February 14, 2003 Features & Images » Feature Story

Sequel to seduction 

The sequel to seduction

Cross-cultural relationships may bloom in Whistler, but they are also subject to unique stresses

If Joe Millionaire and The Bachelorette are any indication, North Americans are obsessed with two things: celebrity and romance. Lace it all with scandal, and you’re guaranteed ratings. Create a holiday based on an old Roman fertility festival and you’ll sell more greeting cards than on any other day after Christmas. One billion cards. 35 million heart shaped boxes of chocolate. A proliferation of romance-themed articles – how to woo a woman (cook her dinner, admire her shoes), what women find sexy in men (he dresses well but not too well, wears Old Spice, and gives the perfect head massage), the Internet as the ultimate dating tool.

But after all this romance and seduction, what’s next? Does it really end with a bended-knee proposal? (One in five men propose on one knee, so the odds are low.) Or is it just as likely to end with a slap across the face? Consider the following four possibilities of life after a successful seduction.

The Vanishing Act. Fait accompli and you’re left, like a tourist, with a souvenir T-shirt and a hollow feeling that that wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. It looked better in the brochure.

(In Whistler, almost half the year-round population over 15 years of age is married or in a common-law relationship. Combined with the fact that, in a town of its size, Whistler has one of the highest male to female ratios, it’s no wonder some singles find the dating and mating game in Whistler dispiriting. Single girls take heart – 15 per cent of women in the States admit to sending themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day. How does the old song go? Love the one you’re with.)

Obliteration. Cynics and natural scientists may draw some pleasure in comparing other species’ mating rituals, which goes some way to explaining the success of nature programs. Narrator’s voice quivers with excitement: "Consider the male praying mantis, who cannot copulate while his head is attached to his body. Witness the female of the species initiate the sex act by ripping the male’s head off. How he squirms! The moment of personal obliteration and the species continues." The black widow spider and the scorpion similarly devour the male after mating, suggesting he really is good for just one thing. (Or maybe he wasn’t that good at all.)

Co-habitation. Sociologists have been decrying the "death of marriage" since the 1970s . Divorce rates increase with more reliability than this season’s snowpack. Canadian divorce statistics for 1998 offer up the following:

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