We want to be missed and we want to be wanted, but we don't want to miss someone and we don't want to want someone because then we will feel exposed and raw and real.
And who needs realness when you have a social media presence and dating profiles to keep up? Our lives are documented in filtered Instagram photos of food, drinks, people, and places. The pain and torment is hidden below the surface, tucked away from the world so that we can appear constantly blissful and fabulous.
Asking questions over a warm cup of coffee or a stiff cocktail is no longer necessary to us; we can easily go home, check their Facebook and find out everything we need to know about them.
Wait three days after your initial interaction to contact them. The "One" is now "One of the Ones," because, frankly, it's statistically impossible for just one person to be the only person you could happily spend the rest of your life with. We don't commit because we refuse to settle and we are unsatisfied because nobody fits the image we have in our mind of what our perfect partner is supposed to look like.
Don't talk about sex, politics, religion, or former partners/lovers/flings on the first date. We see a freckle or they're an inch too short and it becomes the only thing about them.
You can take it to the bedroom once you've been on at least three official dates. We talk to our friends about "Raver Ryan" and "Awkward Amy" and "Stoner Seth" as if they are their epithets. We swipe, swipe, swipe, like, like, like, favorite, favorite, favorite, and retweet, retweet, retweet and our fragile narcissistic egos love the attention.
Thanks to social media and a whole horde of dating websites and apps, the number of available partners we have at our fingertips has exploded. We search for something that can't actually be found.
To me, this not only seems invasive and creepy, but it takes away all the fun of getting to know someone in person. We only care about the trivial things -- whether they like the same movies as us or if we enjoy the same restaurants.
It takes away the joy in someone's eyes when they talk about their passion for road trips, or the nostalgic smile they get when they remember the treehouse that they played in as a kid, or the sullen mourning over a lost friend or relative. We're obsessed with how hot other people think we are or perceive us to be, which is a pretty damn good explanation for Tinder's popularity.
Morals and values and ethical standards are second fiddle to somebody's worship for us.
We are bombarded with texts, selfies, emojis, and more every single damn day to the point where we no longer fall in love while holding hands during a walk through the countryside under starlit skies or in the flash of city lights, but instead in the warm red glow of Tinder or at our computer screens at 3 a.m.
Bars, restaurants, and lounges no longer need mood lighting because they are lit up by people staring into their cell phones trying to find the next date because dating is no longer something fun, romantic, sexy, and irreverent; it's missed connections, mixed signals, broken hearts and broken plans, and a full blown addiction for some people. It's our crutch, our simultaneous saving grace and destructive downfall, our Kryptonite.
If we do commit, we know that our buffet tray of options is still there, still just one simple swipe to the right away. Shouldn't that mean texts or phone calls shouldn't go purposefully ignored as a way to seem "cool" or "aloof" or "above it all" to our potential partners?
No, instead we are so numb to emotions and sentimentality that we still sit around an "appropriate amount of time" before responding so they will "miss" us and "want" us more.