Is it possible to date casually without any expectation on either side of it turning into a relationship? This is a question that has been plaguing me as of late. As those of you who follow me on Instagram know (@lookingformrdarcy for those who don’t), I agreed to participate in a “casual dating experience” experiment that a friend of mine was invited to do. This seemed like a great idea…about two months ago.
My friend Mary and I agreed we go through stages of withdrawal in our singleness. In her words, “I struggle between ‘singe, not ready to mingle’ and ‘I need a man, NOW.’ I’m either going 10 mph or 100.” I literally could not have said it better myself. When I agreed to participated in this “experience,” I think I was in my “I need a man, NOW” space of reasoning–and if I was meeting up with Douglas Booth, I’d always be in that space of reasoning.
Two months later, I’m back to 10 mph, where I don’t want to waste my time with anyone I don’t actually want to spend time with. Now I have a random guy messaging me; maybe this wasn’t the best idea?
So the way this dating experience works is that there are 20 or so girls and guys who are paired up by the two founders. I was paired up with the male founder. My friend already knew him, and vouched: “He’s really nice!” I mean, what else was she going to say about him? “Is he cute?” “I don’t like the way he dresses. I mean, he’s no ugly.” Hopes were soaring high.
The point of the “casual dating experience” is to focus on creating a culture where people are OK just going on casual dates without there being a huge commitment. Reflecting on this, I’m not totally sure why I agreed to participate in the first place. I mean, I don’t have any male friends because that always seems to lead to some convoluted, confusing relationship that falls apart.
I don’t believer that–in this day and age–casual dating exists. Don’t we date with the intention/potential of a relationship? Why waste your time with someone that you see no future with.
I’ve debated this the past few days with some friends–I even sent out a group message asking all their opinions. A few of them offered particularly interesting insights that I will now share with you.
I think that people that want to casually date are doing it because they want to go have fun with other girls and guys and not feel bad about it. I think it’s a failure to commit. However, I agree that sometimes it can accidentally turn into more:) However, this guy doesn’t sound great.
Did I forget to mention why this guy doesn’t sound great? My mistake. We agreed to meet by this fountain on campus at noon. I’m a particularly punctual person, so I got there about five, ten minutes early. Noon rolls around. Nobody comes. 12:15, nobody. Finally at 12:20ish, this kid strolls up to me. Luckily, I had brought my laptop and a book with me, or else, I would’ve left before he even got there. (My older brother later scolded me for staying.)
Once we had introduced ourselves and exchanged pleasantries, I settled in for what I expected to be a consistent back-and-forth conversation. You know, each person actually asks questions and at least pretends to be interested in what the other person is saying; typical first date stuff before you slowly reveal yourself. After all, my friend assured me he was super fun and friendly. Alas, he was quiet and I was forced to babble through awkward silences, because they make me uncomfortable.
Something else I forgot to mention is that (ironically) the night before our meet-up, I ran across the kid I was meeting on Tinder. His profile read, “A southern gentleman looking for a Midwestern girl to be my southern belle.” If any of you have been reading this blog for a while, or even if you’re just starting, you can probably assume I’m no southern belle. This date was doomed from the beginning.
I think we chatted for a grand total of 10 minutes before he rushed off to a Twins game. He asked if I wanted to get together on Tuesday, and having no ability to say “no” to someone’s face, I said “sure.” How do I now get out of this? (I’m actually asking.)
Maybe I spend too much time cooped up in Austen’s novels, but I like to see love and relationships in a way that is as straight forward as possible with all of the technology and whatever else convolutes a relationship besides just feelings.This dating experience is like the ball at Netherfield. Clearly, Lizzy didn’t want to dance with Mr. Collins for another song, nor Mr. Darcy. So she stood up with each of them only once. This kid is not my Mr. Darcy, and the inevitable friendzoning that will ensue indicates him to be a Mr. Collins.
Yes. You could argue my feelings will change, as Lizzy and Darcy’s did. But “my good opinion once lost is lost forever,” as Darcy would say. I know myself well enough at this point to know what I want and don’t want in a relationship. As much as I love Austenland, I’m not sure I want to run the risk of my relationship becoming this, where I’m still more engrossed in fiction than in reality.