Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Operation Date My Roomate

My roommate has been threatening to hand out applications to young eligible men as the first step in a project called Operation Date My Roommate.

There could be some benefits to an ODMR done well.

1. The dating norms are so un-standard and there isn’t one common understanding of what is required to initiate this process toward life partner. In fact, calling dating a process toward life partner is even called to question. So, ODMR might actually be helpful in that it creates an established route for approach for suitors to come along on. Many people are bumbling idiots when it comes to romance and the opposite sex. The stress of the need to be creative and shiny in the moment when all is a bit jumbled in the head might be too much to ask for. In the tradition I come from, it all hangs on the moment when the girl gets a request to lunch or dinner. The bold ones ask in person, the shy ones ask over the phone or via a note. Everyone knows what it means. But in a context where norms are established by and different for every individual, nobody knows what’s what until there is a DTR or primal instinct takes over.

2. Mainstream culture erroneously believes that the self determining individual’s choice for mate is the sacred cow of love, romance and marriage. The Romeo and Juliet story of love forbidden by community, family and fate, is the holy grail we should all seek and if we are strong enough, we will forge a lasting love to be envied by all and against the will of all. This is a holy endeavor. This is a beautiful story sometimes. But if it is the only story…we become paupers. The beauty of Romeo and Juliet lies in the fact that two families laid aside their generational feuds. The said Romeos and Juliets of today create feuds and fissures in societies and churches. This is a false Romeo and Juliet. It is instead self-destructive individualism, not the heart of the Shakespearian story.

The truth of the matter is, when a couple is forming, it never occurs in a vacuum. His friends have a vested interest in who she is. Her parents care about who she dates. His mom bites her fingernails every time he mentions a girl he’s interested in. Her friends are jealous. His friends are envious. ODMR could create a space for everyone to express their feelings and concerns. The angst of all with a vested interest could be streamed into a positive trajectory. Truth be told, those feelings and concerns will be whispered through the grape vine, working like little parasites, feeding on the budding relationship till there is no life blood. If the community is going to contribute—and it will—it might be strategic to invite it to contribute towards a positive end.

3. ODMR could be the race/obstacle course of the century. There is a defined starting point. There are contestants. There is a finish line. There is a prize. There could be an entrance fee. May the best one win! The prize is more valuable if it is attained at great personal cost. And the contestant is well rewarded for his (or her) efforts.

I think I prefer this to a relationship where the story is—Um, **shrug** I dunno, it just happened, which usually just means, well, we were hanging out and then suddenly we were making out. Primal instinct takes over. The cowardly lion in our souls just became more cowardly.

Warning to the reader: Gentle reader, I request that you refrain from making any if-than calculations on what my personal standards are on dating based on this thought experiment. I’ve only dated one guy and he would be the only one who knows what my personal standards are. The only 3 principles I purport here are 1. If there is no process, one will either be created or the means to process will sink to the lowest common denominator. 2. Staunch individualism will always make you wrong, even in dating. 3. Demonstrating value toward the other works toward returns of high value.


David said...

I'm not sure what staunch individualism means, but I know one guy who was hurt when his expectations of starting to date someone were dashed early on...

I think we have some free-will, not the radical sort, over who we will consider and what valued hills we are willing not to die on...

(I'm not trying to turn back the clock or what-not, but I felt moved to post here.)

espíritu paz said...

You found my blog! Welcome.
As for the comments, I think we all know and been one of those folks who's hopes were dashed. Early on being better than later on, when there's a lot more dried relational glue. It still smarts. but I suppose arranged marriages are the alternative.

As a trying-to-be-compassionate-person, I've wondered what's the best and most honorable thing to do about a person who's noticeably stumbling over him/herself when particular other person enters the room. If the he/she knows, the other has some no-brainer non-negotiables, wouldn't the most loving thing to do be to make sure the other doesn't waste any more time on her/him.

As for free-will, I think we have a lot of personal pick. But we also know and do/do not care about how who we choose will meet the approval of significant influencers in our life. I am focusing on a concept such as the Nash equilibrium (which a friend pointed out to me, from Beautiful Mind)--where the interplay of individual and social cooperation is the goal.