“What is the best date you’ve ever been on?” I asked my guy friend as he sat in the passenger seat rolling. I had been lost in my thoughts as usual, but these were high thoughts. You know how those go… Especially if you know me personally, I will completely zone out for moments a time thinking about something in depth. He looks up at me, pauses and says “What do you mean”? I proceed to clarify, babbling on about first dates and how connections are made nowadays compared to any generation before this one. My friend, 21, tells me his best date was back in eighth grade where they saw a movie. I relate since I also haven’t had a cool date in a long time but have had serious relationships that drained me emotionally. I could not calm my wandering mind.. are dates apart of the quest to love anymore and if they aren’t how and why are we investing so much of ourselves in other people?
Realizing that I’ve yet to embark in my twenties, I can’t fully judge how lame or impersonal dates are during high school and these two years of “wtf”. However, I can compare how teens are hanging out that leads to relationships and commitments or lack thereof, opposed to the last 5 decades or so. Let’s start in the 1950’s where dating was commonly called “going steady” and this resulted in serious, exclusive relationships. Dates during this era could consist of going to a drive-in movie or ice cream parlor. (SOUNDS LIKE A DREAM) During the 70’s is when romance and dating became more free and wild. Teens would stay out all night dancing at a disco or someone’s house listening to music. I can assume this is when teens started smoking with their crush on a date as well, as a bonding activity. The 80’s is popular for the phone call approach to asking your crush out (If you have the guts to surpass any member of my family picking up the phone to talk to me??? bonus points). In the 90’s, teens were showing affection through music more. Downloading and making a CD was a gesture from a crush that would lead to dates at the roller rink or renting movies from Blockbuster to watch together. Early 2000’s, online dating becomes more common and contact with your partner is more sexual, less intimate. Bonds are being made faster, over the phone and sex with multiple dating partners is more common. Entering the 2010’s, dating is called “talking”. We don’t go out as often, we talk and share on Instagram to showcase our affection. Making someone your ‘WCW’ or ‘MCM’ (Women Crush Wednesday, Man Crush/Candy Monday) or sliding in someone’s direct messages is considered courting a potential lover, life partner or sex buddy.
Going through the years, it makes sense that with the internet would bring a change in how we interact and communicate. We compare and complain about the lack of intimacy and authenticity but continue to judge a potential partner on simple-minded factors like follower count which judges likability and attractiveness. If they’re looking for a hookup, teens will join Tinder, Grindr, OkCupid and so on. That is cool, kind of scary since condoms and birth control are the only protections from lifelong commitments and aren’t 100% effective every time. I don’t know about you but I don’t want my future children just hooking up to get their heart broken. I want them to witness love in real life. Not just what it looks like on the movies, but what it feels like, how to sustain it, and that it’s healing. Love is real whether or not we’ve experienced it yet. And if you’ve been burned so many times that you’ve given up, would you want that for yourself if you could go back to the first time you hated the idea of love and change it?
I’m intrigued by the processes we’re now taking our potential partners through to see if they’re worth the magnitude of love our spirit holds. You can’t possibly know someone is worth “it” – the memories, the bits and pieces of you that you won’t get back, your time, your effort, the pain and hard work – by swiping right or talking/messaging to them on the phone for hours. There is chemistry in love. Do they look you in the eye when you speak, do they listen or talk over you, do your bodies communicate with each other when your voices can’t? A picture may be worth a thousand words but it is not worth a thousand moments of your life you’d give to someone else.
NOTE: This entry is a little all over the place, welcome to my mind. Fingers crossed my new awesome English teacher and this quarter can help my writing develop! Stay tuned. Peace.