"21st Century," part 2...

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-19-2003
"21st Century," part 2...
11
Mon, 11-03-2003 - 8:28am
Since a few of us seem to think that Heather's original premise--that of asking men out vs not asking men out--is based on her youth and resultant lack of experience ("immaturity" seems too strong for this purpose), I got to thinking. Since she's so young (27), could it be that the men in her age group don't know HOW to date?

I bring this up b/c I've seen a few other posts here about young women who meet men, both in their 20s, and the men seem to think a "date" is a rented video at their place (and, ladies, we all know what THAT means, BESIDES "cheap date"). A lot of people in that age group are the products of single-parent households--from some women who chose to have children w/o a husband, not necessarily as the result of divorce (or some women who just got "knocked up," in the parlance of my generation, and elected to have an "illegitimate child," also in the same parlance). I can't help but wonder if, b/c those male children may have grown up w/o a strong male role model to teach them all those "guy things," maybe then those young men grew up w/o a clue of the social niceties, including dating. Not that their supposed ignorance absolves them, you understand...

Not to turn this into a sociological study, but it IS an observation that I've made of 20ish and even young-30ish women who're now in the dating pool--some of whom are just as frustrated as those of us in the 40ish and 50ish range...

Ash

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 11-03-2003 - 9:02am
In 1981 I met my high school sweetheart - we dated for a few years. He was 16, I was 15. He came to my parents' house - two buses! - to pick me up or we would meet in the middle - we went rollerskating, dancing, to movies, to the diner, to parties, etc. In my 20's I never had a problem with men calling me in advance for a proper date, planning the date and making an effort - and not just in the beginning of a relationship - although as I said I have no problem taking the initiative once we have a steady thing or are consistently dating (usually, for me, after the first two months or so and before that, he typically does the majority of the calling, asking, etc).

In my 20's - at age 19 I dated a 24 year old man - treated me wonderfully - movies, shows, dinner, parks, hikes, weekends at his parents' home upstate. At 21 I dated a 23 year old for a few years - till he was 26 - we got engaged, I broke it off- same treatment by him as the others and at 23, my 22 year old boyfriend could be a little less reliable but when I responded by simply being busy (if he asked me out last minute, which happened once or twice in the beginning) he quickly on his own started being more reliable - he ended up proposing to me as well. And this all took place from 1987-93 or so - not so long ago. Back then there was no internet, I didn't have an answering machine till 1991 but still they managed to reach me and call in advance - because they wanted to and I focused on men who were willing to put in the effort - and I'm so pleased I did!

So, I think with men in their 20's the only difference might - might - be that they don't have as much money and might be living with parents so the dating activities might be different - but the underlying treatment should be the same. The other difference - men in their early 20's especially might not be ready to date in any serious way - focused on careers, etc but what I'm talking about is that if a man is interested AND emotionally available, he will do what it takes to ask the woman out and do most of the pursuing in the beginning - and if he doesn't know "how" to date he will learn from his friends or sibs, etc - when i was 23, my then 22 year old boyfriend said to me that he didn't know much about typical dating having just graduated college where basically, he hooked up with people ;-) and wanted me to teach him ;-) - but, lo an behold, once he decided he was interested in me - he called in advance and planned dates - not too complicated - just takes interest and a little effort. I didn't have to teach, let's just put it that way.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-07-2003
Mon, 11-03-2003 - 9:32am
Hi Ash,

Interesting theory. I'm "young-30ish" (33), and I can say that what you suggest is NOT true of men in my age bracket (mostly early-late 30s). The men I date know how to date, how to ask a woman out, etc. - and this includes men whose parents have divorced - although the majority of men who I've dated for any length of time have parents who are still married. Maybe what you suggest is true of younger men, though, I can't speak for that - the youngest I've gone is 4 years younger than I.

ginger

Avatar for cl_shywon
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Mon, 11-03-2003 - 9:52am

Well, I am one of those 20ish women, and I don't think it has anything to do with being in your 20's.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-12-2003
Mon, 11-03-2003 - 10:27am
I don't think single or duel-parent households have much to do with this particular arena.

