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The custom of boys and girls

April 11, 2009

The custom of boys and girls is so peculiar in this day and age. It’s all so strategic, and all so strange. The parents tell the young prospective lovers how to strike the best deal for their lives.

The process begins early on, and it is so different than what you might expect. It is first the other one — the one who is not you — who makes the first move. So if you are a young man, it is the young lady. And if you are a young lady, it is the young man. The first one tells you everything wonderful and special about herself, but also how much she desperately needs you in her life. She props up her own values and virtues and lets you know that *you* meet her standards.

But wouldn’t you know…that she says the same thing the hundreds of others? So, this isn’t an easy game. And in fact, the duplicity does not end there, because you too are seeing a few others.
So, your parents say…you’ve got to participate in the dinner, and graciously, she will pay. In this dinner, you have to see if you will enjoy her upbringing, if you will mesh in with her family. Because the day after the dinner, her parents or relatives — people who know best for her — will interview you. Or at least, you will think it is an interview. They will think of it as mere conversation. But don’t be fooled — what you say in this conversation, what you do, what you appear to be — all of that will determine if you continue on.

After this interview of sorts, your friend’s parents will let you know if they will allow you to continue seeing her or not. In fact, a few of the parents will give you the invitation to their house — a prized position indeed. But if multiple parents all decide to let you see their daughters, you have a few options to take: you should realize that in such a cruel world, you may not get your first choice, so perhaps you should see a few girls at once. Or, even if the parents like you, maybe you should realize that some of the girls, you simply do not like. So, you have to somehow determine what your strategy will be.

The parents are expert matchmakers. They will give you repeated opportunities for you to see their daughter, but these parents are no fools. They will have confidants of the family at every corner to see if you are virtuous and right for the daughter.

So, what is the custom of boys and girls at this stage? Well, for you, the young man (at least, I’ve been assuming you are the young man…but you may be the young woman, in which case all genders are reversed), you have to show that you are interested…but not *too* interested. Don’t be desperate, but don’t be unavailable. Remember, this girl has many suitors.

Remember that just because you’ve been invited to the house, this does not mean she will propose to you (what a world! Is this a Sadie Hawkins dance?) So, this is why it must be the custom of boys to continue this dating process.

…people who have come before you tell you that being invited to the house isn’t even the end…because there is yet another chance for the parents to test you.

It is so tough, because of all of what happens behind the scenes. The girls you seek are not stupid: they know and understand that you are seeking after others’ hearts. They tolerate this because they themselves know they are seeking other guys, and they know that you know. But you both have to play roles with each other. If you seek after her, you have to let her know that she is your top priority (but also, you have to let all the other girls know the same thing). And in fact, this girl will do the same for you (but also, every other man she is seeing). If you try to put HER in the friendzone, she may protest…Why would you go for one of those OTHER girls?

This is why the custom of boys and girls is so strange and surreal. You might think that this girl loves you, but that is only because the game is to feign that kind of love. She may cry for you if you leave her behind, but do not be deceived and think that this means she loves you and will want to marry you. If you do not successfully show to her your commitment, she has other suitors.

my extended metaphors suuuuuuck. I don’t even know how many people would *get* this.

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3 Comments
  1. Yeah, sorry, I don’t get it…

  2. wow, I totally failed here.

    I guess I’ll explain.

    Right now, in school, we are in the process of recruiting and networking for internships for accounting. I guess I just have no experience to say if this is a normal kind of process or if this is unique to the big 4 accounting environment, but the strange thing is…the first interview means relatively nothing. We first have a dinner and an interview where we are supposed to gauge initial interest, and then shortly after the first interview, we are given invitations to further recruiting events or invitation to office visits.

    While it might seem like if you have an office visit, you are practically guaranteed an internship offer, that is, of course, not the case. Because there are hundreds of other candidates who will be trying to distinguish themselves through the recruiting events and each firm — even though they claim to want you so badly — can easily have their pick of the rest of the litter.

  3. Ah, I get it. It’s true, recruiting is like that. It’s in the recruiting firm’s interest to hook candidates by pretending to be really, really interested (in each one). It costs them nothing to reject all the ones they ultimately decide they don’t want.

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