For both sexes, dating game is not a fair proposition

SINGLE FILE

May 01, 1994|By SUSAN DEITZ | SUSAN DEITZ,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: I agree that women don't ask men out because they don't want to deal with rejection, but it is also an ego thing. Women think that asking a guy out is "beneath" them and makes them appear desperate.

The overwhelming majority of the women I've dated said they would never go up to a guy, no matter what. A woman can have this attitude because she knows there will always be someone else asking. Face facts, any reasonably attractive woman who isn't grossly overweight will always be approached by someone. If a guy, no matter how good-looking, doesn't make the first move, he'll stand alone all evening almost every time.

Bottom line is, women don't have to approach anyone, it comes to them. Why work at it when you don't have to? Why put up with frustration, rejection and aggravation when you can put the burden on someone else?

It makes me laugh when I hear women complain, "Yes, I get approached all the time, but never by the ones I like." When I ask them why they don't go over and introduce themselves to the men of their choice, the answer is, "I'd never do that!"

Anyone who says that men have power by doing the asking, has never lived it. Simply put, would you rather wait until someone approaches you, knowing it will happen -- if not tonight, then tomorrow night -- with no pressure, no rejection, just enjoyment, or take charge and be rejected over and over again, frustrating you so much that you become disgusted with the whole thing? I'd rather be asked and take my chances that way. Let the other sex deal with the risk.

Everything in the dating social scene is geared to cater to and impress women. Where do they exert any effort? Where is this male power, bus-loads of my friends want to know? I must have missed something! Is it not fair for women to share rejection?

A: Romance is not dead, simply over-stressed from a severe case of one-sidedness. Fair is fair.

Q: Many people are unaware of the subtleties that go on between the sexes, both in dating and even in many friendships, relative to the power mode and methods of connecting and communicating.

Very often, women who are taught to be communicators and solvers will reach out in situations they feel are promising and/or that are vaguely alluring or seductive. In doing so, we feel we are doing the right thing to begin relationships. These moves are very often, unfortunately, interpreted as threats or invasions by the very people we are attracted to and wish to connect with.

Women who take these chances become that much more vulnerable to the bad feelings that go with the rejections that, traditionally, we haven't been exposed to and taught how to process. The resulting frustration and confusion can be upsetting, even baffling. Certainly men have survived under those circumstances in the past, when tradition called for women to remain passive.

Now that women are finally feeling somewhat comfortable with the concept of assertiveness, we once again are put into a position of wait and wonder.

I guess one can say that the solution, as with most things, is to continue to be receptive/upbeat to all the good stuff.

It's an unending dance, it seems, where the rules keep changing and it's not easy to stay on the game board.

It would be nice to go back to or find a common ground where honesty and vulnerability are key players and where people are somewhat sure of what they do and don't want, both now and going forward in their quest for happiness.

A: The absurdity of formal dating is its major disadvantage, since its stuffiness is conducive to rigid role-playing and only the most superficiality of togetherness.

Since the answer is, as you say, common ground of emotional honesty, being yourself seems the Golden Rule of Dating. What you see is what you get, no more, no less. And let the chips fall where they may. That approach gets you close to your partner quickly, without the red tape and mind games. If women could shed their passivity and men their fear of assertive women, the dating world would be a different place.

But the only game in town is to continue plodding along, keeping an eye open and a heart half-open in the search for true love.

I'm a single gay man, professional, mid-40s, very attractive. I am finding it hard to meet other gay men for social involvement and travel partners. Do you have any suggestions for meeting other compatible people with my lifestyle?

A: Your question, although asked in the context of gayness, is the No. 1 issue among all single people. And it's not the only commonality between gays and other unmarrieds: Society pressures both to marry and procreate, and often, to be sexually active before a relationship has evolved to the right stage; both ,, are prodded by emotional needs to make a lifestyle out of looking for a partner; both groups experience discrimination and bias.

That thread of shared experience should make straight and gay singles more sensitive to one another, because they can understand each other's issues.

(Realizing, of course, that their experiences are very different in many ways, as well. Which brings to mind the letter from a gay man who wrote that he could handle being gay -- it was his singleness that made life a problem!)

Being active and involved in one's interests is one way to meet compatible people, but there are specific places for gay men to meet also: Most major cities have a Metropolitan Community Church and a Gay Men's Health Crisis Office, both possible meeting sites. But in the same way that bars are not recommended for heterosexual single people, they generally are not places to meet people of worth as a gay man because they bring out the worst in most people and are downright dangerous in the '90s.

Another specifically gay resource is the TRAVEL MATE ROSTER, P.O. Box 58, Lilburn, Ga. 30247. Its monthly magazine prints letters from potential travel mates; write for membership details.

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