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Friday, February 19, 2010

A reason for ridiculous mutation or possibly why romance is so abstruse

ROMANCE - To court or woo romantically; treat with ardor or chivalrousness; a strong fascination or enthusiasm for something.  [Romance week starts here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

Image from Disney's Sleeping Beauty

My romance enculturation began, like most American girls, with fairy tales, Barbie dolls, and magazines. I was taught that the boy has the answers AND he always saves the girl. Disney and Pixar have done their best to inject a different aphorism today, girls are as capable as boys and can save the day, but when I was growing up Prince Charming was always coming to save me. I dreamt about the day when I would be whisked off my feet and transported to a new and wondrous realm that only the perfect man could provide.  I even remember placing a pillow under my knees while I slept to give myself the feeling that someone was sweeping me up in their arms. It was powerful and very consuming. 

Thinking back to my early dating I can see how difficult it was for my mere mortal suitors to have a chance. I was trained to believe that true love was all knowing and could conquer and provide everything. So when a high school crush didn't instantly know exactly how I liked to be kissed or what love token should be sent (school colored maroon and white carnations for homecoming!) or when my first lover knew less about sex then I did, it was all very frustrating and disappointing. Of course, like many girls, I figured this meant something was wrong with me because a man could never be that inept, could he?

In time I was willing to take responsibility for my own happiness but the indoctrination ran deep. I voraciously dated but was still expecting "the one" to somehow reveal themselves in some magical way. I dated people much longer then I ever should have just because I met them in some fabulous way.  

Example: While participating in Tony Robbins' Date with Destiny Seminar in my early thirties, I found Colin "cute English guy's" name tag on the ground. The name tags were the entry ticket to the very expensive seminar so I went looking for Colin because I knew he would be looking for it. As I was conducting my search some other participant said, "Oh I know Colin, I'll give it to him." and she took the tag. For the rest of the event I scanned the name tags of everyone hoping to say hello, but we never met. After Date with Destiny was over, a bunch of participants went to a club to celebrate. At some point in the evening this cute guy and I saw each other and suddenly it was as if the 200 other people in the room just melted away. He walked over and said, " Hi, I am Colin!" The same Colin who's name tag I had found! What are the chances??!

I dated that guy for more then a year because of that meeting. He lived in another country, his fundamental Christian beliefs were at odds with what I believe in my heart, I spent thousands trying to help him get his multilevel marketing business off the ground (it never happened) and let him stay in my home for months after he told me he was no longer interested in me. I was convinced that people who met so dramatically MUST be able to find their way to each other. 

I am an extremely happy person. I make lemonade from lemons and bounce back from adversity very well.  I really didn't NEED a man to sweep me off my feet to love my life but I still continued to hope one would. Yes I could, and did, take responsibility for my own happiness but my childhood brainwashing was still afoot. No matter how much I took charge of my destiny I would allow the men I dated to bend me. I won't write because YOU are the writer. YOU hate Disney, I don't need to go again. I won't take that new job because YOU want us to be free to travel. 

It never felt like a sacrifice to make these concessions. For "true love" I was willing and because I could make lemon aid from the lemons, if it didn't work out I was off to the next adventure. When I placed an ad on Craig's list saying that I was looking to be "wooed and wowed forever," I said I did it as a conversation starter but in reality I wanted it to be true. I no longer expected or needed saving but my conditioning still cried out for magic.

Rob answered that Craig's list ad and in time even signed up to woo and wow, for life! Fast forward to today and it is clear to me why my romantic endeavors, no matter how pure of heart, are so routinely farcical. I keep hoping fantasy maneuvers will elicit the perfect response. Rob, however, is not a puppet. He is not a one note prince come to save me. He is a real man. He has thoughts, desires and whims that change, just as mine do. We are uniquely compatible and quirky and the standard fairy tale play book will never be enough.

However, when he holds me in his arms as we go to sleep I will let myself feel swept away!

Next post: More romantic musings

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise
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Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

  • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
  • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


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