Contrary to popular belief, neither chivalry nor romance is dead. Both are still alive and well, it’s just that we quickly dismiss them whenever either is extended by someone we are not interested in.
It’s not that men are no longer capable of sweeping a woman off her feet with some grand romantic gesture, and it’s not that women are no longer receptive to those kinds of actions; it’s that many of us have been programmed to believe that “too big” is “too bold.”
We’re taught that the early stages of dating are like a negotiation, and that our level of interest is precious leverage worth holding on to.
We are taught that it’s only appropriate to profess your feelings for someone when you are certain they will be reciprocated. We are taught that simplicity is the key, and that any attempt to go above and beyond is “too much.” The rise of social media and new-age slang takes your openhearted gesture and now reduces it to one word: “Extra.”
Whenever my mind starts running rampant with thoughts of an iconic romantic gesture from a popular movie or television show, the same notion comes to mind: “All of these guys would be called ‘extra’ today.”
Ted Mosby orchestrating a two-minute date? Extra.
Landon Carter crafting a giant telescope from scratch? Extra.
Patrick Verona singing “I Love You Baby” over the stadium speakers? Extra.
Noah building a white house with blue shutters, a room overlooking the river so Aly can paint, and a big ‘ole porch wrapped around the whole house? I mean, come on.
The way we’re taught to love is ass-backwards since the time we are children. Boys are taught to not show interest in a girl they like, while girls are taught that boys who are mean to them really like them. We grow up with this flawed logic embedded deep into our subconscious and then wonder why we can’t understand anything about love when we’re older.
Why can’t we do the future of society a favor and teach kids from a young age the right way to love someone? Why can’t we teach boys that it’s okay to be vulnerable? Why can’t we teach girls that a boy who is mean to her is just mean, and that there are no ulterior motives to his behavior?
A person who truly cares about you would never let you question their level of interest for a second. A person who truly cares about you would never let you chase them. We see people unabashedly reveal their feelings for someone in a way that is natural for them, and we’re quick to peg them as “extra” to deflect from our own cowardice or envy.
We’re tricked into believing that giving a damn is “extra,” and we’re labeled by the same people who are likely either too afraid to act on their own emotions or don’t know how to maturely handle someone else’s declaration of affection.
The truth is that if more people were “extra,” there would be less people complaining that things like chivalry and romance are dying or have already gone extinct.
In a dating world full of hypocritical mediocrity, we should all dare to be “extra.”