Prince Charming?

268_2901104

Little girls dream of the day they’ll walk down the aisle in that perfect white dress toward the man destined to be by her side forever. But they must also kiss some frogs first. And, in today’s society, it seems as though there are more frogs than princes. But is it really that there are so few princes and so many frogs or is it just that women are settling for the wrong men?

In a world where technology has taken over much of the personal interactions we used to enjoy, it can sometimes seem harder to find that special someone we’ve been desperately pining for. Expert dating doctor, Stefanie Safran (the Chicago matchmaker behind Stef and the City) says, “It’s harder to meet people that stick. You need a thicker skin and have to remember that rejection is not as personal as some people seem to think.”

I think one of the reasons that dating is so hard these days is because we keep skipping over our princes and hop to the next lily pad in search for more frogs that will satisfy us right away. So many women are looking for that instant spark. And in a society like today’s where everyone wants things in the now and in that moment, it’s easy to skip over guys who don’t instantly produce the charm we’re looking for or who don’t color in every box on our dream guy check list.

Ms. Safran says many of her clients who are now engaged or married have told her that they weren’t sure for a few dates that their guy was ‘the one’ but that they gave him a chance and they ended up being the perfect pick. Essentially, we need to stop checking off boxes on a to do list and start getting to know people on a one-on-one basis without grading men on the instant first appearances or the instant impressions.

We see TV shows and read books about characters that fall in love the old-fashioned way, and it all sounds so romantic and dreamy. The guy actually goes to her front door with flowers and a formal introduction to her parents followed by a perfectly planned out date. That’s a far cry from today’s typical date night, when a simple text beckons you over for a lackluster night with a movie and a $5 pizza from the joint down the street.

As women, we dream of love stories like Jack and Rose from the Titanic, or Noah and Allie from The Notebook…even Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. But we all know that when we wake up we’ll get hit with the harsh reality that men like these don’t come around often…if ever. As much as we wish for a story like these, many of us believe our lives are better fit for the hopeless tragedy section of the movie store. Today, movies like Knocked Up seem to be more a more realistic representation of the love stories we’re used to hearing about, where the result of a one night stand forces a couple to find love.

How did we stray so far from this ideal dating situation? Is it men’s fault or women’s? Personally I think it’s both. In my opinion, women have become so accustomed to the technological idea of a man texting them non-stop and have accepted that the face-to-face interaction has gone out the window. It seems women have lowered their standards to the point where they would rather occupy their time with one night stands and random hookups then take the time to go out and find a genuine guy that will treat them right.  As a result, men have given up chivalry and nice date nights because most women no longer expect it, and therefore have gone the route of texting and casual dating. “There’s a lack of people (both men and women) taking the timeout to really focus on what’s important…quantity or quality of who we meet and who we invest in,” says Ms. Safran.

This brings to mind the notion that a relationship through a phone or over the Internet takes the personal interaction out of the equation and keeps both partners from actually having to be in a committed relationship. How can you fall for someone you have never actually had a meaningful conversation with in person? “I think it makes us lazy in our dating and socializing in general,” explains Ms. Safran, “I watch the TV show The Goldbergs and remember when dating was actually taken more seriously. People couldn’t be late because there were no cell phones. A date was a sign of someone really wanting to get to know you on both sides.”

Maybe one day the dating scene will return to its old romantic ways, or maybe it’ll get worse and we will never actually have to have in person interactions with our husbands or wives. But regardless, we as women need to have the respect and confidence to stick around for the good ones and not lower our standards just because we’re worried our prince will never come around. How can we complain about chivalry being dead when we’re partly to blame for the reason it no longer exists? Stay tuned for a more in-depth Q&A with matchmaker Stefanie Safran.

By Megan Bedford

tcwadmin

About TCW

TCW is the only magazine for and about professional women in Chicago. Click here to subscribe.