Millennials might be driving less and getting tattooed a lot more than their parents, but when it comes to relationship confusion, not much has changed.
I went to happy hour downtown recently with one of my widowed friends. She knew most of the crowd, but I had an opportunity to meet new people who live in the city. Conversation flowed easily among the group whose ages ranged from 2os to 50s.
I struck up a conversation with an attractive young couple at the bar. She was complaining that her martini was disappointingly too sweet; he was good with his bottled beer. When she got up to go to the restroom, I asked the guy, ‘So how did you two meet?’ “Online,” he said. “Tinder, actually.”
I know about Tinder from my daughter, who took me on a tutorial of it on her phone a couple of years ago. She explained the site is ideal for hookups because it is predicated on looks and geography. You file through dozens or hundreds of photos of people and their locales and, in the blink of an eye, can dismiss people whose looks you don’t like or reach out to someone you desire.
I have since learned it is not just a hook-up platform. I know a few Millennials who have met their current boyfriend on the site and don’t see it as tawdry.
The young woman came back to the bar and joined in on our Tinder conversation. It wasn’t quite the story I expected as she abruptly announced she and the guy next to her recently broke up. She explained things weren’t working out. In fact, he had the audacity to call her fat. (She’s not, but he’s reed thin.) Dismissing him with a wave of her manicured hand, she talked for 30 minutes about her love of horses. This included my favorite quote of the night: “I wish I could lock up men in a stall like a horse and only let them out when I want them.” At this point, her former boyfriend ( a lawyer lacking in personality) rolled his eyes at us.
We got a second beer and the conversation continued mostly about her high level of horsewomanship. In the small world department, we find out she knows my girlfriend’s son and really has the hots for him. “Give him my number. Oh wait, he already has it,” she said while flashing perfectly white, straight teeth and incessantly playing with her highlighted blond hair.
At that point, we had had enough. The couple started talking about where they were going next. Dinner? Maybe. Another bar? Maybe. She said to my friend upon leaving, “Don’t forget to have your son call me.” They stroll out of the bar into the sunlit street looking very much like a couple, even though they reportedly are not.
So what was that? If they are broke up, why are they hanging out together on a Friday night? She was obnoxious, but clearly he still likes her on some level. Age doesn’t seem to matter when it comes to relationship distress. What it gets down to is people are searching for companionship in a variety of ways to avoid being alone, even if it might mean listening to a woman you broke up with talk about horses.