I can’t wait to weigh in on the porn debate heating up over on the Guest Blog. But first! A little philosophizing on the ever-present, generation-defining matter of Dating & Hookup feels in order. Our righteous guest blogger, Mildly Mysterious, has offered up a scathing critique of our central concept and project here at WTF?! So, Plato knows, I have lots to say.
Click here to read MM’s take: Dating & Hookup: Dehumanizing, or Just an Extremely Tedious Game?
As for my retort?
As usual, our WTF?! readers have made all the best, most crucial points in the comments section. I offer a mash-up of their thoughts with mine.
Far from being a cynical, self-aggrandizing exercise in using and abusing men, having a dah of guys in your life is about complexity and exploration. It’s about seeing what your friendship or relationship with a guy IS and building off of that, instead of forcing guys into categorical boxes. It’s about give and take. It’s about finding out who you are and what you need, as a woman, on a basic, introspective level and NOT relying on the affirmation and overtures of men to define and value yourself. F**k that, as we say in these parts!
Dating & Hookup is about freedom – of self, of self-exploration, and self-discovery – so that when we do commit to a boyfriend or a husband or a life partner, we can commit fully and completely of ourselves.
The truth is, in a free society where men and women are equals, we have no choice but Dating & Hookup.
Wherever there are friendships (in fact, wherever there is interaction) between men and women, the question and possibility of sex is going to hang in the air.* One or both of you, at some point or another, is going to wonder…“Could I ever? Could we ever?” As modern men and women, we can ignore this tension, and usually we do, but the ambiguity lingers… “What is he/she thinking?”
And what if a guy and lady share a real connection? What if there is real potential with that guy/girl from work/soccer/college/that bar?
Then we must explore this connection, usually through highly ambiguous means, until we figure out WTF is (or should be) going on (or not). There’s probably more than one guy (or lady) with whom we are exploring a connection at any given moment in time. So, there you have Dating & Hookup.
Dating & Hookup (which turrah is right in saying we did not invent) is therefore unavoidable.
Dating & Hookup does signal a breakdown of traditional expectations and notions of romance and relationships. I’m sympathetic to fears of change. We certainly live in a brave new world.
Our project here at WTF?! is to figure out how we can be doing Dating & Hookup better. And you, my dear Mr. MM, are absolutely right in pointing out that Dating & Hookup should not descend into a kind of exploitative Darwinism, where women toy with men and overpower them.
But I honestly think there is no chance of that ever happening.
Now, more than ever, we operate with free will. A man who is not getting what he wants from any kind of relationship or non-relationship in Dating & Hookup can back out whenever he wants. Just stop texting her back! A woman making the most of her dah doesn’t lead men on, because she doesn’t have to. You’re not trying to get your Ego Booster to hit on you – you don’t need him to verify that you are hot – you have The Hot Sex Prospect for that.
We should all be giving and taking from each other according to what we as individuals want, need and desire. If and when there is conflict, we can turn away. But more importantly, when there is not conflict, we should be fostering love. We should build on any and every meaningful connection.
The beauty of WTF?! (and life!) is that love and connection aren’t going anywhere. People will always connect and people will always fall in love. But how do we get there and how do we build strong relationships? Voila Dating & Hookup, because the first step is knowing yourself.
For sure, our society is corrupt and even absurd in countless ways.
However, the free exchange between men and women should represent hope, not despair. Already through this WTF?! e-convo, we’ve shed light on more honest men and women and their points of view than Diogenes was (apparently) able to turn up roaming the streets of Ancient Greece under the hot Athenian sun.
There, we have progress!
*I’m writing about heterosexual relations because it’s what I know, but I imagine many of the same principles of ambiguity apply to homosexuality as well. Or don’t they? Please weigh in with your thoughts if you are so inclined.
Rebecca Coale - aka Becky - is a writer, musician and producer. She and childhood best friend Jessica Donalds created Dating & Hookup and founded J&R Creative Media. Becky blogs about love poetry and modern life & womanhood. She lives with her husband, Howard Coale, and their family in Manhattan and Philadelphia.
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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