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!


elbie said...

couldn't agree more. i totally appreciate chivalry, but i also try to give it right back. sometimes i'll open my husband's door for him, and he never really expects it. it's a fine balance, but it's a fun one to figure out, i think. ps, weren't we supposed to get together sometime to hang out??

Anonymous said...

Dont be so hard on the old fashioned ways dear.... you might be surprised as to how amazing it can help a relationship sometimes :)
I still find myself blushing like a lady should when given a compliment. Not from shame, or embarrassment, but just be given a compliment out of the blue. It is something that is lovely, and simple.
Then again, I was raised in the south.... A southern belle I am... but my bell has cracked ;) Meaning I am a lady in public.... but in private ;) hehe. Zoe wie zoe

Just Me said...

Yes, Linds. We are definately needing to get together and hang out! I got your number, just been crazy busy and then sick. Not fun.

Zoe- I like your style! And you are absolutely right- we need to take the sweet things for what they are. Which are simply sweet things. :)

elbie said...

lady, let me know when you have some free time so we can try to work some plans out!

Anonymous said...

very cool