Atypical Dating, Day 3: Itazura Na Kiss, Destiny, and Dating Checklists

Each girl is born to meet her own destined one.

What a magical, romantic, arrogant idea.

Wait.  Arrogant?

On this third and final day of my mini-series on dating, I want to explore the idea of waiting for your prince (or princess) to come.

Art by えまDX

These opening lines from Itazura Na Kiss wouldn’t normally be equated with pride and admittedly, I wouldn’t always do so.  And certainly when Kotoko utters them, she’s isn’t trying to be prideful.  But there is a conceit often contained within this idea of being “destined” to be with someone – not because of the idea itself, but because of the connotation that the destined one is usually a person that meets a set of expectations.

For many of us, boys as well as girls, we have a subconscious checklist of things we’d like to see in our partner, with items like good looks, intelligence, and a fun personality.  Some girls I’ve known (and Christian girls might be more guilty of this than others under the guise of “godly man,” “Christlike leader,” etc.) have an actual list.  Christians girls might be more guilty of this than others, with a mental or physical checklist of items like “godly man” and “Christlike leader” (Hey Christian Girl is a great Tumblr satirizing some of these ideas).

Unfortunately, this wish list starts to represent what we feel we deserve.  It’s what we measure would-be dating material against: Is she pretty enough?  Is he muscular enough?  Is she smart enough?  Is he funny enough?

There’s obviously a measure of hypocrisy there, because we’re likely to expect more out of that special someone than out of ourselves.

The majority of the friends I made in high school and college aren’t even dating, much less married, though most are looking to settle down (or have been for quite some time).  It’s true that’s “it’s hard out there.”  Unfortunately, for many, the problem is this: they expect too much out of their partners.

A relationship isn’t a beautiful alabaster jar on your shelf – instead, it’s the process in forming that jar, from the ugly beginnings through the cutting and burning.  The finished jar isn’t presented until “death do us part,” after years of refining a marriage.

Egyptian sellers demonstrate the quality of alabaster by shining a light through it.

Don’t expect the jar right from the beginning.  After all, you’re just a screw-up – like me, like your friends, like all of us are.  So what better place to start than this – two screwed up people trying to grow together to make something beautiful.

Other Entries in This Series:

TWWK

Husband. Dad. Occasionally Korean. Enjoys Star Wars, ASOIAF, and Meg Ryan movies. Tweets before proofreading. Ghibli. Oregairuuuuu. Jesus is King.

9 thoughts on “Atypical Dating, Day 3: Itazura Na Kiss, Destiny, and Dating Checklists

  1. I actually think the idea that a person’s standards is really just a form of pride is interesting. I definitely agree that people have higher expectations from their partners than from themselves, but I would actually pin Naoki down as the one who is conceited rather than Kotoko because he thinks he deserves a ‘perfect’ girl, which is why he initially rejects Kotoko. Even after the two are married, he says he was a masochist to have fallen for her, whereas Kotoko always accepts Naoki no matter how cold he may be.

    1. I’ll take your word for it, as I dropped the series about a half-dozen episodes in (and never read the manga). 🙂

  2. So true about Christian girls. But I have to say that some of it comes from the expectations that adults put on them. My parents drilled every guy I dated. “No one’s ever good enough for your little girl” mentality. However, taking the time to date and get to know a variety of personality traits helped me to determine what characteristics I loved, hated, and could tolerate. I agree that the expectation that there is someone “perfect” out there for you is unrealistic. It’s more about finding that person who will pull the yoke beside you while you head for the same goal.

    1. That’s an interesting comment about being with someone who will “pull the yoke beside you.” I think that’s very true. In my marriage, my wife and I are headed the same direction for most things, but when some of our major goals conflict, life becomes difficult.

      Also, I’ll try to keep your words in mind as I raise my daughter, though I think it’ll be hard for me to not fall into the mentality you described!

  3. Fascinating piece as usual! I must admit this is something I am very guilty of. At the same time, I think a certain length of list is required as a starting point – after which, the rest of the list can be refined by time, love, and the refiner’s fire.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I was a little hard on the idea of creating a list. There are certain things that are important for us to look for. I think perhaps the idea is that despite such things, we should be open to what God has in store for us.

  4. I try to keep my list reasonable and for non-prideful reasons, such as having a decent weight.. as in not being too much larger than me, because I know I have some weight problems, and I’ve seen them ravage memebers of my family. I couldn’t stand to see them happen to someone I loved. Other than that, I have preferences, but I try to stay open to guys that don’t fit them.

    1. After I posted this article, I kept reading/hearing about the positives of having a mental checklist, both here in the comments and elsewhere. I have to admit that if you keep an open mind, like you suggest, it’s a good thing to have reasonable expectations and even, perhaps, some items that are immovable.

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