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To Court or Not To Court in Manhattan

By Holden Wilde

The evolution of courtship in Manhattan over the last decade is like the evolution of penmanship since the Internet became mainstream: gracious letters have been replaced by keyboard symbols, and sophisticated, nuanced romances have been synthesized to trivial, sprinting pursuits. Dating roles of sexes are becoming less distinguished and “talking points” of good old battlefield lines are no longer relevant: harems, polygamy, witch-hunting, and pre-suffrage feel so distant and quirky, and feminism so passé, that men almost wish women would say something about “glass ceilings” or “wage inequality.” We have entered the new dawn of courtship on the island where ladies can’t find gentlemen and gentlemen don’t believe in ladies.

We are enjoying every bite of our delicious meal at a neighborhood café, peering into each other’s eyes, holding hands, and it feels great. The beginning of the end of summer cools the energy and we cherish few fleeting moments. We look great with each other, we have so much in common, the sex is juicy and tender, and we’ll probably never see each other again after one last night. I like Rachel and I’m hoping she won’t feel hurt after we are over. I’m also hoping that she doesn’t see pity in my eyes while I’m debating with myself whether she has a right to feel misled. “I told her right upfront that I was not looking for anything serious. Her eyes were hurting, but she played it cool.” The circle of corruption continued…

I met Rachel two months earlier at CVS. I had just moved into my new bachelor-ready digs and was enjoying a lazy Monday morning discovering the neighborhood and buying the men’s basics: shaving cream, hair gel, and condoms. She saw me looking at hair gels and walked by, then came back into my isle, looking lost and confused. She was very tall with a smoking body, but at that moment she seemed to be the most vulnerable little girl on the island. The predator blood rushed in and I walked toward her, waiting for eye contact. She looked up at me with a virgin anxiety; her eyes spoke: “Talk to me! I spent another lousy weekend alone! I am amazing and I am yearning to be romanced, courted, charmed by my equal who protects and takes care of me, who is fun and outrageous, who loves children and dogs, and is willing to go all the way… I am so ready for such a man!...” I should have passed by, she did not look like a “player,” so it was not fair to her, but my empathy cheated on me with my compassion a long, long time ago. So, I said, “Hi.”

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