Am I the only one that thinks that our generation has completely ruined the sacred (and sometimes blessed) ritual that is dating? Maybe that's a wee bit dramatic but, at the very least, we’ve complicated it to the point that dating isn’t as romantic and fun as it used to be. Our parents and grandparents had specific rules that they followed that were meant to show mutual respect and cultivate healthy relationships. Some of those rules may seem way too old-fashioned for modern times but I’d argue that MOST of those standards are precisely what this current dating scene is missing. Shoot, they convey something the whole world in general is lacking. RESPECT. Just respecting another person, before they even have a chance to earn it. Showing respect, while expecting nothing in return. And carrying yourself in such a way that others respect you.
Shew, let's all take a moment to thank Ms. Franklin! I was about to jump on a soap box like, “y’all love and respect your neighbor- can I get an amen- less self, others more-preach it sister--rabbit hole.”
But I gotta get to the point, which is, old fashioned dating rules and where they fit in our modern world.
Let’s dive in before I get the urge to restart my sermon.
Ya know, the opposite of ghosting. Ew. Ghosting is so gross. This modern dating habit has to go! I’m not saying you owe everyone a lengthy explanation as to why you just aren’t into them. But ghosting is nothing more than throwing out all good manners and common courtesy just because, in this modern age, you can. Sure, it’s easier to disappear but is it RIGHT? Nope. Not at all. Well, there is one caveat. The only time it’s acceptable is if you feel threatened or totally uncomfortable sharing your feelings. Yes, I’m giving you permission to ghost the weirdos and creepers but that’s it, you hear? Give the decent ones the respect they deserve with a proper (and prompt) let-down.
Please don’t ever let chivalry die! It’s sad, really, to hear a man say that he’s afraid to open a door for a woman because she might be offended. Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with a woman opening a door for herself, but why not allow yourself to feel a little special? Sister, be the queen for a moment and enter a room like you own it! (Sidenote: Who REALLY wants to touch a door handle anyways? They are germy and gross. Show your appreciation to the man by offering some hand sanitizer.) Listen guys, don’t stop at opening doors. Keep your knight-in-shining-armor game going strong by walking on the outside of the sidewalk, helping her put on her coat and offering her your coat when she’s cold. Just like your Momma always said, if you want to attract a lady, you have to be a gentleman first.
Ok fine. This one is a little tricky for the ladies. Most of us feel that just because we are dating a man, that man hasn’t necessarily taken us on to raise. We have our own money and can take care of ourselves just fine, thank you. The modern take on this is, whoever asks for the date-pays for the date. And honestly, that seems fair. But girls, HEAR ME WHEN I SAY THIS, if a man insists on paying for your date LET THE MAN PAY FOR YOUR DATE. Put aside your I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T thinking for like three minutes while he slaps his card down and signs the receipt. If he wants to spend his hard-earned money on you, honey, just let him. Don’t expect it, that’s too far, but accept it if it’s offered with no expectation of anything in return. You can go back to being a girl boss tomorrow, ok?
In the past, it was a BIG no-no to request a date less than two days in advance. I REALLY like this rule and we need to bring it back. The sentiment behind it is so sweet and respectful! Nowadays, we’re 5:00 on a Friday answering a text that says “do you want to hang out later?” I’m not saying to throw all spontaneity out the window but last-minute requests can make a person feel like an afterthought or worse, like a last resort. If you want to show someone that you are actually interested in spending time with them, reserve a spot on their hypothetical dance card earlier in the week. That gesture sends a very clear message with an added bonus that you’ll have more time to actually come up with a plan for your date. This brings me to my next point….
For pete’s sake, y’all, can we go back to planning actual dates? Men, I’m talking to you here. Us girls have been planning everything since we were like six years old. From family dinners to office parties to church functions, not much is going to happen if the ladies in the group don’t rally and get the job done. Give us a rest, maybe? Don’t ask us “what do you want to do?” You may feel like that question is thoughtful and accommodating, but darling, it’s not. You want to know what is thoughtful? Making dinner reservations. You know what is accommodating? Pre-buying tickets to that movie she mentioned that she wanted to see. Trust me fellas, have a plan and she will be most appreciative.
Everyone, repeat after me. “Slow and steady wins the race.” Say it again. “Slow and steady wins the race.” LOUDER! “Slow and steady…” I’m kidding, you can stop now. But seriously, everyone knows that the first date sets the tone for the entire potential relationship. And I know you’re grown and no one needs to tell you what to do with your own body. I’m just saying that there’s really no need to rush into the physical stuff right away. And I know this is particularly hard if sparks are flying and you’ve been single for a while. But I’ll let you in on a little secret, if you want to send your date reeling, head over heels, straight into puppy love. (ok, there’s not a 100% guarantee here but stay with me..) Don’t lip lock on the first date but plant your pucker in another place. (haha, go read that last line again. I’m proud of it.) Anyways, so…where do you plant your pucker? Guys, kiss her hand, or if you really want to make her swoon, kiss her forehead. (omgoodness, we love this so much) Girls, loop your arm through his and give that man a little peck on the cheek as you say your goodbyes. This type of non-sexual affection can have a more lasting effect early in a relationship than, ahem, ANYTHING else.Trust me. It sends the message that you are attracted to them but showing restraint until the time is right. That’s hot.
All these rules basically boil down to showing respect and courtesy to your date. And can you think of a better place to start a potential relationship than being rooted in mutual respect and good manners? I think not! Past generations were, obviously, way better at finding and keeping a life partner than we are. So let's all band together and start today, changing to the way things used to be when courting was a thing, and respect and good manners weren’t the exception, but the rule.
And remember to love and respect your neighbors, all of them, even the ones you aren’t trying to date. Whew, I’m glad I finally got that out.
Until next time…
Love y’all and good luck,