This past weekend, the New York Times ran an article on Gen Z, the generation born after 1995 that is now in its teens, ready to become the next batch of humans to mold the world. They are smart, savvy, physically wired to their smartphones, yet adamant about bypassing our millennial mistakes by avoiding Facebook albums, stream-of-consciousness tweets and blogging about their love lives. What scares me the most is how mature they look and feel – gone is the naivete of my teens, shaped by Britney’s low-riders and lyrics (listen to this for a dose of nostalgia); instead, you have a bunch of little Reformation mannequins walking around, spewing wearied wisdom. They are also strangely pragmatic about their love lives, to the point where I almost feel like sticking them in front of a never-ending marathon of The Notebook and force-feeding them Twizzlers until they cave in. Since I currently happen to have one of them co-habiting with me in Brooklyn, I took the opportunity to configure some principle dating rules from this cooler-than-thou bunch.
Le Millennial (me!): Lets get straight to the point: do you guys date?
Le Gen Z: Yes, there are guys who aren’t assholes and actually ask girls out on dates before they screw them. However, those are the few. Most guys prefer to “hit a girl up” or “slide into a girl’s DM and ask to chill” or ask girls to “Netflix and chill”, which is pathetic yet very effective. The guy’s idea of chilling is watching TV for 5 minutes and pulling moves, or getting high, eating and then pulling moves. Its safe to say that chivalry is beyond dead – in fact, chivalry would roll over in its grave if it saw this.
Le Millennial: And what happens after?
Le Gen Z: Either you get “hit up” again for another “Netflix and chill”, or you never speak them again. In the case of the latter, you’re expected to avoid all eye contact and play it cool at social gatherings, until eventually it becomes so irrelevant that it’s safe to interact again. Or you keep hooking up until you realize that you like each other, and then you become a couple.
Le Millennial: So basically, all relationships start with a hookup.
Le Gen Z: Yeah, you are friends first and then you hook up, or you just randomly hook up at a party or in a group. There is definitely no “You’re pretty, let me take you out on a romantic date.”
Le Millennial: So what happens when you do get into a relationship?
Le Gen Z: You go to dinner, you go to concerts, all the usual stuff. I think that part is the same. Its only the hookup culture that’s different.
Le Millennial: Do you believe in love? Romance?
Le Gen Z: I guess, but “Netflix and chill” has killed a lot of it for us. We actually romanticize romance, because we don’t see it as being realistic. There’s a lot of nostalgia for the 80s or 90s. We watch movies from that time and say: “Why cant I have a guy roll up with his boom box and serenade me by my window?” We blame technology for killing romance, although it probably was never all that great to begin with.
Le Millennial: Any dating rules?
Le Gen Z: Don’t text a guy first. And, no matter what, you can’t care. It’s basically a game of who cares less – who can do more by doing less. At some point you may cave in and admit you like each other, or it kind of fizzles out.
Le Millennial: That’s terrifying. I actually don’t think I could handle it.
Le Gen Z: You couldn’t. Then again, I don’t know how much of this reflects the truth. You have to remember, I’m surrounded by the biggest junior douchebags in all of New York.
She is proven right that very night, when we head to a very swanky Tribeca lounge and my resident Gen Z-er proceeds to capture the interest of a 17-year-old male model by NOT adding herself to his 150K+ Instagram following. I, meanwhile, fail to as much as chat up his lame manager. In the game of not caring less, she already won.
Do you have any questions for this Gen Z-er? Carpe diem it and ask in the comments section below!!
Image stolen from The New York Times.