This morning as I was browsing the web for petition ideas for ForceChange, I happened to click on Yahoo! in the hopes of finding something decent to write about. I came across an article called “Best first date moves for men”. Against my better judgment, I clicked on it and was immediately disgusted, so disgusted, in fact, that I actually took the time to write out a response and post it for all of the blogworld to see:
“Q: Does it matter where a man takes you? Or whether he pays for the date?
“Kelsey: Paying for the meal is a must. On the first date, never let the woman pay. If you’re not willing to pay her way on a date, don’t ask her out in the first place. But it’s nice if she offers to pay for, say, parking — even though I think we don’t want you to really take us up on that offer!
“Moira: Whether or not he pays for my part of the bill shows how the relationship will go if we keep seeing each other. I hate it when a guy’s like, “Why don’t we split this check?” College students are like that, and I am not trying to re-live those days.”
This is complete bullshit. It makes me angry that women have risen beyond (most) barriers and restrictions that kept us from being equal to men less than a hundred years ago, and yet some still display an amazing amount of sexism when it comes to men. Why should the man pay for dinner? Because it’s just the Right Thing To Do? Because it’s chivalrous? Who is to say that a woman shouldn’t pay for dinner the first time, as thanks for being asked out and picked up and driven around and doted upon? How is this okay?
My boyfriend and I – as anyone who knows me or has read the About page for this blog should know – are college students, and yes, on the rare occasions we go out to eat, we pay for our own food. We’re both struggling with bills and school expenses. So why on earth would I expect to be treated like a freaking princess when we’re both in the same boat? Yes, every now and then my boyfriend will insist on paying for my food, and every now and then I’ll insist on paying for his. It’s a tradeoff, but it is a tradeoff that should be applicable for every couple, not just college student couples. Why does that principal not apply to other people? Why is it always, always the man who has to pay for it all?
“Q: And the restaurant choice: Does it make a big difference to you?
“Rachel: I had a man take me to a five-star restaurant on our third date — I was like, you don’t take someone here this soon!”
Why the hell not? What’s so intimidating about a five-star restaurant? Are you expecting him to drop on one knee between the main course and desert and propose? If so, you have watched way too many chick flicks and need a healthy dose of reality. Five-star restaurants make for awesome dates, or so I would think. Be grateful that you guys get to enjoy awesome food and have a ball. Don’t throw a fit on his choice of restaurant. And hey, if he’s the one paying (as you insist he should), he should be the one to pick it in the first place.
And if a guy proposes on a third date, well, you’re better off without him.
“Kelsey: It’s also down to how he behaves in the restaurant. If you don’t open a door, you don’t know how to be a gentleman.”
Ah, the who-opens-the-door rule. You, reader, should hear the laughable debates I have with my own poor boyfriend on this subject. He thinks I should walk through doors first. I think whoever is nearest to the door should walk through first. It’s not a matter of gender. It’s a matter of practicality and common sense. If my boyfriend happens to open a door for me and then has to side step or otherwise go out of his way to make sure I go before him, I’m going to laugh and tell him to walk through already (after, of course, telling him that he is adorable).
Can somebody please explain to me why such an emphasis on sex is placed on this issue? Oober-feminists scream and shout when men hold doors open for them (read more about my reaction to that kind of behavior here) and other women, like this Kelsey person, take personal offense when they don’t. My reaction? Who cares? Holding a door for someone is a nice thing to do, but if great lengths have to be taken in order to ensure that a specific somebody walks through first (with the exception being a handicapped person), then I am going to roll my eyes and insist that everybody in the vicinity please – please – use their common sense.
“Q: What about his behavior during the date?
“Kelsey: If a guy’s not going to go out of his way to focus on you for the night, that’s a deal-breaker. I expect to be the center of attention. It’s like going to a job interview, except both people are nervous.”
Egotistical much? And why should you be the center of attention? Because you were born with boobs and reproductive organs? Why don’t you ask some questions of your date? Ask him what he likes to do. Ask him what his favorite music is. Don’t sit there and expect the world to revolve around you. Yes, your date should give you attention, but you should return it.
“Q: OK, so the man doesn’t meet your standards on your first date together. What do you do next?
“Moira: Phase it out. Let it die. After two or three dates, you don’t owe him an explanation. After a year, maybe you can tell him the truth if you have mutual friends.”
A year?? Beg pardon? Whatever happened to a simple “Thank you very much, but I’m not interested,” after receiving a phone call the next day after a bad date? You owe it to a guy who took the time to ask you out to tell him the truth immediately. Don’t make him wait around for an answer. That’s rude, irritating, and more than a little cruel.
“Kelsey: You have to make excuses sometimes.”
No, you don’t. You have to be polite at all times, but never make excuses. Middle schoolers make excuses to get out of things they don’t want to do, not adults.
I humbly think these ladies put way too much thought into what makes a perfect date and have unrealistic expectations of potential men who ask them out. I’m sorry, but it’s a date. You’re not there to abide by outdated, sexist, unwritten rules. You’re there to learn about one another and have fun. That’s not going to happen you are expecting men to be their slaves.
Maybe this is just the college-student side of me speaking… but what happened to dates that didn’t involve buying things for one another? Sitting on the couch and watching movies still counts as spending time together, right? Going grocery shopping together? Laughing over South Park episodes together? Well, that last one was a bit more student-oriented. But you get the idea. Dates can happen without age old standards hanging in the foreground. I think it’s time people learned this simple fact.