Shut up, everyone, about the end of courtship

What a splendidly hypocritical way for me to come back to the blogosphere. Scolding relationship/dating experts who are desperately seeking page views, shares and retweets. But this topic has been weighing on me for some time and I wanna talk about it, dammit.

I’m completely disheartened by all the hookup culture/end of courtship talk. I know I’ve been in a relationship for over a year so it may seem that all of this should matter little to me. Especially considering we didn’t have a real, take-me-out-to-dinner date until a few weeks into our romance. But it makes me sad to think that singles everywhere are being told to put aside any expectations they have about dating and put up with inconsiderate, non-committal behavior.

It seems to be a byproduct of the constant lectures about being too available to the people we’re attracted to combined with new technology, stunted maturity and media that portrays hookup-only dating as the norm. But I’m not sure it is the norm, just because Girls says it is.

Just as “we accept the love we think we deserve” the same goes for the initial stages of that love. And the dating life we deserve/want looks different from individual to individual so it’s really a matter of finding someone whose expectations align with your own. If you want to be wined, dined, pursued and made to feel special, that’s exactly what you should demand.

That doesn’t necessarily mean writing off someone the second they send you a text at 10 p.m. asking if you care to meet up with a group rather than the one-on-one date you’d prefer. It’s about communicating those preferences. It’s your job to make what you want clear to a prospective partner. It’s their job to step up and comply or step down and leave you open to find someone who can.

I know it’s never that simple. Lonely people make concessions they shouldn’t. Deviant people make promises they have no intention of ever keeping. But at least acknowledging that not everyone—male or female—desires to be a part of the hookup culture is a step in the right direction. There are no real norms in this world. Especially when it comes to dating. So it’s a mistake to think you have to accept something that makes you unhappy or uncomfortable just because it’s “the norm” according to some relationship trend piece in a publication that will denounce the trend a year from now in favor of more traditional dating norms. Because, you know, vintage!

The older I get (a year and a half from 30 so I’m basically as wise as I’ll ever be) the more I shake off the expectations and norms I’m supposed to embrace so I can focus on what’s going to make me happy, healthy and well adjusted. And buying into every shocking new fad that crosses my computer screen threatens that happiness more than anything.