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Define “Dating”

Sydney Cummings, Writer

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In this day and age, for teenagers, the term “dating” has a completely different meaning than it did years ago. In the past, dating meant meeting a guy, seeing a movie, going to dinner, waiting three days for him to call, and then going out again. The traditional dating scene meant going out with different people because, by definition, dating is “to go out with (someone in whom one is romantically or sexually interested).” Years ago, someone could date multiple people until a couple decided to “go steady.” Today, one can make an argument that this form of dating doesn’t even exist. For teens, dating is when a couple has established a monogamous relationship in which they are boyfriend and girlfriend. Prior to the label, people are “talking” and have “a thing.”

“Talking” is a term used to describe a relationship when two people are getting to know each other. However, in the old days, a couple would go on multiple dates to get to know each other to decide if they have things in common, but that step has been diminished to “talking” today. Talking can consist of texting, snapchatting, and actually not talking in person. When asked to explain the term, 18-year-old senior Ashlyn Cooper stated, “Talking is like an awkward stage that teenagers use to decide if they’re going to date or not. Sometimes people ‘talk’ and don’t even end up dating. It’s just something kids do now because we don’t actually go through the motion of dates.” While “talking,” it becomes known that those two people have a “thing.” In the past, two people would date, get engaged, and eventually get married. Today, kids use “talking” and being labeled “a thing” as the step before dating.

The stage of “talking” is a very unromantic notion. Cooper noted, “The two people aren’t really dating, but they can’t talk to anyone else because it would be the same as cheating. It’s a very confusing stage that is honestly pointless.” Even though Cooper is one of many who think of the stage as awkward and useless, there are people who believe “talking” is useful. Paige McCloskey, also a senior, vouched for the stage and said, “Talking is used for people to get to know each other. Why waste the effort of going out on dates without knowing if you can hold a conversation with the person? I don’t think talking should be used as a ‘cop out’ to not go out and do stuff, but it’s a good stage to get to know someone.”

So naturally, after “talking”—which can last for weeks or months—a couple would begin dating. But Cooper contradicts the process. “People get stuck in the talking stage when they should actually just be dating. They go through the motions of dating—like meeting each other’s parents, buying each other gifts, and being monogamous—but don’t put a label on it. They might as well just put the label on it because they are dating.”

Then the question still remains: is dating a thing of the past, or has the definition just changed?

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Saint John Vianney High School's News Site
Define “Dating”