Let's talk about dating. Dating can be fun (in small doses), but more often than not it's kinda sh*tty. For both men and women. But dating poses particular challenges for professional women that make it an extra special experience. Suffice it to say that it's a jungle out there.
It's not Halloween, don't be a ghost.
Despite all the shade thrown our way, no one can dispute that millenials are the best communicators out there. At any given moment, we are talking to our friends, families, coworkers and complete strangers on a variety of media. In many ways, this communication revolution has changed dating and relationships for the better. Millenials have created a "hook up culture" that is sex-positive and de-stigmatizes being single. There are online dating apps aimed at everyone and anyone: Tinder, Grindr, POF, OkCupid, Bumble, JDate. You name it, you'll find it.
The problem is that our online dating and hook up culture also fosters a lack of accountability and respect that we afford people in real life. People ghost.* In my case, this happens equally with men I meet in real life and online. I will text with someone for weeks or months and then, all of a sudden, they stop replying. They cancel a date hours before it's supposed to happen. Sometimes I get a half-*ssed excuse, sometimes I don't. And I'm not alone. It seems that every woman I talk to about dating has at least one or two stories about how they became close with someone only to have them disappear.
And let's be clear. It hurts my feelings. It doesn't matter if we never met in person or if we only went on one or two dates. It's hurtful to be made to feel like an afterthought. I read an excellent quote the other day that perfectly summed up my problem with our current dating culture:
"Let's get this straight. If you start talking to me every day and night, I'm obviously gonna get attached to you. Even if I never planned to, I will. So before you press send, make sure that you won't suddenly disappear. Cause, you know, that happens to me a lot."
Simply put, it's difficult to hold yourself to a high standard when men repeatedly treat you like you are disposable.
Now this is where it gets even more complicated. The challenges of modern dating are amplified when combined with the challenges of dating as a professional women. I can't stress enough how real the double standard is. Men who are successful, ambitious and intelligent are snapped up off the market faster than the latest Kylie Jenner lip kit. Women who are successful, ambitious and intelligent are approached with caution, lest they ensnare an innocent passerby with their overbearing personality and respectable salary.
It's difficult enough to make time for dating when you are a busy professional (male or female). Work hours can be long and unpredictable and some days when you get home you're so tired that the only Netflix and chill you can fathom is the kind that involves sweatpants and takeout for one. So it's even more frustrating when you arrange a time to meet up with someone only to have them cancel at the last minute.
So let's clear some things up, shall we? Just because a woman doesn't need a man, doesn't mean she doesn't want one. Just because a woman is successful, ambitious and intelligent doesn't mean that she isn't also kind and caring. And just because you haven't known someone for very long, doesn't mean that your actions aren't hurtful or misleading.
Hang in there #girlbosses. There are good guys out there. You'll find them. And in the meantime, keep your head, heels and standards high.
* To ghost /gost/ verb, to disappear after texting with, talking to or dating someone for several weeks or months.