Things are not as they seem. …or as they USED to be… I just used “lol” in the middle of sentence in a text…and I wasn’t L-ing at all, certainly not OL. I don’t even recognize myself… What has HAPPENED to me? I’ll tell you – the same thing that’s happened in the world of dating – the rules have changed. Sigh… Oh, how they’ve changed. And “Lol” is only the beginning… I used to be the biggest stickler about this one – I’d only ever type “lol” if I had actually ‘laughed out loud,’ (which of course I do often, so it wasn’t that much of a stretch). But, now, if I audibly laugh, I feel the need to type something like, “LOL! I ACTUALLY laughed! Out loud!” I mean, mercy! Isn’t the point of having those three letters, so that you DON’T have to type out a play-by-play of your comedic response? The term and use of “lol” have changed since its inception. It no longer means you actually laughed…it just means something is laughABLE, or even mildly amusing. People use it to poke fun at a situation or themselves… it’s become a texting tic. And it’s not the only phrase that’s seen an evolution in its use and meaning.
The dating world is full of phrases, ideas, and expectations that don’t mean nearly what they used to.
A couple examples :
2. “Hooking up” used to mean – connecting with someone once you were both out on the town. [e.g. “Cool, I’m out with a friend now…let’s hook up later and grab a beer!“]
Now it also means – have casual sex. (I’m noticing a pattern here).
And not only have the phrases/lingo changed, expectations and ideals have shifted dramatically.
A few of the myriad ways:
1. The age of a man complimenting a woman is gone. If you find a man who will verbally appreciate your beauty or character, he’s a rare gem and you should put a ring on it.
2. Major declarations of intentions or significant messages can now be delivered via text, and it’s not rude. Texting someone that it’s not a good match, or conversely, that you REALLY like them… isn’t cheating. It used to be that texting was for quick logistics, or for lazy people, but sentiment was left for the phone or in person. Not anymore. And that’s ok…if you know it. The problem with this one is that not everyone is on the same page. So, feelings get hurt or people feel underappreciated. You have people like me who’d rather NOT talk on the phone…I’m a text or in-person kinda gal… upsetting those who still want an old-fashioned phone convo. Sigh…
3. A first date is no longer necessarily an all-night event. Where there used to be an expectation of dinner and a movie, now there’s just coffee or one drink. In fact, truth be told, most of us in the online dating scene, would prefer a quick 5-minute meet-up to be sure you do, in fact, have all (ok, most?) of your teeth, you smell relatively normal, don’t give off that “I may have a few dead hookers in my backyard shed” vibe, look remotely similar to your online photos, and don’t get that crusty foamy stuff in the corners of your mouth. Yeah…the bar is nice and low, friends.
4. In the olden days (you know…that nebulous period of “feels like forever ago”…), a man would meet a woman who intrigued him, and immediately ask her to dinner or, depending on how ‘olden’ we’re talking, to join him for parlor games with his parents at the plantation. (I’m making this stuff up as I go, folks… and the bulk of my ‘olden days’ dating knowledge comes from vampire novels, but stick with me). Nowadays, a guy will sit on a potentially great relationship for WAY too long without initiating a face-to-face meeting. I have girlfriends who have been messaging guys for WEEKS and there’s no talk of “we should get together!” WHAT? If someone is exciting enough to send messages to every day, don’t you want to be sure you’re not chatting with a tech-savvy 12-year old named Aiden or Tate or something equally nauseating? I, for one, am all for the quick-to-meet philosophy. What do you have to lose? If the person is interesting in person, they’re still going to be so by text. But if they turn out to be a me-monster, or insanely insecure…don’t you want to cross them off the list before wasting weeks of well-crafted flirty texts?
There are countless other ways that dating has changed, but I’ll close us out today with a most bizarre scenario that happened with me a few weeks ago – where my humor (and only a sliver of the ocean of funniness within me, truth be told) cost me a first date.
Met this guy on Match – he messaged me first… we took it to texting and made a plan to meet a couple days after the New Year. We were just making small talk – he was sick, I was busy, blah blah…boring stuff… this is why I’m quick to meet with someone. We checked in with each other every day or so, but with the holidays, it was busy and since I hadn’t yet determined that he was ‘full throttle adorable text’-worthy, it was limited communication. I was just looking forward to meeting him and seeing if there was real potential there.
And then this happened…. What?
I mean… what?
I like to think I stay ‘up’ on the ever shifting shadows of the modern dating world, but this one even caught me by surprise. Apparently a random insertion of cat allergy discussion is NOT a laughing matter… and I was supposed to be doting on this guy, by text, more intensely than I was… before ever meeting and establishing that there’s chemistry at all.
Ah well… lesson learned. But, no love lost, he used WAY too many emoticons anyway.
And if THAT’S not a red flag, …well then I don’t know what is.