"Niko, I feel that you're not in the answering mood tonight, ah."

"I can only answer so enthusiastically," I answered Mae. "Lalo na about relationships."

I'm staring at my Facebook news feed again. Same old incorrect thoughts flowing into my head, thinking about one of the questions I was asked in the survey Mae passed to me. A friend's survey, apparently. Courtship practices.

"At present, what are the courtship styles, moves or practices among teenagers and young adults?"

Oh no. Bummer question.

But I really wasn't in an answering mood. Mae was actually expecting me to give long answers, but it feels like, err, someone pulled out of forced retirement; you feel rusty for a while until you get used to it again. My answer, though, was all that I could say.

"Kung alam ko yun, niligawan ko na sana yung minamahal ko. I don't really know."

Ooops. I think I should've written minahal instead. Double bummer.

"Pano nanliligaw ang tao today?" Sam wondered. "Magiging feeling close si guy... tapos one week after, tatanungin ni guy na 'pwede ba na maging tayo?'"

Laughter on both ends. A good thing to do when you're bored.

"Tapos magkakaroon ng malaking issue... hanggang ma-dismiss kayo sa school!"

I can sense it from a mile away. Something self-deprecating.

But perhaps things have changed already. Gone are the things that we saw in 80s romantic flicks, and so are the ideals of yore that our parents have managed to squeeze into our young heads. If you're getting started, don't bother looking for a guidebook, because rules will always be revised, revised, and revised, much like a dissertation that can't get defended.

Maybe we're worrying too much, though. This could work on her, but that wouldn't. I'd not go about market segmentation and all the complications - that'd make for a long blog entry - but with the way we see things now, nothing would really work. What is usually trial and error (and humiliation, natch) becomes a series of assiduously ineffective attempts to get someone's heart... and maybe her legs, too.

Really, now. If I had a better answer for the question above, and given the right tweaks in my personality, I would've probably set out in search of my one true love. Instead, I'm worrying about my material future rather than looking for my, err, so-called soulmate. If everybody has one, where the heck is mine? And why would I bother observing what he did to get her?

And should we expect seeing eleven-year-old kids kissing in the auditorium?

Perhaps I'm bitter. Perhaps I'm tired of liking girls with boyfriends. But if we bothered even more, then perhaps life would be much more complicated. Really now, would you want to see me court that girl that, in all but one sense of the word, is halfway around the world?

It was a two-page survey, but my answers are as short as my attention span, as much as I want to contribute to the effort to make the lives of those lucky enough to be brave enough to get the one they love better. But if we haven't got anything better to do, maybe starting the love hunt is a good option. As for me, well, I'll just answer the surveys and give a supposedly informed decision, all while staring at my Facebook news feed, learning of those who changed their profile photos, or have gone single again.

I can't imagine myself holding her hand, for one.

And your responses...

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