Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Part Two:  The Silent Generation’s Answers to the “Before Technology Experience”

Today’s question has to do with dating sans devices. Hard to believe what we endured trying to find Mr. or Mrs. Wonderful. I’m sure my daughters will get a kick out of my answers.

Question:  How did you find people to date?

For those of us who did not marry someone from high school or college, finding a significant other was no small task. Once we graduated from college and found jobs (and most of us did and stayed with our careers for more than 40 years), it was a real challenge to find a place to meet people of like mind. There was no Internet, therefore, no online dating services, no speed dating, no “meet-ups.” We were resigned to either go to the bar and hang out like hussies or rely on friends to fix us up on blind dates. The worst date I ever had was a fix-up orchestrated by my best friend. I vowed never again.
The guy drooled at 23!

Some of us were fortunate enough to find co-workers to date, and others found some “decent” night clubs or restaurant bars to stand around in and try to look inconspicuous. I did neither of these, as I found my heart-throb at a resort hotel where we both worked before I went to college. We stayed in touch by years of letters (yes, those pieces of paper on which we wrote in cursive.) I remember my father saying that my long-distance love was just using me to brag to his fraternity brothers that he was “getting some” in another state. He never got any (my mistake), but we did end up marrying five years later and lasted for almost 20 years. 

I found out the real conundrum of dating once I was divorced. Finding myself single at 42 was a real nightmare. Online dating was just taking off, and I remember my therapist used one of the services. I couldn’t imagine doing such a thing. I remember thinking, “How does she know if these guys really look like their photos and are telling the truth? How does she know they’re not serial killers cashing in on lonely divorcées.” I never used that service. I joined a Ski Club and realized quickly that if you dated one guy, the whole club knew about it, and by the time you got to guy #3, you were considered “damaged goods.” 

You wouldn’t dare date someone where you worked, as the same issue would prevail. The “Guess who Mary is dating?” syndrome would discourage any woman from seeing someone inside the office. So where did we go? I remember reading articles about places to find men:  the vegetable display at the grocery store, golf ranges, finance classes, bookstores. OMG. My single friends and I did it all. What a nightmare. I remember my therapist saying, In order to find the kind of man you want, you need to get to the point where you know you don’t need one.” (Hmm. So why was she on the dating service circuit?) I did get to that point, and I did find Mr. Wonderful 22 years ago.

Anyway, the long answer to the short question is: We had to be creative and tenacious while somehow maintaining our self-respect.  Stay tuned.

So far in this discussion, we have targeted the following qualities by members of The Silent Generation in dealing with life "Sans Devices:"

1.  Courage
2.  Patience
3.  Tenacity
4.  Creative thinking
5.  Resourcefulness

Skills identified:

1.  Writing (cursive with correct grammar)
2.  Speaking (communicating by voice on phone and in person)
3.  Reflecting (looking at consequences of actions)