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Traditional Old-School Dating Practices We Should Bring Back

Keep it old-school with these dating rules and bring back the good old times of romance.

Lea Bennet By Lea Bennet Reviewed by Alex Smith

I was born in the mid-80s, and I feel like my generation had the best of both worlds. We grew up playing outside with our friends, without the distractions of the internet. But as we became young adults, we gained the ability to use technology of all kinds.

It’s hard to believe that when I was a kid, we didn’t even have cell phones or the internet. I remember when we finally got WebTV (brownie points if you remember that!), and I was so jealous of my best friend who had a pager.”

Good dating attitudes

Ah, the simple days! I feel like my generation was the last to experience the “days of old” and all the traditional ways of dating, making friends, and celebrating holidays. We were lucky to get a taste of that life, and the stories our parents and grandparents tell us can bring tears to our eyes every time.

In the past, people in the fifties and sixties knew how to court women with respect and dignity, treating them like queens and in turn, being treated like kings. But today, it seems like we’ve lost that sense of respect for each other, and society itself has played a part in that.

In matters of dating and love, we’ve failed each other by putting unrealistic expectations and standards on each other, which can be suffocating. It’s time to bring back some old-school dating etiquette and practices, and revive love before it’s too late.

8 Traditional Dating Practices Worth Reviving

Bringing old dating practices back
Traditional dating practices were good for couples and marriages. Let’s revisit them.

1. Men used to call instead of text.

Back in the day, if you wanted to talk to your lady, you had to call her. There was no texting or sending messages on Facebook. The communication was straightforward and to the point, and conversations were much more intimate and private, with less chance of getting misconstrued.

And let’s not forget – the man had to call his woman, not the other way around. There was no such thing as women calling men. While we don’t necessarily need to bring back that particular tradition, men could definitely use a dose of old-school chivalry in today’s dating practices.

We all know that text messages can come across as rude or belittling, whether that was the intention or not. It’s because we can’t hear the tone of voice or see the facial expressions behind the words.

Texting and Facebook have ruined many relationships simply because it’s not as direct as a phone call, and messages can be interpreted in a totally different context than they were meant to be.

2. Men used to have chivalry.

Holding doors for their lady, opening the car door to let her out, pulling out her chair to sit down – all of these chivalrous acts are almost unheard of nowadays. It seems like men now want to be treated the same as women when it comes to dating, but a man’s role in a relationship is to be the gentleman, not the lady.

While it’s certainly fine for women to hold the door for their man if they’re walking in front of him, bringing back chivalry would be a pleasant surprise for women. Women crave feelings and emotions, and when they feel cared for, they will reciprocate and give their man what he needs in return.

3. Men used to propose real dates.

We’re not knocking the whole ‘Netflix and chill’ thing, especially if that’s what a couple is into. But what if a woman has never had a guy sweep her off her feet like that? Maybe she doesn’t know what it’s like to be taken out on a proper date, and that’s why her go-to is always the ‘Netflix and chill’ option.

For the first several dates, especially the first one or two, it would be a great gesture to bring flowers to her door when you pick her up. Then take her out to a nice restaurant and maybe have a couple of drinks after, while handing her a bouquet of flowers. She’ll melt right there in your hands.

Just be aware that once her girlfriends hear about her date with you, you might suddenly have vultures trying to swoop in and take advantage of you (and your wallet) just so they can feel what it’s like to date a real man!

4. Men used to arrange plans.

We’re living in such a “here and now” world that we all expect things to just fall into place at the very moment we speak it, and nobody makes plans anymore. We all just go with the flow. But when you’re dating someone and trying to impress them, a vague “let’s do something together” just doesn’t cut it in the way that it should.

Be memorable and different. Make actual plans with her for a specific day and time. Even more importantly, talk about the exact places you want to go on that date. The fact that you’re putting in so much time and effort to go on a date with her will make her heart melt and put you on a pedestal above the rest in her eyes.

5. Men used to write notes.

Maybe it’s the food we eat compared to the food they had back in the fifties and sixties, but back then men were so romantic and thoughtful, and not in an overbearing, sexual way. Writing little love notes or getting a card to show her you care can send Cupid’s arrow straight through her heart and into yours.

In other words, she might fall in love with you for being the sweetest and most romantic guy she’s ever met.

6. Men used to be selective.

In 2023, it’s almost impossible to find reserved women. Most people are sexually active, and they’ll admit they sleep with people the first time they meet them. But this time, try waiting. Go on as many dates as you can, and let your partner know that you’ll only have sex when the relationship gets serious.

Never jump into bed with anyone who says they’ll leave you and not talk to you if you don’t have sex. Show them the door!

7. Men used to want to meet each other families.

In the past, couples used to have formal sit-down dinners with their partner’s family. They would dress up, use polite language like “yes ma’am” and “no sir,” and even try to win the family’s favor in order to win their partner’s heart.

