Are Men Manly Enough?

Are Men Manly Enough?

Recently, 8 authors, bloggers and comedians participated in a discussion in the Room for Debate area of the NY Times called “Are Modern Men Manly Enough?” The New York Times asked:

Are men spending too much time at the spa and the gym in lieu of grittier, manlier pursuits? And if so, is this making them less masculine?

The debate includes short pieces that advocate a return to manliness. A few excerpts…

“Rediscover the Don Draper Within” by Joel Stein, columnist:

We can’t solve this man-crisis by sitting on a couch watching “Ice Road Truckers.” We’ve got to start fixing our own toilets, exercising outside at 6 a.m. and hunting the meat that we cowardly eat from far crueler factory farms. Otherwise, the tribe down the street might raid us and pillage our apartment.

“Where are the Meat and Potato Men?” by Natasha Scripture, blogger and author:

Come to think of it, I haven’t met a manly man in quite some time. Maybe because most of them live in Montana. Or Texas. Or Sicily! They’re certainly rare sightings in New York City because here the abundant local species seems to be the metrosexual.

Lot of jokes at men’s expense, many of them funny. But what is there to really learn from this? How did men get this way? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

If you prefer a world where men are the he-man type, then you must advocate for a world where women are the docile and helpless type.

Not surprisingly, I’ll say that it’s both.

What’s bad about men – and, well, women as well- is that we’re completely not self-sufficient. I’ve long ago accepted that I’d be the first person kicked off Survivor island. The lack of air-conditioning alone would spell my demise. I own a wrench but can’t use it. I have a very active subscription on Angie’s List. I hire a handyman to hang big picture frames. And I’m not really ashamed at all. Because really, who said that you’re more of a man because you can use tools, fix computers, or hunt for food?

We’re fortunate enough to live in a world where I don’t have to do these things. If I DID have to do these these things for a) survival or b) to be attractive to women, I’d be at a disadvantage. But I don’t. I have a plumber and a gardener and a handyman and a pool guy. And my wife has a nail woman and a monthly cleaning lady and a daytime babysitter to take things off of her plate that she either couldn’t or wouldn’t want to do herself. We’re lucky. But we’re not lesser men or women for it.

To me the one guy who really got it right in that NYT piece was Lawrence Schlossman, blogger:

I want to tell the modern man that he doesn’t have to look like a gold rush-era carnival worker or brew his own micro whatever to be considered a man in my eyes. No, it’s way easier than that. How about being a good guy, a good person.

When women say they want a “man, not a boy”, I’m pretty sure that this is the crux of it. Sure, it’s a bonus if you can build a deck in your backyard. But really, what separates the men from the boys? It’s integrity. Honor. Responsibility. Sticking with your word. Knowing how to sacrifice. Putting loved ones first. It’s certainly not about manual labor, ability to survive in the wilderness or fighting for your honor. Those are remnants of a 19th century world. Many of us don’t want to return to that world.

To be fair, I’ve heard the lamentations from women about men losing their masculinity; those same women better take a good look in the mirror about how they’ve lost their femininity. You can’t have it both ways. If you prefer a world where men are the he-man type, then you must advocate for a world where women are the docile and helpless type. And if you think that’s silly, I would ask you: why? Why should men continue to embody ancient stereotypes but women shouldn’t?

That’s right: they shouldn’t.

What we need to do is recognize that many men have become more like women – helping at home, believing in monogamy and pacifism and community. And many women have become more like men: direct, challenging, ambitious, driven. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging these original stereotypes, or admitting that the lines have been blurred between the genders. What I hope to offer to you, as a reader, is a knowledge that if you’re looking for a typically masculine man, you’re better off being a typically feminine woman. If you’re a typically masculine woman, you’ll have a better fit with a typically feminine man.

As for me, despite my lack of traditional manly skills, I’m still a man. I’m the traditional breadwinner and my wife is the happy stay-at-home mom. And I can assure you that, by abdicating responsibility for home improvement, I am doing what’s best for everyone involved. I don’t have to get frustrated with my failure to wire the lamps in my backyard, my wife won’t be widowed because I haven’t electrocuted myself, I have more time to spend with my family, AND I’m contributing to the U.S. economy!

So to all you Do-It-Yourselfers: you want to be a better man than I am? Great. Hunt me some chicken and I’ll give you $10 before I cook it on my George Foreman grill.

Read all of the entries in the discussion here. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on what makes a man into “a man”.

