Skip to comments.Remember when young people used to date? Whatever happened to that?
Posted on 03/17/2014 2:43:57 AM PDT by markomalley
A radio listener recent wrote me about an interview I did on EWTN Radio with Barbara McGuigan. I mentioned that I had been doing a teaching on dating and modesty at a Theology on Tap Session. At that session I charged the men not to leave that night until they had asked a woman out on a date.
This intrigued the listener who wanted me to expand on this just a bit and what if anything she could do to get the twenty-somes in her family (both male and female) to start dating again. Here is something of the response I penned:
Yes I suppose it was on EWTN Radios Open Line show on Valentines Day that you heard me. As for what to say, it is difficult. The culture of course is dismal today when it comes to meeting something and something we used to call dating.
I was telling the young people, at that theology on tap meeting that, back when I was in high school and college, we used to do something called dating.
This strange and currently lesser known behavior involved a young man picking up the phone, or perhaps asking a girl in person, to go Im something known as a date. This involved an actual activity such as the two of them having dinner together, or going to a movie together, or perhaps some other function, together (as in, just the two of them).
He would ask her and she would either agree to go out with him, or not. If she did, he would actually get into his car, and go to her house, and ring the doorbell. He might even meet her parents if she still lived at home. Then he would actually take her somewhere, such as to dinner, and he would spend money, his own money, on her. He was then supposed to bring her back to her own home at a reasonable time. Perhaps if it went well, she might give him a quick kiss, and agree to see him again.
Of course, I say a lot of this and jest, but what makes it strangely funny is that, although most young people of heard of the dating Im describing, many seldom experience it with any real frequency. Back when I was in High School and College, the goal was to have a date every Friday or Saturday. Frankly very little was on T.V. Friday nights, since it was presumed that most young people would be out on dates.
We are living in a very strange world. At any rate, the first thing I think we can do is tell funny stories like these. When I do so, I hope to tweak the young men into some change of behavior where, instead of just hoping to see certain women at group functions they actually seek to court a particular woman, and even more, search for a wife.
As a priest in Washington DC, I talk with a lot of young women and am shocked that so many of these very beautiful women are seldom asked out by men. Its just crazy! Whats wrong with young men? If I were still young and dating Id be asking them out!
Some folks blame pornography and surmise that many men prefer fantasy to real women. Others blame the breakdown of the Church and family that used to help facilitate meeting and dating through dances and other socials. Others blame the hook-up scene (hooking-up is NOT dating) wherein men and women gather more in groups, arriving independently and hooking up with whoever. Promiscuity also devastates marriage, since there is very little incentive for men to commit to marriage when they get one of its central motivators (sex) for free. And if marriage isnt a real priority, why court a woman. And is marriage and courting are unnecessary why date?
Perhaps you can state other reasons. I dont want to be unfair to men. These are complicated issues. But traditionally it was men who took the initiative and most traditional Catholic girls still feel like that is how it should be.
But frankly, I also have to tell a lot of young women today that, like it or not, theyre going to have to take some initiative. For example, if they see a young man who they would like to ask them out, perhaps they can go right up to him and say, Its alright to ask me out. or, Ask me out you fool. Or, when are you going to get around to asking me to dance?
Back when I was in school, I had several young women who wanted to signal me that they were interested. They would often send words through one of their friends who would say something like, She likes you, ask her out. And in many cases, I would oblige!
My college sweetheart got things started with me that way. I was really surprised she wanted to go out with me, she was so very very pretty, I didnt think shed be interested in an ordinary guy like me. I also figured she probably had lots of other suitors. So this was important information for me that she was interested, and I acted on it immediately. I practically ran up to her and asked her out.
I am interested in your thoughts, especially if youre a young adult. Whats going on here? Ultimately I think its pretty serious since it is tied in with the cultural demise of marriage and also the rise of promiscuity. Help me, nearing codger status, to understand the causes, and also venture some solutions.
Msgr Pope ping
Parents stopped parenting and became the kids’ friends instead.
I still “date” my wife after 38 years. At least that’s what we call it......
I recently learned that now kids have friends, or friends + benefits.
The article brings back memories of a better time in life than what we are seeing today. What happens now is two people meet in a bar someplace, have a few drinks, climb into bed and never see one another again. Not what I consider a long term relationship that started out with a simple “date”. We are NOT animals (although there are a lot who act like it) that senses a female “in heat”, chases her until he mates with her and then leaves to seek another.
Morals in this country have spiraled downward too far. It may never return.
The feminist movement is what happened.
They told us these ideas of courtship were relics of an oppressive chauvinist era. Hooking up, abortion, venereal disease and single motherhood are so much better.
