10.19.2012

Dinner and a Movie.

If you're anything like me, and here I am referring to the me who owns her own vagina, is single, and is attracted to [among people of other genders] men, then you have probably at least heard of the concept known as a date.

Dating is so weird, you guys.

I've thought this for a long time, and although I've definitely mentioned my distaste for traditional dating, I've never really vocalized why. So maybe I should.

What's a date? Look, the vote may still be out on this one, but I think we can all agree on the Say Anything definition: "pre-arrangement with the possibility of love." Cheeseball? Yes. But all the bases seem to be covered, so I'm pretty comfortable with it. Plus, I feel like this definition allows me to thoroughly enjoy dating. I love pre-arrangement! I love possibilities! And yet somehow when I'm relating to a friend the details of a date I have gone on that probably included cocktails, late-nite strolls, rooftop ciggarettes, or back-alley make-outs, I am oft met with the reply: "Oh, so it wasn't a date date."

A date date? For me, this is up there with sex hug* as one of the most useless phrases of all time. Just as sex hug perpetuates the idea that men and women can't ever be real friends because at least one of them will want to have sex with the other (and so in turn that it is impossible for two people who are sleeping with each other to be friends), the idea that there are dates and then there are date dates belies the notion that one is more valid than the other and this intrinsic validity will remain the precedent for the subsequent relationship.

I. Call. Bullshit.

This is the part I don't like, you guys. I don't like the part where I hear from my girlfriends that some guy or another was disqualified for not buying them dinner. I mean, come on, ladies. This idea of dating was invented in a time when women were looking for a man that would take care of them until they met the grave and pop out a few puppies in trade. These aren't our lives anymore--in the United States women are earning more advanced degrees than men and two income families are becoming the norm. We take care of ourselves, we live alone, we're waiting longer and longer to have children, and we've entered a time when our demands for equality have been revivified--so why, when our lives are so contemporary, are we holding onto this outmoded ideal of dating?

Now, I'm not saying I absolutely will not let a man buy me dinner, I will and I have. Exactly four times in my life have I let a man whom I did not share a bank account with buy me dinner in the context of a date. I have bought a man dinner about twice this many times. Why? If I want to be in a relationship with a partner who understands and respects the fact that I am hyper-independent, strong willed, and opinionated, why in the world would I participate in the callow act of traditional dating repeatedly only to flip the script later?

It's about intent ladies, it's not about money. If we want to be satisfied both as people and as half of a partnership we need to start emboldening ourselves to be great, not acquiescing to this idea that male/female relationships are designed for the same puerile outcome. If you, in your regular life, pride yourself on being a happy, healthy modern woman, then why in the world would you partake in this culture of dating that serves only to tell you that you don't need to nor can you take care of yourself?

This has seemed obviously crazy to me my whole life, but only recently have I realized that I am more or less alone in this view. It makes me sad you guys. And I'm not sure why it doesn't make you sad, too.

--M

p.s.--Starting tonight, my Mom's movie, Sexy Baby, will enjoy another short run in Los Angeles and New York City after a very successful season of festivals. We are entering a time where we will have the opportunity to reinvent the way that people see women as sexual beings, and we still have a long way to go. If you'd like to get a baseline of where we are now, do yourself the favor and go see the film if you're in the area. You can buy tickets for the New York screenings online.

*So, what's a sex hug? I'm still not quite sure.

"Wait. Was that a sex hug? Did you just give him a sex hug?"
"Namel, WHAT THE FUCK IS A SEX HUG?"

--M


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