Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Critique of Warp Speed Romance

From the 24-hour news cycle to technology at your fingertips, we live in an era that feeds the beast of immediate gratification. I guess it’s not surprising, then, that this insatiability often spills over into the dating world, as I experienced during recent evenings out with two men who work in the real estate sector.

Over drinks with J, a 31-year-old real estate analyst, at Accademia di Vino wine bar on the Upper East Side, the subject of Brad Pitt came up. J made some self-deprecating comment, to which I replied that I found him much cuter than the father of Angelina’s brood.

“Just for saying that,” he said excitedly, “I’m totally giving you oral sex for a year.”

A simple thank you would have sufficed.

While J pushed the envelope with raunchy remarks, 40-year-old real estate attorney H had more romantic matters on his mind when we caught up at Flute, a cozy Champagne lounge in Midtown.

H and I went out a handful of times back in October. Our dalliance fizzled partly because he was an ex’s best friend, and mostly because he didn’t know how to take things slowly. Since then, hitting the big 4-0 and seeing his buddies settle down has only made H intensify his warp speed wooing.

“Do you think we could be happy together?” he asked wistfully.

“I don’t know,” I said, adding that it seemed a bit early to be posing such a question.

What I do know is that rushing romantic chemistry can be a recipe for disaster. Projecting too far into the future--either by alluding to future coupledom or to indoor activities--tends to diminish the fun to be had in the present.

When you truly inhabit the here and now, it allows you not only to enjoy a first date more fully but to make a smart choice about whether that date is worthy of a second.

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