Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Is Courtship Really Dead?

120613054307-woman-three-men-gaggle-bar-story-topAn article in the Times this weekend proclaimed an end of courtship, saying that millennials, who have only known an age of texting, social networking, instant messaging, and online dating, conduct their intimate lives through screens and have no idea how to actually date-date. “Blame the much-documented rise of the ‘hookup culture’ among young people, characterized by spontaneous, commitment-free (and often, alcohol-fueled) romantic flings. Many students today have never been on a traditional date, said Donna Freitas, who has taught religion and gender studies at Boston University and Hofstra.” And as “they start to build an adult life, ‘They’re wondering, “If you like someone, how would you walk up to them? What would you say? What words would you use?”‘Ms. Frietas said.”

Add to all that the changing gender roles, the rise of women in the work force and the “fall of men,” as Hanna Rosin would say, and there’s a lot of confusion/ambiguity/mixed messages over who should do the asking out and the paying and what has traditionally been thought of as the man’s role in courtship (at least in hetero pairings). “’Maybe there’s still a sense of a man taking care of a woman, but our ideology is aligning with the reality of our finances,’ Ms. Rosin said. As a man, you might ‘convince yourself that dating is passé, a relic of a paternalistic era, because you can’t afford to take a woman to a restaurant.'” As a result, 20-something men don’t ask women out anymore. They text women at 10:30 on Friday night to meet up with them and their buddies for a drink and maybe a drunken hookup later in the night.

Oh, dear. The whole article just really depressed me. I mean, I’m not that far removed from the millennial generation, and it hasn’t been that long since I was on the single scene. Has so much changed in six or seven years? Are single women in their 20s and 30s destined to a row of Saturday nights hoping for a drunken hookup if they want any semblance of intimacy? Is that even intimacy? Is courtship really, truly dead?

But then I got to the very last paragraph, which gave me a little hope:

Cheryl Yeoh, a tech entrepreneur in San Francisco, said that she has been on many formal dates of late — plays, fancy restaurants. One suitor even presented her with red roses. For her, the old traditions are alive simply because she refuses to put up with anything less. She generally refuses to go on any date that is not set up a week in advance, involving a degree of forethought.

“If he really wants you,” Ms. Yeoh, 29, said, “he has to put in some effort.”

Yes, yes! So, it IS still the same scene as it was when I was single seven years ago, even if some of the details have changed a bit. Ladies, if you want a man to treat you with a modicum of respect — and I’m not talking about the red roses or meals at fancy restaurants here; I’m talking about setting up an actual date with some advance notice and forethought — don’t settle for less. No matter how much may change in the way we relate to each other, I have to believe that that part will always stay the same: If someone is interested in you, he or she will put in the effort to have some of your time and attention. And if he/she doesn’t? MOA!!!

63 comments… add one
  • Lyra

    L January 14, 2013, 1:28 pm

    I sure hope this isn’t the way things are going, but based on what I’ve seen in my very brief stint of online dating, it sure looks like that’s what some people seem to expect. I don’t bother with the guys who contact me looking for a hook up. There are a LOT who seem to just send random notes to any girl who is remotely attractive. Those who I can tell looked at my profile and seem to actually want to get to know me I respond to. Proper spelling and grammar are definitely a plus too, haha.

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      Lydia January 14, 2013, 2:19 pm

      I would always send those guys a really sarcastically friendly message back. Like “oh how nice if you to message to me. However, if you want to succeed in online dating, here’s a tip: have a look at the profile, not just the picture, before sending a lady a message. It will make the response rate much higher”. It mightily pissed off most of them, which I always found hilarious.

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  • avatar

    SuzyQ January 14, 2013, 1:28 pm

    Yes – demand the kind of relationship you want! As Oprah would say, we teach people how to treat us. We should never be so desperate to settle for less than.

