DATING DO’S AND DON’TS – PART 7

HOME TIME:

A short and sweet post today.  No I am not going to give you a curfew! It is my belief though that on a first date you should make sure you leave at a respectable hour – meaning you aren’t out partying at 2am. There are two reasons for this:

The first reason is so that you give the impression of being a respectable lady. You are on a first date and therefore you are setting a few standards. One of these being respect. A gentleman shouldn’t want to keep you out all night partying on a first date. He should want to see you home at a reasonable time, it shows that he doesn’t see you simply as a ‘good time’ girl. You don’t need to be Cinderella but you should consider that this man should earn your time and he should want the challenge of earning it, if he is serious about a possible future with you.

The second reason is a little more simple. If you meet someone and you spend a few hours together and have a really good time, leave it at that point. Do not try to drag out that feeling into awkward silences or lack of conversation. You do not want to simply stay out to keep the feeling going. Instead it is far better to leave whilst having had a great time and are interested to see that person again. A little taste of something good makes you want more, over indulging makes you sick.

Sounds so simple but far too often we fear ending something in case we don’t see or hear from that person again. If someone has enjoyed your company and felt like time has flown by they are going to be far more interested to see you again and sooner rather than later. When you feel the conversation slowing a little, simply look at your watch and say you better be heading home….or pick a place that doesn’t close too late and then it is sorted for you!

Start small and grow tall Pride!

The traditional feminist.

So I have decided to get a better idea of what it means to people to be a ‘feminist’. This was sparked by a friend of mine who went on a date on Saturday night. It was a first date and the man she went out with arranged a place to meet for some drinks. He bought two rounds of drinks and they were getting on very well. He then said to her ‘aren’t you going to get the third round in? I gave you a chance to get the second round and then gave you the benefit of the doubt by getting them myself’. My friend is a very ‘traditional’ girl – partly to do with culture and partly to do with her own views on men and women. She laughed and explained it was a first date and she believed that if a man asks you out he should pay. It sparked a debate between them and he explained that he was a real feminist. He put it down to the fact he was ‘artsy’ and people in ‘that world believe in feminism’. (Thanks for believing you speak for the whole of the Arts world). It got me thinking, does being a feminist mean that the roles for courting are now the same? Should a woman be just as willing to carry her groom through the threshold? Should he wear a fake breast and feed his newborn baby? Should she court him? Should she open the door and let him through first? Does feminism mean that men and women do not have differences?

The definition of the word feminism is different to different people. I have taken some time to ask men and women from all different backgrounds and cultures what it means to them and what being a feminist means in a relationship between a man and woman.

The dictionary definition of a feminist (dictionary.com):

Advocating social, political, legal and economic rights for women equal to those of men.

The world, in my opinion, owes a lot of thanks to feminism and there are still a lot of issues that are being fought or highlighted in regards to women’s rights that, without feminism would go unnoticed. I have listed just some of the changes made below by people who have fought for women’s rights:

  • Women were once largely absent from standard history texts.
  • Women did not used to be allowed to vote
  • Women could not have credit cards in their own name
  • Women could not legally terminate a pregnancy
  • Women could not attend certain Ivy League colleges
  • Women could not become an Astronaut
  • Women could not join the Army
  • Marital rape was ok
  • Sexual harassment at work was not illegal

In the Western world a lot has changed for women and we now have many equal rights to men. There are now lots of issues being highlighted across the rest of the world and feminists, are fighting hard to stand up for women.

Often I hear people using the term ‘feminist’ to make a woman feel like less of a woman. It will be used to try to put down her independence, her career or her relationship. It is a way of defeminizing a woman.

I asked the people around me what they thought. I asked men and women, some older, some younger, some gay, some straight, some single, some married. I asked two questions, the first was what feminism meant in everyday life, the second about what feminism meant in a relationship.

The general feedback about feminism in everyday life seems to always come down to the workplace. They believed that a woman should be paid the same as a man in the same role and that they should be able to apply for any job a man can.

One friend of mine is doing a college course in plastering and she has had a lot of negative response about doing so, particularly by males. Not in the sense that they are ridiculing her but in the sense that they can’t understand why she would do that being a woman. She has even had comments about doing a nice easy job instead, one where she can look nice instead of learning this trade. For her feminism is about being able to do whatever she wants to do regardless of gender and not being judged or believed to be unfeminine.

