Gen X’s guide to wooing a girl may not apply in today’s dating world, where boys don’t bother to get out of their cars to pick you up on a date, let alone stand outside your window with his heart on his sleeve. So what should Millennial women expect in this day and age? Columnist Paul Nakayama tells it like it is.
I’m a product of the ’80s and ’90s, and John Cusack was the actor that captured the spirit of my ideas on romantic love. I mean, when Lloyd Dobbler raised that boom box up over his head in the 1989 film Say Anything, forget about it — I, too, wanted to win the heart of a girl with some grand gesture. And thusly inspired, I might’ve captured a few hearts, but I sure as hell screwed up the long game with them all on my own. Now I see my nephew, a young man influenced by the love stories of today, like (500) Days of Summer and Her, where love seems elusive, and then I see him trying to meet girls on Tinder and Instagram, where love is literally elusive. In the digital age, the world seems smaller than ever, but if these movies and dating apps are any indication, it’s still just as hard to make a connection with someone and just as easy to screw it up once you do. So I asked the younger female staffers and interns at Audrey Magazine to give me their list of Do’s and Don’ts of dating. For some, I’ll pass on to my nephew. For others, the women are going to have to modify their expectations. Let’s start with the Don’ts:
“DON’T play with your phone during a date. If your phone is more interesting than your date, you shouldn’t be on a date.”
Totally agree, but we should broadcast this to men and women alike. Nothing makes a meal lonelier than starting to eat by yourself while your dinner companion struggles to think of a clever hashtag for her food porn photo. Then again, I have a policy where I get to eat your food if you’ve taken a photo of it, and a minute passes and you still haven’t tasted it, despite having already half-written a Yelp review. Also, they say your cell phone has more germs than a toilet seat — why you bringing a toilet seat to a date, bro?
“DON’T try to get to know me through text messages as opposed to in person. Or worse, try to have a serious conversation or an argument — you’re asking for miscommunication.”
Actually, I’m not sure if I agree. By getting to know someone via texts, it’s like the modern-day equivalent of knights and ladies sending each other poetically drafted love letters full of better intentions, but instead of squires making the delivery, you’ve got rapid-fire thumbs. And even back then, I’m sure the greatest of romances wouldn’t have survived if the heroic knight kept mistaking “your” for “you’re.” Also, nothing defuses a fight like a well-timed, innuendo-laced autocorrect.
“DON’T send me a text about a beautiful sunset or cute puppy and how it made you think of me, and then send the same text to your mom and a bunch of other people. I want to know you’re just into me.”
I completely agree. Two things about this one: One, never text anything to your mom that you’d text to your girlfriend. That’s just your therapy trying to undermine itself. And two, do you guys know how to eavesdrop on text messages? ‘Cause I could have fun with that.
“DON’T play more than two hours a day if you’re a gamer, and that’s the max! I’d prefer only an hour if I had it my way.”
No. We’ve seen our friends who are married, and we know that’s the fate lying ahead, so we’re going to play our thumbs off while we can.
And now for the Do’s:
“DO use technology to your benefit. If a guy knows how to pay attention, he can find out a girl’s interests and plan a date around that. Read her blog entries, then talk to her about something you find interesting in her writing. Her status says she’s been craving ice cream? Go and surprise her with some.”
What I like about this staffer’s suggestion is that it’s condoning stalking as long as it’s used for the greater good, e.g., ice cream. It also indirectly suggests that girls stalk, too, so I say use that to your advantage. You can blog or update your online status with stuff that might pique a girl’s interests, maybe something about how you want to study for your MCATs, but you can’t think over the sound of your abs rocking hard.
“DO come to the front door when you pick us up for a date. Don’t just sit in your car and text us that you’re here.”
Absolutely do this. But likewise, let’s all be ready on time. I remember waiting for my date too many times to count, trying to kill time on the couch or at the front door or even outside. At least in my car I’d have the AC and music to keep me company — rather than pretending to have a conversation with her toy poodle, which honestly would prefer sh-tting in my shoes.
“DO pick up the phone and ask her out on real dates. While technology is great for an initial contact with the person you’re interested in, relationships can’t live via text/emails/online messaging!”
I’m assuming this is directed towards the guys you actually like, instead of the suitors you’re not that into. Because, believe me, those of us who aren’t lucky in dating try every angle to get a date — phone calls, texts, emails, tweets, pokes, status comments, Likes (even when we don’t like what you’re posting), “random” run-ins (you said it was OK to stalk), even courier pigeons (but just one because we don’t want to seem overbearing.)
“DO call me before 10 p.m. to ‘hang out.’ I’m not waiting around for your call — I’ve got plans, too!”
Waitasecond. These guys that the Audrey staffers are talking about — it sounds like whatever they’re doing is working. They’re calling at 10 p.m. and the girls still agree to hang out? I would plan a date a week in advance and get cancelled on at the last minute. I think it’s time to stop watching sappy movies. In fact, staffers, can you check the status updates of these guys and tell me what movies they’re watching?
–STORY BY PAUL NAKAYAMA
This story was originally published in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here.