Bluuuuurgh. So many people have sent me this idiotic article in the Times on the “End of Courtship” and asked for comment.
I tend to assume that anything that starts with the “end of X” is bound to be histrionic, and this doesn’t disappoint. I have so many strong, negative reactions to this article that I’m having a seriously hard time putting them on paper. The words that come to mind are the following: dumb, moron, silly, archaic, inane, yuck, blech, for realz? See? Those are not even all the same parts of speech!
Slate already did a pretty great job of tearing this bad boy up, so go check that out. In the meantime, here are my biggest beefs:
1. Could you get any more heteronormative? You know what makes courtship a lot easier? When people view each other as people (you know, like other human beings with interests and opinions and preferences and experiences) and go from there. We could all take a couple of pages out of the queer dating handbook and maybe not rely on chromosomes to determine who buys the beers…
2. Ladies, if you want fancy dinners, pay for your own goddamn meal! We are all in our twenties. We are all broke as shit. We are all paying off loans. Do you seriously think an equally broke, equally debt-burdened dude should be buying you stuff because he has a penis? For real? How does that make any sense?
3. What was so great about back-in-the-day? Yeah, courtship looks different, but were the olden days really so golden? Look around you, do you know what you’d be doing if you were dating in the 50s? There might be some malted milkshakes or a whatever, but you’d also be married at 21, you probably wouldn’t have gone to college, and you’d have two or three kids running around your ankles right now. There’s nothing wrong with that, but man, isn’t it nice to have choices?
4. Buying shit is not the way to be gentlemanly. Paying for my crab rangoon does not show me you’re “gentlemanly,” any old schmuck can apply for a credit card. Listening to me talk, answering my questions thoughtfully, asking follow-up questions, respecting my opinions, that’s gentlemanly behavior. Also ladylike behavior! Isn’t that cool how basic courtesy and conversational skills are gender-neutral? Neat-o!
5. Respecting my autonomy is sexy. Do any women ever find it sexy for a man to order on their behalf without asking? Is this a thing? I really can’t imagine a scenario in which this doesn’t result in me leaving the table. If we’re sharing wine, ask my opinion, okay? If I don’t care, I’ll tell you, and you can pick. But the presumption ordering for me? Ick, you don’t even know me!
6. Women are not prizes. “Cheryl Yeoh, a tech entrepreneur in San Francisco, said that she has been on many formal dates of late — plays, fancy restaurants. One suitor even presented her with red roses. For her, the old traditions are alive simply because she refuses to put up with anything less. She generally refuses to go on any date that is not set up a week in advance, involving a degree of forethought. “If he really wants you,” Ms. Yeoh, 29, said, “he has to put in some effort.” Ummmmm, what? Asking for a plan in advance is not unreasonable (see: basic courtesy), but this is the most one-sided load of baloney. If he really wants you? What if you really want him? Does he have to spend a certain amount for you to put out? Is this some sort of transaction? Gross.
Related Post: Online dating, how to make it less unpleasant.
Related Post: Why I like first dates so much…