The Non-Date Surprise

I was at an event where I ran into some old classmates. I found myself in a great conversation with one of the guys I knew. And after some drinks and laughs, he asked me out on a date. His words were more like, “We should hang out sometime.” Even though I internally gave him the side eye, I agreed and we exchanged numbers. Later during the week, he texted me (didn’t call), and we made plans to hang out downtown. The location was to be determined, but we picked a popular area and decided to take it from there. We continued to text during the week and decided to go out the following weekend. Once the night came for this “hangout” I got all jazzy and was looking forward to continuing our conversation from the previous weekend. But what happened to the first dates?

The Unexpected Group Hangout

I get downtown and walk into the spot we agreed on, I see a dude in the corner…. at a table with his boys. If you could imagine a blank stare at any time, that was the time. Despite my intuition to leave, I go over to him…and his homies, and ask him to go chat. During the chat, he explained that he thought I was going to bring my girls, and we were all supposed to have drinks and chill. I just looked at him. Then, I walked away. That non-date was over.

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The Decline of Traditional Dating

I can’t understand how he thought our agreeing to “hang out” was the same as establishing a group date. There’s a small part of me that wouldn’t have even been mad at him if we had agreed to bring the homies, but we didn’t. It was at that moment that I wondered what happened to dates. Don’t people have some type of organized face-to-face interaction anymore? I know there was a time when a guy who was interested in a woman would muster up enough courage to ask her out to dinner. But doesn’t it seem things are getting a little too casual? Times are different now, but I thought there was supposed to be an unspoken order of things that started out with a pleasant “hello” and ended with a walk to a woman’s door at the end of the night.

Casual Hangouts vs Formal Dates

It’s socially acceptable for men and women to “hang out,” and the formality of dating is a thing of the past. But what happened to dates? I think both women and men equally play their part in the current state of dating. Women do a good job of being comfortable with causally hanging out and don’t require men to put forth a whole lot of effort or show demonstrable interest. Men know that they can spend minimal time with women or invite a woman over to watch movies, and she’ll usually be cool with it. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with a Redbox date, but not for date number one. Men stop asking, and ladies stop saying yes.

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The Purpose of Dating

The purpose of dating is to understand someone romantically, requiring mutual effort and clarity about the relationship’s direction. I missed that memo when I ended up on a group date unknowingly. Men argue that dating without assurance of reciprocity is wasteful, seeking a return on investment. Yet, genuine interest warrants effort in creating memorable experiences. In today’s digital age, relationships may form before physical dates, facilitated by social circles and online connections. Casual hangouts and virtual interactions may suffice for some, altering traditional dating norms.

What do you all think? Do you all still go on dates? Has the art of dating lost its way?

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