Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Back in Olden Days

I’m been thinking about this post for days. Trying to figure out how to frame it…

Seems like everywhere I look there are posts about how BAD dating is. Not just online dating, but dating in general. I know some people who claim to have given up on it all together.

I’ve certainly gone through stages where I’ve taken breaks from dating. It’s hard to constantly put yourself out there. Over and over.

But that’s not what this post is about.

I hate sounding like a cranky old woman, but some things have happened lately that are leading me to believe that maybe things have actually shifted. That maybe it’s not about dating getting harder as I get older (having less choices, for example) but rather that the whole damn sport has changed. Kinda like basketball. Now it’s about brute force and everyone’s forgotten how to be a team player. Or something like that.

Why would I think that? Here are 3 little snippets of stories from the past few weeks. For random examples:

1) I had a set date for a specific date/time/place. We said we’d speak that morning to confirm. I never heard from him. I tried to him and he didn’t reply…I laughed it off… Then, 3 days later he called me. No apology/no explanation, just a hello.

2) Something happened and I had to cancel/reschedule a .  I felt horrible about it and apologized profusely before and after. Yes, the canceling was my fault (also beyond by control). But instead of being gracious, the guy has disappeared and has not returned my text/call.

3) I was making plans (, met online) with someone who seemed like a fun, . He’d asked me out and specifically mentioned the next few nights. I said I wasn’t available, that I was busy until… with work-related events. I suggested Friday. His reply, “I have dates Friday, Saturday, Sunday nights.”  Not, I’m busy… But, I have dates.

None of these things are a big deal. People have always been flaky, defensive, jerky, whatever. But it seems to me that dating really has become a bit of a sport. More about winning and losing than having fun. At least, that’s the vibe I’ve been getting.

I don’t think this is about the evils of online dating, as I started online dating over a decade ago. I don’t know what it’s about. But I do feel like there’s been some kind of a shift.

Or maybe this is just me being cranky, again?

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26 to “Back in Olden Days”

  1. NikkiB says:

    Hmmm… Well. I’ve only really been dating in a serious sense for about, oh, 8 years I guess… and even now it’s not something I put all that much effort into, so most of the time I don’t feel like the best person to talk about it… but…

    On one hand? I feel like we spend SO MUCH TIME talking about dating and analyzing dating and trying to figure it all out… That I have to wonder if it’s even helpful. I mean, what happened to just being open, honest, caring individuals? What happened to just being who you are, determining what makes you happy in life, and meeting new people – with whom you either click or you don’t? Why does it feel overly complicated?

    On the other hand? I feel like people ARE more self-centered, more apt to douchey thoughtless behavior. Why is it so hard to be respectful and date like adults? Or what I once imagined adults to date like? What happened to just being open, honest, caring individuals?

    But then I wonder… what do I know, really?
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    • Simone Grant says:

      It’s funny, I am trying to spend LESS time talking, thinking and writing about dating. It’s one of the reasons I’m blogging less nowadays. I used to blog every date. And all my thoughts about dating. And now… well, I’d rather not. It all seems kind of silly. I’d rather read about other things and can’t imagine why anyone would want to read about ALL of my dates. At the same time, I’m finding the topic of dating creeping into more mainstream sites – It really upsets me when dating related topics find their way on to sites like the Daily Dish and More Intelligent Life.

      Anyway, it does feel overly complicated. But then, if I we were all married with kids we’d be navel gazing about that. It’s the human condition, I guess.

  2. Michael says:

    I would argue that what’s changed are the social rules rather than the people. I don’t think our grandparents’ generation was really any happier in their relationships than we are. They got married, had kids, and stayed married regardless of how they felt about each other. They had affairs and separate bedrooms and barely spoke, but they stayed married.

    That’s not true anymore. People can decide to divorce simply because partnership is hard. Sure some people really shouldn’t be together, but for others marriage is simply an extended relationship.

