RyanGeist Posted June 6, 2010 Share Posted June 6, 2010 Do you think there’s a tipping point? I’ll get to what that question means in a second, but first, a little back-story. I take the long-distance girl back, after two weeks we’ve been apart. She had a bad date, a nervous breakdown, a family crisis, and said to me in an emotional telephone conversation that she loved me and what we had together. Essentially, everything that I needed to hear to come back. So I traveled the four hours to go see her several days later. Fast-forward fourteen days (two of those spent at a boyfriend-purchased bed and breakfast because the lady had no hot water or comfortable sleeping arrangements at her abode and the sir wished to lavish her), and there’s an email in my inbox that begins “I have done some thinking and I have decided that I don’t want to be your girlfriend, on Facebook or in real life.” It goes on to say, in conflicting excerpts, “I’m too independent,” “I need someone who can be here for me all the time,” and “I’m not ready for a boyfriend.” After a phone-call yields a voice mail and no reply, I draft a response to her email. In that response, I tell her: “I want to leave you with one last thought. You ask anyone for their definition of love, and you’ll find a whole new meaning for the word. Your definition makes love a verb, something that you do. I disagree. Love is a somebody. It’s not the man with a complex about women taking over the world, using it as an excuse to cheat on you. It’s not the man who lavished you with a thousand headscarves for Muhammad. It’s not the jerk who orders your meal for you, when he doesn’t even know if you’re allergic or not. It may not even be the grad student who lets women castrate him and throw him in the dumpster. But love is more than a body to keep you warm at night, something to be upgraded when you have a doubt or change of scenery. I hope you will understand what I mean before the world has passed you by. Nobody deserves such a lonely fate. For you to suffer in that fashion would break my heart more than your spineless rejection ever could.” No reply. I mulled over this catastrophe with one of my good friends, an unabashed pessimist, also loyal, whose objective understanding human behavior proved useful on many occasions. He said he could have slapped me for going back to her. I agreed, asking if he’d do that the next time I do something so rash. Actually, I asked him if he could kidnap me, throw me in a basement, and convince the woman that I was dead, ala Saving Silverman. We talked about the crux of the relationship- the different expectations. I tried to forge a connection based on mutual compatibility (intellectual, physical and emotional), and she wanted somebody to squeeze. There were expectations of that “squeezee,” (literacy, education, hygiene, body type, what have you) but history indicated that the kind of compatibility I was looking for wasn’t a primary concern for her. “You see, you’re looking for compatibility,” he said. “Most don’t start looking for that until they are older.” “I don’t want to be a last-resort, you know?” I said. “I don’t want a woman who says, ‘ok, well, I’m done having fun now. You’re a safe bet, I guess you’ll do.’” “It’s not like that,” he said to me. “It’s not that they give up. What they want changes.” Then, in a conversation with my cousin: “Did she have a pretty face?” “Yeah she had a pretty face,” I said. “She was gorgeous.” “Then she won’t have a problem finding a boyfriend. If there’s a better option, and there always is, they’ll take it.” He said. “Monogamy is hardly anywhere in nature, and human beings were not meant to be monogamous.” “But other animals don’t make art, have civilizations, make war,” his roommate chimed in. “Humans are social creatures,” I agreed. “I think monogamy serves a social function, so then people can be monogamous. It can happen.” I enjoy reading female bloggers who discuss that sex’s side of dating and relationships. Don’t get me wrong- It’s not a pastime. But when I’m looking for an answer, I go to the source of the question. And so I found this post, juxtaposing the seminal 90s grunge-rock coming of age romantic comedy Reality Bites with today’s dating atmosphere particularly illuminating: “It was remarked recently that you know when you’re a grown up when you no longer find Ethan Hawke’s scruffy, smart-ass character in Reality Bites charming, but see him as the dirty hipster he is.” (Cant Post URLs - article is on link removed. Search for Irin Carmon's "Reality Bites: In Which The Girl Never Has To Play Dumb") But I’m kind of confused as to why the author didn’t realize Ryder’s character in the movie has false dilemma. On one hand you have Hawke’s character, who’s too lazy to make anything of himself. On the other you have Stiller, who’s character is either morally irresponsible or without a backbone. Where’s the smartass that actually does something? Those do exist. Nobody is perfect, however, including Ryder, and perhaps this is why the author ignores this option. That’d be too convenient and unrealistic. That’s beside the point, however. The point is that Ryder must choose, and she doesn’t have an ideal option. She can either end up straddling the motorcycle to nowhere with the hot deadbeat, or the bland provider lacking the “it” factor. And judging by the comments on the post, and the billion related scenarios all over the internet, it seems the consensus is “settle,” meaning play to the inevitable endgame where the female never emotionally commits: either the heart throbs for one, or aches for the other. Or, take Lori Gottlieb's "Why it’s OK to settle for Mr. Good Enough" (in the Atlantic, but mentioned in a previous, well-traveled post). Wow! Nothing says love like “if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go,” because all successful marriages start with a white flag! I’d really hate to be that shallow woman’s husband. I’d rather be single. Forever. May I be so bold as to ask what happened to compatibility? And I don’t mean just the kind where the parts match up. Am I just a naive boy going around and around in a teacup at Disneyland, or am I making sense? So finally (and thank you for being patient), the question: do you think there’s a tipping point? And by that, I don’t is there a point in the dating life cycle of a woman where they ignore the bad boy and go with the safe bet. What I mean, is there a point when a woman looks at compatibility as preferable to other characteristics? Is that really a compromise, or is it that interests shift with life experiences? Link to comment
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