Boys and girls, it is time to get to the bottom of a familiar mystery.
Dating.
Who really has any idea what they are doing while exploring the dating world? The times have changed since our parents were in our place, made obvious by the their use of the word "jilted" for dumped and "going steady" for serious dating.
I have found that there is not much of a transition between the "dating/getting-to-know-each-other" phase and the "woah, we're serious" phase. There is no longer any such thing as "dating" because most people are looking so intensely for the one. Sure there may be more than one prospect, but most find it more important to put the time into one person.
But then what happens?
It might be true that the fast-forward movement into "going steady" has created a world of jerks and psychos.
Everyone has either dated a crazy person or a deceiving, uh, shall I say, Johnson?
The main question is "This time will the guy act more reserved in a relationship, taking it extra slow, or put up with less because they are petrified of creating a psychotic femme fatale?"
Let's now decipher psycho.
Psychos can be e-mail checking, overly-demanding girls (or in some cases boys), who have been tainted by a Johnson who has done them wrong.
The other psycho is the ring-searching, get-serious immediately type, who is in this town for a hubby.
Whew, so that's that.
Then we have the Johnson category, who have inevitably caught their psychotic girlfriends checking their e-mail accounts or have been forced to cheat because the psychos won't let them break up.
But then again, the psychos are created by catching their Johnson-like significant others using their unmentionables with another.
Do we enter into the world of dating now armed and dangerous, loaded with prior-relationship baggage and in the fear of getting attacked by another psycho or another Johnson?
That leaves the average, non-psycho, non-Johnson-like dater unprepared. Or are we unprepared?
At this point in our college lives, most of us have been in a serious relationship that has ended in one way or another. There is the constant measure of comparison to the past good and bad and the continual apprehension of how we are going to screw this one up.
I am going to attempt to offer a brief solution.
When in fear, take a deep breath and think about the situation. Since everyone is armed with experience be aware that your significant other (or potential significant other) is on guard as well.
So let's go back to taking it slow in a world of whirlwind dating. There is no rush, ladies and gentlemen. Believe it or not, there is likely to be someone for you. Just because you sense some familiar psycho/Johnson behavior, do not necessarily run away. We are constantly creating things in our heads about cheating and lying, and it all comes from the past.
And your man/woman out there is thinking about it too.
I recommend for students to just be themselves. Don't compromise or feel the need to hold back what you want to say or do because the last time you did, things went awry. Start fresh and never put anyone but yourselves on a pedestal.
There are some crazy people out there, not to mention some huge Johnsons. Be aware, but remember that your significant other has probably been there too.
The world of dating is complex, especially with the make-believe clock ticking. Let us all start to take our time. It may reduce your risk of turning into one of the ones we all fear most.
- Ashley Devick is the entertainment editor of the paper you are reading. She is a senior in Creative Writing and can be reached at adevick@utk.edu.