Earlier this month, I started a conversation about the Gender Gap in dating. I discussed that I feel it manifests as a power struggle (not a new idea on this blog), and, for me personally, I need my man to win the struggle. What I’ve been finding since I started really paying attention is that there is a definite shortage of men who are willing to win the struggle. It seems that as we close the gender gap in the realm of the boardroom, we increase the confusion in the relationship realm.
In a discussion of why this is (and how to fix it), it’s best to start at the beginning: the First Move.
Suddenly (I’m not sure when it happened, but it seems quite sudden) it is equally as acceptable for a woman to make the first move as it is for a man. In theory, this takes some of the pressure off of the man, but does it really? It’s been my experience (with the Artist especially, and even with Superman) that just because the guy doesn’t have to make the first move, doesn’t mean that it makes it any easier for him. Now he has to decide if a woman showing interest is romantic or simply platonic.
With the Artist, he would misinterpret my many attempts to do friendly things with him as me being a clingy, potential romantic partner. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Superman missed my attempt to feel out the situation in what I like to call a “Pre-date,” which led to several months of missed romantic opportunities.
Yeah… so… a Pre-date is a thing I think I made up to protect myself from getting hurt. It’s where I, as a woman, invite a man to a harmless event of sorts, a movie or a lecture for example, with the distinct plan of walking that line between flirty and friendly to see which way he leans. With the Artist, we went on several pre-dates where the conversation leaned heavily towards the flirty side, and culminated with him officially asking me if I’d be interested in dating him.
I managed to show interest, taking the pressure off of him enough that he could make the first official move, when in reality, I’d been making subtle moves for some time. A wee bit underhanded, I suppose. Perhaps even downright diabolical, but it maintains a certain amount of the (as the Artist would say) “natural order” of things.
See, I want an alpha male, albeit an intellectual one, but an alpha male needs to be the initiator of things. So for me, there does need to be a certain amount of subtle suggestion to get the point across that yes, I am interested, and please take the reins and ask! Hence the Pre-Date.
Where it seems to go wrong for me, is that once I’ve established that there is an interest, I desperately want the man to be the one who sets a date. If you’ll recall, this worked well with the Artist in the beginning, when he made a point to set an official first date, and to make it known that if I pushed to see him again before the date, he’d push it back.
That strength was what caused me to overlook the other obvious (in hindsight) drawbacks to his personality which eventually led to us trying to be friends and finally me kicking him to the curb altogether.
This need for the man to be strong is offset by my need for a plan. I get a tiny bit anxious when I don’t know when I’ll see a person again, so then I start making suggestions, hoping that the guy will get the hint and the “natural order” will be restored. If/when that doesn’t happen, I become the aggressor, making plans, attempting to set dates, taking control.
But I don’t like it!
I want to be chased and wooed! I want a man to ask me out, and me not have to prompt him by making overt suggestions, such as suggesting a specific day, time, and place!
This is where that dreaded gender gap comes in: when the man was decidedly in charge, there was no doubt who set the pace and tone of the relationship. He asked the girl out and provided the specifics, thus setting the tone and pace of the relationship.
In my little world, I find myself setting the pace considerably more than I’d like. This is a problem because it makes me seem pushy, clingy, bitchy, or some other negative adjective that scares men away. The more I push to set a schedule of some sort (because I am a planner), the less interest they tend to show. It’s a recurring pattern.
The point I think I’m trying to make is that who ever makes the first move sets the tone for the relationship.
So, guys, you need to step up! I understand you need to know that we’re interested, but if we have to make the first move, we ladies are then stuck trying to determine if you guys are interested in us at all. At least put some effort in setting a follow-up date! The longer you wait to ask us on a follow-up date, the less confident we are in your interest, and we can become a bit crazed… Save yourself the hassle of a crazy woman and just ask the girl you want out already!