This is quite difficult to believe, but according to a well-researched article in USA Today, many Millennials (those young’uns spawned between 1981 and 1996) are eschewing dating because it’s become too expensive. The article, quoting a Singles in America survey, declared that fully 30% of the 5,000 participants claimed their financial situation has held them back from pursuing love. Mountains of student debt which keep many still living at home well into their 20s as the cost of living surges, are contributing factors as well.
Evidently grabbing coffee or ice cream is now considered pre-dating that leaves potential suitors “thinking you’re being cheap when you’re really just trying to see if it’s all worth it.” The article goes on to illustrate that changing social norms, i.e. the hook up culture (ask your kids if you don’t know what this is, me-maw, but steel yourself), is also a contributing factor that delays romantic relationships.
For the life of me I cannot understand why grabbing coffee somewhere to meet and talk and feel each other out could ever be seen as someone being cheap. Since when should a first date be lavish? If anything, at least to me when I was dating back during the war of 1812, the thought of being impressively wined and dined in an ostentatious setting was way too much pressure. Not that I was ever asked. I’m a comedian. And generally dated other comedians.
“Why always comedians?” My mother would wail. “Surely there must be some nice bankers or businessmen out there.”
“Yeah, well, they’re not usually around when I start work at 11 p.m.,” I’d reply.
And comedians would either suggest, “Hey, you wanna meet at The Improv and we could work on some material together?” or “Hey, you wanna go see a movie and then we can work on material together?” or “Hey, you wanna go to the beach and work on some material together?” So while you might wind up only as friends, you’d at least come away from a date with new jokes, so it was time worth spent.
I feel sorry for this chunk of Millennials who say they’re too broke to date and that they view it as a waste of money. And I gotta tell ya, kids, your hook-up culture, including downloading apps to meet for casual sex with no emotional investment, isn’t anything new. You’re not being daringly revolutionary. Back in the day, one didn’t have an internet to trawl looking for a one-night stand. There were honest-to-goodness brick and mortar buildings known as singles bars, aka Meat Markets. You might want to watch “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” (or “Mr. Crowbar” if you’re in South Carolina) to realize the danger involved.
And delaying a romantic relationship until your 30s? You have no idea what you’re missing. You’re supposed to have your heart broken a good two or three times in your 20s. It’s the whole point of Ed Sheeran as you’re falling deeply in love and then digging out some vintage Morrissey when you find out you’ve been betrayed and need to hear a bellyful of emotional isolation and dark, depressing longing. You’re supposed to be broke in your 20s, you doorknobs! It’s about getting a pizza, putting your quarters together to get a couple of beers. Not staring at your phone and scouting Instagram images of your potential suitor in order to prejudge their shoes, car, bank account.
Stop the judging. Stop the quest for material validation. Yes, we live in an era of social media that by its very invention is based on promoting narcissism. But go get a cup of coffee, already. Talk. Laugh. Conspire. Dream. And besides, if you go to Starbuck’s, that’s gonna set you back a week’s pay anyway.