Dating 101: The New Basics of Dating
Swipe left, swipe right, texting while drunk… dating isn’t only different than it was in your parents’ day, its changed since your older brother’s day.
With the proliferation of online and mobile dating apps, the process of finding a mate has morphed into a time-killing exercise that can be done while waiting for your laundry to dry. Some say it makes dating easier and more accessible; others say it makes it less genuine and heartfelt. Either way, the rules have changed, and it’s hard to know exactly what to do.
We spoke with writer and comedian Erin McGathy, host of the hilarious and heartbreaking love and relationships podcast “This Feels Terrible,” for her take on the new dating rules.
1. Who Pays
“The classic ‘a man should always pay’ adage is garbage,” McGathy says. “Throw that out. Think of bill paying in terms of who initiated the particular outing in the first place. If you did the asking out, be prepared to pay the whole bill.” But what if your date insists on going dutch, even if you’ve asked them out? “Awesome. Let them. There is nothing worse that feeling like you owe someone something because they ‘bought your time.’ You’re probably the most kindest, most respectful person on the planet, but every woman has had a scary experience with a guy not getting what he wants, so be aware of that. Be a human being with a brain and a conscience.”
2. When do I send that post-date text?
If you’ve had a wonderful time, and you think your date has too, take a chance and send a text on the way home. But be careful: “Nothing too intense and nothing about the future. Just a simple ‘I had a great time’ or ‘You’re great’ or even a non-threatening emoji will do.” If the hangout was a little more ambiguous, if you’re interested in pursuing it further and you're not sure whether your date feels the same way: “Maybe hesitate to text right away. Make your intentions known, but don’t be a creep. Send a text a couple days later that’s friendly and flirty and see what happens.”
But what if you’ve hung out with someone and you sense that they’re feeling it, but you are decidedly not? Isn't that some treacherous emotional terrain? McGathy rolls her eyes. “Oh, don't be a monster baby man. You will save yourself and the person who’s crushing on you so much time, anguish, frustration, heartache and late night fast food binges if you act like an adult human and kindly tell the person awaiting a text from you that you don’t feel the same way. Do this: ‘Hey [person], you’re obviously beautiful and awesome but I don’t see us in a romantic way. I hope this isn’t presumptuous and I’ll see you around soon.’” Easy. Especially since you don't have to do it in person.
3. Is there a magic number of dates you need to go on before things get physical
“There is,” says McGathy, “and it’s extra magical because it’s different for everyone and changes on a case-by-case basis. Isn't that exciting?” According to her, communication is key: “If you really like someone and want to have sex with them, experiment with having a conversation about what they’re comfortable with and what they are looking for. The more comfortable you are communicating what you are looking for, the more likely you will be to find it.” Difficult to initiate, maybe, but a good exercise in honesty and openness.
Remember, everyone is his or her own unique snowflake. There’s no instruction manual for the dating preferences of a whole gender. Get to know your date and try to understand them. If all else fails, try asking honest questions instead of taking risks. McGathy concludes, “Let’s all grow up and take responsibility for our wants and needs.” A solid rule.
For more of her take on modern romance, subscribe to “This Feels Terrible.”