15 Old Fashioned Dating Rituals We Should Consider Bringing Back
There was something so sweet about past generations and their old school dating rituals (you know, aside from the occasional blatant sexism). Think back to any rom-com circa the 1950s, and you'll see exactly what I mean. Couples got super gussied up, they hit the town in a whirlwind of flowers and candlelit restaurants, and then followed it all up with a love note. It was ro-mantic, and I kinda think we should bring it back.
Of course, I'm not saying young couples of today don't do sweet things. Our generation is pretty darn good at dating, and we have our fair share of amazing dating rituals. (I'm also not saying our dates have to involve flowers or notes — if that's not your thing.) But I do think there's something fun about trying a few cute date ideas from years gone by.
These rituals might even make the whole dating process a helluva lot more successful, if that's what you're aiming for. As dating expert and NYC Wingwoman Cher Gopman says, "I firmly believe that those 'vintage' ways are what connects and grounds couples in long-lasting relationships."
If you'd like some examples, read on. Whether you've been with your SO for forever, or simply want to bring some old-fashioned fun to your Tinder game, I promise it'll be fun to give a few of 'em a try.
1. Getting All Dressed Up
Back in the day, couples got all sorts of dressed up to go out. Skirts, heels, ties, jewels — the works. And while some of us still go this route, I'd say casual dates are a bit more popular. While that's perfectly OK (and so comfy), there are some benefits to gettin' fancy. As dating coach Lori Salkin tells me, it shows you're both excited to hit the town, and can even make things feel extra special. Definitely worth it, if you ask me.
2. Calling To Ask Them Out
When was the last time you made an actual phone call? If it's been a while, then you might have a mini heart attack at the thought. But go ahead and give your crush a ring anyway. As dating expert Whitney Linscott tells me, it's the most polite — and adorably old school — thing to do.
3. Offering To Pick Them Up
If you know your date or feel comfortable doing so, go ahead and let them pick you up. (Or vice versa.) As relationship columnist and rom-com screenwriter Jen Finelli tells me, it often feels more "date-like" than just meeting up in public.
4. Actually Walking Up To The Door
If you want to take date night a step further, be classy AF and ring their doorbell. As dating expert Treva Brandon Scharf tells me, going up to their door (instead of honking from the road or texting for them to come out) is just about as romantic as it gets.
5. Showing Up With A Small Gift
If you can swing it, go ahead and show up with a gift. "Always bringing flowers to the door is another one no one does anymore, but it's such a sweet gesture," Finelli says. "To mix it up in the modern way, [you could] bring a mixtape ... or a novel by [their] favorite author." So cute.
6. Going Out With A Plan
Sure, spontaneous dates can be super fun. But there's something incredibly classic about making reservations and heading on out with a plan. As Scharf says, "Be proactive, make reservations, [and] create a special evening from beginning to end." Your partner will surely appreciate it.
7. Opening Doors For Each Other
Of course everyone is capable of opening their own door, "it’s just really nice when [they do] it for you," Linscott says. So, if your date is down for it, bringing back this old dating ritual can be quite the sweet surprise.
8. Bringing Someone With You (Really)
(Before you close this window and never read anything online ever again, take a second to hear me out.) Back in the day, it used to be the norm to show up on dates with a chaperone. They kept things on the "level," but mostly acted as a sort of vetting system. People still do this today, except now it's in the form of double dates — and it's actually a really good idea. A double date "chaperone" can help you feel more comfortable, Finelli tells me, while also providing a chance for friends' to give feedback. (See? All good things.)
9. Offering Your Coat Or Scarf
Going for a brisk yet romantic post-dinner stroll? If so, keep in mind how ridiculously romantic it can be to offer up your coat. "It's a simple and respectable move that will get [you] many points," Linscott tells Bustle. And I have to agree.
10. Staying Off Your Phone
I wonder what was considered rude before phones existed. Whipping out a newspaper mid-date? Or maybe pulling out a book? You'd never do that, so don't scroll through your phone, either. "This is rude and shows a lack of interest," says Salkin. "It says you feel there is something more important in your phone than the person in front of you." And that's not cool.
11. But Do Call Them To Chat
Phones do have a place in modern dating, as they did in decades gone by. Just make sure you expand your repertoire beyond simple texting. "We should go back to old-fashioned phone conversations," says Gopman. Not only does a real convo offer a better chance for connection, she tells me, it can also spare you those confusing (and possibly date-ruining) text misunderstandings.
12. Showing Some Manners
Even if you two decide to poke fun at the whole "manners" things, it can still be fun to do it up and show off your etiquette. On your next date night, light a few candles, put forks in the correct place on the table, and sit down to a beautiful meal (or pizza). Say please, say thank you, and enjoy being fancy.
13. Walking Your Date Home
After your classy date — and if you feel comfortable doing so — go ahead and walk your date home. Not only will it ensure they get there safely, Linscott tells me, but it will show a certain level of contentiousness that would make your grandparents proud.
14. Ending The Date With A Goodnight Kiss
First thing's first: You should feel perfectly free to end the date however you damn well please. There is something very smooth, though, — and kinda sexy — about leaving your date wanting more with a goodnight kiss. As Scharf tells me, all you need to do is give them a proper goodnight kiss (whatever that means to you), and then stroll off into the sunset. So movie-esque.
15. Following Up. Always.
Apparently, as relationship coach Cindi Sansone-Braff tells me, people used to call each other after a date. In the era of nonstop ghosting, this sounds just about as antiquated as it gets. So let's try to bring it back. After your date, go ahead and give each other a ring. Say thank you, make plans for another outing, or just tell them how much fun you had.
Because that's what this old-timey dating stuff is all about — having fun while making each other feel special. And really, it doesn't get much better than that.
Images: Pexels (16); Bustle