R-E-S-P-E-C-T: What This Generation Can Learn From Old-Fashioned Dating

by Emily Hussey
New Line Cinema

Millennials are constantly bombarded with the same hackneyed critique: “Your generation doesn’t know how to date anymore.”

This message is repetitively conveyed through various outlets, and older people scoff at how we text, tweet and double-tap to express affection. These forms of communication did not exist when our parents or grandparents were trying to navigate the dating world, so they're completely foreign to them.

However, just because it's foreign, it doesn't mean it's wrong.

Traditionally, the date would go something like this cliché: The boy would drive to the girl’s house, walk to her door and ring the doorbell. He would be greeted by a stern father and a beaming mother, and then, he would be told his curfew.

After that, the boy would walk the girl to his car and open up the door for her. The date would probably consist of dinner and a movie, both of which the boy would pay for. After the movie, the boy would walk the girl to her door and — if things went well on the date — kiss her goodnight.

Then, the girl would anxiously wait for the boy to call her again for a second date.

In today’s society, this scenario rarely happens. Because of that fact, there are many enraged proclamations, like “Chivalry is dead!”

But these generalizations are completely short-sighted.

For example, some women want to pay for their half of the date (or at least offer to). Some even want to pay for the entire date.

While this seems preposterous to those not a part of Generation-Y, it doesn't have to be as big of a deal as people make it out to be. This isn’t the 1950s.

Women now have high-powered careers. It is no longer taboo for a man to be a stay-at-home father and a mother to be the primary breadwinner.

Women are equally capable of paying for the date, so this is really a non-issue.

Going back to the example I gave above, in the traditional first date, the boy displays respect for the girl. He meets the girl's parents, takes her out and kisses her goodnight. The end.

Regardless of traditional gender roles or outdated procedures, there is a distinct mutual respect there. Both parties most likely had a good time and, if they didn’t, there was no harm done.

In that situation, the boy had to call the girl on the phone, or ask her on the date in person because cell phones didn’t exist. Today, it's normal for the boy to text message the girl, “Wanna chill?”

There is no effort in this. There is no anxiety about her saying no, there are no specific terms about what the encounter entails, and she will probably agree. Women have grown accustomed to this sort of treatment, and like anyone else, they crave affection and attention.

Modern day translation? Chill equals hook up.

So, if a woman agrees to “chill” with a guy, he will be getting exactly what he wants without any effort. It’s his ultimate fantasy.

When the woman eventually wants a relationship with this guy after several “chill” sessions, she will inevitably lose him. A relationship means work. He didn’t put any work into being with her, and he certainly will not now.

A relationship also means commitment. Who is to say he has been committed to her the entire time they have been “chilling”? There are no strings or expectations in this toxic and all-too-familiar situation.

“Chilling” is not dating.

In this scenario, the woman will feel crazy for wanting more. She will think she should be happy with what she has, and her self-destructive “situation-ship” will eventually come to a crashing halt.

She will be devastated, and he will just find someone else to chill with.

Women can do whatever they want, but this is not an example of female sexual liberation. This is a common scenario that is perpetually unsatisfying.

There is no mutual respect here, and that is the problem with modern dating. It’s not the minuscule details of being picked up in a car or walked to the door. It’s the principle of someone respecting another enough to at least offer to do so.

So, how do we change the system?

First, I encourage all women in toxic situations to end them immediately. It is the first step to recognizing one’s own worth.

And let’s stop the “chilling” cycle. If a guy wants to be with a woman, they can go on a date. It doesn’t have to be fancy. They can split the bill 50-50, or she can pay. They can meet there.

To women everywhere: Even if you don’t go on dates, at least demand respect. You are so much more than just people to “chill” with.