Financially Romantic

How does spicy cajun turkey, gruyere cheese, tomatoes, green peppers, and black olives sound on a wheat wrap? Add to that "Killer Rats", a straight to video movie release that screams bad horror. This is one possible scenario for a date, one I, in fact, was on a while back and which I would term a complete success. Why you may ask - well, in the end, what mattered was the person whom I shared this bohemian meal and admittedly questionable movie with.

During tough economic times, and we are told that now is such a time, romance happens all the same albeit taking on an either more inventive or reasonable tone. Financially spoken, this downturn in the markets, which has been compared to the 1929 Great Depression, has not yet, and hopefully will not, result in meals that consist of shoelaces, but it goes without saying that courting a woman or taking her out on a date may have to be toned down a notch.

I am of the opinion that money does not a successful date make. Romance cannot be conjured up if the person footing the bill simply isn't easy on the mind's eye. Having spent my teenage years in Germany, dating that side of the straits was a pretty informal affair compared to what I learned in my English class about the so called American dating game. The whole procedure seemed like a rather elaborate business transaction and spoke of money to be had.

Since my big move this side of the pond, I have heard my male friends speak of a dating downtime whenever finances are veering toward red. I keep on challenging them on their notion that romance jumps better into gear with a lavish dating plan. I understand that down the line, when dating and romance turn to the prospect of a serious relationship, money may increase in prospective value. I have witnessed couples, claiming to be very much in love, who would pitifully disintegrate into screaming, blaming parties when a financial crisis hit.

But since romance and dating represent the refreshing first dance of a potentially life long two step, I think that for the most part, it matters less what you end up doing on a date and more whether the character, charm, and other attributes of the person who asked you out agrees with yours. Just because the wallet bulge these days may be less pronounced doesn't mean you are bound to stay home. One only need remember the popular song 'All You Need is Love', and the money, well....to hell with money! In the beginning love fills the air and all else is secondary. If you are a good conversationalist and appear attractive to the person you are with, a date with limited finances will be as successful as the one with eye popping features, such as a helicopter ride above town or a midnight dinner at a fancy Russian restaurant.

A good friend of mine used to tell me: "I don't want a bottle of perfume, and I sure don’t need another ring. All I really want is for him to take my hand when we go for a walk, or hug me once in a while when we are out with friends." Rather simple, is it not? Somehow this wish looks more diligently for fulfillment than the one involving budgetary means.

So what is my point in all this? Human connection is my point. It is what ultimately turns the wheels of dating and romance. Money surely is a nice accompaniment, but it serves not as replacement to 'human' (mental, emotional, psychological) characteristics which more aptly dictate whether we declare an evening successful or pronounce it a bust. There is no need to place dating on ice because finances are tricky at the moment. In fact, we all probably need a little bit extra human warmth with all this talk about a financial crisis, frozen credit markets, and unemployment rates that well exceed six percentage points.

In my case, the Publix deli wrap detailed above tasted like a Bocuse prepared dish to my romantically engaged palate, and Killer Rats drew many laughs thanks to its absolutely abysmal computer graphics. This memory is one of my very best dating memories and the real reason for its success was that H-e was the one with whom I shared this moment. Pure air could have satiated me that night and a black screen could have easily competed with an animated one.

For those interested, the cajun turkey wrap at its priciest still falls way short of the ten dollar mark, and Killer Rats, released around 2004, may be in stock at your local library...thought I wouldn’t count on it.