    Point is that we are freer than ever before to be our true jerky selves, and this is especially true in NYC. No need for social pretenses or illusions. No requirement to get married, or be in a monogamous relationship at all for that matter. So everyone can feel free to be as selfish as they actually are.

    Of course the bright side is that you know right up front what someone is really like. That’s much better than waking up married to someone you can’t stand.

    • Simone Grant says:

      You remind me of a story I’ve told many times. I was ending a relationship (it was mutual) with a man I rather liked. We’d dated for a few months and we realized we’d make better friends than bf/gf. And I was frustrated and said something to the effect that it wasn’t fair, that I’d finally met someone awesome and why were we so unsuited for one another. And he said, ‘if it were 30 years ago we’d get married and have a bunch of kids and be miserable for the rest of our lives.” Or something like that. And he was right. He and I both grew up in families like that. Parents who hated each other. I couldn’t do that.

      So yeah, I’m glad to NOT be stuck in marriage with someone I can’t stand. I just wish the dating and relationship dance were a bit more civil. Civility shouldn’t be too much to ask.

      • Michael says:

        If people knew how to do that then a lot more than dating would be better.

      • Jesse says:

        I’m not saying that some marrages from before the 1960s weren’t filled with animosity. But if you believe that a marrage built on the basis of friendship correlates to being stuck in a relationship, well I believe that you are wrong. After time, and the flame of love dims to a glow, it is friendship that carries the marriage. I would say that it is those marriages not built on friendship that find the partners discovering one day that they have nothing in common and the sense of being stuck.

        You cannot judge the mindset of the past using the mindset of today. Frankly, unless you grew up in the 50s you have very little if any insight in why they acted as they did. The culture was totally different then what it is today. Being content with oneself was generally more highly prized than being happy. Career people were thought of by the majority as having traded “true” happiness of home and hearth for the false allure of glitz and fast times. Whether they were right or not isn’t the point; the point is that most felt good about the decision that they made.

        On another note — I would generalize that society today conditions people not to be as patient, and to have a lower attention span than previous generations. Plus we al now suffer from an overload of choices and this carries over to the dating realm. Why take the time required to allow a relationship to blossom when a “newer, shinier” and possibly better person is out there, maybe just a mouse click away?

        • Simone Grant says:

          I’m not judging all marriages based on friendship or all marriages from earlier generations. I AM judging the house I grew up in. My parents were married for 40 years (until one of them died). And they fought each and every day. I rarely saw them acting kindly to each other. And their seething anger and animosity spilled over onto the rest of the family.

          It was not a pleasant to live in. And not a life I’d ever want to live. Likewise, I know many people who had similar childhoods.

          I agree, you can’t judge the mindset of the past by the mindset of today. But we can look at the reality of what those kinds of choices brought and not romanticize them.

  3. Liz says:

    I definitely think technology is playing a part in shaping people’s behavior. It just seems easier now for people to blow off social invitations of all kinds. For instance, most people don’t even bother to RSVP to an electronic invite, whereas I imagine in the past they would have been more likely to respond to a mailed invitation or a phone call. Oddly though my expectations haven’t changed and I am forever feeling miffed that people blow each other off so casually. It’s another reason I’m taking a break from dating.

    BTW have you heard of the book “Outdated” by Samhita Mukhopadhyay? I’m looking forward to reading it while I’m on my dating hiatus.

    • Simone Grant says:

      I think you’re probably right. I think that email and texts make people a little less sensitive. Same with social media. And yes, I’ve heard of the book. Her PR ppl have contacted me and asked if I wanted to review it. But I haven’t even had the time to reply. Because I’m one of those rude people who don’t reply promptly to all of my email.

  4. LJ Maggie says:

    I have been online dating most of my adult life and it was easier at first but there was still a little bit of a stagima attached to it. Now that it is more common it is easier to meet people. But I find with online dating, especially now that I am in LA, it is easier for people to just disappear after a few messages are sent back and forth.

    And now with many dating sites you can express or not express interest in someone and many do it off the other person’s picture alone. Yes I have been guilty of this as well, though I try not to.

    I have also found that many of the guys’ profiles I read they have some unrealistic expectations of their perfect mate. I have seen 38 year old guys that the age range of the woman they want starts at 18. Really? I have also found guys on dating sites that are only looking for a hookup. If that is all they wanted why don’t they go to the bar on a Friday night.

    I have been taking a break from dating not only because I am making some changes in my own life but also because I am frustrated by the whole thing.
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    • Simone Grant says:

      I was thinking recently about the fact that there used to be a ‘stigma’ attached to online dating. And so fewer of us doing in. And back then, at least in my experience, it was a lot more pleasant. Fewer people, treating each other better. And quite frankly, I met a lot of awesome people. And I know a lot of people who met long terms partners, spouses, etc. The fact that none of my relationships worked out for the long haul had nothing to do with how we met..

      Now that EVERYONE is online dating, and the so-called stigma is gone, people are a lot less pleasant. But then, lots of other things have changed in the world, too.

  5. Veronica says:

    Although technology is defintely a major reason why dating manners have all but disappeared, I believe some other reasons are:

    1. Online dating, while a great tool, is basically interacting with anonymous strangers. Before, people use to rely heavily on being set up. So while a guy might show consideration to the cousin of the wife of a co-worker … what’s going to happen if he blows off a stranger? And so what if you don’t want to meet him anymore? Another negative quality of online dating is the seemingly endless opportunity for dates.

    2. The current economic state. Maybe I am alone here in this thinking, but the recession has sort turned society into a dog eat dog world. With everyone fighting for their piece of the shrinking pie, how can this create a relaxing social environment? So you might have a guys under extreme stress because of shrinking commissions or impending layoffs or doing okay but having to work harder for the same income-which is then buying less. So after a hard work day, dating could be just another stress.
    But on the other hand, I think the guys who are doing well have taken that sucess as another reason to be jerky. As in thinking, “I make a good living, a woman should jump at the chance to date me, whenever I get around to it.”

    3. Porn. Again,my point of view, but the 24/7 online pornfest has put the final nail in chivalry’s coffing. First, it has completely upped the ante of exceptions in the bedroom, immediate exceptions, not after a real sexual intimacy has been established. Also, forget about three dates, seems like pornstar sex is excepted by date two. Also, a lot of guys have burnt their desire out on porn and no longer crave sex with a real woman let alone real intimacy.

    And if a guy if stressed out from work, isn’t so much easier to jerk off in front of the computer than to deal with the real life version of a woman he has been commiunicating with by text (not even phone calls!!)

    At this point, I think online dating should be on the back burner in terms of meeting a real match. The trick is to get out and meet someone in person. Yes, that is so much harder!! But that is the point.
    A friends of mine so is having zero luck with online dating, refuses to go to a upcoming single’s event a local synagoue is having. She claims “only loser will be there.”
    My question- “what type of winners are online”??

    • Simone Grant says:

      Well, Veronica you certainly make some interesting points. But I can’t agree with your complete negativity towards online dating. I think that someone who is predisposed to be an asshole is going to be an asshole to a friend of a friend OR someone he meets online. The worst date I ever had was a setup and I know many people with similar stories.

      The more any of us puts ourselves out there, the more likely we are to deal with a lot of jerks. Online or off. That’s just life. There are great people in the world, but they’re not in the majority.

      • veronical says:

        You make a great point- great people are not in the majority! In fact, in terms of averages, you there is more of a chance of meeting the slightly great, the average and the not so great. Thanks for reminding me of this!

