Watching Movies

Watching Movies

Eventually, every romantic encounter must come to an end. While a magic carpet ride in Agrabah or a make out session on stage at a British secondary school may provide the finale to a date in some countries, lovers in the good ol’ U.S. of A. generally prefer a different finishing move: cinema. This holds true whether the film is to be watched on a screen that is big on a Friday night or under warm blankets on a puffy chair, and whether the relationship is 28 days or as many weeks old.

Because of their preeminent role in dating, movies provide useful subtext for a relationship. One of the most common (h)in(d)sightful phrases uttered by the newly single remains, “You know, we never did like the same movies.” If two people walk away from a movie with different thoughts and feelings it is likely that actual shared experiences will also be disjointed. When they meet the parents, hang out over Christmas vacation or spend a weekend at Uncle Bernie’s, they will reflect on these moments with similar disparity.

Watching a movie is one of the few dating activities where people observe and listen, rather than waiting for their turn to speak; this passivity allows films to give mementos and spirit us away. How someone feels about a movie is how they feel about the things in life that inspired that movie. In short, movies matter.

And because they matter, watch them deliberately. If going to the theater, arrive early enough to get good seats. Whisper hilarious insights to your date during the previews. Silence your phone, idiot; do not let a text from some third party break the suspension of disbelief. Sneak in treats because the only thing more fun than individual roguery is making it collaborative; conduct a heist against the theater’s concession stand profits. When renting, visit the store together or converse over the phone throughout the rental process. When the movie ends, discuss. Celebrate the opinions you share and quickly agree to disagree on points of separation. Movies matter, like the sound of music, but don’t turn it into bloodsport. Always provide feedback and insights on your partner’s ideas even if you think they’re superbad. Don’t let their mind wander to thoughts of someone else who might have a more inspired perspective on the film, particularly their best friend’s girl. Credit their arguments first, but leave these as flotsam and jetsam in the wake of your own positions.

Accordingly, do not take movies or the feelings they evoke lightly. Films are constructed to provide a great escape and transform thoughts, so allow them to do so. Take a road trip through your partner’s tastes in movies, but never settle far away from where you began.

EXCEPTION: When the movie is used only as a prelude to kissing on a dark knight, such reflection is likely counterproductive. Just avoid Holocaust films.

Kissing

Kissing

Kissing is the prelude to every other physical intimacy shared by a happy couple. It is the amuse-bouche, and just like that short course, must be prepared to excite the senses and as a showcase of the party’s approach to lovemaking. Fortunately, Guns N’ Roses’ acoustic masterwork “Patience” provides the necessary direction.

While the lyrics remain the lodestar, the song’s construction gives listeners a pair of lighthouses to keep them safe from the rocks and shoals threatening any make-out session. First, the 53 seconds of whistling opening the track. Although at times criticized as artistic indulgence, this near-minute introduction is better viewed as Axl’s proscription of impatience: good kissing takes time. Just like choosing a chafing dish for your wedding registry or installing democracy in a Middle Eastern country, these things don’t happen overnight. Second, the song nearly stumbles to an end at the 4:12 mark before regaining its balance for a closing stanza more urgent than any previous. Here we learn that good kissing comes in waves. On the couch, in the back row of the theater or crowded beneath an umbrella, vary the cadence and intensity of your kisses to maximize effect.

The words of the song complete our instruction:

“Said, woman, take it slow; it’ll work itself out fine. All we need is just a little patience.”

See above, noting again that being greeted as liberators is nice, but not preferred to leaving as colonizers. $.89 per gallon? Yes, please.

“Said, sugar, make it slow; and we come together fine.”

Good kissing requires coordination; every effort should be made to turn heads in opposite directions at similar times and rates. Note that the speed with which this initial process develops is a lead indicator of future interactions, particularly physical. Even if you struggle like a baby giraffe taking its first steps during this crucial beginning, do not open your eyes. You’re not perched on a rooftop overlooking the dark heart of the city, so there is no reward for vigilance. It’s just creepy.

“Sometimes I get so tense but I can’t speed up the time.”

