I have been to a birthday celebration for a friend and like all gatherings I’ve been to ever since I started my new life, my friends made the effort to introduce me to prospective mates. It’s kinda like a game now. Like, let’s make a contest about who will be the most successful in matching the bachelor with his future mate. Hahaha. It is a sign of their concern I think and indicates that their friendship is real.
To make the story short, I sort of did my usual routine in those situations. I pulled back and placed distance between me and the women. Nothing beats the implication of distance when trying to quash the possibility of these kinds of relationships, so much so that one of the women said this in jest: ‘Agawid taun tani lilikodan na tau met!’ (Lets go home since he is turning his back on us!). Hehe. The thing with Filipino courtship is that the implication of acquiescence whether that is merely talking with the opposite sex indicates that you are already set on the path of romance.
People of my generation in particular equate interest as a sign of approval. The whole courtship process is a mere prelude to what is inevitable. Once you take somebody home and she relents, it means that you already are 98% into a long term relationship, so in order to not disappoint people and to avoid expectations, you have to learn to cut anything resembling it the moment the possibility emerges. Better be construed as a ‘suplado’ than be a villain when you don’t follow through when it is expected. Other men have it down into a science. I am crude and may come out as haughty and I apologize. It is not that I shy away from women. Most of my friends are women and you can ask them. But women on the hunt, is another matter in itself. You instinctively know and to prevent the greater tragedy of the inevitable downturn at the end, you have to put distance the moment you feel the situation. As a friend, however, if you want me as a friend then I’ll be there. I’ll be your buddy and your brother. More than that, it’s another matter in itself.
I get tired reiterating my choice of existence. I understand the cultural imperative of marriage. I understand why people look at bachelors and spinsters with pity. I understand the need for human companionship in the long run. For the moment, it’s not for me. And if ever that time comes, the courtship ritual is supposed to take time and is not a brief affair.
It does not take a simple yes I like you and yes you like me and we are set for life. Marriage is a lifetime’s commitment. It is not based on economic or moral imperatives. You don’t get into it because one is the most sensible choice, or one has good morals, or one has the economic power to support a good life. You don’t get into it because the man is a good man (good being relative) or that people say he will be good to you; and neither because you think that the woman is beautiful, has good manners, knows how to cook, and is sensible. I know that these are the most common reasons people get together and I take nothing away from it but it is in retrospect, a violation of something.
Love is a connection: not economic or sensible or mental. People are supposed to get to know each other without any expectations. It can start from these kinds of attractions but it is supposed to end with the realization of a deeper sense of relationship. Lovers are supposed to complement each other and are not supposed to fill up a role. And the problem with us Filipinos is that we look for lifetime partners with a role in mind. It is a stupid foundation on my opinion. It is the root of everything that is wrong with our psyche. The lack of marital bliss in most relationships has this to blame, I think but that is just my opinion.
Learn to know each other… without expectations. Keep an open mind. Take time to learn each others quirks and interests. Do not merely judge by the ability to be someone or the mere fact that others say that someone is good. Goodness or the concept thereof is not a great foundation for something this serious. Explore and insinuate yourselves in each other’s life. Marriage is more than economics, more than kids, more than moral choices and certainly more than the perception of matches. I know that I am making convoluted sense here.
There are no simple answers, there never are.