European dating customs
The American "system (if we may call it anything so formal as that) is the romantic's way and the European is the classicist's.The roar of outrage that greeted Shere Hite's assertion that 70 percent of American wives married more than five years are unfaithful just goes to show how against American values this notion of "open" marriage is: Americans idealistically imagine their marriages closed.Like dogs, we tend to piss on things to mark our territory.A relationship like the one I describe can only be shared by two supremely secure superspacetravelers.It did not begin as a sexual union but it has outdistanced my most passionate love affairs.It takes as a given that the friendship that endures between lovers is more vital than the sexual love that flares between friends.I, for one, have never been able to manage this—but perhaps the inability is a character defect on my part.When I love wholly, I make a whole commitment, and when that commitment begins to break down in the sexual area, I know I am on to some deep discontent I have to not yet owned.
"But, of course," he goes on, over a scrumptious lunch of stuffed roast lamb with wild mushrooms at Maxim's, "Europeans know better than ever to ask that question.
But the having and growing of children, gardens, libraries, and art collections seem to demand something more permanent than romantic love allows.
And now I, too, am beginning to wonder whether the European way isn't more pragmatic, more intelligent, finally more durable.
We get up in the morning refreshed as if we had slept—because the sharing we have experienced has in fact been more refreshing than sleep.
There is little doubt that this chemistry is impervious to the pollution of outside elements. But I am sure that it is precious and irreplaceable.
I have had one such relationship in my life, for nearly two decades.