Is it even dating anymore?

Rebecca P.-T. disects the modern day dating scene

By Rebecca Phaneuf-Thibault

Dating in our late teens nowadays can be quite confusing. Back in our grandparent’s time there was a set model for “dating.” Douglas James, a senior resident of Vermont said “men would ask women out if they wanted to get to know them better, dates had a pretty clear purpose of courtship – to see if this might be the person who you will eventually marry.”

Today, in our westernized and modern society, if somebody asked anyone on a date saying they want to verify if they are “the one” before even knowing their last name, anyone would immediately freak out. Yet you hear girls constantly saying they want to find someone that sweep us off our feet with romantic gestures! Can you spell out c-o-n-t-r-a-d-i-c-t-i-o-n-s? When did all the rules start changing and why did they?

In a world where long-distance relationships are on the rise, where sex and dating are independent from each other, where we text and Facebook instead of calling, where we date to have a laugh and cringe at the idea of “happily ever after”; it’s hard not to wonder…WHAT HAPPENED?

First of all, the greater role that women play in the public sphere as opposed to the one they did in our grand-parent’s time, their gain of professional power, their sexual freedom and their social status, has completely changed the name of the dating game.

It dictated the whole essence of dating, types of relationships we get involved in, views of sex, definitions of love, the aims of a love life (the definition of a “good” one)…YOU NAME IT!

Nowadays, we don’t want to consider marriage until we’d “lived” enough; for some that means to travel the world, to have a successful professional career, to have different sexual partners, to ‘go out and be young’, etc. But as much as dating has changed, it never disappeared. Does that mean we are genetically programmed to date? To look for a partner? Even just for kicks? That secretly we do it to find someone to settle down with? If we changed the name of the game from ‘find-a-wife/husband’ to ‘casual-fun-and-games’, are we just disguising old motives behind new socially accepted casualties? But did these new standards make it harder for people to ‘fall in love’ or did it just level our expectations to a more realistic level?

The room left to chivalry is one that stirred up a lot of debate over the last decades. If women want to be treated as equals, why should practices that revolve around the idea that they are the weaker sex still be actual, right? But then where does the romance lies? Can there be romance without chivalry?  Barbara Madimenos, a first semester Literature student said, “TO EVERY GIRL OUT THERE:  take the first step. Don’t wait around like a hopeless princess, be independent and take initiative with what you want in life because that guy may never ask you out.” Could women have taken over chivalry? Maybe both women and men are now chivalrous…

A new kind of relationship that happens to be more and more present in our day and age due to kids traveling more and being less held back by traditional types of romances, are long distance relationships. While traveling, you’re out of your comfort zone, most likely to be closer to your adventurous side, usually on vacation, more relaxed,etc. All the ingredients are there to meet someone! But long-distance relationships bring their load of difficulties and very few pass the test of time and survive past the honeymoon phase. The fact that they are a relatively new phenomenon make all the rules “to be determined.” Here again there are no set boundaries per say, forcing people to act on their own terms.

All in all, dating for our generation is pretty much a free for all because of all the new freedoms that is offered to us and the lack of set ground rules! This can be perceived as very confusing times when it comes to dating, but I think we should make the most of it! We have the opportunity to model our dating life according to our own standards and requirements without any actually societal restrictions! Am I the only one thinking this is really good news?

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