Courtship is dead. Long live dating.

01.24.2013, 3:00 AM

A piece in the Guardian by Jill Filipolic. The article is much too long to quote fully, but here’s a sample:

Despite the Times‘ hand-wringing, dating is still alive and well. It’s just done slightly differently than it was a generation ago – much as that generation did things differently than the one before it, and on and on. Single people today have both changing gender roles and technology to fully skeeve out the folks who think that “change” is synonymous with “bad”.

And make no mistake, things have changed. We have cellphones, which facilitate last-minute get-togethers. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook let you connect with a wide variety of people, and you can know someone’s political leanings, interests, and hobbies before you ever meet in person. Online dating opens up a marketplace of singles, so you no longer have to rely only on your immediate social network to find a person of interest.

As with anything else, there are benefits and demerits to these advances. If your goal is to be fancily courted and then married at 22, that’s certainly harder today than it was 50 years ago. But if your goal is to live a varied life, to learn about yourself through a variety of relationships, romantic and not, and to develop reasonably fully as a human being before you settle down, then there has never been a better time to be alive (especially as a woman).

Donna L. adds, in the comments at Jill’s blog:

I wish that instead of referring to “women,” people would start saying “straight cis women.” Because every comment so far, and even Jill’s Guardian post, seems to be entirely about straight women, and to be written as if women who are LGBT don’t even exist. Perhaps that’s because it can’t even be argued that things were better for them in olden days. And don’t forget all the ostensibly straight women back then who were coerced, either directly or indirectly, to live as something they weren’t.


3 Responses to “Courtship is dead. Long live dating.”

  1. La Lubu says:

    The article Jill riffed on was written by a married man. Is it my imagination, or are all of these clutch-the-pearls articles bemoaning current dating practices written by married people? And if so, why—are they having problems in their own marriages, and are “planning ahead” to the dating world, and upset that things have changed since the last time they were dating?

  2. Diane M says:

    LaLubu – I think married people are likely to be older and have kids who will be dating soon.

  3. Diane M says:

    Overall, though, I think the article is probably right. We get panicked about changes. I often find that if I look at real young adults that I know, things are good.

    However, I thought this was unfairly dismissive of people who don’t want to date the way the author thinks you should do it.

    “If your goal is to be fancily courted and then married at 22, that’s certainly harder today than it was 50 years ago. But if your goal is to live a varied life, to learn about yourself through a variety of relationships, romantic and not, and to develop reasonably fully as a human being before you settle down, then there has never been a better time to be alive (especially as a woman).”

    There’s nothing wrong with finding a partner and settling down. You can still develop fully as a human being! It’s not an either or thing.

    The most important thing is to find the right partner for you. For some people that will happen earlier than for others.