Date for dessert?
While it may not look as picture perfect, or present itself as exotically described, the nature of the romantic diet is changing with each new App that serves up human beings at your fingertips. Because this is how we date now, and it’s cacophonous.
We don’t know what romance looks like now, because we’re drowning in a sea of triple-filtered art, adjusted with the perfect aperture, because even amateurs know angles matter. We think romance is glamour and glitter comparable to Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair Coverpage, but note that she didn’t wear her “I woke up like this” shirt, (does she even have one?) Irrelevant. Romance is satin corsets. Romance is perfect hair that arrives on set in a box. Romance is made-up with chemicals that could fill an entire coffin. Yes, romance is dead sexy.
Romance today is romance filtered to amp up sex appeal, the innovative dirty old tricks that food photographers have employed for decades to induce your saliva. As if knowledge is power. What did we learn? Instead of being in the moment, we’re being in our phones as we so generously share with the world, the moments that we’re missing, having…missing.
Because a lot’s missing.
Missing between the myriad of screens and our lives, between the narratives of our lives, between what we show vs. what we are, between what’s filtered vs. what’s real. In the forging of more and more connections, a disconnect is growing between our public and private selves, online and offline selves.
When we choose quantity over quality, something is sacrificed. At which point, does the scale tip over, as we dilute ourselves across multi-platforms in the world of 2.0? In which dimension do we then exist? In which dimension are we searching for that elusive more? In which dimension are we truly present? In which dimension does the meaning we so yearn for, reside?
I’m not your therapist. I’m a composer.
Yet, I didn’t always understand that sometimes, “less is more.” During my undergrad composition studies, my music had been “notey.” Too many ideas, too many motifs, too many notes; I wrote with the ego of a piano major. Reduce, hold and stretch; bin the notes, hold what’s there, extend the phrase by another bar or two. Then, the music started to breathe.
Because space. Ahh….
What a novel idea.
Yet, we fill every space we have, with all the notes we gather, with yesterday’s garbage, and yesteryear’s baggage. Input, input, input, because we derive security from our tangible constructions. But what if I told you, that you could get security elsewhere? Wouldn’t you like to hold onto the tingling moments for longer? At your discretion?
What if I told you, that instead of using your tech, that you could use a fermata? Or six?
I. Hold the Gaze
Eye-contact is what’s used to place someone at the crosshairs. How are you planning to get a decent shot if you don’t hold still? It’s basic, almost animalistic. Like my driving instructor told me the first time I sat in the driver’s seat, “look where you’re going”. Hold the gaze, if you’re interested in pursuit.
II. Fermata Face-Time
Because Face-Time is real time—online or not, and there’s a reason why they call “real time” “real.” Facetime gives you no screen to hide behind, no time to come up with a perfectly phrased response, rehearse a perfectly executed move or manufacture a witty comeback. In fact, the very quality of “witty” is rather time-sensitive. Witty is sexy in person, delivered in real time; witty, a few days later, reads manipulative and conniving. If you value the person, make room for, and fermata facetime.
III. Hold Conversation
Because looks get old real quick, and if you can’t converse, learn. The longest conversation I’ve had, in one sitting, was eight hours, with content so rich, nothing was recycled. Yet, there are people with whom I can’t continue a conversation past eight minutes. I’m interested in things. And you should be into people who are interested in things, too, because raising the common denominator is public service.
IV. Hold silences
Because I’m a walking contradiction. I believe in lines from movies, even though they’re not real. But this one is. Straight from Pulp Fiction, “That’s when you know you’ve found somebody really special. When you can just shut the f*ck up for a minute and comfortably share silence.”
So much happens in silence. So,
V. Hold moments of nudity
Because it’s good for you. Emotional nudity, too. Imagine charging through the battlefield, without weapons, without kevlar. Would you still make war? With what? You’re without guard, defenseless, vulnerable, the preconditions of being real. Unshackle the social conditioning that form your shell. Fermata on the nudity.
VI. Hold your breath
Because the most magnetizing moments are felt, not filtered. If it’s so easy to order up a human being, then why is it harder and harder to find the real thing? Is it possibly, because we’re spending too much time looking in the wrong places? Is it possible, that the real thing happens, in real time? When we are not seeking for the validation of others, but ourselves? When we are really listening to our hearts, instead of counting the ones clicked by others? Fermata inhale; fermata exhale.
Voilà, six holds to up stamina and endurance, the way our ancestors did it.
Nothing lasts forever, so savour the transient moments of tingling sensations; sustain the butterflies; prolong the moments of the elusive more. Perhaps it’s all illusion, perhaps it’s all myth, but since we realize what we want is a lie, then just maybe, this is how to get it.
I’m not your therapist, only a composer, but perhaps you’ll have a better sounding love story, with space to breathe, to sing, to discover new beats.
If music be the food of love, Seamless some fermatas.
Author: Xiren Wang
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photos: Author’s Own