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Jess is the co-creator of Dating & Hookup, alongside her childhood best friend Becky Lynch, and is the author of the book - yep! - Dating & Hookup. She never tires of hearing your post-dating stories. She wants you to enjoy your love life, and is full of advice on how to do so.
Oh, stop judging me. You should have guessed that I was watching this season ofThe Bachelor!
Let’s look at the evidence. Not only did I recap and live tweet the last season of The Bachelorette(from the post-dating perspective, of course!), start a comments war about the show’s viewership in my Huffington Post column, and use it as a viable platform to discuss psychological theories of attraction, arousal and why Vienna’s face still sort of bothers me - but I can’t seem to do anything WTF?!-related without throwing in a symbolic rose. Check out my cartoon. Or my photo in Time Out New York. Or my choice of guest bloggers (that one took some convincing, let me tell you). That hint of romance just hasn’t quite been beaten out of me yet.
Say what you will, but I’m definitely not the only one watching The Bachelor. 13.8 million people tuned in for the season finale on Monday night! Well, 13.8 million plus one, if you count my dad. But while most of them were probably focusing on the romantic helicopter rides, or wondering how Brad found time to exercise and keep up that physique (yum) in between all those shark diving outings, I was thinking about Dating & Hookup.
The conclusion of this past season – Brad’s season – reminded me of a very important truth about Dating & Hookup. Dating & Hookup works a lot better when you both have one.
I went out with a guy two nights ago, and he hasn’t called yet. No biggie, since I never expect calls within the first three days (thanks to Vince Vaughn and Neil Strauss for standardizing contact times).
However, a few hours after I left his house the next morning (why yes, we did sleep together), I made a Facebook status update totally unrelated to my encounter with him — and his first Facebook activity for the day (hooray for timestamps!) was to “like” my status. I wasn’t sure what this meant, since he then went on to leave comments on photos of other girls with whom he’s friends.
So of course I didn’t respond to his “like,” and then I left comments on photos of my other guy friends. But a few hours later, the guy in question left a comment on my wall: a pop culture reference we had talked about when we went out.
My question is: WTF does this mean?!?! Is he interested in me romantically? Does he just want to sleep with me again? Should I wait for his call, or text him, or respond in turn with a Facebook message non-specific to our encounter? With so many forms of communication to be coy and flirtatious, I’m at a loss. Please help!
Flummoxed by Facebook
To cheat or not to cheat? Oh, if only that was the only question.
Once upon a time, in the potentially mythical era where romantic boundaries were clear and Rules were staid and everyone was running around in poodle skirts and varsity letter pins (wait, Grease wasn’t a documentary?!), cheating was a contained issue.
You dated someone. Then you either took someone else out on dates at the same time (cheating!) or got down and dirty with someone else (cheating!). Or, you didn’t (not cheating!). If you were in a relationship, the only question was, “Do I want to cheat?” If you were single, you had to decide, “Do I want to be the other woman/man?” Tough decisions, maybe. But pretty damn clear.
Now? Cheating has become more ambiguous. I know, shocking. Way to make a bad thing worse.
On the one hand, let’s look at our celebrities. Tony Parker gets handed divorce papers after sending some questionable text messages to a woman who was not his (hot) wife. Angelina Jolie swears that she and Brad Pitt didn’t physically hook up until after his split with Jennifer Aniston – but we still see her as a homewrecker. Bill Clinton cheated up a storm, but many still love him and root for him and Hillary to take over the world. Charlie Sheen currently has two live-in girlfriends – goddesses! – and, by any sane stretch of the imagination, is also sleeping with countless other women…but somehow, everyone seems to be enjoying the arrangement.
So, wait. Does all this stuff fall under the umbrella of cheating? Yep. Ambiguous, right?
And on the other hand, let’s review what we learned during our very own WTF?! Cheat Week. We asked for a variety of perspectives on cheating, and a variety is what we got. We learned that men and women often define cheating in vastly different ways. We realized that Chicago is the wrong city in which to plan a date with your jump-off. We heard that sometimes, even when the circumstances are unquestionably shady and well, wrong, bad intentions can lead to positive outcomes and cheating can result in loving relationships. And we discovered that if you’re a married guy, you’d be wise to stay far, far away from West.
This was all fascinating! But judging by the follow-up emails, comments, Facebook messages and Gchat queries that I received, WTF?! Cheat Week left many of you with one burning question.
In this post-dating world of ambiguous interactions and non-dates and techno-romance and dahs and friendships and undefined relationships and blurred lines and differing thoughts on monogamy and commitment and connection…what is the definition of cheating? How can you tell if you’re doing it? When are you correct in thinking that your significant other is doing it? How can you determine if someone is trying to do it with you? Is there some understanding about cheating that we can all come to, in order to minimize unnecessary hurt and betrayal and mixed signals? How can we enter into relationships, 100% sure that we are on the same page as our partners when it comes to cheating?
In other words – what counts as cheating these days?
We’re Millennials. We change up rules and definitions all the time. So now, I think it’s time to re-define what it means to cheat. You wanted a conclusion, and now, you’ve got one.
