Day 144 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Start your story with, “The courtship ritual was long and strict. Many would also say disturbing.”
Shannon: The courtship ritual was long and strict. Many would also say disturbing. The process started with the couple creating a fire together, as if they were competing to prove they were capable of survival with only the tools nature could provide them. Family and friends would watch as they struggled with the first step for hours on end. Sadly giving up wasn’t an opportunity to come back later and try again when they were ready. It was giving up on the relationship forever. Their partnership wasn’t mean to be as far as the community was concerned.
Either way it always ended in a dramatic finale with the couple either getting unwillingly torn apart, or they’d moved on to the next step in the process: branding.
Erin: The courtship ritual was long and strict. Many would also say disturbing. The men were entered into a pit at random. They had no choice of which one nor if they wanted to participate. The prize woman watched from above, not able to hear any of the conversations. She witnessed the interaction of the 30 suiters. Every three days she eliminated one man based on the number tattooed on their back. They were allowed to try to woo the woman in the sky by any way they saw fit.
The first elimination was sent to the most “undesirable” bachelorette. The farther in the competition a man got, the more impressive the score of the woman’s pit he would be sent to. There were some men who got stuck in the final pit for lifetimes, until a self-sacrificing bachelorette would pick them so they could die in peace.
Write twisted romances.
The courtship ritual was long and strict. Many would also say disturbing. Even after all this time, and all this literal space put between the stupid blue marble, we had to adhere to the same ridiculous rituals. It had been several centuries since I human had set foot on earth, but the winter solstice was the official kick-off day for any romantic relationships to heat up; the first year of any relationship was the hardest.
On the eve of the solstice, any couples who wished to be married anytime in the near future, meaning the next five years, would enter the year apart. After midnight tolled on the clocks the females who’d entered would be sent to the left wing to spend a year without the physical presence of any males. No mirrors or reflective surfaces were allowed in the left wing, or any makeup; it was meant to prove that it didn’t matter what a woman looked like to her mate.
The males were all sent to reside in the right wing for the same amount of time; however, instead of having no mirrors or makeup, they could not cut their hair in the year. Supposedly, it was a test of how much a man was willing to change, but rumors now pointed to it being a silly tradition meant to give the ladies a break from holding up the relationship with their test.
Throughout that time couples were permitted one ten-minute phone call every week. A good fraction of the time, when the year was up and the couple met again, they didn’t recognize each other. This, the first stage, was a test of physical appearance and attraction; sometimes one or both of the couple would give up partway through and give up the entire relationship, but those cases weren’t very common in the first stage. Unfortunately for anyone hoping for a romantic relationship, that was only the first and easiest year of the courtship.
“The courtship ritual was long and strict. Many would also say disturbing…”
“Okay, do I want to know what you’re doing?”
Jacey looks up from her computer, “I have to write a paper. I’m doing it about one of my favorite animals, giraffes.”
“Why?” Chris asks, without looking up.
“Because she makes everything about animals, you know that,” Rick answers.
“Did you know that when a male giraffe wants to know if a female is ready to mate, he’ll-”
“Okay, that’s enough,” Chris says. He comes out from under one of his larger inventions. “I don’t need to picture that.”
“We know you couldn’t Dad,” Rick teases, “you picture robots.”
“Need me to draw a picture? I’ve been practicing drawing giraffes,” Jacey says, getting into the teasing.
“No, sweetie, please don’t draw that,” Chris says. Both his son and his niece start laughing. “Ha ha ha, right,” he mocks, “laugh at the adult.”
The two calm down and get back to their activities. Jacey opens her mouth as she starts to type.
“Type silently,” Chris says, “please, for my sanity, type silently, Jacline.”
Jacey smiles to herself, but closes her mouth.