Let's revisit the topic of dating. You ladies always seem to get on my level with this stuff, and even though I've touched on my dalliances with Cupid a time or two before, I've tended to paint in broad strokes. Enough of that. Let's get specific, shall we? Super candid real talk. I'm fired up. Ready, set, go.

I've been out with a lot of single, straight guys in the past few months, but could I say I've been "dating?" I don't know. Men my age in Atlanta seem so freaked out by the mere prospect of labeling a get-together, I don't even often get the respect enough from a guy to clarify what on earth I've signed up for. I sincerely doubt anyone would accuse me of being the sort of girl who invites disrespectful behavior from men -- I feel pretty secure stating that I am the physicaantithesis of that girl. So what is it? Is the "pressure" of calling it an actual date all just too much? Do men have so little faith in the sanity of women that they think we're going to fly off, half-cocked to the Bridal shop because someone bought us dinner? God forbid we read into it and think you actually might like us. That would be horrible!

Dating. Maybe we need a new word for it, because it's certainly not happening a lot any more. Not in the traditional sense, anyway. The rule book has been thrown out, and total romantic anarchy has taken it's place. Courtship? Nonsense! Now it's all about the non-date date. Everyone is "friends." And "hanging out." Nobody wants to admit hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here's my number... so definitely call me because you're cute and I want to know you better and not in a platonic way.

Actual situation from my life #1: Two guys and two girls go out on a double date. They get to know one another, they're flirting, he's smiling, she's running her hands through her hair constantly. And then it comes: the check. "We'll split it." The guys say. "Four ways." 

Actual situation from my life #2: A guy asks a girl to go to a concert with him. She agrees, she gets dressed, she's excited. Ping! New email. It's from him! What could it be? Would you look at that: it's venue link. So she can buy her own ticket. An hour before the show. 

Actual situation from my life #3 (full disclosure, this one was a girl friend, not me): A guy asks a girl out to dinner later in the week. He doesn't ever follow through. Friday night comes. He finally texts her. "You going to the bar tonight?"

Do any of these situations sound like romantic breeding grounds to you? Does it sound to you like any of these men have much respect for the girl they're half-heartdly trying to get with? And would my girlfriends or I have any self-respect if we set the precedent from the first date (or you know, non-date, or group hang) that it was okay to treat us like that? 

Sadly, the feigned purse grab gets awkwardly followed through with much more than it should. Guys: I promise, whatever we might read into you buying our four dollar sandwich (real prices, y'all. Again: actual situations) is not nearly as scary as what we're going to think of you for not picking it up. It isn't about the money. I'm not staring you down, judging you for how much you're willing to spend on me so I can tabulate my future divorce settlement. I'm actually thinking to myself, wow, if this guy doesn't even think I'm worth a four dollar sandwich, he really must not care at all... that really hurts my feelings... can I go home now? It's respectful: paying says "hey, I want to be here with you, and you're worth it to me." That doesn't mean the next walk is down the aisle. Hell, that doesn't even define it as a (scary word alert) date. All it means is that you're a confident guy with good breeding, one with a modicum of respect for the fairer sex. Fine, maybe I'm a less liberated woman for saying so, but give me a break! That concert ticket was like fifteen bucks! And you invited me

Case in point: after the double date scenario, my girl friend turned to me and said "Wait. What was your guy's name again?" Neither of us could remember, and don't to this day.  That is how unimpressed we were. We started referring to him as "face." Four dollars was all it took to relegate him to punchlines and forgotten territory.

And to you, the "come to the bar" guy. Let's begin with sin number one: not following though. Don't put the poor girl through agony thinking she's going to hear from you all week. She was probably excited to spend time with you. Sin two, don't text her! Texting is for "I'm running late." Texting is for "Are we out of milk?" Texting is NOT for ACTUAL conversations. And it definitely isn't for romance. Pick. Up. The. Phone. The faster you're between her ears, the better your chances between her legs. The final sin? "You coming to the bar?" is the equivalent of "wanna come over and watch a movie?" All that means is that dude x is looking for the easiest and most direct path to girl y, naked, in his bed. Hot damn, sign me up for the romance! I do so enjoy the dirty the morning after feeling!

