Fuck the “dating game”, I quit.
Just mentioning the word ‘love’ sounds pompous. Yikes. No one wants to be a sentimentalist, but I don’t want to be a cynic either. As a 20-something Y.A.P. and modern feminist tho, I feel as if we’ve been told the importance of being “smart” so often that cynics is just what we’ve turned into.
Perhaps since women were considered equally free to date and etc. as men, through movies and magazines, self help books and what not, for decades now, we’ve been told, — told each other and in the end, told ourselves to “play the field”, “think like a man”, “keep your options open”, “keep the job, not the guy”, and I don’t know how many other foolish slogans. No matter if we’ve been taught, or taught ourselves, we’ve come to know that dating is a game, love is a game.
I’m talking about what I see as the general attitude in the general population of dating women and men in the 21st century, just to be clear. I’m not talking about some niche subculture amongst privileged intellectuals in Paris in the 20’s, although they existed, and on the other hand, maybe women aren’t so free in Utah or whatever even in 2014, but I’m no talking about them either, I take no responsibility for Utah.
So let’s just agree on my hypothesis for now; gradually, and under the pretext of being all about freedom, independence and making “smart” choices, we’ve all turned into cynics. Add to the list a proudness so thoroughly built up that the fear of being taken for a fool is more intense than the fear of never experiencing real love.
But I’m not done; because what’s worse is that not only have we turned into a bunch of cold-hearted cynics; we might also be a bunch of straight-up assholes.
In the dating game, it’s on. Playing hard to get or waiting just a little too long to respond to that text is nothing. We legitimize the cruelest actions, we test out and stretch out other people’s limits, we play, lead on, reject and humiliate just for a good laugh. We tell our selves we do it in order to be sure that the other has what it takes, and its all good under the mantra “love is a game”.
The truth is that we’re all pussies who’s too scared to try to stand by a choice for 2 minutes, take a leap and speak from the heart. We are paralyzed by the thought of risking The Ultimate Humiliation: rejection.
Real L O V E is risky business, for fuck’s sake. I have the unnerving growing worry that we’ve let ourselves become less and less able to take the risks involved in pursuing love, but if we’re not brave enough to risk getting a scratch in our carefully polished pride, we’ll never know what they’re trying to tell us at the point of no return in the rom-coms.
You can’t get it, if you’re not also willing to risk The Ultimate Humiliation.
So while everyone’s at the party, or even at the office, Tindering the fuck out of that app, I have something to say about how fucked I think the “dating game” is. Or maybe its just me who got lost, trying to do the right and expected thing as a modern day girl, or whatever the hell you’re supposed to you call it.
I mean, maybe Tinder is awesome. Maybe it lets you get in touch with people you wouldn’t otherwise ever get in touch with. I’m not gonna be the party pooper if everyone is just having fun. I’m just..a little appalled by how easy, painless for the rejector, and how MUCH time you can spend swiping people to the left. And how little courage it takes to swipe that girl in the Yoga pants to the right, because if she doesn’t do the same, she’ll never know. That app is so safe you should let it babysit your sister’s baby.
I read touching piece in Vice the other day (yeah, I meant a touching piece in Vice), “Young love fucks us up” by James Nolan, and it struck a cord with me; It’s pretty brutal, for one, but to me it was so striking in being a so very different from the laughable glossy magazines-pieces about love and (bad) relationships. I’m not saying his story is my story, or that I’m one of the girls in his story, or anything like that, but he said something I can relate to in a sense:
“I’m so damaged by the rejection of F and the others that, in a ridiculous reversal, I resist her where she doesn’t need to be resisted, play games where no games need to be played. I think I know what will happen: She’ll abandon me and leave me to suffer like every other woman in my life”.
While reading, I realized that, not only have I played games when no games needed to be played, I wasn’t even aware I was playing games. That’s how deeply rooted I’ve let the dating mantra take hold.
But why? Why, why, why do this? – In the firm belief that I’m protecting myself from The Ultimate Humiliation. I can’t understand anything else. The hysterical irony of this tho, is that instead of protecting myself, by having built a most effective defense wall (or so I thought), doing all the things you’re perfectly allowed to do while free and single, telling yourself you’re only trying to make “smart” choices, etc., I had really been digging my own grave when suddenly facing of something that could be – real love.
What we all seem to have forgotten is that the sexiest feature, no matter what sex you belong to, is kindness. And none of us are kind in the fucked up world of dating. Instead we’re all completely OK with being narcissistic psychopaths.
OK, I know narcissistic is probably redundant when I also say psychopath, but I just feel I need both words to say we’re narcissistic in the way we don’t see anything or anyone but our selves in the dating game, and we’re psychopaths in the sense that we have no consciousness about other peoples feelings in the dating game, as long as we play the game and in the end, make a “smart” choice.
Being a heartbreaker is only empowering as a thought. Actually being a heartbreaker isn’t empowering at all, its only shit.
However, it’s like if you’re single, you get this free card to act like an utter ass, and that stands until 2 consenting adults say the 3 li’l magic words to each other, NO! – not “I love you”, fool; “let’s be exclusive”. Until those 3 words have been uttered and agreed upon, everyone can do whatever they want. You are entitled to; you have the right to. But just because something isn’t illegal, doesn’t make it right.
Just like the legal system can be lagging in terms of having laws that fit the society we live in, so can social codex’s, I believe.
I only say this all this stuff ‘cus I’ve been played. By my own stupidity, that is.
I did all these things, not only because I thought it was fine, but because I thought it was the “smart” thing to do. I did it. I played the fuck out of that field. Well fuck that, I’m done. I quit.
Looking back, I know I’ve been a complete asshole, and I refuse to be proud no matter how proud Simone de Beauvoir, Samantha and Miranda, every fucking cast member of Sex and The City, every life coach, OK Cupid, match.com, Cosmo and Tinder would’ve been combined.
Maybe everyone should just take a step back and consider that we are all in the same boat; if we become unkind cynic bitches to protect ourselves from being hurt, maybe none of us are date-worthy.
From now on I’ll try to consider it my privilege to not be a coward cynic asshole.
The Stoner Fashoinista.