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Comments:

  1. 91
    Tom

    Yeh that’s what I do Fiona; its just now and again I meet someone there I’d like to see again – that’s when I have to go through the whole dating rigmarole (don’t worry I don’t date innocent women I meet in libraries). 

    In general I find it amusing the way women pick and choose what their definition of equality is, and define “manly” as being chivalrous or some other behaviour reminiscent of men from a previous era. Hope (#83) earns a lot less than her boyfriend so he pays for most of their dates, whereas Helene (#66) earns a lot more than her new man but he still pays for most of their dates, just so he feels manly? Come on ladies, this has nothing to do with being manly or not.

    Most of the women I meet are actually more than happy to pay their fair share, so I’m surprised with some of the comments here. Nathan’s right; it must be a regional thing. 

    Yes Mia, being a man is great (although not so much when we’re younger).

  2. 92
    Lucy

    I certainly have my head screwed on and I wouldn’t fall for the wrong man because I’m impressed by chivalry. All I expect is for the guy to pay on the first date and to hold doors open for me and to carry heavy things I cannot manage on my own. I am definitely very real about this  - holding my seat out and walking alongside the kerb is extra and unexpected. 

    I’m British and I’ve noticed that most British men do not practice chivalry, at least not in the way Americans do. The American men I know are much more into chivalry. I read Evan’s tips and I wonder how likely it is that they’ll apply across the pond.  

    I would like the guy to be respectful. Most men who’ve bought me dinner and drinks have done it in a vain effort to get into my knickers. But I can’t be bought. On the other hand, one of my friends is into chivalry and he is nothing less than very respectful around women. He’s actually one of the most respectful men I have met, and more respectful than the guys I know who claim that they don’t do chivalry because they respect women. Some men dislike chivalry because they hate the idea of making an effort to woo a woman and think that equality of the sexes entitles them to sit back and wait for women to ask them out. That says more about their insecurities than it does about women. Unfortunately those men are everywhere.

  3. 93
    Clare

    @ Tom # 77

    “I can safely assume that when I date a woman there’s a 90% chance it could go further if I wanted – for women the chances are surely lower.”

    I’m pretty sure I’ve rejected just as many guys as have rejected me. I think it’s been said on this blog that men and women reject each other in more or less equal proportion.

  4. 94
    Selena

    Seems to me the issue of paying for dates works itself out early on. If someone invites you to join them at the venue of their choice – you either accept or decline.  If they make it clear when the bill is presented they expect you to pay your own way -  you know right then what they are about. If you are comfortable with that arrangement, you continue to accept their invitations. If you are NOT comfortable with that arrangement, you decline any subsequent invitations from them.

    Not sure why we get so riled up about this on the internet, when in practice we all know what we are and are not comfortable with and proceed accordingly.

  5. 95
    Helen

    Nathan and Mia: You’ve both made interesting points here, so let me respond to each.

    Nathan: My concern is that you’re beginning to take this personally, although our comments (at least mine) certainly aren’t meant personally, because we don’t know you. My comments are based on observation of the people I know. It isn’t a regional thing as you posit. I am from the same part of the US as you, although I’ve lived in large west-cost and east-coast metropolises. 

    What I have found, consistently, is that a guy who will not pay even when he asks a woman out is not a keeper. He can claim all he wants that it’s because he believes in equal rights for women, but seriously? Give me a break. When he decides not to pay for the woman, it is NOT to benefit the woman by “equal rights.” It’s to benefit himself - to save himself a few bucks.

    Evan has advised men to pay for first dates here, giving the reason that it’s more effective to secure good relationships. He doesn’t go further than that; his advice is practical rather than philosophical.  If I could try to explain WHY a non-paying man is not a good bet for woman (and not a good bet for friendships or leadership either), it’s because of selfishness. Whether you’re skimping on paying on a date or in a group setting, it gives the clear signal: “I don’t care about you. I’m not going to put myself out for you. I’m more interested in myself. My rights. My resources. Me.” 

    Why isn’t a woman attracted to that?  Because a long-lasting relationship requires A LOT of putting oneself out for the other person and for family members.  Constantly, ungrudgingly, year after year.  If a guy can’t be arsed to do it on a first date, he’s just not a great candidate for this sort of self-giving that is required of both parties in an LTR. He is also not a great candidate for friendship or leadership, for these same reasons.

    Mia: I, too, wish it could be the sort of world where the women who enjoy pursuing can be free to pursue in the way men do. I think you can, but that it will be more difficult; because there may not be that many guys who are willing to be pursued, and because society has given multiple messages about how the men should pursue and the women should not. Let’s face it: pursuing IS fun. Not just to win over a guy, but to get anything you want. But always keep in the back of your mind that the best way to get what you want is to be effective, not pursuing in the way you necessarily want to.

