The Dating Game

Recently I have felt very much born in the wrong era, an old soul trying to make heads and tails of ‘Hot Girl Summer’ and modern dating; I can’t be the only one struggling with the so-called norm. The concept of love bombing and my generation’s most significant social media and dating influences constantly come into play; Instagram, Raya, and Hinge…creating an endless conveyor belt of options. It’s a brutal hack to break. 

As I flick through the various suitors on Raya, it becomes apparent how emotionally disconnected I have become. We’re supposed to decide whether someone could be potentially suitable for us from their 4,5,6 debatable best pictures… is that really possible?! Attempting to perfect the art of liking the right guy, crafting the perfect message to make you appear just interested enough that it piques their interest. What the f*** is this game we’re subjecting ourselves to? 

We live in a world where the more we allow the impacts of dating apps and social media to imprint themselves on us, the more we slowly numb our ability to connect, feel anything genuine or, God forbid, show it! If you like someone, how often do you tell them how you feel? Think about it, at what point do you allow yourself to be vulnerable? 

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with someone special who told me it was okay to be emotional and let down my walls. Reflecting on that moment, I realise how rare it is for someone to be honest and openly ask for acceptance in their connection. Where is the balance? It feels like we’re pawns in one big game, and if you don’t follow the rules, you lose with a bruised ego and shackled to your spiralling thoughts feeding your insecurities, wondering what you did wrong. 

Aren’t you tired of everything having to give the impression of being thoughtless when we all know how calculated it is? It’s one of the most exhausting games I’ve ever played; who has this time? I might as well have got a master’s degree with the amount of time and energy it takes to assess whether my casual hook-up has feelings for me or not. 

When can we all stop being little f**** and respect other people enough to share how we’re genuinely feeling with them. It’s time for our generation to grow up and stop leaving people hanging with unanswered texts and cryptic social media posts because you’re scared to confront your feelings. Be honest with others about how you feel, and don’t get so lost in playing the game that you forget to extend that same courtesy to yourself.

I’m too needy 

So don’t try and convince me that 

I’m enough for the love I want in return 

Because at the end of the day

There is something wrong with me for wanting the right love

I’m not going to lie to myself by saying 

There is nothing wrong with how I feel 

So rest assured, I will remind myself 

That I need to keep my feelings under lock and key 

and nothing you say will make me believe 

I deserve the love I yearn for 

Because no matter what 

I am not enough for that kind of love 

And I am in no position to believe that 

The love I dream of is out there 

(Now read bottom-up)

Words: Persephone Quarme
Illustration Credit: Hanna Barczyk for NPR