Tuesday, November 15, 2005

# 76 ROMANTIC NOTIONS - Chapter 5

LOOKING TOWARDS THE FUTURE

So now, since that educational enlightenment near the highschool last week, I have a new concern about how we (as caretakers of the younger generation) are going to help them avoid the pitfalls of too many sad, and bad, heartbreaking romances. The promising love-matches that so often turn out to be nothing more than physical exploitation without any deep-seated respect or affection.

So I have deliberately put out some feelers in conversation with young people to try to hone in on their romantic perceptions. And that is another thing I almost wish I hadn’t done, because initially, I was under the gross misconception that I could lead into the conversation with a brief introduction on ‘modesty’. But, of course, in this culture, that is quite impossible. That word, thanks to idiots like Brittany Spears and other teen idols is a word as foreign to young people today as ‘ihjdlla’ is to each one of us.

How do you discuss modesty with a generation that lacks any understanding of propriety? That makes forthright sexual conversation into polite conversation. That promotes nakedness as beauty. And a society with fashions that rather than applauding fine-tailored color, fabric and fit, applaud scarcity: bare bellies, g-strings, and narrow belts worn as skirts. So how does one explain to today’s youth that relationships need to be approached cautiously? That modesty demands respect. And in particular, how does one create the notion that it is important for them to take time to know a person, really know a person, before they put their heart on their sleeve.

If your teenager comes home and announces they have a new love, don’t ask how well they ‘know’ this new beau. They will simply stare at you with mouth agape, wondering what planet you fell off of. No comprehension whatsoever what that statement means. On the other hand, if you ask how ‘intimately they know’ him or her, their eyes light up with a flash of comprehension and they are likely to respond with a flush and a giggle – "Oh, very intimately." But at the same time they can’t tell you his last name, how long he has been in town, where he works, where he lives, if he drinks, take drugs, etc. etc.

And speaking of knowing someone intimately, I have to wonder why government inquiries and courts continue to ask defendants and witnesses if they know each other intimately. Because when the courts or judges ask those on the fringes of a crime or scandal if they are intimately acquainted with the perpetrator, none are, even though they lunch with them twice a week, golf with them on Sundays, jointly finance their business ventures, and hang out with them at the local watering hole every Friday. From this, I can only surmise that old cronies in public service positions don’t understand the question either. Like teenages, they also think they are not intimately acquainted with anyone unless they have played ‘Kissy-Face’ with them.

So how well young people know each other cannot be a valid point of discussion in our attempts to guide them into careful judgment of their choices. But still a solution must be found and I have only one thing in sync with modern thinking that might work. And believe it or not, it is a solution from my own self-confessed love affairs (in the previous post). How I got to ‘know’ and became intimately acquainted with my many author-loves without physical contact. And how without physical complications and the resulting hormonal rage (ha-ha), in fact with nothing more than an assessment of words and voice, I was able to explore in my own head whether I truly loved them and if they were worthy of that love.

So in light of my own experiences, it may be that annoying non-stop cell-phone contact and e-mail interaction among young people should be more acceptable in my mind than it has been up till now. Rather than engaging in passive conversation, modest flirtation, and a decent length of time to know an individual prior to a physical relationship as generations of the past did, there is only one way in today’s world to enforce a delay. The delay needed for young people to ‘know’ each other before they ‘intimately know’ each other. The delay needed to allow young people to assess whether or not they are ready for a serious romantic connection.

The solution might be to enforce a physical separation after the initial viewing (and by that I mean their initial meeting) until a period of three or four months of daily, hourly, cell phone and e-mail interaction is completed. That might work. And, of course, if we could just find a way to keep those discussions on a ‘getting to know you’ verbally platonic level without too much vulgarity or intimate talk, we’d be laughing.

So now I am ready to wrap up these discussions. But, of course, I can’t do so without one brief addendum.

For those wondering – I did confess my adulterous loves to Hub. And amazingly, although he cares deeply, he has forgiven me as best he can, but at the same time, he is adamant that maybe I should return to my crocheting and knitting and forget about reading if it is going to lead to such emotional entanglements.

What do you think?

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