  6. 96
    Selena

    @ Helen #99

    Not very comfortable being the “trouble-maker” here, but… Evan actually has written, “If she doesn’t INSIST on paying on the forth date – DUMP HER”.

  7. 97
    nathan

    Helen, this insistence on men paying for the first date is going to fade, at least to some extent. It’s already dying amongst certain segments. Given education trends, changing work patterns, gender role shifts and the rest, the idea that a man proves himself through money spent isn’t going to hold water. Might be practical for many folks now, but I don’t believe that will be the case in the future.
     
    Secondly, men are expected to ask women out, and do so probably 90% of the time. The whole who asks, pays thing is a trope women use to justify not sharing the bill. 
     
    Thirdly, I notice that when men push back on some subjects, especially money, they get accused of all sorts of things. including being cheap, uncaring, ungiving, and unromantic. All these judgments based on a single date. Women routinely complain about being judged harshly, and dealing with all kinds of nonsense from some men on and after first dates. But some of you seem to dish it out just as much, if not more. You might not do it to our faces, but the digital world is filled with scathing comments and articles by women about how terrible, weak, whiny, cheap, and unromantic men are these days. Having spent a bit of time trolling MRA and PUA sites, the men that come here are far and away more reasonable and respectful. I’m all for a good debate, and sometimes I am flat out wrong. If you actually read through my comments, it’s fairly often the case that something in a rebuttal makes sense to me, and I shift accordingly. But when something as simple as paying or not paying becomes grounds for all sorts of speculations about a man’s character, I call bullshit. I like the way Selena 98 puts it: do whatever arrangement is most comfortable to you. No unfounded judgments. No need to agree to continue something you don’t want to do.
     
    Fiona, I honestly don’t go on many first date dinners these days. Some of it is simple economics, but more of it is actually the fact that I think other ways are more conducive to getting to know someone better. Coffee dates. Going for walks. Visiting museums. Outdoor festivals. There are so many no cost or low cost ways to meet up, many of which allow more freedom in terms of what you are doing. I get plenty of second dates. I have had my share of short term and long term relationships. In fact, I spent most of my 20s trying to fulfill that “traditional” male role. And ended up single and chasing for over half that decade. Whereas, in late 20s and 30s, I’ve done a more mixed approach and have had much more success. That’s why I offer the ideas that I do because I don’t believe there is one way – or even a best way – to approach dating these days.
     
    People like to think they’ve got the truth pinned down, but that’s just a fantasy. All we have are guideposts and markers that help us weed out certain people, but really aren’t the things that determine who’s a best match. Evan wasn’t 100% sure about his wife when he decided to take the plunge. I think that’s the case for most of us, in dating and in deciding to stay with someone, whether we like it or not.

  8. 98
    SS

    Nathan,
    My background is completely Midwestern (born in one Midwestern state, now live in another). I grew up in a large urban blue collar city and now live in a smaller urban blue collar city. I’d probably be considered middle income, but not lower income. I consider myself centrist, although leaning more left than right. I was probably more liberal in my younger years, but still 95% likely to vote for the D over the R.
    I dated across the political spectrum, but found I had the most in common with center-right types rather than staunch liberals or staunch conservatives, Husband describes himself as a centrist leaning more right than left. He’s very progressive on social issues (gay rights, etc.) and more conservative on fiscal ones.
     
    Don’t know if any of that has to do with my opinions on chivalry, but that’s my background.
     
    And I will co-sign Helen’s point in #99. She expounded more on what I was trying to say. The interesting thing is, when I was dating (again, in the Midwest), every guy but one who asked me out paid for the date. Even if the date was just coffee, the effort was appreciated. The one who didn’t pay didn’t ask me out again, and I didn’t bother to contact him again. That was about six years ago, and I see him on Facebook a lot… his writing comes off as very “progressive,” liberal and open-minded, but I remember the date being a disaster (long before the check came) because all he did was complain about his life, his family, his mental health and other things. I wasn’t at all surprised that he then began to split the check down the middle when it arrived.

