Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Brave New Dating World

I hear it from dads all the time, "Dude, I envy you. You have no idea how hard being a father can be. Some days I just wanna be in your shoes, you awesome single guy." And it's right then that it happens—I can see it in their eyes—their gaze sorta glazes over and they're suddenly reflecting back upon their single days when they were carefree, out at the bars, and eyeing every girl who walked by. Ah… that's the life. That's what you miss. Oh the memories. Well I'm here to tell you… that's all it is. A distant memory. It ain't like that anymore, boys. 

Dad dudes, the landscape of dating has changed since you were out there those many years ago battling it out in the bars. You wouldn't recognize it today. The game has a new look altogether. A new set of rules. A new team of players. It's no longer charm, wit, and looks that wins the day. No. Now it's all done though social media channels—Foursquare, Facebook, and Yelp, oh my!

Walk into a bar these days and look around. What do you see? Groups of girls with their noses buried in the latest mobile device. Eye contact? Thing of the past. Casual conversation? Gone the way of the dodo bird. Getting a girl's digits? No one calls anyone anymore. Now its all about your online presence. Looking at profile pictures has replaced eye contact. Checking the status list has replaced conversation. And connecting through screen names has replaced phone numbers. And most of these girls aren't even talking to each other either—they're just huddled in circles texting and checking status updates.

In the past, girls would react to your clever comments and attention-getting behavior… (which was taking place right in front of them at the bar). Now, girls comment on your comments (comments on Facebook and Yelp). That's how you meet and interact with these young 20-somethings. You're not even actually with them. Believe it or not, 5 of my dates in the past month with this new breed of babes have occurred over foursquare and Yelp. I have no idea how I even got sucked into it. And then after a few exchanges, it hits you, "How do I even know if this chick is at least 18? Or if she's even A CHICK AT ALL?!" Oh… it's a brave new world, my friends… a brave, twisted, tragic, demented, new world.

And recently, the few times I have been able to penetrate this protective ring of the formidable chick click in a public setting, the conversation that follows is almost always unintelligible. You need the Rosetta Stone of Sally, Sarah, and Susie to decipher what these girls mean. Here's the break down (in % of frequency of occurrence) of what they mention, comment, or say:

20%: "OhMyGod" (This is one word, mind you).
25%: "Shut up!" (This is always used as an exclamation in reaction to the previous comment, even when the subject being discussed doesn't warrant its use. For example, "It looks like they're setting up a buffet in the back of the bar.").
20%: "Whatever" (This is often used when they are incapable of actually constructing a true retort. It kinda kills the conversation).
10%: "…just like in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." (I never read this book. I don't know any guys who did either. And I don't plan on reading it now just to be able to discuss it with a 24-year-old account manager drinking appletinis at a bar to increase my chances of hooking up).
15%: "So do you like Edward or Jacob? How can you like Jacob?! He's no good for Bella." (What is with this Twilight series? And why are these chicks so fascinated by werewolves and vampires?!).
10%: I refer to this as chick-chat (These are random comments about book club, shows like Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill on the CW, and kitten videos that they want to share with you on their smart phone.

And let's say you eventually DO have a live encounter. And let's say things DO go well. What then? Do you list your new "social-media partner" as a "location" of sorts. "Check-in"… at Shannon's. "To Do"… Shannon! "Tips"… she likes to cuddle afterwards. Well, guess that makes me the "Mayor" now. "Badge" me!

So dads, take it from me. The next time you're sitting there at home in your recliner wondering what it would be like to be sitting on a barstool instead… stick with the Lazy-boy and tv remote and be glad you got out of the game in the nick of time.

And that's my take on it.
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