The rules of dating for the post ‘#metoo’ male
with thanks to Lara Asprey
If you’re a single man you’re probably a little bit perplexed by ‘#MeToo’.
It’s not that you don’t support women let’s make that clear. In fact, you think it’s great that so many women have felt empowered enough to come out and stand up collectively against sexual predators who were exploiting their positions of power. I mean times change right, it’s not 1970 and men simply can’t behave like misogynist pigs anymore. You’re on board with the fact that our culture must evolve to make women more equal and to have a voice…
And what a voice it’s been this year. Powerful, constant and humbling.
But you’re a modern man and you probably don’t really associate yourself with these predatory men right? Perhaps you deem them to be the vast minority and you would never dream of overstepping the mark with someone. But where is the ‘mark’ these days? Hasn’t it become more difficult to decipher?
Most men have gone about their days, head down, listening and supportive, keeping an ear out for latest developments with regards ‘#metoo’ with a mild curiosity and internal applause for the brave women who have spoken out. However, for SINGLE men the dating game just got a hell of a lot harder.
So what are the new rules of dating for the post ‘#metoo’ male? What are you meant to do now? Will being flirtatious be misconstrued as harassment? Will an advance be deemed as predatory? Should you wine and dine a woman in the same way now or will she take offence? How will you really know what constitutes as ‘consent’?
So guys, fear not, I am going to lay it out for you in plain black and white so there’s no confusion.
1. Recognise the difference between being a nice guy and a ‘nice guy’
Women are becoming very tuned into the difference between what a guy says and what a guy does. They have ‘creepdar’ on their minds when sussing out a potential match so actions really do speak louder than words more than ever at the moment. If you keep telling a girl you’re a ‘nice guy’ but then don’t follow up with corresponding behaviour then it’s unlikely you will deemed as genuine. For example, compliment her smile not her lips. Don’t tell her she’s the most beautiful woman and then check out other women in her company. If you say you want to see her again when she’s in your presence, but then don’t follow up she’s going to get mixed messages from you and you’ll probably think you’re playing the field. All of this counts in the context of ‘metoo’ as women are now much more suspicious of men and have their guard up when it comes to inconsistent behaviour.
2. Don’t expect to be rewarded for good behaviour
Just because you buy a woman dinner does not mean she owes you anything! You all know this but so many forget! Let’s say you have really liked a girl for ages and have been on your best behaviour trying to impress her and you’re hoping to progress the relationship. Well, I have news for you boys, as you simply aren’t the ones to decide the pace at which to progress things anymore. Just because you’re ready, doesn’t mean she is too, so don’t expect anything in return for your nice endeavours. You should be treating her nicely by default not because you want to get something out of the relationship.
3. Take no for an answer
This one is important. You are allowed to ask a woman out but only once and if she says no that’s it. You drop it there like a gracious gentleman and do not continue to persevere. I know many men love the thrill of a chase but you really need to move with the times. If she’s keen enough she will show signs of reciprocation so there’s no need to keep asking. The same can be said whilst dating someone, if they say no to advances either flirtatiously or sexually. That’s it, you go no further.
4. Understand the difference between harassment and flirting
Sometimes what is deemed by one to be harmless flirting can be misconstrued as sexual harassment and so it’s important to clarify the difference. Harassment is basically unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature which makes someone feel offended, violated, or humiliated. The key words here when it comes to harassment are that it is behaviour that is unwanted and imposed. Flirtation on the other hand, isn’t about imposing anything on anyone but moreover, a chance to gauge if someone is interested in you. You can be charming and coy without imposing yourself or your position on them. So flirt away, just make sure it’s reciprocated!
5. Recognise and read her body language
Body language is holy grail for working out consent. Is she turning her body towards you when she’s talking to you? Is her demeanour relaxed and open in your presence? Is she engaging in eye contact and smiling? It’s common sense, but if she’s turning away from you and not showing any signs that she wants to talk to you then take it for what it is. If someone moves away from you physically it’s means they have no intention of getting closer to you romantically.
6. Don’t stop being romantic
Many guys are so fearful of stepping out of line with a woman at the moment that they simply aren’t walking it. You’re bound to be a little more apprehensive in the wake of ‘metoo’ but don’t let that be an excuse to become less romantic. Women don’t assume all men to be the enemy here, they are merely standing up against those men who have abused their positions of power. Women still want to be romanced! You should still feel free to compliment a woman without it being deemed as harassment.
Ultimately when it comes down to it, ‘metoo’ is all about showing respect. Repect for her principles, respect for her boundaries and respect for her consent. There’s no reason to fear approaching or flirting with someone but it’s about how you handle it. If you are polite, gracious and gentlemanly it will stand you in very good stead.