05 December 2008

They're all a bunch of phonies

A few weeks ago I went on a date. Yup. I did it. I met a guy and flirted my way into giving a phone number out. And we went on a date. And he was nice. And I laughed and smiled and did what I was supposed to and generally had a decent time. He was (is?) a nice guy. But after it was all over I was a little ticked off at myself. Mainly because I wasn't being "me" at all. I was laughing at things that weren't funny. I was (shudder) giggling. I was dumbing myself down.

Another anecdote: At work today we had a discussion about an editorial in the paper about how girls shouldn't expect guys to be like men in the movies. I said that I think it's fair for girls to expect guys to be courteous and more sensitive every once in a while and that, on the reverse, it's fair for guys to expect girls to toughen up every now and then and be more adventurous (if they lean towards the sensitive side, I suppose). A bit of give and take on both sides. One of the guys in the office then went on about how that isn't entirely true, because most girls actually like a good action film but NO guy actually likes "chick" movies. He said that guys who watch those movies are only doing it because they want the girl to think they like it and (in the case of extra long BBC movies) doing it because it's an extended time in which they can sit next to a girl.

Now on to the point: I just finished reading Catcher in the Rye for my American Lit class. For those who aren't familiar (or need a bit of a reminder), narrator Holden Caulfield hates people who are putting on a show for an audience, essentially. He doesn't like people who "perform". They are "phonies". He seems to prefer people who are candid and as honest as they can be (though there are debates on this since he also puts on shows but. . . that's another essay for another day.)

I understand that dating requires a bit of give and take in personality. I understand that the majority of guys would rather not watch Pride and Prejudice with me - but is it going too far to say that there are NO guys out there who will appreciate a movie (no matter what genre) for the sake of the quality of the film? Does ALL of dating have to be a show? Sure, there is an element of performing - but does it have to be the main dish or can we pull it back to appetizer status? Do people know when the "performing" should start and the "genuine" relationship should begin?

I think this may be why I don't do it very often. Maybe I'm a bit like Holden in that sense - I value people who are confident enough in themselves to try new things but to also stand up for themselves. I don't exactly know where I'm going with this - but I will say that I'm tired of playing the dating "game". I don't want to go out with guys who are performing for me and misleading me as to who they are - and I don't want to do it for them in return. I want to get to know people - men and women - and see them for who they are. I want a deeper level of trust and honesty than that.

And this, I think, gets to the root of the problem with dating in Provo. There are too many options. Men and Women can shop around as much as they want to because there will always be someone better. They don't have to work hard for real relationships because there's always another ward, another apartment, another class, another social - and dozens of single people to meet there. They don't have to try hard at all. Everyone is so comfortable on a surface level, but I don't think many people around here are really all that comfortable with themselves. Which is why I'm packing up and heading out. That's right. After my first year of teaching (in which I am trapped in Provo) I'm going to move. I'm going to start my own adventure in the great wide world and see what happens. Not just in the relationship part of my life, but in the part of my life that is excited for change.

Long story short?

Look out world!

(Oh and, P.S. - to that boy I work with who thinks that no guy likes "chick" movies - I'm pretty sure you're wrong. Or in denial. Or both. Not that all "chick" movies are good - but by my definition of movies that are slightly more "girly" - there are plenty that have substance and quality that are good no matter how you look at them. Action movies that are just about action are no better than romances that are just about getting the couple together.)

((tirade over))


Michael (Tenzil) said...

You know...I always tell people I will watch any movie as long as I think it will be interesting or entertaining on some level to me (and preferably both). So at times people wonder why I go to a so called "chick flick" like...say, Mansfield Park. And I usually say if a movie *is* a "chick flick" then its obviously failed on some level if it can ONLY appeal to women. (Or children, or african-americns, or et al...)

The Girl in the Other Room said...

Hooray for moving! It is a real scary thing. Hopefully it won't be as scary as when I moved to Alaska. I'm so excited for you. And you don't need scores and scores of beaus ... you only need one, if he's the right one! Dear Amy ....

Autumn said...

Congrats on the date.

I was wondering if your title was a Catcher in the Rye reference, glad to see I was right.

Abraham Maslow said...

have you really tried to get to know someone? have you thought a guy was cute and not put on a show? do you have enough confidence in youself to be yourself and trust you'll meet people who appreciate you? Or meet a man who will fall in love with the real you? Maybe you cant resist putting on a show (because you dont value yourself as well as you should) and then get frustrated with yourself and write a rant on your blog blaming the culture for your dating woes rather than your own fancy facade. Please dont dumb yourself down next time. its better to risk the few minutes of 'potential' awkwardness in hopes that you may be the means of inspiring someone to a higher level of literacy than to degrade your precious time to a decent, yet fake, date. At least you got free food right? sometimes we think that 'just be myself' means not trying. what a cop out. it takes effort to foster 'genuine' interest in someone. Often times it takes a drastic event to catalyze what will usually be a paradigm shifting experience so that we can see and have the motivation to appreciate the complexities, goodness, and profound value of what society will call a common person.

Joni said...

1. Tenz - I completely agree. My favorite movies are ones that will appeal to a wide variety of viewership (even if it is advertised toward one) - ie, Atonement - which was freaking brilliant.

2. GitOR - I adore you :) And we need to see each other soon. I miss you! Call me if you come to visit Little G.

3. I'm proud of you Autumn ;)

4. Umm. . . wow. Do I know you? I'm pretty positive I never said in my post that I was perfect in all of this. I don't think anyone is. That's the whole point of life, yes? (One of them, anyway) - to get to know people and learn how to foster those relationships that mean something? I'm not saying that I've been perfect in this - but it's something I'm working on. My point was that I don't think many people around here are aware of how "easy" they have it - and if they are aware of it, I don't know that they're trying to change it. But . . . that's a debate for another time. And. . . I'm pretty comfortable with who I am. But thanks for the concern :)

Mason said...

well looky here. you're a blogger! this is Eric Greaves email: rarnom@gmail.com. he's the teacher in Oregon i told you about. so if you have any questions shoot him an email. Good essay/article by the way. Haha Abe looks like he went off a little. how hypocritical for someone to pass such speedy judgment when he himself is advocating taking a perspective of love and concern for the "common person". he (or she) isnt even man enough (or woman enough) to give his real name. lame. maybe he needs to "value himself as well as he should". And geez Abe it would have been much more clever to use "the commoner" as your alias rather than some famous psychologist. maybe you're just a unsubstantiated idealist/elitist.