Hooking Up, Dating, or Whatever the Hell This Is

Have you ever wondered, ‘Am I dating this person?’ or ‘Am I their boy/girlfriend, booty call, etc.” Where the hell do I stand with this person? In today’s culture it can be a little less than vague. I mean, because we’re just supposed to automatically know through our powers of mind-reading.

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A Little Background

I married young (stupidly in my case) and never really dated. I just had steady, longterm, monogamous relationships. When I became single I had no idea how this dating thing worked. The last relationship I had that didn’t end in marriage or started to end up that way was in high school. So all I had to go off of is, ‘Well, he didn’t ignore me today and actually drove me home instead of ditching me for his garage band so I must be his girlfriend.’ Not so applicable in the adult world. At least I hope not.

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So Here It Is

I started thinking about this during a recent conversation with a friend:

Her: So you’ve hung out multiple times. Are you dating?

Me: Yeah, a few times. We had a great time. Dating? Wait, what?

Her: Are you his girlfriend?

Me: Um, no? He hasn’t specifically asked me to be…so no.

Her: Well are you at least exclusive? [Dating/sleeping with only each other]

Me: Uh…I don’t know, we haven’t talked about it. [Cue frantic thinking, ‘Oh crap, does this guy even like me?’]

[By the way, I’m oh so eloquent when questioned about relationships, can’t you tell?]

I realized that today men don’t ask the parents if they may visit their maiden daughters in a supervised sitting room nor do they always specifically ask “Will you be my girlfriend?” like in the third grade (or high school). This is often known as the “define the relationship” talk if something like this is discussed. It’s creepy as hell if it happens within an hour of meeting a person (actually had that happen) but after a few weeks/months, etc. one does start to wonder. Eventually I just want to say, “Out with it! What is this?” (I don’t advise you do this so abruptly).

I found this article amusing and quite accurate, at least in my case, with dating/hooking up/whatever today. I’m not agreeing this is the most romantic or thrilling progression, nor always the most accurate for everyone, but it is amusing and I find it applicable to my limited dating life thus far…just damn confused. [For the record, the GIFs were inserted by me]

 

Dating In The Hook-Up Culture: 10 Weird And Confusing Stages Of The Modern Relationship

By Paul Hudson. June 3, 2014. Visit the original article here.

Dating these days is a joke. And not a very funny one at that. I don’t know if it’s because our generation started dating before we hit puberty or whether the Kardashians of the world have ruined what was once a beautiful thing, but the truth is that dating these days is horrible.

Half the damn time you won’t even know if you’re actually dating or not. What was once explainable using a single digit binary code now requires the decimal system.

It’s no longer “Are you dating?” or “Are you not dating?” There are now different stages, one hardly distinguishable from the other – at least while on the inside.

Looking from the outside in, on the other hand, gives shape to the confusing and convoluted dating culture that we have created for ourselves. Here are the more easily recognizable stages:

1. The One-Night Stand.

Regardless of whether you met on the street, in a coffee shop, at your yoga class or in the park, the first date tallies up to one thing: either a successful or failed one-night stand.

It doesn’t matter what the initial intentions are – not as if you know what the other person’s intentions are anyway – on the first date you’re either sleeping together or not. Depending on the results of this stage, you’ll move on to stage 2.

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2. The Second Glance.

Seeing as how you were probably highly intoxicated the first time around, you decide to see this person one more time. This decision is most likely the result of you not being certain whether or not the person was good in bed.

You managed to black out sometime in the middle of it all and can’t figure out whether the person was the best or worst sex of your life. Round 2 it is.

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3. The Booty Call.

You have officially dubbed him/her, or have been dubbed, worthy of sexual pursuit. Congratulations! You can now move on to phase 3: the booty call. Now it is acceptable for you to text this person at odd hours, preferably when you’re intoxicated or about to be intoxicated, to come over.

In this stage, it isn’t recommended that you refrain from calling the person or see him/her without drinking heavily or taking drugs – it may be awkward. I mean, you’ve only been intimate a dozen times or so… slow down already.

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4. The Friend With Benefits.

This is the first stage when you actually matter to the person more than any other slab of meat would. You put in the time and effort, your liver has certainly paid for it and it is now time to finally get to know the person you’ve been having sex with all this time.

