The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the word “date” as “an arrangement to meet between two people usually with romantic feelings for each other” and “to go together regularly on romantic social engagements.” You may be all too familiar with the term, as dating has been a common practice amongst a wide-range of ages for centuries. Imagine this scenario of a date: a young, well-dressed gentleman pulls up to an elegant young lady’s home in the early evening and approaches her front door. If she is still residing with her parents, the young man introduces himself to them with a handshake and a greeting. This young couple was introduced by mutual friends at a prior function, and this is their first date. When they are ready to leave, the gentleman takes the woman’s hand and places it on his arm, clutching his bicep, and he leads her to his tidy, new vehicle, surely opening and closing the door for her. The pair listens to the woman’s choice of music as they arrive at their special destination, a sophisticated dinner for two. Conversation flows about each individual’s life, interests, and personality, and they become well acquainted with each other. After dessert, the man pays for both meals, and drives the lady home, accompanying her to her door. They say goodbye to one another, and the man thanks her with a warm smile or kiss on the hand before he departs. This is repeated on a regular basis and could potentially lead to a courtship and marriage over a long period of time. To older readers, this scenario may seem quite familiar and common, whereas younger readers may see this as a foreign, unrealistic scenario, portrayed only in old, black and white movies. What if the “date” went more like this: a young adult sees an image of a young girl on the internet, looking particularly promiscuous and dulled up with curled hair and lots of makeup. He instantly sends her a message, and the two arrange to meet in person. They meet as his place, and he already has the TV screen setup to watch Netflix with his new lady admirer. The two hold an awkward conversation of small talk before the movie or show starts, and before you know it, the couple is kissing, cuddling, and already engaging in sexual activity. Sound more familiar? Has modern society redefined the word “date”, or does Merriam Webster just have the idea completely wrong? The truth is that society, especially the group of young adults who are frequently dating, is so caught up in modern advances in things such as beauty products, technology, and sexual freedom, that it has lost sight of the original purpose of dating. People are losing appreciating for genuine, morally conscious dates and engaging in irrational social fads, like the “hookup culture”, that are supposedly more pleasurable. Relationships are becoming abusive, unhealthy, and without purpose because of this trend in dating norms, and the goal of lifelong marriage is becoming more fictional than achievable. The shift in dating practices and standards in society from the past to the present has caused a distorted belief of romantic relationships that could harm generations for years to come.
Dating, or having a romantic relationship with a significant other before marriage, has been practiced for centuries, originally calling the act “courting”. Courting ages ago involved a man choosing a young woman, usually a young teenager, as a prospect to be his wife. It was often set up by the parents of the two young adults for purposes of wealth, power, or convenience. It was a very formal process once the two were announced in a courtship, and this involved chaperoned dates over a meal or walk in the garden. It was very uncommon to court more than one person, as it was a serious action in the early years of this phenomenon. So, what caused such a great shift from traditional courtships to modern dating? A series of historical advances and events over decades has caused a gradual shift in dating practices and customs.
- World Wars
- Education and jobs becoming more available to the youth
- Age of married people became older/ for teenagers dating, marriage became a distant thing in the future
- Advances in technology
- Online dating
- Importance of physical appearance > compatibility
- Leads to hookup culture
- Leads to distorted views of intimacy and relationships
- Modern culture of dating leads to unhappy and unhealthy relationships
- Unhappy marriages= divorce (add facts)
- To live a happy life without a significant other, need healthy and strong foundation
- Educate our youth- parents, television, peers
“Date.” Merriam-Webster.com, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/date.