Wild card post: dating, courting, and going steady.

WILD CARD POSTS

I’m often thinking about how the blog is doing and where it’s going. I’ve gone through periods of daily posting and I’ve fallen silent for long periods of time. Recently I decided to try a more structured schedule, which is getting off to a decent start.

The plan, in case you haven’t already figured it out, is to do Macabre Media on Mondays, Halloween Countdown on Fridays, and a topic of paranormal interest on Saturdays or Sundays. (Plus, on some Sundays, a Body Preservation post.)

I have to be careful, though, to not box myself in too much. If it gets too rigid, it stops being fun.

In the interest of keeping things lively, I plan to reserve Wednesdays for off-theme posts. I don’t promise to post every Wednesday, but when I do it will either be about the paranormal hotel or it will be a straight up wild card. Tonight, to get things started right, you get a wild card.

[Unless you’re a night owl like me, you’re likely to see these posts on Thursdays. For me it’s still Wednesday until I go to sleep.]

HOMESCHOOLING

I was just reading through my personal FB feed and I came across an article about courtship.

I should remind you that I educated my son at home from fourth grade to tenth, and then I turned him over to the local community college for his junior and senior year. He has now been graduated from my high school curriculum and earned an associate degree in the process.

Yes – despite my dancing around the word – that means we “homeschooled.”

I always hesitate to use the term, because of the stereotypes surrounding homeschoolers. Sadly, some of them are more true than not. Most of the families we met through homeschool organizations were homeschooling, at least in part, for religious or political reasons. We did ok in that world, though we were clearly in the minority when it came to our (nearly non-existent) religious practices … and we were almost unique in our liberal political views.

Still, these were good people and I maintain casual relationships with several of them.

And that is how I came to be reading Why Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed.

At first I didn’t realize that the author was using the term courtship in a very specific way:

Courtship is a relationship between a man and a woman in which they seek to determine if it is God’s will for them to marry each other. Under the protection, guidance, and blessing of parents or mentors, the couple concentrates on developing a deep friendship that could lead to marriage, as they discern their readiness for marriage and God’s timing for their marriage. (Quote from Institute in Basic Life Principles, for clarification purposes.)

To be honest, I was unaware that this was a thing. I don’t know how many of my fellow homeschoolers subscribe to this kind of thinking.  (In my son’s age cohort, there just weren’t very many girls — plus, you know, there were some obvious ideological issues with the few that were around — so that’s not where he’s done his dating.)

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Photo by Samantha Jade Royds

COURTSHIP, DATING, AND GOING STEADY

Read the articles if they are of interest to you, but I want to talk about a particular gem of wisdom I found in Why Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed.

It seems that we as a society have changed the definition of dating since it was being done in the 40s & 50s. According to the article, it was common at that time for parents to make one major rule when it came to early dating:

You can’t go out with the same person twice in a row.

It was perfectly acceptable, and expected, that in any given month you would go to the movies with Tom, have a malt with Dick, go to the dance with Harry, then – perhaps – go to a party with Tom again. The idea was that you’d get to know a lot of different people and there would not be so much pressure to pair bond with one person. By the time you’d dated 10-20 people, you had a much better idea of what kind of person you wanted to go steady with and, maybe, eventually marry.

An argument for this kind of traditional dating, from the Christian viewpoint of the article, is that there isn’t much sexual activity associated with it. I’m probably less concerned with “purity” than the author of the article is, but I can see how this kind of cultural norm would be a healthy way for people, especially young people, to develop relationship skills without feeling so pressured. And I can see how such casual dating would be less likely to contribute to confusion between raging hormones and burgeoning love.

Plus it sounds like a hell of a lot of fun.

This is NOT the way it was done when I was in high school. It was much more like serial monogamy. We hung out in groups until a couple decided to “date” at which point they would see each other exclusively for anywhere from a week to several months or more. When you stopped dating someone, there was a breakup. Then you would do it all over again with another person. Some relationships included sex, some didn’t. The concept behind the process, though, was that each person you dated could be The One. Once couple-hood was declared by going on a date, you ran that relationship out to its end.

Right now I am totally taken with the idea of bringing back real, old fashioned dating. Assuming it isn’t already being done and I just don’t know about it.

HOW IS IT DONE NOW?

From what I’ve seen in my kids, and my nieces and nephews, it’s still pretty much the way if was when I was younger … serial monogamy.

I have questions for you:

  • What was your dating experience?
  • What have you seen happening these days?
  • What are you doing (if you’re unmarried and still looking)?
  • Do you think anyone is dating casually the way I described it above? Who?
  • If traditional dating isn’t happening, do you think it should be?
  • If traditional dating isn’t being done, how on earth could it come back into practice?
  • If you are (or were to start) dating, what do you think the reaction would be if you said, “I don’t date anyone more than once in a row and I don’t want you to either?”