Wednesday, January 13, 2010
You had me at hello
Courtship has changed! As a matter of fact, it isn’t even a thought in the relationship game anymore. In the early 1900’s a man would not even think about approaching a woman without her permission first. In the 1950’s girls were looked down on if they made the first move and now in the 21st century, girls not only call boys first, but they often initiate dates and pay for them. Am I really that old fashioned? Is it wrong that I like to be courted and felt appreciated by a man? Is it too much to ask for the man to make the first move? Come to think of it, maybe this is why I am still single. Maybe I’m not aggressive enough. But call me “old fashioned”…I will never change my ways.
It seems to me anymore that dating has become an industry. It has melded into some sort of a sophisticated social science, and I was never good at science. There are coaches, and experts and rules, oh my! It has become some sort of a job. And just like any real job, you get out of it what you put into it. We are taught to think of dating as fun and fabulous. Apparently, all it takes is implementing the right tools, strategies and support staff to make it happen. Well, I got news for you…whoever said that is obviously not single!
We seem to be stuck in the era of hook-ups, walks of shame, online dating and sexting. It used to be that two people spent time together to get to know one another, but now it just seems like people get together to fill some sort of void or need in their lives. Things seemed simpler when I was dating some twenty odd years ago. A guy asked me out, we went out to dinner to get to know each other, we either decided we weren’t right for each other or continued dating. Nowadays, girls are asking guys out, going to clubs and bars, not having any kind of fruitful discussions, hooking up and then moving on. It seems to me that to most people, dating is all about the numbers more than the emotional relationships. I wonder whatever happened to our moral compass?
The changes in dating have made it very difficult for some relationships to be defined. The line between friends and lovers has become considerably blurry. Friends with benefits is a great example of this and can often be what leads to what I like to call “relationship purgatory”. It can often cause unwanted resentment, bitterness and confusion.
And the thrill of meeting someone new for the first time…well, that doesn’t seem to exist anymore either. Initial first date butterflies have taken a backseat to what I like to refer to as “google stalking”. I will admit it, before I go out on a first date with someone I google them to see what comes up. And often the bubble is burst and the “newness” of a potential suitor is no longer there. The excitement of meeting someone for the first time is gone because before we even meet our first date, we usually already know the basics this person.
Face to face conversations are no longer the norm either. Come to think of it, neither is talking on the phone. I can’t think of the last time I had a good telephone conversation with someone I was dating. Technology has allowed texting and emails to take the forefront on relationship communication. It has stunted the growth of intimacy because we engage in less and less direct interaction with each other.
And online dating…don’t make me go there. This little social dating invention has given people the permission they need to become a sort of “jack of all trades” and a master in none when it comes to trying to establish intimacy with one person, because it is often superseded by having several relationships of less substance. In my opinion, online dating is what has given us the ok to stop taking dating so seriously.
Now people just date other people out of convenience. I had a friend that once told me she was dating this guy (who was awesome, by the way) because he was good for her “right now.” He filled her void now, even though she knew he wasn’t long term material for her. This is the kind of crap that really irritates me about being single. It’s the selfishness of lonely people that often prevents “good catches” from getting caught by the right person.
The scary part is that dating has changed so much so over the past twenty plus years that perspectives and morals are quite different from how they used to be. And if our world is changing that rapidly in just twenty years, then what does that say for our future? What kind of dating atmosphere will our children be subjected to when they are our age? It seems to me that individuals are more and more reluctant to risk losing their independence, hence the reasons for dates of less substance.
Dating means different things to different people Too me, it is two fold, first, to get to know a potential life partner, and second, to get to know myself better. I can honestly say that I have spent the last three or four years trying to get to know a possible life partner. It’s not working for me. So I have deemed 2010 my year of getting to know myself better, and so far I like what I am learning!