The Sexual Revolution Ruined Romance

Today’s teenagers and young adults are entrenched in the modern hook-up culture. At Trinity University in particular, this modern ‘lifestyle’ is particularly rampant. The university promotes sexting as part of healthy relationships. While this is great for the institution’s sense of relevance and relatability to its students, it also reveals a deeper, cultural problem.

In modern America, the culture of sexual promiscuity has been normalized, and is even encouraged. And yet, this emphasis on casual sex has ruined the romance in relationships, both in and out of pop-culture.

In popular culture, it is incredibly rare to find any ‘romantic’ relationship that does not involve sex. In almost every romantic comedy,  the pair has sex. In most books with a romantic subplot, the couple has sex. In sitcoms, dramas, and comedies, couples have sex. If not explicitly mentioned, it is implied.

There are very few couples from twenty-first century media in which the couple doesn’t have intimate relations, except for books targeted at children. Even then, some books that claim to be targeted for children age 12+ (or at least are read by children who are that age) have explicit or implicit sexual content.. Cassandra Clare’s novels are full of sex and unhealthy romantic relationships, yet are marketed as Young Adult fictions for children ages 12-14. Tamoura Pierce’s fantasy novels, while enjoyable for an adult audience, are often marketed for children ages 12 and older, even though they deal with adult themes and sex as a subplot.

For recent generations, the line between love and lust is not simply blurred. There is no line.

Lust is mistaken for romantic love. Sex and intimacy have almost the same meaning. In fact, one of the first definitions of intimacy in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “engaging in sexual relations.”

Because the lines between love and sex have become so blurred, or even non-existent, romantic relationships have been drastically affected, especially on college campuses. According to one survey, 44% of respondents claimed to be in a serious relationship and to be having sex with their partner. In another survey conducted at Washington University in St. Louis, roughly three-quarters of the survey respondents had had sex. This is not true for all couples, of course, but it is the norm for many.

This mentality has ruined the romance for the modern college couple. People begin their relationships with the impersonality of dating apps like Tinder or at parties, and then often find it difficult to move beyond the initial, awkward phases of a relationship until the original spark and chemistry inevitably die out. While many people can find meaningful, healthy relationships through online apps such as Tinder, very few Tinder users actually go on dates, according to this survey where only 29.2% percent of Tinder uses admitted to meeting up face-to-face with their matches. In addition, only 4.16% users said that they used Tinder to find a relationship, as opposed to the 22% who stated hook-ups as their main motivation to use the app, and another 44% who stated that they use the app for a confidence boost. Dating is becoming less and less about finding a partner with whom you want to spend the rest of your life. Instead, it’s become a convenient means of “getting laid.” This is far more depressing than it is immoral. Dating is now a prettily-named term for hooking up with someone, and no longer the fun, mentally-stimulating and truly enjoyable experience that it can be. When the true reason a couple is together is merely for the sex and physical pleasures, then it’s bound to end eventually— and sooner, rather than later.

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Going on a 50’s Date in San Antonio

Although people typically see a lot of the dating etiquette from the 1950s as “ridiculous”  and outdated, many of the customs used then can be adapted easily into 21st century dating. We may now scoff at the idea of only the man asking the woman out or getting parental approval for a first date (especially if you’re in college)—but a lot of the social norms surrounding dating in the 50s had great practical purpose, making them timeless.

Here are some ways you can incorporate ‘50s dating practices into your relationship (or future relationship—these are great for a first date!). While they may not work for every date you go on, having a ‘50s date every once and awhile is a fun way to shake up the monotony of just another night at your mainstay restaurant or coffee shop.

Preparing for the Date

An important part of dating in the 50s was communication and punctuality. It’s recommended that the man asks out the woman at least two days in advance, giving her plenty of time to prepare. This asking also should be done in person, with detail given about what the askee should expect of the date in terms of location and time. Of course, it is also completely okay for the woman to be the asker today, and in a long-term relationship it usually goes both ways.

