From spring 2016, it appeared that the one-time king (or queen) of solely ratchet YouTube videos, Funky Dineva, had switched gears and found his inner relationship guru to share with his thousands of viewers. Dineva was known for being wigged out and in bright lipstick while giving commentary on celebrity gossip and boorish shenanigans. His days as the white-blond Miss Ross was a lift off of Martin Lawrence‘s overly jazzy caricature “Shenenah” and became the bellwether to Branden Miller‘s (infamy) as the ambassador of petty on Instagram, Joanne the Scammer.
Dineva, real name Quentin Lantham, cogitated last June: “Dating In 2016, Why Is It So Hard?” In 36 minutes, Lantham filtered the whys and reasons for dating having become so exceptionally awful in a year that, by summer, had already mutated into a trigger word. “At 32, I know two kinds of people. I know either married people or single people. But I don’t know many people who are in-between. I don’t know many people– gay, straight, or indifferent–who have boyfriends or girlfriends. In fact, everybody I know, for the most part is single. And 90% of everybody that I know are single, want to be in a relationship, but are just having a hard time finding someone, or are having to kiss a lot of frogs and are not getting to their prince. And it just made me wonder, is singledom an epidemic right now?
“[So many people are] in the same boat. This perpetual place of single.”
The vlog was not a depressing representation of single and annoyed by it in 2016. Alternately, it was a no holds barred, let me give you straight up why single people have increased. Dineva disclosed that likely, the people he spoke of are no longer wanting to be recklessly entangled in as many beds as possible, based on the sexual freedom being single grants you. People are single because, evidently, once past the quarter-life mark, dealing with anyone that doesn’t elicit anything less than sparks equals to precious time being wasted and feelings somehow still getting hurt. The loquacious vlogger also placed a lot of the blame on the influence of Instagram, where salacious selfies are favored over modest, not so overtly glamorous shots of everyday people looking like real people.
As regurgitated on Guest of a Guest, on December 29, the New York Post published “Millennials Are Killing The Dinner Date”, a brief status update on the state of dating. The headline is a combative statement to make when read on site. But “killing” in this case is really their dramatic way of saying “null in void.” But isn’t that kind of sad?
“There’s good reason why people don’t want to sit through a meal with a stranger for an hour, or often longer. One singleton this [NY Post] reporter spoke to called it her “worst nightmare,” and another said the idea of sitting through an unspecified number of hours of food, drinks or dessert makes her anxious. A recent article in Cosmopolitan detailed “Why First-Date Dinners Suck,” listing similar reasons: The date category is antiquated, the time frame of the event is too long if there is no chemistry, and eating is too “intimate.”
So millennials, a term that out of nowhere has come to replace the original label of Generation Y, the kid sibling to Generation X, and frustratingly brackets ’80s babies with those born in 1997, aren’t looking to experience, divulge, and upheld the pleasure of a dinner date? Is courtship really that dead?*
There is a lot to be accounted for here in reference to the two sources utilized. Singledom is the new smallpox and the cure for it will never be found through swiping for your life on Tinder. Social media has been more of a hindrance than a help in finding someone to connect with sooner than later because this is a platform in where illusions of grandeur excel. The going-out aspect of dating has been regulated as an investment instead of an attempt to shut off the noise and get to know someone one-on-one, albeit in an often romantic, elegant, or sweet setting where our best behaviors become larger than life. I know a handful of people from my college days and post-grad life that are now married or engaged. Some have recently announced that a baby is on board. But it’s like Funky Dineva blatantly remarked in his video. It’s either one or the other. Happily settled or begrudgingly prowling. What’s going on here?
*the Post conveniently included that dinner dates were harder on the male wallet. Well, so is paying for that M.A.C. and NARS cosmetics on the woman’s wallet.
Chronic single-ness, at least in America and once broken down in five stages by VICE, has become a phenomenon in itself. Illustrators and cartoonists who are also functioning as single people have taken to the drawing board to convey the absurdity, hilarity and underrated liberty of not being attached.
Mo Welch created her alter-ego, Blair. Her stuck like glue cynical facial expression is the most adorable representation of black humor to scroll on Instagram. What could be Blair’s decidedly hopeful counterpart is by DC-based artist Mari Andrew. Her autobiographical vision board drawings showcase adulting through instances like grocery shopping for one, meaningful reminders that there is still good people in the world and the aftermath of giving abhorrent men one too many chances.