Here’s some news – I’m sort of seeing my Ex again. He’s been in my dah for a few months as the Ex-Boyfriend Who’s Still Around, but things feel like they’re getting into serious territory again. If I’m being honest, he’s back in Boyfriend Prospect territory. It remains to be seen if this is a good idea or not…
I keep wondering, how do you know if you should or shouldn’t go in for Round Two? Even after my ex and I broke up (he broke up with me the first time), I couldn’t help feeling like whatever we had wasn’t over. We weren’t done yet. So here I am. But a big part of me is waiting for this to crash and burn, and for me to be left brokenhearted. Again.
What do you think? Does giving it another try with an ex ever actually work? Or am I just wasting my time, thinking it will turn out differently than before?
Stuck on the Merry-Go-Round of Love
When the WTF?! ladies hit up the Winter X Games 15 in Aspen last week, I expected all our focus to be directed at the male hot skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers conquering the slopes (and our hearts?). What I didn’t anticipate was that I would fall just as much – if not more so – in love with the women of X Games.
But that’s exactly what happened. And man, did these amazing chicks give me butterflies!
Being a modern Millennial woman can be tough. We are constantly inundated with contradicting expectations, mixed messages and doomsday proclamations of pending personal failure. Yeesh. This is why we are always on the lookout for inspiring role models who kick ass and embody our values without pandering to outdated, restrictive norms of femininity.
Well, guess what? I FOUND THEM! In Colorado. Wearing goggles and snowsuits. Spinning off ramps, racing down mountains, breaking records, and smashing up their bloody faces in the quest for the gold. The women of the Winter X Games 15.
Why did I find these women to be so inspiring? And what lessons can we non-extreme-athletes take from their approach to life? Check it out in my latest Huffington Post article.
A Non-Athlete’s Ode to the Women of Winter X Games 15
This girl is talking to another guy… Is that cheating? Should she feel guilty? We revisit a favorite Ask Jess.
Next time you’re trying to read some guy’s mind or looking into Magic 8 Balls for answers, just send your quandary over to WTF?!. I guarantee that my advice is better than a Magic 8 Ball’s.
I shared a cigarette with a guy at work yesterday, and now I feel really guilty about it. I’ve been in a relationship for over a year and I love my boyfriend. Am I an asshole?
Why didn’t I see this coming? The other guy was obviously trying to get close to me…I feel stupid, like I should have known better than to share the cigarette. I’ve been beating myself up over it.
What do you think? Should I forgive myself? Or is there something wrong with me? Am I loose? I kinda feel like a slut.
No Foam Latte (With A Smoke On The Side)
The internet is abuzz today with coverage of GQ’s exclusive interview with Rielle Hunter, the woman best known as ex-presidential candidate John Edwards’s mistress and baby mama. Apart from the pantsless photos (watch out, Lady Gaga!), the most shocking part of this article is Hunter’s determination to stand by her finely-coiffed man, despite his continued lack of promises and the unlikeliness of a fairytaleending.
From a casual observer’s perspective, Edwards’s behavior towards everyone involved in the scandal has been pretty despicable. Not only did he hurt his wife Elizabeth in all the obvious ways, but as the GQ piece notes, he went on national TV and claimed that he was NOT the father of Hunter’s baby and that he did NOT love her, all the while renewing his wedding vows and apparently yelling at Hunter every time she was dumb enough to get caught by the paparazzi (but never cutting off their sexual relationship, of course). So Hunter’s refusal to get mad at him, and her insistence that she unconditionally loves him “till death do us part, and probably beyond,” and that he never lies to her, even though “he’s lied to his wife and his state and the country,” seems a little odd.
Are we softening on cheating?
As if smart guys weren’t hot enough.
According to a study that was recently featured on CNN.com (thanks to the always colorful Strongarm Gibbs for the heads up!), people with high IQs are more likely to be liberal and atheist than conservative and religious. More interestingly – for the purposes of this site, at least – men with high IQs are more likely to be sexually exclusive (read: willing to hook up with you and only you) than men with lower IQs.
Women, well, apparently there’s no difference. High IQ, low IQ – we’re just not that likely to cheat on you!
You know that awesome guy from 30 Rock? The one who, in real life, has a bunch of seemingly interchangeable brothers? Well, one of his siblings just got much cooler. Billy Baldwin admitted – no, declared – in a recent interview that he has Skype sex with his wife!
See, even married couples want in on the post-dating world. Techno-romance is just a fact of life these days.
The issue at hand (ha) is bigger than simple Skype sex, though. We are a generation that prides itself on having guts, and on picking up, leaving, and starting anew when we realize that life has other (more exciting!) plans for us somewhere that’s not here. This willingness to skip town and follow opportunity is great for our professional and personal lives. But it sucks for our relationships.
Because, you know. Long-distance relationships never work. So says, well, everyone.
But guess what? I call bullshit! I’ve been touring the country, talking to happy and successful couples, and the number of them who “did” long-distance at one point or another is staggering. It’s almost a given nowadays, that due to work or academic or familial obligations, a couple may just need to geographically separate for a few months or longer.
