I approached post-grad dating much like I approach shoe purchasing. I dated a bunch of guys who seemed cute at the time without really trying them on only to end up with a closet full of one-outfit wonders and callouses that could rival the Black Swan set. For me it was more about the moment than the long-term goal. It was, if the shoe is totally adorable, fills a wardrobe void and essentially fits...
This is directly opposite of how the other half of today's 20-something world lives their dating lives. (I'm leaving out the set of people who get excellent boyfriends and keep them for the obvious reason that they don't count). This group approaches post-grad dating much like men approach shoe purchasing. They shop and shop and shop for the perfect pair of brown loafers getting by just fine without them in the meantime because they'd rather have no brown shoes than brown shoes they don't love.
(This is a giant stretch of an analogy, but it's all I've got at the moment).
Now presumably both women like me and women of the male-shoe-buying comparison eventually end up in good, healthy relationships. I have known too many women of each variety to say that the only way to find a prince is to kiss a bunch of frogs or the opposite, that slow and single wins the race.
So then the only question is - which dating history is better? "Better" being a wildly generic term encapsulating things like "more worth it" and "healthier" and "developmentally beneficial."
Does kissing frogs make you more knowledgeable about what princes look like? More appreciative once you find one? More patient in the process? Does it help bide your time and keep you ingrained in the relationship-learning process - marinading in a sauce of romance until the the right person comes along? Is it worth it for the sheer stories-you'll-tell-your-grandchildren alone?
Or is it healthier to just wait it out with a selective approach to the marketplace? Do you get less jaded that way? Do you stay truer to your relationship vision? Does more dating make your standards lower? If you hold out for only the most excellent situations are you protecting yourself and your goals or guarding yourself from unexpected opportunities? Do any grandchildren really care that you have dating war stories to tell them?
Sometimes I look back on boyfriends past and think, "ugh, that was a waste." But was it? My grand kids and I may never know.
What do you and your hypothetical grand kids think?