We hear about the good old days, all the time, from older relatives and members of the community. When the topic of dating comes up, people’s eyes light up, talking vividly about their first dates and the best dates they’ve been on. Many of our parents and older adults can go on and on about the good memories they have on dating. Years later, many people in my age group still have those same experiences. We still go out, spend time with one another, and have a good time, but I will admit there is a big difference between my generation dating and the generation of my parents and grandparents.
When people in my age group date, there’s only two ways to do it: either we do something simple as go to each other’s houses or we go to the most extravagant lengths to impress one another. There’s no in-between, it’s time used to try to impress one another. Everything is intimate; you wouldn’t be able to tell anyone is in a relationship unless they show some sort of public display of affection. We might go to a few places here and there together, and on a rare occasion we will go on a group date, but I’m certain what we would call a “date”, would not be a “date” to the older generation.
When our parents and grandparents were dating (or as most black people say “before you were eve thought of”), the ideas were endless as to what you can do on a date. The focus was more on spending time, getting to know each other, and enjoying one another’s company. Couples did everything: bowling, go to the movies, dancing, eating out…even if the restaurant wasn’t expensive. Couple back then valued the person more than the date itself. Hearing the conversations of my older relatives and some of their friends, one can conclude that men and women had a different mindset than what men and women have now about relationships and dating. Women back in the day went on dates with the mentality of “it’s the thought that counts” and men wanted not only the woman to feel comfortable around him, but also her family and friends.
There’s another aspect of dating and relationships that isn’t often talked about but differentiates dating back then to dating now. I’ve learned through conversations that both the present and past generations have two different reasons to date. The older generation dates for long-term relationships and potential marriage. What they were trying to find is someone with stability and morals. I’m not saying my generation doesn’t want stability or morals, but the millennials date to only keep company and keep appearances. We don’t take relationships and dating in a serious manner. We will date and all, but it rarely gets to a deeper level. If the relationship doesn’t work out, we won’t take it too hard. Most of the time, we will move on and act like the relationship never happened. I will also admit that millennials tend to get distracted and impressed easily. A person can be a little better and a little more established than the person we are with and we will gravitate towards the other person so quickly.
People in my age group appreciate love stories and value the lessons on marriage our elders gave us, but we don’t implement them into our own lives. I believe if we want a love life and marriage like our parents then we need to start taking what they say a bit more serious. We need to learn from them about loyal, appreciation, and honoring your partner, which I’ll admit I don’t see much of these days. If we continue on the path we’re on now, we’re are going to be an independent, heartless generation, but if we listen to those around us, there could be plenty of Huxtable families in the years to come. Let’s bridge that gap between hearing the love story and being the love story.