Two readers have brought my attention to this New York Times article about Single people in New York, always a fiendishly difficult city to find a spouse in, or so I have been told for years.
My first thought is "sub-culture."
When your sub-culture is all about sex-without-strings, men-and-women-are-the-same, sexy-gives-me-the-edge-at-work, letting-it-all-hang-out, internet pornography and doing whatever you can to claw your way into fashionable jobs, then--no--courtship is not going to happen. Not until the men hit thirty or start going bald or start panicking about having healthy children. Because only then will they be willing to give up the smorgasbord of sex and serial monogamy for the comfort and stability of marriage (or ""equivalent) to one woman.
Incidentally, in what universe is David Mamet's 22 year old actor daughter the poster girl for American "Millennial" life? Of course her dumb-ass boyfriend tried to get her daddy to pay for dinner. Cads have been trying to get the rich fathers of the women they bamboozle to pay for their treats ever since they couldn't be legally whacked for it.
By the way, it's a bit of a hoot that the girl at the beginning of this article put on her "favourite skinny black jeans" in anticipation of her Friday night date. Boy, that's Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers right there.
It is a bit mad to expect cutting-edge-of-latest-fashion people or simply conventional-to-Manhattan people to follow in the sensible footsteps of bygone generations. No, if you are really interested in romantic courtship, men acting out traditional courtship roles with an eye to wife and family, then you have to look beyond the chattering class to other sub-cultures, sub-cultures that care about family, not just family names.
I'm thinking guys who go to church, although of course they will be enough affected by the expectations and fads of the people who created the TV shows of their generation. I'm thinking guys from cultures that have super-strong family bonds. I'm thinking guys in male-dominated careers of the kind women aren't yet much interested in (unfortunately), like plumbing and construction: guys who don't take women for granted because they aren't around us all day long.
Not so long ago, I was asked why English girls are converting to Islam. Hmm. Let me see... Because Muslim men like to get married and have kids? Because Muslims have strong expectations for what men act like and for what women act like? Because Islam provides strong family ties, a compelling philosophy and some great food? Because Muslim men like to get married and have kids?
Anyway, I don't want to suggest you limit yourselves only to church groups and wider Catholic networks, although really I think they are the best hope for Catholic girls serious about getting married and having kids before the age of thirty. As I've said before, I think you should also get to know the "cousins of the devout"--the Italian, Hispanic and Polish guys who slack off from church except at Christmas and Easter.
In a pinch, you might consider joining film clubs that concentrate on the pre-1963 period. There are an awful lot of male romantics in such clubs, sighing silently over the courtship dynamics, the clever, wise-cracking women, the marvelous complexions that you too can buy from Max Factor.
Because dating is not really dead, save among the sort of people who get the uncritical attention of the New York Times. But, yes, there does seem to be an awful lot of "hanging out" and technically I never went on a date with B.A. I just sort of showed up, and everyone at church looked at us with googly eyes and manufactured dinner parties until we got unofficially engaged.
Listen, we're a tad weird, and we're no more poster children for ordinary life than David Mamet's daughter.
Okay, your turn. Read the article and tell me what you think of it. I personally know boys of your generation who got tired of just "hanging out" and actually asked girls on dates. The thing is, though, is that these were serious, Catholic guys thinking about potential marriage to serious, Catholic women, having reached the age at which they thought they should get a move on.