Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dating vs. Courtship

Still on my "Hello, gentlemen...are you out there?" kick which seems to be pretty prevalent as of late, and still attempting to figure out exactly what it is I want before I expect it from any potential prospects, I've been really thinking and contemplating.  I know, recipe for disaster.  My Type A personality tends to take over more often than I like to admit. 

With online shenanigans at a complete standstill and a few glimpses of what real dates should look like (okay, the cat's out the bag...I'm playing a few cards close to the chest), I've been trying to come up with a good way to put my expectations into words.  It literally came down to two:  dating or courtship.

To me, dating is the act of putting on your cutest (or handsomest) outfit and going to spend the evening or afternoon with someone, having a great (or maybe not so great) time with them, thanking them for the experience and heading home.  This act may also include a next-day phone call if things went well.  This is pretty much where the definition stops in my opinion.  Sure, there could be a second or third date with the same person and more than likely, you're willing to do this act with other people too without either of you endangering yourself to heartbreak.  See...easy.  A lot of activity without a whole lot of emotion.

Courtship, on the other hand, is a bit more involved.  I don't think Singletons of my generation really know what courtship means.  At the mere mention of the word, they see visions of boring, period movies starring Colin Firth (not boring to me, but I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority) when fathers and hopeful husbands sat down together to determine whether the daughter was ready to be married off and if Colin Firth (or any other British character actor, for that matter) was a suitable partner.  And by suitable, that usually meant wealthy and healthy.  One might also conjure up thoughts of the Andy Griffith Show, Barney Fife and Thelma Lou.  Neither are really that appetizing.

If Old Mr. Webster called me today and asked me to write the definition of what I think courtship is, it'd go a little something like this: 
courtship: [kawrt-ship],(noun or verb): the act of wooing.  A single-minded pursuit of an individual's affection and attention.
Well, what's wooing, you ask?  Ah, to be wooed.  To have no other choice in the world but to become absolutely smitten with someone who is relentless in their pursuit and adoration of you.  Then, my friends, you have been wooed.  If someone is courting or wooing you, they're not interested in playing the field or kissing lots of frogs, or any other idiom associated with dating.  They are solely interested in you.  Usually symptoms of courtship include random flowers, compliments, an old-fashioned approach to dating and the feeling of being swept off your feet.  This, my friends, this is what I want.  I don't want to play any of these crazy, non-sensical dating games; I don't want to have to hide how I feel because it doesn't fall in line with what society expects me to do next in the silly relationship two-step.  I don't want to think 'Well, I can't do this' or 'I can't do that' because it might make me look vulnerable, desperate or in love.  For the first time in my life, I want to step outside of the lines and, at the same time, step back in time...before cell phones, text messages, Facebook statuses, relationship statuses, all made us crazy.  I don't want to trip into something because the time is right or I'm "at the age I should be" or because everybody else is doing it.  I want to fall head over heels into something spectacular and almost impossible to put into words. what I want.

Have I been watching too many Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals lately?  Probably.  Am I living in a fairy tale land? Probably even more so.  Do I believe it can happen like this?  Absolutely.


  1. I love that Pride and Prejudice movie with Colin Firth in it! I think it was way better than the version with Keira Knightley in it.
    I like the idea of courtship better than dating too. Then maybe I wouldn't have to deal with losers who think it's okay to wait several weeks after the date before calling me.

  2. Absolutely loved the Colin Firth reference! And it can happen the way you want it to. I didn't think it would be like that for me, but it did happen. The right guy for you is out there, and you'll find him. :)

  3. Nightshift Queen of HeartsAugust 27, 2010 at 8:48 AM

    First of all I totally dig Colin Firth and period piece films, so I'm digging all of the above. :) I think courtship is a totally forgotten art; however, men... are you listening?? GIRLS LOVE IT! THIS WILL WIN OUR HEARTS! However, I don't think it's as effective if you are just trying to put on an act.These things need to come from the heart. :)

    Secondly... sure "dating" is fun but don't we all have enough "friends"? It's time to drop all the game play and work at it! It's worth it!

  4. @Neurotic, I never watched the Keira Knightley version out of sheer loyalty to the Colin Firth one. I have it on DVD and absolutely love it. I think it's the most true to the book version ever made, so since it's my favorite book, I stick with it! I also heard they changed the ending in the Keira Knightley version. Unacceptable.

    @Anonymous, thanks...I love having people on Team Melanie. I think the more people that tell me it can happen, the more and more I believe it!

    @Nightshift Queen, let's buy billboards all over the country and start the Campaign for Courtship!


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