Dating Today: What happened to the Letterman Jacket?

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“Tis’ cuffing season,” my best guy friend told me over coffee last week at the Chocolate Bar.

(For those of you scratching your head, “cuffing season” refers to that time of year when the weather cools, the holidays approach, and new relationships start to bloom.)

No one can avoid the fact that the holidays are a romantic time of year. I won’t deny it. The weather is colder (think snuggling) and the date ideas are endless (think ice skating or apple picking).

But have you ever stopped to think about what dating was like back in our grandparent’s day? Where courting was a thing, not cuffing?

After a semi-heated debate within my friend group, here is a look at 10 “old school” dating behaviors and today’s more modern equivalents.

 

1.  Courting

Men used to really woo women. They would actively seek to impress girls with things such as compliments and small tokens of affection (like flowers).

Today: At 8 pm, you receive a “What you doin tn?” text.

 

2.  Listening

There were no iPhones to serve as major distractions. Couples actually sat and talked to each other one on one.

Today: At some point during the date, one or both parties feel the urge to scroll through their Instagram feed. But, I guarantee you, checking to see if you broke 100 likes on your latest photo can wait.

3.  Calling

After a date, it was expected to receive a call the next day (or even later that night) regardless if the date went well or not. There is something about talking on the phone that just seems to take a little more effort.

Today: You receive a text about 3 days after your initial date. Maybe you even get ghosted and never receive a text. I salute all the boys that send a “text me when you’re home” or “had a great time” message immediately after a hangout. Even if the date was a flop, a “had a great time but I think we should just be friends” is better than nothing. Being direct is key.

 

4.  Chivalry is and should NOT be Dead

As a firm believer in gender equality and a self-declared feminist, I don’t demand men should open my car door or walk between me and the curb (or between me and oncoming traffic). BUT, I am a firm believer in good manners. Plain and simple. And sometimes good manners include opening a restaurant door and saying please and thank you.

Today: We all open our own doors. And compliments (which come on, everybody loves!) are rarely given.

 

5.  Dreamboat

My mom and grandmother love this term. Handsome and beautiful will work too though.

Today: “He’s a hottie” or “she’s so hot.” Personally, I have never been called hot to my face (I tend to find myself in the cute realm), but how old school does dreamboat sound? Or, to use my aunt’s personal favorite: He/She is a babe and a half.

 

6.  Let’s Go Dancing

Dancing is such a fun activity. It was an extremely popular date activity back in the day too. It doesn’t matter if you have two left feet or you have two ballet slippers in the back of your car. Dancing easily allows you to break that touch barrier and do more than just talk over a meal.

Today: Coffee. Dinner. But most likely Netflix and Chill. Now don’t get me wrong: I love getting coffee and I love getting dinner. But it’s fun to change things up. Activities such as bowling, the movies, taking a hike, or visiting a museum are all fun date activities to try.

 

7.  Going Steady

There used to be a time in most relationships for “the talk.” The classic guy-gives-girl-his-jacket and now they are boyfriend and girlfriend.

Today: Should we DTR? Or should we just be friends with benefits? “Labeling” is like a certain four-letter word. I believe it is important to be on the same page regardless of the label or outcome. Sometimes, though, you end up with a partner who doesn’t want to label at all for some vague and unconvincing reason. * cue eye roll *

 

8.  Dear John Letter

It used to be perfectly acceptable to send a letter to your significant other to break off a relationship. But do keep in mind, this letter was usually sent overseas to a man in the service.

Today: Text break-ups. I’m a firm believer in doing things person to person. Don’t hide behind your screen. And if you end things by ghosting, well I have nothing to say to you except Laaammeee.

 

9.  No Sexspectations

There was no average three-dates-until-you-can-have-sex rule (looking at you, Ryan Seacrest).  A girl’s virginity was also usually regarded with high esteem. One night stands were not as prevalent too.

Today: If you have sex too early, you are easy. But if you wait too long, you’re a prude.  Adding sex into any relationship is always tricky. But generally, the rule of thumb is when you feel comfortable and ready to have sex and your partner feels the same, the light turns green. Sometimes that is the first date; sometimes it’s three months down the road.  

 

10.  “Parking”

Sex aside, do you remember watching those movies of the guy and girl parked in a secluded spot on a dark road, passionately kissing?

Today: You kiss, but usually in a crowded party (after a few drinks) or in a bedroom. There is something exhilarating, though, about making out in a more public location (like in a car or in the back of a movie theatre). You have some seclusion, but your blood still races over the idea of “getting caught.” Also: nothing is better than just a good solid mack down. And typically speaking, the good kissers are good at other things too.

 

But remember: there is no need to be cuffed. The old saying “you find someone when you least expect it” is true. You shouldn’t have to actively search for prince (or princess) charming. It will happen. It just may or may not be your time. And, half the time we have more fun doing activities with our friends anyway. Plus, you are more than capable of snuggling with your own warm blanket, drinking some hot tea, and watching Friends re-runs solo.

Cuffed or not, enjoy!

 

Sources:

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https://pages.stolaf.edu/amcon-202/files/2015/03/50s-dating.jpg

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About The Author

California raised, cat loving, fashion dedicated 20something