November 20, 2010
As part of my English degree, in my finally year in college I wrote a dissertation on the origin of romantic love in the novel throughout the eighteenth century (riveting stuff to many I’m sure). This paper basically argued that our idea of romance in the modern day stems from very astute writers who recognized that there were some very bored women sitting in some dark parlors with only a piano and a sewing box to amuse them in the seventeen hundreds. The clever writers decided to write books about dashing eligible bachelors looking for beautiful, subservient ladies as wives. Turns out, this worked a treat on the bored ladies and they began to see relationships in a whole new light, devouring the novels with vigor!
We all know the kind of thing I refer to, think Colin Firth and the man hunting sisters in Pride and Prejudice. I grew up in a house with a mother who loved reading/watching period dramas and in turn I have to admit, I too have a serious soft spot for the said novels/ tv dramas.
However, this brings its drawbacks. Firstly, if you do enjoy the odd period drama, I find you also enjoy the odd chick flick. I’m not going to lie, seeing Richard Gere climb that trellis to give Julia the roses in Pretty Woman still gets me everytime (that doesn’t happen to every call girl in the world you know!)
I put part of my continued singledom down to this interest in the romantic genius of films like Dirty Dancing and novels like Sense and Sensibility. It was material like this that gave me a heightened sense of romantic pursuit that is just not realistic.
A few months ago I was in a pub near to where I live with a few friends. I enjoy a chat with the odd guy or two when I’m out. I don’t persue this line of chatter because I see every guy I talk to as a potential love interest, it’s generally because I like talking to randomers. If I meet someone with whom I have a romantic interest in it’s a bonus (you will learn that doesn’t happen too regularly)
So I started talking to this guy in the smoking area. Since the smoking ban has kicked in, it seems to be the new ‘it’ place to meet folk. I could never go out with a full time smoker as I have a bit of an anti smoking streak in me, so one might say the fact that I regularly meet men in smoking areas is a little counter productive.
Anyway, this guy (let’s call him Paul), Paul seemed nice enough. He claimed he was a golfer of some sorts. I feigned interest in this for a while, not having a clue about what he was talking about for large parts of our conversation. What I found amusing about Paul was that he showed no interest in me what so ever, by that I mean he asked me nothing about myself. I talked to him for about half an hour and in that time if someone had asked him ‘so Paul, what’s that girls story’ he’d have no idea. However, at the end of our conversation (I left to go to another pub), he said ‘so can I get your number, maybe we could go for a drink sometime’. At the time, I thought this request as a little odd, he didn’t have a clue about the person he was asking out. He was basically was asking out a face, with two arms and legs. However, I admired his directness so I gave him my number.
The next day I learnt why Paul didn’t really care about where I was from or what I worked as. I got a text message something along the lines of ‘So I have the house free for the night. U can come over if u want. Mite b fun…’ Now there’s direct and there’s just down right presumptuous and our dear friend Paul was the latter I’m afraid. Needless to say I declined his kind offer.
This brush with Paul does make me wonder about the aul chivalry potential of guys these days.I feel with men it’s a constant battle between over eager directness (eg: ‘so do you want to stay over’) and blatant nonchalantism (eg:’I’m just not good at committing to anything’).
My aunty finds all my non-chivalrous encounter stories highly amusing. She often tells me I’m in the ‘frog’ stage of my life, stemming from the ‘ you need to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet your prince’ phrase.
As amusing as the frog stage is, there is that part of me that secretly hopes that Ms.Roberts and Ms.Austen were on to something. After all, at some point the law of averages has to kick in on the Prince stage right?