I’m done with dating. Well, for the foreseeable future at least. Not because I “Just Married” again, nor have I eloped with the idea of being perpetually single. It is, in fact because I am newly divorced from the idea of dating as being the only, or the best, means to an end. And because, even at its best practice, dating is a chore without benefits or an exercise without results. I’m not alone in my disdain, there are no shortage of complaints on the culture of dating–everything from style, substance, execution, time, sacrifice, cost and/or return on investment. The drug of dating today is much like cocaine in the late 19th century, when it was used medically as an anesthetic, until somebody thought to measure the collateral damage it caused–then searched for a better way.
When you dig into the math, dating as a means to the discovery of that illusive life-partner or soulmate may not be even as effective as Stockholm Syndrome or penitentiary pen pals that write their way into relationships. Arranged marriages hit the longevity target far more often. Even the much maligned fraternal twins, Polyamory and Polygamy, have far higher rates of “success”–which, one might also reason, correlates to a deeper, longer more sincere sense of satisfaction. While these relationships may be described as fringe or non-traditional, perhaps much of the fanfare is due to their context. When you’re in a relationship that doesn’t get the societal stamp of approval, you have to stand and walk without crutches.
If relationships are a crap shoot (and please consider that “if” facetious), then dating is the die. Compared to other games of chance, the dating game has the worst odds (and the least rewards). So why do we play so often-and so poorly? These questions may not even be worth the thoughtfulness of an answer. The cliche about how doing the same but expecting different results is tantamount to insanity, could very well have been a reference to dating and relationships. Can’t we learn, discern and discover all that we need of one another without exchanging the ever-changing facades? I don’t want to waste time and good intentions–mine nor yours–on a sport where the sole goal is to try and figure out if we’re on the same team–or we both lose.
“I was raised on a farm in Mooresville, Indiana. My mama ran out on us when I was three, my daddy beat the hell out of me cause he didn’t know no better way to raise me. I like baseball, movies, good clothes, fast cars, whiskey, and YOU… What else you need to know?” -John Dillinger