I can’t tell you how many times a day I see someone on the TL talking about how they wish they were born in another time or that people don’t know how to date anymore. Living in another time? Pros and Cons might be even, but it is true that people aren’t really sure of what dating, going out, going steady, and being in a relationship are. People end up in these situationships, clawing at the idea of intimacy with a person they aren’t actively getting to know.
Let’s follow the normal track of a modern situationship. Go ahead and scream at your computer screen any time you think I’m wrong then keep reading. So we have Greg and Linda. The two meet on a Wednesday at Starbucks and hash it up about their shitty jobs while waiting in line with the rest of the caffeine addicts. They figure out that they frequent the same bars, have a few mutual acquaintances and decide to set up a rendezvous between them and their friends. Numbers are exchanged.
Texts are sent with tons of emojis and innuendos. Now stop. In a movie, Mr. newly swindled Greg would decide to get to know this gorgeous girl through asking these mutual acquaintances or inviting her on a private date. Instead of an engaging conversation with her or her peers, he requests her on Facebook and has a virtually unbarred look into the outer layers of her life. He can see her friends, the locations she frequents, her family members, her past relationships, what kind of guys she likes, what kind of guys like her, what she looked like as a kid…. The list goes on. Now the intimate, intricate process of “getting to know someone” is violated by Facebook. And Linda obviously did the same.
Linda and Greg now consider themselves experts each other. They meet up Friday at BarLocal (Bar Local like Low-Cal drink) for happy hour drinks with their mutual friends. Everyone is drinking and having a jolly ‘ol time. Next pause. This is the time for them to ask the questions that decide if someone is entertaining, or at least dance. Instead Greg is standing there being silent because Linda commented “yaaaassssss” on instagram post about not liking when guys approach her at a bar. Linda is analyzing Greg from afar because she wants to know whom he was sub-tweeting last week at 3 am. In actuality, Greg was just tweeting some Drake lyrics.
The social anxiety between the two of them causes mass amounts of alcohol to be consumed. Greg eventually musters up the courage to make a few jokes with Linda and the two enjoy some slurred conversation. Linda says she’s tired and Greg offers to Uber home with her to which she obliges. We have two young inebriated professionals in an Uber who only know each other through Facebook. And it gets better.
All the way home, both parties are divulging information that shouldn’t be shared with someone you met two days ago and haven’t actually had a real conversation with. Their knowledge of each other does not match up with the tenure of their acquaintanceship. They make it home safely and we fast forward to four days later.
You can decide how that night ended, as it makes no difference for the next part. Greg and Linda decide they’re both too good to text the other person. The anxiety behind the unknown could be enough to force a weak moment from either party, except both of them also decided that they were going to constantly update their Snapchats, Twitters, and Instagrams to make sure the other person knows they’re still having fun. Now both parties “don’t want to bother” the other person. To exacerbate the situation, Linda and Greg both entertain comments and post pictures with other people because they think getting the other person jealous works very well.
The two still say hi at Starbucks to quell any ideas of any hurt feelings. A couple half-hearted “how ya beens” and “what do you have planned for this weekends?” which really mean “do you miss me?” and “will I see you this weekend?” keep their lives intertwined. And of course the unbeknownst lovebirds end back up at BarLocal, too drunk, then back in an Uber, and back at Greg’s place. Maybe they went to Linda’s twice. Now that the routine is set we can fast forward. This trend goes on for months, each person divulging increasingly untidy secrets after even less tidy nights at various bars. Neither person has animosity. They do enjoy each other’s company. They do want someone to call their own. They do believe in all the pictures and instagram quotes with #RelationshipGoals. But they refuse to tell each other. Sober at least.
The mutual friends notice and label it dating. Greg and Linda deny it and still explore possibilities with other people because “they’re not official”. Mind you, Greg and Linda still haven’t had a proper sober conversation. A deep, sober would be unordinary at this point.
Six months from Starbucks on Wednesday, they’re out at again at the famous BarLocal for the birthday party of Linda’s best friend Courtney. Greg says happy birthday and Courtney replies, “Thanks, I’m so glad Linda finally has a boyfriend.” Greg is taken aback and laughs, stating that he’s single. Now him and Linda subconsciously decide to play the “who can embarrass the other person worse” game. It snowballs into Greg leaving Linda at the bar to go home with a stranger.
After two months Linda, though devastated at first, is now onto her next situationship. Greg expected his stunt to bring Linda right back into his arms and instead he is now frantically trying to reclaim his place as Linda’s sometimes boyfriend.
The extreme dramatization of this story was in hopes that everyone could associate with at least one underlying theme. It doesn’t bring me any joy to say that I’ve learned these themes mostly through my own experiences and those of my closest peers. Maybe one day people will go back to getting to know each other through corny movie dates, camping, and road trips. Until then, good luck.