I love talking about my teen years when it comes to dating and relationships. The vintage times back then were so different than they are now. From, seemingly endless late night — into the early morning phone conversations. To, unconventional dates at the park, ice cream shop or local arcade. Dating and relationships were so straightforward then.
But that was then, and this is now.
Comaparitively, 2019 where every single aspect of dating and relationships has suffered, been questioned or deeply anaylzed to the point of confusion and stagnation. Women want to be courted, men want women to be more involved in the dating process. Women believe men are devolving in their chivalry or becoming more “feminine”, and men believe women have entitlement issues and aren’t as “soft” as they used to be.
With this in mind, I don’t believe the dating and relationship process has devolved as much as we think. Most of that is an inability to adjust with the change in mindset of men and women from the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
However, where do we draw the line between the old school train of thought and a more modern view of dating and relationships?
At what point do we say, enough is enough?
The very people who blazed our path to self-expression and pioneered a resolutely distinct and individual voice have too often succumbed to mind-numbing sameness and been seduced by simply repeating what we hear, what somebody else said or thought and not digging deep to learn what we think or what we feel, or what we believe
Now it is true that the genius of African culture is surely its repetition, but the key to such repetition was that new elements were added each go-round. Every round goes higher and higher. Something fresh popped off the page or jumped from a rhythm that had been recycled through the imagination of a writer or a musician. Each new installation bore the imprint of our unquenchable thirst to say something of our own, in our own way, in our own voice as best we could. The trends of the times be damned
Evolve or Nah?
That being said, when I first read that quote by Mr. Dyson, I said to myself, that is applicable to dating and relationships! Not just as black people, but all people! Our grandparents and parents paved the way so we could express ourselves the way we want to. Not necessarily how they did it, or the way they want us to do it, but our own way, with imagination, creativity, and our own version.
Tradition is great. It gives us a baseline, or guideline to evolve from. A template if you will. Although this may be true, the very essence of the human race is based on our ability to progress and tranform into something different. As society evolves, so do relationships and how we cultivate them.
With this in mind, why do we continue to use the past as a way to handcuff the possibilities of our current and future relationships?
Moreover, this doesn’t mean we should simply jilt what we’ve learned from the past. Some of those lessons are still applicable today.
Ultimately, we should all do what works for our relationship. At the same time, keeping in mind the possibilties of realizing our own version of love. Not the one given to us.