Remember when we used to talk about love as forever? When a man looked deep in your eyes and asked, “What are you doing for the rest of your life?” These days you are lucky to get, “What are you doing for the rest of your coffee break?” There’s now even a half-night stand: a one-night stand without the sleepover.
When did we get so afraid to commit to the future, where a night feels like a month? Is this the dog years version of dating?
I admit there was a New Year’s Eve in Sun Valley when I knew midnight was approaching, and I was without a date. “I’ll be back soon,” I said to my sister and set off into the bar. I approached a strapping young man who admired the temporary parrot tattoo on my face (don’t ask), and I asked if he thought he could be in a committed relationship with me for (looking down at my watch) 17 minutes. He agreed and valiantly saw me through the new year with a sexy kiss, and when I led him back (now with matching tattoo) to the rest of my posse, I perceived a small gasp of admiration.
I knew this ski vacation romance came with an expiration date, but, all too often, a spark of a relationship gets doused before it can even become a flame. “‘Til death do us part” is now “‘til something better comes along.”
The problem is that romance seems disposable. It’s like instead of your favorite mug, you choose a Styrofoam cup that you toss after the coffee . . . which only pollutes the environment. The modern generation is choosing quantity over quality and thus has become the Made in China of dating pools.
The thing is, if you keep snatching the first tendrils of new growth, the plant never evolves into its beautiful flowering maturity. And by the way, just picking clover is called weeding, not gardening.
Guys say they don’t have time for a relationship but they have hours a day for social media posturing, Netflix binging, and Kitten Cannon (like parrot tattoo, don’t ask). And gals, we have time for mani/pedis, blowouts, false eyelashes, highlights, laser treatments, shopping for the perfect thigh-high boots, and gossip on Ariana Grande’s love life, but not a relationship. We spend more time getting ready for the date than the date. Both men and women are focused on their careers and the demands that come with it.
But wouldn’t it be lovely if you had someone who supported you and cheered you on and listened to your woes and assured you that you are wonderful and they have your back? Isn’t that worth your time?
There is a general confusion around intimacy and what it means. It may be a woman thing, but sometimes we assume that is the beginning of the relationship, not the end. You can see the look in a guy’s face when you are asking when you are going to see him again. Personally, being a bit of a prude, I believe there is still value in waiting and seeing if there is actually more than just physical attraction for a relationship. Of course, there needs to be chemistry but when “What’s your favorite position?” is the new “What’s your sign?” We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.
However, I believe, deep down, that there is a bit of angst on both the male and female sides about this new future with endless possibilities. I see fear. Fear of trusting someone. Fear of rejection. Fear of being vulnerable. Fear of investing in a relationship that doesn’t last. Fear of false promises. Fear of wasting your best years on someone who isn’t worthy. Fear that behind your Tinder/Bumble/Instagram/Facebook/Zoosk carefully curated façade there is an imperfect, flawed, poorly Yelp-reviewed, “please God turn down the lights before you see me naked” soul.
So, the truth about dogs, to get back to the original and very mixed metaphors of this column, is that they love so truly and unconditionally that even a few years is like a blessed and fulfilling lifetime. They don’t need to weigh in on the favorite position. They just need to remind us time is precious and how and with whom we connect will define our happiness.