I think we've all been in this situation - and by "we" I'm using the guys as an example here. You take your girl to that new release movie, one you know she will like, and you are having fun. The lights go down low. You're sharing popcorn (well...not me...I'll be hoarding my junior mints) and the opening titles start to play. Suddenly there he is, that A-list, chisel jawed, wash-board-abbed actor with the winning smile, and you can sense it before it happens. You can feel it in the wind...which is strange...because you're in an enclosed movie theatre...and you realize you made a fatal mistake. It hits you like a ton of bricks. You weren't prepared for this.
Your girl tenses up slightly. There's a smile on her face, and her eyes get wide. Then, almost instantly, she relaxes everything all at once, and her grip slackens, almost spilling the popcorn in the process, and she lets out an audible sigh.
This - ladies and gentleman - is called a swoon.
A mere 1.03 seconds.
And yet the effects can last indefinitely.
Here's the unfortunate fact: This is not an isolated incident. Statistics show that 83% of all females in that same theatre just had a similar reaction. The other 17% wish to claim "he's not that great" and instead wait for the curly haired best friend to come on screen.
I'm hesitant to say that this is a pandemic, I don't want to alarm anyone, but something has to be done. And ladies, before you think I'm being a little one-sided here, let me even the playing field.
While discussing the issue of swooning with one of my colleagues, who shall remain nameless, I used the example of Olivia Wilde as a woman whom guys have a weird fascination for. An obsession, if you will. No sooner had her name escaped my lips when he reacted. His eyes closed shut. He let out one of those weird sighs. I felt like I was intruding on a moment, and contemplated leaving him alone for a few minutes. I paused, waiting for him to come back to reality, and when he did it was as if he had to physically force himself back.
That was a swoon.
(And it was slightly awkward.)
Guys. Girls. My experience with the swoon has hardly been pleasant. I've had girlfriends who have swooned other guys, mostly actors, musicians, or other public figures, and each time I feel insignificant. I feel a little less confident. It breaks me down little by little.
But why is that?
How could such a small gesture have such a huge impact?
Well to answer those questions I am going to address the common misconceptions associated with the swoon. Then I will talk about the swoon as it was meant to be.
1. I know what I like.
My friend in the previous example is very logical, and he has a lot going on in his head. When I called him out on his swooning ways he justified his reaction by proclaiming, "It's not that I was oogling/wanting/lusting after [Olivia Wilde], it's that she possesses a certain quality that I like in girls, and I know what I like."
Now there is nothing wrong with knowing what you like. Everyone has their preferences, their attractions, and I don't believe there are two people who are the same in these areas. In fact, I encourage people to determine what it is they want/like in a person they would want to date BEFORE they start dating. Don't be dead set on all of those things, know what you can compromise on and what needs to be there, and always pray about it and be willing to be surprised. God wants to hear what you like. He takes pleasure in your pleasure.
However, when you swoon after someone, it is not about what you like, it is about what you want, or what you don't have. Your mind may be able to justify those actions, but in these cases it is your heart that is making the decision. Contrary to popular belief, our hearts can act without our minds knowing, and it is saying what it cannot live without. It is reacting to what you think you want. What you think will ultimately satisfy you.
I'm going to get back to this.
2. But I'll never have 'that'.
Most girls will try to justify their swooning by claiming it's unrealistic, and admit they are never going to meet that particular person. While probably true, you are still opening up the world of "what if" in the mind of your significant other, and as most people in relationships can attest to, the "what if(s)" never have any redeeming value.
I'd like to believe that you'll never meet that very attractive, obviously "unrealistic" actor/actress you see before you, but what if you did?
Maybe you'll never meet that exact person, but what if you meet someone who's close enough?
Your heart obviously desires certain things, so what if you could have it?
The truth is: we will never live up to the "what if(s)".
3. You have to admit, he/she is pretty.
This is the worst one for me, in that I think it is outrageously naive. Yes, he or she is very attractive. I get it. In fact, this is Hollywood. Studios are banking on the fact that you'll find these people attractive. It's why we watch these movies in the first places. Movies are supposed to look pretty, and so are the players within them. Everything about this is pretty so you can like them, empathize with them, and maybe even want to be them. Worse case: you enjoy looking at them so much that you will see any movie with them regardless of the subject matter.
Yes, I will admit that he IS pretty, and yes I MIGHT have my own man crush on Chris Evans, but why must you react in THAT way? Why swoon at someone just because they are beautiful?
