21 Dating Practices from the ’90s That Would Raise Eyebrows in Today’s World

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Dating in the ’90s was a vastly different landscape compared to today. From landline calls to mixtapes, the era was filled with unique practices that shaped the romantic experiences of a generation. However, as societal norms and technology have evolved, many dating practices from the ’90s would now seem outdated or even inappropriate by today’s standards. Let’s explore 21 such practices that would raise eyebrows in today’s world.

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Asking Someone Out Over the Landline

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In the ’90s, asking someone out often involved the nerve-wracking act of dialing their landline number, a gesture that conveyed effort and sincerity. It was a direct approach that required courage and confidence, as there was no way to hide behind a screen or carefully craft a message. However, in today’s digital age, where text messaging and dating apps reign supreme, a phone call for a date invitation might seem surprisingly intimate or even old-fashioned, catching many off-guard.

Waiting for the Phone to Ring

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The anticipation of waiting for a phone call after a date was a universal experience in the ’90s, adding excitement to the dating process. However, in today’s era of instant messaging and social media, waiting for a call might be perceived as an unnecessary delay, with many preferring the immediate gratification of a text message or online interaction for post-date communication.

Sending Mixtapes or CDs

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Creating a mixtape or burning a CD with carefully selected songs was a romantic gesture in the ’90s. It required thoughtful consideration of each song’s lyrics and melody to convey a message or capture a mood. Making a mixtape was time-consuming but deeply personal, as it reflected the sender’s tastes and emotions. However, in today’s digital age, sharing a playlist on a streaming service or creating a customized playlist on a music app has replaced the physical act of making a mixtape, sacrificing the tangible charm for the convenience of digital sharing.

Meeting at the Video Store

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Renting a movie from a video store and browsing through the aisles was a popular date activity in the ’90s. It allowed couples to bond over shared interests and discover new films together. Today, couples prefer to Netflix and chill. 

Using Payphones for Communication

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In the ’90s, payphones were a standard means of communication when out and about. However, with the presence of cell phones today, relying on payphones for communication seems archaic. The convenience and accessibility of smartphones have rendered payphones virtually obsolete.

Waiting for Printed Photos

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In the ’90s, waiting for printed photos from a disposable camera was part of the dating experience. It added an element of anticipation and excitement as couples eagerly awaited the development of their film. Today, with smartphones capable of instantly capturing and sharing photos, waiting for printed photos seems unnecessary and slow-paced. 

Writing Love Letters

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Expressing feelings through handwritten love letters was a heartfelt gesture in the ’90s. It required time, thought, and careful consideration of words to convey emotions on paper. Today, sending a text message or email is more common and immediate, making writing and mailing a letter seem quaint. 

Asking Parents for Permission

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In the ’90s, it was customary for a suitor to ask a date’s parents for permission before taking them out. It showed respect and consideration for the family’s values and wishes. However, in today’s world, such a practice might be viewed as old-fashioned or overly traditional. 

Waiting for the Right Song on the Radio

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Dedicating a song to someone on the radio was a romantic gesture in the ’90s. Catching the perfect song encapsulating one’s feelings required patience and timing. With the advent of personalized playlists and music streaming services, waiting for the right song to come on the radio is a relic of the past. 

Exchanging Pagers

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In the ’90s, exchanging pager numbers was a way to stay connected with a romantic interest. Pagers provided a discreet means of communication, allowing couples to send brief messages and arrange meetups. However, with the prevalence of smartphones and instant messaging apps, pagers are obsolete. 

Not Going Dutch

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In the ’90s, men often had to shoulder the financial burden of dates. However, in today’s dating landscape, there is more emphasis on fairness and equality, with many individuals preferring to either take turns paying or splitting the bill based on what was consumed. The practice of Going Dutch is common now.

Waiting for a Response via Snail Mail

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In the ’90s, waiting for a response to a letter sent via snail mail was part of the dating process. It added an element of anticipation and excitement as couples waited weeks for a reply to arrive in their mailbox. However, waiting for a response via traditional mail seems impractical and slow in today’s digital age. 

Sending Flowers or Chocolate to the Workplace

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Sending flowers or chocolate to someone’s workplace was a romantic gesture in the ’90s. It was a way to publicly display affection and make a significant impression on the recipient. However, in today’s professional environment, such gestures might be considered intrusive or unprofessional. Many workplaces have policies regarding personal deliveries, and individuals may prefer to keep their personal lives separate from work. 

Casual Stalking

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In the ’90s, casually showing up at someone’s favorite hangout spot or driving by their house was sometimes considered a romantic gesture. It was a way to demonstrate interest and affection spontaneously. However, in today’s culture of heightened awareness around privacy and consent, such behavior is more likely to be seen as invasive and creepy.

Making a Mixtape of Voicemails

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Compiling a mixtape of voicemails from a romantic interest was a creative way to preserve memories in the ’90s. The mixtape served as a nostalgic keepsake, capturing the essence of a relationship through spoken words and emotions. However, saving voicemails might seem unnecessary in today’s digital communication world. Text messages and emails can serve the same purpose of preserving memories.

Blind Dates

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Having friends set up blind dates was familiar in the ’90s. It was a great way to meet new people through mutual acquaintances. However, in today’s online dating apps and social media, many individuals prefer to take control of their dating lives. 

Keeping a Physical Address Book

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Maintaining a physical address book with contact information was essential in the ’90s. It provided a centralized location for storing significant phone numbers and addresses, allowing individuals to stay connected with friends and loved ones. However, in today’s digital age, smartphones store contact information digitally, eliminating the need for a physical address book. 

Waiting for Movie Spoilers on TV

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In the ’90s, waiting for movie spoilers to be revealed on entertainment news programs was common. It was a way for film enthusiasts to stay informed about upcoming releases and plot details before heading to the theater. However, with the prevalence of social media and online news outlets, movie spoilers are often revealed and discussed in real time. 

Deciphering Mixed Signals

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Navigating mixed signals from a romantic interest was a common challenge in the ’90s. This uncertainty added a layer of complexity to the dating process as individuals tried to decipher whether their romantic interest was genuinely interested or simply being polite. However, deciphering mixed signals may be unnecessary in today’s world of open communication and explicit consent. 

Using Pickup Lines

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Reciting cheesy pickup lines was a common flirting tactic in the ’90s. It was a playful way to break the ice and initiate conversation with a potential romantic interest. However, in today’s dating culture, such lines may be seen as outdated or cliché. Many individuals prefer genuine and authentic interactions over contrived attempts at humor or charm.

Waiting for the “Love” Moment

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In the ’90s, waiting for a grand romantic gesture inspired by movies like “Notting Hill” was a shared fantasy. It involved envisioning elaborate displays of affection, such as surprise serenades or heartfelt declarations of love in public settings. However, today’s world, has a greater appreciation for small, genuine acts of affection. 

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