The bottom line for me is that regardless of how you grew up, it is completely up to you how to conduct yourself as an adult. Other than in cases of actual abuse, neglect, etc. as a child/teen....we all have the choice to determine how productive, proactive and healthy our lives are going to be.

If guys in their late-20's, 30's and 40's have insecurity issues that are so deeply seated that they can't take initiative, then it's up to them to choose to rid themselves of those insecurities and make a change. Conversely, if some women are so emotionally distraught that they will stay in a relationship (or pursue one) that is doing nothing but negating and denigrating their values, goals and esteem, then it's up to them to make a decision to get out of it for their own sake, or learn to deal with it-without complaint-because it is what they've chosen.

As Shy pointed out, college is a whole different ballgame for a myriad of reasons......

On a whole, life is a mass of many choices and many choices are based on learned experiences.

Many of us have tried the route of pursuing and initiating...we've learned through trial and error that it just doesn't work, so we don't do it any longer. We've also learned that being initially pursued has worked for us, even in the short-term.

Again, as someone pointed out, it doesn't mean we're standing against the wall like a wilted flower....I think all of us make our interest known. We flirt, we engage in conversation, we ask questions to see if there is any mutual compatibility, we utilize positively reinforced body language....we simply DO NOT do the asking, period.


Michelle


Michelle

Fill with mingled cream and amber,
I will drain that glass again.
Such hilarious vis

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 11-03-2003 - 10:51am
I work at a university, and with a particular group of students (male and female). I've found that without question...the boys do know "how to date" - when they find someone they want to date. Otherwise, the hanging out with girls as "friends" that sometimes leads to hooking up is pretty standard.

The difference is, the self-aware girls seem very astute. If a boy is asking them "whre you're going - oh to the frat party on Guad street, I'll be there too" - she knows that isn't a date, nor is it an invitation to show up there and "be his date"...knowing that if she does show up there, hotly dressed...and nothing else turns up - they might end up hooking up.

Girls today seem to have less issue with "good girls don't". Therefore, its not as imperative that every date end up in a relationship, and it's not imperative to date or have a boyfriend to "be someone".

Erin

quickblade14@hotmail.com

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 11-03-2003 - 10:56am

I believe Shy touched on it - if they don't want a serious r/ship, then they aren't willing to put in the "work" of dating. College may be preoccupying them - but it may be that they are just plain uninterested in serious r/ships. In todays culture, in is more acceptable to wait for marriage - so to only look for "fun" and "hanging out" in your 20s is logical. There is less of an urgency to produce heirs or children to work the farm, etc. And as well, there is more open sex - and less a need for a wife.


Yes, some of us in one parent families have less of an idea of what its all about. I would say thats been my problem. I never saw a "need" to have a life partner. I didn't get it. Didn't understand what I was missing - and therefore was not willing to put in the work required.


Go.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 11-03-2003 - 11:27am
Fortuneately just becaue you are in your 20's doesn't mean you are "immature" or lack experience. And thank goodness there are no rules that say you can only date within your age group. When I was 19 I dated a 29 year old, When I was 20 I dated a Lawyer who was an Ivy League grad with his own practice, and later that year I dated a 32 year old. And men my age certainly know how to properly treat a lady. Going out is nice; however, sometimes there is nothing nicer than an evening at home with a good bottle of wine, a good meal, and candle light. And any women who demands to be taken out and have tons of money spent on her, and is unwilling to go on those "inexpensive dates" - like several of you women have suggested you expect form a suitor - then you are not only high matinence,but unrealistic as well.

