The Evolution of Dating
The entire dating thing confuses me. Does it confuse anyone else, I wonder? I am not asking this question hypothetically. I really do wonder if anyone else is as confused by the societal process for selecting a sex partner, significant other, companion or soul mate that we in the United States refer to as dating. It has me stumped.
I guess, if I were in middle school, I could understand someone being completely obtuse and, well, stupid. I mean, we were all stupid in some way in middle school. We were learning. We were trying to figure out how to interact socially and the whole asking a gal out for a date was, I imagine, an intimidating thing. It’s understandable if a guy isn’t exactly smooth. (Not that smooth is the goal, but beyond fumbling for words might be?)
Then, in high school, we kind of have a little better idea of how the process works…it still can be awkward. What do you do if the creeper in Chemistry asks you to homecoming before the hunk you secretly admired in English Lit does? Do you, as my mother would say, either accept the first guy or don’t go at all? I don’t know. I went on a number of miserable dates working off that idea of politeness. My current attitude? If you don’t want to go out with him simply say, “No, thank you.”
In college, dating almost becomes easy. There’s plenty of fish in the proverbial pond and any time you cast your line, something acceptable (most of the time) is likely to be reeled in…if you are fishing in the right ponds. You might even be so fortunate and find your “soulmate” (though I wonder how possible this is when most people in college don’t even yet know who they are, let alone, what a soul mate might look or behave like). Or, maybe, at this point in the game you just get tired of the dating game and accept the next marriage proposal that comes along. “Hey!” You think to yourself, “This is a far cry better than moving back in with Mom and Dad after college.” So you do the traditional wedding thing, and find out, you don’t even like the guy much. 15 years and some children later and you find yourself back in the dating pool…or pond. But now, the rules have changed. Or…have they?
This post-college, post-marriage-and-divorce dating world seems so similar to the dating of younger years, but in so many ways, it is not. The men are older. They usually have some experience with women. They can, at least, carry on a conversation without sweating beading up on their upper lip or without stumbling over ever single word. Things are a bit more polished at this end, if not any more comfortable.
But, what to do, when you meet someone who behaves just like a middle schooler, except that, he’s several (at least four) decades older than any average middle schooler? This is what confuses me. I guess I expect too much from men in their 40’s and 50’s.
Here’s the latest drama in my non-dating life. The creepy guy in my post “A Tale of Two Dates” has continued attempting to contact me. He fancies us as having “so much in common”. My thinking? Really? We hardly talked at all about anything of substance when we last met. You asked me why I don’t like wearing jewelry. How do you know that I don’t like wearing jewelry as opposed to possibly choosing a more minimalist and lower maintenance lifestyle? And…why.does.this.concern.you? Are you looking for a trophy wife? (If so, leave now.) Are you looking for someone to fill a “position” in your life? (If so, I’m not looking for a job, please stop with the interview questions.) Suffice it to say, the dude really creeped me out. We have NOTHING of substance in common.
This was even more apparent when he decided to friend me on Facebook. But some backstory. He asked me out, I accepted (yes, a few gin and tonics will get that reaction) and the next day I knew it was not a smart life choice. I ended up canceling. It is so definitely not a good idea to go out with someone when you would rather stay home alone and coddle your cats than go through the ordeal of dealing with this, this, thing. But, (yes, the plot thickens) before I cancelled he texted me randomly, out of the blue and said this: “By the way, I am wearing dress slacks, a nice shirt and a sport coat tonight.”
Whoa. Whoa! Screeeeeech! Stop right there. Did the guy just tell me in not so many words what he thought I should wear? Worse, should I translate his comment as, “Wear a skirt”? That would fit with his interview style of questioning the last time we were together. Something about all this was, at best, confusing. At worst, very creepy. I cancelled the date and stayed home and coddled my cats.
Next thing you know, he’s contacted me on Facebook and is asking me out for the next weekend which is a full week out. Okay, that was fine, but then right after he asks me out, he posts the following comment on his Facebook wall where everyone (including me and he must know this) can see it:
Wow. It appeared to me that the guy is fresh out of a relationship and is either not over it or still very unhappy about it ending, which is the same as him being not over it. Further, the references to God and the spiritual leader thing kinda creeped me out. Then he references a girl in a very small bikini why? And, to top it all off, among many grammatical and syntactical errors, he misspelled the word, “tub”.
Obviously, I immediately unfriended him and checked all the above information off on my “Good to know” and “Dodged a bullet, there” lists. I was actually chuckling as I did so. Do men over 45 just have no idea how to behave? Or do we end up back in the middle school pond after all these years?
The story doesn’t end there. He’s continued to try to contact me, desperately, and I do mean desperately, pleading for me to not “give him the cold shoulder”. He states that our time together (What time was that? A large group meet up and some dancing in a dive bar with loud music?) was “special.” He also insists that I am the “only person he’s really interested in dating right now.”
I do feel like I’ve time warped back to middle school where the guy flirted with all the other girls to try to get you to bite. Where they treated you badly, but then begged you not to kick them to the curb. Where you listened because you didn’t want to be a wallflower at the 8th grade dance only to find him necking in the corner of the gym with your best friend when you came back from the restroom.
This time, I’m not going to handle like I might have in middle school. There’s going to be no drama. There’s going to be no discussion. He’s already been unfriended on Facebook. My next move is to block him. I’ve already told him clearly and directly that I am not interested in dating him. (Something I would have been too afraid to do back then, because it seemed “mean”.) If he contacts me again, I will again ask him not to, but this time I will inform him that if he does so, I will file harassment charges. I will keep his phone in my contacts so I know when he attempts to call and/or text. I am simply not going to waste my time.
It does, however, concern me a great deal to think that we’ve evolved back to middle school days in our middle-aged dating protocols. This is not a hopeful dating indicator, and if this indicator is indicative of the norm…I will be single for the rest of my life…and I will be perfectly content with coddling my cats.