The cross-post of Toxicity over at OkBloggy dredged up a familiar phenomenon. Whenever I touch on the subjects I mentioned in that post, either here or in person, a lot of people seem to read it as my asking for a manual on precisely what steps to follow, like those ads that occasionally make it through my blocker on “How to get any woman to sleep with you in less than 60 seconds!”. I assume I’m phrasing something poorly, because people think this often enough often enough that the only common factor here is me.
If anyone has gotten the same read from that post or other things that I’ve said, I’d appreciate if you could let me know what gave you that impression. I think this is a subject that could use more daylight than it gets, at least in the regions of cyberspace that are populated by the sane, the nontraditional, and the non-gender-normative. It’s not so much that there should be more volume of discussion about dating, whoa nelly, there’s plenty going on.
What I’m really suggesting is that there should be a sort of pool of information like what one gets when one goes looking for job-hunting advice, or info on how to write well. These are open-ended questions, and each article or interview is its own animal, just like a “date” is. But there is useful general advice, and there is info on how to get started if you’ve never done it before. There’s an understanding that it’s possible or even likely for someone to reach adulthood without knowing what to do, even if one could theoretically derive it all with sufficient application of sense. And people are sympathetic to the idea that some of us need more help than others.
It just feels like there isn’t a similarly sympathetic and charitable place for advice about… whatever it is I’m asking for there to be advice about. I’m not even sure “dating” is the word, or “advice”, and I’m not sure I’m asking for myself any more. I’m just sure there are other folks in the situation that my 28-year-old self was in who could really, legitimately use some help.
There seems to be a sort of stigma attached to even admitting that you’d like to date more. OkCupid is full of self-conscious statements like “I don’t know why I’m on here” or “I’m just looking for friends and we’ll see where things go from there”. It feels of a piece with self-conscious assertions that polyamory is not about sex, although perhaps less reflexively sex-negative. It still formulates the state of not currently seeing as many people as (or more people than) you’d really like to as if it were something you shouldn’t be in. There’s something wrong with it. It makes it into something you have to admit to, by demonstrating how unwilling people are to say so.
Hi, my name’s Nick, and I’d like to date more.