Are Women Dating or Hunting?
Are women of color turning their first date into a Husband Interview? I don’t proclaim to be an expert on dating nor do I proclaim to be an expert on women, however; I am a trained and very skilled observer. I’m good at seeing patterns in people and their behavior and coming up with a solution. Or at least an alternative way of doing things. I have many female friends who all say the same things when it comes to dating. Whether because of someone else, financials, or simply maturity levels, the unavailability of men seem to fall into one of the following statements women seem to give:
I keep attracting men that aren’t available to me.
I keep attracting men that I’m not attracted to.
All men want is sex.
All men are dogs.
All the good men are married, dating someone other than me, and/or gay!
Then of course all of the reasons that validate their own ingredients to being single consist of:
Men can’t handle a “real” woman (I would joke about there being fakes ones out there but it’s 2014 so it wouldn’t be funny because it's actually true).
Men are intimidated by me.
I know what I want and I don’t have time for the games.
All men want to date are White girls and Asian girls!
Then we have those few who fall into the category of self-loathing and doubtful mindsets which include statements like:
Maybe I’m just not pretty enough.
I’m too fat.
I’m too skinny.
I don’t know maybe I’m just meant to be alone.
In talking to hundreds of women, many of them being friends of mine or just women that I know in passing, I find that there is a HUGE misconception of what is means to date. I had to ask myself:
Why are all of these bright and intelligent women going on dates and coming home displeased, hurt, agitated or straight up jaded and angry?
It seems there is a great divide between what dating is and what being on the hunt for a life-long mate is! I’ve found one primary similarity in all of the conversations I’ve had: WOMEN DATE IN THE FUTURE! Women go on one date and immediately start to see who they’re going to invite to the wedding, will mom and dad approve, what friends they can go on double dates with, etc. They’ve failed to realize that a date, specifically a first one, should not include a life-long planning calendar; simply a great time with someone you found interesting enough to have dinner with. PERIOD!
It seems that a successful woman of color (which apparently in a world full of ethnicities is stated as if it’s a rare thing) doesn’t date just to date. She has her own car, home and money and is dating with the intention to find a life mate who can complement (not take away or distract from) her already steady and fabulous life. She’s looking for a HUSBAND, a helpmate, someone to take out the trash, buy her dinners and expensive jewelry, and screw her proverbial brains out 3-4 times a week! Of course when laying out this example the women I’ve spoken with often say something like,
“Well it’s not like I just want sex or material things. I DO need him to love me! You make it sound like I want a machine. I’m not the same person in my professional life that I am in my personal life. I’m very different.”
Well maybe that’s the problem! Have you ever thought about that? I mean who wants ANYONE who seems like an emotional schizophrenic? I’ve heard it said a THOUSAND times from women (often jaded and dateless) how men don’t want a powerful woman in the bedroom. They want to date someone who is softer than them, who plays the dumb role so that his ego isn’t injured. They go on about how they don't have time to play the "dumb blonde" role. They have careers and men don't know how to handle a strong independent women outside of the workplace. Henceforth they don't date! My question to them usually is:
Who the hell have you been dating? Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
Sure a man wants a woman who knows how to BE a woman. That doesn’t mean he wants Miss Muffet by his side either. If a man is attracted to a powerful, confident woman IN the workplace he doesn’t want to see her totally disappear on a date! The problem occurs when these confident and powerful women turn into ego smashing, “I can be better at anything than you”, borderline bulldog women, just to prove that they don’t need a man for anything! No man wants to feel like he’s dating his homeboy or worse the last women he dumped! And if you don’t need a man for anything, my GOD, why are you dating in the first place?
It never fails that I have a female friend who confides in me that dating sucks because NO ONE she’s dating is husband material. I usually ask them how they know that in a single conversation or better yet, why it’s even a topic after only dinner and a movie. I find myself explaining to them that whenever you restrict your dating experience to the preferences that you’d want in a husband, what you’re really doing is trying to manufacture the quickest way to that “happily ever after” that most people read about in books; who’s inner child fawns over in a Disney tale of love and adventure. You’ve immediately bypassed the DATING part, the getting to know you, the part where you simply enjoy a new experience with said new person without expectation. Instead what you’re really saying is you want a preferred vision and dynamic that will lead to a definite and immediate end result. Most men don’t like to be pushed or forced into anything. Going on two dates and being judged on your HUSBAND-O-METER is DEFINITELY not something he wants to do.
I have a theory that often gets a negative response (simply because it’s true) from those women who seem to believe that ALL men are the same; or that the problem is always the man in question: If you have the SAME problem with DIFFERENT men the ONLY common denominator is YOU! You can’t continuously dis the male gender in its entirety because you have chosen to continue to do the same things in every dating situation resulting in the same outcome. At some point you have to look at what you contribute to a bad dating experience.
In my own dating life I’ve had to do something that I encourage people to do. Sit down with a pen and paper. Draw a line down the middle. Now, write on one side ALL your pro’s; on the other ALL your cons. When you’ve finished with EACH list, ask yourself honestly,
“Would I date me?”
Usually, if you’re being honest, you can pinpoint what you may be contributing to a bad dating experience. And because I’m all about being honest I’ll share mine with you. I found that I often overload my date with all the romantic things way too soon and in the course of our dating those things become more sporadic. I also found that although I’m a HUGE cuddler and affectionate person in private I generally am NOT a fan of PDA! The conflict? My romantic gestures often cause my date to think that PDA is ok with me. I unintentionally send mixed signals that equate to a WTF moment later on. This helped me to realize why most of my dates get hooked on my ‘lovin’ REALLY fast and are confused when I start to back away. I had to learn to pace myself AND the dating experience. If I didn’t want them acting like a significant other, I had to stop treating them like one so early on.
In listening to the myriad of dating horrors from my female counterparts I have found one piece of advice that is sure to be true for all of them. You CAN NOT date someone and immediately start planning the future! Aside from personal preferences (which we all seem to have) we have to get to a point where the first few dates are simply a time of “getting to know you”. Stop looking to go on a first date with Prince Perfect! Go on a first date with someone that makes you laugh, someone that’s going to introduce you to something new and fantastic! If it goes well GREAT! If not, at least you’ve experienced something new: a new place to eat, a new movie, a new hang out spot. And for all of those who say,
“Look I simply don’t have that kind of time; I’m ready to settle down NOW!”
Here’s my response to you. The more you push these men to hop on your express train to “happily ever after” the more you’ll find just how much you’re going to SETTLE for when the right one or the great one is pushed away by your eagerness to walk him down the proverbial aisle. To paraphrase one of my new-found favorite authors, Demetria Lucas, is it really a waste of time to go on ONE date with the intention of JUST having a really great time?
Photo courtesy of GreatAncestors.com