Friday, March 31, 2006

Wooing vs. Courtship

By David Steele

As I spread the word about conscious dating and conscious relationships I'm amazed that not everyone agrees with me. I'm learning that for some singles "conscious" is a turnoff.

OK, it's just a word, so if Conscious Dating doesn't work let's use another one to get our point across. How about "Courtship?" Now there's an old-fashioned term few can take issue with!

According to the dictionary, Courtship means 1. The act, process, or period of courting. 2. Specialized behavior that leads to or initiates mating.

By contrast, Wooing means 1. To seek the affection of with intent to romance. 2a. To seek to achieve; try to gain. b. To tempt or invite. 3. To entreat, solicit, or importune.

So here's my take on the difference- Courtship is a conscious process of selecting and building a relationship with a potential life partner, and wooing is pursuing someone you're highly attracted to with a specific goal in mind; typically sex or to "get" the man or woman in some way.

Wooing seems romantic and desireable to some folks. To me it seems self-centered and impulsive. You are pursuing what YOU want based upon your feelings of attraction and immediate goals for sex, companionship, etc, and you've decided that THIS person is your target. People who woo are concerned with what they can do and say to accomplish their immediate goal.

Courtship takes the long view, respecting your potential life partner as someone to get to know and determine mutual fit over time. In our culture being patient and delaying gratification is undervalued.

Courtship means you're honest with yourself and the person you're courting about your intentions, and they are interested in you as well. When you're authentic there is a risk of rejection, which might be why wooing seems more attractive to some singles.

Conscious Dating means to be clear and intentional about dating. If you are simply seeking sex, that's OK, we call it "Recreational Dating" and recommend being honest about it. In spite of your scarcity fears, you'll find plenty of takers if you know where to look (such as Craig's List "Casual Encounters"). If you don't like to think of this as being "conscious," then go ahead and call it "wooing!" If you're single and seeking your life partner, I will stick to my guns and continue advocating being conscious, intentional, and authentic if your goal is to find the love of your life and the life that you love.