May 29, 2013

Question: Have Matchmaker Shows Taught You Anything About Dating?

I'll pretty much watch anything featuring dating coaches, relationship experts, and/or matchmakers. I've seen every episode of "Millionaire Matchmaker," all seasons of "Tough Love," and have recently discovered my newest pleasures, "Girl, Get Your Mind Right" on MTV and "Find Me My Man" on the Oxygen network. I can't get enough!

Teach me, TV. My mind is a sponge.

The appeal of these shows is two-fold: on one hand, I feel superior to the endless parade of clueless ding-dongs botching their dating life while at the same time, I enjoy the emotional payoff of watching strangers get their shit together and find love. It's engaging.

Maybe she should date a salad?
But as I was queuing up the lastest episode of "Pull Up A Chair 'Cause I'm Gonna Fix Your Fucked Up Love Life, Girlfriend" (God, I wish that was a real show), I started thinking about whether I've ever learned anything from these dating shows. Guess what? I think I have!

I've learned:
  • to ask the dude lots of questions and pay attention to the answers 
  • to never talk about exes or politics on the first date
  • to not drink too much when I'm out with a guy (two drink maximum!)
  • to give guys a chance and not rush to judgement
This sounds basic, but it's not. No one taught me how to date. I just sort of stumbled around and tried my best for a few years which had mixed (read: terrible) results. I read The Rules in college and the only thing I took away from it is that I should never initiate contact with men because it would make me look desperate. Thanks, The Rules, for scaring the shit out of me and giving me a fucked up perception of how to interact with men. It took me years to unlearn that mindset.

These matchmaking shows--although they can be cartoonish and occasionally a little too invested in traditional gender roles for my personal taste--have at least given me a place to start. It's nice to have useful, sensible advice, that's all I'm saying.

What about you? Any lessons you've learned from watching dating shows? Have they made you a better dater? Tell me in the comments.


Julia said...

"to give guys a chance and not rush to judgement"

This is the most important one. Those little things, that you think might actually matter on a first date like: he had more hair in his profile or he laughs at his own jokes. They actually don't matter if he treats you really well. I learned this lesson and I'm happy I did!

Sam said...

I've learned that I'm most likely doomed to a life of being the male equivalent of a cat lady

Anonymous said...

I don't watch much television, but I enjoy reading advice online. Baggage Reclaim is my absolute favorite. I've learned so much about why my past relationships didn't work out and what I really want in a partner. It's really changed the way I view dating and relationships.

Anna said...

I've never heard of Baggage Reclaim. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the tip!

Don @ HowYouCanFindLove said...

I love watching Tough Love and other dating shows as well. You're right about the things you learned are "basic" but since no one teaches us those things, we wander along, messing up along the way. Hopefully people find good dating sites that teach them how to actually date effectively so that they can find the love they are looking for.

Anonymous said...

I love watching these shows too. I remember watching one and the expert advised that if there's no ring after a year, ditch the guy. It seems kind of harsh, but at the same time, it makes sense if you're at a point in your life when you want to get married and possibly start a family in the near future. I'm 29 and have been with my boyfriend for a year and a half. We've talked about marriage, but he clams up when I mention the "M" word in conversation, so I don't know what to do when the 2 year mark hits! =/

Anna said...

If marriage is important to you, you have to be on the same page with your boyfriend about your future together. It's a tough conversation to have, but don't waste your time with a person who isn't open to having a real future with you. Sit him down and say, "We need to be on the same page about where we see this relationship going." See what he says. This is information you need to have the life you want.

Good luck!

Jeremy said...

The GIF of the salad eating woman is haunting my nightmares.

Modern Haredi said...

This is what TV dating has taught me:
1.) bleach my hair
2.) get fake boobs
3.) have exactly 0 career or educational aspirations
4.) Jewish men hate Jewish women

Real life dating taught me:
1.) I deserve a supportive, loving man
2.) go to grad school (met my dude there)
3.) if I don't respect myself, then he won't respect me

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