Dating as an institution is a relatively recent phenomenon which has mainly emerged in the last few centuries.
From the standpoint of anthropology and sociology, dating is linked with other institutions such as marriage and the family which have also been changing rapidly and which have been subject to many forces, including advances in technology and medicine.
When I’d ask what he was going to do about that, he’d say “I don’t know,” and I’d get worried, so eventually he dropped it. But in his mind, a seed had been planted that was growing larger each day.
One afternoon I got a call from Ryan while I was at the gym. Thinking this was one of his romantic surprises, I rushed off the elliptical, back to my dorm and into his arms.
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On our first OKCupid-initiated date, Ryan* and I timidly gazed at each other across a cafe table, punctuating the silence with sips of lattes.
But by the time the discussion escalated to our common childhood spiritual obsessions, it was as if we had known each other forever.“The Hinduism phase was the best one.”“It really was.”As we got to know each other more over the next few weeks—our Scrabble strategies, our opinions on Lady Gaga’s merit as an LGBT icon and even the darkest revenge fantasies we’d ever had—the awkward silences evaporated.
This period of courtship is sometimes seen as a precursor to engagement or marriage.We spent our dates laughing through inconsequential debates like “What does it mean to have your cake and eat it, too?” (He somehow got through 19 years thinking it meant “to serve dual purposes, the way cake is both food and decoration.”) During one of our outings, a homeless man asked Ryan for a sandwich and he bought him two.Less than a month passed before we said “I love you,” and the ensuing spring was a whirlwind of covert hand-holding at parties, waking up to roses on my windowsill, five-minute breakups followed by poetic apology notes, and everything else involved with being 20 years old and in love for the first time.But one aspect of our relationship was not typical—and was not something I thought I’d signed up for.