I’m at the ofﬁce, late, watching the next issue of Lucire get PDFed for the printer. I’ll be here for some time, as there are some huge ﬁles here, but at least it will give me time to ponder tomorrow’s segment on Good Morning.
Barry (who should be back), Paul and I are talking about romance, how real it is, when it wears off, and can it be sustained. As you can gather, we seem to get roped in to the “he says, she says” topics a great deal, but I believe for the ﬁrst time we are not following in the footsteps of envious women. Their segment did not air due to Anzac Day.
It may be time for us to be ﬁrst. We’ve had weeks of men-bashing and a day of Donna-bashing from the women.
But it leads me to think whether romance is valued.
Over the past week, I have been chatting to a female friend down south about this very topic. She’s married, so she says she lives vicariously through me for the single-life stories. And since my last personal post, some of you know I have an interesting life.
She told me that New Zealand women simply did not send out the glad eye quite as well as their overseas counterparts. In Europe, and sometimes in the United States, I know where I stand. Courtship just seems easier, even though, ironically, I grew up in New Zealand. I don’t get dissed by a girl for opening a car door for her because I have offended her sense of equality. They enjoy the fact I stand when they return to or depart from a table. Politeness seems to work nicely. It’s particularly novel when you are heterosexual.
Given my parents had the sort of relationship that made Rob and Laura Petrie look like child molesters, I would say it is possible to retain that romance throughout.
But are those role models there? I don’t, for a second, say that we should all be watching Growing Pains, The Cosby Show and Family Ties duke it out. Modern sitcoms reﬂect a modern society, where executives spend 35 minutes a week with their sons (while they spend 20 hours chatting online), where in the 1990s, Ross and Rachel would not have problems if those two little whiners off Friends just communicated.
As a publisher I feel a sense of responsibility over what I portray to young people. Lucire has a surprisingly high teen readership (we survey 15–24s) and our social responsibility is part of encouraging positive behaviours not just with our own generation, but with the next one. By all means, have media that react to daily life. But how about creating exemplary behaviour?
The rituals of courtship have remained fairly constant for a few millennia, ever since we stopped bashing our potential mates over the heads with clubs and dragging them off to the cave. Some still use a variant of this, except the club is replaced by booze, though the booze is served in a club. But those of us who have evolved a bit from Neanderthal Man like to use charm, wit, and a genuine investigation into whether sparks ﬂy. And when you have to live up to what my folks had, that’s a high bar to clear. However, I know it’s possible.
What chance do today’s kids have? I was blessed with a great family. If the media are all they have, then we could be in trouble when it comes to courtship and romance.
Another friend recently had to take his daughter’s cellphone off her. In the space of 10 days, she had turned from an outgoing, bright girl to a complete introvert after getting her ’phone. Since her parents are not heavy cellphone users, she is getting this from peers and the media. Staring into a screen and calling that “communication”, when it is stiﬂing that very thing, seems unhealthy to me. Interpersonal relationships make the world go around.
Her folks caught this early. Others will not. And basing your entire life off text messaging must really take the spark out of courting.
Since we can’t depend on media, we can’t depend on the state, and family means something very different to what it used to, then isn’t setting the right example down to each and every one of us? We should set exemplary behaviour, not solely because of some cosmic, karmic reason—but because the kids are watching. Everywhere. The “me” decades have not exactly served us any better than the “we” decades. And whether we like it or not, we are in this together.
Del.icio.us tags: romance relationships courtship dating courting responsibility media Posted by Jack Yan, 09:09
Update: funny re-reading this, since I am courting a New Zealander (who has lived in Europe), who uses text messaging. The odd thing is that there is still a spark via text messaging, even if it does go to a friend’s cellphone. I take some of the above criticisms back.
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