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1.15.2008

Boys



I don't know how to date. There should have dating 101 in Stella--maybe then students wouldn't have gotten knocked up and shit.

-Casey Brouder


I've never been on a real date. And I wouldn't be so open with that admission if I didn't know a whole string of other people--prettier and skinnier and more date-able than me--who have also never been on a date. In high school, there was no asking out of dates; there was asking to go for walks, where there would be making out and other bases being rounded. If that happened more than once, you and that person would be "hooking up." Then, if that happened for an extended amount of time, and if there was also some hanging out during the day (read: sober) and maybe even a trip to the 101 Deli, you and that person would be dating. You would make it official by putting a date in your profile, along with some quote pulled from whatever song was popular on Z100 or KTU at that time ("Baby you're all that I want, when you're lying here in my arms..."). At 6 months you'd get a double-heart ring; at a year, an XOXO necklace. You'd go to each other's proms. You'd wonder if it could last your Spring Break trip to Cancun (or hell, would even want it to last).

I read a lot of articles that talk about the rules surrounding dating, in Seventeen, Teen, CosmoGirl and Cosmo. One of these rules is: no kissing until the second date.

Imagine my surprise when I first read that. No kissing 'til the second date? But wouldn't there had to have been kissing for a date to even happen? What's this about people asking you out before getting a little somethin' somethin' first? Why do Matt and Mary Camden keep going on dates to the pool hall on 7th Heaven but never makeout? Why do boys talk to you one the phone in movies but never in real life?

What were we doing wrong?

It didn't get any better in college. The process still stayed the same. So when Casey said that to me earlier today, just hours before she was going on her first date, I immediately felt like we had grown up in some bizarre universe. Or worse--that we still hadn't, at 22, even grown up yet. Here we are, two grown-ass women with college degrees who still aren't sure how to date somebody. We're still waiting for a boy to ask us to go out on a walk, when what we really should be doing is finding men to take us out to dinner first. I told Casey to be calm, limit herself to two drinks, be herself, but to also "Carrie Bradshaw" it--

"Be charming, funny, evasive...you know, like on the show."

Please, try to aim the vomit away from your keyboards, readers, I don't want to be responsible for broken computers. I love SATC, but even I recognize how sad it is that as an adult, the only dating advice I can offer to another adult is an example of a television character. And what did Carrie even know about dating (Fucking Mr. Big in a hotel room while her boo Aidan stay fixing up their apartment, their home)?

I can't even talk from experience to my friends, which is sad but again, I'm not alone. How am I--how are we?--ever supposed to develop meaningful relationships with boys--ha! we still call them boys!--if we're still playing by the rules set out for us at 15? I know people my age who are getting married, or who are married already. I look at them, and look at me, and while I don't really envy anyone else's progression in life, it makes me think. Like, really hard--what I'm doing wrong, what I'm doing right, what the fuck I'm even doing that all I really secretly want is a double-heart ring and a date to put online.

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