In response to an awesome blog post by Kate Bailey, 10 Old Fashioned Dating Habits We Should Make Cool Again, and per one of the comments me posting it on Facebook solicited, here is a reflection of some things We Women could do to bring back some ladylike romance to our dating life.
This is written from an assumed male perspective, and based on feedback I’ve heard* from, you know, people… I don’t think I’m a man. I don’t, necessarily, think LIKE a man however, those brave souls who have been my friends and partners over the years have also lovingly told me I act a little too much “Like a DUDE,” to be long-term dateable.
Well, thank you, BROS… You’ve given me a lot to consider. Written from a male perspective, below are some points of interest I’ve encountered in trying to find love with my masculinely overdriven personality and some areas that I know I could improve on in the feminine subtlety department. Or, you know, maybe one day I’ll just meet a man who loves my lacey, high-heeled, lingerie-wearing “dudeness.”
I invite men to add their “Old-Fashioned Things” we could do in the comment section below, and let me know if I’m totally “off” or scarily “on” point. Ladies, how about we take a look at our behaviors that impact our “lazy” guys being less than gentlemen and recognize we could do our part to be a bit more romantic and understanding.
1) Ladies, please don’t call me “dude” or “buddy”
It does not matter if I am your best friend in the entire world or a new lust interest, men like to feel like we are sexy and potentially desirous. These terms make us feel like your dweeby little brother – thanks, but I’ll find friends who at least call me sweetie.
2) Powerful women are sexy, overpowering women are not
Yes, thanks to the women rights movements and the tumult of the last 100 years, we (men) are ever so slowly realizing that you ladies look great “wearing pants,” however, we still have fragile egos that are adapting. Let us be men sometimes. Let us open doors, open jars, and get really frustrated trying to fix something for you that would be easier to fix if we (as you suggested) just call someone. We know you can do anything we can do – better, probably – but give us a shot, it makes us feel good.
3) Don’t talk about exes too much beyond our original asking
I’m glad you and your ex are best friends and that he knows exactly what temperature tea to bring you when you’re sick, really, I am. However, I LIKE TO FEEL SPECIAL and that one day, maybe, I’ll be the only man in the world who know how many sugar cubes you want in your coffee, and the wrinkle your nose gets when you don’t like the way something smells. Imagining, and giving me too many details so I don’t have to imagine, about some other guy making you smile, scream, or sigh does not do anything to help me feel like I have unique place in your life.
4) Don’t be the most drunk woman around my friends or colleagues
You’re a pretty wonderful woman. I think you’re smart, attractive, funny, and I’d like my friends to be jealous of me, er… I mean, I want to introduce you to my friend group so they see just how great you are. This does not mean you need to prove to all of my guy friends that you are “One of the guys” and you can match us shot for shot. You do not need to be the best at beer pong. You do not need to be the one constantly getting up for another bottle of wine to serve everyone only to realize you’re the only one still drinking. Apologizing to my boss/friends/roommates for your behavior is not my idea of a “fun” Sunday and certainly not a way to earn longevity points. P.s. I’m not saying I can behave badly and you can’t… I’ll do the same courtesy for you.
5) Do “dress up” for me too! Dresses and heels are great
Okay, I read that maybe I’ve come off a little sloppy lately. Showing up in sweatpants when you invite me over for a home cooked romantic dinner… not my best moment. But hey!? As a culture we’ve set the bar pretty low to begin with. With all this pant-wearing, tomboys are cool stuff, jeans became the new “dressed up.” When you showed up at my unopened car door after I texted “here” (sorry about that too) with a pair of jeans, some toms slip ons and a sailor shirt… well, my button up felt overdressed. Let’s agree to both step it up a notch – at least in the beginning and for special occasions.