And what is all this jibberish about divorce. I live in LA...one of the divorce capitals of the world...and you think that the reason that men in our society are "lacking" is because their parents were divorced?...PLEASE!!! Give Me A Break! Don't you think that when it comes to dating it would be nice if more Mother stepped in and told their sons the things that women wanted...these are the things you should do...these are the truly romantic things that we like?!? I think if Mothers were more influential in this area of their sons lives we would have less spousal abuse, date rape, and less divorce. That's the problem...there are all these men running around trying to be "a Man's Man" and not listening to what a woman really needs and wants. And as for my divorce as I believe someone else brought up...We were High School sweethearts...I thought soulmates...I wanted to form a lifelong partnership. But unfortuneately last summer I was diagnosed with a lifelong illness. He decided it was too much for him to handel so he left. Unfortuneately he wasn't the person he told me he was. I was never looking to get married, it just kind of happened...I was busy dating at the time he asked me and my love for him was so deep, so spiritual that I knew it was the right decision. But now I'm back out there...and it's time to have some fun! I just want to meet people...have some dates...go fun places...do new things...and if I meet someone along along the way great, If I don't I'll keep having fun!

And to say I lack experience PLEASE...I have more experience trying to make a relationship work than anyone who has just meerly dated...because being married is a true commitment...not just something you can take it or leave it. Marriage is something you fight for 24 hrs a day 7 days a week 365 days a year...it's something you work at, grown in, and truly cherish. It is hard work...but it is soooo worth it. And for those of you who like to sit back and let the man do all the work in the relationship...you are in for a VERY rude awakining...Marriage (of you ever get there) is HARD! It is something that both pertners have to put equal ammounts of energy into or it will fall apart...it is tough and demanding, and at times ou want to rip your hair out...the the rewards can be earth shattering amazing!

Heather

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-19-2003
Mon, 11-03-2003 - 11:47am
"You think that the reason that men in our society are "lacking" is because their parents were divorced?...Don't you think that when it comes to dating it would be nice if more Mother stepped in and told their sons the things that women wanted...these are the things you should do...these are the truly romantic things that we like?!? I think if Mothers were more influential in this area of their sons lives we would have less spousal abuse, date rape, and less divorce."

I think my point was missed. It seems to me that if more FATHERS "stepped up to the plate" and shouldered their responsibilities not just to the children (daughters who also need their dads as much as sons do), but to their MOTHERS as well. Perhaps the fathers would provide the masculine side of the upbringing that I still believe all children need. I too came from a single-parent household, and I did OK as well, but there's still a part of me that I feel lacking, even today--and I'm convinced that that's the part of me that wasn't nurtured by my father. (I thank God I made up w/him and we had a very good r'ship that was cut short by his sudden death 1 Christmas Eve. When we re-connected, I'd never felt so secure or comforted, til he passed away far too soon...)

By the fathers' absence or non-participation, what role models do boys have, except the media and their own peers--as flawed as both are. Alas, it's all too common these days...

Ash

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 11-03-2003 - 12:46pm
I didn't see one post that said they expect a man to spend a lot of $$ on them - I certainly do not - it is irrelevant to me - whether what the man plans is a picnic or walk in the park, attending a community theater performance, or a fancy dinner - it is the effort and the planning - as close to free as you can get - just time - that impresses me.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 11-03-2003 - 1:52pm
I didn't come from a single parent household...my parents didn't get divorced until I was 23 and I am an only child...so it wasn't like I had to fight brothers and sisters for attention. However I did have a father who was and still is EXTREMLY selfish. He would go out and buy himself $100's worth of clothes while my mother and I shopped at thrift stores and the Sears outlet store...he never attended any of my sporting events or school functions, and on my wedding day I chose to walk down the isle alone. I still choose not to have anything but a very distant relationship with him. So living in a household with a mother and father really doesn't mean anything...because I was raised soley by my mother. Families come in all shaped and sizes...Some people are raised by their grandparents...some are raised by their mothers because their fathers have passed away...and some of the most respectful men I know have been born into a gay family of two men or two women. And I don't think you need a father in your life to give you a man'd point of view... I'm sure these little boys are surrounded my loving uncles, cousins, grandfathers, neighbors, ect. And if the situation were reversed would you argue the same? If a Father were to raise his daughter would you be appauled and think she would not be able to function like a lady in society? I'm sure her Grandmother, aunties, cousins, neighbors, would step in and help teach her the finer points of being a lady. Just a thought...we seem to be focusing a lought on only the male here.

HEather

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