Young people need immediate gratification. Nothing “takes time”. I meet a lot of young couples (I’m a Realtor) that have met through Match.com etc. There they can meet the “perfect mate” and then “hook up”.
Nobody is interested in fostering relationships and there is a dismissive and avoidant mindset amongst most young women. You have to constantly prove your intrinsic value constantly, and are treated as if you are easioy replacable. The level of distrust for the sake of distrust is... the “suspicion” is overwhelming.
It make you just want to throw up your hands and not bother with the whole process.
I know I offer a great deal in terms of a traditional dating relationship... I have been told outright how trustworthy and reliable I am... attentive, kind, loving... but when it comes down to the crux of the biscuit, women don’t really appreciate that... they have their own unrealistic fantasies.
It’s nothing other than catalog shopping.
If you’re the taller fellow on your about page, I think I’ve discovered the mystery to your dating problems.
When they get older and can't get away with that kind of BS anymore the tears will start flowing and will be oh so unfair that same-age men are looking for younger women or going overseas to find brides.
Indeed, funny that. My last attempt at dating was the girl distracted by other guys around and walking off to some other dude to play games checking if if was going to follow her like a puppy dog. Also I have been asked by girls but only to have plans changed on me the last minute.... followed by blue moon 2 am booty calls waking me up in the night. After that they complain they cannot find a guy trusting them or playing counter games.
Yeah. That is the cheap “I get it for free” culture these days. People will get what they pay for.
No... I am the guy with the bionic arm... they call me “just a cripple”.
Considering the state of divorce and family law why would a young man really want to get married?
Its a stacked deck.
Dating is hard and expensive. Today women are easy and cheap. Why buy the cow etc.
“Considering the state of divorce and family law why would a young man really want to get married?”
Considering the fact that today’s men are either metrosexual wimps or emotionally abusive, why would a young woman really want to get married?”
It’s all in the teleology.
Young ladies have power that they don’t realize they have.
My older son is in college. Most people don’t “date” regularly and few people form relationships oriented toward marriage. There are some folks who are “in a relationship,” which mostly means that they have sex exclusively with each other, but not with any great long-term commitment.
Yet, it seems, some marriages do result from some of these relationships over time. Many young folks DO want to find husbands and wives, and DO want to marry, but the social conventions under which they labor frustrate their secret desires.
My son, one of a small set of Rigid, un-Frankian, Judgmental, Morally-Stern, Antequarianly-Chaste Catholics on campus, has had no lack of pretty, sweet, interesting, intelligent young women to date since arriving on campus a year and a half ago. And the dates are old-fashioned dates. An afternoon at the museum. Dinner at the club. A movie. A Catholic social event. A school dance. He’s also engaged in “group dates” from which he’s identified young ladies wishing to be dated one-on-one by him.
He also has been very firm about three rules, and very public, as well. He is interested in dating romantically to find someone to marry. She must be (or become) a Catholic. No sex before marriage.
Although I don’t think anyone openly ridiculed him (he’s in a place that is surprisingly tolerant), I know that he raised many eyebrows.
He has had no lack of young ladies interested in having a more serious, exclusive dating relationship with him. In fact, his girlfriend last semester was a young girl brought up as an atheist who was willing to consider conversion in order to further the relationship toward marriage. Once he realized that her inability to accept the concept of Original Sin doomed the relationship, he broke up with her. But, even though they had a pretty deep emotional bond, because they’d never had sex, the break-up was sad, but reasoned, without much drama. The young lady agreed with his conclusion that although they both had very strong feelings for each other, their respective worldviews were just too different to enable them to form a happy, permanent relationship.
Swiftly, he found himself sought out by another young lady to date seriously who had almost literally been “waiting in the wings.” She is a fallen-away Lutheran who is more than willing to come into communion with the Church in order to marry him. I suspect that they are much more compatible, and it would be unsurprising if they were to eventually marry. But if they don’t, my son is aware of other young ladies on campus who would love the opportunity to date him seriously.
Many, many intelligent young women are starving for good, decent men who want nothing more than to find someone to love them with all their hearts as Christ loves the Church, and to date in order to find the right person who will love them in that way. But few young men seem ready to emulate my son’s model.
His young gentlemen friends are astonished that it’s as if the young ladies line up to date him, with the goal of determining whether or not marriage to him is a realistic prospect.
My son’s a bright guy, has a sterling personality, is kind and generous (but also has a biting wit), is a good, honest, decent, loyal friend, is pretty good looking, and hard-working. But on his campus, there are plenty of smarter, handsomer, stronger, brilliant, hardworking young gentlemen of good character, too.
