This New York Times article chronicling the dating habits of Minneapolis residents is missing a few key elements of our *wonderful* dating scene. Here are my thoughts on the article and what they left out:
- Minnesota nice? People are jerks here just like everywhere else – except when your car gets stuck in the snow. Then they come out of the woodwork like a beautiful termite infestation of goodwill and camaraderie.
- The Minneapolis dating scene consists of going out with your friends and not talking to anyone else except your group of friends. That’s seriously it. Maybe it’s because on some level we all know that everyone else will be just as shitty of a human being as our horrible friends, so why bother meeting anyone new? It’s either smart or incredibly lazy with a side of depressing as hell. But hey, that’s us!
- My boss once said something really great about Minnesotans and why our dating scene sucks: if you start talking to someone in an elevator, some light chat about the afternoon or the weather, they get so nervous that you’re gonna follow them to their car or ask for their personal home address that they become extremely paranoid and ruin the entire light-hearted experience all because they think you’re gonna murder them. I don’t know what it is or why it exists, but it is very real.
- It’s nearly impossible to have a nice conversation with another person in Minneapolis, possibly the entire state, without it being extremely awkward and feeling like a gigantic waste of time. There’s just something about the look in everyone’s eyes that screams “I don’t want to be talking to you. I have enough friends and I’m probably sleeping with one of them when I get black out drunk/horny/sad enough to make a move.”
So: who’s packin’ their bags for good ol’ MPLS?!
Certainly there are very different realities among the different types of people who reside in Minneapolis. Some may be more romantic; others even more bleak than the sad outline I provided above.
And maybe it’s just my age group. I represent the 20-something U of M grad who is still friends with mostly all her college friends, friends of those friends, and friends from work. If you’re not a constant, forced upon presence in somebody’s life here, there ain’t gonna be no out-of-the-blue phone calls happening to hang out or “get a juicy lucy.” (Which, ew.)
Winter also plays a huge part in our disjointed dating scene. For over 6 months of the year, you are confined to the walls of your home, the numbers in your telephone and your Facebook chat list. Making friends in the winter is nearly impossible. Why would you dig your car out of 2 feet of hardened snow to meet up with someone who you don’t even know if you’ll like? That’s why we tend to stick to our group of tried and true friends and don’t bother to branch out unless we absolutely have to. Because chances are, we’ve already got one of you in our circle of friends:
Gay and love dancing? I’ve got two of those already. Going through a never-ending existential crisis with a side of seasonal depression? Yup. See him once a week. In a band? SO AM I AND EVERYONE I KNOW. (Thingamabobs? I’ve got twenty!) And if you work at Target Corporate, you better keep movin’ pal cuz nobody wants that Stepford/hipster hybrid cramping their heroin chic apartment.
Furthermore, maybe our dating scene really isn’t any shittier than any other city in the US. In fact, I’d be even MORE skeptical if a city was REALLY good at dating. So what, does that mean you’re all a bunch of honestly nice people who like to go out and have fun with each other? Sickening.
These are the dates I went on this year:
- A shorter-than-me bartender who believed strongly in gender roles. I’m 5’7″ and he wouldn’t stop mentioning our height difference or being really intense about how a woman and a man should act in a relationship.
- A fun guy I ran into randomly 3 times who I met downtown MPLS and a thrift store in St. Paul. He picked me up the night gay marriage was legalized in MN, we shared a PBR tallboy and celebrated at the Townhouse, and then drank beers on a bridge by the train tracks until it was time to go home. It was the most fun and exhilarating date I’ve had all year, but he was also living in his car at the time. I mean, I’m down for whatever, but it’s pretty hard to date someone who’s living in their car. In the words of Liz Lemon, that’s a dealbreaker, ladies.
- A guy I met at work where I dj who wouldn’t stop bothering me until he finally broke me down and got my twitter handle, then my snapchat name, and then my number. We had a really awesome date and then he bailed on the second date citing “baseball” as the reason.
- A brief snapchat romance with a guy I grew up with as a kid. Snapchats turned sexy, sexy turned into hour long phone convos, amazing phone convos turned into an invitation to his hometown for a 4th of July IRL hangout. Not surprisingly, Snapchat had not wielded a magical forum for love through timed photos, and we were set to self destruct from the beginning, just like the photos themselves.
You see, folks? Those weird romances could have happened to anyone in any city across the country, even the world. So maybe we should stop thinking that every time the NYT comes in to town to chronicle our weird dating scene that we’re special or especially fucked up when it comes to finding a mate. I mean, isn’t one of the most common human denominators the fact that dating sucks? Why else would Sex and the City be such a big hit, or How I Met Your Mother? The real truth is that dating sucks no matter where you live; we’re all just uniquely bad at it. WE ARE THE WORLD (of bad daters). Let it bring us together. Hallelujah.
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