If a Line is Crossed and No One Is There to Stop It…

It’s been quite a busy week filled with plenty of homework and a long bus/train ride between home and SLO; I’ve been so caught up in my work that I tend to lose track of time. Before I knew it, time for another Friday post. 

Have you ever had that happen? That feeling of being excited or so invested in something that you lose track of time and little details, getting lost in whatever it is instead. I do that a lot when I’m writing or working on a good piece of artwork. 

It can also happen with people. Because last week I talked about dating and how there are so many different ways to meet people nowadays—for all we know, we could meet someone on an app and never actually meet in person for weeks. That’s how some people end up falling for what or who they think someone is. After all, we just want the best for ourselves. Sometimes though, that want can come with a little tunnel vision. 

And when it comes to dating, such tunnel vision can be a dangerous thing for all of us.

Let’s say two people decide to finally meet up in a public place and get to know each other. So they make a date and get to see one another face to face.

Photo by Jed Villejo on Unsplash

Now picture this: both people are having a good time, drinking lightly and just talking for a while. Once the initial nerves start to fade and they settle in a bit more, laughter gets a little louder and their faces flush because maybe they realized they’re enjoying themselves together. So one of them asks if their partner wants another drink, you know, can’t hurt to ask and everyone should be comfortable right? But the question is answered with a “no” and a smile; it’s shrugged off and diverted into another conversation topic for maybe the next ten minutes.

Then they ask again, “drink?”

Again, “no, thank you though. Not trying to drink too much.” Nervous laughing to try to keep the atmosphere light, but it’s a first date so that can be hard to do.

It was only by the third time of hearing the same question within fifteen minutes that things were beginning to click. But it didn’t make sense, they had talked about boundaries together and comfortability way before the date. Everything was set. And this person was funny, they were kind despite a few awkward moments of weirdness between them both.

So why would— 

“Thirsty yet?”

Cue the very large red flag thrown off in one of their heads, thinking that maybe it was time to go home. Alone.

So in just a few minutes, that’s exactly what they did. Politely and kindly, but firmly stating that they were leaving before making their exit.

Photo by JR Korpa on Unsplash

It was only a couple blocks away did they finally take a deep breath, glad to be out of that situation. But what would have happened if the tunnel vision they had going into the date didn’t fade until after the first several drinks… What if they only noticed the weirdness a bit too late?

Because I have a lot of smart, incredible, wonderful friends. And lucky for me, last week one of them followed their gut and left this date before anything went farther than weird and uncomfortable. Maybe add pushy to that. 

But they’re okay. 

The part about this that isn’t okay though, the part that I hate, is the pit in my stomach when I know that some people aren’t okay. No matter what someone is wearing, no matter if a mind was changed, and no matter if boundaries were set, things happen.

Of course they do, when some people enjoy crossing those boundaries or taking advantage of other people. As much as I wish it weren’t the case, it is something we have to look out for and the older I get, the more I understand why. 

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter your gender or age, your confidence or your choice of place—you have to look out for yourself as the only priority in these situations. Tell someone where you’re going, check in on your friends. Keep an eye on your drinks (though this does not excuse a lack of affirmative consent), meet in public places, use your voice. And use the people around you too. 

Photo by Bruce Dixon on Unsplash

Because sometimes, it helps not to be a bystander in your life and other people’s. If something feels weird, figure out why. If someone seems too drunk to leave with their date, give it a quick check or tell someone else who can. After all, it isn’t hard to get caught up in someone or something, what you think it may be; just don’t get so caught up that you lose your grip on reality too. 

Reality is your truth and well, truth can be pretty powerful if you pay attention to it. So look around, for the good moments and the bad ones because there is a time and place for everything, including carelessness.  Look out for yourself and those around you too, wherever you’re at, stay safe. All of you deserve that much. 

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.

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

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.