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Lately, I’ve been thinking, talking, and writing a lot about dating. For years I was sidelined from the dating game because of a relationship, so I had to live vicariously through my friends. Although I was thankful I didn’t have to put up with the b.s. they had to deal with, as I slowly wade back into the dating waters, I realize I’m woefully out of practice. Because while I was boo’d up, the game definitely changed.

One major change: dating has apparently “evolved.” Many have lost the art of actual dating, as in getting dressed up, planning an activity, and getting to know one another outside the confines of someone’s house. These days, instead of being wooed by potential suitors looking to take me to the Basquiat exhibit at MOCA, I’ve been met with a chorus of, “So. you wanna hang out at my house?” or “Why don’t I stop by your place after work?” Umm…no thanks.

Has the art of courting devolved so much so that it’s no longer practiced above the Mason-Dixon Line?

Is dating really dead?

I posed this question to Clutch readers and my friends, and the verdict was pretty unanimous: Dating isn’t quite dead, but it’s definitely on life support. And I wondered, is there anyone to blame?

Whenever folks try to assign responsibility for the dismal state of dating, for whatever reason, the onus is laid at the feet of women. Or as one friend put it, “I blame these chicks. If they wouldn’t put up with this mess, men wouldn’t keep trying it.”

But it has to be more complex than that, right? Just because someone fell for dude’s tired, “Let me come to the house” line doesn’t mean we all will (hell, I haven’t). And even if a woman did, that shouldn’t be a pass for him to be ratchet or put in the least amount of effort possible just to see if he can get away with it. What happened to personal decency and being all you can be.

Call me old fashioned, but I’m a firm believer in putting your best foot forward, especially when you’re getting to know someone new. This is one of the reasons some women agonize over what we’re going to wear on a date. We not only want to look good, but we also want to send the right signals (sexy, not slutty…pulled together, but not high maintenance). However, in my experience, many men (admittedly the ones who are trying to run the aforementioned game) don’t seem to put forth the same amount of effort.

For me, the decline of dating has a lot to do with expectations. Although many of us have a long list of what we’d love in a mate, we sometimes settle for someone who looks like he or she might be able to live up to our list…one day.

Too often women get with men who they feel are diamonds in the rough and only need a little polishing. While this may be true in some cases (i.e. Michelle seeing something special in Barack), more times than not, dude with a little potential is really just an underachiever who will continue to let you down.

The other day I was talking to one of my girl’s about the seemingly lack of quality men living in our city. Although we’d like for a local man to step up to the plate, for whatever reason, L.A. men don’t seem to be cutting it. One friend said she felt they were emotionally and socially awkward, while another said if she could just find a man who can hold a decent conversation, she’d be pleased. That completely shocked me. Is the bar so low that we’re happy with a man who knows how to string a few sentences together? What happened to goals, a sense of humor, and good credit?

Although dating may have drastically changed over the years, it is still very possible to find a companion, but settling for someone who doesn’t quite encompass what you want isn’t the way to go about it. Just like in other areas of life, if we set high expectations, and demand better from those around us, we increase our chance at being successful. In other words, if you show and tell a potential boo how you expect to be treated from the beginning, he or she will either rise to the occasion or you’ll move onto the next one. Either way, you won’t be wasting your time cultivating someone you think is a diamond, but really turns out to be a lump of coal.

 

Do you have high expectations for the people you date? How has it worked for you?

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