  6. Lara says:

    I’ve think dating has changed considerably, and without me knowing it so I end up feeling like I’m constantly trying to catch up. I don’t like it. For example, I had a friend set me up with someone she knows last week, and we texted back and forth a bit. He checked in pretty regularly, but it was never accompanied by a “how was your day?” or anything that remotely resembled less than narcissistic behavior. Instead, his texts were filled with little limericks to which I couldn’t even muster enough energy to reply. And this was BEFORE we even met! I had hoped being set up by a mutual friend would enhance the situation, but not so much. I’m not so sure it matters whether the meeting is online or not.
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    • Simone Grant says:

      My thoughts are similar to yours on this. I don’t like it one bit. I don’t think it matters how you meet. There are lots of fish in the sea, lots of stinky undesirable fish.

  7. Lisa says:

    I am married for six years now, so while I can not relate on the dating end 100% anc can ask:

    WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO FRIENDSHIP?? (yes I mean to be shouting)

    Women I thought were my close friends have done then foloowing: repeatly ask me via email or text to meet for lunch and regardless of how day/time options I give, not one will work for her; another who will email me to say hello but then blow me off by text an hour before the time comes to get together; and then a long term college friend, who has been having a very hard time and I have tried to cheer up and suppor, decided to respond to my invitation to take her out for lunch by saying “I will call you tomorrow” nd guess what? That tomorrow was over two months ago.

    Dont even get me started on the friends that disappeared when they met guys.

    Yes, I have dropped these women and fortunately I have other good women to be friends with. I live in Los Angeles, so I do not know what it is like in other places, but it seems like unless someone can very easily mesh their life with yours, no one makes the effort.

    And sorry, being friends on Facebook does not count!

    • Simone Grant says:

      I agree, being friends on facebook doesn’t count. Not for me.

      As for the rest, well, I don’t think anything has happened to friendship. I think true friendship has always been an elusive thing. I’ve always considered myself lucky to have a handful of people I could count on. Just a handful. Then there are many others who are just acquaintances. People who I see sometimes, but wouldn’t be shocked if they blew me off. But that’s me…

  8. Stephanie G says:

    Great post!Love your dating and relationship blog!
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  9. IntrigueMe says:

    There’s definitely some funny business going on out there. The crap I’ve been through lately… I can’t even express it…
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    • star says:

      I’m 22 & I can tell you, that is not completely true at all. I definitely go out on many dates before anything physical happens. :)

  10. Spinsterlicious says:

    I’ve been at it awhile and dating has definitely changed. It seems like more of a sport now…and there are lots of clumsy athletes..
    -The Spinsterlicious Life
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  11. Monday I swore I was finished dating for good. It’s Thursday and I have backed off that declaration a bit, but I am out for awhile. I think the online dating process is time-consuming and exhausting. It’s time to just have some quiet space in my life. Best of luck to you and if you figure this dating thing out, please let me know!

  12. I love old school dating. Today’s way of dating is kind of really in a haste and you don’t get to enjoy it. :)
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  13. Dazediva says:

    I’ve been in similar situations as you’ve described in your post, and I find that people just generally lack the courtesy these days to keep the other person updated about what’s going on.

    Despite being grown adults, everyone I’ve met seems to be dating worse than teenagers ! At least teens tell their flavour of the moment they are interested in them !!

    And yes, the subject of dating is coming up more and more these days; possibly because people are just frustrated at the lack of decent dates around or how its just becoming harder to date. I swear it was easier to date 5 years ago for me; now I’m probably more fussy / stringent about who I would want to spend my time with .. Also factor in the fact that I’m looking for more stable long term commitment (i.e. marriage eventually) that might be scaring the guys off ?

    There are so many things that affect dating. Someone pointed out the economic factor as well. Dating can be expensive depending on which part of the world you live; but at the same time I just feel people are forgetting about the fun & simple things that come with dating .. a picnic, a walk in the park with an ice cream and great conversation .. No one wants to ‘talk’ anymore .. they want a quick summary of the other person and based on that they decide if they want to invest time into it .. which is just kinda sad :(
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