An 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!!!