I Think You’re Neat, Let’s Date

Y’all, relationships are difficult. Navigating them feels all too similar to escaping Azkaban without a wand. How can you ward off Dementors without the Patronus charm? How do you prevent heartbreak without a love potion?

You can’t. Or, rather, I can’t. You’ve probably married your high school sweetheart, with whom you never get into arguments about the mythological background of unicorns, and are currently living a life of suburban bliss. If so, this probably isn’t the blog for you. My wit and anxiety-borne wisdom have nothing left to teach you, grasshopper. Be free!

Right. So, everybody else, let’s just agree. Dating totally sucks, right? It’s really exciting meeting somebody you like, of course, and there’s that whole kissing thing, which is super fun. It’s also emotionally harrowing. The beginning of a relationship seems especially fraught with danger. Does she like me? Does he think my teeth are crooked? Does she want me to kiss her? Is it weird that his last name rhymes with my first name? So many worries! And, yes, it is kind of weird that your names rhyme. You need to have a plan, if this gets serious, so you don’t end up named Mary Berry.

For modern daters, most worries center around the progression of a relationship. How a couple gets from meeting to boyfriend/girlfriend is not as simple as it once was. Back in ye olden times, I’m told people traded fraternity pins and letterman jackets as signals of their exclusivity. If only it were still that simple. Nowadays, we spend way, way too long in those vague beginning stages.

Take Professor McGregor and me. Tomorrow night, we’re going on our second official date. If all goes well, we’re…

Well, I don’t actually know. Seeing each other? Dating? We’re certainly not at official status yet, but he’s also more than just “a friend of mine.” Friends don’t normally buy you dinner, then kiss you up against a wall. (Mine don’t anyway. Your social life could be way more exciting than mine, who knows?) If we are seeing each other, when does it become more? What’s the timeline for this sort of thing?

There isn’t one, damn it.

Which is the whole problem. Y’all, why don’t we have a game plan? We spend so much time fretting over the status of a relationship, when we should be enjoying said new relationship. Unfortunately, there is only one way out of this mess: a DTR. Unless your mate casually slips the word “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” into a conversation with others, the dreaded DTR is in your future. Oh, the akwardness of it all! I’ve known people – *cough* Mae *cough* – who texted their significant others asking their relational status, all in an effort to avoid the awkward talk. (Note: It worked out well! They’re engaged! This is obviously a smart thing to do.) This is how much we fear a DTR, friends.

It doesn’t have to be this way. World, I have a proposition. Guys, the next time you start seeing a girl whom you’re sincerely interested in, ask her this:

“Hey! I think you’re really neat. How about we go on a few dates, make out a couple of times, then become boyfriend and girlfriend, after a month or two?”

Y’all, if a guy asked me this, I’d be so smitten. A clear plan! No more wondering if you are going on another date. He likes you! He wants to date you, with an eye toward official status! All you have to say is “I think you’re neat too. Let’s do this!” and everyone knows where they stand. It’s so simple.

Some of you will say this takes the fun out of things. I get that. Only…what’s been happening inside my head lately hasn’t been fun at all. If I’d known Professor McGregor wanted to go out again, so many anxious phone calls to Kate could have been avoided. As soon as he asked me out, I was at peace. Sure, I’m still going to freak out about what to wear tomorrow, but he definitely doesn’t think I’m a troll who can’t kiss. This is progress! Just imagine if I had some sort of timetable to adhere to. I would be a freaking zen master right now.

So, guys (or braver girls than I), think it over. Try it out. This is the wave of the future, people!

- Grace

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26 thoughts on “I Think You’re Neat, Let’s Date

  1. Hi! I love your blog, your writing style is so clever! I am aware that it may be a stupid question, but I’ll ask anyway : what is a DTR?

    • Thank you! And – no worries – that is so not a stupid question. I tend to overestimate how much other people use acronyms! A DTR is a “define the relationship” talk, in which one person has to awkwardly ask the other if they’re official or not. They’re dreadful for all involved, usually.

      • HI again. I found myself in a very akward moment when I was out with guy I had been Hanging out with/ Dating? We never had the DTR chat. When another couple asked us how long we were seeing each other we just sat there, burning red.

        • And this is why the DTR, unfortunately, must happen. Having the relationship status become the elephant in the room is almost worse than having the actual talk. I have definitely been there!

  2. I remember going out with a guy beyond 4 dates and never really considering us boyfriend/girlfriend. Not for one iota. I think I’m just weird that way.

    I’m not nearly brave enough to try this out. I’ll let someone else try it and see what happens!

  3. Really good post. It’s like, there was actually a time when people viewed a relationship as something progressive, that led somewhere. Now it seems like half the people in the world just see things as ‘having fun’ and as flat, basically. Where’s the relationship going? Um, nowhere – this is it, take it or leave it. But anyways, it sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders and your Professor is probably just as anxious and confused as you are. Best wishes, and look forward to reading about how you do! : )

    • Thank you for the good wishes!

      I completely agree with you. So much of modern dating is an exasperating limbo of just “having fun.” I don’t know where our generation’s fear of commitment came from, but it has completely changed the way romantic relationships progress. Honestly, I don’t understand the point, if you don’t see dating as leading to something bigger, whatever that is.

    • Thanks for the luck, Jami!

      Honestly, the only way I could see a DTR not being stressful is if you’re ready to walk away from the relationship. Otherwise, they are the most anxiety-inducing, awful conversations ever. I’m almost a little bit jealous that you get to that stage, even if it’s not exactly the smartest relationship starter ever. I just chill out in anxiety land for way, way too long.

  4. ok, feeling like total weirdo again as I never had problem with DTR, maybe because I was never “dating” any of my boyfriends/partners/ex-husband, like you know those typical: going on a date thing (dinner, movie, whatever)-our relationships just happened and they had made sure everybody knew I am THE GIRLFRIEND :)
    and then if with someone I wasn’t sure where we are as a couple I was just asking straight or I was telling straight
    I’m generally very straightforward person and I like clear situations-so I make them clear when necessary :)
    btw. read the book “he’s just not that into you” (watch the film too!) I absolutely love those as an indicator and reminder :D

  5. I would looooove to have that particular conversation… or even just a clear statement of “it’s not your imagination, I’m flirting with you, and interested/single/straight”. BAH, dating is hard!

  6. I dread the DTR. And I try not to play games. If I’m interested, you’ll know it. If I’m not, well, you’ll know that too. *sigh* And this is why I don’t date.

  7. Never had a DTR. Here’s how it went with my husband: One day this boy I liked kissed me and I said, “Hey, this probably isn’t going to work because I’m leaving the country in a couple of days and moving to Mexico. If you want to give it a go though, you can come.” He did. I felt pretty confident that he was my boyfriend after that.

  8. Oh, good luck, dear! I’ve been in so many ill-defined relationships, I totally understand your desire for a plan.

    Also, I know of a woman named Ashley who married into being Ashley Ashley. By choice. I have no idea what is wrong with her.

  9. Yes. In this position right now.. Except Mr. Hotstuff hasn’t actually been on a date with me yet. We’ve hung out with other people and he’s spent most of the time chatting me up and buying me drinks, and we’ve made out a few times, but no plans solo! I want him to be straight up and I don’t want to scare the beejeezus out of him and have him run for the hills!

  10. Pingback: A dating timetable? I like this idea!

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