The World Of Dating: Then & Now


Any time I’m lurking an ex on Facebook or freaking out about my crush not texting me back, I long for the simpler dating days—a time when you just had the telephone and you couldn’t really flake on someone because it meant they would be standing somewhere alone for hours. Technology has really turned everyone into a giant flake. We can cancel plans by simply pressing a button on our phone that says “I don’t want to hang out with you.” But back in the day, you were expected to have a certain level of accountability. At least I think you were. I don’t really know because I wasn’t dating or even alive back then. But you know who was? My mommy! So I called her up to ask her a few questions about dating in the ’70s. It was cute. My mom is cute!

Me: Hi mom! What are you doing?

My Mom: I was just brushing Roxy {our dog} and now I’m getting ready to make some dinner.

Me: Cute. OK, I have to ask you a few questions about dating now.

My Mom: Is this going to go up on The Blog? I hate those commenters, Ryan.

Me: They’re fine, Mom. Don’t pay attention to them! OK, so when did you graduate high school?

My Mom: ’73.

Me: So as far as our technology goes, you just had a home phone, right?

My Mom: Yes. There was no texting, no internet. Just the phone.

Me: Do you wish you had those things when you were a teenager?

My Mom: Well, I mean it would’ve made things a lot easier in a way. We spent a lot of time just waiting around because people were so hard to get in touch with. But from reading your articles, I’m beginning to understand that it’s more of a burden than anything else.

Me: It is! I just have this image of you talking on the telephone to cute boys in your room and then they would pick you up for, like, a malt or whatever, and all of your attention would be on each other. There would be no texting your friends, no checking in on Foursquare—

My Mom: What square? What’s that?

Me: Never mind. Anyway, you wouldn’t be tweeting about anything. Everything just seemed like it was more honest or something.

My Mom: I guess it was more organic in a sense but we didn’t think of it that way. That’s all we knew. But I will say this, people had longer attention spans. Whenever you come home, you’re texting on your phone constantly or on the computer. You’re always distracted. We weren’t like that.

Me: What were the drawbacks?

My Mom: Well, you talk a lot about going crazy if someone doesn’t text you back. My version of that was waiting by the phone.

Me: I remember that in middle school. It was torture!

My Mom: People would just stop by your house more often, which could be good or bad depending on the person.

Me: Yeah, no one does that anymore. I would be so excited if they did though.

My Mom: It’s not as fun as it seems, Danny [that’s my nickname]. I feel like you’re really romanticizing my era.

Me: You’re right. I just feel like all of this new technology is making us turn into socially awkward flakes. I want what you had!

My Mom: It’s life, Ryan. Certain things may change throughout the years but the fundamentals stay the same. Dating is still dating. People are still taking each other out to dinner and a movie, right?

Me: What do you think is the biggest change though?

My Mom: Um, when you broke up with someone, that was usually the last you saw of them. Keeping tabs on a person was a lot harder to do. I lost touch with close friends and boyfriends because they moved and changed numbers or whatever. Today everyone is connected to each other forever because of the internet.

Me: Do you think that’s a good thing?

My Mom: It’s good and bad. There are people I miss and I wish we had had the internet to kind of keep us together. But then there’s also some people who were meant to leave my life. I’m glad I don’t know what they’re doing.

Me: Wanna name names?

My Mom: No! I have to go actually.

Me: Mom!

My Mom: Sorry, honey. I have to cook this salmon now. Love you.

Me: Love you too.

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image – Love Story