It’s become the stuff of countless movies. Young, neurotic, single women commiserating with their friends over the sad state of the dating game. Young, immature, non-committal men bragging to their bros about how they’ll never settle down, how no chick is trustworthy or worth giving up their freedom for. Yet, these two groups still get together, go through the motions, separate, and repeat the cycle. Each time the woman gets more insecure, depressed, and discouraged. Each time, the man becomes less likely to view women as anything more than a toy, something to pick up, play with for a while, and throw aside when they’re done. Why do we do this? I believe the answer is quite simple really, we’ve stopped playing by the rules.
There used to be time when we had boundaries, and we operated within them. We had rules, and we (for the most part) abided by them. We knew that the word “dating” was reserved for interactions between the sexes that were meant to lead up to a meaningful relationship and eventually engagement and marriage. Anything else was just considered “hooking up”. For the most part, respectable men knew that they had to have something to bring to the table and that there would be courtship involved. It was a matter of course and a matter of pride. Women also knew that they had to have something to bring to the table, and that they needed to conduct themselves in a matter befitting a lady and worthy of having respectable man that would want to be with her and take care of her. I’m sure I raised the ire of a lot of feminists with that statement, but I don’t care, I’m more a traditionalist than feminist. I have seen what getting farther away from what we used to do has gotten us.
Like many, I devoured every episode of Sex and the City and related very much to the characters. Fifteen years later, I would look back and see what a disaster it all was. I cringe at how poorly those relations were navigated and how destructive the mindsets were. Perhaps I could console myself with the fact that I was making those kinds of stupid mistakes in my early to mid 20s and not in my 30s like them. Due to the feminist revolution, we decided to throw out rules in the name of progress, but as I’ve said many times over the years, progress is not always good. What has all this “progress” gotten us?
Speaking of “progress”, whatever happened to the belief that sometimes you have to go backwards to go forward? If something is clearly not working, sometimes it makes a whole lot of sense to just pump the brakes and maybe even put it in reverse. Park for a while, get the lay of the land, then figure out where to go rather than running at top speed, swerving around curves, and heading for a crash before you know it? Things are not working out as they are. We don’t take time to really get to know people. We don’t take time to really get to know ourselves. We don’t take time to effectively communicate and lay out the ground rules before we start down the path. We expect a lot from each other, yet not much at all, if that makes any sense. Many of our relationships are built on a mountain of superficiality and lies.
We need to bring back “the rules”. We need a game plan. It’s just like when we were children. Having rules and boundaries let us know where we stood, it meant that someone cared enough about us to give us parameters to protect us from harm and to at least soften the blow if we did step outside because we were warned of what to expect. Without them, we’re just spinning out of control, occasionally colliding into each other, and hurtling out into space.