It’s like when Anton Chigurh does the coin toss in No Country for Old Men. The coin doesn’t mean anything.
I wouldn’t date a person who uses this stuff. I do not use social media (perhaps with the exception of this board, of which I have been reminded for reasons unknown) and my life has improved an ineffable order of magnitude because I no longer feel like I actively participate in each person’s personal graph of interpersonal desires.
Outside of the social space, I am still uncomfortable with my dependence on the internet for work and my continuing education, much as some our concerned about worldwide dependence on fossil fuels, or the proliferation of the quasi-disposable plastic shopping bag. I’m not even comfortable writing about this, in perpetuity, online (another behavior encouraged by those around me since childhood) but I felt like it was something I should get out to a community which I knew spent time discussing it in earnest for years.
If I believed I could meet someone to marry, while also feeling safe in the decision to be wed to that person (a situation I’m not sure I believe in), I wouldn’t want photos or videos or phones at the ceremony.
You can meet a new person to date in the real space. I’ve met them there through friends before. It is hazardous and fallible, and honestly I’m not sure why people derive happiness or pleasure from it. I don’t. I miss companionship, but I don’t know why another person would want to spend a long interval of time with me. There’s a tax benefit to marriage but I’m sure not fond of thinking I’m work. I’m always stressed out because of work and otherwise I’m just quiet and sometimes I read a book or the newspaper.
People have recommended to me that I meet people to date in bars and I think they are crazy. How could you meet someone like that? Why would that work? I have to sing a song and maybe drink alcohol?
Some people call this the “dating game.” Why am I a game? Why are people games to each other? Why would you ever tolerate the social condition in which another human life is a game?
I don’t know why people exchange pointers about this in men’s and women’s magazines, nor on the internet, nor why anyone seems to see some sort of value in having a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” People I’ve met talk about those around them, whether they “have” these people, and their behavior, and connote others with these statuses. It’s both discriminatory and objectifying, before you even consider the hook-up culture. Another person has an entire inner world which can never be conveyed with language. It feels completely demeaning to connote them with language other than their names. How could language ever accurately describe them? How could numbers ever accurately describe them? It’s like that employment survey which asks if you’re “a disabled.” What’s the right answer to that question?
Even in the context of these notes on my experience, trying to “sum up” another person in language or with math feels depraved. It’s why I stopped writing.
Finally: "Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk — real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious.” - Jack Kerouac.