When I first heard the Upper West Side described as a washing machine, I did not understand what the metaphor meant. I now understand all too well. Too many young professional residents of the Upper West Side are engaged in a constant cycle of dating each other without committing and actually building relationships.
The panoply of choices leads to the quest for a perfect mate. Since there are seemingly so many eligible singles within a twenty block radius, why put effort into developing a deep and meaningful connection with another person when the possibility of an instant and magical spark exists a mere few blocks away? The underlying and widespread belief that a more compatible person lies just beyond the horizon has ended more possible relationships than there are Starbucks on Broadway.
The pressures of dating are real, but equally strong – if not more so – is the millennial way of thinking that leads us to constantly seek and strive for the supposed ideal, never ‘settling’ for what is in front of us. While a couple does need chemistry, the number of times that the phrase “I’m just not feeling it,” has been used to end a potential long-term commitment after a few dates suggests that – somewhat paradoxically- the sheer number of available choices has deeply and deleteriously affected young Jewish singles’ ability to engage in the work of getting to know and bonding with a potential significant other. In our dating lives we have come to expect the same instant gratification and array of options that modern technology and culture provide daily in all other aspects of our lives.
I am not suggesting that all first dates are truly potential significant others, but rather that more time should be spent exploring the possibility with those with whom some level of compatibility exists. A deep and meaningful relationship takes time to develop. Shouldn’t our romantic lives take longer to perfect than our next Snapchat?