What Exactly is Dating at 21?

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Have you heard of Bumble? It’s a dating app much like Tinder where the user gets to see photos and profiles of people who fit their preferences; then they get to swipe right on those they are interested in and left on those they are not interested in. 

So, for kicks and giggles, I wanted to try it out. I mean, how else do I find interesting people to date in a college/retirement town over summer? Besides bar hopping.

Bumble was my solution. Meeting people online has its risks, I know that. They could be fake, catfishes, bots, or so many other things. That’s not the risk I want to talk about though, I want to talk about dating… Or not.

After all, what do we consider dating for young 20 something youths in the 21st century?

From what I’m told, some people aren’t really into being together in the sense of actually courting one another or getting to know one another. After all, it’s nice to have your freedom and not be tied down by emotion and responsibility. So I’ve heard.

Other people are into dating and that’s great too. They aren’t into hook-up culture or just kind of going with the flow without definitions. Sounds a little more like my preference at least.

My problem comes in that I don’t understand where I fit into this whole schema. I’m not really into hookups; that’s just not my thing. And if you don’t know what that means, leave it at not being into casual flings.

On a lot of these apps though, despite what other people may claim, they are just looking for friends and maybe some casual hangouts. It gets a little complicated to try and figure out what someone else is into.

Photo by Michael Prewett on Unsplash

I mean, how do you even mention that topic when you just “meet” someone online? Remember now, I’m awkward.

I bring it up now because, well, I met a nice boy on Bumble and we were supposed to hang out. So we made a plan and I figured out what I was wearing, who I would tell, who would drive, etc.

But then came the mental deliberation: Do I mention it? Of course I mention it, not doing so would be foolish. But what do I say? Uh… “Hey, so I don’t know what you expect but…” But is that too much?

It took a lot of back and forth, trust me, but I ended up just letting him know what my intentions were not.

And then I waited for a response.

Then I waited. 

Took a shower, started laundry, then waited…

And waited some more.

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After two hours, he didn’t answer. There was my answer I guess, he wasn’t into the whole dating thing and would simply ghost me instead. 

I shrugged, switched into sweatpants, and went about my night. That’s how it goes for my age group on dating apps at this point, its a hit or a miss. Kinda like some medications… It’s a trial and error. Some won’t work out, you’ve got to find just the right one for it to work out all right for you. 

That, my readers, is how I am navigating dating at the age of 21. Apparently, it’s a little complicated. Less hookup common than Tinder, but still this is how I’m starting with Bumble.

After I go on a date with that nice boy next week. Because three hours later, he did message me back and said what? He respects whatever boundaries I set and he won’t cross them without affirmative consent.

So maybe 21st century dating isn’t awful. I’m still confused and who knows, maybe he isn’t that nice of a person. But I’ll find out by taking a chance and also taking precaution (meeting in a public place, telling someone where I’m going and when to check in, etc) while I do.