An Open Letter to the Guy Who Won’t Call It a Date

To the guy who won’t call it a date:

I’m not talking to any one of you in particular so don’t go thinking this is all about you. I’m talking to every guy I’ve had a thing with for the past year and every person (male or female) who does this. Why do you always text me like this:

If the night ends in kissing, cuddling or intimate relations of any kind we aren’t hanging out, it’s a date. I “hang out” with my platonic friends. We talk, we laugh, we eat, we watch Netflix – but we don’t have sex or cuddle or kiss. Those are behaviors I partake in almost exclusively with people that I am dating.

And let me define what I mean when I say, “dating.” Do I need you to call me every night, hold my hand and introduce me to your parents? No. I’m actually not sure I’m ready for any of that at the moment. But dating someone doesn’t necessarily mean you’re flaunting the titles boyfriend/girlfriend and posting up on Instagram with pride. Dating can simply mean doing things together like going to dinner or a play or even just cuddling up with some wings and season four of Orange is the New Black. Dating can also mean that you are seeing one person consistently even if you may still be seeing other people.

The hook-up culture I’ve found myself condemned to is one full of euphemisms and sugar coating things. We’ve forgotten how to be direct and define the relationship out of fear of getting hurt or the thrill of not being tied down to any one person. And, quite frankly, I’m over it. I’ve gotten hurt more engaging in these behaviors that are intended to build walls and protect myself than I have been when I was young and naïve and let myself fall for someone.

I’m not saying that I haven’t been guilty of using this phrase. I have. I’ve texted people late at night asking if they wanted to “hang out” knowing full well that all parties knew what that would entail. I also am not implying that there aren’t times when you shouldn’t call something a date. If you are out with someone and the night is going terribly and you never intend to call or text that person again, don’t call it a date. I also understand that one-night stands are still alive and well. What I’m referring to here is the weird kind of, sort of relationships that are ongoing for weeks or months. Let’s call it like it is; we’re dating each other - maybe it’s not exclusively, but it is consistently.

I’m fed up with the fact that when I try to define the relationship with good intentions (AKA to avoid confusion and the potential of anyone getting hurt), the atmosphere gets tense and awkward and suddenly I’ve been labeled “clingy.” I’m over the line “I like you, but I don’t want to put too high expectations on this. Let’s just see where it goes.” To me, these have proven to be the most cowardly words and actions I’ve ever heard and witnessed.

Stop keeping one foot in and the other foot out of the door. Stop building walls and refusing to say how you really feel. I’m not going to tolerate it anymore. I’m not going to wait around for you to realize that maybe you did have feelings for me buried down below the BS act, the parade of other people, the idea of letting someone in and the fear that you might get hurt in doing so.

So, to answer your question: No. I don’t want to hang out. I want to go on a date with you. I want you to stop being so afraid of what might happen if you let me in. I want you to grow up and be mature enough to rise above this ridiculously confusing and mentally exhausting hook-up culture that you’ve played a major role in perpetuating. Rephrase the question and maybe I’ll reconsider my response.

Sincerely,

The girl who wants to go on a date