  9. 99
    Henriette

    @Helen99 -  Like you, I agree with parts of Mia81′s post; I sometimes find myself envious of men in the dating world.  However, it’s not bc I long to be the pursuer.  I just wish that I were of the gender where the fact that I have stayed out of debt, paid for my house in full and give 10% of my charity made me more desirable than if I were 20 pounds lighter.  I wish that being hilarious made me more attractive than a person who sits back and only laughs at others’ jokes.  And I wish that having fine character counted for more than having a fine tush.  
    When I look at the kind of qualities I most admire in people (of either sex) – courage! integrity! personal responsibility! intelligence! – they are the traits that win men points in the dating world and don’t help women’s success one bit.  This is why I sometimes find myself envying guys.
    However, I know that the reality is very much as Evan tells it: that men look for hot women who are receptive and make them feel good about themselves.  And, I even see it in long-term partnerships; the marriages which seem happiest decades in are the ones in which the wives keep their girlish figures and make their husbands feel needed rather than just wanted.   The woman’s character, accomplishments, mental health and even ability to speak her husband’s language fluently are secondary.  I am trying to learn to resign myself to this truth rather than simply chafe against it.

  10. 100
    Clare

    @ Helen # 99

    You put it beautifully. That is exactly what I was going to say in regard to the whole chivalry debate. Chivalry, like manners, doesn’t come naturally, it’s a learned behaviour that is for the benefit and comfort of the other person. It is somewhat superficial, but that doesn’t mean it has no value. Much like the girl who smiles warmly and laughs delightedly at her date’s jokes.

    As time goes on and you become more comfortable with one another, much of this will fade and give way to more substantial demonstrations of caring.

    In the early stages of dating, it’s *all* superficial.  But the whole of a relationship is about some self-sacrifice and the comfort of the other person. Chivalry does show, albeit superficially, that you’re willing and able to do this. Being too wrapped up in equality and every man for himself does, I fear, miss the point a bit.

  11. 101
    Rachael

    nathan

    well said. We may not be on the same page but we are back to back.

    In fact…My bf didn’t start paying for my share occasionally until after he asked me to be his gf.

    Well that’s not entirely true. A couple concerts he wanted to go to he just bought my ticket and then invited me. I did buy all my own drinks at those shows. Those were expensive shows and something he wanted to do and he wanted company. He knew I would probably decline buying a ticket because they weren’t really my kind of music.

    Anyways…Everyone is different. Really seriously choosing a partner is all about who the person is. Do you enjoy their company? Are they honest, respectful (respect and honesty go hand in hand in my mind), considerate? Does that person value you? Do you value that person. The list goes on.

  12. 102
    Rachael

    Thinking about this now…My attitude towards all that stuff is most likely why he wanted me around so much.

    Knowing him as well as I do now i’d wager he payed for everything for a lot of women and got burnt out by the time we met.

    I rember thinking he was an odd duck because he was so generous with everything but money…

  13. 103
    Tom

    Clare
    Yes you’re correct – I’m sure both genders reject each other equally. I phrased that point poorly. I meant that I reckon there’s a 90% chance the woman I’m on a date with is actually serious about looking for a relationship. I might still be rejected, but at least men don’t have to worry about wasting their time with female ‘players’ and such. Women don’t necessarily have the same comfort (I have no statistical evidence to back up this point though so I might be wrong).
     
    Mia, Helen and Henriette
    I agree that it’s unfortunate that women can’t really pursue men. It’s not that you can’t (you can) – it’s that it puts you in a fatally weak position regarding establishing how a guy really feels about you. I’ve been asked out by a few women and I’ve gone along for the novelty but mainly for the hope of easy sex, because I already know she likes me.
     
    I’m with Nathan on this one. I’m surprised and saddened that normally balanced and reasonable posters (I’m looking at you Helen) are so unreasonable when it comes to paying their way. Women in their 20’s are now better educated and earn more money than their male peers (something I support btw) so it’s entirely unreasonable to expect men to pay for everything and judge him if he doesn’t. I’m only looking for balance (i.e. pay your fair share). Despite all of our progression as a society it stills looks like women want the traditional male role which is contradictory and disappointing. As a society we will have to accept that the definition of “manly” has changed and doesn’t include being your personal ATM.
     
    We should all practice good manners and respect, but chivalry is a relic of the past.

  14. 104
    Paragon

    @ Henriette
     
    “@Helen99 –  Like you, I agree with parts of Mia81′s post; I sometimes find myself envious of men in the dating world.  However, it’s not bc I long to be the pursuer.  I just wish that I were of the gender where the fact that I have stayed out of debt, paid for my house in full and give 10% of my charity made me more desirable than if I were 20 pounds lighter.”
     
    All things being equal, they do make you more desirable.
     
    On the other hand, women are no less critical of overweight men(assuming the extra weight is fat), than men are of overweight women.
     
    “When I look at the kind of qualities I most admire in people (of either sex) – courage! integrity! personal responsibility! intelligence! – they are the traits that win men points in the dating world and don’t help women’s success one bit.”
     