However, thanks to techno-romance, long-distance romance isn’t quite so impossible anymore. Actually, it’s not impossible at all. It’s tough, for sure. But it can totally work.
In my latest Huffington Post article, I present to you…the evidence.
Billy Baldwin, Skype Sex, and Why Technology Is Saving Long-Distance Romance
(And in honor of all the great Skype sex that lead singer Chynna Phillips has been having with her husband Billy, please enjoy my Monday afternoon gift to you – the Wilson Phillips classic, “Hold On.” Yes, you do know all the words. Good music never dies.)
“We now have mathematical evidence that minimizing your “flaws” is the opposite of what you should do. If you’re a little chubby, play it up. If you have a big nose, play it up. If you have a weird snaggletooth, play it up…” – OkCupid
Moment of honesty: I’ve never, in my entire 27-year-old life, been called “cute.” At least not to my face.
Sure – like most women who don’t live under a rock and are willing to make eye contact with a guy every once in a while, I’ve been lucky enough to hear a few other flattering words thrown my way: pretty, hot, beautiful, sexy, attractive, bellissima, omorfi (I lived in Europe for a while), “faux ethnic” (??)…along with a word here or a phrase there that should never again be repeated. In many of these moments, it has seemed like the guy is simply scrolling through his mental rolodex of complimentary feminine adjectives, trying to land on the word that is going to best help him reach whatever goal he’s aiming for.
But somehow, for me, that rolodex has never stopped on “cute.”
I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever worried about this. But I have to admit, I’ve wondered. Why aren’t I “cute?” Is it because I’m not blonde? Not short? Not a size 2? Not particularly young-looking, whatever that means? Could it have something to do with the fact that a certain best friend of mine - the permanent fixture at my side for the past 15 years – is all of those things, and is indisputably, almost universally, “cute?” (I have heard her described in a thousand other ways, of course. but “cute,” too) Is it simply a matter of comparison?
Who knows. I’m over it. I swear! However, according to the latest post on OkCupid’s popular blog OkTrends – where they regularly use data from their millions of users and their online dating interactions to make some oft-surprising conclusions about modern attraction and romance – I shouldn’t just be over it. I should be HAPPY about it!
Why should I be happy about not being “cute?” Because being “cute” is apparently one of the worst things you can be, when it comes to getting hit on by men. Cuteness actually lessens your chances of being pursued by guys. Or so says OkCupid.
But here’s the thing. I’ve been talking to a lot of guys lately. I also, you know, live in the world. And I dont buy it. In real life, that is.
People LOVE to ask me what question I hear most often – during my travels, in my inbox, and catching up with my dear friends over wine and mac & cheese (we’re a classy bunch). Is it, How can I find a boyfriend?Or, Why hasn’t he asked me out on a date?How about, What tips do you have for building a strong, long-lasting relationship?
The most common query I get is…drumroll please…What does this text message meeeeean?!
I get it. Human beings are confusing enough when they have unlimited characters, facial expressions and vocal nuances to play with. Transfer that all to a tiny screen with emoticons, sarcasm, misspellings and a good chance that someone has a beer in front of them, and it’s a wonder that we ever understand what each other is saying at all!
In the latest Ask Jess column, I take one step deeper into the jungles of techno-romance and address a reader who is mystified by a new dah guy’s presence on her Facebook page. How should she interpret his wall post? Is his “like” a sign of love? Is she now supposed to respond on his Facebook wall?
What does it all meeeean?!?!?!?!
You’re not the only Millennial in the post-dating world asking yourself this question. Put your mind at rest and finally get the answers you’ve been looking for HERE.
Ask Jess #15: What Does His Facebook Wall Post Meeeeean?!
I have a guy in my dah who has served as a combination Ego Booster/Accessory, and I’m fairly sure that I fill the same role in his. Neither of us have expressed a particularly strong attraction to one another, but I definitely turn to him for much-needed compliments after a blow-off and we often accompany each other to parties or other social gatherings where one might not like to show up alone. In the wake of a very rough crumbling romance, it’s been nice to have someone to spend time with while I get my head straight to date (or non-date) again. At the end of the day, I’m pretty sure that we’re not interested in being a couple. But having someone around who is always up for dinner, a movie, commiseration, and mutual ego stroking is comforting.
Recently, I met him and a few of his buddies for drinks and brought along a female friend/co-worker. The two hit it off, exchanged phone numbers (and a little saliva), and made plans to go out on a traditional date.
The next day, both of them asked me if I was okay with the situation. I answered honestly (mostly) that it was a little weird, but that overall, I didn’t have a problem with it. I don’t want to root for it not to work out, because I want my friends to be happy. But I don’t know if I’m cheering for success either, because I very selfishly don’t want to lose my Ego Booster/Accessory.
In this messy world of new friendships and evolving connections, what do I do when dahs overlap? When my Ego Booster becomes her Boyfriend Prospect? How can we share dahs without resorting to the petty and stereotypical jealousy that so often destroys female friendships?
Not Sure If I Should Be Jealous
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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