6) Don’t be high maintenance; you can have standards without being imposing and selfish
Demanding something better than what is going on too early, in food service or in new relationships, is confusing for us. So, we’ve lost the art of being a gentleman. Admittedly, our game is much lower than it has been in the past 30 years, so, give us a bit of time and please communicate your NEEDS (not whimsical wants) clearly, without shouting at us or reminding us of how great you are all the time and how you deserve better. It just makes us feel like we’re not good enough and that you are overconfident. Let’s both give it some time to grow.
7) Honesty is great, brutal honesty is just that… Brutal
If its not already abundantly clear our tender male egos are in a bit of a crisis of confidence lately. Many of us didn’t have positive or strong relationship models at home (I mean the divorce rate in the 80’s and 90’s was the highest ever), if we had single moms, they tried to play both mom and dad, and for the few of us who did have parents who were healthy and stayed together, this whole “Extended Adolescence” thing has hit our demographic pretty hard… SO, this is to say, be gentle. If you don’t think I’m the hottest guy you’ve ever dated, no need to tell me that directly. If I ask you a sensitive question, please do me the favor of responding sensitively. It may not look like it on the outside, but we are very sensitive, and because we’ve only recently been invited into the “share your feelings” crew, we’re still a little unsteady when we feel insecure and have a tendency to respond poorly (read: displays of overconfidence, pretending not to care, getting quiet, not calling back, mean and defensive, or just taking a few steps back in our trusting you – but we won’t tell you any of this… now YOU have to be the mindreader).
8) Being direct about how you feel is great, being too direct takes the mystery out of it
The chase is a little fun – or, well, it used to be. As you ladies have gained assertiveness and go to empowering women groups about how to “communicate your needs,” most of us are still deeply invested in our Fantasy Football leagues and taking vacation time to see our favorite sports team out of town. Our bromances are stronger than ever, and we’re tender mushballs around each other – sometimes – but we’re still guys. We don’t need to “process” everything. We keep things quiet and are often mistaken as UN-communicative. Look closer, ladies. When you are at my house, I make sure to keep the toilet seat down; and if you were paying attention, you’d have realized that when you came over unexpectedly that it was in its proper position- UP. This is a sign that I care. I know, we are a mysterious breed, and maybe you can take some cues… Telling us, very directly and pragmatically, that you “really like me and that you have concerns about our long-term compatibility but are willing to identify those and work on fixing them now” in the first two weeks of spending time together is a bit overwhelming. Maybe take some time. Notice the toilet seat position. Realize that we communicate in gestures and so we pick up on the same. If you bring me soup when I’m sick or tell me how great I look in a tie, I’ll get it. You don’t need to BUY me a tie and tell me to wear it. If there are long-term compatibility issues, well, we’ll either stop dating, or we will have organically reached that point in our communication to address it – directly – together.
9) Give one, get one compliment exchange
We like to hear you think we are sexy and look great. Don’t be shy, tell us. We can’t be the only ones lathering on the compliments when we pick you up. Yes, you look stunning, I told you that. My jaw almost literally unhinged. And it would be really great if you let me know that all of my fussing over which hat to wear or how to tie the perfect knot paid off and that I look pretty good myself. The flip side of this is over-complimenting us… We’re not used to that either. We don’t know how to take too much flattery. This might sound strange, but it kind of turns us off when you tell us all the time we look good. Hey! We’ve got minds and feelings too.
10) Easy ladies, easy
Yay for the sexual liberation movement! Seriously. Sweet. Women (in most developed countries) have the right to choose when, where, and who they have sex with. Gone are the months and years of waiting until the wedding night. Women have claimed their right to be just as assertive as men. And, at the same time, you don’t need to show us how sexually empowered you are by being a prowess. You ladies don’t love men who brag about casually sleeping around… well, the same holds true for us. It’s not attractive for men to say, “let’s go to your room” all the time, equally unattractive coming from you. I mean, don’t get me wrong, its definitely hot sometimes. But you constantly being the one driving the sexual energy… well, its another turn off. Give us a chance to chase you, to want you, and be really excited to discover you.