One of my professors asked the class last semester, “do you think dating is biological or socially constructed?”
I thought the answer came pretty easily, but it didn’t seem like anyone was willing to speak up, so I did, and here’s basically what I said.
I believe that dating is a notion created by society as a coming of age practice and an introduction into the sexual reality around you. I don’t think it’s a vital part of life at all. The only thing driving the notion of dating forward is that society has changed its views on virginity and how involved everyone else should be in a woman’s body.
Mating, I believe, is purely biological. Yes, we consciously or subconsciously seek out someone who we believe will be a good mate for us, but the fact that we’re supposed to wait 3 days after the first date to call, or that the third date is the “all the way” date, and 3rd base is fine but any further, and you’re a slut. (Wow, we’ve got a thing for 3’s). But dating, no I don’t think that’s a biological thing. That’s all social and cultural.
Take France, for example. In French culture, it is not uncommon for two people in a friend group to suddenly, in the eyes of others, get engaged. But if you were an outsider looking in on their group dynamic, you would never know that the two betrothed were even interested in each other, yet alone wanting to pledge themselves to their love. Here in the US, if you don’t see a new picture of the happy couple on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc, every few days, you start to wonder if they’ve broken up.
Another fun little fact about French vs. US culture: the French find it more acceptable to have vaginal/oral sex with whomever they like, however they consider oral sex to be an extremely intimate thing and a true show of love.
Relationships around the world have very different purposes and faces, but that’s not to say just because it’s different that it’s wrong. Love is love, and sometimes it works.