It’s been a minute, so to make sure our latest podcast episode was worth the wait, Whit and I invited our entire group of girlfriends (#WHATABURGER, a group text name that was born from an autocorrect) into the closet. All five of us sat in my closet, on pillows/the floor, and sounded off about what our non-negotiables are re: romantic relationships and also 100 other random topics because, duh.
In this day and age of Netflix and chilling, ghosting, breaking up over text, having heartfelt conversations over text, flirting via Instagram likes and comments, and God-knows-what going down in the DM, dating has gone from being annoying to downright depressing. Even with easy access to the opposite sex via dating apps like Bumble and Tinder, no one’s actually willing to commit. They treat the apps like games, swiping left and right with next to no intention of acting on anything. They’re window shopping at best, which is why you don’t hear back from your matches half the time, and that, my friends, is the bleak reality of the dating situation today.
HOWEVER (and that’s a big however hence the all-caps), every once in a very blue moon, someone on these apps does have intentions and good ones at that. They’re not banking on anything; in fact, they’ll most likely be flabbergasted if they’re to meet anyone of superior quality. But the point is they want to. They desire to. And, sometimes, they do.
HOWEVER (another big however), if they do meet someone worthwhile and things seem to be going so well, they still have the big C to deal with. No, not that big C. The other big C — COMMITMENT. Just because this person was on this dating app to maybe meet someone by no means insinuates that they’re any different from the rest of our generation when it comes to actually pledging to take responsibility for something they very most likely started in the first place. That’s something we struggle with and will most likely continue to struggle with for the unforeseen future because we’re selfish assholes but at least we admit it.
Commitment. Fucking commitment, man. The idea seems simple yet implies so much and can so easily scare off the best of them. My personal belief is something Aziz Ansari actually wrote about in his book, Modern Romance. I don’t have the actual quote on hand because I don’t tote the book with me wherever I go, but he spoke to the idea that we almost have too many options. That these apps, with their seemingly never-ending line-up of potential matches, might actually be doing our generation more harm than good by bombarding us with choices. I think, by nature, humans are easily overwhelmed. Before these apps, you didn’t know when or how you’d meet your next romantic prospect. It was more of a mystery, which made the mere idea of it more exciting. Will it be the guy buying carrots and jarred minced garlic (gross) at Kroger? Or perhaps that cutie in the baseball cap you ended up sitting next to on a plane ride? Of course, that never actually happens. Before apps, you were probably meeting people via work or of friends of friends of friends of cousins of friends. Now, with these apps, you can sit at home in your rattiest fat girl clothes with 4-day old hair and go through potential mates like water because, if you don’t match with this one, you’ll probably match with the next one.
But the kicker is that having more options via these apps haven’t provided us with any greater results with finding love. In fact, it’s made it worse! And more complicated! And HAS CAUSED SO MUCH MORE SWEATY, TEAR-FILLED ANXIETY (no? just me?).
HOWEVER (they just keep coming, don’t they?), let’s say you get past all the anxiety and upset and end up finding someone you really hit it off with. You’re going along, dating, kissing, sexing. You’re owning the new, butterfly stages of this courtship — basking in the glow of where it might go and what it all could mean for your (up until this point) abusive relationship with dating.
Then, commitment comes up. Committing. You want to commit. You want them to commit. You want the god of commitment to rain down upon whatever-the-fuck “this” is and get it on lock. Someone needs to commit to something soon because you’ve realized… you don’t DO “slow.”
And that’s the entire point of this post (I realize it’s taken me about 650 words to get there, but I got there). I’ve realized over the past few months that I can’t go slow with dating. But I’ve also realized what that means to me; that is, what it looks like. And it’s probably different than what you’re assuming. Because when I state that I don’t do “slow,” I mean that when something as miraculous as meeting a great guy with whom I click with on all levels happens to me, I can’t act coy. I can’t be blasé about it. Sure, I can play that card for the first little while as I’m trying to figure out whether or not this guy is spongeworthy, but once I’ve decided I’m in it, I’m in it. In it to win it. I’m committed because I don’t know how else to be.
I bet you read that and think “Oh, so she gets needy, attached, falls too hard, thinks he’s the One, and expects marriage by year’s end.” No. That’s not at all what I’m saying. I’m simply stating that, as someone who has been through the ringer with dating and knows how very seldom you meet someone that makes you stop and go “Oh,” I find it very hard to be casual. But not being casual doesn’t mean being so serious that we’re getting engaged tomorrow. It simply means just being committed to finding out what this could be. It means not wanting to play the field or continue to keep my options open because why would I want to if you have my attention? It means that slow is casual and casual isn’t enough when you like someone a lot. Moving “slow” is just another way of avoiding commitment. I move fast because all fast means to me is we’ve committed to commitment. No more, no less.
Commitment doesn’t have to be scary, but our generation has made it as such. It doesn’t insinuate “for life.” It doesn’t imply any sort of guarantee. It doesn’t even mean we’ll make it a solid six months. It just means that, for now, you’re in it and willing to see how it pans out. We can talk slow, have slow sex, kiss slow, take our time having dinner — I might even let you be slow to text if you’re a busy person. But slow is just a copout for the terror of committing, and we’ve all got to GTF over it.