Gimme Shelter

Trending romance

By Paget Pizitz

I vaguely remember closing last month’s column with the promise of a more light-hearted read for August. As I write these words, I realize it’s 101 degrees outside and my air-conditioning has just broken. I know this because I went to get ice from the freezer and found Louis the cat snuggled between some vegan “meat” patties and a liter of Belvedere Vodka.  I heard him scratching around in there like he was trying out for a lead role in the musical Cats. I also fear the friendly deadline-reminder email I’m sure to get from Robin in the morning, so I’m going to ink some words, before Louis and I both stroke out and B-Metro tells me to pack it up.

This morning, I woke up thinking about puppies in tiny shoes and then Milos. After that, I thought about dating, marriage and how they have evolved and changed over time. After I pacified my fast-food craving with some beet juice and three Excedrin (I may or may not have attempted “The Dougie” at the Funks last night) I looked up a few tidbits about the history of marriage.  Throughout most of Western civilization, marriage has been more about money, power and survival than it has been about true love. In 95 B.C., Rome, wife swapping was seen as a good career move.  Cato the Younger divorced his wife and remarried her off to his ally in order to strengthen family bonds. He remarried her after his ally died.  In Europe, 1344, ordinary people couldn’t choose the person they wanted to marry.  The lord of Black Forest manor decreed that all his unmarried tenants marry spouses of his choosing. Peasants had to pay a fee.  Those peasants, they never seem to catch a break. Also, could this be where matchmaking got its start? In 18th-century Europe, ladies declared that a loveless marriage was truly regrettable but a woman had to consider her future financial stability when choosing a husband.

For the sake of your sanity and mine, let’s skip way ahead to 1920 when people start dating. Couples have access to cars and can drive away from the oversight of their families. They start going to restaurants on dates, and the man pays and you bet your ass he wasn’t using a Groupon.  In the 1950s, marriage becomes the norm, and single people are seen as sick or mentally unstable. However, courtship was more formal and elaborate. Think going steady and “getting pinned.”  Frankly, I don’t really know what getting pinned means, but it sounds hot, and I really want to look into this further. In the 1970s, social rules change and women become more free spirited. They no longer need to marry to feel complete. Divorce rates skyrocket.

The 1990s saw the most obvious and significant shift in dating. Online dating hit the scene, and people were able to browse profiles much like perusing the candy aisle on Halloween. Emails became the modern day love letter.  In 1998, speed-dating hit the scene in Beverly Hills. Then a laundry list of dating games and shows followed; rapid dating, eight-minute dating, The Bachelor, Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire, The Bachelorette, Rock of Love, For Love or Money, Flavor of Love, Temptation Island, Average Joe, I Love New York (Are you tired yet? Reading that list has me fatigued) and then, my personal favorite, The Millionaire Matchmaker.  So what is my point? The hell if I know. Right now I’m so faint that I accidentally put my laundry in the dish washer.  At 6 a.m., when I started writing this, I think my point had to do with how dating and finding love has changed throughout history. In 1920, which, if you think about it, wasn’t all too long ago, no one imagined the process of dating and marriage could involve the World Wide Webs… the Internets.

As we evolve mentally, physically and spiritually, the “game” changes too. Don’t define your relationship or the relationship you are looking for by a set of rules that are already antiquated or sure to be soon. Perhaps we all over think it just a little too much. Perhaps Mister Dylan had it right when he sang, “Try imagining a place where it’s always safe and warm / ‘Come in,’ she said, ‘I’ll give you shelter from the storm.’” My last parting advice is to trust yourself, be open to new experiences and stop over-thinking something until it’s nothing. Maybe you start with looking for someone who gives you a little shelter and the rest just falls in place.

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One Response to “Gimme Shelter”

  1. Mark Anthony says:

    About “Getting Pinned”. A tradition dating back to the 40’s or so. This bit clipped from the inter-toobz.

    Different Fraternities have different rules regarding pinning, but pinning marks a serious commitment in a relationship. The girl has to lavaliered already, which means that she has been given a necklace (a lavaliere) with the fraternity’s letters on it, and she is therefore allowed to wear the letters of his fraternity on a sweatshirt or t-shirt as well. Then, sometimes six months later, sometimes more or less, a the fraternity boy gives her his pin, which usually involves quite a bit of ceremony and singing. It can be like the Greek version of a promise ring, but also can simply signify that they are just seriously committed to their relationship. Pinnings are not always between a fraternity boy and a girl in a sorority, but it is often easier when the girl is a member of the sorority because her sisters plan the event.

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