Talking is recommended, but beware of throwing any romance into the mix. You’re friends. Not lovers. Keep all the lovey-dovey romance stuff to yourself and, whatever you do, do not look him/her in the eyes when in the midst of coitus. When you’re done, finish with a firm handshake or a high five.

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5. The Date.

Not sure how you did it – most never make it this far – but you did it… you are now going on your first official date. You’re not yet “dating” in the traditional sense, but you are going on dates.

I understand this can be confusing, but what about this process isn’t? The first couple of dates are crucial as they will decide whether or not you will be moving forward to the following stages or if the two of you will be “too busy” to see each other in coming weeks.

This is one of the trickiest stages as often it can lead to being bumped up a few stages ahead of schedule. Or, as I have already mentioned, it could be the end of the road.

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6. The Fling.

After a couple of dates, it turns out that you aren’t really interested in each other. You enjoy sleeping with each other and even enjoy each other’s company, but you can’t see yourself together in the long run.

The feeling is mutual – you both know that whatever it is that the two of you have going on won’t last very long, but you decide that you want to have fun while it does. Flings are fun and usually harmless. However, this stage can look a lot like stage seven: the stepping-stone.

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7. The Stepping-Stone.

This stage is like the fling stage with one critical difference: Only one of you knows that the relationship won’t last. While you might be beginning to consider the other a real partner, the other thinks of you as a means of getting into someone else’s pants.

Well, maybe not exactly a means of getting there, but a comfortable resting area while you look for a better watering hole. You like the sex and you even like the person you’re having sex with… you just don’t want to be with him/her for the long haul.

You consider this person a necessary stepping-stone before you can settle with the right person – or he/she considers you as such. One of you is going to get hurt after this process… but you may have skipped it entirely and moved on to stage 8.

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8. The Backup.

You have now been dubbed – or vice versa – good enough to be with. Unfortunately, you’re not good enough to be with right now. You’re good enough to keep around in case things don’t work out with anyone else, but to date you, really date you, at the moment would be silly.

These sorts of relationships get incredibly complicated, neither party really knowing what is going on as neither wants to completely let go.

The good news is, you have a safety net to fall on in case nothing else works out. Or at least you do at the moment. No one wants to be a backup indefinitely.

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9. The Boyfriend/Girlfriend.

Wow. I mean, seriously. You should be proud of yourself. Making it all the way to official status in our day and age is impressive – well done. You can now throw on the romance and allow yourself to finally have feelings for the individual.

You can start to be yourself and begin to actually care for the person you have been “intimate” with for oh-so very long. The only thing that you should keep in mind is that getting here doesn’t guarantee that you graduate from the dating scene to marital status.

In fact, most relationships of such caliber fail miserably. But cheer up! You can at least update your Facebook status and make all your friends jealous!

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10. Lost In Translation.

This isn’t so much a stage as it is the platform holding all these stages. In this day and age just about everything gets lost in translation, but mostly because there is very little communication to actually translate.

Most people keep themselves closed off and sheltered, regardless of how intimate they’ve become with another person. Everybody is afraid to get hurt and afraid of possibly, inadvertently, giving up the opportunity to get into someone better’s pants.

Most of the time you won’t know what stage you’re in, were in or are headed to. You won’t be sure if the person cares about you or is only using you for amusement. The theory is that, with time, you’ll either find someone who won’t take you down this road.

Maybe it will come with maturity. Maybe you won’t be alone forever. Or maybe you’ll get to run through these stages for the rest of your life. No one knows! That’s half the fun!

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In Marriage

A rough, soul crushing week causes lots of introspection. Unlike my last life-altering experience, I’m making it a goal to no avoid writing about it. It’s a three day week so more is to come. Stay tuned!

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20140524-223504-81304359.jpg“I have always been petrified of marriage – absolutely afraid. I’ve felt like once I would get married, someone would want to change me, and I would have no choice but to become this locked-up specimen in a box. I’m worried about losing my freedom of expression. People who meet me go, ‘Oh, you’re really fun and wild’. Then as soon as they get to know me, they go, ‘Well don’t do that’. And then I don’t do it. And I become this separate person from who I was. Then I resent the person who was trying to change me.”

Sandra Bullock

I don’t believe marriage is a horrible thing, but with the wrong person it can chew you up and then spit you out, forever leaving scars. Though those scars may fade, they’ll always be there.

