By Tom Demerly.
Dating is dead. It has become a novel convention of the past. We’ll tell our single parented kids about it one day. They won’t get it.
The traditional template of dating, an eager male asking a doting female out for an evening of food and entertainment a few times until they transition to greater commitment, is nearly impossible now. It is only practiced by the affluent, patient or traditional.
Every aspect of relationships has been influenced by the economy, technology and society. Some of the changes are good, like acceptance of same-sex couples and greater gender equality. Much of it is bad, like a divorce rate that is accelerating even as marriage frequency is dropping from the recession and into the current recovery.
People are growing apart, and that is worrisome. If there was ever a time we needed each other, it’s now.
Why should we worry about this? The basis of learned social conduct comes from the family. Whether it’s gay or straight, adopted or reassembled from previous relationships. Relationships build families, families build people. People build society. Add to this the greatest acceleration in social technology ever and you have a confused culture. As a result people interrupt each other, communicate without courtesy, have different attitudes toward reproductive behavior and are forced to make up rules of social interaction as they interact. We used to learn those rules in the test setting of a family.
Perhaps the greatest casualty in the decline of dating is the conversation. This quant convention has been replaced by a quick coffee and some tandem calisthenics performed at aerobic pace in a race between orgasm and someone’s phone going off.
“If there was ever a time we needed each other, it’s now.”
As dating has died what is left is a largely unstructured format for male/female interaction. Dating websites are oddly similar to a job search or sales campaigns. People try to start and maintain dating relationships over vast distances using technology. Those are especially sad. There is no technology for holding hands over the web.
A foundation for the loss of dating is fear. Fear of weirdness. Fear of loneliness, fear of embarrassment, fear of rejection, fear of hurt and failure. These fears are valid. When you date you’ll experience all of them. Given the amount of fear that already exists in our society over the economy and our future our fear meters are at maximum. We don’t want any more fear. And because of that, dating sucks now.