This one is particularly for the ladies.
On the radio this morning was a discussion and call-in poll asking, "When do you know it's time to dump the guy you're dating?" I'll leave out the details as the answers were mostly cliché and the rest you can probably guess on your own. However, the question I'm pondering right now is, "What's a date?" The date question is rather interesting because I haven't really dated in many years. Being in my early forties and deciding to remain child-free, much of the "needing to prove he can provide for a family" thing is pretty well a moot point. Most of my single women friends are professionals and own their own homes and so on.
One of the answers from the poll this morning was, "Dump the guy if he makes you pay during the date." Well this comment had me particularly perplexed. So is a date where the guy pays for everything? How do I know when to pay for everything? Should I be paying for the food every time I meet one of my women friends for lunch (or dinner)? Assuming that I only pay for lunch if I'm romantically interested in the person, does that mean that paying for lunch implies some kind of favor in return? That seems rather insulting, at best. What if I meet someone from work for lunch and she's going right back to work afterward? What if this person has worked her ass off to move up the ladder to be able to give herself a great life financially? The problem is that women have changed the environment where dating occurs, but many expect that the rules for dating are the same.
I've been told that it's better to get to know someone before crossing into the realm of romance. Getting to know the person as a friend makes moving beyond that point quite difficult. Falling for someone based on how they look and knowing them for an hour or so gives the appearance of being shallow. It's darn near impossible to provide the proverbial "just make me feel special" when I can't even say, yet, what your version of "special" is.
I am not a misogynist or a "chauvinist pig" -- quite the contrary, in fact. When I say I'm looking for a soulmate, companion, or girlfriend, what I'm really saying is I'm looking for a partner. While being alone has its advantages (flexibility, quiet, etc.) it really does kind of suck going through life entirely on your own. I can think of more than one occasion where it would have been nice to be able to get a second opinion on a topic from someone who knew me intimately well, who I could trust on a deep level. It would be great to have someone to help with projects that are more easily done with two people. I'm looking for a mutual appreciation of our differences, and at the same time sharing a common set of morals/ethics/direction. Sure, let's not forget intimacy and sex and all that. Bottom line is that there is an apparent chasm between meeting someone, friends, dating, and moving toward something more meaningful. One time 20 years ago, I thought I knew how to bridge that gap. The older I get, the less I find I understand and the more frustrated I become trying to figure it out.
So back to the question, "What's a date?" I'll make this posting an audience participation project.