“For the sake of a series of gestures …”

“In front of me a couple of young people are arguing in low voices about the nature of their affair: Are they ‘dating’ or are they in a relationship.  If they are just dating, how serious is it? And isn’t the fact that the boy didn’t invite the girl to Thanksgiving dinner at his parents’ house an obvious obstacle to its being a full-fledged relationship? It’s simply a mystery to me, since this most American notion of ‘dating’ has no equivalent in French … This very un-French way of turning the date itself, and later the relationship as such, into a separate entity, living its own life alongside the two lovers … The oddity, too, of the mania these lovers have for verbalizing, evaluating, codifying, and, when it comes down to it, ritualizing anything that might happen within the framework of their relationship … For the sake of a series of gestures, that sense of the unexpected, the romantic, is lost, which in Europe even the most trifling love affairs preserve…” – From “Tocqueville’s Footsteps: A Journey Ends,” by Bernard-Henri Levy, in the Nov. 2005 Atlantic Monthly. (The pregnant ellipses are Levy’s.)

1 Comment»

  Tuesday Link Encyclopedia | Clarissa's Blog wrote @

[…] A really good observation on the weirdness of American dating practices. […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: