Dating is a fairly new concept. It may feel like this has been around forever—maybe because you feel like you’ve been dating uselessly forever—but it really started around the 1900s when that part of history changed most of the entire world—the Industrial Revolution. However, dating wasn’t considered welcomed. Many early daters, particularly the women, were arrested for dating. In the eyes of the authorities, women who let men buy them food and drinks or gifts and entrance tickets looked like whores, and making a date seemed the same as turning a trick. Source: Labor of Love, Moira Weigel, p. 11.
Oh my! Dating is vulnerable but not this.
Have you ever also realized that going out on a date helps the two of you sort of be anonymous. Instead of courting or being called upon as you sat in the parlor with a chaperone nearby, on a date you were out amongst strangers. Yes it is just the two of you awkwardly conversing and trying to eat a meal without getting a sauce on your face. But surrounding you were strangers, maybe strangers in the same vulnerable situation. This creates a much different dynamic to a growing relationship. To grow you put yourself in an anonymous situation. Something about that sentence is paradoxical yet this is clearly a step daters take.
Labor of Love is a fascinating book. Particularly if you love studying generational changes and history. Or how the economy affects culture. Fascinating information.
Consider this. “The custom of dating developed under a particular order. It came from an era when life was supposed to divide cleanly into work and leisure. Even the word ‘date’ comes from the idea that there is a point in time when you will meet up with a love interest. So, too, does ‘going out’ assume that there is a world of entertainment, separate from the world of home and work, for you to go into. Perhaps this is why today ‘dating’ often sounds like a slightly sleazy euphemism.” P. 215
No one knows what a date is anymore, right? Part of that is because our work and leisure lives are so blurred. Thank you, technology?!?!?! We’ve all had the discussions how technology has made dating so much more difficult to define. What are you if you are in a full text relationship with someone? Will the text relationship ever grow into a date in real life? Does meeting up for coffee constitute a real date? Does a date have to be on a Friday evening or can it be a Thursday afternoon, mostly because of the weird work hours everyone has now.
This article post may put words to your unspoken angst towards dating. At least for the women.
I am a completely normal 20-year-old college girl. The only thing that stops me from saying that is that I have never been on a real date, or in a relationship. It always surprises family and friends when I come home from school with no news on the relationship front. “But, you’re so pretty,” they say. My mom tends to say things like, “You’re just not hanging out with the right people,” or, “You’ve got to stop being so picky.” Maybe there is some truth in these things. The main problem that I have is that I absolutely hate dating in 2015.
You know how it goes. You meet some new guy and you swap phone numbers and you try not to totally freak out every time he texts you. If you start texting a lot then, congratulations, you’ve moved up a relationship level to a very special place called “talking”. While you’re in this new and wonderful talking phase, you’ve probably added each other on every social media site. So now, you know that his sister goes to that state school, and he has a little brother back home. He played baseball in high school, and who is that ugly girl he went to prom with? It doesn’t really matter. I mean you’re just talking anyway.
If you’re lucky enough to make it through this inevitable talking phase, maybe he’ll ask you out on a real date. You’ll go out and talk about things and pretend that you didn’t already read about it all on each other’s Facebook profiles. And to me this all just seems so fake. And that’s not what I want. And I’m not sure it’s what anyone wants. But, I think it’s what we’ve come to expect.
So call me old fashion, but I dream of the day when I will meet and guy and he’ll ask for my number. And maybe a day or two later, he’ll call and ask if I want to go out, and maybe I don’t even know his last name yet. We go out, enjoy ourselves and genuinely get to know someone new, while hopefully planting the seeds of a happy and healthy relationship. I know, dream on, right? Things just don’t seem to work like this anymore. Nevertheless, I hold on hope.
So guys out there, I encourage you: if you think that the girl you sits next to you in your statistics class is really cute, tell her. If you want to get to know her, just go ahead and ask her out. I promise, most girls would prefer this over awkward texting. I think you both will have a lot more fun on a real first date.
WTH is dating these days?! No wonder dating is something you fantasize about but also shirk away from.
Dating today does take bravery. Think about it. Not everyone you date is going to be a match. In fact, if you date 20 people, only one will be a match. That is a lot of failure involved. A lot of frustration. A lot of time spent (wasted?) on overanalyzing every little bit of the story that happened. A lot of vulnerability.
But when you find that match…
When you didn’t settle for someone because it was easier…
This is good!
This is my hope for you. This is the hope I’ve had for all of the teens I’ve ministered to in my nearly 40 years of youth ministry. This is why I’ve continued to barge into their lives when they are in college and out of college. This is why I speak up when I see them in a bad relationship. Or a settled relationship. I know there is this “more” for them. There is for you too.
Learn and incorporate these brave dating practices into your life. They work.
The author of Labor of Love, Moira Weingel, ended her fascinating book with this beautiful summary.
I fell in two kinds of love while writing this book. The first was with a friend.
…The second was with the person I have since married. To come to know him and to know myself through him (my comment: I told you brave dating is learning about you!) has been the greatest joy of my life yet. I had always feared that love would require ceding more of myself than I wanted, or would require losing my identity. It turned out that the opposite was true. It was through this relationship that I first came to see who I was and what happiness meant.
Both experiences took me by surprise. It was not only that they happened, as they say, when I least expected it. Love itself was not what I expected. It was not the end of a search but the beginning. In love, I began to feel desire as a movement in me that reached outward, yearning to act upon the world.
If we can be brave enough to honor love, we might begin to change all the things that people hate about dating. P. 267
Beautifully true. You are worthy of a love for a lifetime. Try brave dating. Find your team. Brave through the vulnerability. Pray. Learn about yourself. Let time happen. It is all worth it.
(Photo credit: https://coffeemeetsbagel.com/blog/index.php/best-date-tips/fun-dating/9-awkward-best-online-dating-moments/ )