However, it wasn’t just about having dinner with the family. To really impress them, you had to go above and beyond. This meant bringing the mother flowers, giving the father a thoughtful gift, or even taking the little brother to the park. By courting your partner’s family, you would appear like a hero in their eyes.

However, it’s important to not introduce your dating partner to your family, kids, friends, or anyone else who is very close to you until you are serious about the relationship and confident that this person is the right one for you – or at least the right one for now.

8. Men used to be private with their relationships.

We all feel tempted to post about our amazing date on Facebook, but it’s important to refrain from doing so. If you had an amazing time, call up your best girlfriend and gloat about it, but don’t post anything online! The internet can make things worse, and even if it doesn’t, you’re not close enough to your date to start bragging about it on the internet.

Moreover, your personal love life is not anyone else’s business, and it never was. Relationships don’t last as long as they used to, and the divorce rate has only gone up. The internet and media often play a significant role in the downfall of many relationships, so it’s crucial to avoid potentially damaging your relationship before it even begins.

Therefore, keep things off the internet until you’re sure that this person is the one you want to start dating exclusively.

Old-School Dating Practices By Decades

All the old good dating practices
Old-school dating practices divided by decades.

In the 1940s, children were introduced to “Mental Hygiene Films,” a series of videos that taught them about sex, social status, self-care, and more. Teachers and parents relied heavily on these films to help their kids become the best lovers they could be when they grew up.

While we may not necessarily need films to teach us about life and love, it would be helpful to have a more informed perspective on love and sex, rather than being bombarded with objectification of women and the idea of sex as purely physical.

In the 1950s, dating had specific rules to follow, with men being expected to do most of the work. Only men could ask women out on dates, and they had to go above and beyond to win over the woman they were interested in. One rule that we could bring back from the 1950s is the idea of only dating one person at a time. Back then, dating was seen as a precursor to marriage, rather than just a way to hook up with multiple people.

Relationships and dating were taken much more seriously in the 1950s, and younger generations today could learn from that mindset and be more intentional when selecting a partner.

The 1960s and 1970s were a time of liberation and freedom, where dating was a little more carefree than in previous years. However, this doesn’t mean that people didn’t take dating seriously; it just meant that they were allowed to have more fun with it. Despite this, people were still looking for “the one,” and men were still expected to court women.

Back then, guys were taught to be gentlemen, and it was common for them to initiate contact, ask women out, and pay for dates. Dating in the 1960s was more relaxed than in earlier decades, but still seen as an important matter.

Nowadays, dating has become a casual and recreational activity, with little regard for how the other person may feel afterward. In contrast, people in the past were more attuned to the feelings of others, and it was considered taboo to date someone who had previously dated a friend or pursue a friend’s crush.

Perhaps it’s time to bring back the mindset of valuing others’ feelings.

Dating Practices From Other Countries

Old dating practices
Other countries valuable dating practices.

The United States may not be the only country with romantic individuals in the world. In fact, there are millions of people living in various countries around the globe who practice some truly fascinating, traditional methods of dating. It’s our belief that the U.S. could benefit from adopting some of these practices as well.

Central and South America.

In Central and South America, dating isn’t allowed until the age of 15. When they reach this age, boys and girls typically date in large groups, often going to dance parties, local clubs, or restaurants.

This practice helps young people feel more comfortable and less nervous on their first or second dates. Additionally, it likely helps prevent some undesirable situations from occurring.


In Spain, teenagers often join clubs or pandillas with others who share their interests, such as cycling, sports, or hobbies. These groups provide a great opportunity for teens to meet one another, and it’s common for girls to ask guys out just as frequently as guys ask out girls. In addition, both parties usually split the costs of the date, promoting equality in dating.


If you’re a coffee lover, you’ll absolutely adore the Swedish approach to dating. In Sweden, ‘fika’ means coffee, and it’s a beloved part of their dating culture. Swedes enjoy going out for coffee when they’re getting to know someone, and they often prefer it over going to the movies or out to dinner.

But what really stands out about Swedish dating is their strong emphasis on exclusivity, even before marriage. We believe Americans could learn a lot from their commitment to each other. It’s truly beautiful.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what decade or country you’re in. What’s important is that you establish boundaries and communicate your intentions clearly to your partner when you’re dating.

You have the freedom to choose how and where you date, but it’s crucial to be respectful of those who are seeking a more committed relationship. Avoid playing with someone’s emotions,

About the Author

Lea Bennet Image

Lea Bennett earned her degree in Psychology and has since specialized in relationship interactions. She is widely recognized as the creator of the official ChatlineNumbers, a private phone line service that has helped singles in North America interact and connect since the 2000s. In her free time, she enjoys playing sports, writing, and has a passion for programming.