In case you haven't noticed, we live in a world of kinda's and maybe's. We're kinda talking. I maybe like him. We're kinda dating. I may be into this. It's all part of our inability to commit, because why commit to one thing when we are faced with an abundance of options? Hashtag-The-Problem-With-Dating
Because of this world of gray that we live in, we often don't even realize what we're getting ourselves into when we begin to kinda, maybe talk to someone. I can't tell you how many times I've wondered, "Wait, is this a date?," or had friends of mine tell me, "Yeah, they want to hang out, but I don't think it's like a date date."
So, WTF is it?
Guys don't tend to ask girls out on formal dates as much anymore, and that's partially because we don't require them to. I'll be the first to admit that if a guy asks me out to a nice dinner or to some out-of-the-box activity, I give the Jay Z face.
Why, you ask? Because if I'm not super into you, then I'm not sure I want to spend that kind of intimate time with you. I know, it's not fair. How do you know you don't like them that much if you don't give them a chance? Trust me, I get it.
I also just get super nervous. I can't figure out what to wear, I start sweating, I start to wonder if I have to act differently, because Lord knows I'm going to curse like a f--king sailor or say something super perverted without thinking how I'm coming off, and it's all just too much pressure...sigh. I just want to hang out.
And so, that's what guys do--Hey, wanna hang out?
But even then, you can kind of gauge the situation:
Coffee, lunch, dinner, movie--pretty much a date. Party, meeting up at a bar with friends, birthday shindig--safe group-hang to feel out the situation.
But sometimes you still find yourself caught in a state of limbo, because you're getting mixed signals. And that was me not too long ago. Here's a play-by-play of what happened...
Exhibit A. I got back on Bumble, because boredom. And also, why the f--k not? Amid swiping some harsh judgment to my left, I'd come across a few rights. Enter John. (No, that's not his real name. You know homie don't play that.) We begin chatting each other up, yellow text bubbles filling up my day. And then it happens, he asks for my number. Boom. He asks if I'd be willing to "hang out." Hm...we've talked for a few days. I need to get out more. Sure. Boom.
Exhibit B. He picks a day and time, and I agree. So far, so good. Whether this is a "date" or not is still dependent on the activity, which has yet to be determined.
Exhibit C. He follows up the day of (always a plus!) and asks if I'd like to grab some food after he's off work. I'm always hungry. So, obviously down. Also, grabbing food teeters into "date" territory.
Exhibit D. He texts me again to tell me that his friend is in town from New York City and will be joining us. Wait, what just happened? "He's cool, don't worry." Bitch, I don't care if he's cool, why is he coming on our date?
Exhibit E. He continues to tell me that they'd like to watch a movie with me. Holy s--t, they're trying to get me to have a threesome. Damn, online dating! I send screenshots to one of my girl friends and one of my guy friends to make sure I wasn't jumping to conclusions. Both told me, "Hell no." So there's that.
Exhibit F. I started to back away, and texted him that he should hang out with his friend, and we can get together another time. "It's not that serious," he writes back, to which I wanted to say, BYE. Instead, I just said, "OK, have a good one!" He wrote back, "OMG, I scared you away. My friend is gay, maybe I should've mentioned that? Let's start over." Well, that does make it a little less creepy. But still, what is happening?
Exhibit G. I decide we can grab food. All three of us. Definitely not a date, which means I'm wearing sneakers and jeans. We pick a place and a time to meet. And while I was into meeting this guy, I wasn't bothered that he was going to bring his gay bestie from the Big Apple. I'm outgoing AF and if anything, this will take the pressure off of focusing on one person, so I was game.
Exhibit H: He gets off work early and says to meet "right now." I say no, we can meet at the time planned (read: I was still in my pajamas binge-watching Sex and the City, don't bother me).
Exhibit I: We meet for sushi. He's cuter than I thought, and no friend is in sight. Hm, maybe this is a date? We get to chatting, have some good food, enjoy some laughs, he tries to teach me some dance moves (he's a dancer) and proceeds to knock his water glass to the floor, which was great. We laughed, we apologized to the server, we laughed some more.
Exhibit J: The bill comes. I always offer to pay half, because that's how I roll. And this time, I actually did pay half. Whether that's date or non-date behavior, I couldn't tell you, because times have changed. In all honesty, I don't really mind if the guy doesn't grab the check (unless he's the one who chose to go to an expensive place and made me come out to him and orders everything off the menu...but that's a story for another day).
Exhibit K: He walks me to my car and gives me a hearty hug. No kiss, which also took the nerves off. I don't normally kiss on the first date. "We should hang out again," he says. I smile, nod, get in my car and off I go.
So was that a date? Perhaps in the world of modern dating, yes, that would be considered a date. And maybe the casual approach for the first few interactions are OK, if not ideal, because you get to test out the waters. And maybe we need to break away from society's mold of what is or isn't "a date" and just enjoy ourselves?
At the end of the day, who really cares? If you've found someone you enjoy spending time with, it's not going to matter what the hell you're doing, as long as you're doing it with them.
So give yourself a break, have some fun, and if someone asks you whether that was a date or not, just hit 'em with the Kanye shrug.