Life After College: So This Is What Dating Is Like

couple_dinnerThe dating life was so simple in college… and that’s mostly because it was nonexistent.

There were more consecutive sunny days in Syracuse then there were couples during my four year stay. Most guys would sprint and leap into oncoming traffic before they would admit to dating a girl and relationship terms like “committed” came to mean a situation in which the guy you were hooking up with (NOT dating) would be a gentleman by driving you home instead of making you do a walk of shame through a subzero blizzard.

However in the real world things are a little different. Guys not only call you back during daylight hours but they also take you on dates to crazy places like sit-down restaurants and the movies. I’m not going to lie, that’s a concept I had begun to assume was made up by Hollywood and the liberal media to sell movie tickets. And the craziest thing of all is that a lot of these guys are looking for relationships and commitment.

Unlike college, there’s a much wider range of men here in the city and it’s much harder to figure out who could be your soul mate and who could take you home and kill you. I’ve learned there’s a big difference between a guy asking you back to his dorm and a guy asking you to get on a train to New Jersey with him because he lives just right outside the city. A guy from class offers to pour you a beer from his pitcher and you chug it down; a guy in the city offers you a drink and you have to send it to toxicology labs first to make sure it isn’t Roofied.

But it’s not just the fear factor that makes NYC romances so much more intense and suspenseful, it’s the age difference. With the exception of the token 5th year senior, in college you can assume everyone is within the same age range. And while you may spend your entire senior year being made fun of for hooking up with a freshman, you know at the end of the day everything was harmless (and legal!).

During a typical night out in New York I can talk to one guy who just turned 16 (kids grow up so fast in NY) and another who just turned 36. And ironically it’s the 16 year old who wants a girlfriend and the 36 year old who just wants to fool around.

Not only am I stuck speaking to old people (25+) sometimes, but I’ve also had to create a whole new mindset when it comes to stereotypes. Instead of hearing someone’s frat and making sweeping judgments, I now have to judge people based on their occupations. I know that an investment banker will get me free drinks all night and then go home to his wife, while a freelance photographer will make me laugh all night and then go home to the box he sleeps in under the bridge.

The most important thing I’ve learned about dating in the city so far is that it’s no Sex and the City spin-off. And by that I mean there’s no one providing a voice over narration every time I conclude a date or have a major life epiphany.

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