Traditional dating is best defined in contrast to modern forms of dating such as online dating and speed dating. The first meetings of traditional dating are face to face; only two people meet and the time frame is longer than in, for instance, speed dating.
Traditional dating once had clearly defined rules. For example, girls didn’t call boys, and the guy always paid. Today the rules of traditional dating are less clearly defined.
Dating Rules in the 1950s
The rules of traditional dating once seemed less complex. In the 1950s, the man did the asking, the calling, and the paying. A man would ask a woman out several days ahead for a specific date and time. If she accepted, he would arrange for a time to pick her up. He would then take her to a dinner and a movie. Though premarital sex sometimes happened, it wasn't expected.
Traditional Dating Today
Today the rules of traditional dating are less clear. A date may consist of a brief meeting at a café or a trip to the local art museum. Though it is more common for men to do the asking, it is not frowned on if the woman takes the initiative. Men often pay on the first date, but the woman may offer to go Dutch. Women sometimes call first after the first date, though many dating experts advice against it. Premarital sex is common after the first few dates.
Traditional Dating vs. Online Dating
In traditional dating the first meetings are face to face. In online dating first meetings are online.
Online dating has the advantage, compared with traditional dating, that you are forced to get to know people on a nonphysical level before getting physical.
Online dating furthermore provides a better opportunity to find a good match, because you have immediate access to a larger pool of individuals. In traditional dating people often meet by coincidence.
There are downsides to online dating. People may not be physically attracted to each other when they finally meet face to face; often people are not completely honest online; and online dating can be dangerous. According to InternetPredatorStatistics.com, internet predators commit more than 100 murders and thousands of rapes each year.
Traditional Dating vs. Speed Dating
Speed dating is a form of organised dating. A group of singles wearing name tags takes turns dating each other for about 10 minutes at a predetermined location (e.g., a cafe). They then rotate. After each date they note whether they would be interested in meeting again. If the interest is mutual, the organisers provide phone numbers.
Speed dating is similar to traditional dating in that the first meeting is face to face. Like internet dating, speed dating provides quick access to several potential relationship partners.
The downside is that, within the short time frame, it is often difficult to determine level of attraction, compatibility and relationship potential.
Traditional Dating Statistics
It is difficult to say precisely how many Americans and what age groups engage in traditional dating versus other forms of dating. According to Online Dating Statistics, in America there are around 110 million singles aged 20 to 60. 20 millions use internet dating services. Most are single, but some are married. In 2007 50 per cent of online daters were 18 to 34 years of age, 24 per cent were 35 to 44 years of age, 5.7 per cent were 45 to 54 years of age, and 11 per cent were older than 55. Of those who do not use internet dating services, some are not actively dating, and some use organised dating such as speed dating.
- “LoveToKnow”, Dating Rules; BethS; July 2007
- “Calling Men”; Mimi Tanner; 2006