Jen Kleinrock is the Social Media Editor at Dating & Hookup. She lives in Los Angeles, but was reared in Nashville, Tennessee, where you always hear Country Music whether you're downtown, at the mall, at the gynocologist, at the park, in the bathroom, behind the fridge, or up on the roof. Moving to LA meant she could finally take out her earplugs. And the whole world rejoiced.
Hey, what’s better than a real human boyfriend? A fake digital boyfriend, obviously! Elite Daily announced to the world last week that, “A set of apps called Invisible Boyfriend and Invisible Girlfriend, now in beta, offer you the chance to create a significant other who will send texts and appear in photos with you.”
Um, wut? I get lonely sometimes (as all of us sad, sad, chronically single people do), but I don’t think having a robot text me sweet nothings at night would fix that. In fact, I think it would exacerbate my sadness, because it would be taunting me with what I don’t have.
The article points out the myriad uses for the app, which mostly concern tricking people. “The new partner also comes with a unique meet-cute story and shared photographs for your nosy aunt to see,” and “He or she will send real-time messages checking in on you, meaning your coworkers can watch a message exchange happen.”
But really, is it worth this whole kit and caboodle to lie to people who are just concerned about your wellbeing? Maybe I have a super-rad, mega-awesome family, but besides the occasional standard, “Is there anyone special?” I don’t get pestered about my personal life very much. Very, very, very occasionally, they’ll pry a teeny bit further, but who needs an invisible boyfriend app when we still have access to the good, ole-fashioned excuse? “Sorry family, I have a full-time job, a part time job, and a time-consuming hobby. No time for sweet, sweet lovin’.”
A few months ago, Almie Rose wrote this article condemning the idea of “Cuffing Season.” She includes a super handy definition of the phrase if you are unfamiliar.
During the Fall and Winter months people who would normally rather be single or promiscuous find themselves along with the rest of the world desiring to be “Cuffed” or tied down by a serious relationship. The cold weather and prolonged indoor activity causes singles to become lonely and desperate to be cuffed.
Brittany: Why is everyone trying to holla this week like outta no where?
Tiara: You know cuffing season is in full effect right?
Brittany: Oh yeah you right. I know I wont be sleeping alone this weekend.
Almie’s take on this cultural phenomenon is that it’s weird to try and force a relationship just because of the time of year. I have to respectfully disagree with her interpretation.
Cuffing season isn’t necessarily about “forcing” a relationship. It’s about the natural desire to have another warm body close by when the weather gets colder. It’s about having a special person around to share the sometimes harrowing and sometimes awesome experience of being around family and friends for the holidays. It’s about feeling like you accomplished something at the end of the year by ending up in a new relationship.
I get it. Online dating is stressful. When you don’t have someone else’s physical face in front of your physical face, it’s hard to get a read on what’s going on in their weird, strange, little mind. It makes you uncomfortable; it makes you insecure and, most of all, it makes you IMPATIENT.
I understand it, I do. But still. If I get one more goddamn pathetic second message within 48hrs of first contact, I am going to find a way to explode the universal mainframe* of OkCupid so that every man registered on the site has an immediate malfunction on their laptop, tablet, and/or smart phone which causes the device to spontaneously combust.
Has it always been this hard to figure out whether or not you are on a date? This article in New York Magazine says that “73 percent of women report having no idea if they are even on a date or not.” Let me reiterate: 73 percent of women (that’s nearly three quarters, if you’re bad at math like me) can’t figure out the difference between a date and a non-date when they’re on one.
The article goes on to attribute this confusion to “booty calls, text-based love affairs, and the long-term fantasy relationships we have with people’s Tinder profiles before even speaking to them.”
I think that’s just plain wrong. Rather, people just aren’t being clear with their intentions. It’s the fault of both the man and the woman (or the woman/woman, man/man, etc.) for being purposefully vague. Yes, it can be confusing to have so many different types of non-committal relationships surrounding us, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be able to tell whether what we’re involved in is romantic or just friendly.
Recently, while wandering aimlessly around the Internet, I had a brief stirring of curiosity about how many times any one person had ever been married. I, all of a sudden, needed to put a name and number behind the world record for most marriages in a lifetime. Within a few seconds and a couple keystrokes, I had my answer (God bless technology, right?): twenty-nine times.
I have decided that age is a very, very weird thing. When I was a freshman in high school, I met this kid at Mad Science camp who was three years younger than me (a 6th grader, naturally). He was a nice little boy with good taste, therefore he hung on my every word and regarded me as a goddess. While my fourteen year old self was secretly, wildly flattered, my public high school persona was mortified that a boy this young had a crush on me.
We remained friends for a number of years, as it turned out that he was the son of one of my mother’s church friends. I would see him maybe a couple times a year and, every time, he would treat me with the same, puppy-like affection. A small part of me felt a little bad for never overtly telling him no, but the bigger part of me relished the undivided attention (because really, there is nothing I crave more in life than attention).
After I graduated high school and left Nashville for Boston (he had just finished his freshman year), we fell completely out of contact. Sure, we were Facebook Friends, but what does that really mean in today’s society? One day, not long after I left, the internet told me that he had a girlfriend. “Good for him!” I thought, and put it out of my mind.
For the past year or two, I’ve been messing around with OKCupid. Mostly I just log on late at night, grumble to myself about the slim pickings’, and send a couple of semi-desperate messages to guys who I think are in my “range.”
Ten months ago, however, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and actually meet up with a quality specimen, with whom I had been messaging somewhat regularly. We went out for drinks at a whiskey bar. He was late, but paid for my drinks and had a nice personality. Unfortunately, there was pretty much no chemistry. I was bored when he kissed me, so I sent him packing pretty early in the evening, rented The Hunger Games from a Redbox, and swung through the drive thru at In-n-Out. It ended up being a great night.
I assumed that, after a delicately worded text message about not being ready for a commitment, we would probably never talk again. He texted me back, a little bummed out, but understanding. And that was the last I heard from him.
Two magnificent, unprecedented events occurred on consecutive days last week. Tuesday evening, at approximately 6pm, a meeting of incredible minds took place at a premise-y bar/restaurant in Studio City, California. Yes, dear ones, the people behind Dating & Hookup did happy hour.
Our group of eight women and one man planted in a corner booth and proceeded to meet, greet, and discuss the pluses and minuses of being Millenials plopped into a world filled with outdated dating expectations. With Jess and Becky in town from New York, it was the perfect opportunity for us all to put faces to names and get to know each other outside the vortex that is The Internet.
Now I, personally, have only been involved with Dating & Hookup for about two weeks, so I knew little-to-nothing about most of the people I met. That didn’t stop me from falling in love. Wait, no, love isn’t the right word. Guys, I have a heterosexual girl-crush. Her name is Grace DeVoll, and she probably thinks it’s pretty weird that I’m writing all of this two days after I met her. While I might be moving a little quickly, I feel the need to point out the merits of this girl-crush by comparing it with your average, run of the mill, guy-crush.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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