Once again it has been way too long since I’ve written anything. Once again I must apologize. I’m starting to think I’m not cut out for this blogging thing. I want to blame school and life in general and say that I have no time, but while that plays a factor, I really just haven’t had any inspiration to write. I actually started a couple of posts, but never finished any of them. I don’t know what makes today different, but I’m feeling inspired so I’m going to go with it. Hopefully, this will be the first in a series of posts today now that I’ve got the “posting itchies.”
Today, I’m going to touch on a topic that I feel like is always on people’s minds. Dating. Relationships. Sex. And the dreaded… Marriage (just kidding, I think marriage is great if both people are sure). Usually I wouldn’t write anything about this due to the massive amount of posts and articles already out there about the topic, but maybe I’m just in the mood because of my own feelings or the fact that I’m sitting in a Starbucks since my roommate sexiled me from our room. =( You guys should send me reviews and condolences. Getting sexiled really sucks. I’ve been told not to come back until tonight. It’s not even 12:30 at this point. However, I digress. The point of this post is not to lament the fact that I’ve been kicked out of my room. It’s to talk about the whole dating culture or maybe lack of in society today.
I also apologize if everything seems a little jumbled as I have a lot to say, that it may just end up as one huge rant. So, let’s start with something easy. Hookups and dating. I recently read an article about a professor at Boston College that gives extra credit to students who successfully ask and go on a date. For those of you who want to read the article:
Anyway, the article got me thinking. At first I thought the professor was crazy because my generation definitely knows how to date, but sadly, we really don’t. I thought about all of my friends and acquaintances and rarely do any of us ever say “hey, so I’ve got a date tonight” or something along those lines. It’s always,
Friend: “Hey, so I’m meeting Jack (just some random name) later”
Me: “Ohh la la.. date!?!”
Friend: “Nah.. it’s not a “date” we’re just “hanging out”
Me: “You’ve been “just hanging out” every week for the past month now” *deadpans*
Friend: “Dude, don’t make this into something bigger than it is. It’s just hanging.”
Me: “Well.. do you WANT to start dating him?”
Friend: “I don’t know. Let’s just see where this goes.”
Maybe this conversation doesn’t mean anything and I am making this into something bigger than it is, but I think my generation fears definition. When everything is so easily changeable; from our statuses, to our hair color, even where to live. We fear putting parameters on ourselves. For a generation that espouses freedom, we fear having restraints put on us.
One example of this is cohabitation. So, I looked at a bunch of different websites, but in the end Wiki had the best and most comprehensive set of data on the matter for the U.S. In the U.S. about 7.6 million opposite sex couple and 514,735 same-sex couples were living together without being married in 2011 according to the Census Bureau. In the UK in 2012 a little less than 6 million couples were cohabiting together. These might seem like small numbers considering in 2012 in the U.S. there were 112 million unmarried people over the age of 18, but it is significant because the number is rising every year. So, long story short is that it seems like my generation is moving away from conventional “relationship norms” like dating and marriage and moving into more uncharted territory like cohabiting.
Okay, so bear with me here because I will be going a little off track here, but I think it needs to be said and I promise I will relate it back to the initial topic of my post.
So, this is not true for everyone, but from the significant amount of articles I’ve read about millennials not knowing how to interact with people face-to-face and having no definition in relationships, along with our “hookup” culture, I might not be too far off the mark. I think that our generation especially has built so many walls and defense mechanisms around themselves without even realizing we are doing it. We are in an age where we share things about ourselves without actually sharing things about ourselves. Most connections between people are superficial. Yeah, I have like 200 friends on Facebook, but in real life I may only about 10-20 people who I even bother talking to on a regular basis, now that I’m thinking about it it’s probably even less than that. Many people say how the world is becoming transparent, but in my opinion it’s not. Yes, we talk about ourselves and are constantly “checking-in” or tweeting what we are doing “Going shopping with the besties =) <3” or changing our statuses on Facebook compulsively “feeling excited. Getting ready for a great night!” but where is the substance? None of that honestly tells you what a person is feeling, yet we accept it as all a person is. We believe that this is the extent of a person now. I admit, I am just as guilty of this as other people. I am aware of what I’m doing, but I can’t seem to stop myself, doing this is like a safety net at times. Sometimes I think I have this down to an art, telling people about myself without actually telling them anything about me. Almost everyone who meets me will tell you how much I can talk, but how much of that actually has substance? I’ll tell people about my major (but not about how or why I’m in my major, heck most of the time I don’t even tell people I’m a dual degree), or what happened during my day (not about how some of that made me feel though), or if I’m closer to them maybe even about some childhood memories (but never anything that couldn’t really be learned from listening around or how i felt as a kid). No one even thinks to question this or even seem to think it odd. Like I said… knowing someone without actually knowing someone. (I’m thinking about expanding on this as its own post, but haven’t decided yet)
Now, time to tie this back to the original topic just like I promised. We fear being vulnerable. We fear showing ourselves to someone and then being rejected or found lacking or maybe its become subconscious. At this point, maybe we are so used to how things are that we don’t even notice we do it. This applies to dating, relationships, and marriage because we either don’t want to/ or don’t know how to open ourselves to people. My theory about how this leads to dating goes back to the whole concept of definition. If we don’t define anything (boyfriend/girlfriend, boyfriend/boyfriend, girlfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, husband/husband, wife/wife) then we don’t have to share ourselves to anyone. This also leads to the whole restraints thing. With freedom comes the ability to hide. In my opinion (and feel free to tell me how full of shit I am), restraints narrow a person’s ability to hide because you can’t get away with masks as easy. Definition is scary… I learned this first hand recently. I brought up the conversation and I still don’t know where I stand with this guy. *sigh* The sad part was that one of my first thoughts after asking the question was “this is why I prefer hookups, they’re so much easier to deal with.” So the question about whether the hookup culture is the cause for our inability to date or if dating and feelings are responsible for the hookup culture, I honestly have no answer.
This then brought me to thoughts about marriage. If I can’t even bring myself to commit to someone as their girlfriend, how can I ever commit to being someone’s wife? I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who feels this way, so this sentiment goes a long way in explaining my generations’ inability to date or really to commit in general to things like this.
Haha.. the funny part is that I’ve spent so long on this post that all my thoughts are even more jumbled than when I started. I’m pretty sure I got all the main points I wanted to make out there. I know I haven’t covered everything I feel about the topic and barely even touched on hookups, but for now I think I’ll end it here. I might decide at a later date to post a follow-up on the topic, however, as of now I’m pretty “relationshiped” out. You guys should totally hit me up in the comments section and tell me what you think though.
Eagerly awaiting some controversy,
Miss J =)