Thursday, January 3, 2013


I went on my first date at 19. Looking back, I sweat in gratitude that I did not have to make such a major decision then, naive and trusting as I was. 

I was superficial enough to believe that what matters between two people are their likes and dislikes on a petty level. I don't like sushi, I love cabbage, I don't get football, I like reading. 

When on a date way back when, I would have felt an odd need to agree over trivialities, or frantically defend my preferences. "It's not like I hate sushi, I think sushi is very decent, but we just don't see eye to eye, I'm not into raw fish and unseasoned rice and bland seaweed, not that I have anything against raw fish and unseasoned rice and bland seaweed—why am I sweating so much? Look, you can leave the sushi with me, I won't hurt it, I promise!"

Now on a date I blithely scorn the sushi and the football. Because if I am going to marry someone, it's not going to be about dinner or sports.
A strong sense of self is necessary to function in life, in a time when self-awareness is cast aside for trend-following. I have read books by Jewish publishers that claim that when it comes to marriage, the younger, the better, so that qualities have time to meld and grow together. That may work for some, but personal acknowledgement of one's own needs and wants can work to their advantage as well. 

Noelle Howey wrote a Modern Love tale, how she was dating a man who had no opinions about anything, despite his high IQ. He would wait for her viewpoint, then heartily concur. It soon became a deal breaker: She needed a man with opinions, and willing to stand by them. 

His transformation was so swift that she was taken aback when he would disagree. 
I wasn’t sure what to think. How could a person change so dramatically in such a short time? As much as I loved this bolder version of Chris, I worried I had inadvertently played Pygmalion with him. Everyone knows you can’t change your partner, and shouldn’t even try; that’s an axiom for a reason.
And I knew from experience that you can’t permanently contort yourself to please someone else . . . If I had somehow forced Chris into becoming the person I’d wanted to be with — as opposed to the person he truly was — we wouldn’t last.
She eventually discovered that his reasons for keeping acquiescent was due to his parents' loud and frequent arguments. Since they wouldn't even bother to hear him, he never felt a need to say anything. 
“It’s different with you,” he said. “I can be myself.”
Jessica Biel was featured in August's InStyle. The interview questions were based on reader submissions
Do you think when you're with someone for a long time you adopt some of their traits and vice versa? If so, what have you and Justin picked up from each other? — Jamie Jovel, Rohnert Park, CA.
In my earlier experiences with relationships, I was really vulnerable to somebody else's personality, hobbies, and way of life. But as I've gotten older, I've become proud of the traits that make me who I am. Maintaining my individuality is really important to me because otherwise I can easily slip into someone else's life. So I'm glad I'm getting better at it. It's a process, but it's getting simpler.  
There are so many books and films about uptight soccer moms who suddenly realize how they "lost themselves," then "need" to abandon their families to "rediscover who they are." Being a wife and a mother and a daughter and a sister is not an identity; all of us play many roles, yet remain something else entirely. There is no need to lose oneself in the process. It is not fair, not only to oneself, but to one's family. 

So no misrepresentation when on a date.  

"Goodness, I don't understand football at all. I abhor such violence for the sake of entertainment. No sushi for me, thank you, but could you pass the coleslaw?"    


Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

There is a limit to both agreement and disagreement.
Differences can, in the right proportion, enhance a relationship and help each person grow. Too many and you have nothing to say to the other person and things die out. On the other hand, too many similarities and you get bored because conversations always end early.
"Han Solo, cool guy."
{Awkward pause}
"Han Solo..."
"You said that already..."

The Beckster said...

Informative and funny.

Mr. Cohen said...

You posted 3 new messages over 3 consecutive days.
Too much for me to keep up with!

Princess Lea said...

MGI: Harrison Ford is cool in general, and that is understood by everyone. No need to state the obvious. :D

Anonymous said...

Football is a pretty tame sport; try watching some UFC!

Princess Lea said...

Do most guys admit watching UFC?

Anonymous said...

To other guys we do. Not sure if guys admit it to girls. I don't watch it for the violence though, it's more about the science of fighting for me. I admit, all the blood disturbed me at first, but once I got used to it and realized how much people can take without real permanent damage, it stopped bothering me. Granted, a large segment of fans are just lowlives who love violence.

Princess Lea said...

Let me guess, UFC is full of "poetry in motion."

I enjoy a good fight scene in a movie, but somehow when it gets pseudo-real the allure wears off.

Tomato, Tomahto.

Anonymous said...

Nope, no poetry involved. It actually ruined all movie fight scenes for me, because now we know what works and what doesn't, what's real and what's fake in a no-holds-barred fight. It's just (hopefully) very technical fighting combining all styles(that work). So, no allure to fight scenes. Anyways, there has never been a serious injury in the history of the ufc, partly because the ref jumps in and ends the fight when one fighter can't still intelligently defend himself. It's fascinating - you should check it out.

Princess Lea said...

I still can't watch some guy's lip getting spliced open. I've got my limits.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough. Just don't think we're all barbarians.