Imagine a simpler time: A well-dressed single gentleman pulls up to the front of a single lady’s home in the early evening, steps out of his car, and approaches her front door.The two of them were introduced to one another by a mutual friend at a social function some weeks prior. As she steps outside, he offers an umbrella to shield her from rain showers, walks with her to the passenger side of the car, and opens the door for her. The pair takes a scenic route to a special destination: a reserved table at an elegant restaurant.Conversation flows naturally for a couple hours, with each beginning to learn about the background and interests of the other.After dessert, the gentleman pays for the meal and then drives the lady home.Accompanying her to her door, he thanks her with a warm smile and departs.This may be repeated on a regular basis, and could eventually lead to courtship and marriage as the two get to know one another through hours of conversation, spread over months.To older readers, the scenario above may have at least a vague, distant familiarity.But to younger readers, it may be utterly foreign, antiquated and unrealistic—like viewing a scene from an old black-and-white film in a world accustomed to the rapid-fire images of a high-definition action movie.
Ask any 20-something and he or she has probably signed up for any number of smartphone apps or online dating sites.Older adults are also applying by the millions for online matchmaking sites or participating in speed-dating sessions.According to the Pew Research Center, one in every 10 American adults has used an online dating site or a mobile dating app.“…the use of online dating sites has become steadily more prevalent in recent years.In 2008 just 3% of all Americans said that they had used an online dating site; by 2009 that figure had risen to 6% of all Americans, and today 9% of the adult population has used an online dating site.”Being able to connect with so many possible matches at the touch of a button should have simplified the already difficult process and made it even easier to find a “soul mate.” Yet it has instead complicated it, resulting in less solid relationships than ever before.“Traditional courtship—picking up the telephone and asking someone on a date—required courage, strategic planning and a considerable investment of ego (by telephone, rejection stings),” The New York Times reported in the article “The End of Courtship?” “Not so with texting, e-mail, Twitter or other forms of ‘asynchronous communication,’ as techies call it.In the context of dating, it removes much of the need for charm; it’s more like dropping a line in the water and hoping for a nibble.”The article further states: “Online dating services, which have gained mainstream acceptance, reinforce the hyper-casual approach by greatly expanding the number of potential dates.Faced with a never-ending stream of singles to choose from, many feel a sense of ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out), so they opt for a speed-dating approach—cycle through lots of suitors quickly.“That also means that suitors need to keep dates cheap and casual. You’re lucky to get a drink.“‘It’s like online job applications, you can target many people simultaneously—it’s like darts on a dart board, eventually one will stick,” said [a 26-year-old] branding coordinator in Manhattan, describing the attitudes of many singles in their 20s. Over the decades in the Western world, traditional dating was gradually overtaken by the high school “going steady/boyfriend-girlfriend” approach.The mass-mailer approach necessitates ‘cost-cutting, going to bars, meeting for coffee the first time,’ he added, ‘because you only want to invest in a mate you’re going to get more out of.’”Many genuinely want to find someone special and while they are using every means to meet someone—whether online or in person—they know something is wrong with the current dating landscape. Those who did not find a romantic counterpart in this way would then often be initiated into the bar/nightclub scene, where they could hope to find someone who may want to hook-up—meaning anything from kissing to having sex—which could eventually lead to the two parties becoming friends with benefits, boyfriend and girlfriend, or possibly even lead to marriage years down the road.That said, they are unsure of how to address the root of the problem. With the rise of the hook-up culture has come a change in the overall mentality behind dating.Step back for a moment and ask: Is modern dating truly normal? The focus in the 21st century is less about finding someone to date, court and marry than finding someone who can be fun “for the moment.”“Raised in the age of so-called ‘hookup culture,’ millennials—who are reaching an age where they are starting to think about settling down—are subverting the rules of courtship,” The New York Times reported.“Instead of dinner-and-a-movie, which seems as obsolete as a rotary phone, they rendezvous over phone texts, Facebook posts, instant messages and other ‘non-dates’ that are leaving a generation confused about how to land a boyfriend or girlfriend.“‘The new date is “hanging out,”’ said [a 24-year-old] associate television producer in Manhattan, who is currently developing a show about this frustrating new romantic landscape.As one male friend recently told her: ‘I don’t like to take girls out.