August 3, 2013

Bringing Sexy Back: 6 Old-Fashioned Tips for the Modern Romantic.

Frustrated with the modern dating ‘treadmill’? Tired of the technology? The expectations? The endless hookups?

The process of relating, dating and mating has changed a lot since our grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ time. Here are some well-worn ‘old-fashioned’ dating strategies for the modern man and woman. Try them on for size!

1) Meet people in the real world.

Yes, our lifestyles are no longer conducive to chance encounters with actual people. We are more connected than ever to the idea of people via social networks and less connected than ever to actual living, breathing people. We commute to work, armed with earbuds and a Kindle. We spend the workday on a computer. We return home, again armed with the earbuds and a Kindle.

We settle in for a busy evening of social networking and Netflix.

It would, therefore, seem like a good idea to have a presence on sites like match.com, eHarmony or Plenty of Fish and to spend all one’s free time communing with other date-seeking folks, while growing thin and gaunt and pale and ignoring the dishes and the phone and the doorbell.

The logic is counterintuitive.

Physical attraction, you see, is determined by pheromones. Nature has created these cantankerous, wily chemicals to assure that subsequent generations of human beings possess the strongest genetics possible. This is Darwinism in action. Unfortunately, one cannot suss out attraction on dating websites. There are boxes for ‘geographic area’, ‘height,’ ‘body type,’ ‘astrological sign’ and ‘interests.’ There is none for ‘pheromonal code.’

No matter how appealing a guy or girl may seem to be online, how attracted you may be to their photos or witty online write-up, or esoteric interests (Monty Python or artisanal mozzarella-making, anybody?) there is no substitute for a face-to-face meeting.

We all have that friend who carried out a months-long, torrid online romance with that guy from Vladivostok, only to find out, upon finally meeting, that there was no chemistry at all.

Translation: Get out of the house. Change up the old routine. Meet some new people. They won’t bite.

2) Sloooww things down.

This isn’t the Indy 500. If it is a long-term relationship that you seek, ease off on the ‘second or third date rule’ and really get to know somebody before getting intimate. Jumping the gun too early, so to speak, can cause a promising relationship to fizzle rather than sizzle. Nowadays, we have pills and prophylactics to mitigate the risks of pregnancy or STIs. Big Pharma has yet to manufacture a morning-after pill for a broken heart. Know thyself.

Many people will accuse you of being ‘old-fashioned.’ These folks will (guess what)? hit the road. So what? The right person will respect your choices.

3)…and allow romance to flourish.

Yes, this is super cheesy, but desire maketh the heart grow stronger.

It is important to be silly, to be vulnerable, and to be real with people we love or in whom we are at least interested in. We need to learn to give without the expectation of return. Our modern dating culture, and its transactional approach, has runneth amok with disposability and snark. This is not sexy for anybody.

The greatest artwork in human history has been inspired by longing. Would the French love poetry of the Middle Ages ever have come about if the Troubadours had hooked up right after the first appletini? Would we have champagne or flamenco guitar or five course candlelit meals without romantic longing? Non, ma cherie.

So, go ahead … pick some wildflowers, plan a picnic or bake some cookies for your date (all without posting to Facebook…I dare you. Nobody has to know. )

4) Be clear about your intentions.

In the days of yore, if a man asked a woman out, he was either interested in dating her or was planning to pay for her time, if you catch my drift. While friends with benefits and the casual relationship ad infinitum may work for some, they are an epic fail for many others. Several generations ago, unscrupulous operators (both male and female) would be castigated by the community. There is less accountability now.

Unless both partners are of stratospheric maturity levels, one person will end up getting hurt. Usually, this will be the individual who is, perhaps foolishly, waiting for a deeper commitment from somebody willing to give it ‘after work slows down’, or ‘after football season’ or ‘after my highlights grow out’ or some other cockamamie reason. Do you know when this will come about? ‘When hell freezes over.’

The moral of the story? Never use people. Don’t string them along. Don’t be dishonest with them. Above all, do not be dishonest with yourself. Karma is a bugger. If you find yourself googling ‘Does my partner even like me?,’ he or she, most likely, does not.

It is better to be alone than be with somebody and be lonely.

5) Bag the texting and Facebooking.

Fear not the voice of one’s fellow man and woman on the telephone.

The telephone was all the rage back in the day. This handy telecommunications device can, in fact, prove quite handy. Use it. Texting and Facebook messaging can be a bore. They shouldn’t become the sole method of communication. There are only so many responses to an emoticon, only so many creative endeavoring can elicit a good reply to ‘hey’ and ‘hey, how are you?’.

And—if you must part ways—man or woman up. Pulling a technological ‘fade-out’ is totally for wusses.

6) Don’t use “busyness” as an excuse.

No matter how full your plate, previous generations were busier. Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers logged in an average of sixty hours per week in grueling factory jobs. This is a documented fact. Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers had to carry their own water or grow and can their own food or take care of seven kids or walk seven miles to school in seven feet of snow. Take stock of your time and set intentions and priorities rather than letting ‘busyness’ (also known as ‘self-absorption’) set the agenda.

Try these tips from the halcyon days of yore. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!


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Ed: Bryonie Wise

{Photo: via Pinterest}

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