Apparently, the concept of dating someone - as in, actually going out someplace with another person you're romantically interested in - is dead. At least that's what "The Demise of Dating", an article that appeared in Saturday's New York Times, says.
I have a lot of thoughts on this, so either feel free to hit delete now or bear with me.
According to journalist Charles Blow (I swear, that's the name on the byline), teenagers today are more inclined to hook up with someone and then figure out if said person is worthy of one's time. It's only after the two tango then the dating begins.
As usual, this generation's got things a little backwards. Either that, or I am officially old. (Don't answer that.) In my day - and in all of the days in previous generations before this one - it was the opposite. You liked someone, you got that person's attention or you got your friend to get the person's attention, someone was asked to "go out." Maybe it was to a school dance, maybe it was to see "The Breakfast Club," whatever. Phone calls (that's what we ancients did pre-texting) to a home where an actual parental unit could answer the phone usually needed to be made. Doors needed to be knocked on, and parents - usually fathers - needed to give the dates the hairy eyeball.
I can't speak for The Dean (he has his own blog), but knowing The Dean as well as I do, I'd imagine he was looking forward to giving Betty's prospective suitors the same treatment he endured when courting all the former lovelies predating me. I am guessing that the thought of being the parent with the power to inflict the same emotional agita on some sweaty-palmed, pimply-faced teenager was the only source of potential pleasure in what to him is likely to be an experience akin to a colonoscopy.
Nope. Now it's all about the hook up, not the dating. And my concern with this - among my many, many concerns with this - is what this does to the long-term damage of the psyches and hard-wiring of our girls, our young women. As teenagers, we're fragile enough as it is and lucky enough to escape adolescence with a shred of self-esteem intact. (I mean, just speaking for my own self here ....) Now, a young woman's self-esteem is being judged by - we interrupt this blog post to bring you, live from the Betty and Boo family room, darling Betty who is sick and watching The Disney Channel on the couch. Aladdin just ended and now some horrid show called As the Bell Rings just came on. Three flaxen-haired divas just sashayed Heathers-style up to three boys who appear to be imitating Arthur Fonzerelli. One girl is clad in a strapless black dress (ahem, what are these, middle school students??!!) that is nicer than any such frock in my closet. She coos, "Do you like bad girls?" Good Mommy that I am, I just bolted into the family room and wordlessly turned off the TV. My point.
Back to the blog. As I was saying, now young women's self-esteem is at stake because of a new generational society that values superficial sexual encounters (and let's face it, they are all sexual encounters, regardless of the actual acts occurring) over the quaint notion from the dinosaur days of the 1980s and '90s of getting to know someone. The erosion of one's self-esteem in this way only lays a pathway for other issues that are detrimental to girls and women. The Fonzie-wannabees in As the Bell Rings aren't interested in getting to know the chicks on the show. They'll decide later if they want to date them.
Something's wrong with this. Very wrong. The bell isn't tolling for just the idea of dating. It's tolling for a generation of youths who have lost their way more than they will ever know.