Monday, July 01, 2013
Guest Post: Whatever Happened to Courtship?
Thanks Mom for requesting a guest blog on a topic that’s been close to my heart lately. After yet another failed potential for a long-term relationship, I begin to wonder: why can't I enjoy an old-fashioned kind of courtship? The kind where we talk, get to know each other in a variety of situations, and learn to trust each other before we move towards intimacy.
My mother and I do not always see eye to eye on some aspects of dating and relationships. She lives and breathes romance, I’ll take hard sci-fi any day. I tell her that I don’t need my life to work out in the same manner as a contemporary romance. What we have agreed on is the diminished, if not completely absent, role of courtship.
I’m 34 and very single. My mother married at 26. I don't doubt I've been on more first dates than my mother. I’ve used several online dating sites and have not been satisfied with any of them. However, I also continue to meet men face-to-face at social functions and I find there isn’t much difference in whether I meet someone online or in person. It seems apparent to me that there is an entire generation of men who truly don’t understand the concept of courtship.
One of the most disturbing issues is the blatant use of false information. How can I be confident that these are honest men when they start off with a variety of lies? For instance, there was the poet who took artistic license with his age. “Early forties” does not translate to 47. The lack of trust was the reason that I let him go. If he lies about a simple thing such as age, what else is he telling me that may not be true?
I met a guy from one of my volunteer organizations, and we hit it off well. We had great communication, and he seemed really interested in me, until date #3. We went out for pho, nothing fancy, nothing very expensive—and he intended to split the check. I had been under the impression that since he invited me, he was treating me. He did pay, after a bit of a discussion. Later, we walked down to the river, and he suggested that we get a hotel room. Now, because he didn’t want to pay for dinner, I figured I’d get stuck with the cost of the room. Again, I refused—and learned that we had different relationship goals. I wanted a commitment. He wanted to sleep with as many women as possible—I would be simply another notch on the bedpost.
Recently, I reconnected with a man who I’d dated a few years ago. By chance, he landed a job working in the same building. I visited him once, just to catch up. However, he presumed too much on our previous acquaintance. He said he wanted to see me, he said he wanted a commitment. What he didn’t do was—well, everything. All he wanted was for me to come over to his apartment. No dates, no dinners, no walks in the park. Simply sex. No courtship of any kind.
I have a lot of male friends. However, they can be almost as bad as dates. They only want to see me for a specific activity at their convenience. One of them loves to hunt fossils. However, only when he wants to, not when I want to. Another of them only sees me as a kayaking companion. Again, no romance. I’m just one of the guys.
So, then what to do? If I’m not a sex object, I’m one of the guys. And sure, I enjoy many sports and scientific activities. But how do I convince a man that I’m a person—not a blowup doll? And what happened to simply taking a woman on a date, with no expectations for sex? What happened to simply enjoying a woman’s company and her conversation? What is this third date rule for sex that guys seem to constantly cite? I’d love to hear your comments.