Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Online "Tradition"

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Recently, Rose and I had cocktails with four young women with varying, albeit comical online dating experiences. On some level I wish I could live vicariously through my young friends, but I gave up on trying to “find” a man many years ago and have reached a level of contentment with allowing the man to “find” me.

Rose told the story of the first date she agreed to with a man she had met online. The evening began with her date doing everything that tradition dictates:  picking her up at the door and holding the car and restaurant doors open for her.

While enjoying a leisurely after-dinner walk at a nearby park, her date, who had been walking with his hands in his pocket, removed his left hand presumably to hold hers when a single condom fell out of his pocket, landing between them on the sidewalk. 

 "All I could say was, Oh My!" Rose exclaimed.

The burst of laughter which ensued from our table drew the attention of those seated around us and went on through a second round of drinks (we laughed with her, not at her). Our incremental giggles, heckles and boisterous laughs continued a while longer as I started to think deeply about my friend’s story.

Rose knew that there was an expectation of sex and she was prepared for it. But the condom flying out of the pocket was an awkward reminder of its premeditation.  She admits that she would have preferred spontaneity in disguise...a gradual progression from the restaurant to the bedroom.

Rose's date ended in her condo parking lot with a sincere “thank you” and a less than passionate kiss. She would not even allow him to walk her to the door, despite his advances. The condom had frustrated her desire without leaving its package. 

I wonder: does Rose realize that she is battling her own inward stigmas regarding a dating practice that is still regarded as unconventional, while hoping for the familiarity of traditional dating?

Can she have both?

I’ll ask her and get back to you.