Courtship? I've had first dates with feminists who were offended when I held their coats ("patronizing"); others who asked detailed questions about my financial worth.
One date got so roaring drunk (after complaining about insensitive men) that after she excused herself to go to the ladies room, I caught her driving in circles in the parking lot, unable to sneak away.
Forget the record hop. Today even romance has a price-tag. Dating services can cost more than $1,000 and so both men and women, expecting to meet their fantasy mate, run from date to date as if they were trying out used cars.
Much as we dare not admit it, many baby-boom singles with today's appetites are also still tuned in to the world of our youth. Many men want June Allyson-with-an-MBA; women want a Dr. Kildare who moonlights as Yanni.
The world of high-tech makes the old world of manners unnecessary. End a relationship? Switch on your answering machine. One guy told me he deliberately takes a pager on his dates. If he's bored, he sets it off. Beep - end of evening.
And forget about compromise. Try going to a singles discussion-group. Here, 40-year-old men pass out business cards in place of conversation, and women too eagerly discuss their "dates from hell" (often amid hoots and hollers, as if in a revival tent). Later, people converse in tight circles with singles they already know. The topic: Why can't we meet anybody?
When you yourself are all you've got, it's easy to become self-centered. It's tough knowing that if you lose a job, or get sick, you have no one to fall back on.
Still, are we singles less adult when we no longer have to take risks, handle rejection and confront unrealistic expectations?
I don't think it would hurt if we could rerun some of the old verities, slow our materialistic pace, and accept that courtship has unavoidable pitfalls. After all, such adversity teaches us the value of enduring romance.