Hanging Out, Modified.
A few months ago, I wrote this. I've since shopped the piece around to a handful of sites to try and spread the word of not settling for the lowliness of "hanging out." I got one major blogger's attention. She loved the concept and the piece, and was willing to consider republishing if I added in my personal anecdote and wrote a broader statement about dating and technology in the 2000s.
So, I did. And emailed it back, clocking in at 1,200 words (which is considered on the short end in the writing world).
Then, she was all "Oh p.s. our max on articles is 500 words." So, add the personal anecdote and broader statement, but make it shorter? Half the length, to be exact.
And somehow, I did.
It took a handful of days, a lot of sweat (from what, I can't be sure), and a high amount of performance anxiety. And about three emails and a month later, she wrote back with more feedback about not using a personal anecdote unless it pays the story off and getting to my points even quicker.
Basically, I was like "So, write shorter. More succinct. But expand on your ideas. Elaborate in full detail, but don't. Say everything and say nothing. Don't write the piece, but have it to me by tomorrow morning."
This isn't me giving up per se, but this is me feeling the inevasible need to post my edited piece somewhere, ANYWHERE. I'm a wordy person by nature, so pardon me for being proud as fuck that I was somehow able to take a 1,200 word piece down to around 600 words. That's a damn accomplishment, AND IT NEEDS TO BE READ BY YOU GUYS.
So, without further background story, here is my revised "No, I Will Not Hang Out With You" piece, shorter and smarter for your reading pleasure:
Hanging out noun :
a term used to make an otherwise painstakingly obvious dating situation appear more casual; especially : used when coitus has occurred between the two individuals; even more especially : used when one of the involved individuals has commitment issues and refuses to use titles for fear of having to own responsibility for their everyday actions.
In a sentence: “We aren’t seeing other people, all my friends and family know about her, she’s met my best friends. We talk every day, go on dates, spend the night. She’s my girl. But not my girlfriend. We’re just hanging out.”
Unfortunately, we millennials live in an incredibly commitment-phobic environment. Day in and day out, shiny, pretty objects are dangled in front of us and make it hard to stick to any one thing. The epitome of this is Apple. The company is like a scantily clad, younger mistress luring us away from our trusty, older iPhone year after year. We’re so easily tempted by what’s next, so how are we expected to stay with one person of the opposite sex (or same sex) for an extended period of time?
Yet, a strong majority of us 20somethings continue to throw ourselves into the lion’s den of courtship and sacrifice our dignity, confidence, and overall mojo for the chance to prove it can still happen. Case in point: my latest bout of what this cold, cruel world refers to as “dating.” For two months, I was wined and dined by my first ever, Jewish prospect (which is a big deal for a Jewish girl who has never dated a Jewish boy). It was sunshine and yamakas: Fancy feasts, bottles of wine, and mushy texts laden with heart-eye emoticons and kisses faces. We claimed exclusivity, he called me his “girl,” allowed couple pictures to be posted on social media, let me know his inner-most circle knew of my existence, and one extra-mushy, vodka-filled evening, invited me to his family’s Passover in April.
And then, he peaced out. Realized he “wasn’t ready for anything serious or to call anyone girlfriend” but he still wanted “to hang out” if I was okay with that.
I wasn’t okay with that.
Our generation’s aversion to the terms “dating” and “boyfriend/girlfriend” seems extreme. If you don’t catch us young, there’s this black hole of time into which 20somethings are sucked, never to be seen again until our 30s. Sure, we’ll go on dates with you. Yes, we’ll shower you in daily affection. Of course, we’ll sleep with you – we thought you’d never ask! But try and slap a label on any of that and we’ll chuck deuces.
It’s sad, really. I have no problem being told when someone just isn’t feeling it anymore, but I do have a problem when someone tries to diminish what it was and act like I read the situation wrong from day one. That said, the one thing I learned from my most recent dating debacle is this: the DTR talk must happen. Ain’t no two-ways around it. You may think you’re his girlfriend, but you could be wrong. More than that, and I know buttholes worldwide will clench upon reading this statement: the convo needs to happen in person. As a generation, we’ve got to stop hiding behind laptop and phone screens and see the whites of others’ eyes again.
Commitment. What are we so scared of? Breakups? Actually having to answer to someone other than our Jewish mother or moody manager? At least dating someone ensures you sex and positive attention. Sure, it’s work. And yeah – it may very well end badly, and it’ll hurt. But that’s life. You date, you breakup, and you do it repeatedly until it sticks. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not keen on spending my time “hanging out” with non-committal weirdos who can barely brush their teeth every night for fear of their toothbrush getting attached to them emotionally.
So, in short: No. I will not “hang out” with you.