I recently had a discussion with someone I know about dating and relationships and the spectrum of what is acceptable and what is not. I know I’m a little more generous with my views on dating and that it’s not always acceptable for everyone (I always say we should set boundaries for that reason) so we don’t come across major issues in the long run.
Dating is Just Dating
I’ve come to realize I’m a bit more lenient with my expectations with dating. If you aren’t committed it doesn’t make sense to me to limit yourself. I’ll give you an example:
You’re on Tinder, you’ve been chatting with two people at the same time and you’ve set up a date. If you’re like me you’ve probably only talked a handful of times so the actual getting to know someone part is reserved for the date. I’m set to meet them on Friday but then I get a notification I’ve got a match with that cute guy I was hoping for. This guy wants to meet Saturday of the same week. I don’t think I owe either of them anything. Neither of us know each other. I agree to go on the date.
From here, this scenario can go two ways. Either the first date goes well and I end up cancelling the second one or it was alright and I go on the second. I don’t think this is an issue, none of us have committed to each other. This could very well be the last time we see each other or it could be a relationship that only exists within the frame of five meetups. This idea seems to strike a cord with people and either it’s a revolution or revulsion.
My basic understanding of any sort of response going either way is that people don’t treat my opinion as normal. And for the life of me I can’t see why it has to be a big deal. Would you not want to cut out someone you didn’t like before it got worse? Why feel indebted to someone you don’t even know? At this point neither of you know each other and so it may seem callous but it means we’re almost strangers at this point.
If I start counting these encounters as more than they are then where do I start?
Does the above scenario mean I’ve been with two guys? Or one, or none? I know people who will be super serious about a guy they’ve known for a month when they’ve realistically met up with them four or five times in that month. I meet my local barista more often than some of these men.
I don’t mean to make light but honestly many of these people I’ll forget by the end of the year anyhow. It’s like a classroom friend you thought was your bestest best friend but now that you’ve graduated high school you can barely remember their face. That same feeling of treasuring memories without a face can apply to some of these men. I know it sounds callous but for some (more than most) these relationships aren’t more than a brief inbetween actual relationships. But in that same breath, people will make a bigger deal out of such an encounter — interpreting that person as a body count just because it’s a method of judging and setting unrealistic expectations. For some reason these encounters that fall back onto anonymous faces we briefly met get measured as something inherently important.
The concept of sex changes how these people are remembered. Yes, it could’ve been amazing, yes it can sometimes mean you’d like to do it all over again. But at the end of the day the encounter was brief if not memorable. But then what does it mean if this isn’t a part of the ‘body count’? The reason I think it gets tricky here is because it shows how there isn’t a real standard for what is a body count, does a one night stand count? And if there’s no standard then what is the real point to creating a measurement? What it is is a way to judge others and how they choose to share themselves.
My Categorizations are Mine
And I know they aren’t relatable to everyone. But bottom line is that the reason why I think body counts don’t matter is because that number is mine. It’s a product of the situations I’ve felt comfortable exploring, nothing less and nothing more. Judging my number is judging how comfortable I have been with sharing myself with others. What you’re asking is for me to be ashamed of my experiences and my choices regardless of how good they were for me. Making each encounter a number erases the history of how I got to meet with my partner and reduces the emotional impact of what I shared.
Some encounters are more important than others but that doesn’t mean they didn’t fulfill whatever I was hoping they would at the time. And it also doesn’t mean that they were all my choice. If you’ve had bad luck in your dating then there isn’t really much you can do about what your body count is except become celibate because you hit that imaginary number you didn’t want to.
I know people who have been dumped many times for a variety of reasons (many of them early on in their lives) but does that mean they should’ve stopped seeing people because they hit their number early on? No. It doesn’t make any sense to limit yourself because of some arbitrary system that doesn’t make any sense in anyone’s head except the person using that information to judge you.