Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Are we romantically challenged?

So being unemployed has resulted in quite a bit of channel surfing. As I mentioned in my last post, OTH has been crowding my DVR, as have old episodes of SATC, The OC, The Bachelorette, HIMYM, and other countless dramedies and sitcoms.

Today I caught an old SATC episode in which Aidan and Carrie have just begun dating. And of course, the ever-insecure Carrie thinks that after a week and a half of dating but not sleeping together, that Aidan just wants to be friends. Aidan takes her out and at the end of each date he has to go home and feed his dog and doesn't want to come in. She's unsure if he's putting her in the friend zone or if his excuse for not staying over is legitimate. After discussing it - and by discussing it, I mean she slams the door in his face when he says he can't come in, Aidan takes the opportunity to explain that he simply doesn't want to rush things. He's been down this road before where he sleeps with someone too quickly and here he stands before her, still single. And apparently he doesn't want to do that with her. He thinks he can see himself caring for Carrie, if you will and he wants to get to that point before getting down between the sheets. After all, it had only been a week and a half at this point.

A week and a half? That's what caught my attention. That seems extremely quick when you think about it. But then again they went on 5 dates during that time, which definitely gives a woman the comfort of feeling like this man is extremely interested...we're just not sure about what. Is he taking me out because there's that much of a connection that he can't wait to see me again? Or is he really only interested in the booty that might come from these dates? At my 25 years young age, it got me thinking about my experiences versus what I deem an appropriate amount of time in my head. The mentality can go both ways unfortunately. There is no black and white when it comes to sex and dating. Some people believe that waiting to really care about someone before jumping into bed with them is the only way to go. Other people want to test-drive the merchandise before their heart is completely in it (because what if you start to care about someone but then find out sex is awful when your emotions are waist deep! That would suck even worse, right?). And some people just like to see where the date(s) take them and sometimes that leads to the bedroom and sometimes they want to wait.

Those of you who are long-time readers know that I have brushed on the chivalry subject a few times in the past, and unfortunately it seems to be a question that continues to remain unanswered. But all of this sex and dating inner-monologue of mine brought up the seemingly age-old question of my existence - Is chivalry dead? But watching the interactions of modern-day television and hearing about the sex and dating experiences of my friends, it got me thinking that maybe I was asking the wrong question. Maybe the real question is: Are we romantically challenged?

Initially I began thinking about this from only a woman's perspective. We've let the romance go out of dating and sex, we just decide that good conversation and some sort of physical attraction gives us the green light to make sex ok. For some women it may only take one drink with a man that posesses those two qualities and for other women it may take 5 dates. But a man picking up the tab on 5 dates doesn't necessarily mean that he showed any more romance to his date than the man who bought the one drink for the other woman.

Then I got to thinking about a man's perspective on this. Aidan wanted to care for Carrie before getting into bed. He even went so far as to run her a romantic bubble bath with candles and the works on a night that he didn't intend to sleep with her (and surprisingly it didn't lead to sex). But I honestly have never heard of an unmarried, just getting to know a girl - guy doing that for anyone I know in real life. And I tried to think about my girl-friends who have boyfriends and see if I could jog my brain for any romantic moments that they've come home and blabbed to me about, and my mind drew a blank. This is something that I'm going to have to actually inquire about before I can write more on the subject, but the fact that nothing came to my mind isn't leaving me too hopeful.

This lead me to think that maybe we've forgotten what romance is and what it's supposed to feel like. We see it in movies but Hollywood is so, well, Hollywood that no one believes that what happens in Rom Coms actually happens in real life. We have this vague idea of what romance probably should be but I think most people don't believe it exists anymore.

I think a man that is an old-school romantic is the type of man that every woman, at one point in her life, wants to date. He may not exist anymore, but it doesn't mean that women don't wish that he did. Romance, in my book, requires thoughtfulness, patience, attraction, and making a woman feel special. It doesn't require that a man make six figures and have a chauffuer. It doesn't cost a man a penny for him to look into a woman's eyes, sweep her hair away from her face and tell her she looks beautiful. It doesn't cost anything for him to put his jacket around her when she's cold. And everyone should know that walking a girl to her door, telling her "I had a really great time tonight" and going in for that phenomenal first kiss before telling her goodnight, is priceless. But if I'm being completely honest with myself and with my readers, I'd have to say that I don't remember the last time that any of these things has happened to me. The closest thing would sadly be when one of my e-dates Chandler, walked me to my car and kissed me goodnight after our first date. And even more sad...that was 10 months ago. And even then, the date was fun, good conversation, but not romantic. And maybe not all first dates can be romantic (if you're meeting them for the first time, for example), but one would think that the dates would need to head in that direction before making it to the bedroom - otherwise, couldn't it just be categorized as an ambigudate and shouldn't I go ahead and put him in the friend zone?

But women don't think about this much anymore. Or at least most women I know don't. Maybe there's some romance in the bedroom in their lives but at that point, you're already in the bedroom so...isn't the romance battle already over? But I want that date in a romantic restaurant where there may be people all around you but you feel like you're the only two in the room. I want to be annoyed when the waiter comes around and asks if we're ready to order because it interrupts us. I want the walk through the park holding hands after an already phenomenal date. And I want a sweep-me-off-my-feet goodnight kiss that's followed by him telling me he genuinely can't wait to see me on our next date, and follows through.

But most of the time, our guard is up so high and so strong that we don't allow ourselves to even believe that meeting up with a man who's asked us out even qualifies us for an actual date. We'll explain ourselves away and say "oh well it's just coffee and it's not a real date" or "it's no big deal, he just wanted to meet up before his kickball game". And sadly, that's just the way the dating world works these days. I find dates hard to qualify myself unless I can visibly see romance and/or feel like this guy is making me feel special. So are we, as singles of the 21st century, romantically challenged? Meaning, we don't know how to do romance anymore? Or have we fallen so far away from it that we've simply forgotten what romance looks like?

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