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"Love is all. The laughter and the tears that fall.The mundane and magical"~Marck Anthony~

By Girl Next Door

If you've ever been in love, or even had a crush on someone, you'll know what I mean when I talk about that adrenaline rush, those goose-bumps, the beating heart, sweaty palms and fluttery stomach you experience when you set your sights on the special One.

Assuming Cupid has his way, the beau or belle of your choice also reciprocates these feelings, and you find yourself enjoying the coveted position of being the Significant Other! Congratulations. You have achieved total bliss. Or have you?

Call me a cynical old fuddy-duddy, but the teen dating scene today leaves me wondering whether romances are just the stuff of M&B's. To say that all the casual (I'm emphasizing that word to show that I mean only the high-school romances…

I don't want to go into a messy discussion on long term commitments) relationships today are disastrous would be both inaccurate and unfair. However, dysfunctional dating scenarios are on the rise, whether you're willing to admit it or not. So, while my hat goes off to those smart, sensible and LUCKY lovebirds out there who have chewed out their difficulties to make it good while it lasts, let's all take a look at some situations where the couples don't fare so well, shall we?

Window Dressing
He's the hottest guy on the basketball team. She's the cutest chick in school. They look gorgeous together. So what do they do? They go out. In many cases, that's the only thing that not only holds them together as long as it does, but also has the rose-spectacled romantics sighing over them. In many cases, they share few common interests. But hey, if film stars can do it all the time, why can't we, eh?

LDR Paranoia
When the wicked witch banished Rapunzel from the tower, the poor prince combed through the kingdom searching for his lost love. Of course, he was blind at the time, so probably couldn't read her text messages. While he searched, his long-haired lady waited patiently, remaining true to him until they reunited.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and you have the disconnected duo losing sleep missing their loved ones for about a few months at best. Then the 'out of sight, out of mind' syndrome sets in, and at least one of them finds someone new, and it's au revoir to the old relationship.

In the event that the LDR (Long Distance Relationship, silly!) does last, so does this overwhelming sense of paranoia that it might just end any day. I know of this one guy who just loses it if he doesn't hear from his girlfriend everyday. Trust me, those are the kind of people you don't want to touch with a ten-foot pole.

The IM scam
The invention of Instant Messaging has thrown a new dimension onto the whole dating business. Notice how people take on a new identity when they're online. The same guy who always sat at the back of the class, out of sight, the same girl who can't speak above a whisper, become bolder and flirtier on MSN/Yahoo!/ AOL.

Now supposing someone falls in love with this bold and forthcoming IM personality. What happens when the two interact face-to-face? Ten to one, they discover just how incompatible they are. Looks like honesty IS the best policy after all, but how amusing it all is for the third party!

Monetary Mayhem
A phenomenon seen amongst the current generation, the couple spends insane amounts of money on gifts and dates, and even on treats for the best friends of the Significant Other. Hey, we dinosaurs used to splurge too, in our time, but not to this extent.

If you're happily unattached, then do take a stroll around the city on Valentine's Day (unless there's a hartal and a good chance of getting bombed). The mayhem you'll see around you isn't very different from the cow-buying spree right before Qurbanir Eid. There is a weird spirit of one-upmanship, where the reckless lovers try to show off their 'devotion' for their loved ones by emptying their wallets out on mushy, impractical stuff the recipients probably can't ever use.

There are actually people who start going out in the hope of being lavished with gifts and treats, so that when the wallet starts to run dry, so does the relationship.

Honestly, kids, there's more to a happy relationship than just stuff.

Crazy about each other, or just plain crazy?
You've seen a few of them. On good days, they're all over each other, tonsil-tennis on full throttle, octopus hands roving freely, whether the said couple happens to be in a public concert, a football match, or even in school. On bad days, they're at each other's throats, screaming expletives at one another, threatening suicide, occasionally even resorting to self-abuse.

It might be very amusing to talk about stuff like that when you're in the mood for gossip, but if you ever get stuck between such a pair on one of the bad days…well, God help you. And they wonder where Ekta Kapoor gets inspiration for her weird soap plots.

Someone who was cracking a politician joke said '99% of the politicians make the rest look bad'. I guess the same could be said of the local teen dating scene. So if you're amongst the small percentage who can say that you'll look back on your dating years and have no major regrets, give yourself a round of applause. You're truly an endangered species.



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