Forget Mr. Right, Why We Should Date For The Hell Of It

By Cadence Bambenek | September 30, 2015

I’m riding in a car with a handful of girls from the J-School at my university. We’re driving to a local television station to check out broadcasting behind-the-scenes. The girls spend the drive swapping stories about the gorgeous guys they or their friends are dating. Or not dating. Or almost dating.

This alternated with which Netflix series were the best, of course.

Ugh.. Perhaps my Journalism degree really is a MRS. Degree, after all.

With the advent of swiping right, the dating scene is changing rapidly across the United States, and the impacts don’t appear to be the same in any one spot. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, there seems to be this aversion to commitment. But I’m not convinced everyone is taking part in the hook-up culture, either.

Personally, right now, I’m dating for the story.

And I think I’ve collected some pretty good ones, too.

I’m sitting in a coffee shop with this tall, blonde boy. He has striking blue eyes. My 5-minute interview asking  him about his most bizare dating story turned into an hour-long conversation. He’s forward; he asks me out.

So we go on a handful of dates.

We’re driving back from a local park, a large, orange moon hangs suspended in the sky after the sun sets. We pulled over to talk about life.

I leave to study abroad in China for the summer.

It’s the Fourth of July, but I’m dancing with cute British boy at a rooftop bar overlooking Beijing.

I’m choking on a spicy bowl of noodles at a Sichuan-style restaurant in China with a boy from LA I met in Beijing.

And I come home. That same blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy invites me to go sailing.

I’m lying down in the sailboat. The mast swings overhead as the wind billows the sail out. I like the feel of the wind guiding the boat through the rolling waves. And it’s here that I realize even though this boy suits me well, my feelings for him just aren’t there. And that that’s okay.

The point is this: we are young. And the dating scene is a mess. So, screw it. Go out! Meet the random guys, go to a movie, go for a swim.

Go on dates for the experiment of it. You don’t have to commit half-heartedly to someone that you’re not really feeling anything for, but a handful of dates with a few boys can teach you what to look for in a long-term partner. It can teach you how to work and compromise with another person. It can teach you to not take everything so seriously. It can teach you that boys are fun to be with but they aren’t the most important thing in the world.

Go on dates until you’re comfortable with yourself. Work at it until you exude the confidence that will attract “Mr. Right.”

Date just to meet someone new. Date so you can compare and contrast. Date to be exposed to different world views than your own.  Date for the new experiences, like going camping or learning how to sail. Date to laugh with your friends at 3am about the really cringe-worthy dates peppered throughout.

In college, we don’t know where we’ll land five years from now. So you don’t have to worry about finding “Mr. Right,” because, believe me, a lot is going to change.

The dating scene is… I’m not even sure I can call it a scene, anymore. But you are still growing and changing. Don’t be afraid of that and don’t be afraid to have some fun along the way.