    They don’t help men’s success any more than women’s, because while these may be desirable traits, they are nonetheless infrequent determinants of mate choice.

  15. 105
    Fiona

    Fair enough Nathan. If it works for you, it works. In my generation and country I was brought up to believe girls shouldn’t chase boys and boys should pay for the first date and so were the boys so that’s dating convention – nothing to do with women trying to welch out of paying half and everything to do with courtship rituals. Also if someone asks me to a really expensive restaurant, I assume they are trying to impress me and have the means to pay for it rather than me having to ask up front – hey are you going to make me pay half because I don’t want to spend that much on food which would be awkward. If they ask me where I want to go I usually suggest pizza not because I particularly like pizza but I don’t know what their budget is and don’t want to cause them financial issues.

  16. 106
    miskwa

    I do not think that the problem is that man aren’t manly so much as many (and unfortunately women too) no longer act with respect and integrity. It doesn’t matter how long a man spends at the gyn (except for his keeping fit and healthy of course which is also necessary) if he will not help you with projects around the home, lift stuff that weighs more than I do, etc. I see this behavior a lot more in the West than I did at home in the far north. If someone needed help, you kept your word, showed up on time with work gloves, tools in hand, and stick with it till the job’s done. In the west, it took a male friend a month to show up to help cut wood. A colleague who promised to help me move a heavy piece of furniture when i was injured didn’t show up three times and didn’t bother to call. I didn’t ask for help; he had volunteered his services. What’s up with that? Yeah, Evan, i understand that men want to feel needed; that’s great. That means they have to keep promises, be present, and show up. Otherwise we women will write them off. I also find manners manly and no, manners should not be a superficial thing, manners should be an integral part of the person, there all the time. I think that men ought to pay for that first date. Why? It shows that they, hopefully, have some measure of financial stability. In my rural area, that’s an important think to find out from the get go. I understand that folks are out of work these days; there’s a recession on. When I was in financial distress, and I there a lot in my younger days, I made getting out of that situation a priority rather than dating.
    Some earlier posts referred to women being attracted to players: more likely it is that men that are sucessful players tend to be far more attractive looking and yep, fit, healthy, attractive men are going to attract more women as these men, biologically and instinctively, look like much better mates than a man obviously in bad shape. As someone who was greatly humiliated by a player a year ago, I can tell you all that some of these guys are really, really, good at what they do and often do not give off red flags till your’e highly emotionally invested. Overall, manly means integrity, words, actions, and emotions are in line with one another, and treat others with respect. Kinda what we all should be doing, eh?

  17. 107
    miskwa

    Sorry for the abysmal spelling in the previous post; hard to type on a smartphone

  18. 108
    helen32

    Here is what stands out for me:  “To be fair, I’ve heard the lamentations from women about men losing their masculinity; those same women better take a good look in the mirror about how they’ve lost their femininity. You can’t have it both ways. If you prefer a world where men are the he-man type, then you must advocate for a world where women are the docile and helpless type.”  You miss the point.  Men refuse to do the work of a traditional role, but retain the power, control, entitlement and superiority.  Who picks up the slack?  Somebody has to pay the mortgage and get the car fixed, right?  What is expected is that the women have to do the traditionally masculine work in place of the men, plus fulfill the feminine role, and still give credit to the men for being “superior”.  And look hot while the men let themselves go.  
    *I* didn’t make these “men” refuse to be responsible adults, they came to me that way.  When I look in the mirror I see someone completely unvalued yet doing all the work.  
    What is a “man” nowadays?  Wasn’t there a comment somewhere about a couch potato watching ice road truckers?  That is the best you can get.  I didn’t MAKE this happen, I didn’t tell anyone “no- you just sit there and gain 50# while I manage both my life and yours and cater to your every whim, grateful to have a man for as long as he is willing to use me”. 
    My parents did not say “oh, its a girl.  She better be super attractive and hot and sexy and do everything to please her man or she won’t nab a husband we can really love” although I feel more certain that this is what Mr. Katz thinks about his own offspring.   Women didn’t create this laziness and false entitlement, men did.  I was not alive in the 60′s, it is not my fault yet I have to pay the price for it.  NO man I have dated has ever even offered to help with a traditionally male role (nor known how) but has expected me to do so for HIM.  The subjugation of women has progressed from being domestic objects to being mommy and daddy and hooker and mechanic and baby machine and nanny and handyman and financier for undeveloped “entitled” so-called men.
    Any additional help I need gets hired out or comes from my female friends, women who also know how to fix their own cars and appliances, are highly educated, cultured, and -shocker- are also very attractive, but not to men who want a crazy chick they can blame for all their own shortcomings.  You know, the “docile and helpless type”.

