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Whatever Happened to Dinner and Dancing?

Ever feel like the dating pool is lacking in romance? Rather than being wooed with a candlelit dinner, a thought-provoking movie, and some sparkling conversation, you find yourself rushing to a coffee shop or bar after work for a quick drink and distracted chat with a relative stranger. By the end of the night you’re left wondering if what just transpired should even be called a date. Well, guess what? You’re not the only one.

Some of you may have read a recent New York Times article declaring the end of courtship that’s been getting buzz in the blogosphere. In it, the author makes the case that factors such as the rise of online dating and texting, the slow economy, and the gradual leveling of income among men and women have effectively dismantled old dating rituals; in their place is a quagmire of ambiguous signals and cycles of text message exchanges that, as interviewee Shani Silver phrased it, “require the code-breaking skills of a cold war spy to interpret.”

As if dating wasn’t confusing enough! While it’s true that the dating landscape has changed, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to say goodbye to old-fashioned romance and courtship if you don’t want to. Remember, it’s up to you to determine how you expect to be treated by the men in your life.

As I tell the women I work with, men are relying on you to teach them how to treat you. So if you wish to be wooed, (which, yes!, requires a little bit of boldness, foresight, and clarity of intentions on the wooer’s part), then start by acknowledging that you want it. You might find that your patience for game-playing and ambiguity dissipates. And as your intentions become clearer, I’m willing to bet that your suitors’ will, too.

I’d love to know the percentage of “dates” you’ve been on in the last year that did not count as real dates. Have you experienced this with men of all ages? Do you notice it more with men you’ve met online? How about men who are divorced?

Share your thoughts and stories with me!

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