Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dating Culture?

I like to spend some time on the Yahoo Answers. Mostly I answer questions in the humanities section, but every once in a while I move into the family and relationships section, just to see if there's anything interesting. It also lets me see what the future will be like, and let me tell you, it isn't pretty. For example, here are a couple of the questions posted this evening:
im dating a fifth grade boy is that ok? btw is it ok if i like another guy? i still love the guy im with but i like the other dude?is that ok?

The asker is a sixth grader. An eleven year old is dating a ten year old, and someone, somewhere, thinks this is acceptable or cute. Not only dating, but she wants to date someone else as well! The responders (so far) are about evenly divided between "you're too young to date/be in love" and "it's fine, you're in love". The "it's fine" crowd is what has me a tad bit worried. Says one responder,
She may not know what love is.
But she's old enough to be dating.
You guys need to stop saying "omg you're too young wait til you're 16!" and stuff like that.
Kids start dating from as young as 3rd and 4th grade now a days.
Get over it.
It's insane but it'll be okay...

Third and fourth grade? Please take yourself out of the gene pool. The rest look like other sixth graders who basically cheer her on, or tell her to find a guy her own age (because I guess that one year makes all the difference). [/sarcasm]
Another question I read:
Is it bad that a friend of mine can't get a girlfriend. He's 15,in 10th grade. He has never really kissed a girl. Do you think it's bad..? He's always at home and never really goes out with friends..

So, by fifteen (or roundabout highschool age) we're expected to have already started making out? I know I'm not the only person disturbed by this. What I don't understand is how parents let it get this way. Dating used to be not so different from courtship. Meaning, the point of dating was to find the person you would marry. Now it seems to be just another pointless, aimless activity. Well, unless you consider hooking-up or shacking-up to be worthy goals. In fact, if you were to say in mixed company, "I'm looking for a spouse" people would probably think you were a little off. If you take marriage out of the equation, what is the point of dating? Companionship? You can get that from your friends. That pretty much narrows it down to...physical pleasure. And I don't want to hear about how dating amongst such young kids couldn't lead to that, because we all know that's a lie.

We've gotten to a point where we no longer differentiate between adult and child activities*, and it's not doing anyone any good. Actually, it seems like there's almost been a total role reversal, where teenagers are expected to drink and be crazy, but when parents have so much as a glass of wine they're vilified for being irresponsible.

I know I'm hopelessly old fashioned, but is it too much to ask to let children be children? It's bad enough that the hook-up, don't-ever-let-yourself-be-unattached culture has infiltrated high schools, but we have to draw a line somewhere.

*I think the creation of 'teenagers' is partly to blame for this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm old fashioned too because I agree with all of that. In fact a friend of mine is looking for a boyfriend (she's in college, thank you very much), and I'll have to tell her to try that "I'm looking for a spouse" line on a guy. Should have some interesting results.