Being 30 and single is a peculiar thing. (Ok I’m 32, but who’s counting?) You’re liable to meet anyone in between the ages of 20-40 and feel like they’re fair game. That’s two decades of a shifting society, molding and influencing the progressive mind of the American(ish) woman. And as a man of pensive nature, where do you exist? Should you stick to your guns?(Remember the good ol’ days?) Or flow with the times? (forehead tattoo ideas in tow.) I’ve been single for five plus years after an unsavory bout (lasting the same amount of time) and while I truly am enjoying the freedom, it’s our innate desire to want to sleep next to another warm body from time to time. It’s been an interesting journey thus far. I’ve dated women of all ethnicities, backgrounds, age groups, and horoscopes (Why do I keep meeting libras?) And one conclusion rings true 100% of the time; the longer I’m single, the harder it is to commit.
But why? I’ve done some light research, asking friends/family (married and single) and it just seems like I’m unwilling to change my ways. Because the good ol’ days were so damn good! Remember in the early 2000s, maybe pre (or during) MySpace when talking on the phone for hours was bomb? “Texting” was limited to using the family PC with dial-up internet and you could choose your own swaggy way of typing. (Yes, I’m talking about AIM.) Group chats and intimate ones were fire, but it was all just a preamble to the glorious, highly anticipated phone call. You were able to be yourself comfortably at home while relinquishing your inner most thoughts effortlessly.
And that one dimensional nature of conversation made you look forward to seeing the other person. (Why facetime? You’ll never get the opportunity to miss the person if you’re staring at their f****** face all day long.) Voicemails were an opportunity to showcase your personality and leave a little sunshine for the other person in which they could indulge whenever their busy day permitted. And they were happy to call you back (if they liked you). But even if they didn’t quite care for you, they either called or you met in person; You were forced to confront real life emotions thus growing stronger from such events.
Fast forward to 2019. Online dating, social media, apps, and texting rule romance. If you thought that they weren’t all connected and shoved into the same filing cabinet of your brain that tells you how to handle each: you’re crazy. But that’s not news, we’re millennials – and cyborgs, by the way.
Don’t believe me? Check it out:
Lose your phone for a day and don’t freak out, look in the mirror and see the word “impossible” personified. The problem is, we still have very real feelings. And those feelings are clashing with our robotic sensibilities. Hungry? Pop open the grub hub app. There’s zero emotion (or social interaction) involved. Hell, you could even put notes on the delivery instructions to leave the food on your door step. (I’ve done it.) Lonely? Pop open the bumble app. Swipe across the faces of [expendable] human beings like you would food items on a menu. Your brain assesses both situations similarly and the world is at your fingertips. You are desensitized by how easy it is to make things magically appear to you. Nevermind the fact that cooking is a specialized craft and without physically venturing to that restaurant, smelling the entrees, or seeing them made in person you are limited to what your programmed brain says will sustain you. Nevermind seeing someone in real time – Allowing yourself to take in the scent of their perfume, the pitch of their voice, how their eyes squint when they smile or the way that they walk.
Why would you want to go through the trouble of actually meeting someone when you’ve got an app! If you like (what appears to be them) in the picture, you [might] give them some play. Shoot a few idealistic, rehearsed messages back and forth and you’re off to an emotionally shallow romantic endeavor! Doesn’t that sound like fun? Our generation is overinformed and overindulged. I was on a date with a girl recently [about 24 years old] and as she (customary of some millennials) frequently glanced at her phone, I caught a peak at what she was doing: Tinder! Swiping! Lol. (Can you laugh out loud in an article? Eff it.) Let’s take a step back and realize what’s really going on here. This girl is sitting in front of a dude, and insatiably searching for more dudes simultaneously. At least wait until you get in the car, lady. The weird thing is, I don’t blame her. I blame the times. I blame the times for every moment I meet a beautiful woman in person and there’s a disconnect despite having a fantastic exchange. Once we trade numbers I’m magically transformed into a contact: A symbol attached to letters, numbers and emojis to be lost forever in an endless abyss of symbols just like me. Undoubtably the ‘hey, nice to meet you. Let’s grab coffee’ text that I send the following day will get buried in an inbox with other sad digital dicks sending her the same message.
How could I possibly stand out? It’s considered an inconvenience to chat on the phone now. And meeting up with her again would be about as easy as a blindfolded trip to Bowser’s castle (elder millennial, remember?) Instead of taking the time to get to know the handsome stranger she met in the smoothie shop, she’d rather investigate his social media pages to get a feel for who he is (Even though no one is truly who they appear to be online.) But that’s modern life. And as a 32 year old guy, I’m less inclined to want to adapt to this madness. These days I barely text. I just say, “Let me call you.” If the girl is cool (or old) enough, she will. Then after we break the ice and are hitting a nice stride in our conversation, I get that good ol’ feeling again. Something very human strikes a chord within the girl, and for that moment we are exactly what we were intended to be: Man and woman connecting in a very natural way. Then finally, just as we are glowing in our respective roles of the wonderful infant stage of courtship – she gets an instagram like notification…
And it all goes to shit.