In past generations, dating was a much more cut-and-dry affair, so to speak; ‘jocks’ went with cheerleaders, Aerosmith fans went with Aerosmith groupies, etc. Today, cliques and labels have all seemed to fall away in the wake of a post-postmodern society that values individuality and substance within a person. Yes, there is still some infrastructure to the old societal hierarchy of “cool vs. uncool,” but as a whole, most young people fall into one or even both of two categories: dating and “sort-of-dating.”
The concept of “friends with benefits” has changed and quite possibly revolutionized the social order of teenagers and 20-something people alike. In the past, a girl simply would not date outside of her inner social group, and the same went for guys. The notion that a person with little to no desirability could possibly be seeing someone romantically makes that person, ironically, more desirable. Thus, there is a large change in the inner workings of what it means to “date” in this generation.
What many people fail to pay attention to are the simple slang terms most often utilized by young ladies that explain one’s relationship to a significant other. There is: talking, talking-talking, talking on Twitter, sending each other pictures on Snapchat, talking on Facebook, just texting, friends with benefits, the timeless late night “booty call,” and then dating.
From a guy’s perspective, the newfound influences of female independence haven’t shaken most men’s hardwiring for chivalrous behavior. I still find myself and most other guys holding doors open, especially for ladies, offering the last or most comfortable seat to a woman standing or not doing any of those things because the girl screamed at you that she wasn’t helpless—also chivalrous. Not to mention the free drinks that girls so often are able to receive at the bar from male bartenders.
Truly, the idea of chivalry is a message in a bottle sunk by an oil spill—what a guy really has to do to catch a girl’s attention is gamble. Getting a girl’s attention is like playing roulette: you can play the inside and figure out each interest and see where there’s common ground, then put all of your chips on that and see how a date goes watching a play about 50 Shades of Grey (“Spank!” to be specific). Since she might think that you actually enjoyed that, you might consider playing the outside, where it’s safe, and find an activity that most people enjoy—like drinking. Yes, you should never meet your wife in a bar, but no one ever made an ultimatum about a first date at one.
In reality, courting is also a dead science. You’re talking, talking-talking or whatever. If you’re unsure of what kind of significant other you are, then you should probably ask the best friend of the girl you’ve been texting, because the girl you’re interested in probably has no idea either. Sometimes the way things were in the past seems a lot easier than it is today. But if it isn’t a slight challenge now, then why claim to be in a relationship at all? Isn’t it better to wear badges of honor that say, “I’m with her, because she put up with me from the beginning,” rather than T-shirts that read, “We exchange messages on FB and meet up at 3a.m.”
The point is that as the dating scene changes, so too do the dynamics of relationships. That girl that you find attractive but have labeled “one of the guys” could one day be the woman that you marry. Or date for a while and wait for common law to kick in. Whatever.
By Tony Nicoletta