By Maggie Churilla
Dating is a concept that happens to be very difficult to define. Dating for every individual differs, and quite frankly the term has changed in meaning over time. By definition, dating can be defined as to go out with (someone in who one is romantically interested in), but, does this definition apply to all? Does age or gender play a role in one’s definition of dating? Is chivalry still an important aspect in today’s day and age as it was back while your parents were dating? More importantly, what do today’s teenagers even consider dating, and how does it compare to adult opinions?
When interviewing Junior Natalie Brennan, who currently is in a relationship, she defined dating as: “when a guy comes to your front door, meets your parents, and hangs out with you one-on-one.”
Similar to Brennan’s thoughts on dating, when interviewing Gianluca Green, a senior at Creighton Prep High School who is also currently in a relationship, he defined dating as, “I’d consider dating a like agreed upon term between two people when they do something together but alone, and it’s an exclusive thing where they’re not going out with anyone else.”
Based off the broad and ranging definition of dating, it appears chivalry is still an important aspect. Senior Clara Kidder said chivalry was a huge part of her two-year relationship. “I truly think girls expect the guy to pay for dinner or hold the door open for them, all because of the generation we’ve been raised in which displays men doing these things for women. I mean I wouldn’t have really cared that much if my boyfriend at the time didn’t hold the door open for me every time but it really was a small gesture that truly counted.”
Green also voiced a similar opinion to Kidder about chivalry.
“It all depends on the guy. I myself am very classy and smooth with that stuff, it’s underrated but still existent,” he said.
Whether teenagers should be allowed to date according to their definition is a controversial topic among homes across America. 35 percent of teens are or have been in a romantic relationship according to a 2015 survey. Jen Churilla, a mom of two teenage girls, said “It honestly depends on when a teen should be allowed to date. It all depends on the factors that differ in each household such as age, maturity level, responsibility, and behavioral track record.”
Lori Peterson, a mother who has raised both a teenage girl and boy voiced a similar opinion. “Obviously when Evan and Jordyn both had their first girlfriend and boyfriend, I wasn’t exactly thrilled, but I trusted the two of them to make smart decisions. The two of them have proven to me teenagers can date responsibly.”
Now coming from the teen perspective, Green said, “Parents should not base the decision off of age, but maturity level, because in some cases younger teens act more mature than ones of a higher age.”
The American culture and social norms today differ drastically compared to how it was 50 years ago; so listen up ladies and gents. This whole thing called dating is honestly just weird and confusing. Not only does the definition range, but the styles and acts of it do as well. The small gestures of opening the car door, or something larger like paying for the movie tickets truly does go a long way.