I was talking with a male client who was discussing the difficulties and challenges inherent in heterosexual online dating. And once we've met, why is it up to me to somehow figure out what works and make it happen? Doesn't anyone get that it's hard to take the risk to ask someone out? Are there any women who realize that by always asking, I am courting rejection at every turn?
My first response was to talk about the ways in which men have historically misled, subjugated, and mistreated women in pursuit of sex. Thankfully, this articulate, emotionally aware young man stayed engaged in the conversation. What does it take to be seen as who I am rather than be painted by the brush of who women expect men to be?
Truthfully, the first time someone talked to me about "men's needs," I scoffed and replied in a completely dismissive manner. Isn't that what we've been catering to for centuries? As a feminist, I've always been a loud proponent of the need for men to own their vulnerability, increase their awareness of emotions, and start talking. We are all human beings, joined by the common bond of humanity.
We all have the same nervous system, the same bodily functions, and yes, the same range of emotions. Contrary to what mainstream cultural media and messaging tell us, women don't have an exclusive lock on feelings and vulnerability.
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Understanding these facts, I have strongly decried this apparent lack of emotional intelligence exhibited by many men: What stops men from sharing their vulnerability and their fears? When that male client of mine called me out on my assumptions about men in the dating pool, countless moments flashed before my eyes. If he wants to be with you, nothing will stop him from getting in touch. That's just not how it works, you might say—and I'm sure that's what I subconsciously thought back then, too.
We've all read the books, watched the shows, listened to the podcasts. We've figured out that there's a playbook, and we're hip to all the moves. Except somewhere in there, we missed the boat. The reality is that our culture's heterosexual dating scripts overtly invalidate men's emotions, and we all play along.
The whole idea of "he's just not that into you"—and with it, the standards that straight men have to meet to demonstrate that they're legitimately interested in a woman outside of just sex—collectively casts men as creatures totally devoid of human feeling. Instead of considering realistic reasons why a guy you're texting with might be slow to respond he's in the hospital; his mother had a heart attack, and he's out of state; his phone died, and he lost his charger; he's just plain nervous, like you are , women are taught that if a guy really wants to be with you, nothing will stop him from following up and making his interest crystal clear.
But risk is a two-way street. Reaching out can be just as hard as waiting or accepting. There's a huge risk in asking someone to get together. It's hard to be vulnerable and put your ego on the line, and the fact that we struggle to acknowledge this hardship placed on men's shoulders says a lot about our view of male emotions. So many women like myself still actively perpetuate this myth of men as unfeeling—meaning all of us are to blame, not just the men themselves.
We want men to share their feelings, their doubts, their insecurities, their questions. And yet much of our culture still operates around the idea that they won't —or that they don't have any of those vulnerabilities to start with. And when men do voice them, many people still have a really hard time tolerating it. Women over 40 who want to date anyone under 55 - ha ha, good luck, you desperate old hag, any man who'll go out with you must not have any other options.
Men who have lost muscle tone due to age or lack of exercise and too much beer - dad bods are sexy and great to cuddle with! Women who have lost muscle tone due to age or lack of exercise and too much wine - gross, she's lazy and no man will find her attractive, he'll just be settling and will have to close his eyes during sex. It's like a catch I have a good friend in his mid-thirties who can't get laid nicest guy ever. He can't even get his foot in the door. Tinder is going to destroy him. No man thinks it's cute that my 29 year old friend is a virgin. They think she must be super religious or has sexual hangups, and they don't want to wait more than 3 dates to have sex.
She's having a very difficult time dating. She wants to wait until she is in a relationship and there are feelings involved. She doesn't want to have sex for the first time with a guy she's known for two weeks who's probably still dating other women at that point. And a lot of men aren't going to date a woman for months or whatever without having sex. Yeah, I lost my virginity at 22 and no one saw it as a positive thing that I had waited until I was "so old. Right, but then there are dudes like me - age-appropriate tastes. My ex will turn 49 this year. My teacher is Most of whom I've dated in the past 3 years have been in their 40s.
