Dinner Over Drinks: Why I Still Believe In The Lost Art Of Dating

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There's so much talk today about the death of "real dates." You know, old-fashioned dates, ones that typically consist of a dinner out and maybe a movie or something.

And while I'm not sold that "real dates" must require the clichéd dinner-and-a-movie approach -- I can't deny the fact that our generation hasn't pumped the brakes on well-thought-out dates, with a clear conscience.

Phones sort of eliminated the whole "meeting someone" process when the app store started overflowing with various dating apps.

Social media sites make it infinitely easier to create an illusion of intimacy by enabling us to share personal aspects of our life through entire social networks with a tap of a touch screen.

In short, the types of things we'd only be able to know about someone by getting close to him or her -- in a physical sense -- are now made public at all times of the day.

I, personally, don't think this needs to be the Armageddon of "real dates"; I just think we have to put forth extra effort to seek them out. Real dates are important.

Not just for the pleasure of the one you may be courting, but also for you, yourself.

Whether you realize it or not, dates present the most efficient means of determining whether or not you're with the right person or not.

By trying to take shortcuts around the dating process, you'll only find yourself further down the wrong path -- in some type of illusory "relationship" with someone you actually can't stand to be around.

If that's what you're looking for -- and what you're content with -- so be it.

If you're looking for something more significant, however, it's important to put in the time and work required by "real dates."

Here's why.

Dates create an opportunity for you to stand out.

Everyone appears the same on the screen of his or her iPhone.

Every guy a girl speaks to will pop up in a white “chat bubble,” and every time he thinks “liking” one of her Instagram photos will show his admiration -- well, he should think again.

If you truly want to stand out among the rest of the guys or girls who might also be in pursuit, you should be proactive about making that impression.

The best way to do this is with real-life, face-to-face interaction -- even if only over a cup of coffee.

Dates require real-life effort.

Real dates require effort. They require you to make a dinner reservation, put together a decent outfit to wear and even make a good impression on the girl or guy you’re trying to court.

I’ve always felt you take out what you put into things in life, and relationships are no different.

If you want a relationship to have any real-life substance, you’re going to have to put real-life effort in.

It will be obvious if you’re only calling on her when it’s convenient for you -- and, at the same time -- it will be equally as obvious that your intentions are genuine if you put forth the effort required by real, old fashioned dates.

Dates demonstrate an ability to plan.

Dates create the perfect window for you to prove to a woman you’re not only aware of her interests -- but you’re mindful enough to incorporate them into your time together.

Let’s say he or she drops, in passing conversation, that he or she is into art -- or live music.

Take your time. Do your due diligence -- look for an art exhibit in the area or a concert you can take him or her to.

This will prove you’re capable of listening to this person’s passions, and you’re competent enough to put two and two together.

Dates can help you get to know someone on a more intimate level.

There’s only so much you can learn about someone over text.

If you spend the majority of your time interacting through SMS -- with sex as the only physical contact accompanying these interactions -- expect your relationship to only be skin deep.

Dates encourage conversation and require you to spend time just existing with one another -- outside of the bedroom.

Unless you’re planning on doing the Lennon-Ono type of thing -- where you don’t really leave bed ever -- it would certainly serve in your best interests to get to know your significant other on a more intimate level.

Even if that intimacy translates to simply going for a walk and talking about your day.

Dates create the best memories.

If you have any hopes of the dating process becoming anything worthwhile, you should value each step you take along the way.

It’s a good feeling to be with somebody you actually care about and have vivid memories of your time together with.

Dates create memories, and these memories are what add meaning to your relationship.

You can remember specific nights forever, solely off the strength of the connection you felt for another person while together with him or her.

Even if it’s just a dinner out on the town, the chemistry you felt can have the tendency to carry over into the future.

Dates provide a public setting to test your intimacy.

It’s important to have a one-on-one connection with the person you’re dating, but at the same time, it’s also important to maintain an active lifestyle -- outside of Netflix and nights in.

Dating is all about testing your relationship outside of your comfort zones.

You might think you know someone, within the privacy of your own bed, only to find out he or she acts completely different when out in public.

Keep in mind that dating is a process -- it’s important for yourself to remain constantly aware on dates and make sure you’re not just wasting your time with someone you have no future with.