You’ve heard your parents talk about how they used to walk a mile in the snow (On dirt roads! With bandits!) to get to school.
Or how they would mow every yard on the block in 90-degree heat for a nickel.
Those were the “good ol’ days,” and for the most part, we don’t envy them. After all, we have the distinct advantage of knowing that cigarettes = bad. And how could we ever function without Google?
Still, Google and possibly the invention of long-lasting nail polish aside, there are some elements from the days of yore that it’s hard not to feel a ghostly sense of nostalgia for.
Romance, one might argue, is one such thing.
But seriously, at the risk of throwing myself under the bus here—think about it:
How excited are you when a guy you’re into unexpectedly texts?
How surprised/mildly freaked out are you when a guy you’re into unexpectedly calls?
I won’t lie…I’ve totally let a call roll through to voicemail on more than one occasion because I just. wasn’t. ready. to. speak.
Like, real words.
And THAT, my friends, is what I’m talking about when I refer to the lost art of old-school dating. You know—genuine, human interaction. Human voices. Imperfect conversation. Awkward silences.
It’s also the reason I’ve taken the time to compile a few must-dos (every once in a little while) for any young couple, or couple-to-be, to help keep traditional relationship values, as well as meaningful communication, alive and well.
Are you willing to give them a go?
1. Pick up the phone and dial.
Now, I can appreciate clever texts just as much as the next girl, but ladies—so much is lost in them. All it takes is one good joke falling positively flat or an argument stemming from the ever-ambiguous “k” to realize that.
No, you don’t have to fall asleep to the sound of one another’s breathing or anything, but do make an effort to enter into a conversation that actually requires your voice. We guarantee that whatever the other person is feeling in that moment, you’re more likely to sense and to share in it.
And hey—who knows? You may actually LOL for once.
2. Then, for as long as you can stand it—put the phone away.
You’ve all seen those couples having coffee or lunch together…he’s brooding over his fantasy football rating, she’s slowing transitioning from texts with her BFF to Etsy (cute sweater, though).
Watching them, you get the sense that they probably wouldn’t notice if other person was swapped out for a stranger of similar height and stature.
Dating is supposed to mean (and this is a very rough translation): “I choose to be around you a lot because I enjoy your company most of the time.”
So enjoy their company!
Save the world of fantasy football and Etsy for waiting rooms and airports.
3. Make plans (also known as “dates”).
There’s nothing wrong with spontaneity, but you really ought to be treated to a real-deal (not “Hey, wanna hang out right now?”) date every once and a while. Now, we aren’t implying that you need to be flown to Paris (although that would be ideal), but your date night should demonstrate some degree of time and consideration on his part. He is wooing you, after all.
Why? Because a date simply feels different and noteworthy. Because it’s something you can look forward to, grow nervous/excited about and try on 12 different outfits for:
And the best part of all? You might not know it, but he’s probably feeling just as giddy about it as you are.
4. Find activities you both enjoy.
As lovely as they might be, an endless string of elaborate dates would be exhausting…
Not to mention expensive for a fella.
Make even more of your time together meaningful by diving into new and old hobbies as a pair. Look for the pastimes that will help you learn more about one another, prompt teamwork and eliminate distraction.
Are you both looking for extra ways to give back? Fabulous—make a habit out of volunteering together at your church every Sunday afternoon. If you live to sweat, join a co-ed intramural team.
Cooking classes, hiking, music—the world really is your oyster! Then, come Saturday night, you can Netflix-binge like it’s your job.
5. Introduce him to your family.
The guy you’re interested in and/or dating should not be forever known by your parents as “Chris-what’s-his-name.”
Don’t just say that family and faith are #1—prove it. Bring “Chris-what’s-his-name” into your world—allow him to meet the people who have shaped you (and also happen to control your curfew).
Worst-case scenario, your dad, your uncle and your brother do this:
Best-case scenario? You may never be able to get rid of him:
Either way, this one really shouldn’t be too difficult, because he’s picking you up from and walking you to your front door each time you go out together…right?
Now, back to the point….
Times, they are a-changin’, but you don’t have to reserve all the “throwback” action for your Instagram posts. For once, just listen to your parents’ tales of “When I was young and had a crush on so-and-so…” (calm down—we didn’t say for a long time).
If you can get through enough of it without gagging, there may really be something there for us tech-age folk to learn a thing or two about.
Like how to enjoy our coffee dates with or without Wi-Fi, or express our feelings in the absence of a “send” button.