The End of Courtship?

Alex Williams of The New York Times recently published an article called The End of Courtship?  Note that we do not agree with all that was written, but some of his insights are well worth noting:

MAYBE it was because they met on OkCupid. But when the dark-eyed musician with artfully disheveled hair asked Shani Silver, a social media and blog manager in Philadelphia, out on a “date” Friday night, she was expecting at least a drink, one-on-one.

“At 10 p.m., I hadn’t heard from him,” said Ms. Silver, 30, who wore her favorite skinny black jeans. Finally, at 10:30, he sent a text message. “Hey, I’m at Pub & Kitchen, want to meet up for a drink or whatever?” he wrote, before adding, “I’m here with a bunch of friends from college.”

Turned off, she fired back a text message, politely declining. But in retrospect, she might have adjusted her expectations. “The word ‘date’ should almost be stricken from the dictionary,” Ms. Silver said. “Dating culture has evolved to a cycle of text messages, each one requiring the code-breaking skills of a cold war spy to interpret.”

“It’s one step below a date, and one step above a high-five,” she added. Dinner at a romantic new bistro? Forget it. Women in their 20s these days are lucky to get a last-minute text to tag along. Raised in the age of so-called “hookup culture,” millennials — who are reaching an age where they are starting to think about settling down — are subverting the rules of courtship.

Instead of dinner-and-a-movie, which seems as obsolete as a rotary phone, they rendezvous over phone texts, Facebook posts, instant messages, and other “non-dates” that are leaving a generation confused about how to land a boyfriend or girlfriend.

“The new date is ‘hanging out,’ ” said Denise Hewett, 24, an associate television producer in Manhattan, who is currently developing a show about this frustrating new romantic landscape. As one male friend recently told her, “I don’t like to take girls out. I like to have them join in on what I’m doing — going to an event, a concert.”

…Blame the much-documented rise of the “hookup culture” among young people, characterized by spontaneous, commitment-free (and often, alcohol-fueled) romantic flings. Many students today have never been on a traditional date, said Donna Freitas, who has taught religion and gender studies at Boston University and Hofstra and is the author of the forthcoming book, “The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy.”

…The problem is that “young people today don’t know how to get out of hookup culture,” Ms. Freitas said. In interviews with students, many graduating seniors did not know the first thing about the basic mechanics of a traditional date. “They’re wondering, ‘If you like someone, how would you walk up to them? What would you say? What words would you use?’ ” Ms. Freitas said.  That may explain why “dates” among 20-somethings resemble college hookups, only without the dorms.

…Traditional courtship — picking up the telephone and asking someone on a date — required courage, strategic planning, and a considerable investment of ego (by telephone, rejection stings). Not so with texting, e-mail, Twitter, or other forms of “asynchronous communication,” as techies call it. In the context of dating, it removes much of the need for charm; it’s more like dropping a line in the water and hoping for a nibble.

“I’ve seen men put more effort into finding a movie to watch on Netflix Instant than composing a coherent message to ask a woman out,” said Anna Goldfarb, 34, an author and blogger in Moorestown, N.J. A typical, annoying query is the last-minute, “Is anything fun going on tonight?” More annoying still are the men who simply ping, “Hey” or “ ’sup?”

At All Pro Dad, we grieve for the plight of many young women today who simply can’t find good men.  Only boys who shave.  The purpose of “dating” or “courtship” – however you’d like to define it – should ultimately be for a man to honor a woman, get to know her, learn how to love her, and commit to her for life.  Dating should be the prelude to marriage, not a one-night selfish fling meant to simply satisfy physical urges.  This premise is true: Commitment = Joy.

High school is the perfect time to teach boys about how to date well, to understand its purpose…even if the girl they go out with is not destined to be his future wife.  Here are 10 things for boys to keep in mind about dating.  Train up your son to be a man and give a young woman in this country an honorable husband who will love her for life.

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