I tend to have really weird dreams…like the time I was stealth dating Ed Sheeran and only Ann was able to figure it out, it was weird. That is only kind of relevant to the story right now.
Last night I had a dream.
It was one of those happy, wonderful, wake up feeling awesome, while also simultaneously wondering what is wrong with your subconscious sort of dreams. As I told a friend, it was an alternate universe dream of my dating life, which is to say, in the dream I had one. It wasn’t some crazy jetting off to Paris with Ed Sheeran situation, it was figuring out who between two people I really actually liked. As both actually wanted to spend time with me, intentional time. It was an email that was like, “hey let’s hang out and here is a list of 20 (I’m guessing on the number) things that I think we would have fun doing.” [This is where real life and dream Whitney swooned, a man who plans things]. It was being asked absurd and unnecessary questions because someone just wants to have a conversation. Pretty much, it was dream world. It wasn’t “oh he’s the hottest man in the room, yes please!” and it wasn’t “he’s a Prince of England, thank the Lord,” it was just an email and really really dumb questions that even dream Whitney was like, for serious…please stop.
And then I woke up.
And, not gonna lie, I was totally in this happy endorphin place that not even close to my normal morning feelings (not even a little bit).
Then, I made it a moment about the decline of relationships in society. It probably doesn’t help that yesterday I spent the morning reading about the church and social sexuality, but that is a norm so my euphoric, happy, dream brain was never going to win this round. It led to the thought of there is a problem that has become the norm and that is cross-gendered compliments have all but disappeared as people are terrified to find themselves accidentally in a relationship…which, you know, can’t really happen but apparently somewhere out there a boy said a girl looked nice and found himself wed the next day. Poor sucker. And so mutual appreciation fizzles out and the lack of connection awkwardness is in. Self-confidence falls, introspection rises, and in the end, no one is feeling the happy gleeful feelings of being appreciated…instead, you often just feel used.
I have a friend, and he has (unbeknownst to him) become one of those people that I just think the world of. He is a “turn your frown upside-down” sort of person. Actually, he reminds me a lot of my baby brother, so I was bound to think “well aren’t you the bestest.” It not crazy to get a “just because” hug when it seems like your day has been hard. Conversations can bounce between food, life, who he’s currently dating, and the evangelical church…but mostly food. I’ve made macaroons for his sister, he’s mocked my inability to cut bell peppers thin enough for a veggie and hummus plate (ugh chef-types). But at the end of even the briefest interaction, it’s hard to not feel good. It’s the feeling of someone who is actively willing to engage you and appreciates what you bring to the table, which is not my kitchen knife skills.
What is worrisome, is how little that feeling occurs in day to day life.
We want to know each other and be known. Connection and intimacy is craved, and not just in a “let’s date and get married” sort of way. It shouldn’t be taboo to have an extra ticket to the ballet (welcome to my life) and invite a guy friend to go along just because it might be fun. Likewise, just because you have dinner with someone, and they pay for the bill, doesn’t mean you are magically dating. If that was the case, there would be a whole lot more lady relationships in the world because the girl squad in my life regularly foots the bill for each other. Somewhere it became okay to only know those who are just like you, gender-wise. And with is we lost something special. We lost the feeling of feeling appreciated and wanted. We now only feel sought after when someone is trying to ask you out on a date, or if that need a favor. It is common place to hear how women dress up for other women (cause we’re judgey like that) and because unless a guy is making a move, he probably isn’t going to say that you look nice…so you play to your audience.
So instead we live in the magical euphoric dream world. The world where there are legit a million Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” memes, celebrity crushes, and “color me swoon” coloring books (which is the best Birthday present ever).
Because in dream world, no one will accidentally marry you off for appreciating someone.