Viral Restaurant List Is the Rosetta Stone of Gen Z Dating

(AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

If I had a quarter for every time I heard some 20-something complain about how hard it is to date in 2023, I’d be able to fill up my ride with 20 gallons of premium gas. For those of you playing along, that’s over 300 quarters.


According to the Pew Research Center, not only are fewer single Americans interested in dating, but those who are looking for a relationship are not necessarily in want of a committed relationship. “Casual dating,” which could be defined as “friends with benefits” or, even less officially, “hook-ups,” is an alarming trend among men under 30.

Could it be that all of the “good ones” are taken? Are single American men under 30 less attractive? Are single women in the same age category playing the field in a modern feminist role reversal? Perhaps.

Dating is intended to lead to marriage, a scary word for a lot of young adults who have seen the ugly, hard truth about marriage: it takes work, patience, and commitment. For a generation that has come up with participation trophies, instant gratification, and “ghosting” as a norm, it’s no wonder that the idea of being with one person for the entire rest of your life is off-putting.

Then again, knowing women like this exist is also frightening because, really, who wants to be forever tied to this corner of hell on earth?

Can we talk about this picture for a minute? First of all, why? Secondly, how many pictures did she take before she was happy with her bum? I’m going to go with at least 12 and another 10 minutes of editing. Lastly, is it just me, or does this public ladies’ room where she snapped this ridiculous picture look like literally any one of the 28 places on her list? Industrial tile doesn’t lie, honey.


When we look at the list against our culture, it makes total sense. Like the Rosetta Stone, a key to deciphering a seemingly impossible language, this blacklist of accessible date venues connects so many dots for us non-Gen-Z folks that it’s both a relief (that we don’t have to keep wondering) and depressing (ignorance is was bliss).

Let’s start by finding common ground and eliminating the locations that I can get behind (no pun intended) as not first-date appropriate:

  • Your house (too personal and isolated)
  • The gym (unless both parties really love working out, save it for another time)
  • Church (y’all should be focusing on God, not each other, but good for y’all for going!)
  • Family functions (too much pressure)
  • Movie night (no talking allowed, and if it’s Hulu or whatever, that’s just lazy)
  • A nightclub (too noisy)
  • A hookah bar (smoking isn’t for most people).

What are the objectives of a first date supposed to be? Getting to know each other. To what end? To establish if there is a high enough degree of compatibility to warrant further investigation of spouse potential. Why? Because marriage is a good thing. It provides security, companionship, a solid foundation on which to build a family and generational wealth, tax breaks (another soapbox for another day), and our innate need for love. Two people can’t reasonably explore any of that in any of the above places. Not to mention the radical idea that dating and sex are not one and the same.


Lemme take this third lemon drop shot and then we can discuss our long-term life goals whilst grinding on the dance floor.

—No one, ever

There are actually some great first-date options on this list:

  • Coffee shops
  • Ice cream shops
  • Bowling

Coffee, tea, ice cream, and frozen yogurt are not only casual and affordable for any budget, but they’re also short-term commitments to conversation. If a first date proves to be a disaster, there’s a quick out. They are public spaces and familiar neighborhoods with a fair amount of activity, so everyone can feel safe. The problem? Conversation.

This is a generation of men and women who prefer to communicate using emojis and slang like ASL (for Age/Sex/Location), GYPO (Get Your Pants Off), and Body Count (the number of people a person has slept with). Sitting at a small table with a swirl of froyo talking to someone about your dreams and ambitions is their 7th circle of hell. This is why bowling, along with mini golf or a carnival, is a great environment because it’s ripe for talking but structured for interruptions and things to do with your hands.

Have I dated myself? Good. Onward!

The real problem with this list, though, does not lie in Gen Z’s unwillingness or inability to understand the purpose of dating but in the female’s mind that she is entitled to luxury in exchange for the privilege of being in her company for two hours.

Never mind that her company is primarily cosmetics and the back of her cell phone. For example, a young man in Atlanta pursued a woman “for weeks,”  and when she was “bored and had time,” she finally agreed to grace him with her presence. I’ll warn you that the language in the TikTok video (because, yes, she documented herself slurping four dozen oysters before ordering crab cakes and potatoes) is crude, but it proves my point: she offered the guy the back of her cell phone while exploiting his generosity and wonders why he bailed.


#hebrokeyallendofstory #fontainesoysterhouse #oysters

♬ original sound – EquanaB

Some women won’t be as brazen as Equanaaa; they prefer to justify the expense, citing the cost of “using [their] beauty products to come out with you.”

Where, oh, where could this elitist princess mentality come from? Could it be the parents who never said no or let their child fail? Are the schools to blame for lowering standards (and self-confidence) of achievement? What about social media providing superficial validation for insecure teens who come to rely on filters and dreams of being influencers? Expensive family vacations to Disney, Destin, or Dubai? I’m not wealth-shaming, but there is room for improvement on the whole credit card debt thing. This is about a lack of discipline.

Y’all, we have failed this generation of Americans. We got smacked with a wooden spoon for talking back to a teacher; they are avenged by parents blaming the teacher. All the years we were teased for our crooked teeth, they were in braces before they could shave. Big noses or flat chests? That’s what plastic surgeons are for, darling — and they offer discreet financing!

Is it any wonder that the spawn of this spawn yearn for attention? It’s not enough that their parents have emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs that can only be met with years of therapy, but their children are competing against them for acceptance. Thus, we have a dysfunctional generation using their offspring as props and emotional support animals.


So what are we to do? Well, if you are still reading this, you are most likely not the problem. Chances are your kids aren’t the problem. The best thing we can do at this juncture is to set a good example.

Instead of talking about how hard marriage is, pivot to sharing how wonderful it is because of the work both parties put into the other’s fulfillment. Rather than lamenting the insane cost of raising a child in America, help children recognize their value on their own and that which they bring to the family.

Say “no” to constant and often unreasonable indulgences (no, I’m sorry, sweetie, but your wedding cannot cost more than my annual salary). Help your grandchildren accept failures. Let your children make mistakes in parenting. Help establish reasonable standards for the young people in your life and make sure they volunteer in their community.

That’s the best I can do right now, friends, because until the boys stop agreeing to kowtow to this ridiculous behavior that has become normal for girls — conversely, until we can convince girls that everyone has pores and no one owes you anything — we are swimming against culture. It’s sad, but I’m open to ideas. Drop yours in the comments below, and let’s talk about it. This problem is way too big to ignore for much longer.

On the other hand, there’s a decent chance the good ones will eventually out-populate the bad, but let’s not hold our breath on that one.



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