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Today’s Dating Scene: Up Close and (A Little Too) Personal


Illustration by Jennifer Kalis

Ten years ago, you could find me matching my friends shot for shot at the bar or sitting on my boyfriend’s lap in the corner booth making out. 

A lot has changed. These days, when my friends and I get together, we sip wine and compare intolerances for certain foods and drugs. I married the guy I got handsy with at the Great American Pub. Now, we keep it behind closed doors.

Today, there’s a new crop of 23-year-olds that makes my antics seem like amateur hour—but it isn’t confined to the younger set. People of all ages, with their twerking, dating apps, and not-even-trying-to-hide-it adultery, have me asking myself the question: Am I a prude?

Sure, girls are still tossing back shots at the bar. But I never shoved my tongue down a same-sex friend’s throat. And now there’s selfie proof, posted and hashtagged for the world to see. It makes my Cards Against Humanity game night seem passé. 

Most of my single friends still turn to Match or eHarmony for online dating, but Tinder.com is commanding some recent attention, its GPS tracking matching within a certain mile radius. Swipe right if you like the profile, left if you don’t. If you and the other user both swipe right, it creates a match, and you start communicating. “It’s addicting and simple,” says Matt, a 31-year-old single guy from Devon. “You don’t have to answer the hundred questions like the other sites.”

Matt insists that he’s a gentleman, but other guys say they use the site mainly for “hookups.” The first impression is a photo and one or two sentences, so the initial attraction is physical-—one played out via text instead of in a crowded club. And that usually leads to the sort of pictures that would make Anthony Weiner proud.

Ally-—a 28-year-old legal assistant from Wayne who’s sweeter than the ripest summer watermelon—has the requisite eHarmony shots of herself hiking and at a wedding. “I traded emails with a guy—late twenties, young professional type—who one of my friends recognized from a networking event.” 

It sounded promising, and she exchanged phone numbers with him. “He texted me [an obscene] pic on his lunch break,” she whispered.

“In the middle of the afternoon, too!” I squealed—like such behavior was limited to the cloak of night. 

Older men and their (much) younger mistresses: It’s a tale as old as tantra—only, these days, in lieu of discretion, they’re dining with definitely-not-the-missus at White Dog Café.

I try not to stare or ask my friends if that one is “officially separated.” I don’t want to seem like a prude.

Katie Bambi-Kohler invites everyone from prudes to party girls to visit her new website at www.katiekohler.com.

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