Friday, May 12, 2006

friendship and semantics

i hate the word, "boyfriend." it sounds so childish and trivial. i only acquiesce to the usage of the word when other people use it and i have neither the words nor the patience at that time to explain how much that word irks me, or how much i'd rather someone use another word. in general, i use "my friend," or even better, the man's name! (which avoids the pretentious "ain't i special 'cause i'm not single"-ness that is connoted by the use of "my boyfriend," or "my man") see, that bothers me 'cause "boyfriend" is too associated with "dating." i'll get to what i mean by that in a second. plus, we're all conditioned to put certain silly expectations forth when the words, "boyfriend," or "girlfriend," are used. the whole way we semantically deal with unmarried matters of the heart annoys me. i'm old-fashioned in some ways. i don't like the concept of casual dating. i tried it a couple of times, and it sucked. probably 'cause i'm not emotionally built for it. i don't have the patience to deal with another person's idiosyncrasies if there's no commitment there to uphold. and besides, the word "dating" lacks the substance of the word i prefer: courtship.

ahhh, courtship. courting. wooing. it puts me in the mind of two people exploring each other with a goal in mind. the goal, you may ask? to make something monogamous and beautiful where there was stranger-hood before. there is nothing miscellaneous or aimless about the concept of courtship. flirtation with a purpose. time spent for a purpose. i am so much more impressed by the idea of a man "courting" me than i am by the idea of a man "dating" me. everybody "dates." special, goal-oriented people "court." and more importantly, it has an old-school feel to it - women don't court men, it's the other way around. but that's a whole nother topic and i'm already way off topic - or maybe not so much....

friendship is golden. that's it. when a man offers me his friendship, that is the true key to getting my interest. if it seems like he's just going through the motions of what a "boyfriend" is supposed to do for a "girlfriend," without actually seeming interested in befriending a woman, the courtship is lacking. and i don't mean stuff like finding out what she likes and trying to give it to her, remembering her sibling's names, or what her high school clubs were, just for "he pays attention to me" points. no - i mean spending time with her just to spend time with her. not to show her how great a guy you are, or to put in requisite hours so she feels like y'all spent quality time together. not as a mere prelude to sex. just time spent because, in earnest, you really do enjoy each other's company. you really do see elements of yourselves in each other and have experiences and thoughts and even dreams in common. you really do like talking about stuff and experiencing stuff together, no less than you would if you were with other platonic friends. it's like, "hey, if we didn't fall into courting, our friendship would still make sense."

now that feels appropriate. friendship like that is inspiring. it makes you feel like a man sees value in you beyond merely being willing and able to fill in the empty woman-spot in his life. this is no small message to send to a woman you spend time with - this is no small message to be looking for from a man you spend time with. i know what the other side of this is like - how it feels to find out he was only dating you 'cause he was curious or lonely or horny and then he thought, "oh hey, she'll do." i know men get the same treatment. it's deplorable. but it's all in the name of dating. i've seen what happens to people who date but aren't friends. it's not pretty. what happens when the conquest (not courtship, mind you, but conquest) is settled and the people are "stuck with each other" and they don't enjoy each other more than, or at least as much as, they enjoy their platonic friends? how stupid. screw that, courtship is better. friendship is better.