Dating: it can be fun too

Views 120 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 10 - 4 - 2017 | By: Anna Besh

As much fun as Westmont students poke at the college’s cliche, “ring by spring,” one can’t help but feel that it carries an unspoken expectation. It fills the atmosphere with an aroma of desperation and competition, forming a low-hanging cloud which, although no one will ever explicitly acknowledge it exists, threatens us with an impending life of singleness. By no means am I saying that singleness is something to be dreaded; I’m just acknowledging that something that once had so much potential for pleasantness has somehow, at least in the Christian sphere, turned into a confusing, ritualistic rite of passage reserved only for those who consider themselves decidedly “serious.”
What ever happened to “Let’s grab dinner,” or “I’ll pick you up at eight?” Where are all the conveniently casual coffee dates, the cliché movie nights, the awkward small talk over subpar Italian food? Maybe these occurrences I once considered fundamental parts of the standard young adult life are nothing more than fragmented montages from Hollywood rom-coms, but I can’t shake the feeling that maybe, just maybe, dating can be fun.
Dating? Fun? One might consider these two words mutually exclusive. Rest assured, this opinion is shared by many. In such a small pool, it is understandable how dating becomes a taboo of sorts; everyone knows who’s dating who almost as soon as the happy couple themselves. Breakups are made messier, fights more public, and people irrelevant to the relationship suddenly have an opinion. And then there’s the elephant in every room: “What are your intentions?” There’s little room for error, and for some reason the idea that a person might accept a date without consulting their five-year plan becomes a foreign concept. I can understand why, to some, dating sounds like more trouble than it’s worth.
Despite all of this, I believe that a world can and does exist in which unashamed, cheesy pickup lines abound and dates are not something to blush over, a world where a code word like “indie” is not only unnecessary, but undesired. A world where expressing a desire to know someone is not embarrassing, and where one date is not viewed as a binding contract. Whether or not a first date leads to a second is neither “good” or “bad,” and is quite honestly beside the point. By setting aside our preconceived notions of what a “good date” looks like, doors are open to opportunities that would otherwise be left unexplored.
Dating culture is further complicated by ambiguous middle ground most are all too familiar with. While the gray area between “friends” and something a little more may feel comfortable and safe, forcing someone to read between the lines for fear of being vulnerable gets old fast. Mind games are emotionally exhausting, take up more time and energy than they are worth, and most often lead to disappointment for both parties involved.
Calling a date by its name and allowing for the possibility of something casual (and maybe even a little out-of-the-blue) can be a refreshing change on a campus full of carefully constructed courtships. Boldness, authenticity, and honesty are not to be ashamed of, nor is dating something to be avoided, even if you aren’t positive you’re looking for something “serious.” I say, throw caution to the wind, ask the person out, and see how it goes. You haven’t committed to anything but a fun time.


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