This post is going to ramble some as my ideas aren’t well-formed, and I’m hoping your comments can refine them. A recent rant in a previous comment thread by Tarnished regarding introductory social interaction got me to thinking. Tarnished listed some of the ways traditionally expressed by males performing ancient courtship rituals, and her response should cause a thinking male to rethink such a strategy.
For a while now, I have wondered how dating and mating were going to be affected by the way the genders tend to view each other in current time. No matter what, the way the genders interact has to change. What interaction we now have doesn’t work, and hasn’t for longer than anyone alive can remember. For the purposes of this exercise, I’m avoiding the legitimate complaints about divorce laws and other related legalisms. None of these will be corrected until the basic interaction between the genders decreases the perceived need for them. As I see things, any solution would require a more direct discussion as to desires and expectations, something I don’t think humanity is ready to initiate.
There is an element of confusion in gender relations which inhibits such introspection. For example, an ancient pop tune like “You Don’t Own Me” (the only tune which comes immediately to mind, which only shows I’m familiar with thunder lizards as neighbors) was probably close to what young women back then actually thought fairly regularly, but their actions didn’t necessarily match those words. She might lose him if she complained.
This contradiction didn’t help change male behavior any, as he wouldn’t know her thoughts unless she expressed them. Not speaking about these thoughts may even contribute to the manipulative behaviors by women which set men on edge, as being the only way she could get back at her man for doing such things.
I happen to believe -partly from experience- that men and women can’t be friends first and still evolve into lovers. The basis of a friend relationship tends to suppress any indications of desire due to those being seen as inappropriate to a friendship, particularly if the connection was formed under prior business or professional interactions.
It’s possible for lovers to develop into friends, but that takes a lot of time, tolerance, patience, and effort. I don’t see many people these days with the necessary patience, and that alone could contribute to the high rate of divorce and the growing hesitancy to seek marriage despite any participant expressions or pressures from elders to the contrary. It can also lead to the end of the marital sex life, as the friendship takes precedence.
And yet, at least on the female side of the issue, there is a great deal of commentary aimed at women seeking to find The One, which would likely generate hostility from the intended male objects of feminine affection if pursued as described. It is likely thus on the male side, in which I’m sure much of what passes for “advice” for would-be Lotharios inspires groaning in women.
Some societies cling to arranged marriages to avoid such difficulties. I don’t see that being a viable option, but that’s my opinion. I believe most people are too stubbornly independent to settle for that. What of matchmakers? Maybe in a small town situation, where such a person would know essentially everyone in town. But not for larger communities. Too much for a mere human to know well. I have no direct experience with Internet dating, and I know people who successfully navigated the rapids and whirlpools to achieve a meaningful connection, but they tend to be older folk. So mark me down as skeptical that such a strategy can work reliably for most people.
So, to steal a line from The Candidate, “What do we do now?”