Dating in America: You’re doing it wrong.

by shanrahwakefield

Those days you wish it was 1813 PIC

There are many oddities unique to America that you really need to write off as cultural differences. For example, here in America, it’s common practice to use the font “Comic Sans” in a non-ironic way, and for the most part you have to excuse them for it because they don’t know any better: bad taste is simply a part of the culture.

That was mean, unnecessary and I totally didn’t mean it like that. But when it comes to dating and relationships and all that jazz, I’ve come to the conclusion that the same rule applies. The traditional dating culture in America is comparable to their use of Comic Sans in everyday Word documents: it’s just what they’re used to. I’m going to break it down…

You know, like, movies? Well, dating in real life In America is just like in those.

Date #1 typically (and by typically, I mean without fail) starts with the strapping young fellow awkwardly scooping you up from your place in his hot ride. He’s probably way overdressed, and he’ll have spent a good part of day doing his hair, which is embarrassing. He will look nothing like the guy you originally met, by the way. The two of you will engage in unnecessary small-talk, and tottle over to some cutesy restaurant at the Paris end of Cliché Street.

As you’re seated by a waiter who thinks you don’t know how to put your own napkin on own your lap, you’ll each pick up the menu and stare intently at it. Of course, it’s a place that neither of you can afford, though you’ll both pretend you can. You’ll order whatever is least likely to make look unattractive when you eat it (even though you really wanted the juicy, drippy hamburger), and talk about vastly uninteresting things.

Then, the bill comes. Blah, blah, blah… you do the old reach-for-your-wallet trick, he tut-tuts that he’s “got this”, you protest, he shushes you, you pretend you’ve never been so mortified and impressed all at once… blah, blah, blah.

On the way home, the poor guy agonizes over what to do when he pulls up at your house: (a) leave the car running and in drive, (b) leave the car running but put it in park, or (c) switch off the engine.

All three options carry massive implications and he has no fucking idea which one to take, because any chance of interpreting your mood has been blocked by the inherent awkwardness of the situation.

OR, if he’s watched far too many romantic comedies, he’ll choose the dreaded option (d), which should be banned from the face of the earth because I am absolutely positive nobody enjoys it. He parks the car, and walks you to your front door with mad swagger, and you feel really sorry for him because you know it’s fake. The two of you stand at the door for a moment while you fumble for your keys, dreading what’s coming next. Then, just as you turn your head to face him, his nose collides with your eyeball. The poor guy pretends it never happened, and swiftly realigns his face so that his lips are clumsily smooshed against yours.

Kill. Me. Now.

The next few minutes are a blur, as you talk directly over each other, mumbling incoherently about texting each other later, how much fun you had, and to drive safe or whatever. Annnnnd it’s finally over.

If you liked each other enough to want to spend time alone together, why the FUCK would you put yourselves through this horrible procedure? No matter how much chemistry there may have been between you, there is no way in HELL it could possibly withstand the above. That moment at the door is NOT the most romantic moment of your life, it is the most contrived, awkward, kill-me-now one, because the pressure of the night has turned you both into social retards, whether you like it or not.

The times I’ve actually agreed to go through this embarrassing destined-to-fail ritual, the result was nothing short of horrendous. On one occasion, as we were walking to date-guy’s car, I stumbled mid-step in order to avoid a dead rat laying right where I was about to place my foot, and instead stepped fair and square in a pile of dog shit. I mean… if that’s not a sign, I don’t know what the hell is.

I don’t mean a sign that the guy’s a dud, either; rather, a sign that the religiously followed dating ritual is awkward and straight up incorrect. I will say it clearly: this is the worst, most explosively terrible, jaw-droppingly inappropriate way to get to know a person.

Telling American guys (and jaw-to-the-floor girls) “how it works in Australia” is almost a fucking party trick amongst my Australian friends and I. You’d think they’d just been told the earth is made from beer and porn. The girls, however, tend to be less than impressed: “OMG LOL WTF? So you, like, get wasted, make out with a random on the dance floor, take them home, bang them, repeat this every weekend for a month, and you’re official?”

Try before you buy, we say. Amiright, ladies of Australia? I might lose a few of you here, but I’m pretty sure I can authoritatively say that’s a pretty standard process for attaining a significant other in Australia. And I think it’s a damn good process, too. Just like there’s nothing more organic than a nation formed from haphazardly planted convicts and entitled sailors, there’s nothing more organic than a relationship formed from beer goggles and walks-of-shame.

Obviously that analogy was a complete failure. Let me try again. Typically, human beings do not function well under awkward circumstances. If the circumstances are awkward, the human becomes awkward and inevitably turns into a less cool, less attractive version of themselves.

What could possibly be more awkward than attempting to recreate the very circumstances you’ve seen performed with flawless style and grace by Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams and in every single movie ever made?

Real, actual humans can never be expected to emulate this without royally fucking up. The pressure is murderous, and Channing Tatum has a makeup artist. So when you really think about it, getting blackout drunk and having your first pash smooshed up against a wall on a sweaty dance floor is clearly the better alternative. Because whilst beer breath and drunk eyes are gross, unnecessary inhibitions that cause you to put your elbow in a bowl of soup are worse.

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