Home Plus One Dating A Response to the End of Courtship

Last month, the New York Times published an article about The End of Courtship. This article has brought up some great conversations and controversy- therefore of course, I want to talk about it.

I encourage you to read the brief article where Alex Williams brings up some very interesting points about our current dating culture and the end of traditional courtship. Here are a few:

  • Current 20-somethings do not know the basic mechanics of a traditional date or courtship.
  • We resort to text messages, email, and other passive forms of communication that don’t involve courage.
  • Highly popular dating services encourage casual dating and make the need for a first date seem irrelevant.
  • Dates are cheaper now because 20-somethings can’t afford nice first dates, especially when you are going on a lot of first dates.

So what do you think? Is traditional courtship over as we know it? If so, are the points above valid or do you think other things come into play?

Truthfully, I believe traditional courtship is over. And sadly so. I came to this conclusion when after going on a few dates with a guy, he told me, “We need to go on a REAL date, like a dinner and a movie real date.”

The fact that he had to define to me what a real date was, and the fact that in my mind we were a few dates in and yet to him we hadn’t been on one, was so eye-opening and so sad. That being said, while the idea of courtship might have changed for me, it hadn’t changed for this guy (even though we met online), so there may be some light in the generation?

Anywho- I’d love to know what you all think. Do you think this is the end of traditional courtship? Or do you think the New York Times is a little old-fashioned and this is just the way things are done now?  I know this article is one of many on this topic out there so if you have any others, bring them our way!

Let’s talk.

Happy Thursday y’all!

17 replies to this post
  1. I think that courtship is all about the individual. We know what “dates” are the rom-coms, but they aren’t always realistic. If you need to be romanced and have “real” dates, then you find someone who gives that to you. You make it part of the prerequisite! And if money is short, that’s no excuse. My boyfriend and I will pack a picnic and eat at a local vineyard that is free to visit and taste. Cost? Whatever we had in the fridge.

    When it comes to online dating, I’d say starting with a casual meetup vs. “real date” makes way more sense. It’s the same reason speed-dating is popular. You can get that first impression, THEN invest in courtship.

    Also, I disagree that passive communication like social media, dating sites, texts, etc. lacks “courage”. It still takes courage to open up to someone; in some cases, it might actually help shy people go on more dates.

  2. I think twentysomethings do know what a real date is, but because of how dating/”dating” is in college, most people are used to “hanging out” instead of going out to dinner, etc., and that just sticks after graduation. I mean, we all had real dates to movies or whatnot in high school, right? Hanging out at a guy’s apartment to watch movies might count as a date when you’re both broke college students, so guys probably either a) don’t realize that our expectations can change once we’re older or b) don’t care enough that they’ve changed and still try to get by with as little effort as possible. I think, like Aubrey said, if your standards are that a guy takes you out on a real date, it’s your job (and your right) to tell him that no, you’d rather not just get together and grab some drinks. If the guy likes you, he’ll agree to do something more like a traditional date, and if he insists that he’d rather keep it casual, then that’s your cue to not waste time on someone who doesn’t have the same outlook as you.

    I don’t think that texting or Facebooking someone to ask them out on a date shows a lack of courage, I think it’s more a sign of the times – I personally would think it’s weird if a guy called me to set up a date. To me, talking on the phone seems like something you do when you’re more comfortable and acquainted with someone, not what you do before you’ve even met them. I also think it’s better to email or text someone because they can respond to the message when they’re able to, instead of you accidentally interrupting them during something important by trying to call. I also don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to casually meet up with someone from an online dating site, for coffee or drinks or whatever, before you set up a “real” date. Before, if you were going on a date with someone you probably knew them from somewhere – class, mutual friends, a volunteer group, etc. – so you already knew a little bit about them and knew that you at least got on well as friends. With someone from a dating site, you could have great chemistry via messages but find that you have totally platonic feelings for them in person, or that they give off a super creepy, or boring, or fill-in-the-blank vibe, that turns you off. If you can figure that out in less than five minutes while on a casual meet-up, why wouldn’t you want to? Better to waste your lunch break than your evening/his money on a date that you know is over before you even get your menus.

    • Thank you for your thoughts Alyssa! These are great! I think it is SO fascinating (and maybe there is room here for another post) that you think it is weird that someone calls you. I mean, how fast did that change?? I too think it is weird if someone calls me. Isn’t there some movie- maybe Little Women or something where talking on the telephone was the biggest deal in the world and talking on the telephone was what defined the relationship? Maybe not Little Women… one of those somewhere… I just find it fascinating how much our lifestyles have changed! Thank you!

      • I definitely remember in my middle school years, even exchanging phone numbers with a friend to call and talk was important and exciting, but even in high school, a guy wouldn’t call your house to ask you out, he’d just talk to you between classes – who wants to call to ask a girl out and have her mom or dad answer the phone? But yeah, I for sure remember older movies (even just from the 80s/90s!) where talking on the phone was a big deal, so it’s definitely crazy how that changed so fast.

  3. I am so bummed that I’m late reading this post! I saw that same NYTimes piece almost rolled my eyeballs right out of my head. Listen up folks – the times, they are a changing!

    With so many new ways to meet, connect, and communicate, it only makes sense that dating would change a little in this brave new world of ours. Remember also that women today, more than ever before, are just as (and sometimes more!) educated, financially independent, and career-focused as their male counterparts, which makes it seem impossible for “courtship” to exist in its traditional form. And why should it? Women don’t need dates in order to go out and see movies and eat dinner and whatnot, we got our own money. Women today aren’t looking for a man to show he can take of her, she can take care of herself. Women are empowered to make active choices about who they date by joining online dating sites and/or making the first move. We’re not confined to passively waiting to be courted. Is “traditional” courtship really something we should be mourning?, especially if it’s passing indicates so much progress in other ways?

    I also take issue with the apparently narrow definition of “date” going on here. Why is it essential for this to be some formal occasion? The other night my boyfriend and I wanted to get out of the house for a bit, so we went and had a beer down the road. Is that a date? I thought so. Today, I picked him from work and we went to lunch together. Date? It was to me. Almost every evening, we cook dinner together. It’s an activity that we do together. Is it a date? Does it matter that we’re doing at home? Or that we do it almost everyday? Not to me! Since the purpose of date is to hang out, talk, get to know someone better, may be do a fun activity, why do we put so much stock in how these encounters occur? Why does having that experience of getting to know someone need to happen in a specific way to count as a date? Why can’t everyone just chill out and realize that, even in these modern times, people are still looking for love. And going about it differently doesn’t make it inherently less real or valuable or romantic.

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  5. I don’t completely agree with the NY Times article but I do think that today’s dating is very different than courtship and we have lost some great opportunities. As a Millenial I fully aware that we are the ‘have it now’ generation. Guys don’t have to call you a couple days ahead and plan out a great date. They can just text you and them google a restaurant or activity at the last minute. We play games nowadays that they probably didn’t pay previously.

    Guys and girls have more options. If you are not what they want they can drop you like a hot potatoe and keep looking for something ‘better.’

    I could ramble on but the art of courtship is fading. I wouldn’t say it’s lost because there are plenty of us who like it and will therefore expect it in our daring lives. That’s the only way it will change.

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