I’m an avid online dater, which is basically the 2013 version of arriving out West at the tail end of the Gold Rush and sifting through dust for any sparkler you can find. And I’m going to say something about heterosexual dating that makes me sound like I’m crotchedy and old and not a feminist, when in fact I am 28-years-old and staunchly feminist: Ladies, men will treat you the way you convey to them its acceptable to treat you.
The reason courtship is so confusing is because everyone, men and women, have loosened our standards. If what you want is traditional dating leading to a monogamous relationship, what you need to say in your profile — and back up in your behavior — is that you want traditional dating leading to a monogamous relationship. Potential romantic partners should be trying to make a good impression on you; show them how. It’s okay to say in a profile that you want to go on a “date,” in which one of you picks a time and a place. It’s okay to delete messages from men whose idea of asking you out is sending their cell number and telling you to text them sometime. It’s okay to set reasonable standards, like no going to meet up with a guy the same evening (i.e. lack of planning on his side) or no meeting someone after, say, 10p.m. (i.e. strong indication it might be a booty call). If men are afraid of offending women with “old-fashioned” ways, as Hanna Rosin from Slate suggests in the piece, then you need to communicate with them that you won’t actually be offended if he behaves somewhat traditionally on a first date, which, after all, is all about making a good impression. Setting standards doesn’t make you a bitch, or unfun, or uncool. It makes you a woman who knows what she wants.
Hookup culture is fabulous for what it is: fun, no-strings-attached sex. Sexual independence is one of best things about being a 28-year-old woman living in New York City in the 21st century. But we are only deluding ourselves if we think that the template for hookup culture and the template for courtship-leading-to-a-relationship are the same.