When we are in our youth, “court” is a place where we play basketball, tennis, volleyball, or most any other indoor sport. Now that we are in law school, “court” is only one place: where a judge hands down opinions, where we battle zealously for our client, where some (colleagues) avoid like the plague.

But what happened to the one verb? Yes, “court” is also a verb, although much forgotten or disregarded. So by overwhelming popular demand from the fairer sex (and with one request from the masculine side), I am blogging on the verb “court” today.

Most of us probably began dabbling in dating sometime during high school. At best, our older siblings or someone’s parents would take us to the movies. Or we would “hang out” at someone’s house. We didn’t have enough money for anything spectacular, but we made vain attempts. And even when we could drive, teenage hormones sent us into orbit before we even left the driveway. This is a bad place to start.

College, (if yours was anything like mine) was one big hookup. We joke (but it’s pretty true) that you could sit on one side of the dining hall and pick a random person on the other side, and link to them through hookups across the room (6-degrees of separation?). Nobody dated in college. If they did, “dating” really was a term for who you happened to be shacking with at the time.

So what happened to the good, old-fashioned courting? Are women not worthy of being wooed anymore? Are men truly interested in only one thing? And how did courting die? Who killed it?

I notice that the further I get from undergrad, the better “dates” are getting. Perhaps it’s because we have money now and can do bigger things. But really, it’s not about the grandiose date. Some of my more favorite ones have been simply a picnic on the Saugatuck beach at sunset one summer, or something similar.

But I digress. From a woman’s point of view (and I’ve touched on this before), many of us still appreciate being treated with kindness and respect. We enjoy being flattered with flowers and doors being held open. It makes us feel important, cared for. And I understand that we women in law have a particularly difficult row to hoe because we are viewed as “independent” and whatnot, but those things aside, I think there is a soft and girly woman in all of us ladies. (gasp!)

But courting does something different for us too: it makes us feel confident in a relationship. It gives us a sense of where a guy stands; if he takes the time to open a door, it’s a conscious step of doing something nice for the lady he is with. And this is major bonus points (as easy and as cheap as it is). And when we are confident in a relationship, things are considerably better, stronger, more intense.

So why are guys averse to courting? Or maybe they are still shaking off the remnants of college “dating.” Either way, memo to guys: courting isn’t a bad thing. And 2 dates a relationship does not make. There is no need to get estranged after 2 or 3 great dates … at this stage in our lives, it is actually dating, and not the high school or college vision of dates=exclusive relationship.

This is not something I can single-handedly bring back. But damnit, I can certainly try. And so can you, guys! So go on, woo a woman. It might even be fun!


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