I’m starting to wonder if perhaps my view of relationships might be a bit skewed. I’ve gotten a few different opinions from several friends and I thought I saw a trend for a while about how they view exclusivity but I am now at a complete loss because it seems to be completely random. Personally, I find dating to be stressful enough as it is without trying to decipher how to approach exclusivity much less assumptions made about exclusivity.
One thing I find particularly interesting is that there are quite a few people that I’ve spoken to who believe that if you have been seeing someone for a period of time and have been “staying over” at each other’s places then the assumption would be that you are exclusive. Now, I don’t think that it would be out of the question that most likely, you are being exclusive, but at the same time to assume that the person you are seeing is on the same page as yourself is fairly severe assumption. At least in my opinion it is. I suppose this is partially due to the fact that (hypothetically) if my significant other hadn’t asked to be exclusive or if I hadn’t asked then I would assume that should I meet someone that would like to go on a date, I would have no problem accepting. Granted for the most part when I am at that stage, I don’t tend to be looking out for anyone else and I doubt I would accept an offer from someone else but I also don’t think it is something that can be assumed. Perhaps it is just that I like to be deliberate about knowing where things stand.
Now that’s certainly an idea that never occurred to me until one of my childhood friends’ fiance told me that he had a bet with his best man that whoever lost the closest to 10% body fat by his wedding they would donate some amount of money to the charity of their choice. Now this was an especially interesting bet because the fiance is significantly more conservative than his friend so the charities that they picked out were specifically chosen to irk the other person and to give them motivation to do better than the other guy. I remember hearing this idea and finding it quite amusing but brushing it off as just something a couple of crazy guys were doing until I opened up my Thursday Styles to find: Dieting? Put Your Money Where Your Fat Is.
I currently find this a really intriguing idea because typically I think most dieting incentives that I’ve seen work for people tend to go hand in hand with dating. Actually one of my friends has an interesting theory that whenever people first get into relationships they start with this “must go to gym and get hot” mentality because of course you want to impress the person you’re dating. And according to her then it moves into the “happy fat” part of the relationship and if there is a break up then there is the post-relationship “get back in shape” to burn stress and then cycle repeats.
So I think this diet betting is an interesting idea to keep some of the motivation after you have found the person you have reached the “happy fat” phase. And hopefully won’t have to go through the pain of a break up to maintain a certain level of fitness. Or you know, you could be one of those motivated people who just likes to go to the gym. For myself, I find joining sports teams works as motivation to stay in shape because otherwise you end up letting your teammates down. And let’s face it, who really wants to lose? I mean everyone says losing isn’t a big deal, especially if you’re play for “fun” but I don’t think anyone actually means it. At least not anyone that has ever played competitively in their life. We may be willing to admit that we aren’t at the same level of fitness that we once were when we were competitive but by no means do we actually want to be a “bad” team.
Now I don’t know about you, but I can say that I have certainly had times when I wished there existed some sort of love potion or even anti-love potion. But who would ever think that such a pipe dream could ever make it into reality? Certainly not I.
At least not until I stumbled across this. Now just imagine if we could turn on/off that “love” switch all by ourselves… wouldn’t that be amazing? Ok, well in theory I think it could be but in all honesty, I think I would miss some of that confusion and unknown. I mean would you really want your partner to be able to give you some drug to make you be “more in love” with them? It’s an interesting dilemma and possibly a great ethical question considering you are playing with someone’s emotions.
Regardless of the ethical dilemma and all those higher level questions on a purely scientific basis, this is possibly one of the coolest discoveries I think has been found to date. Although I do wonder if anyone could truly bottle love, I do like to think it is one of life’s biggest mysteries.
I, for one, think dating is complex enough without this whole internet and social networking thrown in. I bring this up because well recently it’s been more applicable. But you know there are just so many different ways to communicate these days that it’s just ridiculous.
So I’ve had exes and friends of exes and past hookups and well all sorts of people find me on Facebook and Myspace and all these weird social networking websites. I have to say I have a few funny stories of people I didn’t really want finding me on the internet. But this post is more about the people you think maybe you do want to hear from.
As if it isn’t stressful enough to wonder what your possible new interest is up to or figuring out when you should call them or how to work up the nerve to even call them. You can now find them on Facebook and Myspace and what have you and then go through the entire wondering of, can they see me? What are my privacy settings? Should I change them? Do I actually want to “friend” this person? And then there is email and text messaging. I mean what ever happened to just regular phone calls? And then the anxiety and waiting for the person to call you back or the date itself. Sometimes I wonder if being so in touch with everything around us doesn’t take some of the mystery out of dating. Not to mention how it gives you a lot of information that may not be accurate, helpful or even interesting but can be misleading, awkward and strange.
I think the most memorable thing that’s happened to me was meeting my own personal internet stalker at the laundromat. New rule #1 for me. Do not give out your personal email address to those you do not know. It is not safe. Just like your number. Don’t give that out either. Unless you are really truly interested. So true story: I meet this guy doing laundry one Sunday, I am peacefully reading the Devil Wears Prada while listening to my iPod and praying for my laundry to dry faster. So this guy starts asking me about fashion and whether I’m really interested in it or not (because of the title of the book) and I am sortof humoring him because I’m from the South and it’s not polite to just not talk to people. Eventually he asks me for my email address and I figure, OK fine how much harm can that do, he’ll probably never email me anyway. Boy was I wrong. First there is now gchat so even with your email address people can check your “status” and then apparently he found my blog from 2004, which I think I may have updated once since then. Clearly, I’ve forgotten about it. And he even found my Pandora radio station. It was incredible and quite stalkerish. Thankfully, I don’t think he’s a real stalker (obviously, I wouldn’t be posting this if I did).
But I mean who would imagine that there is so much out there that can complicate relationships these days. It’s like dating is a mine-field with every single point of communication at your fingertips. Personally, I’m a fan of the phone. Granted, I do think the phone can be terrifying because it is oh so personal compared to texting, email, Facebook/Myspace messages etc. But in the long run I also think if you are truly interested in a person, what else have you to lose?
It seems to me that wherever I look I see some new article or book or discussion about how young people don’t date anymore. And according to this Op-Ed piece by Charles Blow called The Demise of Dating, it appears that he believes that perhaps we don’t know how to date. Typically I would argue that there are people that know how to date but as a twenty-something with a fair number of single friends, I’d say if you aren’t already in a very serious relationship I’m not sure that the rest of the population in our age group knows how to date.
Seriously, it’s a little disheartening. And I’ve had my fair share of hookups but I think I’m a little “over it” as they say. Quite a few of my friends and I have been having a very similar discussion about dating because, well it seems to be increasingly confusing. At least from my experience, what I’ve found is that no one is really willing to take the time to get to know another person. I mean I constantly ask, why do I have to take you home if I’m interested in you? Because really, if I were interested, I would ask for your number and call you the next day. I wouldn’t take you home with me that same night. To me, taking you home the same night I meet you signifies a very, very shallow, superficial level of interest, one that does not involve exchanging phone numbers or a call back… ever.
I know so many people who have started their relationships by “hooking up” but I don’t really understand it. I can understand it as a one-off, something unexpected that just happened to turn out well but not as a rule of thumb. I mean if you really like someone what ever happened to asking them out on a date? Actually trying to get to know the person, see if you really like them. It’s just interesting that the “hook up” culture has become so ingrained in society that we don’t even remember what it’s like to date for real. And it seems more and more people are noticing that.