Once the night of the date has arrived, the woman should be ready on time so the man can pick her up at her door. This means no parking in front of her dorm and sending her an “I’m here” text, but instead actually getting out of the car and walking all the way to her front door. It’s a personal touch that makes all the difference.

Where to Go

In the 1950s, the most common places to go on dates were cheap and fun and didn’t involve a terribly large amount of planning. This is great news, because a lot of popular places (such as ice-cream parlors, diners, parks and coffee shops)  are still accessible today. Here are some great recommendations in and around San Antonio, most of which cost under $25:  

1. The 410 Diner

This 1950’s style is exactly what you’re looking for if you want great food with a bit of vintage flair. It’s fairly inexpensive diner faire with fast service and nostalgic decor and music. Definitely not the healthiest place on earth, but worth it.

2. Japanese Tea Gardens

If you live in San Antonio and have never visited the Japanese Tea Gardens, you’re missing out. Located within walking distance from Trinity University and with free entry from dawn to dusk, it’s practically a broke college students’ dream date location. It’s a great place to go on walks with your boyfriend or girlfriend (possibly after a very filling meal at the diner?) and has beautiful flowers and greenery.

Photo by Maddie D’iorio.

3.  Pearl Market

There are a ton of things of all price points to do at the Pearl. Go shopping at the farmer’s market on a Sunday morning, grab dinner on Friday night, or just take a long walk on the stretch of the Riverwalk which is right below all of main thoroughfares. Events are always going on here, and you’ll never get bored with the Pearl’s endless street musicians, quirky shops, and delicious restaurants.

4. Stars and Stripes Drive-In Theatres

Although this location is not technically in San Antonio (it’s about a half hour drive away from Trinity), it’s definitely one of the most unique and fun places around. Stars and Stripes plays double features on three different screens, and concessions are available. Clear out your trunk and fill it with pillows and blankets.  Even though this option involves making the trek to New Braunfels, it’s an experience you won’t forget.

5. NOLA Brunch & Beignets

This location only works for early morning or afternoon dates, but is still a great option due to the walking distance from campus and the adorable atmosphere both inside and out. Treat your sweetie to some brunch on a cool weekend morning, or if you want to save a bit of money, go for just some coffee and delicious beignets.

6. Commonwealth Coffeehouse and Bakery

Commonwealth is another great morning or afternoon option, and serves great espresso drinks with flakey croissants. This is a great option for a fun between-classes date, or for something simple on a Saturday morning.

7. Amy’s Ice Creams

Amy’s is a staple, and is smack-dab in the middle of the Alamo Quarry, meaning shopping and dining options are bound. Prices are much more palatable than the oh-so-fancy Lick Ice Creams, but with better quality and more fun than just picking up a half gallon of Blue Bell at HEB (which is still an arguably awesome date, by the way).

Photo by Maddie D’iorio.

8. Slab Cinema

If you aren’t feeling like a drive in movie but still want something different than your typical movie theatre, check out Slab Cinema. They have outdoor movie showings at different locations around San Antonio, and nearly all of them are completely free! Nothing beats laying underneath the stars with the person you love, and adding a fun movie just makes it all the better.

9. Sorrento’s Italian Ristorante

An Italian restaurant is a classic date location and Sorrento’s is perfect for this. You know you’re in for a traditional Italian meal when the walls are decorated with old family photos, and what’s not to love about that?

10. Candlelight Wine & Coffeebar

Okay, I might be a little bit biased for this place because it was where I went on my first date with my boyfriend one year ago, and now it’s one of our favorite places. But—Candlelight truly is one of the best date places around. It’s within walking distance from campus, is open late, has a variety of food and drink and a romantic ambiance that is sure to please. Whether you’re in the mood for dinner or just a cup of tea, Candlelight has something for you.

Luke Ayers at Candlelight Wine & Coffeebar. Photo by Maddie D’iorio.

Things to Remember

The most important part about going on a ‘50s date isn’t the location or who picks whom up at the door, but instead the mindset. Put your phone away and let yourself enjoy your time with the person you’re with. Being whimsical and outside the box makes dating all the more fun, especially when it’s with someone you care about. Happy Valentine’s Day!