What We All Could Learn from Dating Traditions of the Past

So picture it, it’s the 1950s in America. It’s a time where smartphones don’t exist, the term social media hasn’t yet been coined, and hoeing is not a glorified expedition sport. (To be clear, I’m not reading or shaming those that embrace their sexuality a little more frequently and publicly than most.) If I’m to believe the wonderful stories shared by my grandparents, which I most certainly do, the 1950s was a drastically different time then than it is now. Especially, when it comes to dating and relationships.

For starters, dating back in the day took a certain amount of confidence mixed with unwavering courage. My grandma can recall a time when my grandpa wanted to start dating her, or courting as she calls it. First, he had to go up to my grandma and express an interest. In their day, there was no seeing a person you like out in public, then running home to Instagram to “shoot your shot through a DM”. People back then had to work up the nerve to speak to whoever they were crushing on face to face.  An admirable quality that I have lacked on occasion.

And after my grandpa put himself out there with my grandma, he then had to go to her family home and ask her dad if it was okay to start dating. I can just imagine the guts it takes to go up to my great-grandpa and ask to take out his daughter. I didn’t even mention she had her mom and eight siblings ready to question him as well. Some of us don’t like being interviewed by two people for a job, let alone facing ten just for a first date. Now I can do without that tradition of the past, because I don’t think people should have to meet a potential bae’s family until things become official; but, that’s another topic for another day.

Another thing I respect tremendously about the traditions of old school dating, is that patience truly was a virtue. My grandparents literally knew each other for years before they jumped the broom. They didn’t see the need to rush down the alter with a person they barely knew. Millennials, especially those in the LGBT community, are so quick to rush through the stages of a relationship. After three months of dating, people are ring shopping. I get for a select few, that they know immediately when they’ve found their soulmate, and don’t see the need to take their time. But most people aren’t in this select group, and run to get married, only to run to get a divorce just as fast.

Speaking of divorce, I’m going to again have to keep it real about me and the rest of millennials. We are a generation that doesn’t put in the work and calls it quits too fast. It’s like our need for perfection has made us develop insensitivity to flaws. We see flaws in mates and we’re ready to dump them and move on. We have a petty argument, and we quickly reactivate our Match, Tinder, and Jack’d profiles. I often ask, why don’t we as a generation roll up our sleeves to make love work? Of course there will be times when relationships just have to come to an end, but I often feel my generation would rather live in a world of regret wondering what they could have done to save a relationship, than do the actual work and save it.

My grandparents were married for almost 60 years before my grandpa passed. They weren’t without their share of arguments, heartache, and pain. However, they saw the bigger picture and valued the love they shared above any hurdle that presented itself. Those two human beings let me know that lasting love is available and attainable.

Look, I say all this to make a point. Folks, we’ve got to do better in our pursuit of bae and our maintaining healthy relationships. We have to stop hiding behind glass screens all the time afraid of rejection. The worse thing a person can say is he or she isn’t interested in you romantically. Heck if that happens to be the case, Kanye shrug the situation off and move onto the next. That person just saved you from wasting your time any further.

I’m sure some of you are saying we live in a connected world and your crush isn’t always around for you to speak to face to face. So, you appreciate shooting your shot via DMs. If that’s the case, fine. Send the message. But many people won’t even send a proper DM. (Notice I said proper DM, which doesn’t include a dic pic, an ass shot, a wyd message, or some offer to perform a sexual act.). If closed mouths don’t get fed on the boulevard, they certainly won’t get you your bae. FYI, I know folks like to be chased, but someone has to be doing the chasing.

Also, as a society let’s embrace patience and take our time dating. Take the time to get to know folks as we progress from talking, to dating, to a situationship, to a relationship, to the ultimate sign of commitment, marriage. I once had an old frat brother tell me that my generation should be called the “microwave generation.” He claimed we want everything to happen instantaneously. Unfortunately, love doesn’t work that way, and I had to learn that lesson from experience. So save yourself the trouble and listen to what I’m telling you. And on a selfish note, help me prove my old head wrong.


As always nothing but love,

Tavion Scott

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