It’s time to embrace gender equality and reimagine the rules of dating

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By mattwu

While gender equality is becoming more and more apparent in many facets of life,  in the dating world, traditional “chivalry” seems to still be the norm. Guys ask girls out, open doors and pay for dinner. However, these gender expectations on dates result in a mess of problems. If we were to remove gender roles from the dating scene, first dates would improve for both parties.

It begins with the initial “proposal” period, in which the male is usually tasked with the balls-shaking obligation of asking the female on a date. Even if this specific female has been showing signs as if he were blind, the male still must take first action. His mind races as he desperately (and hopelessly) tries to interpret the suspicious amount of eyelash batting, constant fidgeting and laughter at his lame jokes. He thinks of two realities: that she is somehow actually into him or that she has a completely dysfunctional sense of humor.

So while he leans toward the latter of the two, this girl gets fed up and asks him out herself. Problem solved and the date is established! Both genders should be equally tasked with this obligation, since it saves time and energy.

But now questions arise: Where should they go for a first date? And who will pay? While it may be reasonable for the girl to decide because she asked him out, a better scenario can be considered. It starts with redefining the amount of investment that the male and female puts into the date. In the status quo, the male assumes that he will be paying the entire bill. However, he fears being judged based on the restaurant he chooses (Mcdonald’s is obviously too cheap, but what college kid has money for anything more?) and thus, he finds himself between a rock and a hard place.

But in a world of complete gender equality, the two parties would expect to go to Dutch Hollow. And this norm would have multiple benefits for both parties. First, now with equal monetary investment in the date, the frugal college female will desire something cheaper anyway. Thus, she releases the man from a horrid two straight weeks of exclusively using meal-swipes. Both would be content with the cheaper end of dining and would dispel the need for fancy restaurants.

Furthermore, because the female now not only contributes her time but also her money, both parties reach an understanding that they equally sacrifice for this experience. It increases the significance of the date; it is no longer just a free meal.

Lastly, being polite on a date should be universal. Whoever is in the position first should act — open the door first, pull out a chair first and escort the other first. And if a guy starts turning a worrying shade of blue because of the weather, then he should humbly accept a jacket from the female.

Nothing makes a bigger impact on an individual than the first impression. Without gender roles, both sexes can communicate respect for the other and confidence in oneself. Perhaps with the continued drive towards gender equality, this can actually manifest during the first date.

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