The Non-Romantic Era: How Do We Get Into The Dating Game?

by Irene Falvey

It has come to my attention lately that perhaps I have left myself out of the dating game a little too long. It’s highly obvious to me that the longer I leave it, the more impossible it will seem to re-ignite something in this part of my life. So I know that I should try to meet someone. Yet is that not the problem? When meeting someone becomes a “should”, does it not instantly lose its appeal?

I would say that on a general day to day basis I am an organised person. If I haven’t already made a to-do list, there will always be an internal one ticking over helping me to construct my day into a productive one. A handful of the things on these lists I get excited about. Yet, the majority seem like chores which I meet with very little enthusiasm. Despite this, I remain a loyal to-do list person and have faith in myself to cross off all of my mediocrely ambitious plans.

If I add “find a date” onto one of these lists, out of habit I will succeed. But if I add this task to a functional list will I not be pre-disposed to face it with a little dread? While society and films seem to make dating out as one of the most important and exciting things ever, can you really be excited about doing something when it’s wedged between “buy milk” and “sort out tax” on a shabby piece of paper?

How’s it done?

So, how do you actually go about meeting someone? In the digital era does meeting someone randomly in the outdoor world not seem kind of like an occurrence from a by-gone era or a plot point to improve a movie? Let’s turn to something more familiar to us – dating apps. While it can’t be denied that dating apps are bringing us physically together, on a more mental level they are driving us apart. That’s not to say you are never able to make a connection on these sites, even sites like could have surprising results. But they definitely feel more physically orientated.

There’s bravery and there’s risk in the push it takes to meet someone romantically without digital aid. We put ourselves out there and shieldless, hoping to be rewarded for our courage. And when we are, the thrill is much higher than a tinder match. On dating apps, the romantic ambiguity is at a much more decreased level. The direct and even crass way we can approach people within this sphere kills off the potential for any romantic illusions. The real difference between the two is that the digital option allows for the “should do” aspect of dating to exist whereas the organic option allows for something to happen without it feeling like a difficult task.

So I think I would like to start dating but I don’t want to feel like I’m putting myself through great lengths to do so. While I don’t consider myself to be a romantic person at all – at best realistic and at worst cynical – whatever way dating happens for me it’s going to have to be romantic. While I think getting randomly into a romantic situation is quite a far-flung idea, I have decided to ignore this brainwave. Continuing along these lines I have composed a list of several ideal situations to meet people in:

  1. Getting to know a handsome person on his travels when they ask you for directions. Think about it – they don’t know anybody here – surely it would be rude to leave them so lonely?
  2. Getting stuck in an elevator (okay, I’m definitely showing my routes as a former Gossip Girl addict here)
  3. Impressing an author at a literary talk with an insightful question – and definitely sticking around for the wine and cheese after.
  4. A coffee shop situation. A cute place that writes names on their coffee cups… somehow yours gets displaced with the similarly named attractive person ahead of you. Confusion and polite coffee switching ensue. A readymade date.
  5. That good looking work colleague just got let go? Well, now is the perfect opportunity to comfort them without even having to dip into the murky waters of the office ink.

So, perhaps I’m being a tad unrealistic with my suggestions. But, that’s romance, right?

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1 comment

Drue Ogden July 4, 2017 - 11:38 pm

I really enjoyed reading this piece. I like your theory that in reality dating websites are driving us apart. I agree! I can’t seem to find my way on those sites. It seems to robotic and it lacks the “story of how we met”. I always imagined myself meeting my “soul mate” by chance and not by coming up in his search criteria field. Call me old fashion but I just don’t find dating websites romantic. They remind me of shopping around for a partner and I refuse to be on anyone’s shopping list. Great article!!! 🙂



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