My mother sent me one of those dating advice articles via email with the note that “it’s always the woman that has to do this or that to get a man.” Acknowledging the unfairness of that is a big step for her!
This post harkens back to Eva Illouz’s Why Love Hurts; it does feel to me like dating has just become too damn much work for women. In addition to maintaining a career, getting to the gym, enhancing my appearance, and developing my own hobbies (all of which I would be doing anyway), I have to “get out there” (which I do) as well as get myself to stuff that normally doesn’t interest me to meet new men (which I no longer do). While engaging in these activities, I should remember the ways I am supposed to “act” in order to attract a man. Additionally, I should be paying for and spending time on online dating sites, although the whole experience has started to feel like playing the lottery.
I’m sticking to my (relatively new) stance that meeting someone for whom there is mutual attraction should not feel like a job for which there is stiff competition. If I lose out, so be it.
I can’t say I will never pop into an online dating site again, but I won’t linger on one. While I may be somewhat like an unusual trinket put up for sale on Craiglist in the hopes that timing and luck will align, I grew tired of feeling like I was more of a misshapen sweater that has been sent to the remainder bin. I certainly don’t need to spend time and money to feel that way.
Men have a lot of the same burdens as well. They also feel the burden of “having to get out there” to put up a certain front to be attractive to women as well as all other life’s pressures and concerns. Aside from the basic pressures of being single that are shared by both sexes there are some differences. Women have the burden of more competition as they get older and to keep up their appearance (men have this pressure too, just to a lessor extent) men have the burden of having the money to date and being successful enough. I mean look at all the men who are posting online complaining about women and dating…they do have their own struggles to be sure.
I forgot to add…yes, it is true that most dating articles have women as their target audience. This is also true for relationship books. But this isn’t any discrimination from men it’s just the nature of our differences. Women tend to be more interested in these topics and are the majority of readers/buyers for these books. This will never change and it is just the way it is. I don’t believe, though, that it doesn’t mean men feel the pressure to adjust and change to get a relationship. I know men also make an effort to up grade their fitness, clothes, get their lives in order to meet someone new. I just don’t think they read self help books to do it.