Written by Rachel Ramey
Mr. Umstattd points out — and rightly so — that there’s “no general consensus as to what courtship is.” However, he then goes on to write a whole post based on one particular iteration, without spelling out what that looks like! (There are some “common elements” listed – and we’ll get to those in a later post – but that’s not quite the same thing, especially as they are all open to interpretation.)
He also talks about dating in the past vs. now, and how the vernacular has changed.
“[T]here used to be a linguistic differentiation between ‘dating’ and ‘going steady’. ‘Going steady’ meant you were going out with the same person multiple times in a row. It often had symbols like the girl wearing the guy’s letter jacket. This telegraphed to everyone at school that she was ‘off the market’ and that she had a ‘steady beau’….As the decades moved on, our language and behavior changed. We stopped using the phrase ‘going steady’ and changed ‘dating’ to mean ‘going steady’. …We then started using new pejoratives like ‘dating around’ and ‘playing the field’ to describe what used to just be called ‘dating’.”
Defining these terms is important, not just in the culture at large, but in a discussion of this type. If these subtle differences in language make such a significant impact on our cultural understanding, just imagine how subtle differences in the definition of “courtship” can confuse matters in a discussion such as this — and there wasn’t ever a consistent definition in the first place!
So we have here a whole long article disparaging all “courtship,” while (apparently) working from one particular definition that has never been clearly presented.
Most of the principles (or “elements,” as he calls them) present in most understandings of “courtship” have relatively broad potential for interpretation. By the time you factor in all the possible combinations from mixing all the potential variations of each item on the list – that’s a lot of different ways we could apply the word “courtship.”
That makes this whole article a little like putting down “Christianity” because you don’t believe in headcoverings (headcoverings being an application adopted by one small segment of those who call themselves “Christian”).
Next: Why "Traditional Dating" Isn't an Option - Part 4