That’s right, dating is dead. Society’s fixation with technology has taken a toll on relationships. Communication done over a screen rather than face-to-face, creates detachment from others. Dating today is also more casual, resulting in the label of the “hook-up culture”.
In the 1950’s dating was a big deal. There was a whole courtship process of the boy asking the girl out for a date, eventually going steady, and later on getting married. The major technology of the time was the auto-mobile, which brought couples mobility and independence. Like any generation there is a set of norms to be followed. In the past, if an individual were to randomly “hook-up” with someone, that would be considered social suicide. One’s reputation, very much like today, was crafted by who they were dating.
Today, everything is up in the air. In the “hook-up culture,” couples experience more romantic ambiguity and gray areas than ever before. Consequently, individuals are putting themselves at risk for much more than a broken heart. More and more people are turning to dating websites to find potential matches. Couples are relying heavily on technology such as cell-phones and social media to communicate with others.
Now, I’m not saying the ways of the past were ideal, but today’s dating methods could stand to learn a thing or two.
Tinder, OkCupid, Coffee Meets Bagel, among others have become the go-to for finding a date. Jennifer Bleyer, author of “Love the One You’re Near” in 2014, wrote “forget personality” proximity and pouty lips are the new landmarks in the quest for love.” These dating apps encourage users to find a match based off a short bio and a flattering thumbnail. Is this what we’ve come to? Picking a significant other based off appearances online?
Even the popular dating website eHarmony has provided members with advice such as “do not assume exclusivity,” and “marriage is not always the goal”. I fully understand that marriage may not be for everyone. However, with marriage rates in decline there is a bigger problem at hand.
The “hook-up culture” has become popular among millennials mainly for the no strings attached freedom. Nonetheless, in the wise words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “with freedom comes great responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.” While Mrs. Roosevelt may not have intended her words to reflect dating, I believe the connection fits. If people are not willing to eventually grow up and settle down, what role models will our children have?
If today’s society continues along this emotionless, label-less, sleazy path, then the future households of the U.S. will be seriously altered.