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Manhattan Digest, gay, gay dating, Manhattan
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Is the “Meet Up” the new Dating?

As we enter into a new calendar year and fresh hopes for what is to come in each of our lives, something that seems to be a constant “Resolution” that many single people, both gay and straight, make  is the thrill of dating someone and falling in love.  In today’s day and age of how technology rules the world, it seems to be that getting to that point of said love is much different than when our parents were growing up.  Back then, the norm seemed to be you meet someone at a bar or a mutual friend’s party, get set up on a blind date, and so on and so forth.  These types of situations don’t seem to happen as often as they used to.  Just last night, I was at my friend New Year’s Eve party and I met a really great gay couple who explained that they met on Grindr, and had difficulty telling their boss because even though the boss was gay it isn’t exactly something that you want known that you met someone on something that most consider to be a hook up site.  But the thought does prevail, is online apps like Grindr, Scruff and Growlr the new way to meet a significant other in the gay world, or are there some people out there that still believe in the traditionalist ways of hunting for a mate where you go on an actual date with them and see where it goes?  Let’s examine this for a second.

I myself, have been in both situations where I have asked a guy out online and in person.  The problem I have with online stuff is that I tend to cut to the point after talking with someone for a couple of hours on there, because quite frankly you can have all this great conversation and it never leads to anything.  Usually I will say, “So, when can we go on a date?”.  I have had men quite shocked when I ask that, and when I ask why they usually say that they haven’t been asked on a date in so long.  Same thing if it was in person at a gay bar or party.  So what gives?  This is where I went all Carrie Bradshaw and turned to my friends for advice.  The responses that I got were quite interesting and diverse when it comes to dating in the modern world, and spoke true in regards to how each person sees this ever present aspect of our lives in our 20’s and beyond.

Many of the responses that I got came from this- We hang out first, and then see what happens.  “I think people date when things are more concrete. Personally, I’m the type to say “let’s hang out” rather than “let’s go on a date”. It’s usually less pressure on both parties and when things progress then then a more formal “date” happens”, said one friend.  Another one echoed something similar.  “It seems guys are more interested in meeting up first, something casual like grabbing a beer. There after if a connection is made then a date seems to happen.”.

Question with both of these responses is, would we think the same way if technology didn’t get in the way? We live in a world today where we can pretty much custom order a date or a boyfriend due to these apps, and ignore the creeps and guys you aren’t interested in by simply not responding or even blocking them if need be.  Would we have the same reaction as above if it was more traditional as it was 10 or 15 years ago?  Or is it simply a defense mechanism that we place on ourselves in case the guy with the really hot photo and seemingly interesting online persona turns out to be something completely different and that way makes it easier to divulge how you want to move forward with this person?

Then there are friends who say that technology has really screwed up the whole dating concept in general.  “I think technology dilutes the entire dating process…it speeds it up dramatically. Long gone are the days of courting someone; most guys in our community have a plethora of options for “dates” and therein lies the problem–make something so easily attainable and it loses its allure,” says one friend.  Another one had something similar in mind- “I think with texting and Facebook and Internet in general, a lot of the interactions we used to do early in dating we did face to face, we now do via technology. Dating as we knew it 20 years ago is over.”  Check out this article which talks about younger guys talking about online dating as a reference to all of this.

So where do we find a comfortable line in the dating world when it comes to how we approach someone?  Is it taboo all of a sudden to simply ask someone on a date, or has the ever popular “meet up and see what happens” take over and be the way of the future?  Is dating extinct… or is evolving?

What do YOU think?

3 COMMENTS

  1. The digital age has sped up the evolution of dating. It is too expensive to “traditionally” date and court in NYC. Plus, the digital filter saves both parties time. I like the writer’s sentiment and to-the-point attitude. As a man a certain age, I have a foothold in both the pre & post Internet meeting/dating. I much prefer the latter.

  2. People mix, people meet, and if they like each other people hold on to any excuse to stay in contact. Those methods of mixing and meeting just change with time and so do the excuses, but at the core there’s nothing different. The only difficulty is that each new way of going about it seems to bring with it an entirely new set of rules and can lead to confusion of the order of someone pitching up to a rugby game with a cricket bat.

  3. the technology itself is neutral, but how it’s used and the outcomes are what are either good or bad. i met my husband of almost 13 years online. he is a very shy and modest man and i doubt without the website we met on that we would be together now. so, it is good in the sense that it can bring people together who might not have crossed paths ever. but when discussing “dating” online with others, i hear much about the fact that it’s impersonal up front – lists of likes and dislikes, coupled with photos and a profile statement can make it feel very cold and distant – like shopping for an object like a car (what country was it built in? what colour is it? automatic or standard transmission? lots of mileage or brand-new? who were the previous owners and did they damage it much? luxury sedan or economy subcompact? etc.). there’s also massive amounts of gross misrepresentation and deceit as well as a lack of etiquette and being duped a few times or being mistreated and deleted can leave one feeling jaded and cynical. dating “in person” can be similar – it has both good and bad characteristics. good: actual face time and interaction with a living, breathing human being, being out and on the move while engaging in social activity, being able to gauge personality directly and receiving feedback with non-verbal cues that don’t exist in chat. bad: being stuck in a situation that could last for hours if there’s no chemistry or if the date is a douchebag, spending time money and effort only to find out that it’s a big no-go, the date engaging in weird or strange behaviour or worse, the date getting drunk/high, violent or both, dealing with mixed signals and misinterpreted intent. i say that neither should be condemned or condoned and both should be kept in the “bag of dating tricks” as one or the other may be successful for one personality type, one’s location, one’s resources and at one’s stage in life and as time goes by, the other may end up being the more productive one. good luck single gay men and find ways to enjoy it…that’s the key. online or in person, being sour about dating does not further your cause.

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