As a 22 -year-old single woman I’m pretty much living in the thickest part of the modern hookup culture perfecting the art of getting the right guy to buy you a drink at a bar, crafting the perfect response to a text to make you seem merely interested enough, participate in the proper five seconds to adequately judge person or persons and determine whether or not to swipe left or right on Tinder. That’s the world I live in now and I have to confess: I hate it with every fiber of my being.

Maybe it’s because I let insignificant events ruminate in my mind far past their greeting. Or maybe it’s because I react too sensitively to the people with whom I share the world. Or maybe the modern dating scene is merely horrendously fucked up. It’s probably all three, but in the best interests of, well, maintaining your interest, let’s just talk about that third observation.

While I was in a relationship, I hear people complain about the single life all of the time. Narratives from my friends, articles on the Internet, anything popular on television, it’s everywhere. But it wasn’t until I began to experience it for myself that I truly understood what everyone was complaining about. Everything is so damn complicated. Nobody asks you out on a date; they just ask you to so when you are do, you can spend the next three days that you’re supposed to be ignoring them pondering exactly what it intended. Did you see a movie? Move to dinner? Have sex in your automobile? Fly to Paris and get drunk under the Eiffel Tower? Be careful; you guys were just hanging out. I have a simple solution for those of you who struggle with these haunting topics: ask the other person. Oh wait, you can’t. Hahaha. And heres why.

We live in a world where people are afraid to feel anything genuine, or at the least, are afraid to show it. When someone is angry with you, theres no phone call asking to talk about it. Instead you get a passive aggressive response to a text message or a suspiciously relevant subtweet, quietly calling you out in 140 characters or less. If you like someone, you don’t tell them how “youre feeling”; instead you act interested enough for them to pick up on it, but not enough to freak them out. Don’t like it? Too bad. It’s all a big game and if you don’t play by the rules then you lose, and if you lose you end up alone and submerge in a piling of your own insecurity, wondering what the hell are you did wrong.

Dont ask to hangout two nights in a row. If you texted first last day, you have to wait for him to text you first this time. Dont double text. You cant presume anything is more than casual, even if youre having sex. But you cant talk about it either. If youre wondering where a relationship is run and you decide to bringing it up, every term you say has to be carefully choice so as to seem okay with any answers youre given, even if youre not. Everything is done through texting. Its weird to call someone in the modern world simply to have a conversation or try to construct schemes, so were forced to wait anxiously for a reply that were likely to not ever come.

Everything is calculated to appear thoughtless, and it is one of the most depleting games Ive ever had to play. I could earn my lords degree with the amount of day and energyit takes to determine whether or not my casual hookup actually has moods for me.

If I like someone, I want to hang out with him. Its as simple as that. Or at the least it should be. But in the dating culture to which we are enslaved, it has to be more convoluted than that. If I talk to him too much, Im needy. If Im ever free when he asks me to hangout, Im clingy and have no life of my own. If “hes taking” three hours is in response to my text, and my phone is in my hands whenI get his reply, I have to wait to answer so I dont seem too eager. And I am constantly wondering why I play these stupid games.

Why cant I call someone because I like talking to him? Why does showing I care build me needy? If I act angry when a guy blows me off, Im simply a – fucking bitch, so my only other alternative is to complain to my friends and wade in nervousnes until he finally texts me back. And let me tell you something; I dont want to be that girl. I dont crave anyone to have that power over me. No one should have that kind of power over anyone. I am so tired of living in a world where apathy is more effective in get someones attention than franknes. Im tired of the manipulative games that men and women play with one another in an effort to maintain control in a relationship that were not allowed to define.

So heres my notion: lets all stop being little fucks. Respect other people enough to tell them the truth. If someone stimulates you happy, “re just telling me”. If someone inspires you, tell them. If youre not interested in person, please only fucking “re just telling me”. Dont ignore people until they fade. Its hour we grow up and stop leaving people hanging with unanswered texts and cryptic social media posts. Everyone is human and are always just trying to understand one another in this messy dating world, so stop treating a relationship of any kind like its a challenge to complete. Be honest with other people about how you feel, and dont get so lost in playing the game that you forget to extend that same politenes to yourself.

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