Hi and welcome to today’s podcast! This is Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness. Today is May 14, 2020 and today’s podcast is on How Dating Has Changed. This month’s theme is on “May I” which goes well with dating. This week we’re discussing dating, the history of dating, how dating has changed and boundaries with dating.
History of dating
Courtship was a much more private, unemotional affair. Women would meet with several men, with her parents present, to whittle the pickings down to the most suitable match for marriage, which heavily relied on factors such as financial and social status. When a young woman decided on a man she wanted to see exclusively, their activities as a couple took place either in the household, or at social gatherings. At that time, there was no such thing as just two young lovers “going out on a date.” Courtship was a much more private, unemotional affair
The first decade of the 20th century was marked by the figure of the gentleman caller. If a young man was interested in a young woman, he would follow the proper protocol of calling upon her, which meant that he would come to the family’s home and (hopefully) be welcomed into their parlor. If he was invited back for subsequent visits, he would be free to come and call upon the young woman during hours specified by her parents.
In the 1920’s, dating had almost completely replaced the old system of calling by the mid-1920s — and, in so doing, had transformed American courtship. This was a period of time when couples started going out on dates, which also meant they started paying for dates. This changed the relationship dynamic between a young man and a young woman, as now it was the man’s duty to pay for the date, whereas before it was the woman who decided the terms of the visit.
In the 1950s, “going steady” was the term for being in an exclusive relationship. This status was about the relationship, sure, but it was also about standing out among your peers. According to the University of California, Santa Barbara, “Across university campuses, couples publicized their decision to ‘go steady’ when the man gave the woman an article of his clothing to wear, such as a jacket, sweater, or ring.” Dating had become much more about youth culture than about family expectations.
In the 1960’s, young people did what they wanted, when they wanted, and modern-day “hook up” culture began. For youth of the 1960s, such rules and restrictions were a thing of the past. Many young women took birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. They freely explored their sexual feelings. Sex before marriage was no longer taboo. Young people extolled the benefits of “free love”— that is, making love without marriage or long-term commitments.” The ‘60s was the resulting explosion of sexual activity in the name of freedom.
The “World Wide Web” officially became available to everyone in 1991, and online dating websites were soon popping up all over the place: Match.com was officially founded in 1995.
People also began using Craigslist as a way to meet people online. Online dating sites became popular.
If you want to learn more about the history of dating—there is an interesting article here with this information and more online at http://www.thelist.com.
Changes in Dating
So how has dating changed with communication over the last 120 years? Are men and women just as polite? How is conversation different?
Well for one thing, conversation is typically more casual. Overall the traditional style of dating has collapsed and is a thing of the past. It seems that with the busyness of life, influence of media, and electronics and technology, getting to the goal is more important than ever. Shorter, less quality interactions are there to fulfill needs while any time to build relationships with formal dating practices are gone. Our society is one of get in, get out, efficiency, do not get to know the other person, satisfy and fulfill need of self as a priority, and then dispose and move on to the next page in the web. And if you disagree, then feel free to post online the last relationship you had. Guys want it super easy. And why work? The women are available and it is more acceptable than ever for women to be aggressive as the initiators. In fact, statistics show that 30% of women ask men out online which results in a date versus the 10% of men asking women out. And 68% of women initiate divorces. This shows that women are far more likely to initiate in relationships than men. In fact, although I was not able to find statistics for this, adding in my personal observations, I would guess that 98% of women initiate relationships with men. If you think about it, the women are initiating, they are sustaining, and they are gluing relationships. In all essence, the men do not need to do anything because they don’t even have to work at it, and other than sex, why be around a woman anyway? They don’t even want a relationship. Without work, respect falls away. It takes work to look your best. It takes work to earn a woman’s heart. If you don’t have to work for something at all, there naturally is less respect and that is what relationships have moved into today. Quick interactions, less respect, less value, and this has become the standard. So when women don’t feel valued, it is just because it is the standard for today—convenience for self.
Now, another way society has changed which has impacted dating and men-women relationships is clothing. While getting ready for a date probably means putting forth a little extra effort to get fixed up, the truth is, in many cases, it wouldn’t be that much of a surprise for a woman to show up in jeans or sweats. Does this impact dating and respect? Are women more respected when wearing a dress or dressing highly feminine? The fashion industry has changed considerably as well with what is available for women to buy. Certainly there are many outfits to be created from what is available, but it is very difficult to find a selection of skirts and dresses at most stores. If women dressed up more, would it make that much more of a difference? Some men claim, it is unnecessary because they would rather “get the real person”, yet at the same time criticize for not dressing up. The same goes with men. Overall our culture has become much more casual, and that casualness tends to lead itself to less respect. When you put forth effort in dressing up or in pursuing someone, there usually is more respect as a result because of the effort invested.
Role reversal is also another issue contributing to disrespect in relationships. An example of this is with career levels. Typically the man is categorized as the leader and provider, but in today’s society, it is not unusual if a woman holds a higher position with income. How does this impact the respect that the man gives to women? Can a man successfully date a woman and admire the fact of her success? Does it scare them off from approaching them? Or does it whittle at an ego of not having the same power and ability in that particular area? In can lead to disrespect because the man does not feel adequate and lashes out and dishonors rather than admires and appreciates. We all have areas we are successful in. Being able to appreciate areas of talent and success in the other party are positive, but if success of the other party in the relationship is an area of agitation, a boundary needs to be set as to how much success or ability is tolerable as a factor when pursuing someone.
But are you living with respect or not? Cohabitation and having multiple partners is common in today’s dating arena. This also breaks down respect within dating. Although some claim that types of relationships breeds greater respect by allowing parties involved to be less hurt, while reaping benefits, the truth is, the relationships are shallow and self-seeking. If the standard for our culture were different, couples would seek quality relationships rather than quick appeasements, and would place a greater emphasis on respect for the other rather than fulfilling self-need. This change in standard would create better quality relationships and impact the current 45% divorce rate for marriages. Respect needs to start in dating relationships.
Naturally men and women, want to be loved and respected. Realizing what type of relationship you are looking for and setting boundaries of what is acceptable and what isn’t, is part of self-respect. It defines where lines of respect are and what can be compromised on and how far. Likewise, successful relationships honor the boundaries of the other party and are respectful in their interactions with them. When the goal is on self, self-need, or making choices where respect is going to tread upon, it is likely that relationships will deteriorate.
Although the dating style has changed significantly, there definitely are lessons to be learned from traditional dating which can help elevate the standard of dating today. Traditional dating practices of courtship, formality with politeness, working at a relationship, and taking the time to build a relationship rather than going in for a quick encounter, are worthy of consideration.
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