Only one or two dates with women in their late 30s. Many people in society have really fucked up views. I mean, that's how we get trashy reality TV shows, right? Like they cannot control themselves. It is the same as saying, "boys will be boys! Honestly, I think a lot of it is modern porn addiction. They often feature average to below average looking men with "perfect" women, so some men start to think that's the only type of woman they can date.
Because they've been jerking off to somethings with breast implants and lip injections, they have a hard time feeling attraction to normal humans. I jerk off to amateur porn with real people in it. I don't like implants and shit. I want to see real people fuck!! I HATE that term, and the way it implies that parents automatically let themselves go. It's just so true and so ridiculous. Lately I've been thinking about how a woman's age and a man's age aren't equal, even if it's the same age!
In my mids now and I feel like I'm in "woman years" or something. It's a joke, ugh. One of my favorite actors, who will go unnamed to protect the guilty, said not long ago that he was "still a young man" when asked about his future plans. He was 42 at the time. He was not kidding. If a year-old actress said in an interview that she was "still a young woman", the interviewer would probably laugh in her face and tell her she isn't. Oh and another actor I like, in an article was referred to as an "up-and-coming young actor". I guess the rule is: That, and the expectation that guys pay for dates.
I'm a woman and both of those irritate me to hell. Just can't understand them, in this day and age. Obviously it's nice to have someone show interest in you, but that works both ways. Obviously it's terrifying making a move, but that works both ways. Obviously generosity is a positive trait, but that works both ways. I think everyone suffers from this double standard. Men have to shell out more money and wonder if the woman is taking advantage of free food or drinks.
But my offers to split the check are often met with awkwardness and an assumption that I'm saying I'm not interested. Plus, there's the occasional guy who thinks you owe him something because he paid.
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We would all be better off ditching this tradition. I'll be honest, I feel like that would be a turnoff for a lot of women, at least your first option. Like they may go along with it, but I know some women personally who wouldn't then give the guy a 2nd date. It would for me, and I always expect to pay for half or pay for every second date.
If I showed up on the date first and she's later, 15 minutes, then I get another text she's coming in 30 minutes, and I respond, "sure; first round is on you now" would that be a turn off? I am all for having cheap first meetings like coffee or a walk in the park. I'm all for rounds, and for a meal on the first few dates I'd always insist on going dutch anyway - would be nice to know in advance so we don't have the awkward wallet dance at the end. Definitely wouldn't be turned off as the expectation for the guy to pay is still very much alive, so it's fair to be upfront if that's not the case.
I don't see it as 'cheap' as I'm not expecting a guy to pay for my company in the first place. His time is as valuable as mine is. I always pay on a first date, and boy does that get expensive.
Let’s Talk About Dating Double Standards
It signals, at least mildly, a level of entitlement. I had a brunch date a few weeks ago. She looked away when the check came and made no attempt. I paid and deleted her contact info right after we departed. Yep, I didn't mention paying in my original post because I feel that it has been beaten to death on this sub the last couple of weeks.
But that is definitely a big one for me too. Nothing wrong with it. Sometimes I think people see stuff like The Bachelor and expect your early dates to be some grand romantic gesture. I had no idea that it was viewed any differently on OLD than in real life. Are you saying that you frequently proposed getting a coffee with women on OLD and they turned their nose up at it?
I had that happen rarely in my years of online dating and I moved right along when it happened. I didn't bother with the date. I had a few dinners for first dates when I was new to online dating and it was a rookie mistake. Happened to me just once, and I ended up getting talked into going out for drinks instead despite my not really liking alcohol or bars that much. To be honest though, I'm kind of new to OLD and have only been on just the one date from it so far. Don't typically message much, and get messages in response even more infrequently.
I picked up the knowledge of coffee dates being seen as over done from reading quite a bit about OLDing in various subreddits and a few other places online that specifically talk about the dos and don'ts of meeting people through apps. From what I've noticed it seems to be a rather common complaint that people suggest those types of first dates too much and that it is viewed as being low effort. Ah yeah I s'pose it could be seen as low effort and overdone.
