For as long as there has been dating, there has been someone complaining about how much it sucks. Although the age of digital dating does have its drawbacks, there are plenty of awkward historical dating practices that will make you eternally grateful to be swiping-right today. Most folks over 50 probably remember all the weird ways people used to search for potential partners. Granted, some things haven't changed — plenty of singles meet while they're randomly out and about or get introduced through friends — but when was the last time you made a love (or lust) connection through your local newspaper or military dance? Yeah, I thought so.
No matter how much technology improves, the bottom line is that there will never be a shortcut to meeting someone you like, but there are ways it can be streamlined and made significantly less painful. Some researchers even suggest that our culture of online dating has created a climate where there are so many options that people aren't even putting effort into matches they do make. How about that for a buyer's market? Sure, the "success rates" may vary, but looking for someone to hook up with, go steady with, or live happily-ever-after with has never been easier. Here are six old-school dating practices that make OKCupid seem like a dream.
1. Meeting Someone At A USO Dance
During wartime, it was frequently considered your "patriotic duty" to attend a USO Dance to volunteer to canoodle with soldiers before they left town. My grandmother told me that while she was in high school in Boston, a local dance took place down the street, and her mother made her go. That was just how you met men back then, by pity-dancing with them until you found one that you actually liked.
2. Meeting Someone Through A Personals Ad In The Paper
If you've seen Single White Female, you know that you can meet all kinds of awesome creeps through the back page of the newspaper. Just string together a bunch of acronyms and abbreviations that describe you and the kind of person you're looking for, leave your home phone number (yikes!), and hope for the best.
3. Meeting Someone Through A Video Dating Service
As a recent article in the Washington Post details, video dating services in the 90's were oh-so-cutting-edge. You'd pay a small fee to come in, shoot a video about who you are and what you want in a partner, and then you'd get to peruse all the other tapes in the vault. It's kinda like the worst getting-to-know-you snapchat that lasts forever and that dozens of people can watch over, and over, and over...
4. Meeting Someone At A "Singles Bar"
According to my mom, certain bars back in the day were known as "singles bars," which is the modern equivalent of today's hookup bars — although it seems like every place is a potential pickup joint at this point. According to my dear mother, a coupled person could never be seen entering a singles bar or it would be completely scandalous. There doesn't seem to be such a rigid delineation today, but with enough Yelp reviews, I guess you figure out which establishments are generally for meeting people. Still, it's not so extreme that everyone knows what you're after as soon as you walk in the room. Talk about awkward.
5. Meeting Someone Your Dad Sets You Up With
If arranged marriages are your cultural tradition, that's a different story, but most American women probably aren't too hot on the idea of their dad conspiring with another dad to get their kids knocking boots. Still think OKCupid and Tinder are the worst thing to happen to dating? Just be glad your DAD isn't the one doing the swiping.
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