Tag Archives: romantic perspective

A little thrill, a little love, a little lesson

I am going to let you in on a widely known secret: 90% of the time my brain is occupied with romance. How to recognize it (a skill I woefully lack). How to get it (again, not my strong suit). How to define it (yeah, not great there either). How, how, how. I am, without a doubt, a romance addict. A fifteen year-old giggling girl in a thirty-six year-old woman’s body. The thing is, I wasn’t boy crazy at fifteen – that didn’t kick in till I was nearly thirty.

As a romance addict, my latest drug of choice is the Modern Love blog from the New York Times. The other day I read Albert Stern’s essay on his son’s first crush and the girl who stole his heart. A ten minute episode in the life of a two year-old that spoke to the past, the present, and the future of romantic encounters.

Romance is a constant, like prime numbers or Pi. There is a high, then a low that results in either success or failure. Or, as Stern put it: “First you have a little thrill, then a little fun, then a little disappointment, and then come the brain-eating zombies.” How true, how very true.

The muddy paths and March winds tend to bring romance to my door. My most romantic moments have happened in the month of March. This fact has led some of my family and friends to deem March my hottest month. Thus far, there haven’t been any takers in 2013, but we are only thirteen days in so there’s time.

Should romance knock, I’ll be sure to enjoy the ride while keeping an eye out for the brain-eating zombies.

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In honor (or dishonor) of Mr. D

After 34 years of giving Mr. Darcy types the benefit of the doubt, my empathetic compassion and an understanding ear, I have come to one fundamental conclusion – Mr. Darcy was an asshole. Really, how many men – living, breathing men – can you count off who were crotchety, conceited jerks at first meeting but who ended up having hearts of gold with deep rivers of passionate emotion for you flowing under their icy surfaces? And, by the way, I don’t mean all those thoughts, feelings and un-acted upon desires that we project, infer or fantasize they are tormented over either.

My answer is none. Once a jerk, always a jerk.

I sound jaded, bitter and an all around bitch so of course no man would want to be around such a sour lemon of a woman, but I’m not in fact, I’m just the opposite. I am a friendly, flirty and fun girl who everyone wonders “why is she single?”. This question I can answer simply and succinctly: Because I have wasted my heart and emotions on the Mr. Darcy’s of the world. That is why I have vowed off boys for a year, why I have professed again and again that boys are a drug and I’m going cold turkey…except I had a relapse the other day…and this is my pep talk back onto that wagon…

I ended up thinking about the Mr. Darcy in my life – the crotchety jerk I’d met years ago who on very rare occasions showed me his heart only to turn to ice immediately afterward. I found myself wondering if, despite past experiences, he really did care, but just couldn’t figure out how to express himself. I pictured the wonderful, breath-taking, heart-stopping moment when he’d grab my hand as I went to leave, the way he’d stroke my face with his coarse hands and tell me he had been a fool – that he loved me.

I allowed myself to slip into the warm, hypnotizing pool of hope for an hour or two and then snapped myself back to reality and repeated the words “Mr. Darcy is an asshole” over and over again until I was more angry than melancholy and I didn’t want anything to do with any Mr. Darcy every again. No, there will be no Mr. Darcy’s, Ferrar’s, Willoughby’s or any other of dear Jane’s men (good, bad or tempting) in the rich world my head and my heart create.

I don’t want the romantic angst and self-doubt a Mr. Darcy creates – I’ll leave that to fiction – instead, I want a real man. A living, breathing man who let’s me know he wants me more often than not and who appreciates a smart, sassy and sexy woman such as myself…But then again, maybe such a man is even more of a fantasy than Mr. Darcy himself. Either way, it’s back on the wagon I go – that is, until I suffer from another, inevitable, romantic relapse.

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I think I’m being courted by a farmer…

…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.

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