Mandy over at xoJane wrote an interesting article today that I wanted to discuss. From the article:
Step 1: Make it clear in your dating profile that you are open to a purely hookup scenario.
Mandy is speaking specifically of Tinder, but I assume she means that this disclaimer should be included in any profile. Here’s why I disagree with this.
For starters, disclaimers of any kind always read to me as suspect. Either the person is trying to tell you something without telling you i.e. “I’m not looking for anything serious” (Read: I just want to get laid) or they’re trying to convince you of something that isn’t totally true (Read: “Not interested in casual hook-ups!”). They’re using these sentiments to create a picture that isn’t entirely accurate.
The next reason why I say someone shouldn’t do more than check off a casual sex box if that’s what they seek is because you’re setting yourself up for one awkward situation should the attraction not be mutual. You’re also setting yourself up for a dream date to end all dream dates that ends in sex and then you never hear from them again.
This may seem obvious — but for a long time, I actually didn’t say anything like this. Then I realized, the truth of the matter is: I don’t even want to date most of the guys that I meet for a dinner date. So I usually make it coffee. And even then, it can often feel like the most arduous job interview ever — or like an unpaid consulting gig. I’m watching the clock the whole time, and at 45 minutes in, I find some excuse to leave. So I tried to be more realistic. I wrote on my Tinder “Looking for a long-term serious thing but not averse to a good FWB situation since work takes up the majority of my time.” There we go. And, presto. I’ve just saved myself hours and days of figuring out what page everyone is on.
I don’t understand why she’s meeting guys she wouldn’t actually date. There’s a lapse in logic here that makes no sense. I assume she means that the majority of guys she meets are ones she would only sleep with. In which case, there’s no need for the disclaimer. If that’s the case, then you meet them, determine attraction and then slyly invite them back to your apartment to show them your oil paintings. I doubt most will be offended or turned off.
I like Skype and FaceTime for talking to someone ahead of time to see if you’re on the same intellectual wavelength. That may not be important to some people, but I find myself attracted to personality and intelligence over all else. Looks are great, but there has to be that X factor of mental spark at play. Talking on FaceTime also allows you to see someone in their office setting. Unless there were some elaborate long-game machinations at work where someone has rented out an office, hired actors to play their co-workers, etc., this is a nice way to be able to guarantee that — take for example, in my case — an editor is really an editor.
I’m down with preferring to date/hook-up with guys with whom there is a spark and connection. You want to be able to hang-out with them and not be thinking how you’d wish they’d stop talking. Again, the Facetime thing about confirming they work in an office makes no sense. They could still be lying.
I honestly think this is the main factor where people can go wrong. (Or where I’ve gone wrong, anyway.) Something casual can be so great and refreshing — but ONLY if you feel good about it afterward. For me, I know I feel good when it’s two people essentially going to the happy sex gym together. What ruins it for me is when I can tell that after all is said and done, the guy thinks I’m some less-than discardable slut. (Mainly, this has happened to me with a few guys in their 20s. So, good job, thirty-something guys.) But you can tell what someone’s philosophy toward women is through a brief conversation ahead of time. Be frank, and you’ll get a frank response. “So what do you think of the fact that I’m just interested in hooking up with you?” If he responds with something like, “Hey, man, I suppose it takes all kinds,” then, ew. If he says, “Yeah, I get it, I’m so overloaded with work I have zero time to date right now, too,” then ding ding ding this could be your guy.
I don’t know why you would ever say to someone, “So, what do you think about the fact that I just want to hook-up with you?” That question should never come out of a person’s mouth. This doesn’t take into consideration that, you know, the guy could lie and pretend he doesn’t think she’s disposable. This is a rationalization, as is the step Mandy included about wanting to make sure there’s mutual respect involved. You’ll never know that after an hour. Never. People can and often do lie, especially in these situations.
Honestly, what do you have to say? Are you really interested in dating this person? Well, then you might be in for a world of hurt because your partner is probably just assuming this is only about the sex. Don’t mistake that oxytocin sexytime rush for actual love or pair-bonding. I love when two people are on the same page about something. Make sure this is the case with your FWB situation, otherwise it will become your Friend Who (is a) Bummer situation.
Wait. Hold on. What’s the point in vetting them and making sure there’s respect and intellectual compatibility and zing and all that if you wouldn’t consider dating them? Why wouldn’t you date them – even casually – if all of that was present? Once more, logic fail.
“Do women really need detailed instructions on how to get casual sex? Step 1. Go to pier. Step 2. “Hello sailor. ” Done and done.” a friend
— ATWYSingle (@ATWYSingle) June 4, 2014
To me, it feels as though Mandy is vetting these guys for dating material under the guise of being open to casual sex. Which, I think, is what a lot of men will assume. And here’s why I think that. Because at the end of the article Mandy says:
I honestly think that is a big mistake that a lot of guys make with women — is feeling like they need to create some Potential Boyfriend Illusion pre-sex to give the woman a nice cozy feeling, when really that’s just a crappy bait and switch. All the two of you have to do is be direct and honest. Are you suddenly wanting something more than casual sex? Cool. Again, just be direct. You have nothing to lose! (Except for a FWB! But that’s a risk worth taking!)
But, pretty much all of her requirements play into the Boyfriend Illusion. To me, it sounds like she wants The Boyfriend Illusion.
As I said to Mandy,I got the feeling that the use of the FWB arrangement in the profile was a way to use sex as a lure. Which I’m fine with. However, it sounds like what she’s looking for is something consistent, which is really just casual dating. The FWB part feels like an attempt to use sex to get something more than sex. Not only that but terms like FWB have lost their meaning now. FWB is just casual or short term dating. I don’t know why people always have to label these interactions. They’re all relationships.
I think the best tact to take when you’re looking for something casual is to approach the date like any other and let the rest fall into place. I don’t think there’s a need to be explicit about anything unless the other person begins to show signs of wanting more. Then you do the humane thing and be honest. But until then? Don’t speak.