When you think of the Millennial generation, the first word that comes to mind probably isn't “traditional.”
While we might enjoy stealing some styles from past decades, we’re not ones to look back on older generations and think, “Damn, I wish I had their lives.”
Most of us feel quite comfortable here in the 21st century.
But when it comes to dating, sometimes I wonder if there are things we could learn from our grandparents’ (and great-grandparents’) generation.
We may not want to resuscitate their social injustices, their gender inequalities or their communication technologies, but maybe they were getting a few things right in the dating department.
Let’s look at six super old-fashioned ideas about love and dating that may be worth revisiting.
1. Don't be too available
In the 90s, a little book called "The Rules" turned being unavailable into an art form.
Always hang up the phone first.
Don’t accept a date for Saturday if he asks after Wednesday.
Women ate the rules up, and a few years later, they puked them out.
While there’s no doubt “the rules” of unavailability are antiquated, in our world of constant connectivity, is it possible we really are too available?
Is having no rules (“Hey, want to go on a date in five minutes?”) really the right way to do things either?
Could our budding relationships benefit from a little unresponsiveness?
2. Take offense to things that are offensive.
A few decades ago, standing someone up for a date would be a 100 percent deal breaker.
Now, we're more forgiving of bad behavior.
If we really like someone, we’ll tolerate getting stood up. We’ll tolerate getting iced out for periods of time.
We might even overlook flat-out deceptions.
But is it really good for us to be so forgiving?
It seems like our grandparents knew there were consequences to treating people rudely, even at the very early stages of a relationship.
Could we benefit from being a little more offended by things that are truly offensive?
3. Respect the opinion of the community.
For centuries, romantic matches were made using the wisdom of the whole community.
Families got together to discuss compatibility, and the actual couple often wasn't involved until a later stage of evaluation.
While this makes our modern minds bristle, there is some sense to it.
Your close family and friends know you in ways a guy you’ve been on a few dates with doesn’t.
Maybe it would behoove us to check some independence at the door, and take our friends' and family's opinions of our significant other seriously.
4. Consider the family of origin.
While I’m not suggesting requesting a genealogy tree on a first date, I think it’s possible we’re evaluating potential partners too independently of the family they came from.
In the past, a potential partner’s family was a huge factor.
Today, we might take our possible future in-laws into consideration if we’re getting married.
After all, these are people you will likely have to see at every holiday and family gathering for the rest of your life. You might as well try to find some people you'll enjoy hanging out with.
5. Factor in the practical bits.
While a "marriage of convenience" is a goal for basically no one, are we right to reject the idea of relationships having any practical component at all?
Today, we believe that relationships are purely emotional and feelings-driven, and even suggesting you’re with someone for practical reasons sounds dirty.
But let’s say you’re crazy in love — you’ve got the feeling part down — but being with this person means you’ll have to move every six months for the rest of your life?
Or maybe your partner will never have enough money to help you pay off your student loan debts.
Aren’t these practical bits worth taking into account?
6. Do nice things for each other.
Unfortunately, doing nice things for each other got a bad rep a few decades ago because much of the advice around “doing nice things” was highly gendered.
Women were told it was nice of them to cook a man dinner.
Men were told it was nice of them to pull out a woman’s chair.
In some ways, when we threw out the gender roles, we threw out the kindness as well.
But kindness isn't a gender issue; he can cook her dinner, and she can pull out his chair.
The point is, maybe we should start doing some old-fashioned, nice things for each other again.
If I were single, I’d be down to bring a guy flowers on a first date.
When it comes to all things old-fashioned, Grandma can keep her glass ceiling and her hat collection.
But I’d consider taking some of her dating advice.
Actually, I’d take her hat collection too.