What the hell is going on with dating?
I have been having many conversations with my girlfriends about the state of the dating world. They are all wonderful women; truly a collection of the most beautiful and important treasures in my life. I could listen to them talk all day about their passions and watch them dance all night. Smart, talented, hilarious, stunning, loyal, caring, kind, authentic – the list goes on.
But our stories of navigating the choppy seas of romance in this City of Sails (fails?) are becoming increasingly similar. Time and time again, we comfort each other, picking up the pieces some dude has so carelessly shattered.
A common theme: celebrating the absolute bare minimum. I do not know how many more times I can hype my friend up over the fact a guy messaged her while the sun was still out or that he actually waited until she had shut the door before he drove off.
I recently reentered the dating world. After an almost four year relationship during a global pandemic, there was a lot to catch up on. Initially I was excited to be a little older, a little more confident and with some sort of idea of what I like and what I don’t like (both very important). But that excitement quickly wore off and turned into dread.
There are so many weird unspoken rules that everyone is trying to abide by and a plethora of impossible expectations to fill. Play it cool, but be yourself. Be available, but not too loose. Show your interest, but don’t be obsessed.
Whether you meet these needs or not, you are deemed too much, too intense, too soon, yet simultaneously not enough. Never enough but always too much! A total fucking headspin.
One of these dating conversations with my friends led me to think: what happened to grand gestures of romance and proud declarations of love? We are a generation raised on sickly sweet rom-coms but I for one am experiencing much more com than rom at this point.
Why is no one standing outside my window with a boombox at 1am in a bid to win my heart? I do live in the basement of a Grey Lynn villa so that might be a little unfeasible… But I want someone to write a song about me, or spray paint a mural of my face on the side of a train (yes, I am aware I have a terrible type…).
Recently I started casually seeing someone then realised that I had developed a crush. I tried so hard to push these feelings down: oh shit, oh no! I can’t have a real life crush in 2024?! How uncool! I really liked them, but for some reason it felt taboo to let them know that. Eventually I moved cities and he told me he’d hoped we’d be friends forever and couldn’t imagine being with anyone but me. Now, we only communicate through a complex routine of story liking and telepathy (he does not reply to my messages). There is this interesting pressure to always be slightly out of reach, only just available. But you know what, enough is enough!
I have decided that, not just in love but in everything I do, I want to be passionate, obsessed, unconditional and totally devoted. As we begin a new year, it's time to embrace love and cut off some of the things that aren’t serving us singletons anymore.
My 2024 dating ins and outs:
• Unconditional authenticity
• Consent (always)
• Boombox outside bedroom window
• Grand gestures - hear me out, FLASH MOB PROPOSALS!?
• Declarations of love
• Sweetheart behaviour
• Handwritten letters !!!
• Hand holding IN PUBLIC
• Fleetwood Mac (in particular, drunken ballads to Silver Springs with your best friend)
• Setting boundaries
• Car sex
• CONSISTENT COMMUNICATION
• Being brave! Think passing your phone number (or IG handle) scrawled on a napkin to a sexy stranger
• Protection and regular STI checks!
• Shotgun weddings
• Sharing a fishbowl cocktail on the first date
• Playing it cool
• Being coy
• Crushes on your friends
• Crushes on your friend’s ex boyfriend
• 3am “U up?” DMs
• Boat shoes
• PR relationships
• Unsolicited apologies from old hook ups you didn’t need to hear from
• Story liking as the only form of contact…
• Posting stories just for one person to see
• Open situationships (open relationships are totally different)
• The term “situationship”
• Instant gratification
• Downloading and deleting dating apps a couple times a week just to feel something
• Bad sex
• Your ex
• Dirty bed sheets