By Natalie Marynowski
The much-anticipated phone call has been replaced with a quick text message, flowers brought to the doorstep are substituted with meeting up for drinks and a movie out has been turned into homemade dinner and Netflix.
The dating scene today is unquestionably different from when our parents were in college.
“We used to go out with expectations,” said Dorthy Sikora, employee for the government. “My husband took me out on a very nice first date, he picked me up from my house and spent money on dinner and a movie, he took me home at night and walked me up to the front door with a goodnight kiss.”
Dating has evolved from an elegant evening of getting to know each other to casually meeting up at any available (cheap and preferably close) location.
Our generation is about the relaxed, easy, and affordable interaction, better known as “hanging out.” While she thinks fancy dinners are nice every once in a while, psychology student Amelia Druskis said, “I like ‘hanging out’ on dates because there aren’t as many expectations when you refer to it like that.”
With Toronto tuition and living expenses at an all-time high, Ryerson students are choosing the quick alternative to dating in order to save money and time – and it seems to be working for people.
“When my boyfriend and I started dating we would hang out and tend to just lounge around and make meals together rather than going out to some overpriced restaurant to spend money that neither of us really have,” said Hannah Smythe, a social work student.
“Ryerson, located in Toronto, isn’t exactly the cheapest way of living and so we take the time to go grocery shopping together, maybe stop at the LCBO for a cheap (but delicious) bottle of red wine.”
But the diversity of Toronto and the convenience of Ryerson’s campus do provide students with a lot of choices for casual hangouts if they want to get out of the house.
“Because Ryerson is located in downtown Toronto there are numerous bars and coffee shops that are perfect for dates.” said Druskis.
“Having such a busy schedule with school and work sometimes forces you to find time, any available time to go out, making it more casual.”
Ryerson is known as a commuter school, which changes the dating scene for many students who have to work around their schedules and the TTC in order to meet up.
“Dating for me changes because I live in the east end so it makes it harder to go out. I usually have to plan ahead, like which friend’s house I’ll be able to stay over at, which results in group dating,” said English major Camille Borody. “Group dating is definitely more popular amongst the commuters.”
Today, most of the getting to know each other happens prior to the date through texting, group hangouts or Facebook lurking. But this can often result in a more comfortable and casual encounter because students don’t feel like they have to play a game of 20 questions. Instead, they’re able to just enjoy the night and focus on the activity of the date, such as drinking or dancing.
“Drinking makes it easier to talk to someone,” said Maggie Mahon, an arts and contemportary studies student. She said that for her first date with her current boyfriend, she met him at a bar for a few drinks because the setting helped add to an informal and relaxed atmosphere.
It has become a common trend for students to opt for casual hangouts instead of dealing with the preparation and stress that can accompany traditional dating. From our parents’ generation to ours, students have gone through an evolution in dating from a formal ritual to an informal encounter.