On the Not-Date Date

Millennials are screwed.
Those of us born after 1982 have no idea what it means to interact with people romantically.
It’s half the fault of texting, the rise of the “booty call,” and the general departure from the chivalrous into the hook-up culture.
The middle ground we often stand in can be a beautiful thing. You get to try on pseudo-relationships before you leap into them, but a lot of chaos ensues in the meantime.

I don’t want to sit here and say it’s representative of my generation, because I’ve dated plenty of people (still am dating) who were born before 1982 and share the same, seemingly Milleninial semi-chivalrous-yet-hesitant-predilections. On the flip side, I’ve also dated plenty of people born after 1982 who are adorable, charming, and date-driven. Not every date leads to a relationship. Some lead to beautiful friendships. Others lead to crazy passionate affairs. Some just stop. Some just limp along. Some lead to the best stories ever.

Ready for this?
I’ve experienced a lot of that ensuing chaos, but nothing on par with this:

My dear friend E lives with three wonderful randoms she met on Craigslist. They have a giant, gorgeous house. They threw a Halloween party last weekend. At said Halloween party, I was introduced to this kid. We’ll call him K.

Reader’s Digest version: I meet boy at party. I kiss boy. We exchange numbers. We get dinner. He offers to pick me up and then pays for dinner. We have drinks. I try to give him a goodnight kiss and it’s soooo (yeah, that) awkward.
[there are more gory details including the owner of the bar buying us shots and telling us we looked like we were going to get married, but I’ll leave that for another day]

I hear today that he told his friend that it took him awhile to realize he was on a date.
What?!
I mean, that definitely explains all the weirdness.
I spent about an hour burning with shame, humiliation, and the prospect of semi-rejection before I snapped out of it. I’m not putting this one back on me. Seriously? You make out with me and then expect me to think we’re having a business-y dinner meeting?

I start polling people I know:

I call Katie to ask her advice. “If it looks like a date and smells like a date…” she says.

I ask J. “It’s like if you came over and I had Barry White on and was wearing a sexy bathrobe and there were rose petals all over the floor, but I just wanted to play video games.”

E tells me to stop being such an idiot.

I was just watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother about Ted going on a date with Stella, only to realize that all of her friends are there, too. He whispers to one of them that he’s embarrassed because he thought it was a date and she whispers it to everyone else. Then they whisper the collective response back at him. Everyone laughs at him.

This is my life. I am Ted Mosby, architect, and apparently, recent master of the non-date.

I’m semi-related news:

I guess it’s somehow fitting that I’m wearing this shirt today:

The sexual life of adult women is a “dark continent” for psychology.
SIGMUND FREUD, The Question of Lay Analysis
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