4 Tips for Dating in the "Me Too" Era
Single Guys, Are You Practicing Interpersonal Sensitivity?
If you’re a single man who feels a little perplexed at how the “Me Too” movement has impacted social situations where men and women intersect or you’re feeling a little wary after an accidental “misfire” with someone who misconstrued your intentions, then this article is for you . . .
The “Me Too” movement was probably long overdue in many women’s lives. And it’s been an educational opportunity for women and men alike. One (manageable) consequence is the head-scratching that has ensued for some men who are single, social, and seeking to connect with women in an environment that are very different from the one they were accustomed to. Here are a few things to keep in mind to keep you on solid ground and in good graces with the women you enjoy connecting with:
Understand your subject.
As any good salesperson or marketer can tell you, before you make your pitch or craft your ad campaign, you’d better know who you’re pitching to. So, you do your due diligence – your research and learn about the target audience or prospective customer you’re trying to reach.
I’ll argue that the same should be part of your process in the dating market.
When you understand your “subject” you’re better able to reflect your subjects value back to them. It can only help you forge a better connection if you understand what women are thinking, what their romantic and social experiences have been like, and what they want.
In order to do this, you’ll need to step into their shoes – psychologically speaking. How? Read dating books and blogs that are written for women. Look at YouTube videos produced by dating experts who speak to women. Attend classes and events that are of interest to women. And, if you don’t already have female friends you can ask for direction, then expand your social circle to include women and build friendships so you can learn on them for insight and advice.
Once you’ve truly made the effort to better understand her experience (and many women will gladly regale you with the horror stories of their online – and offline – dating experiences!) then you may proceed to flirt, converse, court, etc.
Understand what objectification is.
If you’re a guy, you may or may not have been objectified. You may or may not even remember it. But if you’re a woman, chances are strong that you’ve felt objectified at some point in your life.
Objectification is the feeling of being intensely desired by someone toward whom you feel no attraction at all. It can be disconcerting. There’s a distinctively unpleasant sensation that comes from knowing that your body or your presence is inducing an intense degree of sexual arousal in someone you’d actually prefer it didn’t. It’s the reason so many women feel “creeped out” in social and professional environments when the men in those environments bring an unwelcome energy. This is the state of mind that many feminist writers are referring to when they use the word “objectification” or they define porn as “the articulation of the male gaze.”
Some social scientists have devised exciting and insightful social experiments over the years where they made men look like women or sent a white person out into the world as a person of color so that they could observe how society’s responses to the individual changed. That’s probably not a feasible experiment for most men to participate in, so try this exercise instead:
Using your imagination (supplemented by literature and/or conversations with women), what might it be like to go through life as a “consumable” female? As you go about your daily activities, how does it feel to be the object of the male gaze?
Don’t make these mistakes.
This series of tips was applicable before, during, and after the “Me Too” movement; here are some general things NOT to do, as they annoy and/or repel women:
Don’t act like a player; don’t treat her like a slut. This should be so face-plant obvious that I shouldn’t have to write it, and yet I must. Act like a gentleman; treat her like a lady. This goes for whether she’s likeable, sweet, pretty, sexy, and funny -- or not!
Don’t act like a man-child or a momma’s boy. Show her that you know how to take care of yourself and you know how to communicate like a grown up. Strangely enough, many people don’t realize when they’re acting like a man-child or woman-child. Helping people date like adults -- with dignity, courage, and decorum – is what I do.
Don’t be bad, mean, or weird -- on a date, at home, in bed, not anywhere. As you’re getting to know her and you demonstrate to her that you’re a high-integrity guy, her comfort and pleasure should be your purpose.
Do these things instead:
Do treat her right. Don’t try to control everything, don’t lie-cheat-betray her, and don’t use her as a means to an end. (In other words, don’t use her for emotional, financial, sexual, or social gain.) Ask her about her desires, dreams, and goals. Then keep asking her about those to show you paid attention when she told you about them. Give in the way that you want to receive – and then some.
Do live a good life and have a good personality. If you say things like, “I have the worst life,” or “My kids are a pain in the *ss,” or you complain about how your friends or co-workers are awful, the negativity is not only a turn off. It’s also a reflection of you. You’ll sound like a putz.
Finally, it’s important to remember that women can feel the difference between a pure agenda and a murky one. It’s a sixth-sense we have – women’s intuition. We know when someone is being authentic, respectful, and clear and we know when something’s making our skin crawl or things aren’t adding up. Your only agenda as you go forward into your dating endeavors should be to a.) connect with someone and b.) have fun. Keep it simple and unpolluted, and you’ll be able to date successfully during the era of “Me Too” and any other movement.