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  • avatar

    Temperance January 14, 2013, 1:36 pm

    So, courtship means something COMPLETELY different from dating, at least in Christian circles. With that in mind, I was really excited by this article. Courting is the WORST. (For those of you who don’t know, it means something more serious than dating, and that your parents basically set it up, with the idea that the person you are “courting” is marriage material. They often don’t kiss, definitely don’t have sex, and will “side hug” instead of touching body parts.)

    That being said, I think this article is for the birds. I think the prevalence of internet dating HAS changed the dating landscape, for better or worse, but I don’t think that it necessarily contributes to hookup culture or a total degradation from formal dates, either.

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      artsygirl January 14, 2013, 3:14 pm

      I was thinking the same thing Temperance. I have always felt the term courtship constitutes a more serious step in dating and is normally found in orthodox or religious communities when used in modern society. Traditionally the act of courting went beyond the two participants and included the extended family and community at large with the expectation that it would end in marriage.

      Of course, sex and relationships in society are constantly shifting and changing to reflect the technology and attitudes.

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    • avatar

      Anna January 14, 2013, 5:56 pm

      That’s what I was thinking too, since I was raised Baptist. In my parents’ church, couples were not allowed to spend time alone together. A date meant a group date, usually to a church event or (even more embarassing) with parents acting as chaperones. Many couples I knew didn’t even kiss until their wedding day and holding hands was scandalous. And of course the side-hug! Because hugging someone full-on who isn’t your spouse would be akin to adultery (even if you’re not married it’s considered cheating on your future spouse). I can’t imagine choosing a spouse on those terms. And if you’re ever invited to a Baptist wedding, I would recommend having a couple drinks before it. Baptist weddings have no alcohol and no dancing is allowed.

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        Temperance January 15, 2013, 1:01 pm

        I have thankfully never been invited to a Baptist wedding, although my mom’s church (evangelical Protestant) had the same rules. The weirdest rule they had was NO MUSIC DURING THE CEREMONY!

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  • avatar

    TheTruth January 14, 2013, 1:40 pm

    I am constantly trying to battle the casual influence of society has on my teenage son… it’s a never-ending fight. It’s disheartening to see his what seem like weekly relationships conducted almost entirely through text messages and facebook. I am always encouraging him to try making an actual telephone call. I almost feel sorry for teenagers of today who are missing out on the four hour long phone calls I made as a teenager.Your advice is absolutely correct… demand respect and you will get it. Women have the power.

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      lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 1:44 pm

      You reminded me of how great those calls were, even though the phone cord barely reached the bathroom, and various siblings would pick up to listen in, or mom would pick up and tell me to get off the phone. lol.

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        TheTruth January 14, 2013, 1:52 pm

        Wow… its funny how you mentioned the phone cord. I have distinct memories of wrapping myself up in it as I nervously paced while talking. How about dialing six of the seven digits several times before you actually got up the nerve to make the phone call?

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        lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 2:06 pm

        Yup, or being a total psycho and jotting down bullet points to talk about in case there was a silence. Maybe that was just me! I can still remember the first guy I talked to when we got a portable phone.

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        TheTruth January 14, 2013, 2:22 pm

        Wow… bullet points… I was never that bad, though I had a few conversations where I wish I would of had some notes. I actually got lucky. I am actually with my high school sweetheart after losing contact for 20 years (yep, a facebook romance), and we started out long distance, so I was able to totally relive those long conversations that I wished would never end. Nothing like feeling like a teenager again while in your 40’s.

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      • katie

        katie January 14, 2013, 2:24 pm

        i remember coming home and checking the caller ID -you know, the freestanding little thingy with the up/down arrow and delete button- immediately, and if my “boyfriend” had called i would erase it because i was embarrassed that he called my house.

        haha. good times.

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      • avatar

        bethany January 14, 2013, 3:06 pm

        I wasn’t much of a phone talker growing up, but I had 1 friend who I’d talk on the phone with once a month or so in the summers when we were in middle school. I’d sit on top of the trash can in the kitchen while my mom cooked, and just talk and talk and talk… I loved that. 🙂
        Thanks for making me remember it.

