I recently watched the trailer for the upcoming “Maleficent” movie for the first time. For those of you that don’t know, “Maleficent” is an adaptation of “Sleeping Beauty,” which also happens to be my favorite fairytale of all time. Like almost every magical story I watched in the 90s, it revolves around a battle between good and evil: the wicked, jealous witch, the beautiful, helpless princess, and the handsome, brave prince that rescues her just in time for the same old “Happily Ever After” ending.
Girls of my generation grew up brainwashed by this scenario for the first quarter of their lives, only to wake up to the harsh reality that: the evil witch is sometimes the last person you could possibly think of, like your very best friend; and that prince charming doesn’t always turn out to be a prince, or a charming one for that matter; and most importantly, that “Happily Ever After” doesn’t exist – or at least isn’t handed to us on a silver platter. What follows is a new set of rules that we must all adapt to in order to avoid getting hurt. This brought about new trends in modern dating. Even modern day fairytales have had some adapting to do. They have become sarcastic, dark and usually involve the princess fighting her own battles, rescuing herself and engaging in witty dialogue and sharp comebacks with a sometimes not-so-charming prince. And that’s the stuff girls of the younger generation have been relating to – “Shrek” and those characters from “Tangled” – and so we bid farewell to the days of Fred Astaire and Prince Charming. But is that such a good idea?
Many of my regular readers will most certainly remember me ranting about fairytales and their lack of credibility; how they set our standards too high and make us too unrealistic. With my tail between my legs, I would like to retract much of what I said about this subject. By dismissing fairytales and coming to terms with reality, heartbreaks, disappointments, assholes, backstabbers and liars, most of us have become a cynical, jaded mess. With time and experience, many of us have become so damaged, we need an army of therapists to locate and put together our broken pieces that are scattered all over the place. We have built walls so high that it will require a prince with hundreds of soldiers on horses firing cannonballs to break through; and even after taking down those walls, we tend to stay on guard, waiting for the next incoming blow. Even boys weren’t such “jerks” back in high school. Back then, girls matured faster; we were taller, meaner and very intimidating to a bunch of scrawny boys in their awkward pubescent years. We traumatized them and many of us broke their hearts; they eventually had to put up walls too. We were all bound to start playing games.
That’s fine in high school; it’s also fine a decade after high school. And while one would think that by our late 20s we would all be tired of playing games, there’s a whole new ball game out there thanks to the mix-up of two generations of singles. Instead of the younger age group adapting to already existing rules that have been handed down to them, it’s the older crowd of singles that has had to adapt to a new and not-so-charming set of rules. And if you don’t know how to play the game, you’re out. When does it ever stop?
Some Trends in Modern Dating that – When Done in Excess – Are Killing it for Many of Us
I would like to note the following: Because I am biased and opinionated, and because I can, in my current state of mind, I fully blame all the horrors of modern dating on two factors: 1. New-gen girls who lack old school manners and weren’t beaten enough by their mothers; and 2. Social f***ing media and the empty, useless TV shows that are setting the standards for how people should think, act, talk and live.
Texting versus Calling: There once was a time where a guy would ask for a girl’s number, and the only tact involved there was how many days it would take for him to dial it. There’s no harm in texting people. In fact, it’s fun. But nowadays, the social media jam has made dialogue close to impossible. Nowadays, you get a friend request on Facebook, wait for a “like” on your latest IG photo, check your Whatsapp timestamp, make sure your BBM message was read, expect calls on Viber, check for incoming texts on iMessage, make sure you’re online on Skype, refresh your Snapchat every few hours, and knock yourself out with any other app you’re using. During this massive mess, there’s very little time to make a phone call or to even notice a missed call. I refuse to succumb to this. I’m still very old fashioned. I pick up the phone and call people . . . when I’m not hyper-texting.
Hard to Get versus Hard to Find: With all of today’s social clutter and despite all the available social media, good luck getting a hold of someone. Gone are the days when a girl used to play hard to get, or when a guy came across as mysterious. Nowadays, you know everything about everyone, yet you need half a day just to get a hold of someone. By the time you do find them, you just don’t want to find them anymore. It’s become so normal for people to just magically disappear and reappear and it’s consequently become logical to just ignore their existence altogether.
Drinks at the Bar versus Romantic Dinners: Once upon a time, guys used to ask girls out on a date. It went a little like this, “would you like to have dinner with me?” He would then pick her up from her home and they would enjoy a good meal and fun conversation. Nowadays, a guy texts a girl, “meet me for drinks?” A lot of drunken dialogue is likely to take place, followed by some heavy petting. Both are likely to forget the evening’s events and discussions by the following morning. Lots of fun there – not so much bonding though. I must admit, we’ve all gotten used to this and it’s really not so bad – cocktails are always good.
Dating versus Mating: Doesn’t anyone want a relationship anymore? After three years of being off the dating scene, I’m shocked at how much things have changed. Most guys just want casual, convenient sex and run for the woods at the very mention of the word “commitment.” The f*** is wrong with you people?
