Is Courtship Dead? And What Do We Do About It?

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So back in January, NYT posted this article, “The End of Courtship?” about what it’s like to date in this mixed-up, modern setting. Someone sent it to me months ago. And I am just now getting around to it because this topic gets me SO fired up, I avoided reading the article for-evah. Sure enough, four-letter words were getting hurled at my innocent computer screen as I read ridiculous sentence after ridiculous sentence.

“‘Dating culture has evolved to a cycle of text messages, each one requiring the code-breaking skills of a cold war spy to interpret.’”

“‘It’s one step below a date, and one step above a high-five,’ she added.’”

“’I’ve seen men put more effort into finding a movie to watch on Netflix Instant than composing a coherent message to ask a woman out,’ said Anna Goldfarb, 34.”

“As one male friend recently told her: “I don’t like to take girls out. I like to have them join in on what I’m doing — going to an event, a concert.’”

Ugh.

So, I gotta ask: Is this what you ladies WANT?

The problem is, if it isn’t, we’re sure doing a crap job of letting anyone know. Is it a fear of being “uncool”? It’s like we’re all running around batsh*t scared of asserting ourselves. Or 100% unsure of what we want. Both are bad plays.

Sure, blame Generation Y’s college hook-up culture, which clearly doesn’t translate well in the post-graduation real world (but let’s be honest—what does?). You probably aren’t too sure of who you are and what you want in a long-term relationship. This weird setup of social and sexual settling allows people to explore that. Fine. I’m on board.

However.

I worry that you strangely believe that this IS all you deserve. You may not know who you are yet, hell you may not what you want, but you DO know what feels right to you. You DO know when your self-esteem is taking a hit. And when that happens, you DO know—somewhere deep down—that it's #notok.

Thankfully for my poor computer screen, the article starts to take a positive turn and my homegurls towards the end begin to straighten things out: “’If he really wants you,’ Ms. Yeoh, 29, said, ‘he has to put in some effort.’” Hallelujer!

Also, I'd like to give commenter “Craig” from NYC a standing, slow-clap ovation:

Craig, NYC

I'm 28 and live in NYC with a modest but decent income. Every week I see hundreds of women in their late 20s, early 30s who are attractive and I can only imagine very talented at whatever they do, smart, culturally and socially aware, loving, hopefully extremely funny, and all of their friends would say things like 'You deserve only the best!' They, like me, initially moved here for their career. Many guys, like me, want to respect and give credence to the independence, strength and equality of all these women.

Dating in the 21st century doesn't fit the standard model of the past that we've been handed down because the gender dynamics of society have shifted. (Ex. A platonic dinner between a single man and a single woman is normal - 50 years ago, I don't know.) And as a guy - we don't know what the hell to do. I think there is a disconnect between gender equality and the 21st century ideas of individual aspirations (which I applaud) and the old classic dating model prescribing what is expected of both a man and a woman. Technology hasn't helped; it's given us electronic masks to hide behind. But let's be clear - BOTH GUYS AND GIRLS text late, want hook-ups sometimes and dating others, and can be flaky and misleading. I know; this is my life.

Dating nowadays can be seriously confusing. But do I think courtship is over - hell no! It's merging into a two way street.

I get it. Dating—or what these dudes will try to have you subscribing to as “dating”—is a hot ass mess these days. It’s confusing and from the outside looking in, you’re screwed. Know how to stay unconfused and less screwed? Stick to what you know you want, deserve and won’t settle for. Chill out in your authenticity.

When he texts at the last minute telling you to join him for a casual group hang, and you get that pang of disappointment/unworthiness/general sh*tiness, don’t ignore that. Casually tell him to kick rocks. Start weeding out situations that bring you down. It will make space for opportunities and hotties who want to make you a focus in their lives.

RelationshipsJuliaComment