But they are merely taking their cue from the ladies, most of whom give no overt signals that this is what they want from their male prospects. When my son went to college, he was pretty firm about how he was going to conduct himself. But he told us that he despaired of finding anyone who wanted to date seriously, take the time to form a deep relationships, take delight in each others’ personality, who wanted to explore the possibility of marriage, who would understand the importance of sharing religious faith and belief, and who would be willing to wait for marriage. The young ladies weren’t giving any signals that they were receptive to such overtures, that they would like to date, rather than just all go out in groups, or keep it all “just friends,” or engage in casual sex. Even the girls in the Catholic Student Association didn’t seem to engage in the flirting and behaviors that encourage the gentlemen to ask them out on real dates.
However, knowing upfront my son’s intentions, absolutely not one young lady has turned him down for an initial date. A couple ladies have had previous engagements for specific events to which he’d asked them, but they made quite clear to him that they would like to be asked out again by him for a more mutually-convenient time. “I’m not interested,” hasn’t been in the lexicon of any young lady he’s asked out.
And among his gentlemen friends, many wish they would attract the ladies thusly, as many are secretly marriage-minded, too. But they’re trapped within social conventions which are sub-optimal and lead to messy, damaging relationships that hurt everyone all around. Or no relationship at all.
When one denies the purpose of things, one frustrates the means as well as their end.
Why get married?
Because the bible says, regarding those who are the object of our passion, “it is better to marry.”
For the "Feminists" is surely is as it destroys men and fatherhood and replaces it with governments becoming the Sugar Daddy and running their lives in exchange for scraps of money.
And actually, “dating” was a step down from going out with a chaperone, or meeting in the parlor. Yes, it was a better way, especially when hormones have the upper hand.
So far my girls have stuck to dating. Another benefit of dating is that breakups are less painful.
I wish I had followed that approach in my teen years, but dating was passe even in the 70s.
what is that picture on your page
Hmmm...maybe too much of a good thing for the ladies?
I so agree! Supervised group events and outings are another good venue. Really, the automobile may be as much to blame as the pill. Modern communications will probably never be reeled back in again, but in-person supervision in youth should be ramped way up, IMO.
Yes, the young men in my family have all been that way on campus too! They are in the minority and I think it is a combination of having less-roving genes and being raised under the moral example of men who likewise have less cad in them.
The holding out for Catholic marriage is probably less common, and most such marriage-material college men seem to end up in exclusive relationships with the very lucky minority of women on campus who manage to attract them. The majority of women are left scrambling in and too often falling prey to the modern hookup culture that especially favors men when both gay men and the exclusive-dater men are taken out of the equation.
The older one's dating experiences have mostly been really bad (sometimes downright strange, like the girl who invited him home to meet her parents, then treated him like a pariah from the moment she picked him up at the airport ?!?), and I think he really doesn't have much enthusiasm left for the dating process.
The other one is a freshman bball player at a small Catholic college. Sweet boy, smart, wants to be a doctor. He doesn't talk about dating much, but if there were someone very special in his life, we'd know about it.
It's sad. This generation seems to have a real problem forming real relationships -- girls just as much as boys.
Why so she can spend a few years with him and then change her mind and get half his money for the next 20 years.
This bible says it is better to stay single if possible.
Parents stopped parenting and became the kids friends instead.
A couple of thoughts, first, you need a job to finance a date. Second why pay for a meal when what you want is given away for free. Kids don’t relate face to face much anymore. If you aren’t sexually immoral, a young person is likely to be put at severe temptation when alone with a typical person without such scruples.
I have two sons, 21 & 16. They don’t date either. The girls seem to be either really sexually aggressive or don’t value men.
This includes church girls. Those that aren’t super aggressive are apparently dating Jesus. This is a southern baptist but even there the feminazi’s have had their effect.
Parenting is important of course. Parents have been slacking for years though and not just this generation. ‘Parents’ have also allowed the destruction of our culture and morals.
Get this -- my son's best friend at college -- sweet guy, kind & gentle, *rich* family, and an athlete good enough to come within sniffing distance of the national championship in his sport -- he couldn't get a date either! Women were even nasty about turning him down. What gives??
Well, it takes two to tango. So, no matter how ready your son might be, he does need a worthwhile counterpart.
All I can say is, don't give up! Keep looking for and asking out young ladies who appear eligible! Enjoy the company of those who are nice but not quite right, and gather up as good story-telling the material the ones who are less enjoyable!
My son had first dates with some considerable number of young ladies his freshman year. But I don't recall ever hearing about a second date with any of them. He threw a lot of fish back into the sea. Perhaps he benefited from uniformly low expectations. He had a nice enough time with some of them, but didn't expect much, and though a few of the ladies seemed to welcome a second date, he wasn't sufficiently motivated to follow through with any of them.
