The American dating game

| Staff Columnist

American Dating
In Europe, dating is a simple concept. You meet a girl you like, you make subtle moves to get to know her, and then eventually, you ask her out. Or if you’re shy, you add her on Facebook and constantly press the reload button on her page, sighing whimsically at how she would never fall for someone like you, a bottle of whisky and a box of Kleenexes at the ready. If you’re a girl, you make gestures to let your target know that you are interested, and then wait for things to unfold. The overwhelmingly apparent concept of European dating is simple: You are in a relationship, or you are not.

Just like the average American student is horrified when he steps out in Parisian gardens and sees couples (GASP! The horror) holding hands or even (shudder) kissing each other, so Europeans are often left dumbfounded by the complexity of the American dating game. You’ve been seeing a girl for two or three months, but you still don’t know what your “status” is? Welcome to America, where commitment seems to be the third biggest fear of college students, right after getting overly drunk and doing a Native American dance naked around the Clocktower, and listening to a mainstream band. I think Mark Zuckerberg invented the “It’s Complicated” status strictly for American students. In Europe, it’s regarded as nothing more than a funny oddity.

It seems to me as if the basic relationship that is being promoted is the drunken hook-up at a frat party, your senses (and most importantly, your sense of judgment) numbed by the shots and cans of Miller Light that you ingested. And if, by chance, you actually fall for a girl you like, well, the fun has only just started, because things can NEVER be straightforward. I blame game theory. If you feel that there is actually something worth preserving from that first alcohol-induced encounter, then you need to respect completely stupid rules like not calling the other person first, or other, achingly imbecilic protocols. I get that it’s supposed to make the other person like you more because they’re constantly wondering why the other is not calling, but not only does it make the whole thing slightly shameful and twice as irritating, it’s also completely counterintuitive. The entire concept of dating in France revolves around you showing that you like the other person, not ignoring them. But in America, the infamous P.D.A.s (Public Displays of Affection) are proscribed, and couples even vaguely acknowledging the fact that they are indeed an item are held up to public contempt before being pilloried. Or that’s how it feels, anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I can understand why students don’t want to be “In a Relationship” in college. But that’s because relationships in America are altogether too serious. You can be seeing someone and not planning for marriage. You can be in a relationship, and still not be “serious.”

Only in America could a girl dump you because your relationship is going too “well.”

As I’m writing this, I realize that I sound more bitter than Moammar Gadhafi after last Friday’s U.N. resolution. I’m sure that American girls find Europeans pushy for expressing themselves, and American men find European girls distant (for not grinding them once they’ve had a cocktail). Let me just say that the prospect of dating in America leaves me cold. There’s already too much bullshit to deal with in college life without adding another layer. Who ever thought there was a need to overcomplicate the most simple and natural of human relations?

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