How to date nowadays

You don’t need an app

“Children on the Swing,” Louis Gan

In the flesh

I get the appeal of dating apps. I understand their place in the market. I’m happy when people get what they want from them. And I guess I’d have no problem using one if it came down to that.

But I don’t want to. Mostly because it would make a formality of something that I like organic and a little raw. I stay flesh to flesh because I don’t want to strip away the little bits of rough-around-edges intimacy I so love.

I like that human messiness of cold opens and candid exchange; micro expressions, casual touches, and building old-school from the ground up.

I’ve always been more than happy with who I meet IRL, so I’ve never felt compelled or curious enough to look elsewhere for more. It’s the same way I also wouldn’t use Uber if I could get a cab anywhere, at any time, with like 5–10 minutes notice. I only use it because rides for hire aren’t that easy to come by.

But people are. There are so many amazing individuals out there; there’s not nearly enough life to know them as it is.

Good is good, and good enough

Another thing with dating apps — and an increasingly open, virtual world — is how it has skewed our sense of selection.

When presented with too many options, we get overwhelmed. We start to make arbitrary comparisons just to differentiate; start to draw lines in the sand over silly shit just to navigate the scene.

My darlings, it’s just not this hard. Love is not about partner perfection — you do not need to Build A Bear. Love is an act, more dependent on your own daily commitment than the subject of your desire receiving it— so just pick your cookie and take a bite.

I don’t get off on chasing long tails. I don’t need to optimize that final one — or even ten — percent. I only want 2.5 things in a partner, and sure, I want them deep and hard (non-negotiable, all in, double-down), but once I get them, boi, this shit’s as good as on.

Good is good, and good enough.

In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz introduces two types of people: satisficers and maximizers. Satisficers “make a decision or take action once their criteria are met.” That doesn’t mean they’ll settle for mediocrity; their criteria can be very high; but as soon as they find the partner that has the qualities they want, they’re good to go.

Maximizers, on the other hand, “want to make the optimal decision. So even if they see a partner that would seem to meet their requirements, they can’t make a decision until after they’ve examined every option, so they know they’re making the best possible choice.” And in the world of online dating, that is literally an impossible feat.

Incidentally, satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Because maximizers spend a lot more time and energy to reach a decision, and they’re often anxious about whether they’re making the best choice — whereas satisficers move right along with love and actually living their lives.

I choose imperfections (because such is love, and humanness, and that intoxicating rawness of real life, see above, I most prefer) because I choose happy.

Lightly, lightly

“It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

― Aldous Huxley, Island

My darling, why make such a mess of this? Love is one of the best parts of living! There’s no need to overcomplicate it and overlay anxiety where things can be so easy and light-hearted and fun. No cause for stress and frustration and preoccupation — especially in the early days.

Lightly, child. Lightly.

…And then with love

Friendship first, and then forever.

A devotion to figuring out — and then honoring — their values; their goals; their wants and needs.

My job; your job — how to get from 0 to 1

It’s just your classic “boy meets girl.” We both commit to openness — warmth, extension, receptivity — an exchange, however small at first, is bound to happen.

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