Tag: courtship

The Perils of Postmodern Love


Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, perhaps the one holiday hated by everyone — the one day when all singles long to be coupled and all couples long to be single. With Valentine’s Day come obligations and expectations: Christmas, but without the music, gingerbread cookies, and living-room conifers. (“I bought her a box of chocolates last year — and a bottle of sauvignon the year before that. Hmm. What to get her? I guess a Trumpy Bear will have to do.”)

No doubt, the Internet will soon be awash in articles about the dating scene, which, like the weather, is something everybody complains about … but nobody does something about. It’s frankly a wonder that a problem so universally acknowledged should be in want of a solution. Yet here we are.

Why is it so hard to date in 2020? Why does every single person feel compelled to submit to the ongoing pain and humiliation of online dating? Why does my generation’s romantic pessimism make Greta Thunberg look like a climate optimist? The reasons are simple, really — (a) we’ve failed to develop the requisite social habits, (b) we’ve lost the institutions capable of guiding us toward marriage, and (c) we have standards.

The Haunting Fear That Somewhere Someone Is Having a Good Time


H.L. Mencken once defined Puritanism as “the haunting fear that someone somewhere is having a good time.” What I know of the real thing suggests to me that Mencken did the Puritans a grave injustice. But there can be no doubt that his quip applies in spades to contemporary liberalism.

Consider the posture of preachiness and horror adopted by pious liberals in the face of the comic call-and-response duet “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” which Frank Loesser and his wife Lynne Garland threw together and first performed for their friends at a housewarming party in the Christmas season in 1944, and which MGM inserted in the movie Neptune’s Daughter in 1948 — where, as you can see, Ricardo Montalban and Esther Williams did one rendition and Red Skelton and Betty Garrett did another with the roles reversed.

Nerds Got Game?


Perhaps those most hurt by a lack of entrenched social conventions are among the least conventional people: nerds. I don’t mean “nerds” as an insult: the most interesting people I know are nerds. I’m one, too. But we lack the social adroitness that comes to others so seemingly effortlessly.

Nerds are very good at games, as long as the rules are made clear. But, for whatever reason – like maybe, lack of clear rules – we’re less skilled at gaming social interactions. Moreover, when it comes to affairs of the heart, many of us are also handicapped by an embarrassingly romantic nature: we’re interested in finding a soulmate, not merely in playing the mating game to “win” (whether measured in number of conquests or in their social status).