I agree. What I am doing is absolutely a process of meeting guys and seeing what they are about. Is that not what dating is? He says it isn't. He is, currently seeing one woman full time and seeing other women on the side. He has, however, been seeing the other women for years. So, he claims to be friends with the women he has been seeing occasionally for years and he says he is dating The Regular; even though he has never been on a date with her once. He has never been on a date, actually. Not a first date anyway. He's taken women that he is dating out on dates (after they are already living together. Probably for special occasions.) But, most of the time, he just hangs out with women.
And, there it is. The dilemma: Dating vs. Hanging Out.
The women of my generation have done a whole lot of hanging out. We hang out with guys all the time. I have been talking about this with my friends a lot, lately. If they do get taken out, it's only thanks to online dating. Going directly to a strangers home to hang out is ill-advised. (Yes, I have done it. It is still ill-advised.) If we are taken out on a date, it's just because it was safer that way. So, if we want to be taken out, we have to rely on an online dating site to work that out. Instead, we settle for hanging out. I was amazed by the number of my 30 year old girlfriends who have never been picked up at home and taken out on a date. They meet a guy, start texting, agree to hang out and either have sex once, have sex regularly or end up hanging out with a guy for 4-6 years. Monogamists kill me with this. I am not judging, I am guilty of it too. The evidence is right there in my text messages;
Guy: Yeah. I'll pick you up at 8. Whachu want to do?
Me: Idunno, just hang out.
Grow some balls, Poly. If you want dinner and a drink, say you want dinner and a drink. Say you just want to get out and do something. Stop hanging out with every dude that comes along. I am not the type to require an expensive meal to get into my pants. I can't be bought like that. But, I would at least like to know what you act like when outside of the confines of your living room.
Everyone can't be clumped into one category. Some guys are totally worth the hang out. I will hang out with Lewis every time we see each other and he can always 'get it,' without fail. We don't have to go and sit in a restaurant and chit chat. We can sit and create things together and have great conversation, then have amazing sex. That is okay. He gets a pass. But, every guy can't have a pass. And, I have to wonder what it is inside of me that feared going out. What is it about my friends and their cohorts that has produced an entire generation of sexually active men and women, that have been in long-term relationships, been married, had kids, gotten divorced and all the while, never been on a date?
My mother went on dates. She dated a new man every weekend. It wasn't a new, edgy thing. She didn't write a blog or a book, no one would have read it. It was the norm. She was average. Sure, society, at that time, felt that having sex out of wedlock would have scarred her for life. The pressures to be a virgin were like the world on the female dater's shoulders. It is a different time now. We can have sex without the same societal scrutiny, but as someone that is putting it all out there, it's not a fair trade. I am absolutely judged for my decisions to be fully in charge of my sexuality. I get emails and letters about it every day. And yet, I still have to ask for a real date.
I don't remember actively agreeing to this new climate, but my text messages bare all the evidence of full agreement. So, I have made the decision to change that. I have put together a full week of real dates. Last night was the first one. It felt a lot like hanging out. That was my fault. The rest of the week, I will adhere to the rules:
- I will be picked up from home.
- I will dress nicely.
- I will be taken out on a date.