Dating totally sucks. It is, hands down, the worst part of being a twenty-something. This was a shocking realization for me. On television, dating looks so glamorous! Main characters run around in pretty shoes, laughing over pretty drinks, and canoodling pretty men. Well, I’m here to tell you: it is not so. We’ve been tricked. It’s not all cosmopolitans and artists whisking you off to Paris! In fact, nary an artist has whisked me anywhere. Not even to Paris, Texas.
Carrie Bradshaw did not properly prepare me for this.
In the real world, dates are awkward. There is no montage of pithy banter. Instead, we spend the first three dates asking how each other’s days went. There are only so many times I can say, “It was good!” without blurting out the truth: an ER patient totally threw up on me today, so it’s a really good thing we’re required to wear bodily fluid repellent footwear. Talk of bodily fluids is so frowned upon during dates. If it’s not mild, work-related chitchat, my date is telling me stories about people I don’t know. They always seem to end with: Oh, that Smitty. You just have to know him, I guess! The glaring truth is: I don’t know Smitty. I will never know Smitty, unless we get past that awkward dating small talk. Sometimes, I just want to scream Cue the montage!
Which means, in the real world my relationships don’t normally result from traditional dating. My boyfriends have mostly been friends, or mutual friends, who prove that proximity breeds intimacy. We’ll be friends, then we’ll be friends who flirt, then we’ll be friends who accidentally make-out after too many margaritas, then we’re friends who are dating. Not exactly the stuff of magical, grand romances. Carrie didn’t have to wait for Big to realize he liked her liked her. Sure, they had plenty of commitment issues, but at least they never had that horrid initial friend stage! The friend stage also sucks. All that will-they-won’t-they is much more entertaining when you’re not they. On TV, you at least knew Harry was perfect for Charlotte, even if Charlotte didn’t know it yet. Honestly, the only redeeming feature of being friends first is that there is minimal small talk.
With all the pitfalls of modern dating, it’s no wonder our generation is known for its hook-up culture. Sometimes, you’d just rather randomly kiss someone than spend three days analyzing your current flame’s Facebook comment. (What does “See you there!” really mean!?) In real life, Carrie and Big never would have made it. That epic story of instant connection and poor timing would fizzle, in the face of sexting and Twitter updates. It’s not so easy to rationalize someone’s questionable dating habits, when he just tweeted a picture of himself and pretty redhead at a Death Cab concert. Carrie would have followed her own spin-off book’s advice and decided he was just not that into her.
Maybe things were different a decade ago. Maybe that glittery world of dating really did exist, for a brief moment, in the lives of rich ’00s Manhattanites. I’m starting to doubt it. Carrie, my dear, you are a lying liar from Liarville. Dating is not glamorous, cosmos taste like pink intestinal gas, and – fun fact! – Manolo Blahniks do not repel bodily fluids. Where is the sitcom about tea drinkers who wear Clarks and hate chitchat? There’s a show I could believe in.