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    • LM

      LM January 14, 2013, 2:46 pm

      Or the glory of a pager… even if it was just from a friend. We don’t have a house phone and work purely off of cell phones, unfortunately, but I sure do miss those days of actually having to interact with people. It’s funny… my brother is in his late 20s and was convinced a girl he was texting with was his actual girlfriend. I told him that to be in a relationship with someone (romantically anyway) he actually had to SEE the girl.

      It’s frustrating; I have no idea how we are supposed to further ourselves as a society when everything is done via technology. And I really don’t understand why people insist on putting ALL of their “relationship” details all over social media. Is nothing sacred anymore?

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        lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 2:52 pm

        143

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      • LM

        LM January 14, 2013, 3:33 pm

        Hee hee hee… 😀

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    • avatar

      Krissy January 14, 2013, 3:28 pm

      While I agree that all of the technology is a little disheartening, I bet your parents looked at all the time you wasted on the phone and thought, what happened to the good old days of letters and dates at the local dinner! The reality is that phone calls have only been around for a few decades as well. The dating landscape is constantly changing. There’s really no use in being nostalgic about it, we must learn to adapt to it and embrace the positives! There’s definitely no going back…

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    • avatar

      Matcha January 15, 2013, 9:08 am

      Hey, I’m even less removed–still have friends in college–and I spent tons of time in middle school and high school pacing around the living room with my parent’s cordless phone. And having hours-long IM chats on AIM. The mode of communication may change but the intent is similar. (Although I still prefer phone calls and most of my friends hate them.)

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary January 14, 2013, 1:43 pm

    Eh, I don’t think this is the way things are going. First there’s the total exaggeration that every millenial operates via FB, excessive texting, and twitter. Not true. I think the author used examples of people who are friends with benefits rather than using examples of how real people actually get into a dating relationship. These are two totally seperate things. Is it OK for a FWB to text me after 10pm to go for a drink and a late night hookup? Yes. A guy I want to date, or wants to date me? No. My boyfriend and I went on dates for 2-3 months before we decided to be in a relationship (I was leaving for grad school so we were unsure what to do). And in college plenty of men asked, and took me on, real dates out to restaurants.

    And young people not knowing how to get out of hookup culture? That’s BS. You learn to date how everyone else learned how to date over the past 200 years. Through trial and error. If a guy now wants to take me out and tries to get me to “hang out with him” at his apartment I would just say “No, we can go on a real date or see you later.” It’s all about your expectations.

    Another exaggeration of how millenials don’t know how to communicate or function as a normal adult. I’m surprised any of us know how to wipe our own butt with the way the media describes us.

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    • avatar

      MJ January 14, 2013, 1:53 pm

      Every generation whines about this sort of thing. I read some older people’s review of this article and they said back in the early 80s everyone was drinking and hooking up, too. It’s just the way it goes until people want to settle down.

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      • avatar

        TheTruth January 14, 2013, 1:57 pm

        While I wish it was true, in the 80’s were weren’t hooking up nearly as much kids are today… now drinking, that we did very well.

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        Kelly L. January 14, 2013, 2:30 pm

        Well, but this was already starting when I was in college in the nineties–there was a lot of drama when one person was operating on the dating model and the other on the hookup model–and we didn’t have nearly as much technology or social media. If there’s a change, it’s not technology’s fault. And I’m not sure there really is a change or if people are just more open about their casual sex than they used to be.

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        artsygirl January 14, 2013, 3:24 pm

        Actually Dr. Kinsey (expert in human sexuality at Indiana University) proved that people were having non-marital sex just as frequently back in the 1950s as they do today. Of course, back then people did not talk about their sexual histories and if a woman got pregnant she would either marry or disappear to a home for unwed mothers until after the baby was delivered. To me, in some ways it is better to acknowledge that people are going to have sex and take the shame away since it is almost always directed at the woman. This of course is with the caveat that the people participating are mature and responsible enough to engage in sex.

