dating

The millennial dating rule we'd never heard of.

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As apps begin to saturate the millennial dating landscape, there’s no question the game has changed.

And the game, consisting of social media, ghosting, and cryptic text messages, is not an easy one to navigate.

But is it getting so messy, so amateurish, so socially inept, that we’re feeling too awkward to ask them personal things?

This week, a piece in the Wall Street Journal by journalist Nicole Hong contends that the “new dating no-no” is asking a prospective date for their last name.

“Now that smartphone apps are the primary way people meet, some things have become too awkward to ask,” she writes.

Of course, the rise of apps like Tinder and Bumble have facilitated the meetings of millions of people, and despite the varied ways they encourage subscribers to meet, they both share a similar trait: They provide only first names.

And now, Hong says, people don’t feel they can actually ask for last names.

In the ensuing days, many-a-think piece has emerged touching on the idea. No, we shouldn’t be asking for last names, perhaps this is the last remnant of surprise we can conjure. (After all, with no last name comes no ability to social media stalk.) Yes, we should be asking because if my future boyfriend is a white supremacist, I’d absolutely love to know before sitting through four dinners with him.

Listen to the Mamamia Out Loud team deep dive on dating etiquette. Post continues after. 

But here’s the thing.

Though there’s romance in the idea that learning about a new partner should happen naturally, in due course, over a period of a few weeks, the reality is we don’t have to anymore.

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The reality is that we have tools at our finger tips that give us the ability to find out anything about anyone. We can google them, find them on Facebook, search their Instagram. We can work out where they work and what they do and how they spend their weekends.

It’s not cute and it’s not surprising and it’s not to say it’s healthy to know everything there is to know about someone before meeting them.

It’s just to say, it’s all about efficiency.

Although on the surface, it sounds superficial, there’s merit to the idea that social media activity can tell you a lot about a person. It doesn’t tell you everything, but it absolutely tells you a lot.

Our social media feeds are carefully curated, that much we know. Our social media feeds are highlight reels, that we also know. But what do we choose to put on our curated highlight reel? That’s what says a lot.

Do they upload political things? Are they totally apolitical? Are they selfie-inclined? Are they not?

We can learn from what we find, and with that, we can save ourselves time.

Millennials can and should be asking for last names before dates. It’s 2018 and if we have the tools, we should be using them.

For everything women are talking about this week, listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud. 

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