Dating Etiquette — What Values Do We Want?

#Disclaimer I’m 43 and married so this comes from a place of historic dating & inquisitiveness around what is acceptable, or do we want to be acceptable in modern dating etiquette (behaviours or expectations)


#Disclaimer I’m 43 and married so this comes from a place of historic dating & inquisitiveness around what is acceptable, or do we want to be acceptable in modern dating etiquette (behaviours or expectations)

#Second disclaimer — this is based on the heterosexual dating phenomenon. Feel free to alternate “Man” with “The person asking the other out” or the “Askee” if you will, for alternatives, but I don’t want to speak on something I have no experience in! No offence intended! — I would love to know how it compares to gay and lesbian dating though, who have had a very different road to modern dating.

So I’m going to start by comparing 1950’s dating etiquette — to if I would expect the same behaviour now. I could delve further back in history, but I’m trying to look at it from pre and post “The Sexual Revolution”:

Making the first move:

Men were supposed to ask out girls — only “floosies” or “fast and loose women” would have deigned to ask a man out on a date first. Obviously there wasn’t any social media so the men had to use the telephone or ask the woman in person. This strikes me as a good social understanding of who would ask who out! Now admittedly this means all the pressure, anxiety and courage was required by men, and women merely needed to respond with a “Yes” of “No”. Nuance of human behaviour tells me that the confident guys probably did better! Also that some women may have accepted a date out of appreciation, over desire. This set rule, may have changed for younger generations, I expect the feelings have not! In the 1950’s, when a man asked a woman out, the woman knew exactly what to expect and the date was potentially a precursor, more often than not the beginning of a relationship. The parameters expected, for example, the woman knew that this was a romantic gesture, with intent to see if they wanted to go on further dates. It was not platonic, it was not about “friends with benefits” — it was due to an interest in her, to get to know her and spend time with her, in other words….romance.

Today, if a man and woman go out on a date, there is way too much confusion as to what it means, is it a friendly encounter, a hook-up, is it casual, or is it a formal date? Are they interested in you, or sex with you? Do you care about the answer? I would suggest that most people do, and would at least prefer an honest answer, to make an informed decision, about whether to accept the date. The intent needs to be honest and explicit, deception to acquire a date, only leads to distrust on future dates and problems forming relationships. So what is really key, is HONESTY!

I would also like to state at this point, I am in favour of the man asking approach. Call me old fashioned. I don’t mind. I just think it shows a little bit of commitment from a man, that women, despite what many say, do desire in a partner. Now in the 1950’s a man was expected to ask, no later than Wednesday, for a date on Friday. So, no Tinder “30 minute hook-ups”, or late night booty-calls! As a woman who needs time to prepare and organise my life, not a huge fan of surprises. I’m down with this arrangement too. Seems perfectly reasonable and timely. Now I am married, so thinking back to the “dating” game, I’m pretty sure notice of a date was also a thing, so we are a solid on the notice!

Thumbnail for video below: Dating Etiquette — What Values Do We Want? Part of a Article: 1-Making the first move

No excuses:

So it was considered the height of rudeness to break a date without providing a pretty valid reason. So if someone had changed their mind, or is not interested in meeting up with someone. They are going to have to come up with something better than needing to wash their hair. Even in today’s non-stop life. If you make a commitment to go on a date, there maybe occasion to rearrange, but ideally — try to respect the plans you have made and put the FOMO to one side! We all know how enticing it can be, seeing what else might pop up, however, often it’s not as exciting as promised, and you could ultimately have passed up on the opportunity for a much better time!

Always be on time for a date:

Before mobiles, messaging services and answering machines, it was required that both parties be on time for their date. A woman was supposed to be completely ready when the gentleman arrived — running around to apply makeup at the last minute was inconsiderate. On the other hand, the gentleman was required to leave plenty of time to navigate to his date’s home — getting lost was no excuse for being even a few minutes late. Now, as much as I agree with this theoretically. I would be a complete hypocrite if I said I was always ready on time for a date, or well any occasion really. It’s kind of a family tradition (on my dad’s side).

******Under construction — published unfinished will return — but the video is on YouTube and may confuse********


Making the first move — I agree and appreciate that men did and do this, no shade to women that want to ask. For me, it’s a “No thanks”. Sticking to your plans, sounds good. So no last minute cancellations. We know these only serve to damage future relationships.