Reflections of a Gentleman: Dating and Taco Bell

/rant I’m sitting alone at the local artisan coffee shop. I’m here, not because I’m too cool for the big box coffee house chains, but because if I’m forced to taste one more burnt coffee bean from that green mermaid I may end up spiking my overly priced caffeine drink Gronk-style right in front of the unassuming barista who had nothing to do with the desecration of my cherished morning lifeblood but happened to be the one who served me the burnt beans that put me over the edge /end rant.


I’m fixated on the couple across the outdoor patio, mainly because they have a cute puppy, but also because they appear to be newly dating. In between pretend glances off in the distance every time they catch my eyes pointed in their direction, I can’t help but notice that their “ooglely eyes” are in full force. I’m worried that one of them may actually puke soon because he is “so in love” and she is so “oh my god, I can’t even.”

This observed interaction gives me a myriad of what I can only imagine are “feelings,” which I thought I had gotten rid of during my time living in New York City. At first, upon looking at these two, I admired their nearly vomit-inducing euphoria. They're happy, for now. This feeling of admiration was quickly halted by an overwhelming feeling of disgust. They’re just so stupid happy I think to myself, getting angrier as they continuously force me to acknowledge that I’m not as happy as they are… The bastards. So, out of spite, I forward their relationship timeline to their future petty arguments and “nothing” fights because that’s what happens after you date someone long enough, right? At least that has been my experience. Still, somehow, after being filled with all of these negative emotions, I want it. I want to be stupid happy like that, even if it does lead to nothing fights about if you should wear a jacket to the movies or where you both should go out to eat for your nine-and-a-half month anniversary.  

It’s like Taco Bell. You see the sign and think, Whoa -  a Chalupa would be amazing right now! But then, you think about the empty calories, the questionable ingredients, and just how bad the last one made you feel in the end despite being so good at first. Even after thinking about your history of Chalupa consumption and the time away from your friends you'll need for the gym, you feel that you deserve it and end up turning right. Next thing you know, “Welcome to Taco Bell - how can I help you?” is blaring out of the drive-thru speaker. The only issue here is you can’t order a  great relationship at the adobe style food hut less than a mile away, and if you could, it would probably cost more than $3.25.

What have we millennials done to ourselves? Based on my public high school education on evolution and my own personal thought, I’ve come to a conclusion. As social mammals, people are hardwired to find a mate with the best qualities (physical, mental, social standing) within the reachable social group. However, our generation has been both blessed and cursed with the largest reachable social group the world has ever seen, all just a simple swipe or a “like” away. In other words, our sea still contains the same amount of fish, but now we can see a whole lot more of it. This has undoubtedly made us the hardest generation to please.

Small things that bother us about a perfectly acceptable partner are now cause for a break-up because someone somewhere hidden in today’s Hinge batch probably doesn’t breathe in weird before they laugh or actually likes Chipotle as much as you.

We are continuously bombarded with what we could have. We convince ourselves that if we try hard enough, go to the gym long enough, become witty enough, we’ll get more matches. We are terrified to pick just one and settle down because, for all we know, the “perfect girl” could be right behind “Christine, 24,” but you’ll never know if your dating “Tina, 25.”

It’s really the “you’ll never know” that gets to me personally. At this point, settling down seems like an impossible feat. Picking the wrong mate could lead you to waste a significant amount of time, a resource that is becoming seemingly more scarce for us millennials. So, how does a man deal with the fact that it is never immediately apparent whether a new lady is really the one for him?

Some say, “You’ll just know when you know.” Thank you, Yoda, for the impeccable dating advice... The only helpful guidance I can actually impart here is something I’ve been trying to improve on: Put down the damn dating apps, as most of the girls worth dating aren’t on them anyway, and give the women in your life a real chance. Stop being a picky bastard and letting the small things get in the way of you actually getting to know a potential mate. Don’t hold back. Only after going all-in and making a sincere attempt to date and learn about this person should you make a judgement on whether she is the one for you. And if you realize that she isn’t the Kim to your Kanye (shoot me) be truthful and don't drag it out. Taco Bell left out does not get better like red wine, or pizza. So let the adventure continue, and the quest for the best chalupa soldier on. Just try not break too many hard shell hearts while doing it.