Today marks the 20th anniversary of the classic film Love Jones that changed the game for romantic movies and Black movies alike.
Fans still remember when Darius, played by Larenz Tate, wooed Nina, played by Nia Long, with captivating poems that real LJ stans still know word for word. But gone are the days where people casually meet at bookstores and write poems about each other.
These days, it’s all about chilling, texting and Netflixing. Back when the film debuted in 1997, it wasn’t unheard of to show up to someone’s house to talk to them in person, versus shooting them a text message or a DM. Today’s generation could stand to learn a thing or two from the Love Jones era of courting and dating.
Check out these 10 ways dating has changed since Darius caught a love jones for Nina:
1. The Internet
The rise of the Web may have been the biggest threat to traditional dating, ever. Nowadays, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your bed to meet your future partner. Simply download a dating app and get to swiping.
Although texting can be convenient when you’re in a rush and can’t really talk on the phone, there is less direct interaction with your partner, which could cause a strain in your relationship. Luckily, Nina and Darius had payphones.
Along with the Internet came many deceitful tactics to cover up personal insecurities. Anyone can lie about their age, weight, how they look or where they work these days. Beware. But Nina and Darius were so hot then wouldn’t have needed to lie!
4. Equal Opportunity
Before the 2000’s, it was the norm for men to have more control over how dates progressed and they got to choose who and when they wanted to date; just like when Darius showed up unannounced at Nina’s place to demand a date. However, today’s women can just as easily walk up to guys and ask them out or slide in their DMs and get the digits. Liberation!
5. Chivalry Is Dead
With women being just as upfront about their wants and needs as men these days, some guys no longer feel the need to pull out a lady’s chair, open doors, or give up their seat for women like 20 years ago.
Back in the 1990’s, men and women usually chose a potential partner from within their immediate surroundings, like the local record store or poetry club in Love Jones. With social media, every woman and man knows their options are plentiful, which makes people easily move on to the next best thing. Nina and Darius knew they were stuck with each other!
The music of the 1990’s was totally geared toward romance, intimacy and passion. People actually looked into each others’ eyes and slow danced — unlike today when it’s uncommon to hear many songs that aren’t inspired by the strip club. The soundtrack to Love Jones included Lauryn Hill, Maxwell and Dionne Farris, you won’t hear artists of that caliber on a soundtrack today.
8. Social Media Lurking
Trust is a very crucial part of any relationship. But with the ability to see your partner’s every move on social media, things can go from zero to toxic, real quick. In the movie, Darius was suspected of cheating after a girl called his place in the wee hours of the morning. Imagine if social media existed back then,and Nina would’ve started lurking in his DMs — she most likely would’ve found more than one woman he was talking to.
The 90’s poetry scene was a fresh yet familiar outlet for a lot of young Black creatives to share their inner most feelings in fellowship. It was easy for a guy to get the girl he wanted by just using his words the right way, like Darius. These days, you’re lucky to get a text back from your crush.
In the film, Nina had to beg Wood to drop her off home after the date starting going south. He refused and told her to “walk!!” In 2017, ditching a bad date is only an Uber away.
Hopefully, we can take some of the lessons from Love Jones and apply it today!