jims - Column for 9/20

Friendships, relationships, dating all become interesting concepts when get into a serious discussion with someone from a different country. Recently I have been conversing with a friend from Germany about these topics. She is currently working in the US office of the German company for which she works. The whole concept of dating in the US gets a pretty amusing reaction out of her -- somewhere between confusion, disbelief, and shock.

From what I have gathered, in Germany there are fairly distinct lines between friends, acquaintances, and those you have relationships with. At first, I was sure the confusion was rooted in some sense of the need for order. But in thinking about it, trying to digest and in some way explain the variety of types of personal relationship dynamics that pervade the US singles scene really is not particularly easy. It made for a fun discussion.

Her initial description was that it was all very sophisticated. But, having been in Europe recently and other experiences, I suggested confused or convoluted may be better descriptions. If you think about it, there is no manual or guide for this sort of activity. As we approach adolescence, we are left to fumble through the new cultural rituals that are bodies and hormones begin insisting upon.

For guides, some may turn to books, observing those that appear to be suave and popular, then there are movies. I don't think movies help much. Classics like 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High', 'The Breakfast Club', 'The Graduate', even porn, give some pretty skewed views.

But, I ramble. This may be a topic to revisit as the conversation unfolds.

Columns by jims