But I'd be curious to know what kind of alternatives were acceptable to those who criticized it. If the alternative is something else low impact and inexpensive then great! I think the problem is that people go on a bunch of coffee dates and they start to feel like it's too routine. As if the whole thing has been drained of any romance and it's like processing job interviews. In my experience, I was usually expected to suggest the first date really all dates and then I was usually expected to pay. And since most first dates don't pan out it can get expensive if you aren't managing that part of it.
So as an alternative to coffee dates you can also suggest a walk and an ice cream or visiting an art festival or something similar that won't cost a lot of money and doesn't require a large investment of time. Biggest problem with coffee dates are they are unromantic and occur in the daytime.
When you are going on first dates a week even that gets expensive. Exactly, they're the bane of dating, IMO. And only on rare occasions will I go out to dinner, usually if it's someone I feel an above normal connection with. We all do things in our own way folks. This statement was meant as an expression of opinion, not a request for alternatives or advice. While that's a strict interpretation of it, I think it really means more than that and can also mean coffee or something. I think the major point is that it's OLD, I'm not committing to a serious outing on date 1, just a short meet and greet to see if anything is there.
But yeah, I also have more successfully dates when I "do" thing.. Well then do something else like mini golf or something but realize the people you are asking out may not feel the same on the drinking thing. Just don't spend a ton of money haha. Also there are places that are more like coffee shops that have craft beer. You could take someone there, let them drink and you have water or a soft drink or something. I'm not really much of a drinker either, and I don't like noisy bars where we can't hear each other. I think a coffee or a walk or an ice cream cone together would be a nice first date.
OLD conversations that start with that are annoying. If we've been chatting and that's proposed then no prob. Essentially, women are seen as helpless objects, men as active subjects. This frame of mind is not restricted to just dating. I wish it was! In real life there is a lot of judgement still for large age gaps between any gender, and older women who hook up with younger men are seen as shameless and slutty as often, if not more, than they are lauded.
A man dating a much younger woman is frowned upon but at least society generally expects there to be some semblance of a relationship. A woman dating a much younger man is likely to be seen as just in it for the thrill or sex. I was married to a woman 11 years older for almost 3 decades and I disagree. It depends on the people involved and how they project.
Most people probably thought she was my age or younger. And we certainly didn't have the boy toy dynamic. Not saying there aren't some like that and perceived like that. Just saying it isn't universal. And of course, if we look at it the other way. Older men who date younger women are "gross and predatory because it could be his daughter". Women who do that are "Cougars who are taking control and living their best life".
That may be the case but as an older women who date younger men, it is less accepted and perception is the guy is 'going through a phase' and not looking for someone serious so if I date a younger man, everyone assumes I'm just casually dating and not looking for serious. You don't get this assumption from older man and younger woman. In fact, I got chewed out by an older man at a happy hour in front of co-workers that it was inappropriate for a woman like me to date younger men. Meanwhile he was a 50 yo dating a 32 yo at the time. The perception is also that the younger guy could only be interested because he has a fetish for older women.
Whereas younger women are perceived as liking older guys for a variety of reasons more mature, wiser, more established, daddy issues. No one calls older guys a fetish. That older man who chewed you out was being incredibly disrespectful. Was he a coworker? I hoped you put him on blast for his hypocrisy. Yes, co-worker and partner of the firm.
He had tried to date me when I first moved here, and I thought we were friends. Apparently that stuck in his craw for years. Fitting the same narrative, women who use sex toys are taking charge of their own pleasure, and men who do the same are pathetic wankers. Yeah, we're over at her place and she brings out a vibrator its sexy. But next night at my house, I bring out inflatable Betty and all hell breaks loose ;-. The only people I know who shun men who own sex toys are men. Have you ever had a woman complain? I'll be honest, if I was out in a mixed group of friends, and I mentioned having a fleshlight I don't , I can almost guarantee the women in my friend group would find it weird.
