Long ago, in a land not far, far away, there was this thing called courtship. Men asked you out in person, by letter or on the phone. They met you with flowers and took you to nice establishment that made you feel special. Women were chaste and gave the art of conversation. Plans were made, you saw each other again. The longer you courted the closer you became. Eventually you reached a commitment and things were good. It’s true, I tell ya, these things did happen. I read about them in books and stuff. And I vaguely remember experiencing this in high school. And sometimes, on rare occasions, I even still see these things happen, but then I rub my eyes and it’s gone. Perhaps just a dream.
Because now our courtship consist of back and forth texts, requests to “hang out” or “meet up” at some non set time (say 7 or 730ish) at some non set place (translation: no reservations) where food may or not be had (usually coffee or drinks will do). If you are really lucky, both parties will be on time and you’ll be told you look nice. The idea of courtship has become the thing of Jane Austen novels.
So how in tarnation did this happen?
I blame TV. Sure magazine and internet have their roles but not as much as TV. How you ask? Simple. Women are inundated with messages of what they hope love is 24 hours a day in every form. We can barely escape it. There is even something now called the Bechdel test where women in tv/movies must discuss something other than men in a conversation (Sex and the City would fail and State of Affairs would pass) to pass. This rarely happens. More importantly, we are stuck on this undying, all consuming idea of love where all the woman has to do is appear and the man is (sometimes for reasons unknown) totally stricken with eyes to no one else (think Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries… maybe it’s just vampires). We, perhaps, subconsciously, believe we must be thin and beautiful and that’s all we need to achieve happiness or at least get a date.
But that’s not what men are seeing.
Men, on the other hand, are hit time and time again by images of women who are other than real. In the reality shows the women are done up to the heavens as if they are going to their wedding or prom every day. They fight over the same sorry dude or put up with the foolishness of said sorry dude who isn’t even doing anything special for them. Even if you don’t watch these shows as a guy, you are easily seeing images of socially deemed “hot” women (usually thin, blond, tan with a large bosom and bottom). With so much flesh randomly shown, where’s the challenge? Women see this and want to fit that ideal.
So where does that leave us? Impatient? Lazy? Distracted? Superficial? Unrealistic?
Now, mini disclaimer, I know this is not everyone. If it was no one would be or stay married. However, it is factor. But it’s not the sole blame. We allow dating to change by not demanding more as a group. We also go to media before we go to our elders to define what real romance is. Look to real life married couples in love to discuss what is really important in a relationship: a mythical prince charming or done up arm candy? Or should we take a step back and look to what would really bring us long term happiness. The TV show romances rarely last or if applied to real life might not be so pretty (if we’d done the things Bella and Edward did in Twilight in real life we might be arrested or put away in a mental institution).
So do you watch less TV? You probably should but who am I kidding, I’m not. At least take note that that is all it is, make believe and real love is not the stuff of fairy tales or Victoria secret catalogs. So let’s do ourselves and each other a favor and think out the TV box and date the way our hearts need for true happiness.