Hello again, McGillians. Yes, it’s me again: the exchange student. In today’s class I’ll be talking about one of the… well, things that have surprised me the most. Also, as Valentine’s Day is approaching, it would be a mistake, if not a sin, not to mention one of the social interactions that is clearly different here from back home: dating.
There’s a video on YouTube where Ellen DeGeneres interviews Emma Watson about American men. I couldn’t agree more with her answer, only I include Canadians in my sample: they are very, very straightforward. Not that this is a bad thing, it just always catches me by surprise and I end up paralysed, looking like an idiot or smiling, while slowly walking away. Yes, I’m that awkward. Now, I’m used to it. Not that I expect it, but at least now I have a mind-blowing answer that drives them away like crazy: I have Syphilis. Think about it: they won’t know I’m lying and I get the personal space I’m used to. Also, I can pull a very convincing face. Not to be mean, but here there are men who ask girls out for no good reason. Their reason might be simply to sleep with them. Fair enough. However, if the girl turns the guy down, five minutes later he’s asking out someone else. Sorry if I’m being too cynical and you, male reader, are not like this. It’s just back home it would be a completely different story.
In my home country, there is a period of courtship where the man has an opportunity to woo the girl. Here… let’s just say say woo doesn’t fit in the dictionary. Unless, of course, by wooing you mean inviting the girl to coffee and taking her back to your place. The problem I see with this “system” is that boundaries become blurry during this time… Was this a one time thing? Is there something more? The problem grows like a pimple on a teenager when you’ve seen this person several times and he or she shows or tells you that they like you… Can we see someone else? Are we exclusive? Will they be jealous if I do see someone else? This causes confusion, misunderstanding and heartbreak. Maybe one believes they are exclusive, but the other doesn’t. I’ve also undergone this period of time where I ask myself all of these questions, and sadly I was also too afraid to ask them at the time. Even now, I can’t tell what’s going through his head and I don’t want to ask either. It’s always awkward and uncomfortable to ask the other person if you’re exclusive or not. Again, and understandably so, you’re afraid of the answer: What if it’s a “no” and they’ve been fooling around while you thought they were “the one”? Or worse, what if it’s a “yes” and you’re not ready to commit and all of the sudden you feel trapped?
Yes, men out there: we do give these sort of things too much thought, but it’s so we are ready for whatever comes up. We try to avoid getting hurt, we protect ourselves differently from you, because we’re obviously different. And yes, I do realise that all of this wouldn’t happen if we talked more. Well, not really talked, but rather communicated better. Being honest and drawing our boundaries more clearly. I also want to be clear on one thing: everyone is free to do whatever they’re into. I merely point out what surprises me – the culture shock I have been through. With this, anything I mention is nonjudgemental. If this makes you happy, keep doing you.
Nevertheless, this is why I don’t like Valentine’s Day. Not really because of the “it’s a commercial reason to make money” crap. To me, appreciation shouldn’t be shown just one day a year. Do you tell your mom that you love her only once a year on Mother’s Day? Why should this be any different? If you’re doing something special that day, that’s fair – like you would do on Mother’s Day. However, there are couples that don’t show their feelings all year round except on this heart-shaped day.
That aside, get dressed up on this day, have fun and enjoy yourself. This year, the 14th of February is on a Friday, so you don’t have an excuse not to go partying. If, however, you have a partner or a special someone, I really hope the best for you two and I wish this Valentine’s isn’t the only one you guys spend together. I also hope Durex makes more revenue this year than last. Then again, the Winter Olympics are on. For those who don’t know, during the 2012 Olympic Games, Durex provided 150,000 condoms – and they’re not even an official sponsor!
Enjoy this lovey-dovey holiday!