Dating is a form of courtship consisting of social activities done by two people with the aim of each assessing the other's suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or as a spouse. The term “dating” usually refers to the act of meeting and engaging in some mutually agreed upon social activity in public, together, as a couple.
The most common idea of “dating” is two people trying out a relationship and exploring whether they're compatible by going out together in public as a couple, who may or may not yet be having sexual relations. This period of courtship is seen as a precursor to engagement or marriage.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, how does this “dating” start? As I remember it was in the early teen years. Boys and girls had been kept apart except in organized and sponsored activities like school or church. No one of the authority figures including teachers, preachers, and parents ever talked about the attraction between the genders.
There are lots of forms of dating. Blind Dating always seemed my favorite. This is true adventure when you have no idea who the other person is. To meet a stranger from a tweet or an email or a phone call and agree to find out more is most courageous. A chance to make a new friend or a mere passing acquaintance takes some guts. Yet the possibility to find romance or even the perfect one is worth it.
Double Dating can take some of the fear out of blind dating. The buddy system helps the conversation and leaves an escape if things go bad. Then again double dating can be dangerous if the “double” gets interested in “your” date and becomes trouble.
For years the proper process for dating was the male participant requested the female to spend time with each other. There were phone calls, flowers, showers, and fancy dress to impress each other. For the wallflowers someone invented the Sadie Hawkins’ dance where the female could invite the male. This gave a twist to the natural order of things until the women’s revolution of the 70’s and now is just an acceptable notion.
When dating starts getting serious the couple declares to the world they are Going Steady. This change is status isn’t engagement but will require the exchange of rings and jackets and always be seen wrapped around each other. By going steady you have told the world there is no one else in the entire planet that will be as attractive as our partner. It may even lead to physical intensity.
Now dating means to be seen by your friends or schoolmates or office associates to impress them your emotional connection. A social acceptable activity for such a display is dancing. Dancing is usually a group activity where everyone can jump up and down and laugh and sway to the music and perhaps have an adult beverage or two. Dancing doesn’t take a lot of skill but like sports, works up the blood pressure and heart rate. Of course toward the end of the evening there is the slow dance.
The “L” word starts popping around and the next thing you know she is looking at flowers and cakes and dresses and you are thinking, “What just happened?” It doesn’t always happen that way but the “L” word takes it to another level.
Breaking up? Dating doesn’t always work out. When one of the couple or maybe both realizes that being together isn’t the best of all worlds or perhaps there is a new attraction from afar, they break up. They don’t actually break but the partnership splits so they can go and find new possibilities.
In the early teen years when this “dating game” happens there is excitement, passion, mood swings including depression and sometimes verification. It is a rite of passage timidly looked forward to and once involved like a whirlwind unaware of the outcome.
The “dating game” is fun to play, at any age, and sometimes there are no winners.