Introducing Hannah Marisahl. In Hannah’s new editorial column, no subject will be left off the table. For her debut and on the eve of Valentine’s, she ruminates on dating and love.
Perhaps it’s my standing as an, “old millenial,” or my orientation as a non-monogamist, but I’m increasingly frustrated by the way we date.
I love dating, it may be my only real hobby. People are endlessly fascinating, for better or worse. I never consider my time to be wasted if I’ve learned something. Finding new things to love about others uncovers parts of my personality that I’ve yet to appreciate. Even negative interactions with others are an opportunity to practice compassion, something I struggle with.
I have endless questions, and very few answers. I’m sad for everyone. It seems like finding a partner should be easier than ever, but I read recently that millenials are having less sex than any previous generation. I don’t know who quantifies that, but the fact that it seems believable is a huge bummer. The more concern-trolling articles I read about “hookup culture,” the less I see people actually hooking up.
Why can’t anyone just plan a date? I’m too old to keep a Friday night free, only to get a, “so what do u wanna do,” text at 6:45. What do I want to do? Ignore your texts, because it’s rude to reply to you, while I’m out with the guy that actually gave a shit. Related, why do I have to keep a rotating cache of 5 men on the hotline just to ensure that one of them will actually get off their asses to meet me?
Why, in a group photo, is it always the least attractive one messaging me?
Why do some men demand the emotional labor of a partner, while offering none of the consistency of one?
Why do some women seem more concerned with boy-bashing than they do with making real connections?
Why can’t I list, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Satanism,” as my religion?
The last one might be more of a personal preference, but I believe it’s a valid complaint. I could tell you that the way we date is symptomatic of a larger world issue, that an increasingly unstable economy is subconsciously discouraging us from making commitments to others, as a biological response to a potential scarcity of resources. I could argue that the combination of constantly available porn, garbage reality television, and toxic social media has made us all forget what real people actually look like. That could all be correct, or bullshit, or get expanded on as a clickbait article, targeted at romantically understimulated young moms.
“She embraced polyamory, and searched for genuine human connections. You won’t believe what happened next!”
I don’t know where we go from here. I could shill for non-monogamy, and tell you that the only thing that keeps me sane on the many horrible dates I attend, is the love and kindness I receive from my partners. While that’s true for me, it’s not much of a consolation to those who aren’t wired like that.
I’m going to keep going on those horrible dates. I’ll keep responding to every unsolicited photo of genitalia with one of my dog’s anus, because of course I will. I’ll screenshot the awful things that people send to me, and the awful things I write back, because the best way to dismantle a failing institution is to highlight its absurdity. It’s absurd that we can’t enjoy one another, we’re alive at such an incredible point in human achievement. We have so many tools at our disposal, we just need to stop using them as weapons.
Or, just wait for the sex robots. Your choice, not judging.
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