The real irony of these situations are that if more twenty-something men would just take women out, straightforward about their intentions, they'd have a hell of a lot better chance at that kiss (or what have you) come the end of the night -- better, the girl is going to feel a lot better about giving it to him. That's the real key. Not what men are getting from women sexually, but how they are going about it. That's what we ladies get hung up on, guys. Not what we did, (most of us like to get down just as much as you do) but it how you made us feel about it. You want to see a woman's ugliest side? Make her feel insecure. You want to see the best she can be? Make her feel like you value her. When a girl values herself, trust me, it's always going to work out in your favor. It's not pure strategy, either. You might actually find yourself sitting across the table from someone pretty great. 

For those of us out there trying to find an actual connection, one that's happening outside the four walls of a bar and a bedroom, I wish I had the answers. I really do. I wish I knew what came first: the chicken or the egg. Are men just lazier now, or is it because women allow them to be? I don't know. 

After all, gentlemen, it appeals to your most basic of instincts: the hunt. Nothing worth having lays itself down in front of you.

And for goodness sake. Just f*cking pay. 


35 comments :

jennadaily said...

This is brilliant. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Read The Rules. Yes, the slightly antiquated (what are those "single dance parties" they refer to? Sure sound fun) how-to-date guide from the 90s.

The Rules has gotten plenty of flack over the years. While I don't agree with every recommendation, such as the chapter on receiving presents, The Rules certainly contains some helpful tips and tricks on how to condition men to treat you with respect, and create the chase during the beginning/courtship phase of dating.

Sincerely,

20-something-year-old chick who lives in Manhattan. I promise this isn't a shameless plug from one of the authors, I'm just trying to pass on some helpful info from one single lady to another.

Emily said...

I second jenna... this is brilliant. I'm recently married, so I don't feel that I have the right to speak up too much, but god to I totally agree. (And sadly, my beau and I have been together 5 years, and sometimes it feels more like an 'arrangement' and we each take turns paying for things. I still want romance damnit! Just because I'm married doesn't mean a girl doesn't like a nice meal.

I guess, the things that always gets me about guys not paying because they think it may 'mean' something, is that girls by dinner for other girls. It's exactly what you said about wanting to spend time with another person and valuing their time enough to pay for their $4 (!) sandwich. I mean, if my bestie takes time out of her busy schedule to drive 40 minutes to have dinner, uh hello, I'm totally going to pay for it. Same thing.

Ashley said...

All I can say to this is hell yes. You hit the nail on the head.

Ashley N. said...

YES! So true! What is even more insult to injury is when your married friends try to 'counsel' you after the failed outing or situation with the old 'He's just not that into you' rules. Those rules are out the window too! Stop adding salt to the wound. Guys need to take control or don't whine when we decide to take a bit of matters into our hands to figure out what the hell is happening. Thanks for being so transparent!

trip said...

I'll tell you, all of those scenarios you described are complete bullshit (as in, unacceptable, not that I think you made them up). Sounds to me like you're hanging around the wrong guys.

Katie Johnson said...

I'm with Trip...change the crowd. While I haven't been the most successful dater, I've never had to pay for my $4 sandwich...like you it's not the money it's the respect.

Jessica Graves said...

@trip - it's not bad dudes, it's bad behavior. The answer isn't ditching your crowd. It's spans every social group anyway.

@atie johnson - that's good for you.

Anonymous said...

I don't know whether to laugh or cry that these same situations exist in my town, too. Hard to make myself believe that dating is even worth it. Except I keep thinking that it will be.

Anonymous said...

amazing! perfect!

Elleinod said...

Women allow us to be...

I've asked my sis to log into her blog so I can respond to your post after we had a little debate about your post. I'm Charlie btw and I say it's the girls out there who allow guys to treat them anyway they want because probably they are used to the norm, which are BOYS wanting to get their buzz on first before going out on a real date and BOYS who don't know how to treat you if you are mature, classy, smart and ambitious.

I'm in my 30s but never had the balls to not pay or meet you at the bar for a first date to get her drunk and it's go time(meaning gettin it in). I tried to get at girls at bars or the club and found out it's soooo easy to spark convo but for girls who are serious about dating and possibly starting something you mos def can tell the difference. How? If she's dating material after you get her number you actually get to talk on the phone...the vice versa is constant text messages squeezing in a slot in both of your busy friends schedule. Have to be quick in picking up signals and reading body language even checking out their game...if they speak like a player or look like one turnaround but some girls prefer that than the conversation of getting to know you because they think it's boring and time consuming. I grin at that commercial where the guys girl says he's boring so boring then he upgrades and meets a star. Girls don't want a boring charming pay for the bill walk on the outside of the sidewalk type of guy it seems. They may be jaded with what they are getting and it's changing the game sadly.

