Alex Williams writes yet another piece in today’s NYTimes on the end of courtship. Mark Mitchell has posted about this in the past, and I certainly cannot improve on Mark’s observations. I do have three children between the ages of 18 and 24 (two girls, one boy) and worry what all this portends for them, not least because marriage is a difficult enough task without all the extra baggage the millennials will be bringing into it.
TV shows such as the popular How I Met Your Mother portray the single life as an endless series of largely forgettable sexual conquests wherein you sample as much of the fare as you can until you stumble upon “the one.” The meaninglessness of dating life is supposed to be compensated for by this highly romanticized and – let’s face it – fictitious idea that our “soul-mate” is out there and will be immediately recognizable. The fact that the conceit of the show is that it is a story a father tells his children makes it doubly creepy. It does get at something, however, and that is that baby boomers have no idea how to structure the sexual lives of their children, and the results are now making themselves apparent in a world where young men and women don’t even know how to approach one another, much less figure out a way to develop a relationship.
It has pervaded the culture deeply. Even the children emerging out of stable and affectionate marital relationships seem ill-equipped to figure out how to replicate that for themselves. As Jason Peters is fond of saying: this will not end well.