Taylor’s Take: The generational divide…on online dating

Published 9:44 am Friday, December 30, 2022

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Christmas has come and gone, and I was thankful to spend it with my parents at their seasonal residence in central Florida.

Sunday evening, my folk’s neighbor Linda came over to watch “Yellowstone” with them while I fiddled around on my phone – the show isn’t my cup of tea.

Eventually, mom and Linda asked me what was so interesting and kept my eyes glued to the smaller screen.

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I casually replied I was checking my online dating profile on an app that shall remain nameless for privacy purposes.

And then the floodgates opened.

“How does it work?”

“What did you put down?”

“Did you say you were a good listener”

“Are you talking to anyone”

Let me say this first because, mom, I know you are reading this; I promise I’m not making fun of you all. I genuinely get a kick out of watching my parent’s generation encounter an aspect of life that is routine for me.

The pressure of finding the right photos, writing a short but not too short biography, and debating on whether I should mention some of my nerdier habits early in a chat are a different world for someone who grew up dating in the 1970s and 80s.

I’ve listened to my mom and dad talk about going to field parties, crowded bars in small towns, and approaching strangers to start a conversation, which are things that don’t compute for someone with my work schedule and shyness around the opposite sex.

It is mystifying for segments of my generation who are used to courting in the online world. The same confusion may exist for people in my parent’s generation who might be alarmed about meeting up with a stranger that you met online just a few days earlier.

So what is my take on this generational divide?

Well if you ask me, we are each missing out on an experience.

For my generation, we are missing out on the thrill of trying to catch someone’s eye and the challenge of finding a connection in those awkward few moments of conversation without being able to present the image we want them to see.

For my parent’s generation, they missed out on the ability to – somewhat – safely screen a potential date and strike a chord with the written word if they were shy.

I don’t believe for a second that either generation has a superior experience in the game of love. Times change, and so do the venues for a romantic entanglement, but the desire for lasting companionship never does.

The delights of uncertainty and the security of knowing can be fused to create an experience that transcends any generational divide.

But that is just my take; what is yours?

Warren Taylor is the associate editor of The Winchester Sun, Harlan Enterprise, and Jessamine Journal. When he is not offering his takes on the world around him, he can be found with his nose in his Kindle and keeping his cat Noel from clawing at his pants.