Atypical Dating, Day 2: Kimi ni Todoke and the Myth of Chemistry
I am an awkward guy if you’ve ever met one. I know how to speak well, but my brain doesn’t quite connect fast enough to my tongue when I’m speaking to people. Case in point: my involvement in 2DT’s first podcast (tune in to laugh at my awkward speaking, stay all the way through to hear the romantic love story).
I was even awkward with my wife, especially when we first became friends, and even well into dating. While she’s the type to feel comfortable speaking to complete strangers (and engages such people daily for fun), I’m the opposite. I’ll avoid you if I can – “email me, don’t call” is my motto!
But such awkwardness can make it hard to date. I’m reminded of Kimi no Todoke and the most awkward of characters, Sawako. Easily embarrassed around Kazehaya, oblivious of many social conventions, and not prone to talking in front of people, she’s painful to watch. The popular Kazehaya isn’t much better, at least around Sawako, because he lu-uves hers.
In anime and manga, the interactions between the would-be couple is cute. In real life, many of us would say this: “there’s no chemistry.”
I hate when people talk about chemistry in a relationship. Do you know what relationship chemistry is? It’s basically a mixture of A) literal body chemicals (attraction) with B) personalities that click and possibly C) some similarities in likes and dislikes. Basically, it’s all superficial.
Chemistry is a wonderful thing at the beginning of a relationship, because it makes you feel really good about it and about yourself. It paints a dumb smile on your face, causes butterflies to invade your stomach, and forces you to breath happy sighs.
In the long-run, however, it means almost nothing. This is why: the googly feelings disappear (or at least diminish). “Clicking” starts to matter less than your shared values and the willingness of each side to meet the other with love, grace, and sacrifice.
In fact, a little awkwardness is perhaps better than having good chemistry, because at least at that point, you can focus on what’s important instead of finding yourself lost in each others’ eyes (or some other cutey nonsense).
Like Sadako and Kazehaya, you can see the other person for who he or she is, and come to appreciate and love their qualities, instead of just their physique, their way, or “how they make you feel.”
At the very least, I encourage you to do this: let “chemistry” just be one part (or not) of your relationship and avoid putting too much emphasis on it. If you have it, enjoy it. If you do not, don’t dump your would-be boyfriend of girlfriend with the excuse, “there’s no chemistry.”
Hey, maybe if you focus on what’s important, one day you’ll be able to answer a friend who asks you about what attracted you to your boyfriend in the first place with this response:
We just had great awkwardness.
For the first post in this three-part series, please click on the link below. Also consider visiting these other related articles: