It is said that as you grow older you become wiser. I personally don’t subscribe to the belief that someone who has lived longer knows more because that’s not always true and I have definitely learned a lot of valuable lessons from people younger than myself. But, for whatever reason, when it comes to matters of the heart I tend to look to my parents for insight.
I’m gonna be real honest, a lot of their advice is outdated. How could it not be when they got together in a time where people still scratched each other’s names into trees and threw rocks at each other’s windows and waited by the phone for a sign of life? They will never understand the concept of not answering a text too quickly so as not to appear too available, writing out our love confessions on bar bathroom walls and that if anyone throws a rock anywhere, the only attention they’ll be getting is police related.
My parents don’t know what Tinder is. My parents don’t understand the relationship between Hannah and Adam from HBO’s Girls. My parents don’t realize that when I, or people my age in general, mention going on a date, it usually means we’ll be reporting back with an epically ridiculous story and not a happily ever after.
Like that time someone I know went on a date with a guy she dubbed Al Pacino, because he not only showed up with half his leg blown off by gunshots, waving around fistfuls of cash and driving an unregistered car, he was a wanted man. When she cut the date short citing an early shift she had the next day as her reason, he offered to pay her double what she’d make in a day so she could stay with him for a full 24 hours. She found him online.
Granted, I’ve found my fair share of psychos in public. Almost every time I’ve ever given my phone number to someone after meeting in real life, I’ve had deep regrets. One guy called and WhatsApped me every single day, multiple times a day, starting from the morning after we met. After politely asking him to tone it down, he did. For exactly one day. Then he became so pushy and abusive that I pulled the plug on the situation completely. I did not mince my words, I did not stutter, yet here we are, three months later, and he’s still e-mailing me weekly.
I have an OkCupid account that I mostly use for research purposes. Yeah, I know, I’m an asshole or whatever. I’ve met exactly one nice person so far, the rest are just people telling me to make them a sandwich, accusing me of being a “catfish” when I don’t respond to their messages or getting sassy when I don’t want whatever they’re offering (FYI: wounded egos are not hot!)
There is plenty of entitlement going on in the dating world and while I don’t necessarily think this is new, I do kind of think it is our generation who suffers from it the most. We’ve become accustomed to instant gratification and it shows in our personal relationships.
So, here’s a word of old school advice: take your time. Patience and respect pay off. It’s not necessary to call someone 40 times a day after one meeting, or to try to hold them hostage when they say they have to go, or to send them crappy messages when they haven’t answered you within 10 seconds. Even the tree carving and rock throwing of days past borders on desperation, but at least there were concrete reasons behind it (no cell phones, living with parents, etc.) If someone wants to be with you, they’ll get back to you. If someone doesn’t want to be with you, you respect that and go find someone who does. Wouldn’t you rather see someone who didn’t have to be convinced or tricked into it? Don’t be a masochist.
Send Celina your stories of on-line dating gone wrong or to let her critique your online profile at firstname.lastname@example.org