Monday, December 5, 2011

Kicking and Screaming to the Altar: Women Taking the Dating Initiative into Their Own Hands

Editor's Note:  While struggling to find new material in my ho-hum life lately, I've been fortunate enough to receive real requests from real writers who want to guest post on this electronic diary of mine!

Below is a contribution from Eric Leech, a regular contributor to  We've talked about this issue before, you know, the one where women feel like the dating tables have turned.  But, Eric's perspective offers new insight and explanation.  Enjoy, Singletons and Marrieds.  My favorite line:  "a change in her disposition of not wanting to wait around anymore."

By Eric J. Leech

One hot issue that has been discussed time and again is the shift from men being the aggressors on dating websites (and equivalent), to women taking on the brunt of the work to get things off the ground. While this may often seem to be the case, I have a differing viewpoint. I don't think that it is the men who are becoming less willing to take the initiative, but rather a ramp up of women's confidence, making them less likely to wait around for him.

The Sensitive Man
I would like to take some of the heat off the guys, by saying that most research shows men are still the dominant force when it comes to taking the initial risk of asking a woman on a first date. According to one university study (Mills, Janiszewska, & Zabala, 2011), 83 percent of men are actively asking women out, compared to only six percent of women. In addition, another study (Fisher, Coontz, Garcia, Bingham University) found that men are becoming more interested in committed relationships, compared to those of earlier generations. If anything, men are becoming more invested.

Today's man is more likely to believe in love at first site (54 percent, compared to her 44). He knows if he wants children (24 percent to her 15), and according to studies, feels more guilt after cheating than his female counterparts. Women are no longer dependent on men for financial support. This can be seen in the 90 percent of women, who offer to pay for a first date, even though they prefer the guy to do the asking. The sensitive guy should be open to letting a woman hold the reins, but he can't allow himself to become so sensitive, he's afraid to take the initial risk.

Women are taking more dominant positions in the world. However, one problem that the female rights movement has brought, is a group of men expecting women to take over as the official aggressors of the dating game. These men make up about 16 percent of the population. Considering that only six percent of women are following suit with this expectation, 10 percent of these guys are sitting by their phone, waiting for a moment that may never come. Women are just not ready to give up their positions as ladies in waiting, but why?

While the majority of women prefer not to ask a man on a date, most don't ask their employers for better positions in their company, either. Considering, aggressive women are often labeled as 'pushy,' women have adapted themselves to take what they're given, rather than ask for what they want. Research suggests that when a woman has the confidence to ask, without being stereotyped, she will ask for a promotion. She will also take a more active role in the dating process (MacGregor & Cavallo, 2011).

Women should embrace their frustration with men not making the first move, and realize this is not so much an increase in his laziness, but rather a change in her disposition of not wanting to wait around anymore. One theory of why women continue to face inequality in the world, is because they are afraid to ask. She is waiting for others to tell her what she is worth (salary, caliber of guy, etc.), rather than taking the initiative to answer that question herself. What you have to keep in mind, is that you have about a 50/50 chance a guy will accept your invitation, which is some pretty good odds.

Your other alternative is to wait for the guy to come to you. However, studies suggest only around 33 percent of guys who approach you, will be even remotely interesting. Another technique women use is flirting at guys who interest them. The problem with this, is most guys are horrible at taking a hint. In fact, he may need as many as 20 flirtatious suggestions (smile, locked eyes, etc.) before he'll get the confidence to approach you. With that much work on your part, you might as well just take the moment into your own hands.

The next time you find yourself hesitating to approach a guy, ask yourself if you are really that opposed to taking the initiative, or if you are allowing society's expectations to get in the way of what you want!

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