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2003-09-11

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Erin Kaplan: Where has all the dating gone?

BY ERIN KAPLAN: MY LIPS AREN'T SEALED

Published September 10, 2003

I regret to inform you. I must preface
this first column by saying that you should not, under any
circumstance, listen to me. I know nothing. I have had one
short-lived and not very fulfilling relationship and a few
not-so-romantic one-night stands.

I know little about sex and even less about love or
relationships. I have no idea what the hell I'm doing. That being
said, I have to pose the question: Who does? What does it take to
figure out this whole early twenties, post-pubescent, yet still
premature mating dance that everyone does and no one knows the
steps to? If there is anyone out there who has this whole thing
figured out, please contact me, because I am vexed and
perplexed.

In the spirit of honesty and truth (neither of which seem to be
all that important in dating), I want to inform all of you out
there that I, Erin Kaplan, have never been on a real date.

Sure, a casual dinner where someone else paid or an accidental
date (also known as a scam) where you go out with a friend and they
think it is a date, but regret to inform you - I have never been on
a date.

I have had a boyfriend and more than a few hook-ups, but I have
never dated. I have never met someone, exchanged numbers and then
received a phone call asking me out. On a campus where we can fall
in and out of love, relationships, friendships and beds without so
much as a heads-up from our counterpart, I'm beginning to wonder:
Is dating dead?

Think about it. When was the last time you really dated someone,
honestly dated them, and when it was prearranged? And, if you are
one of the very few people that have, what did it result in?

Based on both my experiences, and those of my closest friends,
even on that rare occasion when dating does occur, it usually
fizzles before it ever gets a chance to fire up.

The problem with dating is that when most people date, they try
to play by a set of socially accepted rules. First: dinner and a
goodnight kiss; second: dinner and coffee and some kissing; third:
an evening together and some good old-fashioned making out; fourth:
another evening together, and if you are both on the same
religious, moral, mental and emotional page: sex.

There is, without question, truth to the statement that
anticipation is half the fun, but when we anticipate and anticipate
and anticipate, oftentimes we just give up. With all the classes,
parties, meetings and commitments in our lives, it is difficult to
put in the necessary time to play by those rules; and as a result,
phone calls remain unreturned and skepticism builds to the point
where we say screw him or her and move on.

That being said, idealists will find themselves between a rock
and a hard place. If dating doesn't work and you're looking for
love, or at least like, how do they get there? (I use they, as
opposed to we, due to the fact that I am NOT an idealist).

The next best route to the ideal destination is to become a
hopeless romantic. However, upon closer examination of the English
language, this too becomes a mute point. A hopeless romantic is
just that - hopeless.

So, for the rest of us, what do we do? There is always the
option of having meaningless hook-ups with multiple partners and I
am not ashamed to say, "been there, done that," but even this can
be a difficult task to achieve.

Guys, you have no idea how sexually-charged women are and how
willing many of us are for a little weekend fun. There is a reason
why we can have multiple organisms in one night, because sex is
meant to be enjoyed, by both partners.

We like sex. All that we ask for is a little respect and
consideration, however, for many women, even that is almost
impossible to find. Just as I despise being reduced to a gender
stereotype, I don't mean to do the same to men, but it just seems
so hard to find a guy who truly respects women.

Do you know that I was recently asked by a guy if my breasts
were real? I was ready and willing to go home with this person and
then just like that, he screwed himself out of getting screwed! I
am so sick of all the bull we have to get through to get
anywhere.

Would it kill us all to be a little more honest at the starting
gate so that when it comes to the race, we have a somewhat clearer
idea of where we stand? With dating in a coma of an indeterminate
fate, when do we shrug, sigh deeply and pull the plug.

- If you would like to date Erin, she can be reached at href="mailto:erkaplan@umich.edu">erkaplan@umich.edu.  But
she might say no.