When did dating become like grocery shopping?

I’m going to take a chance and say that dating apps are ruining romance! Those of you who have been following for a while might have realized, I’m not actually all that good at relationships. I’m observant, which makes me good at giving advice, but I’m ridiculously bad at following my own advice, and as such, I’m not faring so well at the moment in the dating world.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

I suppose it’s how you look at it.

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I’m still matching with more people on Tinder than I think I would if I was to just randomly go and meet people in real life. I’m even meeting people of a higher caliber (I think) than if I was just to go to a bar and try to strike up a conversation. The conversations are more interesting. I can weed out the ones just looking for a hookup (mostly… this depends on the amount of honesty coming from their end). I’ve been on more dates in the last few months than I have been in years.

But there’s no longevity.

Of course, then again, that might just be the way things are these days. There seems to be a fear of commitment running rampant in this country. Probably even the whole world! I fear that it might have something to do with our dependency, particularly on those pesky little mini computers we keep in our pockets and purses that we laughingly call phones.

Our attention spans are shorter. And there’s this idea that dating is more like shopping than it used to be.

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Yeah, I know, this isn’t actually a new metaphor. People have been equating dating with shopping for a long, long time:

  • “Why buy the milk if you can get the cow for free?”
  • “Why buy the whole pig when you just want a little sausage?”
  • “You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it first.” (Usually said when trying to justify getting intimate.)
  • “He traded her in for a younger model…”

I’ve been known to say I’d like to test drive a fella a time or two (or six), but the metaphor has always been about buying something that is meant to last a while, such as a car or a farm animal. Neither of which are particularly pleasant comparisons, but for the purposes of a metaphor they work. And they are suggestive of investing in a long term commitment of sorts, even when they are talking about NOT investing, like the whole “why buy the…” comments. Even if you’re saying that there isn’t a need to buy the cow or the pig, the idea is still that if you were to buy it, it would be a long term commitment.

Nowadays, dating is more like shopping at the grocery store.

And I’m obviously not the only person who feels that way because a quick google image search for “dating like shopping” brought up quite a few comedic one liners about dating being like grocery shopping.

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My favorite one is the one above, where he’s talking about shopping the clearance aisle in Albertsons. There’s the idea that yes, you are shopping for people who have been passed up a hundred times before, or for whatever reason aren’t worth investing on… and then you realize you’re one of those people, too, because you’re on the same dating site or app, and you’re still not being “bought” either.

It’s disheartening.

But any true shopper will tell you that sometimes you can find a really great deal. Something that was just mislabeled or accidentally put in the wrong section so no one noticed it and it’s exactly what you’re looking for! So you keep clicking or swiping, expecting that the next guy or girl is that diamond in the rough, the great deal that was overlooked for whatever reason.

And you pray that someone else realizes you are the great deal, too. You pray more for your own sanity than anything else, because your self-esteem requires you to believe that you have just been overlooked and not that anything is truly wrong with you.

Or maybe that’s just me.

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What I’ve found is this:

  1. Guys are too intimidated to make the first move unless they know you’re interested.
  2. Once they’ve got your attention, they expect you to do all the work to keep their attention.
  3. If at any point you do anything that isn’t considered 100% normal/calm/easygoing they toss you aside and go shopping for the next girl.

And sites like eHarmony and apps like Tinder make it all too easy for them to go shopping. There’s no need to put forth effort because if they suddenly think they have to put forth ANY effort at all, they can return you and pick up another one.

They don’t even have to return you; returning is too much effort, it requires you to actually have a reason for returning the item, and men don’t think they have to have a reason for anything.

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I thought it was just the Boy, but after being ghosted on by the last 3 guys because I had the audacity to ask them to actually meet with me in person instead of making me communicate solely through text, I’ve realized that no, the majority (obviously not all, but a large percentage) of men don’t think they should have to explain themselves.

So we shop, and sometimes we pick up several different people at a time. Maybe we even grab a different one for every night of the week, so our options are open. We tell ourselves that we’re just trying to make comparisons, which is healthy, but then, instead of weeding them out to get down to a single partner, we find that none of them are quite right, and we toss them away.

I’ve done it, too. But I generally at least have the decency to explain myself if I find the other person tries to communicate past the point where it seemed obvious we weren’t a good fit.

Like with the Comedian, he made a small attempt to continue the conversation after our really really bad date, and I didn’t ghost; I told him I enjoyed the movie, but didn’t give him any hope for a second date. Had he not gotten the point after that, I would have let him know he wasn’t what I was looking for…

Like I did with the guy who asked me to be his “minion”. After several attempts to get him to engage in intellectual communication instead of sex talk, I let him know that I didn’t feel he was offering what I was looking for and wished him well on his search. He thanked me for my candor and wished me well also.

We discussed it like f*cking GROWN UPS! And then we went our separate ways.

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Some day someone is going to have to explain to me why ghosting is the new adult way to handle things, because I think it is illogical and rude. It’s one-sided, selfish, and disrespectful. I didn’t appreciate it when the Boy changed the rules on me without giving me any input on the situation. I didn’t like it when the Artist couldn’t follow through and expected me to just accept that he was going to be a jerk if we were going to be semi-romantically involved. I didn’t take it well when Mr. Nice Guy ghosted because it was a cowardly thing to do.

And these latest two had really great promise, but when I tried to explain my point of view (to men who’s primary interest in me had been the fact that I was intellectual), they both ghosted because I was asking them to actually meet with me face to face and set something up…

Was it because I was too forward? I’ll never know because they decided to go shopping for the next one without giving me any sort of explanation as to what had happened.

Let me grab my shopping cart and start perusing the aisles once again. There’s got to be an easier way…

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3 thoughts on “When did dating become like grocery shopping?

  1. This is such a great post! I must admit though, I am nearing to the end of my shopping trip and I still have an empty basket. I’m about to forget about this damn place and head on over to that Singleton place next door. I heard there’s a shortage of disappointments there 🙂

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