Many women follow certain criteria when it comes to dating in their 20’s. In my case, it used to be that any boy that bats his eyelashes at me was a contender. Not saying that I slept with anything that moved, but my standards for hookups have been known to be quite lower than my standards for relationships (which I think is acceptable). A woman’s number of sex partners seems to be a pretty controversial topic in the dating world. At the ripe age of 21, I am guessing 4 or 5 partners is “normal” for the average woman. Lets just say that its not the number that bothers me… Its the reoccurring, emotionally draining cycle that I go through with every sexual partner.
Long before the dating world presented itself to me, I grew up watching TV shows that taught young girls to follow their own set of guidelines while dating. I expected to fall in love or date the boys I would hook up with in my 20’s. Wrong. So so wrong. Things aren’t always what they seem in the dating world, and that realization often slaps girls in the face. I often imagine 10 year old Stephanie being horrified if she saw what 21 year old Stephanie has been through.
The only dating websites I knew about growing up were FarmersOnly, ChristianMingle and BlackPeopleMeet. We all just thought those people were pathetic and had no chance at love. Little did I know I would be one of Tinder and Bumble’s most active members in 2017. I constantly tell people that I am only active to mess with boys because its funny, but the truth is that I secretly hope I’ll find my soulmate. I would have laughed in your face if you told me that I would be going on dates with boys I met on a dating app. Even saying it now makes me feel weird and slightly incapable of meeting men on my own in person. I know that it isn’t the truth because I’m super outgoing, I just suck at being smooth.
Because I (and the rest of the world) use apps such as Tinder and Bumble, things can get weird in .5 seconds. I think its an amazing thing to meet a new person after you’ve talked about how much you both love tacos or JCole for a few hours, but that trust can only go so far. I’ve made one too many Tinder mistakes since I’ve been in college and I could have gone my whole life without meeting these shitheads, but here we are. This led me to a pretty important realization: I need my own rule. I believe that every woman has their own epiphany about creating their rule for first dates. After being humiliated and confused about what I wanted out of these dates, I decided to make a rule for my senior year of college.
RULE: Do NOT sleep with the guy on the first date to avoid all possible attachment in case you never see him again.
This rule excludes all other sexual activity because apparently my heart isn’t invested unless I have sex. Its pretty messed up, but I guarantee most college girls are in the same boat as me. I wouldn’t consider myself clingy and incapable of hookups, but I care about people. And because I am an open book emotionally, the most vulnerable part of me is physical. So when I let a guy have almost all of me within 24 hours of knowing each other, what is my self worth? Why do us women do this to ourselves?
“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
– Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
This quote has been ringing in my head ever since I laid eyes on it in the 8th grade. Why has it taken me this long to appreciate the meaning? Every time us girls give our womanhood up in the first five minutes, we are only hurting ourselves. I hate to break it to whoever is reading this, but men don’t usually give a fuck about our feelings after. I’m sure you know this, I know this, they know this. I really don’t know if boys ever grow into their big boy pants when it comes to emotional relationships, but that is a problem for another day and for a woman with a hell of a lot more patience.
I am almost 100% positive I won’t find the love of my life on a joke of a dating site like Tinder, but for now its just the distraction I need. I do know what I want. I want the man who is also laying in the middle of his living room, watching Friends, and drinking a smoothie straight out of the blender on a Tuesday morning. I want the guy that wants another double vodka soda as much as I do. I want the guy who will dance in the middle of the living room with me to the New Girl theme song. I want the guy who makes me appreciate all the losers I’ve had to deal with in my dating experience and I will find him someday, don’t you worry.
So ladies (and gents), here is a piece of advice from me to you:
You are worth more than that shit feeling after questionable judgments. You have the power to do more for yourself. Say no, not yet. If you don’t want to wait, then don’t wait. You have the power to do whatever you want. You are in control of yourself, so show it.