How to Pick a Lover

Posts tagged ‘dating mistakes’

Beware of the Courtly Gentleman

It’s hard for a girl to know sometimes if a man is a perfect gentleman or just not interested.
—Evan Esar

A typical complaint from women who are dating is that their escorts come on too strong too fast. While you, as a woman, are still considering whether or not you even like him, much less whether or not you want to sleep with him, he may be all over you. His hand “accidentally” wanders from your waist up to your breast and down to your inner thigh and beyond. He makes suggestive comments and puts his tongue in your ear and holds you down in a hammerlock embrace, while all the time you’re feeling as though you’re being loved to death by an amorous Saint Bernard: “Down, boy! Down!
Bad dog!”

After a number of evenings, which usually end in a tussle and leave you breathless and with torn clothing, it is a refreshing change, finally, to go out with a man who acts like a gentleman instead of an incipient rapist. A gentleman who kisses your hand or your cheek. A gentleman who manages to hold your coat for you without breathing down your neck and who can help you out of a car without putting his hand under your skirt. A gentleman who manages to have an ordinary conversation, which is not constantly salted with double entendres. Under these circumstances, a woman can relax and watch the show without feeling that, at the slightest sign of reduced vigilance, the wolf is going to pounce on the lamb, resulting in yet another tussle and lots of heavy breathing.

However, a courtly gentleman who is too polite can also be a sign of impending trouble albeit of another kind. One young wife reported her sad tale. “John was so respectful of me when we were going out. It was a delight after all those men on the make all the time. I thought it meant he loved me—but he was still respecting me three months after our wedding!”

The man who is not sexually aggressive may be behaving politely, or he may just be apathetic. Sometimes, the two very different patterns can seem much the same.

Erotic Errors in the Pusuit of Love

Good judgment comes from experience, and
experience—well, that comes from poor judgment.
—Anonymous

As a seasoned woman, my friend had seen much of life and her mind was full of memories while her eyes saw clearly with hindsight. Of her lovers, she remembered six who were wonderful and made her heart sing and seven others who were charming and considerate and who remained intimate friends for many years. So what about the rest of her lovers whose number shall remain discreetly vague?

The rest were mistakes. They were the error part in trial and error. They involved consent followed by regret. She did say yes but then realized she should have said maybe or even a resounding “no! never!” Like many women before her, she had often met with disillusionment, realizing too late that what she had anticipated would be a good encounter and a worthwhile experience had turned out to be distressing or embarrassing or degrading or just plain boring.

She would come home thinking about what happens “when lovely women stoop to folly” and would then resolve, “never again.” Ah, too soon old and too late smart. Had she known then what she knows now, she would never have become involved with many of those lovers. She would have noticed that they were wearing large labels saying Mistake, and she would have taken a cab home. Or better yet, she would never have gone out with them in the first place. A lot of grief—or, at the very least, wasted time—could have been avoided by saying, “I’m sorry, Harry, I can’t go to the movies with you next Tuesday night, I have to wash my hair. In fact, I will be washing my hair every night from here on till eternity.”

If she had known then what she knows now, she would have said, “No, John, I can’t go to the premiere with you, I have to watch this week’s episode of Desperate Housewives. Maybe some other year.” If she had known then what she knows now, she would have had only encounters ranging from nice to wonderful and would have skipped all the ones that had left an unpleasant aftertaste. So with the benefit of hindsight and maturity, she now consoles herself with Oscar Wilde’s observation: “Experience is the name so many people give to their mistakes.”

More next week…

Women in Contemporary Relationships

I think we can all agree that romantic relationships have changed dramatically over the past 50 years.

A mere two generations ago relationships and marriage were rather vanilla. Couples were heterosexual, of the same race/ethnicity, religion, social/economic and political background – so much for diversity. Also, marital roles were fairly circumscribed – men were the breadwinners and women the homemakers. There were shared expectations about sex roles for men and women, which were primarily based on what constituted masculine and feminine behavior. Premarital sex was taboo – at least for women. There were “good” girls and “bad” girls, and I don’t think I need to tell you what made a good girl good or bad girl bad. In any given couple, the man was usually older, taller, better educated, and financially better off than the woman.  All things that defer more power to the man than the women. Few women worked outside the home. And when they did, it was to supplement her husband’s substantially larger income.

Well, so much for the good ole days. Today’s relationships run the gamut of the rainbow – heterosexual/gay, interracial/ethnic, interfaith, binational, older women and younger men, couples from widely different social, economic, political backgrounds. Women have full fledged careers and they are financially independent. For women, being a virgin – or almost a virgin – is no longer a prerequisite to marriage.  All in all, women today have a range of options and opportunities that far outstrip those of our grandmothers or even our mothers.

It all sounds wonderful.  However, as we enter the second decade of the 21st century, many of our social values that govern love, sex and marriage remain markedly different for men and women in many ways. While both men and women may openly and freely engage in the pursuit of love and sex, how they reach their quest is not always the same.

"The world turned upside down" (gend...

“The world turned upside down” (gender-role reversal) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our cultural traditions are strong and differences in the socialization and physiology of men and women remain a reality. And unfortunately, or fortunately – depending on your personal views–many traditional sex roles remain deeply embedded in modern-day relationships – straight and gay. When these traditional roles collide with the realities of modern day – which they often do – couples find themselves in conflict.

While contemporary relationships may be much more rewarding than the those of our parents and grandparents, they are also much more complex and difficult.

Through this blog, I want to explore the relatively new emotional and sexual freedoms that women have gained through their struggle  for equality and freedom of sexual expression in contemporary relationships – including a woman’s option of having a lover(s) if she so chooses.

Each week I will post some specific thoughts about women in contemporary relationships for comment and discussion. Hope you will join in on what I believe will be a fun, enlightening and rewarding blog.

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