It’s not long ago that men were expected to do all the chasing and make all the decisions when it comes to dating. But how much has this changed in the 21st century?
A survey by DatingDirect.com suggests a new trend — women are becoming sassy and assertive, while men are remaining more traditional in their approach to courtship.
In the survey of over 2,000 people, women reported being less shy on dates than men (29 per cent versus 44 per cent), and making more effort with their appearance — half choose smart, sexy clothes on a first date, whereas 78 per cent of men go for the casual and relaxed look. Women also like to keep the finances on an equal footing. Seventy per cent prefer to split the expense of a date, or pay for themselves. However, 52 per cent of men believe it’s their time honoured duty to pay.
Darren Richards of DatingDirect.com concludes: “The rules of dating may be changing for some, but the concept is still as popular as ever.”
But what might be stopping you from taking the first step? Sometimes even very intelligent, funny, confident women don’t ask guys out because they believe that “it’s the man’s role”, or they fear rejection, scaring men off, or appearing too keen. But there is a whole generation of men who want women to make the first move, and feel that women should embrace the power and independence they now have. And in fact, some guys are just too shy, or don’t know what to say, or think that you won’t be interested.
But perhaps your lifestyle doesn’t bring you into contact with potential new partners. So consider widening your social circle — take up a new class, try out new clubs, get involved in political or volunteer activities. Also, don’t discount your current social network, because often friends, family and work colleagues are more than willing to help and will set up introductions if asked.
Other possible avenues include personal ads in newspapers and more specialized dating services to cater for your specific hobbies or preferences, guaranteeing that you share at least one common interest.
These days, the internet is increasingly used by modern singles to search for a compatible date. So join in discussion groups, forums and chat groups and put your dating skills into action. And in the arena of internet dating, women can be as forward as they like and either side can make the first move. Men report that they are perfectly happy to be approached by women and their supposed “male pride” isn’t hurt at all — quite the contrary!
In many ways, online dating is the ideal way to meet someone suitable, as you can quickly get to know a great deal about a person at no risk to yourself. It’s no small thing to be aware of the other person’s outlook on life, religion, sense of humor etc. before meeting up in person. Chatting in a safe environment encourages honesty and therefore compatibility, so may prevent a wide range of problems occurring further down the line.
Internet dating also avoids the potential problems of dating work colleagues or other people you will inevitable continue to see socially, and it puts you in control of your future without even leaving your front door!
Experts recommend getting to know the other person well via email or over the phone before actually going on a date. The more you know about each other, the easier the conversation will flow. They also suggest remaining anonymous until you feel confident enough to share your contact details (the dating service will have its own internal messaging system). And don’t cast your net too wide geographically or you’ll run up against practical difficulties later.
When setting up a first date, choose a public place such as a restaurant, cinema or museum. If you’re concerned about seeming too ‘forward’, you could invite the guy to something you are going to anyway, like a concert, so it’s like you are asking them to come along.
Tell a trusted friend your plans and arrange your own transport. Then it’s a case of picking up on the cues to your compatibility, so trust your instincts and don’t drink too much. Remember there will always be other dates so there’s no need to settle for second best.
If the date goes well, don’t wait for the guy to call you – let them know you had a good time. This doesn’t have to be a plea to see them again right away. It’s simply a courtesy. If your date had an enjoyable time too, it will be icing on the cake!
Too often, life is a case of “what ifs” and maybes, so if you really like someone, then you have to do something about it. Ultimately, what is there to lose? A bit of pride that can be replaced with a cheap bottle of wine. The answer is easy — take the initiative. You have nothing to gain by waiting, and if it doesn’t work out then you’ll know they weren’t right for you, with no regrets.