    1. 108.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @helen32 in #112- Looks like you need a lesson in reading comprehension.

      You said: “Men refuse to do the work of a traditional role, but retain the power, control, entitlement and superiority.” Then don’t date them. Problem solved.

      You said: “What is a “man” nowadays? Wasn’t there a comment somewhere about a couch potato watching ice road truckers? That is the best you can get.” Perhaps this is the best YOU can get, Helen32, but I don’t know a single woman who is in a relationship with such a man, so it seems to me that this says more about the men you’re around or choosing than it does about men overall.

      You said: “My parents did not say “oh, its a girl. She better be super attractive and hot and sexy and do everything to please her man or she won’t nab a husband we can really love” although I feel more certain that this is what Mr. Katz thinks about his own offspring.” You crossed the line here and if I were in town, I would have banned your disrespectful comment. You don’t know me. You don’t know my wife. You don’t know my daughter. Not to mention that you don’t seem to have any clue what I stand for. Show me one time in 5 1/2 years on this blog that I said “she better be super attractive and hot and sexy” to a woman. I have not. I HAVE, however, said that she should do everything to please her man. Why? Because that’s what relationships are about. He should be doing the exact same for you. If he’s not, don’t date him. Very simple advice that you’ve managed to twist in service of your insult to me.

      You said: “The subjugation of women has progressed from being domestic objects to being mommy and daddy and hooker and mechanic and baby machine and nanny and handyman and financier for undeveloped “entitled” so-called men.” If this subjugation was still in effect, you wouldn’t have the opportunity to be the financier for anyone including yourself. Get off the victim act. You’re equal. I’m certainly not holding back your right to do whatever you want or date whomever you want. Neither is any man I know.

      You said: “men want a crazy chick they can blame for all their own shortcomings.” Quite clearly, you’re keeping the wrong company if this is your view of the opposite sex. Sorry, but you’re not describing anyone I know – unless you’re talking about the kind of women who blame men for their own unhappiness in life.

      If you’re going to continue to post here, read the rules on the right sidebar. No insults. No twisting my words or putting different words in my mouth. Offer your opinion with facts, not just feelings. Be respectful to the guests. And if this is too much for you, there are plenty of other blogs you can frequent where you will probably not feel inclined to insult the host.

  19. 109
    Laya

    The different arguments aside, I have to wonder if there is a larger phenomenon going on. Are men falling behind in core areas of society? College enrollments are more women than men now. I just read a NYTimes article about the growing number of stay-at-home fathers (nothing wrong with that). And the latest at the Olympics…US women topped the men both in gold medals won (29 to 17) and overall medals earned (58 to 45). Is this a trend? I genuinely feel sad if it is. I hope these are not harbingers for the future of our husbands, boyfriends, sons and fathers.

  20. 110
    Hope

    Nathan #100,
    “Secondly, men are expected to ask women out, and do so probably 90% of the time. The whole who asks, pays thing is a trope women use to justify not sharing the bill.
    Do you REALLY believe that?  The very website we are having this debate on– which is founded by a very contemporary man– urges women to let men take the lead because men WANT to.  I for one believe that is true in most cases.  Would you really feel right to let a woman ask YOU to a romantic dinner, pick up the bill, and drive you home?  And call you a few days later to invite you to a movie followed by a romantic drink?  I’d think YOU’D want to be the one winning her, not being won by her.  If that’s not true of you, no judgement there, but I don’t think it’s wrong for women to believe men want to do the asking, especially when so many men (just not in this particular thread) are saying so.
    Secondly, I stand by my previously-stated affirmation that it is right and good for the asker to pay the whole date.  Whether it’s a man asking a woman out romantically or a girl asking a gal pal to accompany her to a special place for lunch…if it’s any sort of a specific invitation, the asker ought to pay.  If you don’t have much money or don’t want to spend much before knowing how you feel about the girl, there’s plenty of ways you can make a date romantic and memorable without spending much.
    Tom #95- I didn’t say my boyfriend was manly because he paid for my dates.  I said it was good manners, because he’s the one who asked me.  Nor do I think he is “more of a man” because he earns more.  In fact, I’m coming out more on the men’s side than you’re acknowledging….I’m saying it’s NOT chivalrous or “manly” but simply good manners, not to mention quite savvy, for a man to pay.

