Before DMs became a convention of courtship, people would physically approach each other and charm the person they desired. Now that practice has gone digital. A couple of things can remain hidden behind this method which include physical chemistry, an actual date occurrence, and the ability to finesse conversation in-person.
Meeting complete strangers from dating apps and social media with no relational background is a toss-up. It can be really fun or extremely awkward. Angles and photoshop of pictures can alter a person’s features which can impede on physical attraction. Also, if communication is grounded in digital wordplay, only in-person dates can decipher if someone can hold a conversation. Speaking of which, how often does lip service and messages turn into a date?
Then for those that may or may not expect to hook-up with individuals met online, the comprehension of consent will emerge. In Michaela Coel’s “I May Destroy You” she presents a masterpiece of work revolved around sexual encounters, assault, and consent. Specifically, there is a scene where a man meets up with another man through an online dating app. They meet at a hotel room. One of the men changes his mind about sex and attempts to leave. But the other man stops him, bigger in size, forces him back to the bed and dry humps the victim as he struggles to get away. He couldn’t get away.
Although the TV series intertwines fictional content, it is based on Coel’s personal experience with sexual assault. Those situations happen in real-life. So the grasp of consent and personal safety get thrown in the ring fire of risks with dating and meeting new people.
Plenty of risk factors come with dating but one of the biggest of all is to waste time. It is the only currency we spend that cannot be given back. Intentions can be clearly disclosed or revealed later in time. Purposes for dating expand in accordance with our social culture. Traditionally courtship was the preface to marriage. But as our way of life changed for resources and opportunities, so did the objective of partnerships.
In early civilization, marriage promoted economic access for women when it was nearly impossible to gain. Among the aristocratic class, this structured partnership kept familial powers in play. Now the choice to date varies and the goal may not always include marriage. It can range from: experimentation, casual (no goal in mind), third prospecting (throuple), or loneliness (a choice out of fear rather than specific or true desire).
The help of the internet presents a seemingly larger dating pool. But lazy courtship can arise from it. A few years ago, Hinge tried to assist this style of dating by creating an app that would message your interests for you! If evading physical introductions wasn’t enough leverage to begin, the only thing left would be a technological force to meet the person of interest on your behalf. Then decide if they are “the one.”
Marriage rates declined in similarity with divorce rates in America. As a country that prides its culture on individualism and self-made character, what is the enticement for people to come together in union and remain steady for a lifetime. Prior to more available resources and social opportunities, marriage was the foundation for all of that and an easier segue to build a family. Now more concepts diverge from traditional ideas of partnerships and introduce alternatives to center self, opt-out, or build a family via co-parenting, women-led communal parenting, or intentional single parenthood. So I have to ask, is dating obsolete?