What Happened To Old Fashioned Dating?

Disclaimer: Everyone has different desires for how they want to be treated in a relationship. These opinions are those of the author.

Once upon a time men called—not texted— to ask women out on dates. From there they’d knock on the door, meet the parents, open the car door, go dancing, and pay for their women. Eventually, after a few dates and romantic gestures, the man would ask the girl to “go steady”. Boy likes girl. Girl likes boy. They date. Simple. End of the story. 

Now after back and forth of “I don’t know what do you want to do”, the couple finally decides to just “Netflix and chill”. Ladies are used to getting the “I’m here” text in replacement of the man coming to the door and we rarely question it. It makes me wonder: is it us? Did we let our standards down? Do we accept whatever affection we can get? Girls give themselves away in the hopes that the boy falls in love with them or comes back to them. But what happened to making them work for it. Brooke Davis states one of my favorite lines in One Tree Hill, “What I wanted? I wanted you to fight for me! I wanted you to say there was no one else you’d rather be with and that you’d rather be alone than without me.” I loved how Brooke said what was on her mind and demanded what she wanted and refused to accept anything less. She was so fierce and true to herself and her desires. However, life’s not a perfectly written television show. Therefore, we participate in our date culture as we believe we should. 

In order to date in our day, you have to know the game. You must play the game, lie, and suppress any feelings you might have. You can’t be too available. You also must see other people to prove you haven’t “caught feelings” even if you have. All this exhausting work only leads to “situationships”. You know when people are like, "you know it just sorta turned into a thing, but I don't know if we're exclusive or not yet". You are either “talking”, “casual”, or “catching feelings”. All these new terms help to define the hook-up generation that we all somehow created and became engulfed in. People are “together” one week and then on a “break” the next. While breaks work for some people, I firmly believe they just cause more confusion and offer an excuse to see other people. Clarity and comfort is a thing of the past. Nothing is easy anymore despite the ease of technology. Tinder allows you to swipe right on people you know nothing about. Twitter gives boys an easy outlet to “slide into the DMs”—how romantic. And that is just the start of the relationship. Social media and technology ruins already existing relationships by making everything available with the tap or swipe of your finger. Girls see boys liking other girls’ pictures or inspect their snapchats for any sign of suspicious females. There is a lethal lack of trust; thus, giving the relationship a weak foundation to build on.

People rather hook up than have a relationship because relationships are hard. However, that’s the issue with our generation. We abandon things when it seems unfixable or block it out if it signals complications. Relationships aren’t easy—especially in college. We are constantly meeting new people, making new connections, and finding ourselves. Therefore, balancing a relationship in this jumble of newness can be intimidating. It’s the easy way out. Back in the day, couples worked hard to make things work; they didn't just give up when the road looked rough ahead. Blocking out a potential relationship for the avoidance of struggle is an issue in itself. 

Women have made so much progress; yet, somehow we compromised our right to be treated as ladies. Are men just emasculated by strong women? Perhaps they feel women are more independent now and don’t need a man to hold the door for them. However, it’s tradition and common decency. Maybe it’s ludicrous to want both independence and tradition but it’s not impossible. Just a little bit more class and romance. 

We grew up watching dapper men of the 1950s or romantic studs in John Hughes movies. Perhaps the over-the-top gestures on screen set unrealistic expectations but just because the bar is set high doesn’t mean that men shouldn't try. It is the little things that show effort and distinguish true gentlemen. Why shouldn't we demand to be treated to dinner or to be escorted to the car instead of beckoned like a bro? Why should we give up our childhood fantasy of Prince Charming? Guys believe these gestures are cheesy; yet, their grandfathers probably won over their grandmothers with these swift and gentlemanly moves.

I want to be cherished. I want to be chased. I want a good love story to tell our grandchildren. I want to fall in love the old-fashioned way. Life is too short. If you love someone tell them, we don’t get these days back.

Cover photo credit: Pexels