The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Dating by the rules of the 21st century

Dating by the rules of the 21st century

Countless numbers of girls return home during their college breaks only to meet a never-ending interrogation by their fathers.

Starting off with the typical topics of how much money they spend, what their grades are and then finally, the oh-so-dreaded, awkward topic-dating.

“What? I don’t understand it. We used to date every weekend! Why don’t you go on dates?” inquire the concerned fathers.

Of course these father-esque questions carry the embarrassing thoughts of, “what is wrong with you, my daughter?” This is when a girl must hold her head high and attempt to explain why the male sex would rather hang out and watch a horror movie.

And clearly, it can’t be revealed to one’s protective father that the modern translation of that is actually “let’s cuddle during the frightening scenes and then hook up, baby.”

So what happened with our generation’s dating techniques, or lack thereof, as the case may be? Have people’s interpersonal relationship skills changed?

As technology continues to evolve we sometimes find ourselves lost within a world of non-personal communication and left in a country that breeds a new form of the American Dream: the focus on the individual. This has changed the way we interact with and get to know people. In turn, it changes dating.

“Yo what are you up to tonight?” receives Catherine Comer on a text message from a guy that she has become involved with.

“I don’t know yet. What are you up to?” she replies. Comer, a sophomore at SMU, undergoes the typical start of a text message rally.

Carrying out whole, minimalist conversations in single letters via the radio waves, complete non-personal communication occurs and then one’s evening plans are set.

Seemingly easy enough, right? Without truly knowing someone face-to-face, before the onset of the texting battle, people cannot help but be slightly, if not completely, awkward when they finally encounter the person in the flesh, sans their technological shield.

It is understandable and practical to use texting after a relationship has been established, but it can be perceived as a strong lack of interest when one is originally asked out via text message.

“Hey Kate, this is Carlos from Club Lure the other night. I was wondering if you would be interested in a Tapas dinner and then Brazilian dancing?”

Without so much as an original phone conversation, it is difficult to have faith in his genuine interest, as well as comfortably engage him when there is actual face-to-face conversation.

There is so much language that simply cannot be communicated through texting and in many cases, in phone conversations. With texting, one misses the key inflections in the other person’s voice, thereby unable to read their intent via tone.

Even talking on the telephone has its flaws: with out the personal contact, body language is completely lost. People perceive much from other others’ natural physical reactions and without speaking with someone face-to-face, a meaningful relationship can be difficult to establish because people need to get used to other’s bodies.

Text messaging and using internet instant messengers make it easy and simple to tell another whatever it is we feel because we do not have to see their natural reactions, and better yet, have them see ours. Fearless behind technology, we can make forward and blunt comments without the same sense of embarrassment. While this has made communication quick and simple, it has hurt our abilities to be honest and comfortable with people face-to-face.

Technology allows us to think out our speech in such a way that we present ourselves in the way we want to be seen, and not truly as who we are.

This can make us appear different from our real selves, so when we interact with someone naturally, we are different than they know us to be. Ah, behold the steel mask of technology.

Another factor of text dating is the isolation that goes hand-in-hand with it. Instead of actual human contact and hearing a breathing, pulsing body on the other line, text messaging has removed the humanity from the communication.

As a result, it can be difficult to one, speak to people and two, show a dependence on others which have both helped to serve the notion of the individual within the community. Alone, self-reliant and independent, our generation is full of individuals creating their own paths, which will occasionally pause just long enough to choose to walk in the direction of another.

An easy way to counter this potential awkwardness is through group dating. Stephanie Minton, a sophomore at SMU, went out with a perspective fellow the other evening for their first date (and was, as expected, asked out via text).

Trying to make it easier for him, she suggested the activity of bowling. Later that night he picked her up from the door of her apartment and they drove off to the bowling alley. There they were met at the alley by three of his friends. After all, there is power in numbers. The group date had commenced.

“When conversation between Andy and I became a little stiff, I would just talk to his friends and it made everything so much easier,” said Minton.

Instead of having one conversation where each dater had to be on their toes, trying to impress the other, they were able to have a nice group chat. Also, as an added bonus, they got to see how each other reacts to other people. And we will not kid ourselves here, the old saying, “I can tell who you are by the company you keep,” is as true as ever…

Technology gives us instant gratification in making things happen immediately when we want them to. When everything in our lives happens instantaneously, we are flustered when relationships are anything but quickly established as deep and meaningful. Getting to know someone is a long, yet exciting, process that requires much energy and effort.

Many simply expect a deeply founded connection with someone to be there quickly, and if it isn’t, we can easily lose interest. Not only that, but because of the emphasis on the individual, people encounter others with the ideas of, “how can you add to my life and my understanding of it?”

With so many distractions and the multitudes of activities to do, people rather put effort and time toward the things that can make them, as an individual, a better person.

“After the first three dates with someone you know if you want to spend more time with them or not. That is if they’re worth your time,” said Grant, a 24 year-old waiter at the Dragonfly Restaurant and Bar in Hotel Zaza.

The traditional notion of the American Dream revolves around economics and the societal hierarchy; it is a dream where one works hard to earn her fair share of money and then will advance in society accordingly. This idea has since transformed into that for individual and personal betterment; people want to be all that they can and achieve success in as many fields as possible.

With the vast collections of the books For Dummies and the plethora of the self-help books available, individuals aim to fulfill themselves. Second to personal development, are the ideas of partnership and compromise, both of which are necessary for a successful relationship.

“One wants to have it all and easy, quick, shallow relationships are much easier to have when one wants convenience,” said sophomore Jessie Christianson.

Success is gauged in modern society by the level of control and knowledge over all realms of one’s life. Since a meaningful relationship requires much work and deep foundation, many choose to instead, have a “schedule” relationship that is one of convenience and mutual attraction.

When one enters the modern dating field, they must play by the rules or else they will get emotionally tackled.

The rules have since changed due to new communication tactics and
people’s new notion of what a partnership is.

“To me, partnership in a romantic relationship is someone’s ability to be completely independent in pursuing their own motives, and then also be supportive of their lover,” said Libby Dorot, a junior at Bard College, in upstate New York. “There is this beautiful idea I heard from a friend, where there are two people walking side-by-side looking out into the same distance in the horizon. They were pursuing their individual lives, yet were on the exact same path.”

As civilization progresses and aspects of life continue to evolve, dating will do just that: always mold to the new societal standards and notions.

The trick is to evolve with them. No matter how much one despises the obnoxious lifeline, a.k.a. the cell phone, it has become an integral part of our communication and our time management by means of convenience.

When using cell phones, keep in mind that it is a way to keep us more connected, and not more isolated. This said, take advantage of all of the fun and excitement that the dating world offers, that is until you find that rare person who heads for the same point in the horizon.

Kate Ochsman is a sophomore CCPA major. She can be reached at [email protected].

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