To those of you who are in a happy, healthy relationship/marriage, count yourself…

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Things to Avoid When Hitting on Me (Or Any Person)

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I found this article the other night and thought I would share it as a sort of public service announcement. At some point, I’ll get around to writing my own version. But these are some basics that apparently some guys (or girls I guess) haven’t gotten the memo on.

Melanie Curtin, “Ten Things to Avoid When Hitting on Me,” Huffington Post, June 15, 2013, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/melanie-curtin/ten-things-to-avoid-when-_b_3447210.html (accessed June 17, 2013).

“Being a moderately attractive young woman, I get hit on my fair share. I’ve noticed some of the same mistakes being made over and over by men, so I’ve decided to share them. This is in an attempt to spare both you, my fine male friends, as well as myself and other women, the cringe-inducing effects of such attempts at, um, seduction.

Here’s what to stop doing:

10. Don’t neg

This regretful trend in pick up is more than just obnoxious — it’s obnoxious and obvious. Negging, also known as “negative comments,” is praised by pick up artists everywhere, based on the assumption that negging a woman forces her to try to “prove” herself. This, in turn, supposedly puts the man in the power position, so he can get her to “do the work” rather than have to prove himself to her.

Does it work? Sure. The question is: who does it work on?

It works on women still constantly seeking love and approval from the world, from a substitute father figure, or from themselves. It works on women who second-guess their choices or clothes or the school they’re thinking of going to, based on an annoying comment by some guy at a bar. It works on women who don’t know themselves well enough to know that they shouldn’t waste their time with men who think they have to neg in order to not feel helpless in front of the opposite sex.

In other words, it works on women who suffer from low self-esteem. This means that in fact, negging is manipulative, underhanded, and in some cases downright mean.

I, on the other hand, will not respond well to you insulting my outfit, hair or drink of choice. Not only is it annoying, it makes it screamingly obvious that you are trying to run game on me… which is really not going to work.

Negging thus simultaneously attracts a woman who doesn’t know who she is (and is potentially a hot mess), and repels women you might actually be able to want to be with for longer than one night.

Sounds like a solid strategy to me.

9. Don’t lead with your money

I don’t really care how much money you make or what kind of car you drive. I mean, I care, but I don’t care that much.

Want to know what I do care about? You telling me about it. Straight up: it’s weird. Again, this may work on other women, but it doesn’t work on ones who have their shit together.

To me, telling me your salary says two things: 1. You’re probably lying; 2. You’re scared that you don’t have anything more important to offer.

Incidentally, you’re the same guy who gets pissed when the girl you’re dating assumes you will pay for everything. Gonna lead with money? Don’t be surprised when she expects you to spend it on her.

8. Don’t put yourself down

There’s nothing sexier than a man who insults himself before you even know him… NOT.

I’ve had guys tell me they weren’t smart, good looking or successful. I get that you’re going for the self-deprecating thing, but there’s only so far you can take it before I start to believe you.

Plus, I hate feeling like I have to reassure you, even in jest. “No, no, I’m sure you do just fine.” It’s tiring. And if you’re already using me to reassure you now, what would you be like in a relationship?

Finally, don’t kill the mystery. Give me a chance to figure out that you suck on my own. Seriously — we all have things we suck at. In fact, true intimacy is getting an insider’s glimpse into the things someone else sucks at and accepting them anyway.

This is also known as love.

7. Don’t get handsy

Unless it’s obvious that I’m really into you, stop touching my lower back, elbow or shoulders. It’s not that this is unpleasant; it’s just that it’s so obvious that this is something else you read in Pickup 101.

Seriously? I just told you I’m a sex and dating coach. Do you really think I haven’t read The Game?

It’s *literally* my job.

6. Don’t coddle me because I’m a girl

Don’t assume I don’t like whiskey or that I don’t know anything about cars because I’m a girl.

Now, I happen to hate whiskey and know next to nothing about cars — but I don’t like you assuming this is true. Doing so makes you look closed-minded and occasionally misogynistic. Get to know me before you jump to conclusions — I’m smart, sarcastic, sweet, well-meaning, unsure, and racy. Yes, some of those are paradoxical. Hi. Have you met me? I’m a woman.

5. Don’t make fun of my friends

Period.

Maybe one of my friends is a little neurotic. Maybe one is drunk and loud. Maybe one doesn’t dress well.

It doesn’t matter. You can’t make fun of them.

Not only is this unattractive, it reveals a disturbing character trait on your part: you’re going to talk about me behind my back in the same way. I’m creeped out just thinking about it.

