How to Define a Date

Back in the old days, a “date” was part of “courtship,” in which a couple spent time together, usually in a planned activity such as dinner, dancing, or a movie, in order to get to know (and impress) each other. By mutual consent, it led to an deeper, sometimes permanent, relationship, or not. Things are quite a bit more complicated these days, for many reasons.

Young people tend to hang out in groups, which lowers stress and expectations, but also allows them to conveniently hide any romantic interest.

Meeting people from an online dating service often feels more like an audition than a date.

“Hooking up” is not what some people would call a date, but other people would.

Who pays for the meal used to be a clear indication that you are on a date. But many courting couples split the bill or do something together that doesn’t cost money, so the time may be misconstrued as friends hanging out …or may be misconstrued as a date.

An article at Vox details the many ways dating got so complicated that women are often not sure if they just went on a date or not. Things like this make me glad to be old, but also worried that I’m not much help to my daughters in navigating the brave new world of courtship, or whatever it is these days. -via Digg

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There's one way to simply all of this. Proper communication. No harm or shame in being honest. If confused bring it up. Yea, it can be embarrassing or scary to be rejected and you may feel like a fool but its better to get that out earlier than later.
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I was picking strawberries out in a field a few years ago. The other pickers in the field were people who worked there, all women, all attractive. One woman a few rows over said to the another, 'It's been so long, I can't remember the last time I got laid.' I looked over at her to see if she was serious, her tone suggested she was. I spent the next several hours filling flats and trying to wrap my mind around all that complaint implied.

I'm old and I've been married for 34 years.
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It seems to be impossible to find a good spouse nowadays. Hence the high divorce rates.

I long for the simpler times when you would just see a girl you like, bonk her on the head, and then drag her back to your cave and live happily ever after.
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I am so very, very glad that I am old enough to have dodged hookup culture. That is definitely not the lifestyle for me.

I've read that younger people have fallen away from dating in favor of more ambiguous courting encounters. That's a shame. It must be harder to find a good spouse as a consequence.
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