Swooning doesn't say, "He's pretty."
It is saying, "What I wouldn't give to be in the same room with him, alone, right now. My panties would drop so fast they'd be halfway to China."
Yes. I have heard that last one before.
You see, we believe that swooning is insignificant. That it is no big deal. It is nothing to worry about. But for the other person, swooning can cause a whole slew of unforeseen problems. I don't mean to sound trite by saying that one could feel threatened, but it's true. Swooning is threatening.
For me, it can cause me to second guess myself, or a relationship. It makes me believe that I am not good enough, and that I am not what the other person wants. I begin to compare myself to that actor, whom she doesn't even know, and I take stock in the qualities that he possess that I do not have. When I see those same qualities walking the street, in our groups, or amongst our friends, it can cause jealousy that I don't even want to be there.
Swooning is anything but "No Big Deal."
And before you try to cover it up with "But he's not you"...know that it is too late.
The damage has already been done.
Even when you don't have someone you can hurt in that manner, you must know that it's still dangerous to an extent. I go so far as to say that swooning is covetous in nature. It is your heart saying that you want what you don't have. It projects a desire that craves satisfaction. The more we want it, the more we search for it, and the more we come out empty handed. It is coveting because that person isn't yours, and you are treating them like property, because you would do anything if only you could have it.
I want to switch gears for a second and admit that swooning, under the right circumstances, is not a bad thing. Swooning, in fact, is actually biblical.
The first man, Adam, when he saw Eve for the first time, called her "woman". "Woman" in the original Hebrew actually means "mine", and he was claiming her as his own.
He was swooning.
In the Song of Songs the man speaks of his beloved, naming all the qualities she possess that he enjoys. Her eyes. Her hair. Her skin. She does the same in return, revelling in something so simple as the way he walks.
They are swooning.
But these are cases of swooning within a certain context. God created Eve specifically for Adam, and it is safe to say that they were meant for each other and no one else; at least in their case. The two lovers in Song of Songs proclaim their desires only for each other, after having waited for so long, and even warn their friends against "awakening love before it is ready" because they should keep in mind the person God has for them, and not go chasing after people who are not theirs.
When they swoon, it's towards the person they've found, whom they feel called to, and not towards random people they know absolutely nothing about. They are swooning because they enjoy the thought of having one another. They are swooning because as they learn more about the other, and they love what they discover. They are swooning because it is natural to want what God wants to provide.
And let me reiterate that there is a difference between noticing when someone is pretty, and swooning. I'm not the first to admit that men are visual creatures, and women are increasingly becoming more so. We notice beauty. We notice when someone is pretty. We are attracted to what we are attracted to. The difference comes in when we do more than just take notice. For proof of this, especially with guys, you only need to look at the effects pornography has on our perception of women, dating, and marriage in this current age.
The truth is...I have an abnormally strong mindset when it comes to this topic...and yet I probably wouldn't be as adament if women in my past had swooned for me even half as much as they did towards celebrities. So this is kind of personal for me, but can you really blame me for that?
I want to a girl who lights up when I enter the room. I want a girl that, when she hears my name, sighs because I possess qualities that she likes. I want a girl that for a moment, for a brief second, for a blink-of-an-eye fleeting instant, can think of no one else she would rather have but me.
That would be ideal.
But I'll admit, I've swooned after girls because of certain qualities before, and I acknowledge that it was wrong of me to do so. It was selfish of me, and it gave me the impression that I was in control. I wasn't trusting God to provide for me. I believed I knew better what I wanted. I was piecing together a fantasy that reality couldn't keep up with. I was looking at other women, and basing that as the standard that my future girlfriend/wife would have to compare to, and that's just not fair to her; to either of those women.
So I'm choosing to catch myself before the swoon. To take every thought captive. To check my heart even when my mind tries to justify. I will know what I like, or what I find attractive, in a woman, and I'll pray and give these things up to God. I will have him know what I want, but I will trust in him to know what I need, and to know better the things that would make me swoon that I may not have even experienced. I will wait for a girl to come along, whom God tells me to pursue, and I will swoon to my hearts content, always being sure to let her know that she is someone special to me. And someday, God willing, when I see her walking down that aisle in her white dress...
...I will call her "woman".
(So what are your thoughts? Do you think there's a problem with swooning or over-reacting to guys and gals on screen? Are we perpetuating misconceptions of what we think we want, or not trusting that God might know better? Are our perceptions of the opposite sex being misconstrued? Leave your thoughts below.)