You apparently need less judgmental female friends in your group. I think it is awesome when men have sex toys, especially those to find his A-spot. It is a sign to me that he is sexually liberated and open minded about experimenting. I even have gotten lovers sex toys for them. How many do you all know in real life? Luckily we live in a culture where you don't have to risk your health in this manner, if you don't want to.
I've never seen a woman getting shamed for dating younger. On the other hand, I've been shamed for dating 5 years younger. My friend, who is 34, is dating a 23 year old woman. He gives me shit for dating a 23 year old guy. The older woman-younger man taboo is real. See my post above. I get shamed all the time, including by a coworker in front of coworkers at a happy hour. Meanwhile he was 50 dating a 32 yo woman. I also have people, including friends, not understanding why I don't lie about my age.
I'm not ashamed of my age. The term "cougar" suggests the woman is predatory. It's a term I don't relate to whatsoever, yet some people immediately label me with this term when I date someone younger, even if the younger person is the one doing all the pursuing.
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It is the equivalent to assuming all older men who date younger women are sugar daddies. And I'm aware that happens a lot too that older men are labelled this way, often for no other reason that the age gap. It sucks on both sides. And, this also neglects the fierceness with which some younger women sometimes go for older men. The reality is that it's not always older guys "tricking" younger women into liking them or preying on them.
My experience has been that women in their early 20s I know from work and other places will like every photo of mine on Instagram, know what I tweet pretty much before I do because they are constantly on my social media accounts, etc. And I will get messages out of the blue wanting to talk or hang out.
One sent me a message saying she had a crush forever, and had a sex dream about us together. And, I have a few who have real trouble taking "no" for an answer and have gotten very angry because I told them we're not going beyond hanging out. I'm more "prey" at that point. I definitely mention both "never growing up" with tastes as well as mentioning those pursuing father mother?
When I was 35 and started dating after taking a year to myself I had women as young as 19 pursuing me. One even lied about her age to make me feel slightly more comfortable about her interest saying that she lost her virginity to her dad's best friend to try and put me at ease Unhealthy pursuits are unhealthy - those who exclusively skew outside their age should look into why they are doing that. Even still it's entirely possible to find a great match with a large disparity in ages - just saying that as an expectation it's probably not a smart move.
I agree you're looking at this reasonably and many people do , but if you get into age gap discussions on certain relationship subs, most people will assume the older man is preying and the younger woman is being taken advantage of, without even asking about the circumstances. It's possible the commenter I replied to has seen this as well.
My sister chewed me out because I was dating a 28 year old doctor who had a kid because I must be taking advantage of her. She's a doctor so she will be financially stable and not need saving, a legal adult with a child so that makes her even more mature She was a bridesmaid at a wedding I went to and approached me. I asked out a hostess I clicked with while picking up food for a New Years party. She added me on fb and I found out she just turned I was 29 at the time so I wasn't comfortable with it and I told her as such.
I wish I had given her a shot. I don't think we would have lasted but I think I would have treated her better than the next guy she ended up with judging by all the drama I later saw on her feed. Too big of an age swing for anyone isn't generally healthy - doesn't matter if it's man or woman. The whole "oh, but we're biologically hardwired to seek out young and fertile" ignores that we've agency over ourselves. It absolutely CAN work out though - but people are far more likely to find their matches within a few years of their own ages - and a large swing is generally going to be more indicative of an unhealthy dynamic.
I love that this has downvotes - just want to say hello to the predators in the audience tonight. My statements permit for healthy relationships with a substantial gap, but if you're offended, chances are you're not pursuing a healthy dynamic and are in active denial about that fact Yeah, I know it can.
My Grandmother well she was actually my step grandmother, but my biological one died before I was born, so she was the only one I knew was like 20 years younger than my grandfather. And they had the most stable loving relationship of anyone I know. That is why I don't judge either way.
