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The Greyhound

The merits of good old fashioned dating


Last Valentine’s Day, I had a fantastic time on a good old-fashioned date. The guy I was seeing at the time, Cole, surprised me with tickets to go dancing — actual dancing, no dubstep music or strobe lights. I made him cookies, he brought me flowers, and we dressed up, went out to dinner, and spun each other around all night in the midst of jazz music and pink lights. Sure, we were the youngest couple there, but that night was a lot more fun than I’d had with a guy in a long time. The best thing about it was that Cole wasn’t afraid to call it a date and make the night feel like a date. It felt special and I felt assured and confident. I knew he was interested in me and serious about me. That night he asked me to be his girlfriend.

I eventually realized, after feeling so great on Valentine’s Day, that these awkward “dating” situations people my age are experiencing today are easily avoidable. That’s when I began to think about the way my grandparents and their generation dated. Obviously, the method would have to be modified for today’s generation, but the general principles are ones that I greatly admire.

However, technology provides a challenge for couples today. I’ve been on too many dates where the other person can’t put down his phone because he’s catching up on social media or talking to other people. Or worse, the other person wants to document the entire event for friends to see online. Relationships feel much more special when they’re kept fairly private from everyone else’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds. When couples post endless Snapchat stories and weekly Instagrams, I begin to wonder if they’re compensating for something.

I’ve also noticed that more and more people are getting to know each other primarily over text. Some of my friends will text the people they’re seeing back and forth all day long. I’d rather share the details of my day in person, or if that’s not possible, through FaceTime. That way, there is less of a chance of miscommunication, the main culprit of relationship problems. It’s nice to know the tone of voice and the nonverbal responses of the person you’re talking to. Technology will always be present in dating, but I think that less is definitely more.

Ambiguity is a big problem as well. I’ve been in a number of situations romantically where I have had no idea where I stood with the person I was seeing. In those situations, there were no real dates. We called it “hanging out,” and every time someone asked me what our relationship was, I would trip over my words. We could go to each other’s houses, watch Netflix, drive around listening to music, all the while avoiding the looming topic of our real intentions. Someone almost always ended up hurt. I think that making intentions clear from the start, as past generations often did, can avoid a lot of stress and wasted time.

Thoughtful gestures also seemed to be much more present in the dating of past generations. On Valentine’s Day, along with flowers, Cole surprised me with trail mix I could actually eat (I have a lot of allergies) and I made him cookies with a recipe I spent a long time choosing . He also made me a card full of Lord of the Rings memes, referring to an inside joke. Gestures like that made me feel appreciated and cared for, and unfortunately people who are casually seeing each other might miss out on such acts.

Lastly, I think it’s important to meet the family of the person you’re dating. I think there’s something really special about seeing where someone comes from and knowing him in the context of his family. Whenever I’ve met the family of someone I’m dating, I’ve felt much closer to that person. It also makes the family happy since they feel more involved and in the loop.
Of course, I’m all for individuals pursuing whatever type of relationship that makes them happy, whether it be casual relationships or more serious ones. However, for those who want something more than a casual fling, I think a page can be taken out of the book of older generations.

I know that when I make an effort, and the person that I’m dating does too, I find myself feeling much more confident that the person I’m with is interested and serious about me. I don’t find myself venting to my friends or constantly overthinking the relationship. In fact, I find a smile on my face along with a feeling of contentment more often than not.

photo courtesy of Flickr :

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    SonyaOct 9, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Not sure how I feel about this guy Cole though

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The merits of good old fashioned dating