Dating, Courting, and Slowing Things Down

When did we let dating get so difficult or become lax in our expectations of what dating should be? Am I mistaken in thinking that the older we get, the harder it is to date? I asked an older friend for some insight and although humorous, what she had to say blew my mind.

“It’s so hard for ya’ll young people today, because you don’t have the same values. We believed in and got married like we had some sense. By the time I was your age I had been married to my husband for about eighteen years. Don’t look at me like that Child. I said eighteen. He wasn’t worth a sack of shit, but that was my husband and I wasn’t worried about still being single at 33.”

I asked my friend what she thought had changed. I was positive that she would blame society for the changes in our attitudes towards dating and marriage. Her answer;

“We started feeling like women and girls were oppressed. I sure as hell didn’t want my girls married at fourteen and fifteen. We decided that teaching little girls to be wives was the wrong thing to do. I taught survival skills and pushed my girls to go to college. These were good things, don’t get me wrong but something got lost in translation. I guess ya’ll thought we meant don’t to get married at all and lose your morals. Little by little lady like behavior went out the window. You began to have to chase the men, instead of them chasing you. Part of that is because ya’ll don’t make them work for the kitty anymore. I don’t know how get some education, before you get married turned into give away free p****!”

She ranted on, I tuned her out, but I got it! Too many of our grandmothers were married well before their eighteenth birthday. At some point it became taboo for girls to get married too soon, but our values may have taken a backseat too.

I noticed something else. Our relaxation has carried over into our dress and attitudes, when it comes to courting. I remember my older relatives talking about their now husbands courting them and being dapper, and well mannered. The men went through the proper channels of obtaining a date, and often courted right in their living rooms before being granted permission to take the ladies out on a real date. I used to laugh when they told me how they tried to get out of using chaperones but good girls did. It was an effective way of making sure no one got “fresh” and only good wholesome activities were acceptable for their dates.

Today, teenagers are not looking for their husband or wife. Other than dating the “love” of their lives, marriage is the furthest thing from their minds. Because marriage is the last thing we thing we think about, we become adults desperate for the American dream. This desperation often comes after we have children out of wedlock. For those, that have not had children but want them, their biological clocks are ticking out of control. We want children. We want spouses.

Online dating sites are a convenient way to help us in our quest. I do not oppose, but I have had to question how online timeframes really work.

I often express myself in writing better than I do in verbally. I am braver and more brazen so I get the appeal of online dating. But, how many hours does one have to log for it to count as date one and so on? Have we exposed so much of ourselves online, that by the time we meet, it is ok to be at third base maybe even home?

Here’s a prime example of what I’m talking about. I have a Black Planet account. I understand that it is used for dating amongst other things. I am there for the blog space and the blog space only. My personal message makes it very clear I’m not looking for anything other than feedback and readers; I’m simply there to blog. Until recently I didn’t even have a picture up of myself. The point of that was if you’re a true believer in online dating, you’re reading profiles not just looking at the pictures right?

Nate (name has not been changed to protect identity) contacted me, possibly with some story of how he was a writer and would love to collaborate with me. I happened to forget about him, until he contacted me again. I agreed to meet him at Panera, as I was already there for the day. We spoke for fifteen minutes in which he never mentioned writing. We had another twenty minute conversation later that night in which Nate drilled me on what I was looking for. I was hesitant in this conversation because my profile on the site clearly stated I was not looking for anything personal. Not too long after that conversation Nate sent me text message asking me to do something explicit on my face. Let me just point out again that, I had met Nate that day for a meeting that lasted fifteen minutes. Needless to say, I had some strong words for Nate and he was dismissed.

I know that we live in a fast paced world and the conversation I had with a male friend after the above scenario confirmed that.

“We live in a no waiting society. Let me sale you me right now, is how we think. Dating timelines are different now. Fifteen minutes is like three days, two months is like a year and a half. Its concentrated time hours equal weeks. You gotta expect greatness or you’ll never get it.”

Yes, we lack patience many of us know how to court we just choose to skip steps because the omission gets us to the prizes faster.

It always surprises me when an unmarried couple, who have been together for years tell me that they have never been on a date. I’m always confused as to how the sex happened to make the children and so on. I mean I know because I’ve been guilty of this myself. But how does one convince their mate, to stay and to procreate without some sort of romance in the very beginning? Now that I’m a little older and I would like to believe a little wiser, I cringe when I hear girls talking about their “boos” Often these men only visit them during the infamous booty call hours. Their “dates” consist of movie nights on the sofa and alcoholic party favors. These are things that I have been guilty of, but I can still cringe and want better.

I hear excuses such as, he’s busy during the day, he’s a homebody and I like that because I don’t want my man running the streets, he’s tired when he gets off of work, etc. and blah blah blah. We make these excuses to make ourselves as women feel better about the lack of respect that we are being shown. And we lack respect for ourselves. Why invite him over or allow him over during those hours, with no kind of proven commitment? Why are we so quick to put ourselves in a sticky situation, where sex is the only likely outcome? “Let me come through so I can run through.”

So ladies and gentleman, here’s my proposal. Maybe marriage isn’t in the cards for all of us. I get that, but some sort of commitment and romance should be. Let’s go back to courting. Let’s abandon the belief that courting is old fashioned and unnecessary or that only church folk and goody two shoes do that.

Red flags should go up if he is not treating you respectfully, holding open doors, pulling out your chair, and standing when you enter the room, and treating you to real dates. Guys, red flags should go up for you if she does not expect these things

People may not have tons of extra money for dates. That is understandable. I also have personally been on some low cost and free dates. Everything does not have to be about money. As a matter of fact it should not be about money at all. This may be another reason we are quick to skip the dating phase in relationships. Women are too busy gold digging and men or too busy trying to catch the gold diggers. Try some cheap or free dates to start out. See how far it goes.

We are quick to text and email instead of having real conversations. Again it’s something I get and agree with and I love text messages and emails because it does make me feel special. But take the time out for one phone conversation a day even if it is just for five minutes. If you’re doing the online dating thing, use Skype or whatever other services out there to allow you to interact. If you are talking about personal things, why not share some face time?

Courting allows us to weed out individuals only after all the wrong things. It is not at all setting your standards too high. I think that if someone loses interest because they actually have to work to get and keep your attention, maybe they weren’t right for you in the first place. It all boils down to a saying that I’m sure we’ve all heard; “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”

Just for the record. I am horrible at relationships and I’m probably the worst person to give advice on dating. It is very much trial and error for me. I now insist on courting. I’m always disappointed when I meet someone I think that they are perfect, and we go on few dates only to find out they are just after the milk and not the cow. But I feel much better because I was not under the illusion that, that person was my boo thang because we have skipped steps and jumped right into a sexual relationship. I can move on less bitter and less violated. The only thing I lost out on is some time. I’m much more willing to give that instead of my body and peace of mind.

I’m just saying try slowing things down, see what happens.


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