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      • katie

        katie January 14, 2013, 4:34 pm

        yea, i assumed as much. pre-marital sex has been around for way longer then the concept of marriage has been.

        isnt premarital sex the reason for the diamond engagement ring?

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    • Lyra

      L January 14, 2013, 1:58 pm

      You have some really great points, kerry. It’s definitely true that you set your own expectations. How many times have we told a letter writer to aim higher? 🙂

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  • katie

    katie January 14, 2013, 1:57 pm

    i dunno, this makes no sense to me. ive been on very few real “dates”, and i dont even know if you can consider them real anyway- one was with my already boyfriend on my 16th birthday, one was with my current boyfriend when we decided randomly one night to go to a diner. so i dont feel like ive ever been on a “date”. ive never not known someone pretty well and went out to dinner with them. (is that a real date? i always figured that was a real date.)

    and then on the flip side of that, i wasnt ever a hook-up kind of person either. so i dont fit anywhere, i guess?

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      lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 2:07 pm

      Same here. I don’t think any of my friends went on “dates” either.

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    • FireStar

      FireStar January 14, 2013, 2:12 pm

      I think I was in my 30’s before I went on a “date”. My relationships always started with men who knew me first as a friend so there was no “getting to know you” part – they already knew me. Dating was something I did with boyfriends – not with strangers. But it is true – you ultimately are the one person who decides how someone will treat you. I had a grown man in his 30’s try and text me about a date. He complained to me later that I was unapproachable and that didn’t give him a chance and I told him – you had a chance – you didn’t use it. Surprisingly it was the first time he heard he was supposed to do more than randomly text a girl if he wanted a shot with her.

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    • mandalee

      mandalee January 14, 2013, 2:12 pm

      Yeah, I went on one real date in my life and I’m not even sure that counts. My husband took me out to dinner after we slept together randomly? I don’t think that counts lol Anyways, I had one hookup and one maybe real date, with the same person. The other relationships, I was usually friends or co-workers with the person and it slowly developed into something more. I truly can’t remember ever being asked on a date.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray January 14, 2013, 2:25 pm

      On my first real date I was about 16 and we went to play (that I slept through) followed by a stop for frozen yogurt – and then he got punched in the face by a drunk who was angry that my date had cut him off at the light and I was so scared that I laughed. …. AWKWARD!!

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl January 14, 2013, 2:57 pm

      I’ve never been on a real, honest to goodness date. My fiance and I have “date nights” where we do date like activities (dinner and a movie) but when our relationship started it was more like an invitation to join friends at a bar, running into each other at baseball games, stuff like that. After we had already started messing around we went on a “date” (a movie) where he picked me up, paid, and dropped me off. But then I met him at the bar like an hour later and got drunk and went home with him haha.

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  • avatar

    weiwei January 14, 2013, 2:07 pm

    This article is a little too “ahhh the good old days” for me to take it seriously…

    Sure people in college and their early 20s don’t pick up the phone and talk the way people used to. That’s because texting/social media is the new form of communication thats not face to face. At some point, calling people on the telephone was new too. The whole “lets chat on the phone for 3 hours” was ALSO a generational thing. So was sending letters to your beau on the war front. Are we gonna start lamenting that too?

    Relationships are different these days. Like kerrycontrary said, I don’t expect my hookup to take me to dinner. My boyfriend? Whole different story.

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    • katie

      katie January 14, 2013, 2:09 pm

      oh good point! and then maybe our children’s generation will be ruled by a super version of facetime- like, live facetime, and then we will be like… why are they talking face to face! is a keyboard not good enough for you? god damn kids!! get off my farmville lawn!

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        lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 2:11 pm

        so funny!

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    • FireStar

      FireStar January 14, 2013, 2:15 pm

      Though can I say – I sort of love the love letters I’ve gotten in my life and have kept them to re-read when I’m 85. The love emails just aren’t the same….

