Over the last couple of weeks, the Internet has been alive with the sounds of Discourse as multiple videos, TikToks, and columns have covered the latest Worst People In The World who are making dating a misery for everyone.
Whether it’s been the hosts of PUA podcast Fresh ‘n Fit losing their minds after getting bodied by Instagram model Brittany Renner and flipping tables over the idea that women have sex with dudes who aren’t him, or the antics (and subsequent doxxing) of Wes Elm Caleb, it’s been a bonanza of people yelling about the current state of dating. Arguments about what fits the definitions of lovebombing and gaslighting, whether ghosting is a The Sin That Can Never Be Forgiven or whether sex for men is like taking a piss have raged for days, alongside bemused takes memes about the chaos of it all.
do married people watch gen z dating and feel like they caught the last chopper out of Nam
— Amy (@lolennui) January 21, 2022
Needless to say, it’s been a smorgasborg of relationship drama for folks like me; which trending topic should I share a hot take about first?
Spoiler alert… none of ’em, really. At least, not directly. To be honest, I’m not really interested in detailing and debunking shitty PUA podcast takes, nor am I interested in adjudicating anything about what West End Caleb did or if the fallout was out of proportion. Plenty of folks have covered all of that.
(Plus by the time this column goes up, there will be some new Main Character of the week and my attempt at blatant SEO juice will be laughably out of date.)
No, instead, what I am interested in is how much these incidents provide an illustration on just how dating has become an utter shitshow for everyone involved. In both of these incidents, we have amazing examples of not only toxic masculinity and believing the worst about men and women, but also how many barriers we put between ourselves, our desires and other people. So much of why dating has become a miserable slog comes about because of how often we get in our own way. The little tips, tricks and accepted wisdom we’ve all accumulated over the years seems like solid advice when, in reality, it only serves to make things harder for everyone.
So rather than join the chorus yelling about the Discourse DuJour, I’d like to talk about how we trip ourselves up and practices that make dating better – for ourselves and for others.