The New Romance

The New Romance

This summer I’ve already learned three lessons about the “new romance”. The dynamics of date night and courtship are changing.
It started when I flew down to New Orleans to reminisce with friends and learn how to roast Sweet Maria’s coffee beans. Sitting outside Café du Monde, I realized I was in probably one of the most culturally rich cities in the nation. Must be so much to do, but I soon observed that there’s a new, right way to take your date on town.

Dude in frat shorts: “I dunno, we can do whatever you wanna do.”

Gorgeous: “I don’t know what I want to do.”

This was New Romance lesson #1: Visit a city with huge site-seeing potential, but don’t make plans.

Now I’m all for spontaneity and stealing a kiss in the elevator. However, I’m still not sure how I feel about the type of serendipity where I’m left standing in a street full of opportunities saying, “I don’t have a clue.” I’m open, but not yet completely sold on this New Romance.

Further down, there’s a café on Decatur Street. This couple is texting like they’re coauthoring a book on their phones. I’m thinking, “Maybe they are writers.” But then I look around and wonder, “Do Jazz café’s usually fill up with writers?” Jazz writers.

Here was lesson #2: when you’re on vacation, don’t bother keeping the dinner conversation going. Instead, relax, and use the time to do something productive like write a book on your iPhone or stay in touch with all the people who are not with you.

I love my family and my friends; but my former boss scarred my memory with, “The most important people in the world are the ones in front of you!!” It’ll take me some time to get in the habit of texting mommy updates while on a date.

Leaving the New Orleans excitement, I’m driving back to Indiana instead of flying. The next stop is the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Kentucky. There’s something saucy and unpredictable about visiting a production center for firewater. For starters, they are pouring free shots. How can you not have a great time?

I’m enjoying it all with a dish of premium Kentucky beef slow cooked for something like 50 years in a crockpot of Maker’s Mark. I think it’s farm-raised beef too, not like that beef raised in the Bronx or East LA. I normally eat gluten free bread for lunch so this is so amazing I want to shout to the world or at least Instagram it to tell my followers how great life is.

By now I’m trying not to people watch but can’t help but notice the only couple in the dining area. She’s contemplating her $15 snifter of alcohol while he’s right swiping his phone like “Baby, pictures are way more exciting than the booze in this place”. Or is it just Tinder? Good thing I didn’t start raving about my beef; that would have been totally out of place.

The last and greatest lesson of the new romance: don’t get too excited about new places or experiences; just act like you’ve “been there done that”.

This one will be a toughest lesson to follow. I haven’t yet got to the lifestyle where I can go anywhere I want, whenever I want and develop the nonchalant indifference of having the world at my fingertips. Maybe if I got a raise of like $200 an hour I’d be there.

The New Romance and dating dynamic is going to take some time getting used to. I think with some consistent effort, I’ll one day be able to talk less and text more at meals; be less giddy about traveling; and finally, acquire that exciting spontaneity that leaves me saying, “I dunno” more often. But while the world is progressing quickly, I think I’m still deciding if I really want to keep up.