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Now that we’re living in the internet age, it goes without saying that dating isn’t what it used to be.
Now that social media networks and online dating sites are the norm, we’re no longer limited to socializing with the people we’re likely to meet at work, at school, or through the sometimes painful world of blind dating.
Combined with unprecedented easy access to the unreal world of Internet porn, the result is a situation that has drastically affected gender roles for young people.
Speaking to a variety of teenaged boys and girls across the country, Nancy Jo Sales uncovers a world where boys are taught they have the right to expect everything from social submission to outright sex from their female peers. THE TINDER GUYShe wanted it to be like the scene in the Lana Del Rey video for “Blue Jeans”—“hot and slow and epic.” The scene where strangers meet and fall into an easy intimacy, making love in a pool—“and they look so hot and it’s just, like, totally epic.” A boy at her school—she didn’t want to talk about him now; he’d broken her heart; but “like, whatever.” She’d “deleted him” from her phone. There was something different about his face—it was “squishier. She was sorry she’d spent so much time getting ready for this. He wanted her to get in his car, but she knew she shouldn’t.
And yet, she hoped it would somehow be like the Lana Del Rey song. The guy she was supposed to meet that day—the guy from Tinder, the dating app kids were using to hook up—“I know, like, five guys who’ve done it; girls use it too, but they pretend like they don’t”—he was cute and had tattoos on his arms. She “hearted” his picture, and within a few minutes he had hearted hers, and then they were instantly texting.“Ur hot,” he wrote. WHEELING IN THE BITCHES“Gotta wheel the bitches in.“I was stalking him too much, seeing him doing fun things on Instagram, and it hurt.”They’d been instant-messaging on Facebook, and one night he told her he loved her. Like, he was almost fat.” But now here they were, and she didn’t know quite how to get out of it. They started walking around the mall, “talking about nothing, nothing.And then “I found out he was talking to, like, four other girls.” And now she wanted to do something to get over it, maybe to get back at him. All men are basically whores.” When he didn’t turn out to be her “true love”—“like Bella and Edward, or Bella and Jacob, you know? Alone in her room, the night before, reading her friends’ Twitter feeds and watching You Tube videos (Selena Gomez and “baby animals being cute”), she’d started feeling lonely, restless, and bored. It was awkward, totally weird.” He asked if she wanted to sit down, but there was nowhere to sit except in restaurants, so they wound up going inside a Pottery Barn and making out on a couch.When they get into this addictive cycle it becomes...all-encompassing."Ben has been watching porn since he was 15.