Jamaica: Romantic sunset over Montego Bay. (Larry Luxner)
My boyfriend’s stepbrother Alex (not his real name) recently got back from a nine-month tour in Afghanistan and came over to have dinner with us one night before he went back home to South Carolina. Over beers, our conversation quickly turned to dating. Alex is recently divorced and when he first got home from overseas, he started dipping his toes back into the dating pool. He hasn’t had much success so far but is intent to keep on trying.
I remember my dating days well — one of the reasons I landed this blog was because of the insane dating stories I told my editor over breakfast one day. But I’ve been living with my boyfriend for over a year now, so dating others isn’t something I’ve done in quite a while. I found myself wondering if dating had changed at all in the past year — trends are always coming and going, so why wouldn’t some dating trends change?
There’s this new app called Wist that you can download on your phone and it makes personalized food and drink recommendations based on your location, likes and others’ recommendations. They recently conducted a 1,000 person survey to find out men and women’s personal opinions about dating — topics from where to eat to who should pay. Apparently, 35 percent of men want their dream woman to drink wine on a date while only 18 percent of men prefer beer. That was surprising to me — I’ve always believed the perception that when a woman chooses beer, men assume she is lower maintenance. I’m a beer girl at heart. Give me a Leinenkugel over a glass of wine any day. I’d like to think I’m pretty low maintenance but then again I do like my gin-and-tonics on occasion as well so maybe I’m not as easygoing as I think.
Another surprising one for me was that while the majority of guys believe they should pay for a date (57 percent), only 36 percent of women surveyed expected the men to cough up the cash. I feel like splitting the bill would be a good way to go, but I would have bet money that most women would expect the man to pay their way. It’s a nice thing to see that most men are willing to shell out the cash no matter who initiated the date.
Location was another interesting debate — the majority of men prefer a fun and casual restaurant for dates, while most of the women preferred to stay in for a home-cooked meal. I think it really depends on what date number you are on. If it’s a first date, going out would probably be the best option. You have distractions if your conversation stalls, you don’t have to worry about burning dinner and there’s no pressure for anything afterwards. Get comfortable with each other, have a few dates, then bring up the homemade meal. Or, even more fun, prepare the meal together.
No matter what the survey says or doesn’t say, dating really should just be about having a good time and getting to know someone. Don’t waste too much time on the particulars. Put that effort into planning the date, not worrying about if your girl is going to order a Bud Light or glass of chardonnay. Even if the date turns out to be a dud, you can still go home with the knowledge that you tried — and that’s really what it’s all about.
Emily Campbell is a perpetually single, 20-something girl-around-town who loves Shakespeare, old movies, Natty Boh, and of course, long walks on the beach. A sales manager by day and freelance writer by night, she was recently forced into a life of involuntary celibacy when her last relationship fizzled out over a text message. She’s tired of settling for second – or tenth – best, and she’s ready to find Mr. Right. Or, Mr. Nearly Right. No one’s perfect…which she has learned the hard (but hilarious) way.