…but I’m not really sure.
I mean, does courting still exist? Apparently it does and let me tell you it is a very slow process. I’ve dated farmers before, but I’ve never been courted by one. I thought that the normal, socially accepted dating progression went a little like this:
A) Meet, B) Flirty texting, C) Two or three dates, D) “Interpersonal” activities, E) Dinners at my place and Saturday nights at his.
This is the pattern dating has taken most of my adult life. Granted, when I lived in London there was more “consistently snogging the same guy while drunk” which (naturally) lead to “activities” and dinners. Courting has never played into my dating life and I don’t think it’s played a part in most modern couples either.
…Until now. I think that courting is the only word to describe what Mr. B and I are doing. I say “I think” because I’m afraid to spook him by directly asking. So, in lieu of being an absolute chicken, I’ve comfortably fallen back on my social scientist background – I’ve done research or, at least, I’ve looked up courtship on Wikipedia. The result was this:
…during courtship, a couple gets to know each other and decide if there will be an engagement or OTHER SUCH ARRANGEMENT. Gifts are exchanged…
Alright, with the exception of the whole engagement thing (which would make us both run) that seems to be what’s going on.
Gifts have been exchanged in the form of produce. (Hey, he’s a farmer.) Farm fresh produce grown with his own hands (and tractor and whatever) has been given to my family. My mother and I have then processed it (jams, pickles, frozen items) and Mr. B has been gifted with the products. I’ve mentioned before that, to my utter surprise, I find the whole “providing for me” aspect amazingly, primaly, hot. Independent, capable, feminist, self-supporting me can’t help but bow to the early ancestor within. And every time I think about it I smile.
And studies have shown that courtship is actually led by the woman. I can see that too. We’ve been in and out of each other’s lives for a number of years and now that he’s had time to readjust after a major break-up, I’ve decided to get the ball rolling. We seem to get to a certain point and I have to nudge that ball along again. I’ve always gotten us to the next level with a little poke or prod and he’s moved things along at a speed he’s comfortable with.
And thought the whole “getting to know each other” aspect has taken a lot longer than I thought it would and included some odd moments of interview-like questions, I can’t help but find it sweet. Sweet is the word I keep coming back to when I describe Mr. B, the fact that he gives me food, the questions he’s asked about my job and what I usually have for lunch, the way he always responds to a text even if it’s just to reply “OK” to something that didn’t actually need an answer. And sweet is what his offer was this weekend when I needed a place to escape and he invited me to his home/barn/work in progress (tractor sitting in his future living room and all).
According to the same Wikipedia entry…
“[A recent] phenomenon in British relationships has seen a growing number of couples express a desire for a courting stage. This has coincided with a growth in external influences on nascent relationships caused primarily by new social media. Thus, couples feel liberated to develop their bond without the pressure of outer agents. Studies of such relationships have shown this approach to be very successful in the medium to long-term…”
So, bring on the courtship. Say hello to the slow process of getting to know you. Be prepared for the odd question about your day, your tastes, your interests and views on relationships. Get ready for dinners with your family where he sits and talks tractor talk with your father and brother. Learn how to make jam and pickles…
And learn a little about yourself too. This whole slow process has made me step back and think about how very different Mr. B is to all the other men I’ve had flit in and out of my life. None has ever held me in such high regard, thought that I could conquer anything, been in awe of the life I’ve led or the odd humour I’ve gotten along the way. I’ve had to slow myself down too. I tend to be impulsive and jump into things regardless of what might happen. That approach hasn’t exactly worked out for me yet and in fact has been to my detriment more times than not. So, maybe slow is sweet too.