Dating. I really don't know much about it, as I didn't do a whole lot of it before I got married. I went out with a few people once or twice. And the memory of at least one of those dates makes me want to bury my head in the sand. I had one serious relationship before I met my husband, which did not end well. And I met my husband when I was 22. Therefore, not a lot of experience, compared to others. Lately, though, my kids and their friends have caused me to reflect on dating, so I will lob my grenade, if you will.
On Saturday, I went out with my girls for shopping and lunch, and we started to talk about guys and relationships. Many of their friends and acquaintances have been tossing ideas about concerning what a "proper" guy should act like towards a girl, and what a girl should look for in a guy. Some of these ideas, to me, are a bit harsh toward the poor guys. It seems as though these young males are being expected to act like some never-before-seen-on-the-face-of-the-planet, hormone-less, perfectly well-mannered, cartoon-character princes. "Don't you dare call me 'hot,' or I will look down my nose at you forever," some of these girls seem to be saying. "Put me on a pedestal and chastely gaze upon me, without even daring to let it enter your mind how much fun it might be to make out," is the attitude I am seeing.
Now, I am not suggesting that manners and chivalry are unimportant. And I do realize that a relationship, in order to be healthy and lasting, needs to develop in a way that facilitates those things. A healthy, lasting relationship needs to be developed on the basis of friendship, mutual respect, a true concern for the well- being of the other, tenderness, compassion. And true love comes about only when the other person is as important to you as you are to yourself, implying a certain mode of behavior toward that other person.
Let's be real, though. When a guy (or a gal) chooses someone to date and perhaps to marry, he is going to choose someone who is physically attractive to him. He is going to be sexually interested. He is going to think she is "hot." And you should not smack him down for this. Just be flattered. Because a guy can think you are admirable, smart, funny, interesting, virtuous, and "hot" all at the same time. These are not mutually exclusive qualities. And there is a lot to be said for a guy who just acts "normal" about women. A guy who neither treats women as mere sex-objects nor puts them on pedestals. A guy who, on a Saturday night date, might enjoy intelligent conversation, a Van Halen concert, and a great kiss good-night. A guy who, the following morning, might accompany you to church (followed, of course, by brunch). Sounds like a good weekend to me.
This brings me back to the conversation I had with my daughters while we were on our little outing a couple of days ago. I told them that the first things I noticed about their dad was that he was very handsome ("hot," you might say) and that he had this awesome little red car, which he drove maybe a little bit too fast. Those were the things that sparked my interest. Those were the things that made me want to talk to him. But, upon talking to him, I discovered a person who was kind, compassionate, intelligent, funny, and deeply spiritual. I also discovered a person who loved rock-n-roll. (He can tell you which Van Halen songs belong to which Van Halen albums. He knows all the lyrics, too. At least for the first several albums.) And rock-n-roll is very important for the long-term health of a relationship. Because any healthy relationship, aside from all the other qualities already mentioned, requires not just a little bit of fun... ;-)