Back in the mid 70’s, and then again, in the late 80’s, I found myself single, which no matter what decade it is, hasn’t changed over the centuries.
I wondered if romance and courting was gone for the millennial generation and I’m happy to say, it appears not to be.
In college, around 1972, it was the collegiate guys and jocks who dated. We hippies would ask girls if they wanted to hang out. Nothing formal. A concert, something to eat, play frisbee in the park, along with our dogs, which usually wore a bandana and had names like Dylan, or Commander Cody. No Spot or Rex but no pure breds either.
After college, entering the NY workforce, in 1976, my early 20’s, actual dating became the ritual. You could no longer hang out; you had to do things like make dinner reservations, maybe the theater and certainly a movie, with an after dinner drink or a stop at Peppermint Park on the Upper East Side.
In between, I got married and divorced and found myself single once again, in my mid 30’s and this time, the playing field had changed. It was the late 80’s, AIDS was prevalent and the workforce was comprised of male and female executives and we were bombarded by media and images. USA Today was the way we lived our lives, nicely colored boxes of rapid fire information and we watched tv, while listening to a Walkman and reading a book, all at the same time. And dating had changed. We were older, we were young Boomers and while we didn’t see our world closing in, we also knew we were no longer immortal.
Today’s millennials are not much different but the technology explosion has put a damper on romance a bit.
Like the 20 something that I was, it was structured then and while a little less today, it was still about communicating. And one way millennials are missing the romance boat is the way they are-or not-connecting. Or at least the way I thought it should be.
Recently, I started forgoing Facebook birthday wishes for many, choosing to pick up a phone and do something that has been lost, real human contact.
Today’s millennials relies on texts, not necessarily the written word. Even the Iphone is less used as a phone to confirm an appointment or a ‘date.’ It’s an emoji or an abbreviation. It’s a permanent time stamp and more time is spent being clever than real.
The hand held calculator made it easy to figure out numbers, instead of doing number on a sheet of paper. That’s just smart use of technology. The internet for information is easier than looking up things at a real library and why not, the library is at our fingertips.
But this very hip, old guy worries that a new generation has been marginalized in their quest for love. It doesn’t take the work it used to, it lacks much of the thought we had to exert and a heart-shaped symbol or a thumbs up in a tweet doesn’t speak from the soul the way it should be.
People often say Romance is dead. They also say video killed the radio star. I say it’s not too late. Instead of texting HDILYLMCTW, it takes little effort to say How do I Love Thee, let Me Count the Ways. Trust me. It works.