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Plato’s Guide to Dating and Romance

 

Our modern. 21st-century view of dating can be summed up in five words: “snag the best you can.”

This clearly has more to do with you than the one you want to go out with. You, sir or madam, are a certain build, a certain character, a certain group of personalities, a certain hairline, a certain waistline and a certain punchline. Put all those characteristics into the magical food processor of life and out pops a concoction with a very specific formula that only certain suitors will drink.

Effectively, this ranks potential partners into a devastating hierarchical pyramid. The PHD supermodel at the top, and the receding, skinny ginger (myself) at the bottom buried under a foot of peat. You learn very quickly how high on that pyramid to aim – and then you stick there. Anyone above your level is ‘out of your league’ therefore ‘out of bounds’ and ‘not worth the effort.’

This is the exact opposite of the eminent, classical philosopher Plato. One of Plato’s key theories was that you should always allow your lover to change you.

The way this works out in practice is that rather than looking for someone just like you or at your level or in your league, you instead look for someone who possesses characteristics that you want but do not have. You aim for the stars!

Your lover should be more than you. By virtue of being with you, they will help you develop those characteristics that you want. They should simply help you become more than you already are; a better person. You should always reach beyond your ‘league.’

I met my wife at Uni. She was four years older than me, a poet, and an incredibly smart philosophy student with some history in modelling. She was totally beyond my reach. Yet by the grace of God we ended up together, despite my best efforts to trash it.

After we’d known each other for a month she asked me directly, ‘Are you interested in me?’ And I – subscribing of course to the ‘not in my league’ formula – lied through my buckteeth. ‘No, no, no! Of course not. We’re just friends!’ Little did I know how much that was to break her heart, and how close we came to utter disaster. Salvaged only by her tenacity and my ineptitude. Eight years later, I still wake up dumbfounded.

So aim above, don’t aim below. Don’t settle for ‘the trick is to go for the 2nd prettiest.’ Don’t believe all the nonsense that the media feeds you about what you deserve and what makes people compatible. Reach for the stars and do not settle.

This will take more time and more self-improvement and more confidence on your part. This will take more waiting and more self-control and self-restraint. Yet this is the only way to a happy partnership that really grows you as a couple and develops you as an individual.

Thank you Plato, you dog.

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