Hooked on the ‘Next Best Thing’

The Downside of Dating in New York City


Published: October 11, 2007

My roommate Romina is the poster child for New York City dating. 20-years-old, blonde, attractive, voluptuous, and always up for a good time with friends. She is constantly clubbing at New York’s finest nightlife venues. You can usually find her at a bar drinking a cold beer and chatting up a guy, amusing him with her joyful chatter and contagious laughter. Just one catch… she has never in her life had a boyfriend, or so much as really even “seen” a particular guy regularly.

From an outsider’s point of view, one might think she is content with her present singlehood. But on the contrary, like many girls our age, she longs for a meaningful relationship built on trust, love and all the good stuff. One day when we were discussing her predicament, she frankly conveyed to me that the problem is all in her head.

She meets men, gets their numbers, but never calls them or even answers their calls because she is afraid of failure. She wonders if it is really all about the thrill of the chase. In my opinion, I think it is her mentality that she can never truly meet a good person out at a club or bar. She explained to me that these actions have led to loneliness and a troubled feeling that she may be risking her chance with a potentially nice guy. But why does this occur?

Weeks of binge drinking, clubbing, meeting new and different people every night, and engaging in the occasional random hookup can be fun for some, because the idea of settling down with someone is terrifying. Ask any young New Yorker today and they can tell you that commitment is one of the top phobias in today’s youth. But why?

From personal experience, I can understand our generation’s issues with commitment. I had a boyfriend of three and a half years, who I cheated on many times. The truth is that I really did love him; he was my first love, among many other firsts. But being exposed to all that New York City had to offer made me think that I could always find someone better, someone fresher. And so, though I settled into a very satisfying relationship, all the while I kept in mind that I could keep him by my side while I explored other horizons.

Is living in New York City to blame? I believe that the constant stride of new people entering our lives on a daily basis is not very healthy for our psyche. How can we ever meet someone worthy of staying in our lives for more than 30 seconds if we are constantly besieged by new faces? The mentality of “I can always find someone better tomorrow night” ultimately fails us because we continue to forever look for the next best thing. I predict that the people of my generation, the majority of which are plagued by this attitude, are going to have a difficult time settling down. I myself question how I can ever possibly get married with the current dating scene in my city. Is the next best thing really what is best for us?