Jane Austen on Tinder

“Pride & Prejudice,” and other Jane Austen movie adaptations, were commonplace in my house growing up. My mother and sister pretty much ruled the television, so I watched my fair share of period-piece romances. One of the common themes of these movies was a concern about finding a good marriage, and finding one fast.

Everyone knows that young adults are getting married later than ever today, but the anxiety amongst women (and men) of finding a good match that Jane Austen wrote about so well hasn’t gone anywhere.

Many members of my generation are looking for significant relationships, so the accusation that we are interested in the propagation of “hook up culture” is absurd and one of the many constant, charges leveled at kids these days.

A quick spin around Tinder (or any dating website/app) finds troves of people professing that they aren’t there for “just a hookup.” So, if there are so many willing partners on dating sites (22% of 25–34 year olds are on a dating site/app), why are so few in my generation getting married early? Perhaps its cause is economic, or perhaps it’s a result of seeing our parents get divorced or perhaps we have other priorities.

I’m not concerned with what the answer is to that question. What I do think about is how our cultural values seem to be at odds with the way we are living our romantic lives today. We profess to not be interested in hookups, yet as social animals, we crave intimacy.

Should we be engaging in hookups before we eventually marry? Or, should we continue to punt sexual intimacy down field and learn to apply to old moral values, like those from Victorian England, to our modern lives?

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