by Vanessa Salas
Call me old fashioned or a prude, but today's courting rituals make no sense to me at all. In between the mixed signals and indecipherable details that make us read too much into otherwise mundane situations, I'm completely lost.
Throw in the internet for good measure, and the already blurry lines of dating and romance have only managed to become that much blurrier.
My own (somewhat limited) forays into dating was straightforward. I never had to navigate the intricacies of modern romance, where how something is said, and which social media platform was used to say those things, is just as important as what is actually said.
Here's an armchair opinion and completely anecdotal view of how courtship rituals have changed since the early 2000's.
1. There's no such thing as a blind date anymore.
Today, when someone tries to fix you on a blind date, the knee jerk reaction is to look up that person's social media profile and find out everything you can about him or her online. We peruse their pictures, check out where they hang out, what they do, what school they attended, etc., etc.
We form an image in our heads based on what they've shared, whether by design or inadvertently, on their online accounts. Blogs will give you even more insight into the inner workings of their minds.
2. Online dating sites have gone mainstream.
I was never against online dating sites, but I didn't take it seriously, either, until one of my high school friends tried it and ended up getting engaged. That made me reconsider the notion completely. The internet is now such an integral part of life that it's impossible to discount it altogether. However, just like most anything else involving the internet, it should serve to complement your real life dating world, not replace it.
3. Expansion of the dating pool.
This is self explanatory, right? But just think about how empowering this is. Back then we only had our own social circles from which to potentially find future partners. Today it's possible to meet someone halfway around the world and lead your own happily ever after fantasies. A "Before Sunrise" scenario of never bumping into your one true love ever again seems highly unlikely, maybe even slightly ludicrous.
4. A less defined relationship status
There's a reason the "it's complicated" Facebook status is so popular, and why there's such as thing as the Totem of Chat, a term coined by Lena Dunham in that HBO show Girls. All those various ways of communicating with potential girlfriends of boyfriends - from Facebook chat all the way to face to face dating - carry various weights of importance. Whether a guy chooses to send an SMS or deliver the message through a phone call up to the time of day a text message was sent all have a corresponding meaning.
5. Your ex's never really disappear.
If you're the one broken up with, you're probably still a bit hung up with that special someone you briefly dated or became involved with, which increases the chances of you indulging in slightly stalker-ish behavior on social media. Unless you unfriend them, they'll always be in your life, and every time you see their status update, there's bound to be some twinge of nostalgia that'll awaken those unresolved issues with the one that got away.
Do you have anything else to add to this list? Share them in the comments section below.