Whoever said romance and chivalry are dead, haven’t met my fiance. I’m not here to brag, but to remind you men and women that these things don’t have to just exist in romance novels or the Elizabethan era. I’ve always been a hopeless romantic. I cry during commercials for godsakes. I can’t read cards in the hallmark aisle without dabbing my eyes. I’m a total sap!

So, imagine my disappointment when I came of age in a time of dating that had all but eliminated romance and chivalry from the play book. Instead of a man showing up at my doorstep with flowers, I got awkward texts and men ghosting on me after only two dates. I felt let down by society. Why do you show us these sappy romcoms about the guys sweeping their women off their feet literally and figuratively, only for us to discover men are rarely like that. Dating these days includes sending emojis back and forth and netflix and chilling by the third date. It’s a total let down for us romantics.

It used to be so hard to meet someone, that when you did you sure as hell didn’t end it prematurely in hopes of something better. Nowadays with the help of the internet, we can order up a date in a matter of seconds. All we have to do is swipe right, and a man can come knocking at the door. So why commit? Why settle for the first person you meet? There are just so many options out there no one can decide. I once had a man (who I met in the real world not internet) date me for two months and ask me to be his girlfriend, then the day after Valentine’s Day dump me. What was his reason? Well, he said things were great between us, but he met another girl and thought he’d give her a whirl and see who he liked better. She apparently won this contest in his mind. C’mon, seriously!! Why jump ship if the boat isn’t sinking?

This is the age we live in. I read recently on a post that “monogamy is a thing of the past.” All the cool kids are shacking up with as many people as they want and that is okay. I get it, why commit to one when you can have many. Whatever happened to good old fashioned romance with one genuine person though. Believe me, I’m not crying for us to ‘Make America Great Again,’ and bring back women in the kitchen and men bringing home the bacon. I’m a feminist. I want to work hard and be an equal, but I want to share my life with one person for the rest of time. I want flowers. I want white horses. I want kisses by moonlight. I want all those cheesy 80’s movies starring John Cusack.

When I was out there dating, I oftentimes found myself lamenting to my girlfriends that guy after guy that I found on Okcupid or Tinder wasted my time for a month then told me they just wanted to sleep with me. If you are just going to use a girl for sex, tell her on the first date. Be honest. Sure, there were times when I was fresh out of a relationship and I just wanted something casual, but I told those men my intentions right off the bat. I got so tired of looking for something serious though, and men toying with my emotions. Don’t waste someone’s time.  If you don’t want to have a serious, monogamous relationship, say that. Don’t rope girls in with your charm until they are hooked and then tell them you don’t want anything serious.

We’ve created a world where no one knows what they want and no one wants to commit, because there are too many options and it is just too easy to meet someone. If you keep trading in the 8, because you want a 10, you will just keep chasing those missing two qualities in everyone. Well, I found my 8 and somehow magically I found him on Okcupid and I would even go so far as to say he’s a 9. I had pretty much given up on meeting a decent human being in Portland before I met him. Every damn date I went on was disappointing, and I don’t know if this is a Portland thing or a generational thing. It just seemed like every person acted like Peter Pan, never wanting to grow up, never wanting to settle down, and always “searching for themselves.”

My 9, has reminded me that romance and chivalry aren’t dead. He is my romcom, romance novel, Prince charming. We’ve almost been with each other a year and he spoils me. I don’t mean expensive diamond bracelets, I mean genuine shows of affection and love. Only three weeks into our relationship, Ethan was leaving town for D.C. for the weekend. He spent the night and caught a cab early in the morning. I woke up to find a card on my dresser. It had a map of the U.S. with a heart on Oregon and an arrow to a heart on D.C. In the card he told me how much he was falling for me and loved holding my hand and getting to know me.

On our first Christmas, Ethan went out of his way to show me he loved me. We planned to exchange gifts before Christmas since I would be away with my family. We had dinner at Portland City Grille and we exchanged our presents. I gave him a brass tree with its roots growing around an amethyst, because he loves trees. He gave me a handmade journal for my writing. I was very content with our gifts. Then, I return from the bathroom and he asks if I want dessert. I say sure and he motions towards the dessert menu. I open it and a letter drops out. In the letter he writes about how much he loves getting to know me and the music I love, he included tickets to see a band I told him I liked from Philly. Then, we drove down to Pioneer Square to see the Christmas tree and take pictures. When we arrived he told me to reach in the glove box for his camera. I opened it to find another letter. This one told me how he couldn’t wait to share his favorite music with me and had tickets to see his favorite band. I felt like I was floating. NO ONE had ever done something like this for me.

