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Know Your Worth: A GGE Conversation on the Lost Art of Courting

Know Your Worth: A GGE Conversation on the Lost Art of Courting

This post originally appeared on Girl's Gotta Eat, Lauren's chronicle of her dating adventures. 

I don’t think I’m surprising anyone by officially announcing to the GGE universe…that I’m a feminist.

Shocker, I know. I’ll give you all a moment to collect yourselves.

I’ve been a feminist for as long as I’ve known what being a feminist means (believing in gender equality). But the older I get, the more it becomes a core component of who I am. It’s affected how I view the world. And in turn, how I view relationships. Any man who doesn’t describe himself as a feminist, I’m really not interested in dating.

Along with being a feminist, I’m incredibly-liberal minded. That being said …

Can’t a girl get courted anymore?

It’s a traditional term and a traditional ideal.

Definitively, courting means ‘having the intention of staying together’. Not only does that make it for those who aren’t afraid of commitment, but to me, it shows putting in effort. And boy oh boy, is that a lost tradition these days (can I get an AMEN?).

How many times has a dude you’ve yet to go on an actual date with asked you to “hang”? How many times has a guy texted you a mere hour before you’re supposed to go out to figure out when/where you’re meeting up? How many times has a new man asked you “I don’t know, where do you wanna go?”

All of this is so deeply unattractive to me. And I know I’m not alone. It doesn’t make you feel special! It makes you feel like you’re the last thing this brosef has thought about all day.

When did being courted become such a lost art? I would put MONEY on the idea that its demise was enabled by the invention…of dating apps.

Like never before, we have access to millions of potential partners at our FINGERTIPS. We’ve talked about this. It’s completely changed the game – and that’s not a bad thing.

What I struggle with however, is the strange new trend that comes with having access to so many options: the effort being put into dating has plummeted.

Why should it matter when the next choice is the swipe of a finger away?

I recently set up a girlfriend of mine with a mutual connection. They quickly hit it off, and began seeing each other several times a week. They liked each other – it was exciting! Matchmaker success (call me Patti Stanger)!

After a few weeks, my friend reached out to me to express how disappointed she was with the turn this budding relationship had quickly taken.

They never went out. He never planned ‘dates’. He never planned anything, really. Once, he had her over for dinner, and when she arrived, he had yet to start cooking. She waited for 4 hours for a crockpot meal to be completed, until finally expressing to him that she was starving and really couldn’t wait any longer to eat. So he walked around the corner to pick up Chick-fil-A.

Winner winner chicken dinner, indeed.

My friend expressed to him the next day that the evening had been a bit disappointing.

“I totally understand. How can I make it up to you?” he responded. Now this is promising.

“Tell him the truth!” I told her. “He is asking you a direct question – now’s your chance! Give him an honest answer!”

“A night out might be nice!” she responded.

A week later, he suggested taking her to Chinatown, to some random greasy hole-in-the-wall where they serve $8 meals on paper plates.

Here’s the thing – time and place, people. It’s not that it was a cheap restaurant. It’s not that it was a casual date.

It’s that the entire idea showed no time or effort on his behalf – nothing my friend had ever said to him might have suggested she’d be interested in going there for “a night out”.

Needless to say, they didn’t ever end up having that big “night out”.

Being courted doesn’t mean fancy restaurants. It doesn’t mean being showered with gifts or compliments or attention.

It means putting in the effort; being thoughtful. It takes time. Showing someone you care, and are interested in them – and in turn, listening to their wants, and needs, and interests.

And then doing something about it.

I need to add that as a feminist, I don’t find courting to be one-sided. Not in the least. I, as a woman, want to get to know the man I’m dating. If I’m interested in them, I want to put the time in! I want to listen to them: find out what they’re looking for, what makes them happy. Make that effort! Sometimes, I want to plan special things to do together. It’s not all up to the man – it’s a 2-way street.

‘Courting’ is a respectful and caring approach to deciding whether or not you may want to commit to a relationship together.

Being courted means showing kindness, by putting time and effort into showing someone you’re interested in them: we’re all far too busy to be spending our time with someone who isn’t.

Everybody likes to feel special.

Like I said – there’s a strange trend going on, with people putting less effort into dating because of the plethora of options at our literal fingertips. But just because someone you’re dating might move on to a person who expects less, in NO WAY means you need to lower your standards. It just means they aren’t the one for you.

I recently went out with someone who suggested we go to dinner at a restaurant I’d never heard of. When I told him this, he said, “Oh good! It sounds like you’ve been a lot of places, so I did some research on cool new spots that have just opened!”.


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