I’m An Independent Woman, But I Still Like These Old-Fashioned Dating Traditions

I’m a hardcore feminist and also a total sucker for chivalrous dating traditions. Those two parts of me can absolutely live side-by-side. I love men who can clearly show through their actions that they’re thoughtful, caring, and kind. Here are some old-fashioned ways of dating that still make my heart go pitter-patter (despite being Miss Independent):

Having a car door opened for me. 

I’m all about the small yet significant gestures. I totally melt when a guy takes his time to open the door from the inside or walks around to open it for me. This move signals to me that he’s thoughtful and caring. I know some women get offended by this gesture because they feel like they can open their own door. I don’t feel upset by it at all. The guy knows I can open my own door, he just wants to make it easier for me.

Being picked up for a date. 

I recently had a first date where we were going to a location right near my house. I could have walked there without a problem, but my date asked if he could pick me up anyway. I thought this gesture was incredibly sweet as it meant we got to spend more time together. It also really showed that he was thinking about me.

Being walked to my car. 

Sometimes I meet a date at a mutual location or I go to their apartment. I live in the Northeast where it’s super cold, so it’s pretty uncommon for people to suit up just to walk me to my car. I’m so appreciative when it happens, though. The tradition says a lot about the guy—that he really cares about making me feel loved.

Asking permission for things. 

I remember the first time a guy asked if he could kiss me. I was really confused and thought it was weird. I was used to being with men who just took without asking. After that experience, I grew to appreciate the dates who slowed down enough to explicitly ask me if something is okay. I now find men who understand all of the nuances of consent to be incredibly sexy. It’s not a requirement to ask before kissing me, but it is a total plus.

Dressing really nicely for a date. 

I take forever to get ready for a first date. I think about my outfit way in advance and I sometimes shop just for an outfit for the date and send selfies to my friends to get their validation about how I look. I really love when guys take the time to do the same thing. I’m seeing a guy now who always looks totally dapper on our dates. It’s evident that he put a lot of effort in and cares about how he looks around me. This indicates to me that he’s thoughtful, intentional, and cares about what I think. After being on too many dates with guys who just throw on a white tee, I love this experience!

Being explicitly asked out on a date. 

In the era of “Netflix and chill,” going on real dates is pretty hard to come by. As someone who appreciates great communication and explicitly knowing what the other person wants, I prefer a more straight-forward approach. I love being asked on a date and having the other person actually call it that! I wish this approach wasn’t so revolutionary, but it totally is.

My date giving me his full attention. 

We live in a world where cell phones are our tethers to the people around us. We mostly communicate through texts and social media posts. It’s almost radical to put our phones away on a date in order to be utterly present with one another. When a guy is willing to keep his lifeline tucked away for the duration of our date, he’s really signaling to me that I’m worth it. And you know, I totally am!

No assumptions about sex. 

Hookup culture is so gross. I hate that many men assume that sex is going to happen. Maybe they don’t assume on the first date, but they try for it on the second or third. I had my very first experience where I was kissing a guy and he didn’t try for anything more. It was baffling to me, but also totally wonderful because I didn’t have to awkwardly reject him and then get resentful about it. Instead, we just enjoyed each other’s company at a pace that was equal to how long we had known one another.

Being surprised with flowers. 

When I was in high school, a guy brought me flowers on a first date and I thought he was a total weirdo. If that happened now, I might faint! As an adult, I’ve really learned to drop the “play it cool” act and let myself be totally excited about gestures like flowers. They’re super romantic and it really takes a ton of courage for a guy to be bold enough to bring them.

Having the “going steady” talk. 

A huge pet peeve of mine is having a weird in-between relationship. I love a lot of communication. In fact, I need it to feel secure and happy. I have no problem making first moves and bringing up tough conversations about exclusivity, but I’m also a sucker for a guy bringing up the “going steady” talk.

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