“What’s wrong with dating today?!” my grandma exclaimed as she watched TV. “When I was growing up we didn’t dance like that. We did partner dances.”
She was referring to a scene blaring on the television. The setting was a night club: the music was loud and a half-naked woman was twerking up against a guy in the crowd. My grandma was horrified.
I had never thought about it before. I’d been to lots of clubs before, danced in the center of the dance floor hoping to meet the guy of my dreams.
It never happened.
My grandma was suggesting that maybe the reason dating was so hard had something to do with the way I was dating and the way we were dancing today. I think dating has become a lot like dancing at the club. The focus is all on looking hot and showing off and finding someone to hook up with at the end of the night. The focus is all on me, me, me. Dating is not a partner dance anymore.
After asking my grandma more questions I began to see some other big differences in the way her generation dated and danced.
The kinds of dances my grandma describes going to in the 1950’s were different. Men and women danced together. Twerking was out of the question. Dancing was usually a contest after skating, or a school dance. No grinding was involved. An arms length away was required. The most risky dance move that they did? Guys sliding the girls under their legs.
Today we tend to have sex and ask questions later, whereas my grandma’s generation did not. They actually took the time to get know the other person and look for marriage potential. The whole purpose for dating then was to find someone to marry.
When I asked my grandma about the dating process back then she said, “When I went on a date, we went to a diner and ate. After dinner we would drive around the diner to show off the guys’ cars. No kissing or handholding was involved.” By contrast, my dates with guys have usually consisted of hanging out on the couch.
Sometimes I wish my dating life was more like my grandma’s was back in the 1950s. I don’t think I’d be struggling as much to find a good man to marry and raise a family with if we still dated like they did in the past with marriage in mind. Maybe if I choose to date differently—more intentionally—I can change things. I’m working on it and I hope others will keep joining me.