  21. 111
    Helen

    Clare 103 got it totally right here: “the whole of a relationship is about some self-sacrifice and the comfort of the other person. Chivalry does show, albeit superficially, that you’re willing and able to do this. Being too wrapped up in equality and every man for himself does, I fear, miss the point a bit.”

    Well, almost all right. ;) I’d say, the whole of a long-term relationship is about a LOT of self-sacrifice.  Guys, you don’t have to be in an LTR; I’m certainly not going to judge you if you’re not, or don’t want one. But if an LTR is what you want, then you would do well to start paying attention to what makes your partner comfortable and happy, rather than keeping on insisting upon your rights and ideals. For an LTR to work, you will find yourself sacrificing your “rights” again and again… and again.

    An LTR isn’t all pleasant. It’s not going to be all about you and what makes you happy. It’s not all philosophical and political ideals either; it’s about practicality and what works. The best LTRs are about both partners being considerate of the others’ wants and needs.  If you cannot give up your ideals enough to pay for a woman when you ask her out (heck, I pay for a woman when I ask her out), then you may not be ready for the types of sacrifices that are necessary for an LTR.  LTRs are about sacrifice from the moment the commitment is made, and especially if children are involved.  

    I know this doesn’t sound romantic. But if you want to live with or work closely with another person, compromise and a willingness to make it work – even when it costs you – are essential.  The good news is that giving to others is a practice that can be learned, and can get easier with time. Why not start with something simple like showing you value your companion by paying for her? You needn’t learn it if you are fine being single and having lots of acquaintances rather than close family or friends.  But when you find someone with whom you want to be close… I think of Evan’s advice which he offered in the form of a question. “Is it better to be right, or to be happy?”

  22. 112
    Henriette

    I know it was a simple typo, Miskwa, but it did make me chuckle to read, “It doesn’t matter how long a man spends at the gyn…”  Yeah, just what we need: men who are so confused about gender roles that they end up in our gynecologists’ waiting rooms!

  23. 113
    Helen

    Henriette and Miskwa: I noticed the same thing (men spending time at the gyn), and broke out in a rueful laugh. 

    I’m a woman, and repeatedly offer to pay when I ask a woman or a man to a meal. After all, I’m requesting their time and company. I can’t understand the guys who get their knickers all in a twist about extending this same courtesy to the women they ask out – for ROMANTIC purposes, for crying out loud, not work. Instead, they try to make it all about “equality: pay your own way.” Uh, no, it’s about the fact that you specifically requested a person’s time, effort, and company. Under the circumstances, it’s simple decency to pay.

    Don’t let ideologies – especially self-directed ones – cloud your sense of social judgment. If you take complete responsibility for your actions (including following through all the way when you ask someone out), instead of trying to take the easy way out or shirking responsibility, you’ll find the world respecting you much more.  When I stopped being the girl others paid for, and became the woman who paid for others, that was the signal that I had become an alpha in the working world. Decide for yourself what you want to be, and act accordingly.

  24. 114
    Nicole

    Here’s what I don’t get.  Why are so many men ANTI-chivalry when so much of being chivalrous can be NO cost or LOW cost, and really more is free than not.  So you have an opportunity to score major points with a lady by opening doors, or giving up your seat, or letting her get in front of you in line.  Paying for stuff is like 1% of that.

    When I think of the men who have really impressed me with their chivalry, they didn’t spend money to demonstrate to me that they did care about my comfort, well-being, and were probably not inherently selfish or narcissistic. 

    So that meant, again, without them spending money, letting me in front in a line for a buffet at an event, or asking if I wanted something when going to get a drink (at a party where food and drink were served, and where the man in question neither prepared or paid for any of it).  It meant getting me a seat in a place where there were few, or holding my coat while I put it on.  Opening doors for me to walk through.  It meant people pulling up their car if it was rainy, walking me to my door if it was dark, offering an arm if it is icy.  Some of those people were handy and offered that kind of help but I’m a dual degreed engineer so I know my way around a toolbox and can fix most things myself, and have figured out pretty ingenious ways to move and assemble heavy objects that should require two people,  but again, it’s a simple gesture that I appreciated and didn’t forget.  Why is that so offensive?  I didn’t demand it.  It didn’t feel entitled to it.  It didn’t make them more of a man to me.  But it did speak to me about how they likely treated people and women in general, and that was a good thing (that did in fact bear out).  The men who did none of those things never ever thought twice about me.  

