The Lowcountry Love Dilemma

By Mark A. Leon

“Love you” in case I die.  A phrase so modern; so true; so filled with the purity of a millennial on the run.

I heard that recently while watching some mindless, yet profound Netflix programming thinking about an earlier conversation about the challenges of relationships.  There is a phrase for journalists that sums it all up so nicely, “journalists are just novelists in a hurry.”  It got me thinking about why dating is so difficult here in the Lowcountry.

The Dilemma

We date in the sound bite world where immediate affirmation is the normal way of thinking.

After one date, do we:

  • Sleep together
  • Become official
  • Marry
  • Change our relationship status
  • Become text friends

It isn’t that simple.  Like a great wine, a great relationship must age and be given time to breath.

The Excuses

Often, we blame everything else instead of looking for the core root of the problem when a date goes sour or you just can’t find one.

  • “Online dating sucks”
  • “Girls are teases”
  • “Guys just want to get laid”
  • “There are so many more girls than guys that it sucks to be a guy in Charleston.”
  • “I hate putting the effort into a date if it most likely not even workout.”
  • “After I cyber stalked her, she seems a little crazy.”
  • “Their picture online is so not them.”
  • “All he/she wants to do is drink on the date.”

These phrases are like the wind blowing from town to town and finding new meaning with each interaction.  The strength of anything worthwhile will never be found in excuses, haste or shortcuts.  A great relationship must be treated with respect, nourished and given light to grow.

The Cultural Clash

As the population grows and evolves, Charleston is becoming a melting pot of new cultures, personalities and ways of thinking.  This shift is slowly creating an evolutionary shift in traditional Southern behavior.

Historically, women and men with traditional Southern upbringings went into dating with the premise of finding a life mate.  This belief system based on respect and conservative values holds significance today, but that shift is changing.

As the melting pot sizzles, the integration of Northerners and Southerners in traditional dating situations is destined to collide.

When the “go out on a few dates and get to know each other” meets the “you are not the right one for me so take care of yourself” passive brush off, the hostility will grow.

When the “I just want to have fun and fuck my way through this city,” meets the Southern belle that wants expensive food and drinks, doors opened for them and a kiss on the cheek at the end of the night, fires will spread.

How often have you heard the phrase, “men and women aren’t so different”?  It is built on truth, but there are other variables at play that we must not ignore.

Culture is a beast far more powerful than you and me.  West Coast thinking and East Coast thinking get along, but will never find a true happy medium.  Northern liberal aggressive behavior vs Southern conservative charms will always be at odds.

Idealistically, when two souls meet that exchange an energy that fuses together for a feeling of yearning and bliss, that union is forever.  That true rings true from China to Maine.

Yet, the Lowcountry offers a set of obstacles that must be understood, broken down and pieced back together to paint a picture pure and true.

We live in a day and age where opportunities are more abundant than ever before, where love can be found at every turn over a beer, in a dog park, or in a digital app.  Knowing what to do once you find it, is the key to any chance of success.

Go in with a grain of salt, listen to your date and be respectful of their moral fibers.

This will ease the pain if you aren’t the right fit.


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