As hot as you seem it won't be long before you meet him...after all the fall and winter is coming.

sorry the braves lost..great game tho

Caroline | Back Down South said...

"Nobody wants to admit hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here's my number... so definitely call me because you're cute and I want to know you better and not in a platonic sense."

I love you.

Jessica Graves said...

Oh Caroline, you get me.

Dear Charlie: thank you for making sense. Thank heavens. Now show yourself.

Livyb said...

Now that is a great blog post!

CLP said...

Awesome blog post. I'm now married but I feel like for a good 2.5 years I put up with behavior like the type you described. Texts instead of calls are LAME and cowardly. Grow a pair and CALL a gal on the phone if you like her. I've also dealt with the early week promise of a Friday dinner date, only to have Friday roll around and have the early week Romeo text me "what are you up to tonight?" .....the worst.

At nearly 30 now, I will say that guys usually get better as they get older. I'll also say that when I hit my late 20's (i.e., 27) I stopped putting up with BS. Not to sound cliche, but if a guy texted and didn't call or blew off a promised invitation for dinner I just assumed he wasn't that into me. And who wants to hang out with someone that doesn't want to hang out her?

Arielle Wren said...

I cannot tell you how relieved I was to read this, simply for the fact that it proves I'm not alone in having these experiences.
One guy I met promised to call me and then texted me a week later on a Friday night asking me to meet up at a beer garden in Brooklyn where he was hanging out with his friends, and was actually angry when I declined. Dude, you can't even pick up the phone to invite me, and you want me to trek to another borough to see you? Are you even going to pay for my beer?
Another guy asked me to dinner and when the bill came suggested we put it on my card and he'd give me cash for his share.
These experiences made me sad simply because I loved being "courted" and there are so few gentlemen left in the world who truly understand that it's not about the fact you spent money on me, it's about making me feel taken care of and like I'm worth the effort. I hope that as long as we remember our self worth and stand our ground and act like ladies, guys will remember that acting like gentlemen will get them everywhere with us, even the bedroom...

Jenn said...

A-fucking-men! Brilliant as always, thanks for this!

JRS said...

Great post, JNG. It's a denominator argument. The 'easier' you try and make the 'scene' (texting, weak effort, etc), the more diluted the outcome.

Oh - do we need milk? (great line).

Jessica Graves said...

@JRS - it was totes your line

Kackie Condatore said...

this is all so true, but the part that rings true whether single or taken is that ANY woman becomes a crazy you-know-what when you make her feel insecure. guys love to say, "oh, she was crazy," as cause for a split. spoiler alert, dudes: we ALL look crazy when we're made to defend our integrity to someone who will only listen by force, if at all. bottom line, it's way too easy to be a crappy dude. grow. up.

Jessica Graves said...

^^ thats my sister, y'all. Smart kackie.

Elle Ramirez said...

You've hit the nail on the head! I really don't understand why men...err..boys are so terrified of calling what it is "a date!" I've recently gone through a lot of this and even wrote a blog post about it as well. Here it is if you have an opportunity to read, but trust me girl I understand your frustration and confusion. English bELLE: Wait...We Were On a Date?

Elle Ramirez said...

Oh I feel you, I completely am with you. Guys need to get it together! I even recently wrote a blog post on the same topic! English bELLE: Wait...We Were On a Date?

kp said...

Actual text received from former date from match.com lat month after giving him a hard time about not picking up the phone (while we were on a lame date). The next morning while I was in the shower, I missed his call..he then texted and said QUOTE Well, I am not gonna take any more shit about not calling if you aren't going to pick up the phone. My response "um, hello angry man, I was in the shower". We broke up over text two days later. I can't make this stuff up.

wildsugar said...

well put! thank you! over 40, after divorce, it gets even worse, if you can even imagine that.

kirstenkorona said...

I couldn't agree more! I have a hard time trying to figure what guys want with me at all - friends? Or should there be a kiss? Do you want something more? It's terrifying! They act like they like you - and then they don't ask you on a date. (of course, this could be that I'm 20, and college guys suck.)

Christopher said...

I've debated throwing my two cents on this, and since I'm a devoted reader of this here blog, and a guy who likes women (I do have a girlfriend), I thought I'd do it...

