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


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.]


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.)


Photo by Samantha Jade Royds


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.


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?”

15 Comments on “Wild card post: dating, courting, and going steady.”

  1. First off, I like your wild card posts.

    Second, when I was in high school, my parents (who are admittedly conservative) gave me the same advice: not to put all my eggs in one basket. They wanted me to date around, but I stubbornly ignored them and married my high school sweetheart.

    THAT did not turn out well (though I did end up with two great kids out of the deal). I think casual dating is really the best way to go, hands down. If I could go back in time, I’d jump all over that! So to speak…

    • I think you’re roughly my age, Mark, so I’m not surprised. I can’t imagine dating around in the environment of my high school. I went out with TWO guys in high school. I dated #1 for about 2 years, then we broke up. I dated #2 for about a year and got pregnant. After school, I actually married #1. That marriage lasted about two years.

      THEN, I married a boy I’d known all along … one that had been my girlfriend’s first boyfriend. (They had broken up by the time Ogre and I got together.)

      Looking back on all that now I am AMAZED that I thought I knew enough about any of them, or about myself, to be in an exclusive, intimate relationship, but that’s how it was done. We were all in these high pressure hothouse romances at an age where we didn’t know anything about anything.

      Hormones are evil.

      You’ve got kids, what are they doing in general? Do they date casually or serially? I wish I had access to “normal” teens to ask these questions of. (I can’t count mine so much, because his dating pool has been so limited. First all homeschool girls, then college girls who were older than him. I’ll be interested to see how it goes for now as he goes out into the workforce for a couple of years.)

      • My son is living with his mom and busy working and going to school. To my knowledge, he has never been on a date. Same with my daughter. I guess you can’t really call my kids “normal,” either!

  2. zipcoffelt says:

    Love the wildcard posts! Gives me a chance to know more about you in general! Despite being so much older, my high-school experience was probably similar to yours – serial monogamy. My son, on the other hand, dated a lot of different girls. I remember taking one memorable phone message from Kristy, and my son asked “Kristy who – I know five.” For my grand kids, I’m really hoping that they bring back arranged marriages. I’ve come to believe that kids just don’t have any idea who will suit them. And I’m only half-joking…

    • Oh, I get it. Marriage is tough and it’s hard to “let” the kids figure out the right match. 😀 Of course, they have to do it on their own which is why this traditional dating thing sounds so perfect to me. Now that I’ve taken some time to think about it, I hope my boy does the same thing yours did. (Is he married now? Did the strategy work out for him?)

      I just called my 16 year old niece and asked her straight out about all this. She says it’s still serial monogamy in the high schools. A kid’s reputation rests on being able to stay with one person for “a long time” (which can be just weeks.) She thinks if someone tried to do this traditional dating thing, they’d get a “slut rep” pretty fast, even if they didn’t really do anything. (And that term applies to both boys and girls now, so that’s progress, I guess.)

      I’m guessing you couldn’t really get away with it in the closed environment of a high school. I’m going to check in with my 21 year old niece and see how it goes in college.

      • zipcoffelt says:

        LOL – the son has three marriages under his belt so he’s still doing serial monogamy. My oldest grandson’s approach works better – skydive rather than date!

  3. Pooka says:

    I first discovered that very specific God-infused definition of courtship when I was attempting to do some casual research into courtship practices throughout history. (Sidenote: I love that free access to the Internet has made things like “casual research into courtship practices throughout history” something I can sit down and simply DO in my own living room on a silly whim.)

    I have no idea what was going on with my search terms that day, but I found myself swimming through many articles pertaining only to that single outlook on things before I found what I’d actually set out looking for. It was a little bit weird.

  4. Does the younger generation know anything about romance? I don’t see evidence of it. I see the instant gratification generations missing out on so much by having to have what they want right now. There is no anticipation or earning of rewards.

    • I think the younger generation is just that … somehow YOUNGER than most of us were at that age. Adolescence is being prolonged. Some of that’s good, some bad.

      One thing that I’m noticing – and maybe it’s just because of the set of kids I know – is that the entertainment industry is telling me that the teens are promiscuous risk-takers, even as I see that sex (and jobs, and driving, and rebellion) is not happening as early as it did for my generation.

  5. scoobyclue says:

    I was a serial dater … one guy at a time. I got married once. It sucked. I won’t do it again. The next two boyfriends sucked and ended in “no seriously, my how I got dumped story is way better than yours” ways, and I haven’t ventured forth into the dating world since.

    Now I’m building my dream man in the extra room. Why else would I be visiting graveyards?

    • We paranormal people are so resourceful 🙂

      I think my husband and I are pretty well set, but if I ever became single again for any reason, I think I’d choose to stay that way.

      As it is, I’ve started to warn my Ogre about my Crazy Old Woman fantasies. I have many plans and I’m not sure how he’s going to take some of the changes. Pretty sure he doesn’t want to live with 30+ cats and a wife who wears Victorian-era dresses to the grocery store.

  6. I grew up in a different culture, we were led to believe with courting as pursuing the girl e.g. guy goes to a girl’s house under the watchful eye of the parents, that’s where they get to talk and get to know each other, later on if the guy earns the girls’ trust then they could go out on a date (with a chaperone or in the western term – third wheel). But due to the trending norms of the internet and mobile phones, many young people are starting to date in secret thus sometimes unfortunately leading to teenage pregnancy. Great post! – Ritter Standley

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