It doesn’t even end there though. I flew home for Christmas to see my family. On Christmas morning, we always open our stockings first. My sister, Mandie, says to everyone that there is something special in the stockings for us. I assume it is from Mandie. My mom pulls out a card and starts reading it, not knowing who it is from. It tells her that he can’t wait to meet them and he is in love with her daughter. There’s a gift card for them to enjoy dinner at a restaurant downtown. I’m shocked to discover he sent my parents a gift. I open mine to find a Joni Mitchell CD, which is a joke from my favorite movie, “Love Actually.” In the movie, the wife thinks her husband is giving her the necklace she found in his pocket, but instead opens the gift to find a Joni Mitchell CD. Ethan hid a beautiful blue carved box beneath the CD with a gorgeous labradorite necklace and earrings inside and a note that says Merry 1st Christmas, these reminded me of your eyes. Mandie informs all of us that Ethan contacted her and arranged to have her intercept the gifts in the mail and stick them in our stockings. I burst into tears.

I’ve never dated anyone longer than 4-6 months. Most guys got tired of me after 3. I was always searching for the one. I had this idealistic view of love, because my parents have been together for 35 years and they are actually happy. I wanted to bump into the right man in a bookstore browsing the travel section or at a concert dancing to our favorite band. I never thought I would meet him on the internet, but from the moment we met I knew he was the one I was searching for. Each day he shows me he loves me in so many ways.

When he proposed in front of Bridal Veil Falls, when my parents were visiting for the week, I had no question in my mind that I want to spend my life with him and him only. Who cares if there are more guys out there waiting for me to swipe right on Tinder. Those are superficial relationships. I wanted something more. I wanted the man who made me feel special and not like I could be passed up at any moment. He doesn’t have to do extravagant surprises for me every holiday, anniversary, or birthday, but the fact that he would text me every single morning since we met to say, “good morning my love,” is enough for me.

I’ve never had a spectacular birthday and I’ve spent several birthdays abroad. This year, I figured would be the same except now I’m dating Ethan. He told me he had to work on my birthday until 3pm, so I made plans with my friend Wailana. She told me we were going to the grand reopening of a vintage store in Sherwood. She told me many details about the store and how she knew about it. I believed her. We pulled into the parking lot of a shopping center and I looked out the window to see her boyfriend getting out of a car. I then realized it was Ethan’s car and he was standing there holding cupcakes. I was really confused, because he said he had to work and Wailana seemed pretty serious about this store.

I walk up to them all baffled, only to find that behind the car is a limo and my friend Megan pops out of said limo. Ethan hugs me and says, “you said you had never been in a limo and you kept talking about going on a wine tour, so let’s go.” So, I hop in the limo, which is decorated with birthday balloons and napkins and treats. Ethan hands me a burger from Burgerville, knowing I haven’t eaten and we take off on a rainy day to visit three wineries with my friends. Again, Ethan has managed to completely surprise me and make me feel like the most special girl in the world. I apologize, Universe, for all my angry laments about wanting past men to be the one. You clearly knew that my Prince was coming, and I just had to wait a little longer.

Girls, he is out there for you. Don’t settle for some douch bag in an ugly Christmas sweater holding a cat on Tinder (actually saw this guy). Don’t settle for men who tell you after two months that they just want to sleep with you, because they don’t know what they want yet. Don’t accept that men can’t be romantic or don’t care or allow them to date multiple women at once. You are better than that. You deserve to be treated like a Queen!! I’m so glad I didn’t give up. It, of course won’t always be chocolates and roses and limo wine tours, but the fact that he puts in the effort every time and he enjoys doing it without me ever asking for it, that tells me he’s the one.

There aren’t a million fish in the sea there are a bunch of piranhas. So, when you catch a fish don’t let them go, because you’re curious if you can catch another fish. It feels like more and more people these days would rather take the chance of getting bit over and over again than be happy when they actually catch a fish that they like. Why is happiness so scary or boring that we would rather submit to the suffering of dating, rather than settle down with someone great.

I, for one, have been bitten enough times to know when I’ve caught something worth holding on to. I don’t miss dating at all. I know I’ve found the man that is full of surprises.

Published by Melissa Gittelman