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        Taylor January 14, 2013, 3:46 pm

        Me too. I’ve printed out a couple of the good ones, but not the same. I still have the Drakkar Noir scented letters from my pen-pal crush I met at a Model UN conference in high-school (sentences like that is why I don’t use my full name on the interwebs).

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  • Lili

    Lili January 14, 2013, 2:38 pm

    I think its a mix of people not being that invested in long term relationships because of a fear of that ending, and people compromising what they truly want for what they think they can get. Like, if you want a relationship, but think a FWB is the best you can get, then well-AIM HIGHER. Its scary to be lonely, I get it. BUt its worse to be miserable in something, stuck with no hopes of it evolving.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle January 14, 2013, 2:52 pm

    I tend to roll my eyes at any article that references, with exaggerated horror, ~HOOKUP CULTURE~ but there’s some truth to it. I remember being in college, laughing with roommate about things like “What is a DATE?” & feeling confused at my one friend who managed to always have dudes taking her out to dinner. Like, who does *that* anymore? ( <–is what I'd think in my head). And I also recall not WANTING to date— sit across the dinner table from a stranger? That's way too awkward! (More awkward than drunkenly making out with strangers!)

    But I also thought about things that way because I wasn't serious about anybody, nor did I WANT to be serious with anybody. When I current boyfriend & I first started seeing each other, we naturally fell into more traditional methods of "courting" (haha). We'd already been having sleepovers together (omg, HOOKUP CULTURE), but I knew he LIKE-liked me when he started asking to share lunch or dinner, or when he would call in the evening just to chat.

    So yeah, people might (nowadays) text more, or wait until after 10 p.m. to be all "R u out? come 2 to the bar where im @!" but if they're actually serious about each other, I think something clicks— they realize, "Oh, I should put in effort."

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  • avatar

    Eagle Eye January 14, 2013, 2:55 pm

    Yeah, this seems like a bit much and not really indicative of my friends (urban mid to late 20 somethings) almost all of us are in long term relationships and almost all of them (and me!) started these relationships by dating (real dating, like on dates to movies/ drinks) and then deciding to make it official. A few of them just got married this past summer actually.

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  • avatar

    j2 January 14, 2013, 2:58 pm

    Some claim that the changes in the gender ratio on college campuses is a major driving factor.

    According to those same folk, an unbalanced fem-heavy produces the phenomenon mentioned in the article (“the median income for young, single, childless women is higher than it is for men in many of the country’s biggest cities” — “find five smartly dressed young women dining together — the nearest man the waiter”). More than that, however, the desirable men who ARE on the college campuses do not have to “court,” and so do not (and, in fact, never learn how). Meanwhile, female students never develop an expectation of being courted, hook-ups become seen as “normal” almost as if they were being groomed.

    Yuck.

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  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny January 14, 2013, 3:32 pm

    I dunno, I’m 28 and have been on lots of actual dates. Even when I was doing online dating, there were periods of time where I would be going on dates 1-2 times a week, with the same guy or different guys. And these were -actual- dates, like to dinner or to see a band play or something. And yeah, sometimes the guy would want to take things back to his place. I was never interested in a hookup situation, so I declined those guys who made it clear that was only what they were looking for.
    I think people need to stick to their guns to get what they want (whether a hookup or something more), and not settle for less than that. It’s disappointing, for sure, and lonely sometimes, but it’s better than settling for something that leaves you desiring more.

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      lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 4:06 pm

      I think online dating allows for more real, actual dates.

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny January 14, 2013, 8:45 pm

        I think also there are guys (and girls I guess) who want to do more interesting activities than just dinner and a movie. Picnics, museums, hikes, and tea/walking around the city are some things I’ve done, with online and offline dudes. When you think about it, there are a lot of ideas for date activities out there!

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      MissDre January 14, 2013, 4:07 pm

      I went on lots of dates too! My first date with my current boyfriend (met online) was one of the best dates I’ve ever been on!

