A journey into teen dating culture


She lays on the couch on her phone, surrounded by all her friends who are also on their phones because social interaction is a dying art, and a notification pops up. It’s an Instagram direct message from a boy who goes to her school who has never talked to her before in his life. He tries to make a move through “DM” because he only has confidence behind his phone screen. With the pressure of her friends around her she plays along and eventually gives up her Snapchat username.

After months and months of snapchatting the streak is thriving the snaps turn into texts and in the end, after falling in love with her online persona, he asks her to be his girlfriend. From here on they spend every waking second together texting, snapchatting and hanging out.

These are the basic guidelines of the modern day American love story. Men don’t need courage, relationships spend long periods in ambiguity and courtship is dead.

The first laughable quality of dating today is the “first move.” Nowadays, the average boy will “slide into the dms” to explore whether she has an interest in him, and if not then it’s a two-second rebound and he’s onto someone new. There’s no plan and no risk. In the olden days, in a world with no social media, men had to have a thing called courage. Channeling this now extinct characteristic, men would approach a woman, face-to-face (no this does not include Facetime), and ask her politely if she would like to go on a date.  

For those who are lost: a date, as described by dictionary.com, is, “a social appointment or engagement arranged beforehand with another person, especially when a romantic relationship exists or may develop.”

Dating is intended to be a way for people to get to know a person and explore interest. However, today this phase has been replaced with the social phenomenon of “we’re just talking.” Essentially, this is a part of the relationship where two people are altogether dating, but won’t “put a label” on what they are. What this phase lacks in commitment, it makes up for in its abundance of snap streaks and uncertainty.

For the few who make it past this never-ending talking phase, the title of girlfriend or boyfriend still doesn’t guarantee dates. Kids label their relationship as “dating,” but then how many dates do they go on? Maybe one a year… at most. Sure, they hang out at each others’ houses doing nothing, they spend time with each other as a part a group, but when it comes to planning fun activities one-on-one this generation draws a blank.

The big issue with this is there aren’t as many opportunities for their relationship to grow and deepen. If a couple only hangs out in groups then they miss out on the intimacy of talking one-on-one. If all a couple does is hang out at home then they miss out on adventures and creating memories with each other. This ultimately compiles into a shallow relationship, and isn’t the goal of dating to deepen a relationship?

Now quick uplifting recap: commitment takes ages, courtship is dead and relationships are shallow. Why, it’s practically a fairytale romance!

Nobody expects every relationship to be as glamorous as a Nicholas Sparks love story, but come on… this generation really needs to step up their game. It starts with the boys.

Boys— toughen up and ask the girl to her face if she’ll go on a real date.

Yes, it’s possible she will say no and it will hurt, but at least this option comes with the honor of asking her face-to-face where she knows she’s not talking with an online predator. In addition, this method could seriously improve the chances of success because what girl doesn’t love a brave man and old-school romance? Even if they don’t want to go on a date, when they look into your eyes, they may just say yes out of pity. A yes is a yes.

However, guys aren’t the only people who need to change. Today’s ladies need to raise their expectations. Accept nothing but the best. If he tries to ask for a date through Snapchat, say no. If he tries to order pizza in, leave. If a guy treats a girl like anything other than an absolute queen, that girl is not getting what she deserves.