I find myself thinking about arbitrary topics often and one of them is dating in this generation. I’m a millennial, I’m single, and I haven’t been on a date in a while. By date I mean, having a guy pick me up and take me somewhere interesting-go karts, bowling, hiking, anything. This is partly by choice- I don’t have the time to go on many dates, but also partly because what dating means in this generation has changed. Many of us tie dating to relationships. You go on dates with your boyfriend. You go on lunch dates with your friends.
Of course, when I am in a relationship I go on dates. My last boyfriend would take me to nice restaurants, the movies, or we’d go to a poetry slam, or whatever. But that is expected as a societal norm. Couples go out and have fun and go on “date nights.” I would also have manicure dates and shopping dates with my girlfriends.
But what about men that I am interested in? What about people I want to get to know? Why do I have to be in a relationship with you to go on a date with you? I remember learning about courting as a child. One of my mom’s best friends said she would allow men to court her. I learned about courting as dating with the intent to marry. Multiple men would pursue her and she would choose which man/men were worth her time. That is ultimately how she met her husband. During the courting phase, she would go on dates with different men. She was not sexually involved with them, but she would form connections with each of them. Is that bad?
Why can’t I go on a date to the movies with John on Friday and then go on a brunch date with Frank on Sunday? My goal doesn’t have to be marriage, because I am only 20 years old. But I want to meet different men and learn about them with the possibility to maybe enter a relationship with them if we decide that is what we want down the line.
I am always hesitant to post dates with different men on Snapchat or on my various social media channels because I would be labeled a “hoe.” (I’m totally “pro-hoe,” by the way; my feminism is all-inclusive). When in reality, there is nothing wrong with exploring your options and having fun. It’s okay to date multiple men and form connections with them, People also assume that after a date, sex becomes involved. Or after a few dates, sex is bound to happen and that isn’t always true. My idea of a date is truly a date. Male (or female if it’s a friend thing) picks me up, we go somewhere nice, and have a lot of fun. If there is chemistry, we go on more dates and see if we want to continue seeing each other. Just because we go on a date, does not mean we are dating or are in a relationship. When we have a conversation about dating and being in a relationship is when we are officially dating-by societal terms. If I’m dating you, we go on casual dates. If I’m in a relationship with you, we are together and you are my boyfriend- not the same as dating. It’s important to point out semantics because a lot of the connotation that comes with dating is attached to relationships and couple-like behaviors.
I first learned about dating as going on dates with multiple men (or women) that you are interested in potentially entering a relationship. I hate the societal expectations that come with dating in our generation, but I will continue to date whoever the hell I want.