Dear men: please try to understand that not every woman wants to marry you after two dates. Get your cocky head out of your ass and try to have a good time with a nice person while the opportunity still presents itself. As a result, many women nowadays have adapted to not wanting relationships either. It’s fine to date someone casually – not every relationship needs to be a serious one – but these days, even casual dating is freaking people out.
The Aggressive versus the Passive Approach: So, this is how I remember things going down. Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Boy goes after girl – persistently – till he gets her. Now, boy likes girl and thinks to himself, “I have my whole life ahead of me. What’s the rush? There are plenty of fish in the sea.” While the guy is crossing prospects off his list, some girls respond to this by doing the chasing themselves, and guys are unfortunately getting too comfortable with this “agreement.” Is it the food we’re eating? Some hormones are clearly not functioning adequately anymore. Clearly.
“I’ll Pick You Up” versus “I’ll Meet You There”: I personally don’t mind this at all. Somewhere at 25, I had had enough of failed first dates and men that drove like the highway was a racetrack, so I decided it made more sense to always take my car. Not to mention, I’m an independent female – YOU MAY ALL BOW DOWN.
On the other hand, it wouldn’t hurt for the guy to offer to pick a girl up every now and then and make her feel a little girly. It also wouldn’t hurt if the girl says yes every once in a while and allow the man to feel a little manly.
Note to girls who were still breastfeeding when “Friends” was airing on TV: It isn’t offensive if a guy asks to pick you up. He isn’t insulting your mother’s method of raising you or trying to patronize your self-proclaimed independence. Technically, that’s impossible, since you’re years away from being close to independent. So, enjoy being pampered while it lasts.
Taking it Slow versus Unwillingness to Commit: Point is, everyone wants to take it slow these days; so slow, that we could actually be moving backwards. “Taking it slow,” of course, entails everything except ripping each other’s clothes off. It was confusing enough when we had to differentiate between “we are in a relationship,” and “we are dating” and “we are going out” and “we are seeing each other.” I mastered those back in 2011. Now, we also have “we are talking” and “we are sort of friends” and “we are getting to know each other” and “we are sexting.” S-T-F-U!
Quality versus Quantity: Once again, thanks to social media, both men and women are a lot more exposed and are under the impression that they are highly desired by many, many other men and women. Umm, no – this is only an illusion. And if that were true, I refuse to tell my grandchildren, “I met your grandpa over the internet. He liked my sense of style and we bonded over YouTube videos.” No. Less is more people. Facebook and Instagram are not dating catalogues – especially if you’re already seeing someone.
The Bro Code Versus the Ho Code: I just love the new trend of pouncing on your friend’s ex. I would like to especially thank all the sleazy men out there with penis envy and most of the new age chicks that have made this delicious dream a reality. I will say nothing further on this matter because I may become hostile.
Chivalry versus Mockery: Men don’t open doors anymore, thanks to the little betches who mocked them, laughed at them or ignored their chivalrous attempts and took them for granted. These girls have made life that much more difficult for single women who were actually taught manners and how to appreciate them.
But here’s a little pick me up for you: when you’re past your puberty phase and actually encounter a few jerks, you will wish you weren’t such an ungrateful little betch. Guess who will open the door for your then? No one.
And with that, I end my two cents of a rant on modern dating.
Whether we’re 20, 30 or 40, we’re all scared of getting hurt. Regardless of what fairytales we’ve watched, what hopes we’ve built up or which generation set which rules, we end up complicating everything because we’re afraid of repeating past mistakes or making new ones. Personally speaking, my relationships were a lot better – or easier – a decade ago. I was simpler. Yes I was more ignorant, but I was less demanding; yes I was more careless, but I was less cautious; yes I was more tolerant, but I was less jaded. Consequently, men were a lot more willing to take a chance on me; and they did. As I journeyed back to my childhood while listening to the “Sleeping Beauty” soundtrack (now known as “Maleficent,” of course), I couldn’t help but wonder: do we lose our colors the less we believe in magic? Maybe it isn’t our expression lines that we should be worried about. Maybe the real signs of aging are the scars we have on our soul. They are not as visible to the naked eye, but they are what make us skeptical; cynical; pessimistic. So, what’s the solution? Should there be a drinkable magic potion that could take us back to whoever we were before we got our fair share of life?
Yeah, that’s a bit far-fetched. But just in case you’ve been feeling a bit jaded lately, sick of playing games, or if you’re wondering why no one is willing to take a chance on you, ask yourself if you’ve been allowing yourself to take a chance on someone first. Maybe the recipe to that magic potion is a bit of amnesia and a whole lot of positive thinking. And maybe, just maybe, if you expect something good to happen for once, it will. In the midst of all our cynicism, maybe we should all watch a fairytale once in a while to remind us of how we felt during our age of innocence when we still believed they could come true; and how simpler and more beautiful it all was back then.