Have you heard that viral story about the Venmo guy? You know, the man who treated his date to a lovely dinner, walked her to the door like a gentleman, and then turned around and sent her a Venmo request for half the check? This modern dating horror story was circulating last spring, and it’s back again to spoil our holiday cheer.
According to the New York Post, three women reported having lovely dates with men who turned out to be total tightwads, using Venmo as their weapon of choice in the war against chivalry. “Cheap bros have found a new way to get out of paying for dates,” the Post said. This is, to be sure, a depressing dating apocalypse sort of story, but to claim that this is a phenomenon—as many now are—is a bit of a stretch. A Venmo date is a bad date, to be sure. But we’re not yet at the point of no return.
As Verily’s Relationship Editor, who has had her share of scary dating stories and heard everything in the book from you, dear reader, I want to offer some hope.
We are often led to believe that all the good men are taken, in hiding, or have perhaps skipped the country. When I was single—and even at times after finding my own needle in the haystack—I found myself getting caught up in the many spooky stories out there about the men who would happily feed off the hearts of single women. I would take these stories and magnify them in my head, applying them to all the men I knew and all the men I had yet to meet. Every time a man flaked out on a date, lost interest in me, or confessed that he just didn’t know what he wanted (story of my dating life), I saw this as further proof that the villains in those horror stories were real and that the same madness that influenced them had indeed infected every man alive.
This narrative is a lie. There are good men out there who want love, commitment, and marriage. If you take a deep breath, you could probably list ten or more men who fit this category. Those men may not be for you, but they will be for someone. And just the same, there is someone who will hopefully be that fit for you.
It’s helpful to take a moment to look in the mirror before casting men as the enemy. Think about all the times your girlfriends’—or your—dating behavior could have given men cause to point to you and claim that chivalry is dead. Maybe you ghosted on him after a thoughtful date or scolded him for holding open the door. Perhaps you didn’t Venmo him after the date, but maybe he realized that you only accepted the date for the free meal. Women pull stunts too, yet somehow, we still have more faith in the intentions of women than we do in men.
This isn’t the condescension of a happily married woman who makes her living helping others with their relationships—these are the words of assurance from a woman who has been there and knows how hard it can be to see the good men through all the dating horror stories.
If you struggle to find examples of men who, however flawed, don’t fit the harbinger of the dating apocalypse mold, allow me to introduce you to some of the real men who share their stories and dating struggles with Verily. Isaac is a tell-it-like-it-is Midwest guy who has lived and learned when it comes to love—and hasn’t given up on it yet. Anxious about how to know who pays for the first date (especially after this Venmo scare)? Isaac has given this some thought, from a male perspective. And, hellooo Justin, who really does nerd out over Pride and Prejudice and has taken dating notes from Jane Austen. Johan admits that commitment didn’t come easily for him, but he asks for our understanding and, if it’s the right woman, some patience, too. Honestly, my intention here is not to sell Verily or embarrass a few of my much-loved Gentlemen Speak writers (although that was fun); it’s to show you that guys with good intentions really do exist and to give you hope, if it is needed.
So chin up. Let’s not let ourselves be duped by the instances of flakes, commitment-phobes, and cheapskates. Of course there are men who suffer from this madness; we have ample evidence of this. But there is hope for them, and no, not all men have given up chivalry, love, dating, and marriage for dead.
Photo Credit: Alexa Fernando