If you are happy, then go for it. Yes, but why is that? Could it be the very stigma you were pointing to in your OP, except the converse? Not just hook up. Maybe because the rates of woman-on-man violence are much lower than vice versa? Maybe because half of all homicides of women involve intimate partner violence? Women are afraid men will kill them. I get some hate for not dating guys who have kids. Then it turns out half of those guys messaged me specifically because I don't have any kids, because kids are so hard to schedule around.
Well no shit, dude, that's why neither of us wants to date someone who has them. Click here to see why this is necessary. I also am not interested in dating someone with kids. I raised my own child; I'm not looking to raise someone else's, and I certainly don't want to get attached to a child only to have my relationship with their father fall apart. When I do reach out to guys first, suddenly I'm "very bold" and they're skeptical. It literally scares men when I make the first move, like it shocks their system and they can't grasp it.
Makes me laugh so hard. One guy asked why I messaged him. Ummm, because you're cute? Is it that scary to hear from a woman? This always makes me feel sad. Any time this topic has come up with a guy, they usually say how rarely they get a compliment. I've heard guys say things like how a compliment they received several years ago from an aquaintance meant so much to them and really made a difference It has made me aware enough that I don't just give compliments to the men in my life, but when it's appropriate I give compliments to strangers cashier's, tellers, drivers, etc.
Thank you, from a stranger. As a guy who rarely gets compliments, having a stranger, especially a women, compliment me puts a smile on my face for hours. It makes my day when I see their initial confusion turn to a grin. I just wish that it wasn't so rare that it often causes confusion at first as they can't believe someone just said a few kind words about them. Awww, that makes me sad too. I'm gonna make an effort to compliment men more. I want men to feel appreciated! Women always compliment each other, so I forget men also need some love!
I don't think I'm a hideous troll, probably somewhere around average, and I can count on one hand the number of times I've been approached. Between it being such a rare occurrence, and some residual trauma from when I was a chubby kid that was approached by a girl as a way to embarrass me, it makes me want to be suspicious. It's something I've worked pretty hard to get over though, and it's mostly working. Oh sure - but I'm one of those dudes who, when I have an active OKCupid account, gets a lot of first messages.
The majority are from women who aren't my type, mind you - but I've had to work harder at making my profile more specifically-appealing than universal to cut down on my inbox. I hope you finish working through your issues and find the mental wholeness you're seeking though! I also had someone tell me I was 'too bold' and that he wasn't prepared to date someone like that. I've had men tell me I'm forward when I ask for date or express feelings. Um, no I'm just an adult communicating my feelings. Is being "very bold" a negative statement?
Most men are shocked at being approached. I can count on one hand the number of times I've been approached in my life. Yeah, I like messaging guys first. I have been told that it makes women look desperate or needy if we reach out first, but it's one way to stand out and show interest. I feel like it allows me to make a great first impression. I sent a somewhat ironic message to a guy on Tinder and he asked me out immediately. We are still seeing each other and he told me after date 3 or 4 that the one thing that really stood out about me was that I wasn't shy and didn't wait for him to take initiative.
I plan at least half of our dates and pay sometimes he prefers to pay most of the time though. Yeah this is annoying. Going for what you want is a weird bad thing. Something about men and control or ego or something right?
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The woman can't be too powerful or self assured ;P. One I just dealt with: Bitch, get off your hypocritical horse. I don't mind initiating a first date. But after that, if its all me trying to plan subsequent dates, I lose interest. I want a partner, not a princess in a castle looking for a guy to do everything for her. As a woman who does more than her fair share of initiating and planning dates, I'm tired of it. I'm going to have to go with the "Please be taller than me" line. First off, it's shallow. Second, you're cutting out a huge portion of the population based on height, thereby reducing your chances of happiness further.
Even though I'm 5'10", it really irks me. I was like this when I was younger. I thought I couldn't feel feminine and sexy with a guy shorter than me. I'm 5'8, so I realized at some point that I was excluding too many great guys, and I have also grown a lot when it comes to confidence.