Friday

Magic 3 Oh!

"Age is not a particularly interesting subject. Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough."
"Groucho Marx quotes"

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The Filipino dating and courtship as I know it is really quite different from the west. Of course it is evolving and changing from the very traditional manner, adapting some of the western practices but it still maintains it's traditional ways. In the bigger cities, courtship and dating may be more liberated compared to the smaller provinces in the Philippines where the women are supposed to be more conservative. Of course in smaller towns where people know each other, people know their neighbors and almost everyone living in that small town, people are bound to follow what the norm for fear of being the talk of the town. In small towns when a young man tries to woe a particular girl, he practically has to woe the girl'sentire family even her circle of friends. The guy has to gain approval from these people if he want to continue a long term relationship with the girl that he likes. The dating undergoes certain stages from letting the girl know that he is interested. In the traditional manner, communications between the man and the girl he wants to date passes through a go-between. A friend of the lady, or someone close to the lady to literally bridge the two. It might start with let's say giving flowers, gifts, love letters. Ah, gone are the days when people use to express their love through love letters. Well, I hope not totally. I guess in the modern times they could just text or e-mail love letters. I still love the traditional way of writting love letters. Well, if the lady shows interest with the guy, they may start going out. But there's still the chaperone. When the girl decides to go out with the guy, it doesn't mean they are girlfriend/boyfriend already. They still have to know each other and there comes a time when the girl has to say "yes" or confirm that they are "steady" to make the relationship official. This was the dating and courtship that I grew up with in highschool, even in my college years. It was then more traditional of course. It has been a while then, a lot of changes I'm sure are changing in the Philippine dating and courtship. Sometimes it all starts from the "teasing" or "paring" from peers which in our local term "tuksuhan". I can still remember those days when peers would tease saying "uyyyyyyy! bagay sila." Meaning, "you two look great together". Sometimes it all starts from there. I remember that generally the girls are more coy with her feelings towards the guy. At that time, women are not supposed to be very forward if they like they guy. And if the guy really like the girl, he would pursue and woe her love. And the dating and courtship will take a while, the guy has to prove his intention to the lady before she accepts his love to her. He has to prove his love to her. And when he has proven that he is worthy of her love, will she accepts his love and will make the relationship official.

I don't know if it's still the case of dating and courtship now. It probably still in a manner. Atleast to teenagers. The more grown up way of dating and courtship is probably slightly different, it entails a more serious intention. A longer and more lasting relationship which would eventually lead to marriage. Most women of course who doesn't see commitment from a guy will most likely turn him down. Especially if the lady is in the advance age, in her 30's or older. Back in the Philippines, atleast at the time when I was still there, women seems to crave marriage and commitment before they reach their 30's so as not to be tease as "old maid" or "lampas na sa kalindaryo" meaning she's passed the calendar numbers. It's like it's the ultimate destiny that people has to marry before they reach their 30's or they are doomed.

I have noticed that in the US, that is not that case. They don't really care so much whether you marry before your 30's or stay single. There is an acceptance of the choices you make, like stay single, not having a baby. Well, of course not always the case, some parents, siblings or friends would bug or tease people who do make these choices. But the pressure is not so much like growing up in a small town in the Philippines.




When I was on vacation last year, my sister who was turning 25 at that time seems to be battling that pressure, since she doesn't have a boyfriend yet. My mom says that she might be worrying that she's getting old and doesn't have a boyfriend yet. I was like "getting old?" Then it dawned on me that "getting old" over there means when one is reaching the age of 30. I told my mom that my sister is still young and there so much things she still has to do, explore and experience before worrying about dating or marriage. Sure she can date, but marriage? She is still very young, atleast that's how I see it. But to them it's not the case.

Then, I had the chance to talk to my younger sister. Apparently she had been dating this guy, but he moved to another city, so they just communicate through text. She said that she is saving her love for this guy. They are not officially girlfriend/boyfriend. As an elder sister who have had some experiences when it comes to love and commitment, I told her what my mother had been telling me when I was still in school that she would meet a lot more guys in her lifetime. Why would she just settle for this guy? In my short time that I have been there, I have already heard rumors about him being physical and abusive towards his own mother. My mom says " I don't know what she sees in him?" I said to my sister, sure, putting your whole heart to one guy is a great idea. But what if he turns out to be "Not the One?" I told her, you should open your heart and mind and explore life first before investing your love to someone. You will meet more people, more guys and who knows you will find a better man whom you can give your whole heart. You are still young, you are at your prime and don't even think that you have to marry before you reach your 30's. And I think it's a great advise that I can give to a younger sister who is just starting her own life after school. It's not like marrying is a primary goal in life, we will all eventually get there, but to succumb to the pressures of people is not a good thing. I just want her to enjoy her single life, change her perception about love and life. I told her, "You will eventually find love and happiness". You don't have to rush it, and just settle for the first guy you meet. I think that's a wrong approach. I don't mean for her to date several men all at once of course, that's not my point. It's just going about her life, enjoy being single, enjoy dating, and get to know herself, have a career, save some money, have some experiences in life before eventually thinking of getting married. Not having this frame of thought " Ok, I'm getting old, I need to find a guy to settle down with."

Well, elder siblings always wants the best for their younger siblings. And that's what I want for my younger sister. And I hope that she would eventually find herself enjoying single life, gain lessons from experiences and eventually find a good man worthy of her love and commitment.

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