Dating over 100 years: Part I, The Question

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Dating over 100 years:
Part I, The Question

By Shalee Hanson


(Photo courtesy of


It all started with the familiar jingle of my phone sounding that I received a text message.  Nothing that should be alarming; I’m 22, I get text messages all the time.  However, when I read the message, it got me thinking.

The message was from a guy friend of a friend that I knew from high school, it read: “Say, would you like to have dinner together sometime?”

Again, this is not alarming, since I love to eat dinner.  But what was the subtext of that text message?  Did he mean he was hungry right now?  He couldn’t have meant right now, the Broncos game was on; I wouldn’t go to dinner during the Broncos game.

Did he mean that he hadn’t seen me in a while so he wanted to catch up over dinner, or any meal for that matter? 

Or did he mean an actual date?  Ding, ding, ding!  Alarm.  Within seconds this nine-word text had me decoding the English language to decide the intent behind each word.  Naturally, I asked for my brother’s opinion—16 years old, prime age for text message interpretation.

His take: “Well, do you guys text? If a guy likes you, he’s probably going to text you all the time.”

The answer to that was no; I knew what he meant.  Sure I’ve had guys who ‘like’ me text me before.  Constant messages throughout the day: “What are you doing… How are you… What are you doing now… What are you watching on TV…What are you doing now?”  But I thought this was the kind of stuff my generation grew out of.  Why would anyone need to text someone all day every day?

Then my brother and I ran down which social media this guy and I were connected through: we were friends on Facebook, but not on Snapchat (a picture messaging application for Smartphones), and we didn’t follow each other on Twitter or Instagram.

We were stumped.  According to my brother, our lack of texting and social media interaction indicated he wasn’t interested; but since he hadn’t been talking to me regularly, why would he ask me to dinner?

And there I was, wasting 15 minutes of my day interpreting this stupid text message when it occurred to me: If a guy asked you to dinner a hundred years ago, did you waste any time wondering if he meant as friends or more than that?  Did you review every single social situation you’ve ever been in and analyze how each of you acted to determine his intentions?

Over the next three articles, I will interview a handful of local senior citizens, baby boomers, and college and high school students to explore the evolution of dating over different generations.

 The question: What did dating used to be like, and what is it like now?

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