Sometimes it feels like dating, sex, and love would be easier in another city, another decade. Such thoughts considerably came to a head when online readers got the inside scoop on what it’s like to date in cities like Toronto from Sarah Ratchford‘s personal essay, published by Canadian fashion magazine FLARE. Ratchford announced, in a nearly officiated tone, that staying home and avoiding men altogether would be the new a la mode in dating for millennial women.
Like the Post, that reads as tempestuous. Like the Post, Ratchford’s essay contained a substance in its reasoning.
“Alongside the wage gap and the emotional labour gap, the antics of softboys, f-ckboys, fading and ghosting constitute a pronounced communication gap. People of all genders are guilty of bad behaviour, but women are taught from childhood that they need to monitor and be responsible for other people’s feelings. Men have not been socialized in the same way. They are horrified when we tell them what we need. Regardless of whether the circumstances involve just hooking up or the potential for a relationship, men are ignoring what women are asking for. They don’t care if we get off, and they don’t care if our feelings get hurt.
Women are becoming more adept at f-ckboy-spotting, and, increasingly, we are eschewing the idea of “dating” altogether. Many hetero cis women I know have even given up sex. They’re choosing instead the cat n’ vibrator model, which used to be the saddest of tropes. But it exists for a reason: it is more reliable than a man. Cats are assholes, but at least they’re consistent. They don’t, for example, make New Year’s Eve plans with you and then act like you’re the thirstiest bitch alive when you text them about it later. And so, we are reclaiming the cat lady label.”
I generally rejoiced over Ratchford’s impassioned message. She made it clear that she was not going to give up men (forever), but instead no longer prioritize them in hopes that one day, that random becomes the guy that makes all the others before waste away. Like multiple colors on a top of a canvas board. Look at them go from vibrant to fade.
My “Yes, tell ’em!” moments aside, “Why I’m Giving Up Dating Men and Just Staying Home” also had me questioning how much I truly agreed with her stance. I’ve undoubtedly felt similar emotions against dating and men. A third reference in tow, the evidence was a cavalcade of everything wrong. Social media. Laziness. Emotional incompetence. Apps in place of coffee. Ratchford, with all her stalwart determination, translated as a woman just rightfully hurt and trying to find a resolution to the issue of heedless men. Honestly…what is a girl to do?
In my head and in real life, forgoing men can make you feel emboldened. Reading about it like a blow-by-blow account of how your participation in a nation of women who are letting go of the fairy tales and walking on cold, gray streets than the yellow brick road to love, I felt affliction at the whole scene. I’m asking for a second time. What has truly happened here? Why have so many men let so many women down? This circumstance is certainly not new. Documented romances and trysts in novels and reported Hollywood scandals have showered us with examples. Today, pride in taken in not wanting to bother with human interaction or believing to the pit of a woman’s tired heart that so few good men are left or deserve to be taken seriously.
Our mothers and some fathers warned us about the unfair playing field of girls vs. boys. But no one wises up without heartbreak and disappointment. There is a weeping willow comfort in being completely familiarized with the ebbs of Dolores O’Riordan‘s lyrics in “Linger.” Even if you start to choke up when singing along to: “Oh, I thought the world of you…”
Joking about how men ain’t sugar honey ice tea is all fun until you don’t feel incomplete without one, but sad that having that good, opposing male spirit is not even an option. Same for the undervalued percentage of men looking for the Bonnie to the Clyde, for Clyde looking a Clyde, Bonnie for a Bonnie. You get the drift.
Funky Dineva, the New York Post, and Ratchford all shared valid information and perspective. Here’s what I can add. I’m not mad at women who are carrying on like Ratchford. Do not settle for trite. Do not accept being treated horribly. Disagreements and differences are normal. Perpetual disregard and shaming are not. Do not feel the need to undergo an overhaul of the way you dress and the people, places, and art that inspires you. (This is especially true when operating on social media). Allow men (or women) to be good when they really are trying. And please. Do not be afraid to trust and believe in your heart and feelings one more time when the phoenix (otherwise known as “I really like this person”) rises again. In the meantime, enjoy that secret binge-fest of ’80s music videos on YouTube with that entire, fresh out the oven pizza all to yourself.