Sunday, February 8, 2015
Over the past week my Facebook feed has literally exploded with blogs condemning 50 Shades of Grey. The violence degrades women, the poor writing degrades art, it paints an unhealthy picture of romance, encourages fantasizing, and is an all around disturbing trend.
I'd like to contribute my gripe into the pool: 50 Shades doesn't accurately present one of the most un-talked about aspects of relationships: the awkwardness. Well, I'm guessing it doesn't address it. I haven't actually read the book or seen the movie. Cards on the table? I'm using the 50 Shades outrage/hype to generate more blog traffic. Tacky? Yes. But hopefully the genius kind of tacky.
With the exception of a few romantic comedies, Hollywood tends to gloss over the fact that dating and romantic relationships are incredibly awkward. I don't know about your life, but I don't have a team of writers making sure every ridiculous thing that comes out of my mouth (and believe me, it's a lot) gets a cute, quirky, heartwarming redemption. Usually it's me trying to back track and a guy stammering and not knowing how to respond.
I remember as a little girl looking forward to the day when I'd be allowed to date. (Or court/dourt depending on how homeschooled you are.) Actually, now that I think about it, I may still not be allowed to date. Our family never really established any parameters on that. We just avoided the topic. Because it was awkward.
First, there's the awkwardness of liking someone. Crushes are a horrific curse, and an unrequited crush can kill a piece of your soul from the inside out. You suddenly become hyper aware of everything you do around that person, get teased if anyone finds out, and it puts you in a portion of your head that was never supposed to be accessed. Once while talking to a guy I liked I became very aware of how much I was blinking. Do I normally blink this much? Are my contacts dry? Does he think I'm the worst flirt ever? Should I only wear glasses from now on around potentials? (In general, a good blink algorithm is 1 blink every 5-6 seconds. If your eyes start feeling dry you can increase it to 1 blink every 3-4 seconds.)
Second, there's the actual dating process. If you're dating someone you don't know well (or at all, i.e. online or blind date), just multiply the awkwardness of a typical date with someone you know by 10,000.
A good Christian first date should follow these general guidelines:
Testimonies get shared during appetizers.
Spiritual gifts and love languages are discussed over entrees.
Intentions and boundaries established over desserts. (No matter how well the date goes if he doesn't pay for it with cash from a Financial Peace envelope, it's over. Standards, ladies.)
Finally, there's the awkwardness of a relationship not working out.
Before you date it's a good idea to lay ground rules for a break up. A pre-pre-nup, if you will. If you're dating someone at your church, you need to decide which one of you is going to switch churches if it doesn't work out. (Or switch services/sit on the other side of the megaplex if you go to a mega church.) Even if you guys can handle breaking up like responsible adults, people around you will continue bringing it up, digging for detail worms, and asking for your reasons and feelings behind the relationship's demise. I'd rather discuss the branding techniques of microprocessing chips than talk about my breakup feelings with people who only take interest in me when my love life has some drama.
Still, despite all the awkwardness, people still somehow manage to fall in love and get married. And then the real awkwardness starts.
Well, as much as I'd love to continue this little rant, I have to run. My mom texted earlier to ask me what 50 Shades of Grey is and I told her it was the sequel to Little House on the Prairie. I should probably call her back and make sure she knows I was joking before she dies of multiple heart attacks.
Kristin Weber is a writer, music teacher, stand up comic, and boasts an honorary, self-given degree in sarcasm. She's single, lives with her parents, and just recently traded in her flip phone for an iPhone 5c, so obviously she's qualified to comment on all things relationship. You should join her this summer for a comedy cruise to the Caribbean. Tim Hawkins is on the roster, which is the real reason you should come.