Why Are Millennials Killing The Dinner Date?

by Christie Grimm · December 30, 2016

    According the prying investigative hands of the NY Post, "as online dating surges in popularity, few millennials have the time, money, or desire to sit with a stranger over a long meal." Sure upon reading this, you may think, well yeah, of course, that makes complete sense. And I too am with you as far as analytic and deductive thinking goes. But all the same, I couldn't help but be a bit saddened by this unsurprising revelation. 

    You see, I read that and think, why are we not giving people a chance?

    Giving in to the pre-first date anxiety of not being sure what you two will talk about, what they'll actually be like, how you'll vibe, how long you'll be able to pretend to be a smidge interested in what they're saying, if they're even saying anything at all, you already cut them short. Cut them short that is in terms of how they can even hope to deliver by placing them in this abridged context. 

    We all know that a coffee date is completely different than grabbing a drink which is completely different than committing to a dinner reservation. They all say different things. 

    Coffee date says, "I'm a bit sheepish, and would love the safety of daylight and comfort of a crowd should you turn out to be a serial killer." 

    Drinks says, "I'm more on the relaxed side, probably work a bit late, and who knows, if you impress me enough, I might not pretend not to be hungry for dinner."

    Dinner says, "Well, we'll just see how this goes now won't we?"

    With the first two, you're already editing them, condensing them into little more than the physical profile that's been speaking with you thus far in quipped, drafted messages. And sure, in some ways that's a generous thing to do. For God knows you're probably quelling your date's nerves at having to perform for you. I mean, if someone gave you the option of giving a 5 minute presentation, or an hour and a half long presentation, you'd choose the first - a decision obviously no one would fault you for.

    But, dating's not a carbon copy of your high school public speaking class, though your anxieties may suggest otherwise. You see ultimately, you're hoping that this first date gives you a final enough idea of yay or nay in terms of whether or not you'll continue to put in energy to make anything happen with this now semi-familiar stranger. And while an espresso or a martini length sip of stage time may seem a gift to this person and to you, when you opt for such a tight period in which to impress and to judge, in the end you're probably making that penultimate decision of yay or nay all the harder for yourself to read.

    All I'll say is, I could probably sit through a semi-bad, not completely horrible coffee and be okay making plans for a round two, which would likely turn into a rounds three and four and five of something that really never needed a sequel. But hell if I'd make it through 3 courses of a semi-bad, not completely horrible dinner and then turn around to plan a second.

    And I get it. For all of the apps and tools that make meeting people a non-thought of a thing these days, the potential for daily dates matched with the cost of dining is definitely not an easy one to swallow for most. A pocket-change coffee is far easier to commit to than a situation where you find yourself mentally counting up the cost of the nineteen apps your "bad-with-decisions" dinner digger of a date just ordered.

    But hey, maybe that's another thing. The question of quantity and quality. If you've found yourself in a soulmate-less rut where one swipe after the next seems to disappoint in the flesh, maybe, just maybe, being a bit more selective and going on only one or two dinner dates a week is a better way to take advantage of this island sized rolodex of singles you've at your disposal.

    Next time, just bite the bullet, stomach the bill, and at least start out by giving the person a fighting chance.

    Speed dating - out. Slow dating - in.

    [Photo via @carodaur]