Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dating is for the Disinterested

Last week a male friend of mine and I discussed how America is the only country that has this complicated game of ego and juggling we refer to as dating. Europeans don’t date multiple people at a time. Neither do Australians, South Americans, Asians or Africans. In other countries, courtship goes something like this:

1. Man sees woman he likes and gets weak-kneed.
2. Man, through ridiculous poetry or other gallant gesture, asks woman out. (Well, in France anyway. In Southeast Asia leaving a dairy cow on the front porch can be construed as sign of interest)
3. Woman says yes.
4. Man puts all his effort to impress this one (yes, only one) woman.
5. Woman spends her time wistfully thinking about this one (yes, only one) man.
6. After the first date the smitten two smile and sigh and build a couple-hood. They have no desire to meet anyone else…well, until the French man decides to take a mistress.

Minus the mistress part, why can’t we emulate the rest of the world? It’s romantic, it’s easy, and it’s a focused effort. Why do we feel a need to date multiple people and spread ourselves thin?

Theory Number #1-The Ego Boost:

Having multiple men interested in us makes us feel desirable and dreamy and puts an extra skip in our step. Never mind if it’s the homeless man on 6th and Market telling me I’m a “damn sexy bitch.” Attention, even from a crack pipe aficionado, feels good. Men, I believe, take this to another extreme. It’s an ego boost to have many women interested in them, yes. But if a man can master SLEEPING with multiple women….well, that must mean he is God. Even some translations of the Koran depict a man’s heaven as having sex with 72 (virgin) women. Of course here on earth any man that has 72 women sleeping with him likely isn’t that selective or have much else going on in his life.

Theory #2: “I don’t believe in love at first sight”--The Backup Plan

Gone are the days of falling in love with the dark stranger in the Starbuck’s cafĂ©. “Down with (immediate) Love” is the motto of the 30 somethings. As we get older and jaded we don’t trust a man after one or two dates and must have backups readily available. Even the book, “The Rules” advises us to have multiple dates with different men lined up so that we don’t become too attached to any one and risk a broken heart. The issue with the backup plan is that we never really are focused on one person, and always in the mindset that something better could come along. This lack of focus mutes any chance of a romantic success. During my FeDoo phase I double and triple booked men into my Saturday. God forbid I make one date special and prep with a bubble bath, blow out and Marvyn Gaye. The result was a frazzled FeDoo: frizzy hair, deathly tired, and no ability to keep the names of her daters straight. I realized that no man interested me enough to sacrifice my whole day prepping for, which brings me to Theory #3.

Theory #3: Disinterest.

Mazz was perplexed. One of the guys she had been casually dating wanted to spend time with her next weekend. But Wednesday-Sunday were designated for Happy hours, group dinners, singles parties, etc. “How can I find time to date this one boy when all my nights are filled looking for new boys?” she asked. Alexis responded wisely, “Perhaps if you are still dedicating time to find boys instead of going out with them, you haven't found the one you want to be with.” After all, even the douchiest of all douchebags are known to stop their philandering and looking for “something better” when they find someone they genuinely like.

Meet Stu—one legendary douchebag—now engaged. “I put the D in douchebag. I swore I would never settle. There were too many hot girls! But then I met Sarah. All of a sudden I started playing Louis Armstrong’s cheek-to-cheek and dancing with my broom at home. I daydreamed….. of us on deserted beaches, of us during the holidays, of us having a mini me. Sarah had none of the qualities on my long list of necessary attributes. (i.e. she wasn’t a Playgirl bunny, hated sports, and had a stuffed animal collection.). But it didn’t matter. I didn’t care about any list or dating anyone else that may “fit it better.” Instead of wanting to cast a wider net, I wanted to constrict mine around Sarah.”

So what’s a girl to do? Do we sit patiently until we meet a man that makes us want to dance with a broom? Or do we get out there and continue to meet men, even though some are about as interesting as a dirty sock? There has to be some balance. But I agree with Stu---the right person will make us throw our long “list” out the window. If only I knew where he was.


Jeb said...

I always wondered why I liked the movie Serendipity so much...great post ;)

Anonymous said...

Agree with Stu. All the lists, pre-requisites, must-haves, etc. go out the window when that one person wows you.

Jenny said...

Yeah, I'm just not cut out for this multiple dating business. Multiple boy-toys, si! Multiple dates? No. But yes, there is a risk in putting all the eggs into one basket.

Hmmm... when did we all turn into such pansies?