I recently had several conversations that made me feel really, really old. But also thankful for my age.
I was at this dinner last weekend, seated across from and around a bunch of college students - interns in my boyfriend's office. I have to say, I really enjoyed them. I'm never around anyone that age, but I had a great time talking to them.
One of them asked how long we'd been together. And so we got on the topic of dating, and here's what they said. They don't date.
They don't date. People their age don't date.
I was all, "What? What do you mean no dating?"
They hook up, they said.
One lovely blonde said that you'll be out dancing, and then a guy will come up behind you and grind, and then turn you around to kiss you. Which then could lead to a hook up. Which could lead to another one, and another. And maybe one day you'll be dating.
I know I was just sitting there with a bewildered look on my face.
"What do you mean, just grind against you and try to kiss you? Just some random guy?"
They laughed. I felt very maternal.
I said, "No drinks? No asking you out for dinner?"
This beautiful woman said, "You just, well, you hook up with someone enough times and then he's your boyfriend. That's how things started with my boyfriend."
She looked at her guy friend, who she'd brought as a friend date to the dinner. He nodded to corroborate her story.
I said I thought this would be very hard on my psyche, that it would make me insecure.
These women said that it did, it absolutely did.
This made me want to hug them. No dating? Drinks are fun! Dinner is fun! Dating is fun! (Except when it's really not.) How would you get to know someone before getting too invested, which for me would be what happened in the hook up scenario? Truly, I wouldn't trade the dating business.
And then the guy, the friend date, said he didn't quite like it either. Because you never really knew what was what or where things stood.
He said something like, "And if you're not actually going on dates, anything can be a date."
They agreed. Going to the library might be a (not dating) date. Going to a museum might be a date. Hell, walking down the street could be a date. Really, what it came down to was leaving the house - if you did something together outside the house, that could be considered a date.
There are lots of times when I feel like being in college or very early 20s right now would be amazing. But I would hate this aspect of life. I'm so glad that's recent - and not how it's been since I started dating.
What I didn't ask, because it wouldn't be appropriate, is what does this mean? Does kissing count? Does it mean they're regularly sleeping with random people?
I think about how hard it is to figure out if someone likes me. And how thinky I get about it if I don't know - and that's after sitting down and having a drink or dinner and talking. Without any nakeditity. If I were to just randomly hook up with guys and then wonder? I would be 83 kinds of fretty, all the time.
I just think about all the dates I've had over, hell, even just the last two years. All that hooking up would take so much more effort than a glass of wine or dinner. On the other hand, though, I assume it would mean you wouldn't have some of the exhausting, 4-date a week cycles that I've gone through.
But I wonder, is this an accurate portrayal by college age people? Does it extend past college? If it's been the norm for a while, then people past college must be in this mode as well. But I read blogs of 20-somethings, and they go on dates. So then, maybe it's more a DC thing? Or doesn't extend past college? Can it be something you grow out of?
I just don't get it. See how this makes me feel very, very old?