    And I’d say the flip side is true in terms of how I can be supportive and nuturing, and if a man is in my home, I might make him hot chocolate, or tea or coffee or chai, and serve him snacks and let him control the remote, and making sure that he gets anything that he might want in my home.  It can also mean that I have no problem preparing a home cook meal, or surprising someone with baked goods and other kind of gifts women give to men.  I’ll straighten his collar or tie, or if there is schmutz on his face, I’ll offer him a tissue (I did that to one guy and two of his friends laughed but he commented that I was always looking out for him).  Those things are low cost and low effort for me.  Why would I get mad about doing them when it’s an easy way to show that I care?  Just b/c it’s 2012 and I’m otherwise a successful and ambitious and independent woman?  It’s kind of nice to turn that part off in private.  Do so many men hate being treated like that?

    So to me, those are simple ways to kind of enjoy traditional roles that can make the other person feel honored, prized, nutured, etc.  And it doesn’t require chauvinism, playing weak or dumb, or sacrificing any part of who I am as a well-educated and independent woman.  I guess I kind of enjoy playing Better Draper to someone’s Don for a couple of hours, minus the boozing, womanizing, fighting, passive aggressiveness and manipulation.

  25. 115
    Nicole

    And I agree with whoever said that women get no credit for being nice or interesting or smart or kind…I could be perfectly awful and selfish if I’m deemed hot enough by anyone.  

    A man can definitely start to look like his has more hair and is 3 inches taller by being chivalrous and kind.  We get no such privilege. Nice guys sometimes get passed over but those things do increase your value to SOME women, probably more than you’re willing to give a chance to.

  26. 116
    Paragon

    @ miskwa

    As someone who was greatly humiliated by a player a year ago, I can tell you all that some of these guys are really, really, good at what they do and often do not give off red flags till your’e highly emotionally invested.”

     It occurs that the most obvious red-flag is a disassortative mating dynamic(where the female bears the weight – often, quite 
    literally – of unattractive proportions in discontinuous traits).

    So, stay within your LTR league – if you are observing patterns, refine for error and adjust your expectations(ie. downwards).

    Or continue playing long-odds.

  27. 117
    Mia

    Paragon, what do you mean, stay in your ltr league? It can be difficult for a woman to figure out her league, as leagues are not determined solely by looks. Pretty young women get screwed over all the time, just as much or more so than dumpy, older ones. Women should simply go with men they click with personality wise who are relationship oriented. For many years I went for men less attractive than me because it gave me more security, but I have gotten screwed over or not gotten a second date with many of those average joes. I am friends with a lot of average dudes and hear them talk about women and, news flash, those types can be just as jerkish as more alpha types. 

    I have had far better luck dating men of the same attractiveness, about an 8. I recently started dating such a man, and he is tall, muscular, and handsome, but pretty much a nerd, like me. We always have a million things to talk about. At first I almost wrote him off because I was intimidated by attractive men and assumed the worst, but I gave him a chance. He is a hell of a lot nicer to me than that short, bald guy I was hung up on all last year, or the gangly, nerdy-looking hipster I got screwed over by this spring.

  28. 118
    Selena

    Re: Helen #17
    “…Instead, they try to make it all about “equality: pay your own way.” Uh, no, it’s about the fact that you specifically requested a person’s time, effort, and company. Under the circumstances, it’s simple decency to pay.”

    Paying someone’s way when you invited them is the way one says “Thank you for joining me.” They didn’t have to join you. And you didn’t have to invite them either. 

    I believe the “splitters” amongst us DO get this, they just really don’t want to spend their money on someone else. Saying so would make them appear cheap, so they use the equality bluster to cover their true feelings.

  29. 119
    Ruby

    Mia #120
     
    Ironically, that’s been true for me also. My BF is also a very good looking guy, and he’s treated me better than most of the much more average-looking guys I’d dated in the past. We also happen to have lots in common (nerdy interests), get along great, and he is genuinely interested in an LTR, which some of the less attractive guys were not, or at least, not with me.
     
    Paragon #119
     
    “It occurs that the most obvious red-flag is a disassortative mating dynamic(where the female bears the weight – often, quite 
    literally – of unattractive proportions in discontinuous traits).”
     
    Is that a double-talk way of saying that you suspect that Miskwa is fat?

  30. 120
    Helen

    Evan, for clarification, there’s apparently more than one Helen posting here, and since you referred to “Helen” above – that ain’t me.

    Not to say that I haven’t posted a LOT in this thread. The only conclusion I can come to, reading and thoroughly enjoying all these comments, is that I want to ask out all the delightful women posting here. I’ll even pay for you. :D  And let’s bring Evan along as our special guest – I’m happy to pay for him too.

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