In Defense of Dating in New York City
One of the most common things to say about the New York City dating scene is that it's abysmally awful, and that the guys suck. How many times have you heard this? We've heard it so many times it's abysmally awful, and it sucks. But the repetitive nature and unoriginality of the claim means it's hardly a surprise that "Millionaire Matchmaker" Patti Stanger is offering up the same old nuggets of "wisdom" since coming from L.A. (where the dating scene, clearly, is amazing, as are the men) to New York to conduct her reality show experiment of horrors on our ground. In a Daily News piece today, she says she's "disappointed to see the terrible state of the dating scene," and that she blames the guys, who are "selfish."
But...hang on a second. We're New Yorkers. We're hardly ever bad at shit, and if we are bad, we're like the best at it. Bunches of us are hot, and interesting, and hot AND interesting, and even if we're not, there are copious bars that stay open until the wee-est of hours to help make us appear at least semi-attractive and make-out-with-able. Tons of us are single into our 30s and even 40s. Nobody's all that judgy about sex, or groping in a bar for a bit, or the occasional bout with incontinence. Some even like it! (There really is a fetishist for everyone.) So what's truly so bad about the New York dating scene?
One excuse people love to give are the numbers. There are so many more single women than men! It's so unfair! But, ladies, can you remember the last time you looked around a bar and thought, THERE ARE NO MEN HERE? Maybe it's just us, but every time we bring ourselves to look up from our glass of wine, there are guys all over the place. (Please, get in touch if you feel differently.)
Anyway, forget about the equality of numbers argument, because that presumes that 1. Equal gender numbers would lead to relationships for all (that simply doesn't happen) and 2. "Good dating" equals "good relationships." These are different things, my friends.
Here's where it gets confusing. Somewhere way back in social history it was decreed that one should date to find a mate. That was, in fact, the PURPOSE of dating. But nowadays, in the big, bad 2010s, you can date for a variety of reasons, many of them far more enjoyable, debatably, than "finding a mate." Dating has lots of purposes.
You can date for sex, or excitement, or to score free dinners. You can date for "companionship." You can date to climb the status ladder. You can date for free drinks, or taxi rides (don't judge), or a discount at J.Crew. You can date for the experience, in which dates you later define as "unsuccessful" are only so because you didn't continue to date, or go on to marry that person, which is actually a success, if you think about it -- at least most of the time. If you'd succeeded at your very first relationship, where would you be?
You can also just date. That's all many of us want, at least until we decide we want otherwise. And, frankly, at a time when marriage means less and less, dating "unsuccessfully" and/or for fun is both the only way to ensure that if you do get around to getting married you'll be ready for it and, possibly, so tired out from all the fun that you actually want to do it.
This is also why you shouldn't "blame the guys," as Stanger says: "Men in New York are more selfish these days. They want to hold on to their money, and they're in no rush to find a mate."
Again, wait. They're somehow "selfish" because they don't want to give you their money, "settle down" and marry you. But do you want to settle down and marry them? Do you want to hand them your hard-earned Benjamins? And...should you?
Until you know that, hold off on saying the dating scene sucks or that men are selfish. Sure, some of them are. But so are some of the women. And finding out which one you're on a date with only makes the dating scene more interesting.
If we wanted it easy, we'd move to L.A.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.