I was listening to a podcast this morning all about the history of dating in British culture from the late 1600s. I'm a history nerd, so these kind of details and such are my freaking bread and butter - but I'll spare that. Also I'm saving it for my book...so...here's the general premise:
Dating used to be super, duper hard.
First of all, single people often weren't allowed to talk to other single people without the consent of their family. I also think there was some sort of trading/dowry (read: farm animals) involved as well. So there is that. Also, you kind of were just limited to people in your village or town or wherever you lived. Meaning, there were very few options. Also, socio-economic status played a huge part. Rich people couldn't marry poor people, and vice versa. Also (last one I promise), women weren't really allowed to pursue men. So if a woman fancied a man, she literally could do nothing about it (without being labeled a floozy, which would make her undesirable on a completely different level).
The main point of the podcast is to highlight the fact that there were these things called Lonely Hearts ads that people would take out in the local paper to try and gain the attention of a potential suitor. So people would have to word craft something about themselves that would catch the eye of someone without any other pieces of information. No picture, etc.
Of course I'm missing a bunch of stuff, which is ok, because I'll do a better job researching it for my book, but I just wanted to paint the general picture of how it was to date in this time period.
It was hard.
Every single conversation I have with a fellow single lady (particularly those of us who are in our late twenties - early thirties) we end up talking about how hopeless it feels to try and find someone to date. Most of us are over the online method, because we've gone on lots of dud dates with dud mates and it's exhausting. Most of us are also jaded about meeting people in real life because we've lived this long without being set-up by a friend or meeting someone at the places we've frequented for a long time (church, work, the same grocery stores, coffee shops etc.). I suppose some of my friends are more romantic than I, so maybe they believe a "meet-cute" could happen in their lives...but the likelihood that I will meet someone by clumsily bumping into them at the grocery store and then being so adorable and interesting that they just have to ask me on a date and fall in love with me seems very (VERY) far fetched.
Side-note: I want to make an excel spreadsheet of all the "meet-cutes" from popular movies to show you how unrealistic they truly are. Even the ones I am thinking of off the top of my head are eye-roll worthy. I'll get right on that.
ANYWAY. My point is that I find myself complaining about how hard it is to find a date in this day and age. But am I freaking kidding? Regardless of if it is exhausting or disappointing - online dating is still an option for me. I have an endless (or, seemingly endless) bounty of eligible men to sift through. I think, at some point, one of them would have to work. And if not online, the amount of people I interact with on a daily basis just by living life has got to be quadruple the amount of people that British singles who lived in the 1700s. So I can complain all I want, but the truth is, I've got it a billion times better than most single ladies who came before me.
Another sidenote: there is actual statistical evidence proving that educated, black women are the least likely people to get married. So, technically I could argue that I don't have it easier...but I digress...
I'm in this phase of life where I am trying to see the positive in situations. Trying to hold onto the things I can control rather than focus on the negative or things I cannot control.
This podcast shifted my perspective. Hey, at least I don't have to take out a mysterious ad in a newspaper and hope that someone will read it and understand it and then correspond back to me. Or is that what online dating is now? Just with pictures? Oh gosh...am I proving my whole point wrong within my own line of thinking...
I'll stop. At least there is no freaking livestock involved in my pursuit of a date. My dad doesn't have to trade goats or sheep to secure me a man (although dad, if you're reading this and someone has asked for my hand in marriage in exchange for some amount of livestock - I would very much like to talk this through with you because I will take that into consideration at this point.)