As important as patience is form. The modern romantic carefully walks the line between excessive force and the milquetoast. Use some pressure and bite a lip, but make sure to leave in the fillings. If your partner deploys the Valsalva maneuver after you’re finished, slow your roll.

“You and I’ve got what it takes to make it. We won’t fake it.”

Kissing is for the romantics, so leave it to them. If your name is Zack or Jessie and you’re in a high school play fusing a classic fairy tale with hip hop that forces you to kiss a best friend in front of your respective partners and you just think you might have felt something, you probably didn’t, so avoid testing that possibility with further kissing in unguarded auditoriums. The narrative device might suffer, but at least Kelly and A.C. won’t. This is also why you do not kiss prostitutes.

“Hard to see with so many around, you know I don’t like being stuck in a crowd.”

Don’t make out in public. Short kisses between attractive partners are of course permissible as aspirational invocations to passersby, but nothing more.

EXCEPTION: Kissing while drunk is lawless. Anything goes, so try out everything, even running the triangle.

Texting

Texting

While texts between real friends are usually functional (i.e., “What’s up?”, “I’m at the movies” and “Have you seen my wallet?”), texts to a significant other nearly always end up as an awkward conversation. The only reason to engage in such a pointless exchange is to showcase how confident and funny you are while at the same time filling the void of their day with your awesomeness. Inasmuch, these are the rules to texting in romance.

Sending Texts

1. Never send the first text unless there have been three consecutive days without communication. In this way your partner will be excited to hear from you, much like the disciples were excited to see Jesus.

2. Always end your texts with something opaque, confident or inquisitive Economy is your friend, and you should always seek to combine all three (e.g., “R U NVS?”). Ask yourself: what would Kierkegaard text?

3. Never send a text for the sake of sending a text. Unless you are asked a question, set up for a great punch-line or given the opportunity to show that you really don’t care, put down the phone.

4. Never send texts on a date. To do so would be blatantly rude and moves of irreverence towards your partner, textual or otherwise, must be subtle and easily justified (i.e., “I didn’t answer your text because I was in a meeting”or calling them “random” when they are upset with you).

5. Never send a text within five minutes of receiving one. Whatever value is collected from your clever riposte must be heightened by the anticipation with which it was met. But see Receiving 2, infra.

Receiving Texts

1. Always read texts right away. This gives you time to think of a great response during the five minute waiting period.

2. Whoever receives the last text has the power. Remember that power is only worth giving up if you can ensure it will be promptly returned.

3. Pretending not to have received a text is a great way to get multiple texts in a row. Each consecutive text received after not responding to the initial text adds to your control exponentially. After three your greatness is “on fire”.

4. Always acknowledge texts on a date. The best way to do this is with little chuckle and a complete disregard for the fact that you just got a text. Deflect any questions kindly but firmly.

5. A text received after three days without communication is coming from someone well-versed in these rules. It’s on…continue reloading this page for further instruction or promptly end the relationship.

Following these simple guidelines will always keep you in the lead. However, as always, there is one exception.

EXCEPTION: Any text after 1:35 am is a booty call. Close.

Being Beautiful

Being Beautiful

Love, true love, it has the power to make you smile uncontrollably and wrap your partner in the glowing aura of all your hopes. It can give you wings yet somehow also becomes the wind beneath them. This is the kind of love the modern romantic searches for; and as with any quest, be it from the Shire to Mount Doom or out of the fruity maze on the back of a box of Frankenberry, knowing where to start is as important as knowing where to end.

Inasmuch, true love starts with beauty. Admittedly, for such a pure and eternal thing to begin at such a transient place is counter intuitive. However, consider this: Love is the most beautiful of things, and beauty is the most loved; ergo it makes sense that love should be triggered by its most dominant trait. Another example of this phenomenon is the television show “Two and a Half Men”. It is an incredibly stupid show, and necessarily requires an incredibly stupid audience for it to flourish. Love is an amazingly beautiful thing and therefore requires beauty to grow. The primary adjective becomes the catalyst. Love is analogous to a poorly written sitcom. But wait, you ask, aren’t we as human beings more intelligent creatures than that? Don’t we value permanence and depth of character above superficial attributes? No, we are not, and no, we do not. Watch the Bachelor.

