The Art of Giftwrapping and Dating

My Note: I had every intention to write this blog before the holidays, when the red cups start making their way to our every day coffee, the jingle bells start…jingling, and the crazies start fighting over the last cart or last parking lot. Needless to say, I didn’t get to start writing until a few days after Christmas. And now, it’s New Years Day. It’s still relevant, though.

The holiday season brings all kinds of emotions within us – of happy times we celebrate with loved ones, of feelings we feel when we see the lights or smell the scent of peppermint hot chocolate, or of memories we once shared with someone we wish were still in our lives. One of the things I look forward to is wrapping presents. A lot of people despise wrapping gifts. It’s definitely not for everyone. Decisions have to be made at every turn. What kind of gift wrapper do you buy? The design definitely matters. It’s the first thing that the receiver sees. Do you go for the expensive glittery kind, or just the regular cheap paper? Then, do you wrap a ribbon around it and go an extra mile with a bow? All of these to wow the person you’re giving the gift to, to make them feel special and deserving of whatever amazing is contained inside. I actually take time and effort into gift wrapping.

When you’re in the dating scene, how you present yourself is the same as being covered in gift wrap. So much judgement is placed based on how people perceive you. Dating, I’m learning, is mainly how people perceive you depending on their requirements and experiences in life. We all try to present ourselves to be as attractive as possible. Physically alone is a big deal. Let’s be honest, we all judge a book by its cover at first. Is his haircut too funky? Why are his eyes not equidistant to his nose? He looks too much like my cousin.

I just recently watched “The Ugly Truth” on one of those late nights you just can’t sleep for no apparent reason and the only options you have on TV are random movies or infomercials on skin tightening or some cookware. For those who haven’t seen the film it’s your typical cliche movie about bad boy guy who teaches good girl how to date, they go through some crap, there’s a love triangle, and everything smooths out in the last ten minutes of the movie for both to fall in love. There is one bit that really caught my attention as I’m trying to resist the urge to look for ice cream. Katherine Heigl pisses off Gerard Butler, who goes on a short rant and says the following:

That’s crap. They say they want romance, they say they want true love, but all they want is a check list. Is he perfect? Is he handsome? Is he a doctor? For you men who fit the criteria, don’t kid yourselves. Cuz they’re not sleeping with you, they’re sleeping with a carefully calculated set of venal choices. Money over substance, looks over soul, polished over principles. No gesture, no matter how real or romantic will ever compensate for a really impressive list of credentials.

That rant basically hit the core. It’s true. Dating is a carefully calculated set of choices, and the choices we make are based on the credentials of the other person. The other person boils down to nothing but a checklist. Only after they pass with flying colors (or no colors depending on circumstances and desperation) do we learn to look past their flaws as they look past ours. I, for one, now admit to this. I am guilty of doing this. Even with first glance of a person I can see my brain zooming through my checklist to make sure they fit a general criteria I have made up in my head. But, I will say this to defend myself: my criteria, my judgements, my checklist, I can honestly say, are not superficial. Rather, they are made based on my past experiences in being in a failed relationship. The ugly truth is, I am who I am because this is who I became. This is not who I was four years ago. Never would I have imagined I would be this, now.

Funny thing about wrapping gifts: so much time is placed on wrapping the gifts, but it only takes mere seconds to ravage through the gift wrap to get to the gift itself. Then, just because it’s been wrapped ever so delicately with ravishing decorative paper does not necessarily guarantee you get what you want. Such, is the ironic similarity with dating. You never know what you’ll get.

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