How to Date Today: A Guide for Every Generation

My mother is a baby boomer.  She’s from a different generation of ideas about love and dating- she was a virgin when she married my Dad, and in dating, she expects to be courted, with flowers and formal plans. Recently, she had a long-term boyfriend that my sisters and I talked her out of marrying, because although she didn’t really want to, that’s what she thought she was supposed to do.  

Mom: “But I’ve been seeing him for months, and everyone in town can see when his truck is parked outside my house!”

Sisters: “WHO CARES?  You don’t have to get married unless you really want to!”

Mom: “But I go to church!”

My middle sister and I are Gen-X.  We can remember dating in personal ads, when you would try to find someone with the same taste in movies and food and never see their face until the first date.  My sister was in an eight year relationship where she wore nothing but flannels and ironic baby tees.  We don’t have my mother’s reservations about living in sin- our generation has been known to live together for several presidential terms before considering marriage.

My baby sister is a Millennial.  Her generation has never dated without the internet.  All of their jobs involve social networking.  They do not seem to know how to have a relationship, even if they want one.  They only know how to hook up.  They don’t plan ahead for dates, when they have a free hour they see who’s around.  They say that they’ll fall in love with the perfect person, but they’re not sure who that is.  They are not allowed to have body hair.  And their dating style is ruining it for the rest of us. 

The single serving date phenomenon has become a big part of the dating experience, at least in big cities.  Once you’ve had one date, that person is suddenly in competition with everyone else in a twenty mile radius.  As it turns out, even LA is not as big as people think it is- every rock show I attend is full of one-date men I have to avoid eye contact with.   People are simply not being born or imported fast enough to be rejected by us!  The most popular breakup method is the “fade-away”, where after two or ten dates you slow, then eliminate contact.  It’s not just people in their twenties and thirties- I went on a couple dates with a fifty year old man whose longest relationship was shorter than his Audi lease, and he felt that this was extremely normal.

Young Couple Kissing In Restaurant

So far, I have had 50 first dates on OK Cupid and have had three relationships.  Some people were looking for relationships and some were not, and those aren’t terrible numbers, but now that my Mom is in the game, she calls me to crow about her account. 

“I have three dates this week, and your sisters don’t have any!”  I told her I was very proud that she was the hot piece of action in our family.

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How to Date Today: A Guide for Every Generation

About The Author
- Virginia Jones started doing comedy in Portland, OR, where she was working as a bike-riding vegan cliche. She runs a popular blog about comedy, feminism, art and music at Badinia.com. She is a regular contributor to Patioh, Patino, a podcast about dating and relationships. She likes tap dancing, singing, and telling jokes. She probably should have been in vaudeville but was born several years too late.