But, since everyone knew the rules upfront, since everyone knew he/she would be sleeping alone that night after the date, that there was no chance of anything beyond an invitation for a second date, there was no pressure, and my son enjoyed a lot of these dates, even though they ultimately went nowhere. Even, I think, with the goofier young ladies.
I think he also benefits being at a large, secular college in a substantial metropolitan area with a lot of large (and smaller) colleges. Ironically, he has dated few, if any, Catholic girls. He reports to me that most of them are pretty scary.
“This generation seems to have a real problem forming real relationships — girls just as much as boys.”
I agree. My son benefits from having little fear of rejection, and from having little regard for other folks’ social conventions.
“Because the bible says, regarding those who are the object of our passion, it is better to marry.”
Just “better”? Not the ringing endorsement I would have expected.
“Because the bible says, regarding those who are the object of our passion, ‘it is better to marry.’”
So true. That’s why you do the best you can to make sure the the “object of your passion” is a decent person from the get-go. Then marry. Sometimes that’s not possible to find all necessary information, but you do your best.
The bible also advocates the “best” being full commitment to a life in service to Christ. So marrying becomes the “better” rather than the best.
Do schools still have dances on Friday night?? If they are, there is probably DIRTY DANCING and TWERKING happening...YUK!
It's not just marriage that our generation is taught to give up on easily. It's anything that requires "work".
That's a large reason for our entitlement economy. Work is hard. Getting a government check is easy.
“Why so she can spend a few years with him and then change her mind and get half his money for the next 20 years.”
That door swings both ways, Baby. Although, usually in those situations, the wife supplies the money at the outset of the relationship by working her ass off to put Hubby through school and into a professional career. Then he’ll change HIS mind after a year or two and dump his wife for some chickie in his office.
And, BTW, after 20 years in a marriage, it’s not “his” money; it’s “their” money.
Roving genes - Oh, I don't know. I don't think that has anything to do with it. Good examples are the important element.
Catholic marriage - I think this actually appeals to some of the more desirable young ladies. Even the atheist girlfriend found it admirable that my son's faith was so important that he would not marry someone over the issue. It intrigued her and caused her to start to study the Catholic faith.
She's still an atheist at this point. And my son broke up with her. But who knows what seeds were planted?
Dating as evangelism. LOL!
“... the very lucky minority of women on campus...”
Women have the power. They just don't recognize it. Many of my son's friends cad about (or at least enter semi-exclusive or exclusive unchaste relationships) because, well,... they can. The young ladies are willing (some are even eager). But interestingly, many of the young men are willing to have chaste relationships with young ladies, if that's what the young lady insists upon. However, the young men will generally not turn down free sex if they sense it's on offer.
My son has friends who are “doing it” with their girlfriends, and friends who are not. The ones who are “doing it” are doing so at the implicit or even explicit invitation of the young ladies.
My own sense is that many of these young people want precisely what my son has, but don't realize it, and don't think it's realistic, because they think that the members of the opposite sex want something else. The girls think the boys all want sex, and the boys think the girls want disposable relationships, and just want to be treated like men. Equality. Reproductive rights (what do you need "reproductive rights" for if you're not going to have sex??). No "gender" differences to be recognized.
It's a lot of groupthink.
I dunno what to think...the young people I know are out and about, circulating, dating etc.
I think you’re on to something, there.
A conversation starter that gets all the lovely lady freepers wondering if the nice guy that I am is worth $6,000,000... or is just yet another internet Sasquatch. I have a feeling I will be waiting a really long time for someone like SkyDancer to ever take notice of the likes of me... Bwhahahah!
Anyways... full disclosure, it's from the cartoon The Venture Bros.
and directly where the picture comes from...
And I still COURT my wife after 41 years. Open doors for her, her car doors, tell her how beautiful she is at 68 (believe me - she is. I hear it from others all the time), and much much more.
Guess what? It works. Keeps the flame alive - and produces great results! And I just love doing it......and she loves it!
Good on you!! Most men think that once we've won the heart of our spouse and have married them, the courtship is over. Not true!
Women like being pursued. The most successful marriages are the ones where the husband keeps pursuing and winning his wife's heart. The best part is what she does in return when she see's her husband putting her first.
Married 27 1/2 years to the same woman here. That doesn't happen with me sitting on my ass doing nothing. We have "date nights" also. Where ever we go, she has my undivided attention, and yes I do still open doors for her (even when not on date night.)
I am not THAT old, but count me as also horrified by this “hook-up” culture which has overtaken college campi.
When I was in college, you aspired to date. Often for the wrong reasons....hormone-driven infatuation with the prettiest girls. But you did, and you did attempt to build some kind of relationships with women in the process.
Today it is so cold and impersonal, I have no idea what these kids see in it.