Chivalry: the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, especially courage, honor, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak…and courtesy to women. (Compare courtly love.)
Yeah…what happened to that?!?! Apparently, it has died.
I’ve been quiet lately, or perhaps it’s best to say I haven’t been writing publicly. I have eight million thoughts in my head and yet I find myself struggling to express them. But, I started this blog with the intention of telling my stories, expressing my thoughts and sharing my experiences, because oftentimes other people are as amused by them as I am. So, let’s be honest and talk about dating….when you’re 38…and in Alaska…and what you’ve done in the past didn’t seem to work out quite right.
I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve always dated older. 5 plus years to a maximum of 16. (It should be noted the 16 was probably closer to 20 and I do believe he was lying…but he had a fabulous wine cellar.)
Dating older when you’re in your twenties means you are, or at least you should be, dating someone who is secure in their career. They’re ready to commit, thinking about building a life and sharing in all the excitement that has yet to find you both. Dating older when you’re in your late thirties means you’re dating someone who has been there, done that, it didn’t work out, and now they’re bitter and like their own space. Or, on the other hand, they’ve never been there or done that, say they never found the right one, and that means they’re set in their own ways and they like their own space. When I reentered the dating world, again, it was with the hope that I would get it right this time around. I want to find the person to share and build a life with, but now perhaps it’s a little more complicated because we bring parts of our pasts to the table. That does not mean I should not be allowed to find that, that I need to settle for what someone is willing to give.
I had this brilliant idea, encouraged somewhat by a friend of mine who is a Tinder-holic, to date younger. Suddenly I am the one with the “good” job and a life plan, capable of supporting myself and standing on solid ground. (It appears that way, anyway, to the younger male.) I won’t name names. He was an environmental scientist, smart, cute, slightly awkward and his pictures were of him in the Arctic with penguins. Penguins. He had me at penguins.
First date, divey bar because they served popcorn. I drank beer and the conversation was easy. He seemed nervous and I felt…old. Sexy, but old. The age difference was only three years, but I think it’s safe to say he was a young 35. As one person put it, a boy-man. I like a man-man but I was going to try, damn it. He loosened up and we moved on to another bar and eventually kissed goodnight. He paid for the 3 beers. The chemistry was good. He was shorter than I normally like, wore a plaid shirt, and looked like he should ride his skateboard home. In my mind I was 19 again and I had a crush.
Second date…a bottle of wine, chips and salsa, strawberries, conversation. We were in the discovery phase and he said all the right things. He’d stop mid sentence and tell me I was beautiful.
Third date…he accompanied me to a comedy event I was judging. He met me there and we made our way to the bar. After ordering drinks, I told him I’d get it and he said, “Thanks.” Wait, what?!?!?! I didn’t really want to get it, I was testing him and he failed.
I decided to talk to one of my younger, single, actively dating co-workers about the current state of courtship. He told me in his opinion, women, or perhaps we should say girls, are insulted when a man always pays. He said he lets them pay because he doesn’t want to make them feel insecure. Ummmmm…no. Ladies, you are killing chivalry!!!!!! (And men, you aren’t putting up a good fight!) When speaking with my older male friends, they agree with me 100% that the man should pay and can’t fathom not doing so.
My message to the ladies:
Someday you will most likely birth a child. It will grow inside of your now tight abdomen and make its way out through your vagina. If you are on a date right now, there is a possibility the man sitting across from you will be responsible for helping to create that child. For that reason, he should pay. (You will also cook most of the meals, clean the toilets, dust, schedule all of the doctor’s appointments, and work a full-time job …. and make twenty-two cents less an hour than he does while doing it.)
Now, I’m not saying the woman should never pay. I’m just saying courtship is a lost art. Women want to be pursued. Gender roles are alive and thriving in so many ways, and I’m ok with most of them. (For example, the man should always take out the trash and kill the spiders. In exchange, women will follow you around picking up your junk that ends up in the trash you will place by the curb.) If I swipe right, and he swipes right, I want him to say hello first. I’m not shy. I have no problem making the first move. I just don’t want to anymore.
In the 2+ years I dated George, he almost always paid for date nights. (And he ALWAYS opened the car door for me.) I almost always paid for groceries for “family” meals, and dinners at “home”. Vacations, activities with the kids, and weekend getaways were often shared expenses.
My message to the guys…
If you can’t open her car door because you have to get in on your side and reach across to unlock it, it’s time to stop dating or get a new car. (This may not apply to boys under the age of 27.)
My message to me:
You hate dating. You don’t want to do it anymore. But, you have to or you’ll end up alone with a bunch of cats.
You really, really, really like penguins. You also really, really, really like wine. You like wine more.
You hate cats.