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As Glamour EIC Cindi Leive explains, women these days have a big problem on their hands. We're talking about the end of dating, the slow decline of an American institution once held so dear by both men and women. To try to regain some footing, Leive and the Glamour team have come up with Glamour Date Night, a nationwide initiative that's going down Saturday, June 28.
To encourage women (and men) to hop back in the dating saddle, Glamour's editors have lined up deals with retailers and restaurants, and have dedicated a large portion of the magazine's July issue to the cause. After the jump, Leive explains why she thinks dating has tanked, and why women shouldn't be afraid to ask for what they want.
Where did the idea for Glamour Date Night come from?
"It came from a conversation our editors were having about all of the complaints that they hear from our readers—mostly our single readers—about how dating appears to be dying an untimely death. Here's this thing that's existed for a hundred years, a century-old American tradition, yet every young woman we talked to was complaining that it's been completely replaced by the 11pm texts, the online hook-up, and to a lesser extent by group dating. We did a survey of 2,500 women and my favorite statistic from it was that 73% of women have actually wondered 'Is this a date?' about their most recent date. When you don't even know if the date you are on is an actual date, then something's wrong."
Why did you pick June 28?
We felt like it needed to be a weekend night, obviously, even though there is a lot to be said for the weekday evening date. In this case, for a lot of people, Saturday night is still the date night. Summer is a good time; you don't want to be doing it on a holiday weekend. It seems like the right moment.
We hatched the idea at a Glamour full-staff offsite last summer. So it's been a while in the making. We believe [Glamour date night] will be annual."
Glamour editor Christina Perez and her fiance. Photo courtesy Glamour.
How do you plan to measure the success of Glamour Date Night?
"Well, we'll see what we hear from readers. We are offering deals on more than 50 date-related things that they can get their hands on across the country. So obviously we'll be able to measure the number of women who actually took advantage of these deals, but more than that, what we want to hear from our readers is, now that you and the guy in your life were forced to go out on an honest-to-god actual date, will this stick? Every relationship counselor worth their salt will tell you to sit down with somebody for more than three-and-a-half seconds of speed dating to get to know whether they're right for you. You're able to make better choices about your romantic life. You're actually having a conversation that takes place over dinner, and not over text at 12:37am."
Did you line up partners for this initiative?
"We're working with restaurants in every major market, so no matter where you live as a Glamour reader, there's something you can take advantage of. Some of the things that I think readers will be most excited about are Whole Foods, which is doing a whole picnic spread that you can get a discount on, you can get discounts on date-night clothing from Piperlime, you can get discounts at Drybar if you're working on your blowout. I think women will be very excited."
Does Glamour Magazine stand to earn money from this editorial initiative?
Glamour cites a recent decline in dating. What killed dating, do you think? Was it the smartphone?
"I think dating has changed generation to generation, but to answer your question about why it's taken this steep nose dive, I think don't think it's as simple as the smart phone killed dating. I think it's a combination of technology, which makes it much easier to connect with people (that's a good thing) but also much easier to connect with people in a totally superficial way (that's a bad thing). I think it leads to people overdating, where you're actually scheduling 12 30-minute meetings over the course of a week. I know both men and women who do this when they start online dating. I don't think those qualify as real dates if you're whizzing through them with one eye on the clock. People lead very over-scheduled lives now, in general.
We [also] have a whole generation of women who have grown up not dating. If you're 23 or 24, it's just not what was ever done when you were in high school or college, so you have no frame of reference. But what we heard from women of every age is that they actually want to do it. One of our editors was saying that for her, the best date she'd ever been on was with an ex-boyfriend of hers simply because he had picked a night, made a reservation at a restaurant, and called her on the actual phone—not just texting her—to tell her he'd made a plan. All these things that seem so simple and any guy worth the price of admission should be doing that, but those are the kind of things that are generally not done."
The last big conversation in this country around dating was spurred by The Rules. How does Glamour Date Night differ?
"I think that if this is something that women want, that they should push for it. We're advocating on their behalf. PS, the message to women isn't, sit around and wait for him to ask you. You can ask him, too, if you think the return of dating is a good thing. This is not a Rules thing. And how you act on your date and what you do on your date is totally your business. We just want you to get out there and look amazing."