The Pressured Dating Game

My blog friend Robert Stacy McCain sent me a link to his latest article, where he admonishes a young man for his blown chance at a suitably smart hottie. He probably thinks I am never going to link his piece, but that’s not true. I’ve been pondering it, instead.

Robert’s article coincides with a dear friend’s search for a good man. I recounted how, at the end of her date on Friday, the guy leaned in to give her a good-night face lick. I am not kidding. And as if that insult wasn’t enough, the man requested that she bite his neck and scratch his back. He was divorced (huh, I wonder why), professional and good looking. What in the hell?

Perhaps with the advent of technology or the decline in formal social protocols or the increase and ubiquity of porn or the elevation of the pop culture, people have just lost the ability to know what to do on a date. Note to men: face licking is a no-no. In fact, I feel safe in saying that if you take face licking out of your whole wooing repetoire, no one is going to complain.

One of the problems with online dating is the false familiarity it can provide. A person can share intimate details, have good conversations in that format, but there’s no accounting for in-person chemistry. And then, once in person, there is a tendency to be over-familiar. The physical part of the relationship can be too much too soon. Just because one person on IM feels the vibe doesn’t mean the other person does.

I know of successful dating outcomes from online dating. In fact, I’m thinking of two happily married couples right now. So, the method works for lots of people and works well. There are advantages, too, to learning how a person’s mind works before seeing the body.

When a person meets face to face, the mind connection can get lost in the body chemistry data. The problem these days is that people don’t give themselves enough time in person to get to know the mind. More than a few relationships fail because the chemistry brought a couple together but that’s all that’s there.

So it seems like there’s a dichotomy. Guys like Robert mentions have trouble “closing the deal”, but why is there pressure? He meets her. He likes her. She likes him. They can continue the conversation…that’s all dating really is. In this rushed world, time pressure, business, activities of life interfere with relationship building. Ironically, the pressure to move a relationship into the physical realm often short-circuits the inherent pleasure of getting to know someone and connecting with them. Online dating can help or hurt this process. So can in-person dating.

Dating has always been challenging, but it seems that in the deluge of busy-ness and information, relationships often stay in the superficial realm. Relationships are treated as snacks to nibble on and a good full meal rarely gets experienced. That’s how you can end up with so many unmarried young women and so many men who have trouble “closing the deal”. There’s too much pressure–time, cultural, sexual–all the way around.

Cross-posted at

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