Saturday, January 26, 2013

no one does that anymore

I do love my dear Flannery O'Connor, but I'm going to have to go on record disagreeing with her right here, right now: a good man/woman is not hard to find.

 I have seen one too many articles and far too many lengths of newsprint on how The Date has gone the way of the dinosaur.
These articles, I find, are always so discouraging.

Finding a man who will take you on a date, or a woman who will accompany you to dinner is portrayed as some gargantuan, Hurculean accomplishment.
Going on a date?! How quaint! How enviable! No one does that anymore.

Of course they do.
It's just that no one writes news articles about them.

The world is populated with thousands of millions of nice boys and nice girls who go on dates with each other.
Very few of them are mentioned in the New York Times.
Not all of the boys are chauvinistic, who are only asking a girl on a date to reinforce traditional gender roles and perpetuate the patriarchy.
Not all of the girls are headstrong, willful powerhouses of women who demand that a man treats them the way they deserve, otherwise they'll refuse to give him the time of day.

They're just ordinary boys and ordinary girls who happen to catch each others' eyes and want to share a meal and some conversation. (And maybe a few shy-yet-daring smiles, and maybe a few awkward moments of catching-the-other-person's-eye-for-longer-than-normal-and-forgetting-what-you-were-going-to-say-next)


I am not a very romantic-y, ooey-gooey, cheesy person. I love baby squirrels and ducklings, I love Disney princesses, and I love old people holding hands. And as much as I love LOVE, I find romantic relationships difficult, frustrating, difficult, terrifying, and well, difficult. (Have I mentioned relationships are difficult?) 
I think we can all agree: they're difficult.

To wit:
My little sister joined me on the couch one night as Tangled ended (I was still in Post-Tangled Euphoria. I See the Light +"You were my new dream"=death by beauty. They get me. Every. Single. Time.), and she vented her frustration about crushes, past and present, unsuccessful or unrequited. "I'll never like anyone again if it hurts this much," she proclaimed.
I just hugged her and smiled.
And assured her that it was worth it to keep on liking people, even when it hurt.

My older sister called me one night, venting her frustration about the complicated emotions that accompany making new friends, going out with friends, going to get drinks with friends, going to get lunch as "friends" (maybe? question mark? help?), the ambiguousness of liking people and then not-liking people, of texting and calling, and sending emailed invitations and awkwardly delivered pick-up lines.
And I nodded and sighed and hemmed and hawed and offered the most comforting words I could muster.

So yes. Difficult, to say the least.

So why even entertain the idea of starting out on such a difficult road if the journey is so frustrating and possibly painful?
I have no idea.
I don't pretend to know why.
But I do know that there's nothing like a first date to lift you right up on your tip toes.
I don't know why the prospect of sharing food and conversation with another human being can turn your world all sorts of shades of shimmery golden.
I only know that it does.
Because a date is a golden opportunity.
It's the opportunity for two human beings to reveal just how uniquely beautiful they are to one another.

Because isn't that why we're there on the date? To hang on every word he says, to remember every particular of the story she's telling, our ears are wide open, soaking in every piece of information we can gather about who this human is, about what makes them so beautiful.
We're there to grow in appreciation for a human being whose unique beauty has already captured our attention.
The roadmap to discovering the beauty of another human is written in our stories, it's written in our songs, it's written in our hearts.

You never see beauty coming; it kinda creeps up and takes you by surprise.
And sometimes, just sometimes, it arrives in the form of a young man asking: can I take you to dinner?
And when it does, well, that's rather nice.

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