When the For Dummies folks called about a revision to my original dating For Dummies book, now several years old, I originally thought that not all that much had changed about dating: Dating, after all, is still about two people who are interested in one another and want to get together at a specific time and place. It’s not like we’re talking rocket science here. Since the original fix-up — you know, the one between Adam and Eve (who had the advantage of the ultimate Matchmaker) — dating has evolved.
With the familiar United States version less than 100 years old, the guy is often (but not always) the one who asks and pays, and couples still face the tension of possible sex at the end of the evening. However, after some reflection about the dating scene I concluded that the last six or seven years have indeed significantly altered the dating landscape, and anything that alters that landscape is certainly going to alter dating behavior.
In this chapter, I detail those changes precisely. In addition to key points to remember about modern dating, you can learn how to keep track of what’s going on in a dating notebook. I promise no pop quizzes, but you’ll be amazed at how much you can learn about yourself and the process.
Scoping Out the Changing Dating World
Believe it or not, the changes that society, sexuality, entertainment, and technology have engendered in the dating scene can be distilled into a single concept: the need for speed!
Admittedly, human beings, when it comes to love, have always been impatient — even though Diana Ross, or at least her momma, said, “You can’t hurry love, you just have to wait!” People are under more pressures now to race dating at the speed of light when instead they should be taking very small baby steps, exercising due diligence, and noticing in minute detail what’s going on. I know that the temptation is to close your eyes and just go for it. Falling makes it seem much more fun, scary, exciting, and fast, but it’s not very productive if you’re looking for more than just cheap thrills.
I sort of invented speed dating, accidentally, when I first had a TV show in 2000 Speed dating, as it has evolved, usually gives participants six or seven minutes with each potential date, but I gave them three minutes to convince somebody to go out with them, though I was there to offer encouragement or redirect the Burger King philosophy of life: Quick, hot, juicy, and your way work in some places, just not in dating! The need for speed is triggered by two equal and opposite tendencies: Ironically, couples are marrying earlier (obvious sexual urgency) and later (increasing fertility concerns), with women feeling that if they wait any longer they won’t have the option of raising children of their own.