Sunday, May 19Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

21st Century Rules For Dating

The mobile phone has come a long way since its creation in 1973, creeping in and taking over every aspect of our lives, especially how we now conduct relationships. For me, texting has changed how the modern day romance functions.

The use of telephones in relationships is not new. I remember my parents telling me how they racked up huge phone bills in the first few weeks of their relationship, spending hours every night on the phone, in Kent and Hampshire. However the difference between the early 90s and now is that back then, they were talking. They might not have had face-to-face contact but they could at least hear each other, whether they were excited, happy, or sad. And most importantly they received a reply straight away.
It has been suggested that young people these days are less patient; email, the internet, and mobile phones have created a culture where we expect everything to happen there and then: we are expected to be constantly glued to our phones. We no longer sit waiting for the postman to bring heartfelt letters from our sweetheart.

But here’s the big difference; I can go days between sending texts to my girl friends and family, but if it’s a guy I like, waiting for a text can be infuriating.
You have no idea whether the person is near their phone, or, if they have seen the message, why they haven’t replied. I admit it; many an hour I have spent watching my phone to see if I get a message from Him. And here’s the real root of the problem, if you are talking face-to-face or on the phone then asking another question seems alright – you are keeping the conversation going. But if you send another text how does that make you appear? Desperate? Needy? Obsessive? Impatient? Characteristics which you don’t want a future partner to see straight away, surely?

As a society we have shied away from physical conversation. It is easier to send a text or email rather than pick up the phone. I know people who are scared to order pizza over the phone.

Another issue that freaks people out when texting is the number of kisses to include. This guy I know has a system; the number of kisses depends on how close you are. Then there are other guys that I know, my housemates for example, who don’t do kisses; never have, never will. So what happens when someone breaks tradition and sends you a text with at least seven kisses: is it flirting, is he joking around or is he actually serious? There is a tendency in all of us to over analyse and question everything, making the process of dating both maddening and confusing.

Jane Austen thought dating was hard in the 18th century when there were so many rules to obey. Nowadays though, there is so much freedom that dating can follow so many different directions, yet there are still all these unwritten rules.

In the meantime I will be watching Pride and Prejudice waiting for my own Mr Darcy, with one eye on my phone waiting for that message.

Author: Victoria Timms

Photographs: (Featured and Main image)