When You Just Can't, Don't

I spent the majority of my high school years away from boys. Their presence in my life was minimal. While other girls were getting turned out, my acne pretty much had me ridin’ solo. Outside of hallways, homerooms and sidewalks, the paths of my male counterparts and I just weren’t meant to cross. But I was generally ok with this.

Now in my last year of college, I can only wish this remained true. I am grateful that I’ve become more attractive but I miss the days of only learning vicariously about boys from my friends’ experiences. I’d love to be able to say I still haven’t repeatedly spent far too many hours analyzing every occurrence between me and some guy trying to figure out if he or I was the problem.

The sucky part of entering the dating game so late is that the guys I’m dating are much more experienced than I am. I consider myself to be an intelligent woman, but I had yet to be familiar with some of the tactics employed by guys. Some things I could only learn firsthand. So where television and my friends left some knowledge gaps, I found myself easily feeling crushed when dishonesty would come to surface.

Personal essays on f**kboys, heartbreak, the tomfoolery behind the “talking” phase and the “wastehistime2016” hashtag are all too indicative of the poor and unhealthy state of millennial dating culture.

And I’m at a place where I just cannot.

All women have said this in reference to guys at one point or another. But these trends are overwhelming and I refuse to deal with them at this point in time. And while men have committed the majority of shady actions I’ve experienced and witnessed, women have done their dirt as well.

Being a 20-something in today’s society comes with a plethora of personal complications. The media and technology are constantly changing views people hold of one another. The nature of relationships in general is changing. A lot of friendships aren’t as associated with loyalty and support anymore as they are with drinking, smoking and clubbing. The media is dictating how we feel about one another while technology is pushing us apart. Not only do we have to have our own poor dating experiences, but social media is constantly reinforcing this idea that the dating scene is generally crappy and damn near impossible. To the point, trusting the opposite sex no longer seems feasible.

I don’t want to evaluate myself or anyone else in the context of today’s dating scene. It’s strange and uncomfortably dishonest. It’s something I’d rather not and don't need to deal with. So I won’t.

The media is doing so much to dictate to an impressionable generation who we should be and how we should look. And it’s the media that our generation to an extent, trusts for knowledge and guidance. This is largely where we fail, as a group: we forget our best interests aren’t on the agenda of any media or social media outlet. And this is why we’ve lost sight of how to respect and value one another. To those of us that still do know how to be good friends and partners, kudos. But many are lost.

The problem has been realized, hence all of the coverage of the disconcerting things millennials do, but the origin of the problem isn’t as widely discussed.

We’re still young. There’s still hope to figure ourselves out. But until then, I’m taking about six years’ worth of steps back from the dating scene. Six years ago, I couldn’t give a damn about dating. I’ll soon become reacquainted with that version of myself.