There's no doubt that this world is devoid of men. I mean real manly men. The kind of man who, among other things, knows how to treat/court/pursue a woman. It's frustrating to me to see the sorry excuses out there and read stories like this. This wasn't how I was raised, and this isn't what I believe. I live in one of the largest cities in the country, and I see these sorry excuses for courting on a regular basis. I think it's a shame, but I wonder why that's happening? There's no doubt thant it falls on the guy for the most part. Be a man, tell the girl how you feel, call her, and don't be afraid to take that leap, but I also think some of the issue lies with the female side of things. Let me explain...

For guys, it isn't a fear of commitment, I don't think. Instead, it's a fear of going out with some girl who doesn't really know what she wants and ends up going south. When you have this happen more than once, it can wear on you. You don't want to put all your effort into a date when you have a history of failure because you're "too nice" or have some other minor "negative". I often hear girls say they want a nice guy, that pursues her, etc., and they end up with the douche bags. They don't really want the nice guy. They want some asshole, or they don't know what they want. If that's you, then you're going to attract assholes. You aren't going to find guys cut from the cloth that I'm cut from, or that I think I'm cut from. If women would make the commitment for themselves that they will give the guy a chance who might not be the best looking dude out there, might not have the highest paying job, or the nicest house, but is someone who puts thought into the dating process, can carry on a stimulating conversation, and generally has the manners and knowledge of how to treat a woman, then I think some of these frustrations will go away. And for the love, don't entertain the douche bags who treat you like this. Leave, tell them off, whatever...just don't let them get away with it. Once you become honest with yourself and what you want, then it will work out in due time. And please, don't go to bars to pick up guys. If I have to explain, then we've got issues.

True men exist, I promise. They're out there. I'm sorry that there aren't more. I'm a firm believer that chivalry isn't dead.

Jessica Graves said...

@Christopher - Thank you for your honesty and insight. I'm always flattered when guys tell me they read The Love List regularly. I'd say you're exactly right that women are partially at fault for not setting a higher standard in the first place. So if nobody else will do it, hopefully this post will get the ball rolling. If I'm doing it, maybe other girls will too. You're only helping reinforce that. So thanks.

britta said...

preach it! I'm a Mississippi transplant living in Philadelphia, and I can empathize with those scenarios.

As a single female professional, nothing is more attractive than a man taking simple initiative in social settings.

I would like to feel a lady. thank you very much.

Full Cup said...

Once again girl, you nailed it! Love reading your posts about your life/dating adventures. You keep me laughing and keep me reading. Always a pleasure!

Molly

Wedding dresses said...

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SEW-G said...

So I am a married gal so maybe what I say doesn't carry a lot of importance but before I met my husband I would try to read into what the text meant with friends ("he used an exclamation point! he must like me because guys never do that unless they like you") I would put myself out there and make excuses ("oh he is super busy and that is why he hasn't called or texted like he said he would"). Um Hello, I was super busy. I had a lot going on too. I kept making excuses for bad behavior and bad behavior. Finally, I got so tired of it. I just stopped. I spent a single gal summer in Charleston SC with my bff and was just focused on enjoying the Holy City and not worrying about what the text meant at 11 pm (hello, thats a 'feeler' text. DO NOT answer it ladies!) and low and behold I met my husband. Who called. Who wanted to take me to dinner. Who enjoyed doing things with my friends. Who would suggest going to eat at my parents house on Sunday's so they could get to know him. Who wanted to visit me and didn't make me guess his feelings for me. So as soon as I stopped taking all the crap I was used to in College (UNC - Go heels!) I met someone who thought I was worth it. Because I had decided I was worth it and wasn't going to deal with all the drama and tears (oh yes - I had some ugly cries over the guy I had been texting with leaving the bar with someone else - what the junk!). So I can not only completely agree with you but also I am living proof that if you raise your standards (and that is really hard and you need a BFF there so you can handle the sometime lonely nights) you will find someone who will be the best person you ever met (the kind of person you didn't think existed but he does). Okay rant over!

Becca said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU TIMES A BAJILLION THANK YOU.

Sarah3884 said...

Love this and this lazy man/boy thing is the same in Boston. Where are all the good ones hiding? They are definitely not being found on any of those horrible dating sites-that's for sure.

Lindsey said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! I have had these feelings for so long and the way you articulated it was perfect! It is sad dating is such a dying breed...

 

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