Tag Archives: dating

Cell Phones, Texts and Lovers

This, folks, is an example of why David Brooks is one of the best and most insightful writers out there today.

Once upon a time — in what we might think of as the “Happy Days” era — courtship was governed by a set of guardrails. Potential partners generally met within the context of larger social institutions: neighborhoods, schools, workplaces and families. There were certain accepted social scripts. The purpose of these scripts — dating, going steady, delaying sex — was to guide young people on the path from short-term desire to long-term commitment.

David Brooks

Over the past few decades, these social scripts became obsolete. They didn’t fit the post-feminist era. So the search was on for more enlightened courtship rules. You would expect a dynamic society to come up with appropriate scripts. But technology has made this extremely difficult. Etiquette is all about obstacles and restraint. But technology, especially cellphone and texting technology, dissolves obstacles. Suitors now contact each other in an instantaneous, frictionless sphere separated from larger social institutions and commitments…

This does not mean that young people today are worse or shallower than young people in the past. It does mean they get less help. People once lived within a pattern of being, which educated the emotions, guided the temporary toward the permanent and linked everyday urges to higher things. The accumulated wisdom of the community steered couples as they tried to earn each other’s commitment.

Today there are fewer norms that guide in that way. Today’s technology seems to threaten the sort of recurring and stable reciprocity that is the building block of trust.

Take my advice and read the full article. It is well worth your time. Get it here.

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The divorce of sex and love at Yale

This from a Yale senior

When asked to investigate issues of sexual culture at Yale, discussion members consistently agreed on one particular problem of campus life: Yalies don’t know how to date. We don’t know how to ask someone out during the day, while sober. We don’t know how to treat someone after a sexual encounter. We don’t know how to balance a hyperactive work life with a serious relationship and friends. Judging from some stories, a substantial portion of the population may not even know enough about basic anatomy to give any kind of pleasure that isn’t pure luck. We’re sure there are some dating-savvy kids out there, we just haven’t met you yet.

No wonder some people get so desperate. Hook-up culture assumes that sloppy, drunken sex every other Saturday night should satiate collegiate hormones for four years.

I wonder how the relational habits students are forming today – in a culture dominated by random hook-ups – will affect their ability to maintain healthy relationships later in life. The divorce of sex and love, not to mention sex and marriage, means that most sexuality is experienced through a haze of inebriation and isolation. It’s directed toward self. The writer hints at this problem, but only in physiological terms. The problem isn’t a lack of education, as she supposes. It’s the lack of love.

Years from now, when these students are married, will they know how to make love to – you know – someone they actually love? Or will their sexuality still be directed toward self, seeking fulfillment through one extra-marital hook-up after another? That’s what I fear will be the case for far too many.