Easing back into the dating pool after a substantial absence can be tough. Not only am I a little rusty when it comes to the complicated dance of getting to know someone new, but apparently the rules of engagement have changed as well.
In an attempt to broaden my social circle and meet people that haven’t 1) dated any of my friends, 2) thought about it, or 3) I already know too much about, I decided to try something new and sign up for OkCupid, an online dating site (and at the very least, I’d get a story or two out of it!).
Although the reputation of online dating sites can be a little shaky, I cannot dismiss the ability of the interwebs to introduce you to cool people. As an avid Twitter user, I have met an incredible group of new people through the ‘net. I have hooked up with like-minded individuals, met and interviewed some of my favorite writers and artists, cultivated a wonderful group of sisteren, and even met a few cool guys as well. So the ‘net has definitely been good to me. But dipping my toe into the world of online dating has been very interesting to say the least.
In the week since my profile has been live, I’ve heard from a mixture of (what seems to be) decent guys and a few pervs—which I totally expected. One man (who happens to be WHITE *gasp,* told y’all I was experimenting) gave me his number and we began texting back and forth. In the beginning he seemed cool. He was born and raised in California, he works as a project manager, loves hip-hop and expensive liquor. Cool. Aside from his incessant love to ask “truth or dare” type questions, he seemed to be a good person to get to know.
But how quickly things change.
After inquiring about the basics—what I like to do for fun, what do I do for a living, what is the craziest thing I’ve ever done (bungee jumping, btw)—the talk turned to sex, and I knew it was about to go down hill. Fast.
While I’m certainly not a prude, I do think talking about sex too soon can put the kibosh on getting to know someone. Instead of it being sensual, it can signal that you’re just looking for a booty call, not to genuinely learn about the other person.
So when ol’ boy asked if I liked oral sex, I knew this wasn’t going to end well.
After explaining that I’ve been celibate for over a year, he seemed shocked. And then preceded to offer up his services, texting, “Too bad I’m not there. I would have gone down on you slow and deep.”
When I called him on his crassness and told him that I felt he was being a little too forward considering we just met, he brushed it off. As a matter of fact, he got snippy because I didn’t fall all over myself at his proposal and said, “It’s called flirting.”
Maybe I’ve been out of the scene for too long, but if I remember correctly flirting is all about mystery—about exploring the possibilities about what’s to come. A smile, a dope conversation, a well-placed hand, a sly joke, a dance, an embrace—that’s the type of flirting I remember (and enjoy). But talking about giving and receiving head even before you’ve gone out on a date? Definitely not a good look.
Although some may blame his lack of couth on the fact that we met alone, I’ve had similar conversations with men I’ve met in “real” life. I can’t tell you how many men I’ve met while out and about and the first time we’ve talked, one of their first questions is, “When can I come to the house?”
The breakdown of proper flirting and courting is something that has been happening for years now. With the proliferation of sex and misogyny throughout our culture it’s no wonder that men (and women) have lost the ability to get to know each other respectfully.
Despite the inability of some to flirt properly, I still expect men to step up to the plate and be respectful. Although the frogs sometimes outnumber the princes, I know that the art if flirting is not dead…even if it’s harder to find.
What do you think? Is flirting a lost art?