"Where are the men?" my girlfriend clamored as our cocktails arrived. "Lately, the guys I've met are wishy-washy when it comes to planning the date. If we meet in my area of town, they ask me to pick the venue because they don't know the area -- like Yelp isn't a thing. And when I offered the last guy restaurant suggestions, he asked what kind of food they serve. What kind of man asks a woman out and makes her not only plan the date, but make sure he's comfortable with the cuisine, too?"
I've had my own run-ins with the boys lately as well. One asked me out for drinks and then told me to tell him when and where to meet, right after he let me know what area of town he works in. Another had my cell and email address after asking a friend to set us up, but chose instead to connect with me on Facebook, where he left me his number. I should call him if I want to go out, he messaged. If I wasn't interested in going out with him, why would I have given him my cell and email address? I did not call. The last man I dated told me straight out he wanted to meet me, asked me what I prefer to drink, asked me what part of the city I live in and set a date, time and place. We dated for months.
I realized I'm not looking for a guy. I'm looking for a man -- a confident man who knows what he wants and how to treat a woman. I need to feel feminine. I enjoy being a woman and I enjoy men who enjoy dating grown women.
So while I join the New York City single woman chorus in a round of "Where are the men?" from time to time, I know it can't be entirely their fault. We all felt we were supposed to be equal in the dating world, so now we meet halfway and offer to split the check. But we've all compromised too much. Men got softer. Women got harder. And we're all left wondering: "What are we doing wrong?"
My new approach to dating is this: If you want to date a man, be a woman. Being a lady, I have found, brings out the best in gentlemen. When they are given permission to be manly men, they rise up. And if they don't? Well, who wants a guy who can't rise up to your feminine wiles? Here are my tips for the first date:
1. A man plans the date. A woman appreciates the plan. If he says: "What do you want to do?" answer with: "I'll let you plan the date." Often enough, they are pleased to hear that. They want to know they are in charge of the first date. It makes them feel like a man. When a man does plan the date, a woman is sure to mention all the details he took into consideration to make it a lovely evening, and thanks him graciously.
2. If he says: "Let's meet halfway" or "There's a great little bar around the corner from my apartment," say: "No, thank you." A man makes the date convenient for the woman he's asked out. A man doesn't inform a woman about where he lives or where he works. He knows it's irrelevant. He'll find a venue near his date. I've actually said: "I think you're adorable and I'd love to go out with you but it seems like you don't really want to date me. When you want to take me out, call me." That man called the next night and asked me out to a great new sushi place in my neighborhood. We dated for a couple of months.
3. A man is confident, even if it means he has to try a little harder. When a guy says: "Let me know if you want to go out. Here's my number," don't call. A man would just call you. Or at least text you. If you do want to go out with him, look him straight in the eyes and say: "I would like to go on a date with you. Here's my card." And walk away. A man will call.
4. If you're not sure whether or not it's a "date," he's a guy. A man is always clear about his intentions. This does not mean his intentions are polite. But he'll be clear.
5. If he says "It's just casual, so like don't get all dressed up or anything," he's a guy. A man wants to date a woman who is dressed like a woman out on a date.
If you want to date a man, be a woman. Be a strong, confident woman, but be a woman. A retro-modern approach to dating may not be for every woman, but man, do I love it.