We dated the Zeros… so you don’t have to.

03
August

Three ways to fix dating now that Facebook has ruined everything

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Wow, has technology ever made dating stupid.

I know I sound old (quick bio: 27, white male, tall, live in NY … arguably attractive), but I did go on dates before texting and social networking sites existed, though admittedly none were successful. I still remember back in ’05 when the first of my college friends made his relationship “Facebook official.”  At the time this public display of affection seemed far more awkward than just watching him make out with his lady in the quad (also, we didn’t have a quad), so we came back with a heavy amount of jealousy disguised as scorn. I still don’t know how we justified calling someone who had a girlfriend “gay,” but keep in mind we were in college, and male maturity is rarely reached until the mid-50s, if at all. But, as is often the case, we soon realized the publicity of becoming a couple on Facebook often came with an even larger amount of scrutiny when two lovebird’s would part ways.

“OMG, you broke up with Bobby?! I always thought he was a zero! Totes better off without that dick! Shots Friday!!!” – Claudia writing to Megan on Facebook, circa 2005… or so I can only hope.

I have no doubt that some relationships (read: mine) last longer because people dread the public failure of a recent tryst. Eventually, most of us (again: me) abandon relationship statuses all together. Or “marry” our friends. Or get off Facebook when our mothers join. But the 600 million brave souls sticking it out are left with no rules for how to approach social media and modern dating. Fortunately or unfortunately, I offer a couple of my own.

1. New Relationships

Facebook’s sheer size and reach make it tough to navigate when entering a new relationship. The general rules for friending are so casual (I am “friends” with 614 people, there are roughly 14 I reguarly hope don’t die) that almost no one you connect with is really your friend. Still, sending a request lets someone see a very honest and narcissistic side of you. So how early is too early to “Friend” a new interest? A quick and dirty poll along with my own recent experience suggests that about two to three weeks or three to four dates is the average length of time you want to wait. Yes, this considerably cuts down on your ability to stalk your new attraction, which you should probably avoid anyway (You realize you can ask questions on dates, right? That’s kind of what those are for.) but it allows both parties freedom to feel out the situation without feeling obligated to add another stranger’s newsfeed to the long list of those who aren’t really friends and are barely holding on as acquaintances.

 2. Screw you, I want to stalk

Fine, while I advise against it, if you ignore me and chose to friend and stalk, at least follow a few simple rules. First, pictures: all men are required to post a shot of themselves at a wedding or wearing a suit, preferably both. I’ve also found that holding a baby in one or more shots is a winner, as is a brunch shot on Mother’s Day. All women need one in a sun or cocktail dress and one sans makeup in a hoodie. Untag all romantic pictures with former sweethearts and anything where the caption starts with “Dude…”. Second, he is not sleeping with or chasing or dating every single girl who is posting on his wall. Jealousy and a lack of confidence are unbecoming. Third, for the love of God, don’t post on his wall. You have a phone, text or call.

3. So you’ve made it this far… now what?

After finally dating long enough, then friending, if you really want to be “Official,” wait at least two months for the conversation, but don’t be offended if they balk at the idea completely. They’re not dismissing you or the publicity of your relationship, and they very likely enjoy your mother’s company, but they could care less about the extra 600 people on Facebook they don’t feel like sharing their lives with. Or they’re cheating on you (kidding… probably). Now, if a guy doesn’t introduce you to his actual friends (or mother), then we have a serious zero.

A quick rundown of other social sites: The same rules that apply to Facebook also apply to Twitter, and realize that you’ll likely become a topic of posts on both, especially if you’re dating a writer. If you met on a dating site, suspend or delete your account after one month of exclusivity. You don’t need to connect on LinkedIn unless you met at a job interview, in which case you should probably contact HR soon. Lastly, break up with any and all people who still regularly use Friendster and MySpace. They don’t deserve your love.

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Matthew Kitchen

About the author: Matthew Kitchen

Once at risk of becoming a zero himself, Matthew Kitchen has turned to writing, intelligent women, and turkey sandwiches for his reformation. He currently freelances around New York and moonlights for publications including Sports Illustrated, Forbes.com, and Esquire.com. His best assets are his abilities to dress himself and act polite in front of your mother. Follow him on Twitter @matthewkitchen Follow him on Twitter @matthewkitchen

Matthew has written 4 articles for us.

2 Responses to “Three ways to fix dating now that Facebook has ruined everything”

  1. Megan Gray August 3, 2011 at 11:57 am

    For the record, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Claudia say ‘totes’. But maybe now she’ll start!

  2. Anna Keizer August 8, 2011 at 2:08 am

    Great post! I totes agree! ;-)

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