Whatever Happened To Dating..?

The experts — they go by many names with or without credentials — are lately sounding counter-intuitive. Not that these empiricists believe very much in intuition, but they are making my barber mad. Very mad, because Ron is a 68-year-old traditionalist and proud of it.

The experts are telling us the anti-big government sentiment runs against other institutions as well. Marriage-and-children is no longer a given by the young generation. Neither is religion, as more people prefer to call themselves “unaffiliated.” Nor political parties, as more people prefer to consider themselves “independents.” Even the ancient adolescent tribal custom of dating has now given way to the much looser “hooking up.”

Attend any church or visit any senior home and you will hear echoes of my barber: “We’re tearing up all our roots!” And they would have a good argument. Ever since the first wandering hunters grouped themselves into families and clans and tribes, humanity has been a groupy thing. Attached to its institutional roots with a passion that amounts to a faith.

Grouping, however, is changing into soloing, as Eric Klinenberg details in his “Going Solo.” For verification, travel the popular enclaves of any big city [Wrigleyville in Chicago, Bourbon Street in New Orleans, East Village in New York] and behold entire populations of young, unattached vagabonds doing their thing, then going home to their trendy one-person households.

Hard to say if the experts or Ron are more correct. After all, snapshots of the current culture are just that — snapshots. And yet isn’t there another counter-intuitive phenomenon at work lately? The recent regard — dare I say respect — for the elderly. You know, that graying generation in our families who we hug at holidays then put aside the rest of the year.

It’s never been that way in older societies say like China, India, Africa and the Mediterranean. Where the elders command respect just by being, well, elders! But lately the kids — even the experts — give standing ovations to elders like Tony Bennett and Betty White. Could this be the start of something? All I know is the older I get, the better it sounds. I’m pleased to report that Ron and his razor agree.

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  • The missus and I were watching an episode of "This Old House" on PBS last night and the gardening/landscape chap was showing a novice how to plant flowers & shrubs .... and he took each one that was to be planted and 'tickled/stirred' the root ball breaking free many of the coiled roots from within the pot it came in ... to the unlearned eye it seemed like he was doing great damage ... yet as he stated {and experience has shown this to be true} that if you do not break the old growth root coil then you have far less chance of healthy growth ... it is an analogy that may fit these times ... and what you are getting at here. I am a traditionalist ... as are my 'married' children ... but we reserve judgement on other 'break out' ways ... for perhaps something may be in the offing that will be a 'new' growth that yet sustains many ... Two cents from an Old Geezer -- and Occasional Gardener.

  • In reply to Geezer:

    May I suggest you just reinforce the notion that the "geezer generation" may have something to offer the kids after all. Namely, the flexibility of mind to see there is more than one way to do something...

  • Not sure about the flexibility of all Geezers Jack ... sometimes my best friend John H. Dunn {an 'Uber-Octogenarian} says to me -- Especially when we are resolving [or not] issues of larger import over fine coffee --- "there is no one left but We and Thee and sometimes thou dost appear a bit daft" ... Chortle!

  • In reply to Geezer:

    I'm chortling -- and reflecting -- both at the same time.

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