When did we get so casual?

When I was 18, I worked as a hostess at a restaurant in Park Slope. On the spectrum of ‘casual’ to ‘fancy’, I’d say it was somewhere in the middle. The entrees were just expensive enough to qualify as fine dining but not so much so that you got a separate chair to make sure your precious purse didn’t touch the ground like at Del Posto. My boss at the time, the head chef and owner, used to gripe incessantly about the fact that Park Slope families didn’t understand or appreciate the act of ‘dining.’ Park Slopies, a notoriously understated bunch, couldn’t be asked to put on their finest to go to the theater much less for dinner at a local restaurant. They’re too casual, he said.

At the time, I used to silently roll my eyes and think, get over it man, casual is good. But when in recent times, I came up against a similar (but completely different) version of the same, I finally understood where he’s coming from. The ‘casual’ vibe in this instance however refers to the spate of ‘casual only’ requests I’ve had recently with the online dating community. It seems like 9 times out of ten, after matching with a prospective suitor, not five minutes into the conversation, the question of ‘What are you looking for’ inevitably arises, which is pretty much the beginning of the end of that romance for me. I don’t want casual sex. I don’t want friends with benefits. I don’t want you to text me when you’re drunk and horny and lonely and in need of a cuddle.

I went on a date a few weeks ago with a lovely guy who I just didn’t feel a spark with. When he contacted me three days later, I politely told him as much. He followed that text with an offer of something more casual. Drinking/hookup buddies if that was more what I was into. Mind boggled, I thought to myself, what in our society has led this guy to possibly think that if I wasn’t into dating him that I’d be into hooking up with him?

Then there’s the guy who I see once a month or so. We have fun together. Text intermittently between dates. But how much momentum can you really keep when you see someone once a month. I get that schedules are tough and people are busy. But is keeping things uber casual really the way to go?

In a city like New York where everyone loves a challenge and resistance turns us on, I have to ask, when did we all get so lazy about dating? Casual hookups are easy. No pressure. No commitment. I get it. But if you want a fling, go to a bar and get some, the good, old fashioned way. But nah, swiping right is easier I suppose. I was joking the other day that Uber should partner with Tinder so that people can match and have their booty call brought directly to them.

As with everything in life, you get out of it what you put in and it seems like we’ve reached a point where people just don’t want to put much in anymore. Metaphorically of course.

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