Beauty, although a facade, should not be taken lightly. The natural choice in every human affair is to love and choose beauty. Indeed, only beauty can marginalize other shortcomings, brighten our day and further bolster the pure sweetness of existence. Additionally, when alien civilizations do make contact, we all want them to be impressed by our stunning bodies and symmetrical faces. This fact proves that applying a mandate of beauty to your dating life will adhere to the Categorical Imperative for morality, making a respect for beauty and disdain for ugliness not just an intelligent path, but an ethical one.

Put directly, then, love begins with beauty. To the modern lover this means one thing: be beautiful. Enhance the qualities you hold, whether a great smile, eyes like the sea after a storm or a passively potent sexuality. Position yourself and your life in a posture to showcase your beauty. Sit with your lazy eye facing away from your partner, stay awake all night to conceal a loud snore and expose your skin deliberately but under the guise of accident. Remember, whorishness is desirable only when exercised unintentionally. Oops, a nipple!

Enhance your attractive features and smother the beautiful object of your affection with them endlessly. In this way you will be proud to introduce them into your social circle, rather than fearing their silent ridicule. Friends may let friends date ugly, but not without a sympathy coated snicker.

EXCEPTION: If you cannot find beauty, settle for money.

Saint Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day

Celebrate unironically.

EXCEPTION: If single, celebrate ironically.

Taking a Break to Save the Relationship

Taking a Break

Sometimes the only way to preserve a relationship is by ending it. Or at least that’s what sitcoms and poorly written romantic comedies have convinced the modern lover. This is due mainly to two conventions.

First, the path of least resistance is the path most traveled. Breaking up is hard because it is final.The magic of taking a break is that it is indefinite. Breaking up is herpes but a break is gonorrhea; neither one is immediately helpful, but at least the bacterial infection grants its carrier only a short timeout from dating instead of casting them down with the Sodomites and MySpace accountholders.

Second, a break can only end in success; it is playing with house money, operating with a safety net and boxing with kid gloves.If the problem necessitating a break (e.g., becoming somebody else around everyone else, a penchant for bangs or failure to accept Christ as your personal savior) is never overcome, the break becomes a break up and its precursive form is forgotten. If a break ends with the relationship renewed, it worked. In either event, as in Rambo: First Blood Part II’s allegorical treatment, the search for love presses forward.

Of course, the discussion above is obvious and likely a review for most readers.But taking a break is also an invitation to secure your power in the relationship, and power rides shotgun with love.Consider the following course.

Take whatever steps are necessary to arrive at the concept of a break as a reformative tool. Note that it is more powerful if you can suggest this solution rather than introduce it directly.Once highlighted as your partner’s idea, agree to a break for a specific amount of time. After trudging through the artifice of collaboration, arrive at the following consensus: during the break, only you can make contact. Enjoy the reprieve from your significant other and spend the time apart contemplating anything but your romantic intermission. If you decide to call or write or visit, it can only be because the break has actually worked (e.g., they take off all their preppy clothes, grow out their bangs or accept a purpose driven life).When you reconvene, rest assured that they will have dedicated countless hours applying the Hegelian dialectic to the challenges facing your relationship.Indeed, it is through the collision of thesis and antithesis that your estranged lover will seek to reconcile their earlier decision with their emotional withdrawal.Thankfully, their exercise will be useful only insofar as it strengthens your dominance, a win-win.

In sum, deploying a break ostensibly reveals the equal maturity of both parties. It shows them to be postmodern lovers, capable of advanced systems of dating unconnected to the conventions established through millennia of human experience. Once back together, this accomplishment will undoubtedly be celebrated as a triumph of logos. Let them celebrate, though, since you are the Greeks and this is your giant wooden horse.

EXCEPTION: Do not take a break to avoid buying birthday or holiday gifts. There is a special place in Hell (Circle Eight, Bolgia Six) for that.