Teen dating — outdated?

OK, so I understand I’m young. 23. Practically a baby. Graduated high school in 2003. I participated in the whole anti-dating teen dating thing that goes on these days. We didn’t go on “dates” — it was hanging out. And we usually weren’t alone — we were with 10 of our closest friends, and probably some of those kids were in relationships, too. There was no wooing, just a mumbled “Want to be boyfriend/girlfriend?” kind of thing. For some reason, I have a funny feeling things haven’t changed too much.My mom was a teenager in the late 1950s/early 1960s (sorry to age you, Mom) and she remembers the bygone days of dating and “going steady” and wearing letter jackets and all that 1950s stuff that’s totally ragged on today. I found quite the paper on the topic. Some of the most outrageous things mentioned about dating in the 1950s include:
• Women didn’t ask out men. They waited on the guy. (OK, all I’m saying is that if this rule applied when I was in high school, I would not have had ONE boyfriend. Girl power.)
• The most popular places for dates were ice cream parlors, pizza parlors, drive-ins and record shops. (I’m cool with the drive-ins, but ice cream? If that boy didn’t work out, ice cream isn’t going to help me get another one!)
• If a boy gives you his ring, you’re going steady and you must wear the ring on the third finger of the left hand. (What? If a boy gives me a ring, I’m wearing it on whatever finger I feel like!)
Obviously, we can all laugh at those (or sigh and wish for ease and simplicity of days of yore), but today’s “dating” isn’t really that at all. For all you parents out there, here are some hints from WebMD on how dating works today:
• Teens go out in groups. (Yeah, like in packs of 20.)
• They make dates by cell phones. (My boss’s definition of teen dating today is sending 500 texts to each other. I think he might be right.)
• They meet other teens online. (Even I’m too old for this one. Facebook wasn’t invented until my freshman year of college. This is also where the teen dating realm can get sketchy.)
• Girls ask boys out, too. (Amen for this one.)
So, I’m heading off to the high schools after the last bell of the day today to find teens to chat about dating with me. Wait, not dating ME. Talk about dating TO me, I should say. I’m hoping since I’m young and hip (right? I’m hip!), they’ll open up. Stay tuned.What do you think I will find? What was dating like when you were a teenager? What do you think of today’s mating process?