Dating is a concept that instills apprehension, blurred conceptualisation and perhaps the realisation that the rules have changed in the 21st Century. The word courtship may evoke an image of a woman in a corset, sewing her tapestry whilst waiting for her most affluent suitor to “woo” her. Yet courtship is still alive and well, it has simply become more of a two-sided game, and the word game is used with vivid intention.

As said in the movie He’s Just Not That Into You, the rise of technology has meant that there are many mediums through which to initiate a date; email, online chat rooms and mobile phones. Yet, with this multi-faceted scope of dating tools comes a plethora of mediums through which to be rejected.

The Dating Questions

So it is more appropriate to text or call? Is a text too impersonal? Is a call too forward? If they don’t reply; did they not get the text? Is sending another one too desperate or pushy? And what is the best way to initiate the first date?

Dating etiquette has become as complicated and exhausting as a complex equation but knowing how to play the game is all it takes.

Whilst sending a mobile phone SMS is undeniably an impersonal means of communicating, the underlying mystery of messaging empowers it as a medium to flirt and undertake game-playing. Sending an SMS may have been overlooked as a mysterious tool in courting, but the simple art of texting opens the door to what can be hours of mind-numbing analysis.

Take the simple text “What are you up to?” The tone is ambiguous, the sender is removed and mystery is evoked. What the sender is hoping to achieve is provocatively elusive and the receiver of the text is left to analyse and decipher his intent.

Replying too fast can seem too eager and taking too long can seem nonchalant. So the game begins, and waiting for a text can be as titillating as launching into that first phone call. This act is in many ways the modern form of courting, and when late-night flirting has evolved into late-night chats, initiating the first date is far less daunting.

The somewhat detached nature of a mobile SMS means “chatting” to more than one person at a time is neither a crime nor difficult to manage. A person in the dating game should give herself options but also allow herself time to heal when things don’t work out as intended. Whilst a rebound might seem a good idea in the fleeting moment of present, it very rarely provokes catharcism.

The First Date

A casual and “ad hoc” first date can be underrated. Don’t overlook a coffee or a lunch date in the hopes to “impress.” Starting with casual dates avoids that teeth-grinding encounter doused in awkward silence. Go for a stroll or hang out in a group, then getting to know each other can happen in a setting that is comfortable and natural.

Don’t give up your cards too early or play the game of the impressive suitor too soon as the bar will be set way too high for future dates and there will be no “wow” factor left for down the track. When a woman reveals all her feelings too early, she can become vulnerable and may have surrendered her control and mystery. Being in control and leaving the other party guessing can be a powerful thing.

For girls, this is no longer the era of sewing tapestries whilst waiting for their suitors to impress their fathers (thank goodness!). Don’t be afraid to take charge and make contact with them! They can keep hold of their mystery and control but be the driver and dictate where and when that first date will occur. The game can be played just as effectively from the driver’s seat.

Undoubtedly, technology and the growth of equality between gender has revolutionised the dating game. It is important to maintain a mystery and use casual dating to your advantage. By not appearing “too available” but flaunting just the right balance of availability and elusiveness, a person will be a high class player in the dating game.

Courtship in 2017