Plus, I live and die by my friends. I’m fiercely loyal and you trying to dis them isn’t going to earn you any favors — in fact, you’ll be lucky to emerge unscathed. My wit is as sharp as the talons I wear on these dainty little feet of mine, and you don’t want to be on the receiving end of either one.

Trust me.

4. Don’t leave your sexuality at the door

There have been a remarkable number of men apparently hitting on me, who I only realized later were attempting to do so. I’ve been stunned — stunned — to discover that they were interested in me sexually. Bottom line, guys: if you aren’t owning and feeling your sexuality, I’m not gonna feel it.

I think a lot of men suppress the fact that they want to fuck because they want to make women “feel comfortable.” The problem is, flirting and sex appeal are by definition slightly uncomfortable. That’s why it’s called sexual tension. How many times have you heard a girl say, “It was so hot how I was in my comfort zone the whole time I was around him…”?

The truth is, you making me feel comfortable will usually make me so “comfortable” that I miss the fact that you’re dtf. Because when you act all buddy buddy with me, I assume you just want to be my buddy.

Nobody wants to fuck Mr. Nice Guy. So stop being him if you want to fuck.

3. Don’t try to make me laugh

It’s not that I don’t like laughing. It’s that I hate fake laughing.

Look — I’m a nice person. So when you say something that’s supposed to be funny, I’m going to laugh (or at least make a noncommittal whimpering sound to help you save face). But the truth is, many men who hit on me are trying so hard to be funny that it’s downright painful.

It’s not that I don’t want you to make me laugh — it’s that I don’t want you to try to make me laugh. If you think of something genuinely fun and funny and clever in the moment, go for it! I love that. It’s art in the moment.

But if you’re sitting there racking your brain for the next funny/clever thing to say, I can feel that, and I can feel how much you’re not actually paying attention to me while you’re trying to make me laugh.

Plus, no matter what you’re saying all I’m really hearing is, “See what a funny guy I am? Now don’t you want to fuck me?”

No. What I want is for you to relax and stop trying to prove yourself so that I can get a glimpse into who you actually are.

2. Don’t be cocky

I don’t care if you bench 300 lbs, hang out with famous people, or pick up models. It takes more than muscles, a Volcom shirt, and the fact that you “totally know that guy fromArrested Development” to impress me. It takes heart and soul and vulnerability and desire and backbone and groundedness and a sense of purpose and humility.

Because cockiness is distinct from confidence.

Confident men know what they have to offer on the inside so they don’t feel the need to prove themselves on the outside; cocky men are obsessed with the outside because deep down they’re terrified they have nothing of worth on the inside. Confident men are comfortable just being; cocky men think they have to constantly be doing to qualify.

Lastly but potentially most importantly, confident men already know their value so they don’t have to constantly talk about themselves; cocky men are busy talking about themselves in order to impress me.

Guess which one I’m actually impressed with?

1. Don’t take it personally if I say no

You could avoid all nine of these other tips and still get shut down. It happens all the time. And it sucks — I’m not going to sugarcoat that. In fact, I have mad respect for men who hit on women — you’re 20 times better than the guy who stands in the corner and does nothing. Even if you do everything wrong, I salute you for being a man.

That said, your efforts as a man are not always going to pan out. Sometimes women are just going to say no — myself included. And if I do, please don’t take it personally and then take it out on me. Hint: yelling, “Why you gotta be like that!?” really isn’t helping make your case.

In addition, some of the men I respect the most — and some of the strongest friendships I’ve forged — are with those who asked me out and I turned down. When I said no and they took it in stride, I had so much respect, faith and trust that they were able to handle themselves, that I wanted to be around them more. I wanted to get to know them; I wanted them to get to know me. They didn’t shame me for not wanting to fuck them, which had me feel secure. Ultimately they ended up seeing aspects of me that they never would have been privy to otherwise.

The truth is, attraction is a mystery. You can do everything ‘right’ and still get rejected. You can do everything ‘wrong’ and still get a date. The only thing we can all do is show up fully as ourselves and see if there’s a match.

So show up as you. You are not what you make or what you do or where you’ve been or who you know.

I want YOU: goofy, sarcastic, clumsy, outgoing, exhausted, generous, honest, frustrated, sexual, introverted, excitable you.

Hit on me with all that, and I might even hit you back.”