The Event We Once Called “DATING”

As a middle-aged woman I find the single “again” lifestyle rather taunting and even difficult at times.  I got married 20 years ago the same year I graduated college.  My perception at that time was that this was a lifetime commitment and I would spend the rest of my days with this one man until death separated us.  Things didn’t unfold quite like I planned and 17 years, 4 children and both good and bad days later, we were divorced and moving in opposite directions.

Initially I didn’t know what to do.  I hadn’t dated or been courted by anyone in so long that I hadn’t realized prior to the divorce how much had changed.  We barely had cell phones much less access to social media, those platforms weren’t popular or in massive use back then. So if a guy had his eye on you he would show up at your school, where you worked (remember we weren’t in corporate America yet), at your church or a party that he presumed you would attend.  Basically there was face to face interaction before numbers were ever exchanged.  But today, it seems that the face to face meeting typically might not happen until the actual first date, or is it a “meet and greet” now?

In college if I met someone who asked for my number but I really didn’t want to talk to them, I just made up any 7 digits and added the local area code.  I don’t think we have to be that creative any longer because now you can get a “free” cell line that only allows text communication.  I guess by me giving a false phone number back then is pretty much equivalent to them giving out one in which you can never call them. If you don’t want to use a phone number at all there are various apps like Kick, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and the like, that also prevent you from having to disclose your number.  The cool thing with some of these apps is the option to video call rather than having to upgrade your phone for face-time.  Overall, I guess the “old school” in me still prefers the original version of capturing someones eyes looking into yours, introducing yourselves and progressing to the exchange of numbers, long phone conversations leading up to another face to face experience that has been planned with much thought and anticipation. This was what we considered a DATE!

Dating used to be a lot more intriguing, mysterious and exciting.   In my opinion we have better access today to people we normally would never meet, however, the quality of the communication is so far off base it has been watered down to “meet and greets” where people meet at a designated place and go dutch or men have no problem expecting the woman to pay (especially if she initiated) and both parties arrive separately and leave the same. If they like one another they use one of the forms of communication previously discussed to either continue to engage or discount it as “not a good fit” and move on to the next person.

If for some reason you are extremely shy, pretending to be someone you are not, cheating on another relationship or incarcerated there is the option of ONLINE DATING.  I have several concerns about this one 1.} I don’t want to pay money to “potentially” meet someone ( at least not without getting dinner, a dance, movie, something….but definitely not a subscription!). 2.} The introduction profiles can take from 30 minutes to an hour to complete in addition to a personality or compatibility test and not to mention digging through your phone or computer to find various pictures because without a picture no-one will want to reach out to you.  3.} You have absolutely no idea if the person you are encountering is actually who they say they are.  I’ve heard plenty of great stories where couples have met online, feel in love and are now living happily ever after. But I’ve also heard the horror stories of lies, deceptive behavior, stalking and even identity theft. It’s risky yet probably not riskier than meeting someone in person who could do the same things.  I’ve actually met and dated a guy for over 4 years online, granted we did have to clear up some untruths along the way but ultimately we parted as great friends.

One might suggest that dating now is much easier than it was 20 years ago, but even with all the new ways in which you can find love, I personally would appreciate a good old fashion phone call where a man “ASKS” me out, plans the date, picks me up, we enjoy an evening face to face and he returns me home safely and like a school girl I talk to him on the phone about what a great time I had until he arrives home.  Is that really too much to ask or will I have to learn how to simply meet people to interview them for another attempt at a face to face?

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