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny January 14, 2013, 8:41 pm

        I have heard that some guys will do online dating with the sole purpose of simply going on dates (ie, not in it for future dating or relationships, etc.). It makes sense, your pool of people to choose from is pretty huge! I’m sure women do this too, of course.

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      GatorGirl January 14, 2013, 4:20 pm

      Like I said above, I’ve never been on a date-date. But that is directly corolated to the fact that my fiance and I started dating when I was 22 and now 5 years later we’re about to get married. I have no idea how to go on a date.

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    • Moneypenny

      Moneypenny January 14, 2013, 8:43 pm

      Just to be clear, I’ve gone on dates with guys I met offline too! The frequency of dating was -much- higher through online dating, though.

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  • avatar

    Lucy January 14, 2013, 3:59 pm

    This article struck me as utter rubbish. Of the ~30 women I know in NYC in their 20s, roughly half of them have boyfriends/girlfriends, and the other half either date a lot or have recently ended relationships. Every time I read one of these articles, I wonder who the hell they’re talking about. Maybe I’m just hanging around the wrong crowd. Oddly I do know women on their 40s who have embraced the so-called hookup culture, but their reasoning is usually along the lines of “I like sex, but I’m done putting up with some guy’s shit.”

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    SweetPeaG January 14, 2013, 4:17 pm

    I am agreeing with Moneypenny (above me)! I am 31 and I have been on a lot of actual dates… at least I think they were real dates! Both from guys I’ve met in the real world and through online dating. Even a few guys who (in the long run) were only looking for some casual nookie would actually take me out first. Most of them made a little effort! And this is recent enough… I was single about 2 years ago and full on in the dating scene. The one guy I met through online dating who didn’t find going out on a “date” necessary, I told straight up I needed a bit more.

    I guess the tough thing in today’s dating world is that hookups are really normal. I am not judging anyone who is happy with casual sex… please don’t get me wrong. But, I do think young ladies (especially) think they HAVE to be okay with “hookups”. They don’t want to be considered prudes or boring, etc. I guess technology can play a bit of a role. It is just so easy to text someone for a hookup… just hit send! I hope someday if I have a daughter (or son, for that matter) that I properly convey to her (or him) that it is okay to ask for what you want. You deserve a date! Getting to know someone is fun! Only do what you are comfortable with… don’t think you have to be the cool girl! Yes… I understand that Moms have been telling their kids some version of this from the beginning of time. And kids have been ignoring this sage advice. But, I will try anyway.

    I think one reason (of the many) that my fiance stole my heart is that even though we had known each other as friends for almost 10 years before we were an item, he asked me out on a proper date right away. He picked me up, let me pick somewhere I wanted to go (even though I picked my favorite local hole in the wall pizza place), asked me “get to know you” questions throughout our meal, etc. He didn’t go with the “Oh, well, I’ve know you forever… let’s just jump into the have sex and stay home mode” immediately. He wanted to know the little things about me that we had never gotten into hanging out in groups as friends. He put (and still puts) the effort out there.

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    • Moneypenny

      Moneypenny January 14, 2013, 8:48 pm

      I agree, esp. with your second paragraph.
      A little effort goes a long way!

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  • lynn

    Lynn January 14, 2013, 5:00 pm

    Errr I’m 22, and I’ve been on lots of “real dates.” I mean… like others have said, if I’m hooking up with the guy… solely hooking up with him, then I don’t expect dinner and a movie or whatever… except sometimes dinner happens.

    The guy I’ve gone out with the last couple weeks has taken me out to dinner, then drinks, paid for the taxi and then walked to me to my apartment. He also asked me out a week in advance. So I think that constitutes as a date?

    How do y’all feel about guys who open the car door for you? Most of my exes would open the car door for me, and another one used to stand up and take off his hat (if he had one on) any time a lady walked into the room. I mean… I don’t expect guys to do that, but it’s a nice gesture. Personally, I’d prefer to open my own car door, but I don’t complain.

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    • lynn

      Lynn January 14, 2013, 5:06 pm

      Whoa WTF. I just read the article. No no no… nooo. Is this real life? Do guys actually pull that crap and girls put up with it? What a way to make someone feel like shit.

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      kerrycontrary January 14, 2013, 5:21 pm

      I don’t have too many guys open the car door for me. I don’t expect it and I don’t really care, but like you said its a nice gesture. Mostly because I work in a big office building I expect a man to hold a door for a woman, and they always let women get out of an elevator first.

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        Lynn January 14, 2013, 9:42 pm

        Yeah I’m with you on the holding the door open and elevator deal. It’s almost to where I don’t notice it, but when a guy doesn’t do it… I’m very caught off-guard.

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        AliceInDairyland January 15, 2013, 1:37 am

        Hrmm that’s weird. I tend to be a door-holder because it seems nice, especially for anyone older than me. I don’t know if I have noticed women getting out of an elevator first.. It think that would kind of creep me out. If my BF held open the door for me I’d probably wander around to his side and drive…

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      • lynn

        Lynn January 15, 2013, 10:43 am

        Oh yeah definitely! I for sure hold doors open for others, but the guys I’m around/in my city seem to be pretty good at making sure no woman opens her own door.

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      GatorGirl January 15, 2013, 8:09 am

      My fiance opens my car just about everytime we go somewhere. I love it.

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      • lynn

        Lynn January 15, 2013, 10:44 am

        That’s so sweet! Especially since y’all are about to get married and he still does that kind of stuff… I feel like in some relationships, guys stop doing some of those things since they’ve already won the girl over. 😉

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    clover January 14, 2013, 8:18 pm

    I liked the comment (on the NYT site, I mean) from the guy who’s in a relationship with someone who started as a friend rather than as a “date”—okay, it was a little smug, but what he said about dating feeling like an “assembly line” rang true to me. Does traditional dating even work as a way to help compatible people become partners? I suppose it must, but how? I’ve been on one or two “dates” before (and one or two more where I didn’t know it was a date because I thought we were just being friendly…), and I felt so uncomfortable because it all seemed so phony and contrived. I don’t want to sit across the table from someone making stiff good-first-impression small talk; I want to really get to know the real them, heart and soul! I have to love someone as a friend before I can love them as a potential partner. To me, “hanging out” sounds like a better way to get to know someone than “dating,” as long as “hanging out” means actually spending time doing real-life things together and being sincere and open with each other. Does that really mean that I’m “settling for less”?

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    tbrucemom January 14, 2013, 8:18 pm

    It’s true, if a man really wants to be with you and by with you I mean for something more than a booty call, he will make it happen. Some of the problem is that guys can get sex pretty easily these days and putting forth the effort for a relationship is a lot harder. Bottom line he needs to want more to go through the trouble.

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    quixoticbeatnik January 15, 2013, 1:46 am

    It’s funny, my boyfriend and I “courted” or dated, lol, for 3-4 months before we ever kissed. We went on a few dates, but we mostly talked a lot. So I don’t think that romance or courtship is dead. I think it just depends on who you meet. Everyone has different expectations and wants and needs, and those all change over time. These same people who want casual hookups now may decide later on that they want a serious relationship. Things change, so of course romance would too. It’s just a different kind of romance than what we’re used to.

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    Relieved January 15, 2013, 2:57 pm

    I’m 24 and I’ve been with my fella (36) for 6 years. I used to think that maybe it was a bad idea to have fallen in love and committed to a partner so early. But now I am so glad I did. Even six years later, and he still cooks me romantic dinners, calls me to chat everyday, and sets up creative and fun adventures and dates for us to go on. I’m so in love and feel so loved and accepted and respected in retuen. I no longer have any desire to be texted by some young guy looking for a hook-up. Some people may think it’s weird to have such an age gap, but I’m sometimes glad I skipped my own generation. 😛

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