Dear Dating Coach,
I am a single guy in my early thirties with a stable job – taking care of myself, and paying my own way. I have noticed that many of the women I have been dating are very accomplished and I am so impressed. They also have good jobs, live in their own apartments, and are fully independent. They can take care of themselves, and I get it. But now they want to plan every date, they want to Uber to our planned venue, and the last two girls asked to split the dinner bill. I don’t want to seem chauvinistic or old-fashioned, but what happened to letting the guy be “the guy?”
When I was dating, I was often confused about the CCC – Confusing Car Complications (that is a famous acronym that you should definitely be aware of). This of course refers to the “opening of the car door.” I just had so many questions! Do you walk as slowly as possible toward the car so that he can open the door for you first? What if (G-d forbid) you get to the car first: do you still wait for him to open the door because those handles are so confusing? When leaving the car do you sit tight until he comes around to your side to open the door, because when faced with the inside handle, you are simply lost? Does he only open the car door once you are inside but not when you are outside? What if there is a valet? Do you anxiously shoo him/her away, because only your date is permitted to unlock doors that are associated with you? Does this change if it is raining? Snowing? What if you accidentally forget and open your own door? Should you shut it and hope he doesn’t notice? If he doesn’t open the car door at all, should you call an Uber and immediately go home? Does non-car door opening reflect his poor upbringing, lack of education, and predict a marriage doomed to fail? Phew! I warned you. The CCC is real. You’re welcome.
Kudos to you for all of your accomplishments and your commitment to finding your bashert. Dating is often complicated and dating at different stages of life can offer a new set of challenges. You find that the women you are set up with have used their time wisely, making sure that they are independent and self-sufficient. You are happy to date women who can stand on their own two feet, and are self-reliant. There are however, certain chivalrous aspects that you miss when dating women that can get to the restaurant by themselves, can pay for their own meals, and who can google a venue suitable for the two of you.
Strong, independent women are attractive. They are not needy and they are powerful. These women have learned the hard way that they have no one to rely on but themselves. To expect their parents to still care for their every need seems selfish at their age, and they can no longer wait for a future husband to support them. These women have learned to sustain themselves and that was not only a necessity, it was smart and right. They take out the trash themselves, unstuff the toilet, and shlep their own luggage. These women don’t need a man, but they must not forget that they still want one.
Just because we can pick a venue and get ourselves there, doesn’t mean that we should not be picked up by our date. Just because, we can afford our own entrée, doesn’t mean that we can’t let the guy pay, and just because we can lift our own suitcase, doesn’t mean that we should. A woman can be strong and independent without emasculating the men that she meets. This does not take away from her power – it only enhances it. This innate femininity, is not a weakness – it is a secret weapon. It encourages him to take care of you – and reminds him that you are a precious gift that will need to be cherished. This doesn’t mean that a woman can’t treat her date to a meal, or plan a date during the course of shidduchim, but as a rule, it’s ok to let the man lead. This softness, is power. This softness, is strength. So, tell the women you date that it would your pleasure to pick them up, and that you really insist on paying for dinner on the date that you planned. (Perhaps they can plan another date along the way…) Tell your next date that you admire her success, and open her car door. Hold the umbrella for her, and wait outside until she is safely back home. I am confident that a woman who believes that her date truly wants to do these things for her, will be touched. After all, who wants to shlep the luggage anyway?