Friday, March 12, 2010

Old Fashioned Romance vs Independence

My amazing sister Rachel and I have a weekly dinner date. It's a fabulous way for us to get together every week and spend time with each other. So two days ago over homemade French Dip sandwiches and steamed vegetables, we were discussing dating. (As is know to happen when you get two single females together who are both playing the dating game.)

Rachel recently had gone on a first date with a guy who insisted on holding the door, opening and shutting her car door, etc. The typical old-fashioned romantic things that were actually once upon a time an expectation in the process of "wooing" a woman. The "gentleman" thing to do. This particular guy would rush to get the door as Rachel is accustomed to getting her own doors. And then he said "Thank you for letting me be a gentleman".

It got me thinking.

As small of a thing as it is, it gives me extreme opposite feelings in both ways. Half of me loves the idea of the gentleman, of being treated like a lady of respect and attention. The other half of me hates it, as I don't need a man doing anything for me.

Did feminism pop the romantic bubble? Does a single woman's need to be strong and be on her own always trump the desire to be romanced and treated as men with good upbringings have been told to treat her?

I like romance. I like flowers, I like sweetness and kindness, I like random expressions of feeling, I'd like chocolates if I liked chocolate. Yet I feel uncomfortable sitting in a car while a man walks around to open the car door for me. It makes me feel as though I'm agreeing to the fact that I'm unable to do anything (like get out of the car) without a man giving me permission, and the man doing the extremely hard physical labor of opening a car door since little old me can't handle it. And then I realize that I'm being silly. However, knowing that I'm being silly doesn't necessarily make the feeling go away, does it?

So how is a poor man supposed to act this day and age? I honestly feel badly for single men. Us woman are complex creatures with thoughts and feelings that are so mixed up that it's no wonder men feel like we are alien beings.

A lot of women my age were taught by our parents and society itself that we are to grow up, marry, buy a house, have babies, raise them right, and then enjoy being a grandmother. When I was younger that's honestly what I expected for myself. Now here I am. Almost 31 years old, one divorce under my belt, my only "child" being of the canine sort, renting an apartment in the Avenues surrounded by college students, and making a living of my own. I like my life. I like where I am in life. I like my stability. I like my ability to care for myself without having to depend on anyone else.

And that's where it gets confusing.

The line between independence and dependency is blurred. Yet we seem to be able to pick and choose which parts of the whole male/female thing are blurry. Flowers = okay. Car door = not okay. What????

That makes no sense. It all boils down to one simple fact: only the woman knows if she needs doors opened for her. And if she doesn't need doors opened for her, she should be comfortable with that and appreciate the gesture when a man makes attempts at being a gentleman. If she's truly comfortable with her independence then it shouldn't matter one way or another. And another thing that us independent women need to realize is that no man really thinks to himself "I need to get the car door for her because she can't do it herself". He is simply trying to be respectful. Simple.

Personally, this independent woman has figured out that I would really love some old-fashioned romance.

Much Love!