# During My Undergrad I Ha... ![rw-book-cover](https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/1639353352994828288/V8uYqWs-.jpg) ## Metadata - Author: [[@astridwilde1 on Twitter]] - Full Title: During My Undergrad I Ha... - Category: #tweets - URL: https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251568041930752 ## Highlights - during my undergrad i had a professor who was super interested in generational differences in attitudes towards dating and relationships. he asked the class *a lot* of @Aella_Girl style questions meant to split the room or get at the root of people's beliefs ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251568041930752)) - one of class periods that sticks out to me the most involved a series of questions about people's dating preferences: 1. if you had the ability to know with >95% certainty whether a relationship would "work out" (however you define that) before it started, would you want to know? ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251570189414400)) - in a room of ~55 people only 3 people said 'no' and those that did were also the oldest people in the room (and i was one of them) 2. if you had the ability to socially signal romantic interest in a way that was hidden from others unless it was reciprocated would you prefer that? ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251572336795648)) - this time i was the *only* person in the room to say 'no.' to me what makes dating and romance fun is all the blurry/messy bits! when it's unclear whether interest is reciprocated, and signaling interest is much more fun when it comes with higher social costs ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251574408818690)) - this attitude is fundamentally foreign to the gen z psyche. most of the young people i know see flirting without explicit invitation to do so as a violation of one of the most sacred parts of the social contract. ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251576203939841)) - extremists of this view see people who break this unspoken NO FLIRTING rule as likely predators. flirting with people while at work? off limits. at conferences? off limits. where there's any history of a power dynamic? (e.g. student/professor) OFF LIMITS. ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251578246606848)) - this attitude has been around since at least the 1920s (the anti-flirt club immediately comes to mind) but it really didn't didn't become a competing dominant social expectation until dating apps rewrote social norms in the 2000s. now it's impossible to get away from. ![](https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FZ_7cgaVsAA0slR.jpg) ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251585842515968)) - the more extreme versions of this attitude continue to grow in popularity with the generation who doesn't know what romance meant in an era before dating apps. this has fundamentally changed what it means to perform masculinity in the West ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251588283576320)) - and men signalling romantic interest first continues to become more expensive/risky as time goes on. i've seen male friends reported to HR departments and fired for flirting with coworkers. i've seen male friends get in trouble at their University for flirting with classmates. ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251590460444672)) - we're still in the early stages of this, where that masculine performance hasn't yet found an alternative outlet, and in many circles *women signalling interest first* has become the rule rather than the exception. ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251592586891264)) - in these circles men now perform the same kind of performative helplessness role in romance that women used to (think "Baby, It's Cold Outside" but gender swapped) because for those men signalling romance first comes with large social risks they've decided not worth bearing. ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251594663088128)) - another trend in these circles i've noticed, especially with my younger friends, is that men increasingly don't just play the role of performative helplessness but also of *learned helplessness* ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251596663820288)) - they have closed themselves off to the possibility of flirting so totally that they are now functionally oblivious to all cues from women of romantic or sexual interest. ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251598849007616)) - women tend to enjoy playing the plausible deniability game more than men and i've also seen female friends getting increasingly frustrated by these oblivious gen z men. ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251601030090752)) - because this situation doesn't allow for either sex to get their needs met i suspect that we're likely to see a reversal of this social attitude soon, or if we don't that performative masculinity will find a new outlet. but i also thought that 10 years ago so maybe not 🤷 ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251603219517440)) - but noticing this trend *has* made me update the way that i signal interest. these days i tell people explicitly when i'm interested in them and leave the ball in their court from there (maybe with some periodic reminders if they don't signal disinterest 😜) ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251605060829184)) - i would rather *not* do this because i feel like it ruins a lot of the fun of the cat and mouse game of flirting BUT maybe my making this post will mean in the future people will adjust for me instead of the other way 'round and i won't have to anymore 😇 ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251606969266180)) - negotiating social boundaries will always be messy and gets messier when you introduce factors like age gaps or power inequities but i would rather live in a world with more sexual playfulness and flirting, not less. ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251609393467392)) - maybe one day the kids will abandon this social precautionary principle or stop using those cursed dating apps and we can all enjoy the messiness of flirting together again without calling men or autists who lack finesse 'creeps' and 'predators' ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251611285180416)) - until then, massive respect to all the men who dgaf and flirt without permission or in the 'wrong' contexts in the face of this new anti-flirting norm 🫡 ([View Tweet](https://twitter.com/astridwilde1/status/1558251613013168128))