Dating Life Before Cell Phones: Then and Now

As millennials, it’s hard to imagine a time without cell phones. After all, we have spent most our lives with them than without them. Over the years, cell phones have changed how we communicate with one another, especially when it comes to dating. If you’re wondering just how great we have it, this is how dating used to be before cell phones existed.

Then: When waiting for a date to arrive, people had to sit awkwardly and twiddle their thumbs.

Now: Instead of feeling uncomfortable while waiting alone, we pretend to be checking our phones.

young-adult

Then: Phone numbers were remembered by heart. If you couldn’t remember, there were these things called phone books that listed everyone’s number in it. And if you were organized, you likely had an address book.

Now: Phone numbers are stored in our phone’s contact list. This has caused a decline in the use of address and phone books.

homer-simpson

Then: Phone numbers were easy to lose. We often see this happen in 90s sitcoms. The man meets the woman who he believes is the one. He ask for her phone number, writes it down on a napkin, and puts it in his pocket. Later on he forgets where he put it. Only to remember after he washed his jeans that the napkin and her number was in his pocket.

Now: When we meet someone new, we tell the suitor our number while they input our digits into their iPhone. They call us, and the number is forever saved.

 aziz

Then: People actually talked on the telephone.

Now: We are a generation who don’t believe in speaking over the telephone. In fact, many of us may even be afraid of doing the task. What’s our solution? We text.

answering-phone

Then: There was the possibility of a parent picking up on the other end. In the age of no cell phones meant there was only a house phone. If you were dating someone who was still living at home, it was likely that the line was shared between the family. (Unless of course they had their own line!)

Now: Again, we text. This eliminates any chance of having to ask the parent if so-and-so was there.

spying

Then: There was no snooping through our significant other’s phone. Okay, so this was actually a good thing. If you were curious if he or she were cheating, you’d have to hire someone to do the spying for you.

Now: Cell phones have made it easier than ever to look through old texts and e-mails. It may even encourage the bad behavior.

romy-and-michelle

Then: Used a payphone to check voicemail while out. The days before cell phones meant involved a bit of preplanning if you wanted to meet someone. You’d arrange to meet at a specific time at a certain place. But what happened if things changed on your way there? You couldn’t just send a text to say so. And if you didn’t show up, it looked like you stood them up. Then, the person is waiting for you (sans cell phone!) wondering whatever he or she did to deserve to get stood up. The only thing they could do was to use a payphone to call their house phone to check the voicemail. Of course there wouldn’t be any messages because there wasn’t a cell phone for you to use.

Now: We simply call or text to rearrange plans.

Jamie Oakes

Jamie has been writing since Xanga was cool. She writes about an array of topics, including relationships & the opposite sex, post-grad life, and pop culture. Other notable things about her: She's a cat lover (actually all animals), Netflix binger, and Junior Mint eater. She also enjoys laughing, reading, and using too many commas.

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