Nothing was really highlighted about political rights, medical rights or even really social rights – i.e credit cards. I like the idea that we have come so far as to not even recognise there was ever a difference in these now, although they should not be forgotten. It shows that everyone involved in fighting for these rights really accomplished something, so much so, that they are a natural way of life now in certain parts of the world.

The feedback I had about being a feminist in a relationship was a little more varied. However, it has been quite common that people view a feminist as typically a woman who will be challenging, difficult or stubborn. She will expect to be regarded the same as a man but with the man still paying on dates and pulling out a chair or opening doors. Perhaps it would be fair to say that there is a feeling of hypocrisy. She is also seen as somebody fighting against the entire male race and she is typically not feminine, I even had a friend describe it as unfortunate that a feminist is often thought of as ‘a woman with short hair, tom-boyish with unladylike mannerisms’. This is so true and often joked about socially. The stereotype is quite ironic – A feminist, is not feminine.

Some of my friend’s view feminism as being able to be respected and seen as strong and succesful in their careers, as much as a man would in the same role, and even though that is what THEY are, they don’t view themselves as feminists because they are a stay at home mum cooking dinner for their husband. I found this interesting.

I had one response that I found so important and so right that I was almost sad to see that it was neglected to be highlighted in every other response I received, it was in regards to feminism in a relationship – I quote:

‘It would also be about respecting each other’s bodies and not forcing the other person to do what they don’t feel comfortable doing. ‘

This is a great point because like I mentioned earlier, at one time marital rape was not considered a crime. Without feminism this would still continue to be acceptable. By regarding a woman as equal it means that she is equal sexually too and her body has to be respected. Something still not adhered to in many countries today. Sexual abuse and domestic violence are very serious and very damaging to a person. Can you imagine living in a world where this is deemed acceptable? Many people do and even those that don’t and still suffer it often don’t feel supported enough to come forward. This was just such an important point that is actually very much to do with feminism (whether or not you are for or against it) and yet it is forgotten far too easily, by myself included.

I started to question people a little bit more to find out whether or not you could be a feminist but still have a traditional relationship.

Once asked this question and given time to think, many of the people I spoke to actually agreed you could be a feminist and still have a traditional relationship. That there are in fact differences between men and women that need to be respected. That these differences don’t make one gender more important than the other.

I talk a lot about the roles of men and women and you hear me always support the idea of being a strong and independent woman. I do not believe men are better than women or vice versa (maybe I do take my own side occasionally, but come on, girl power and all)!

I was thinking about a young woman I met in Bali who was telling me that her husband forbid her to work so she couldn’t work. We knew each other well and I leant to her and said ‘Where I come from, I do what I want to do, no man can tell me what I can and can’t do’. She laughed because she knew I was telling the truth, but she also laughed because she didn’t believe she could ever get away with having the same attitude. It angered me that people could feel so controlled. That women believed they were lower than men. If I could teach every woman on this planet to stand together and unite and empower each other to understand their worth, I would. I would teach them that no man has the right to take from you, no man should be paid higher than you simply for being a man, no man can control your life.

I believe that a woman should be ambitious and not be defined by a man. She should be educated and follow her dreams. She should be self-sufficient. She should make her own money and have her own career. She should take herself out and spoil herself. She should love herself. She should have choice and control over her own life.

Doesn’t this make me a feminist?

Yet I believe that a man should be the head of the household. The protector, the provider (to a certain extent), the one to take out the rubbish, he should be respected by his kids and they should fear crossing him. I believe a woman should raise the children (however she so pleases of course – she can work or not work that is none of my business). I believe a woman should nurture and care for her man, she should take care of him by being a woman. The love of a woman is different to the love of a man. We both provide different things. Being equal does not mean we are the same. I believe a man should impress and court a woman and she should allow him to do so. I believe anything else emasculates or defeminizes either gender. This is not healthy and not in line with our animal instincts. For me I do not find the idea of carrying my groom over the threshold attractive, I expect him to open a door or pull out a chair. I expect him to be as much of a man to me as I will be a woman to him. That is still equal.

I believe that a traditional and feminist relationship is healthy. Feminism is not about attacking the entire male race. It is not about proving our physical strength to be the same. It is not about becoming a man, but knowing that by being a woman we are as strong and magnificent and powerful as any man could be, but in our own way. The way of a woman. Most men I know and have spoken to, agree with this.

How has the word feminist been changed to this stereotype that most people today believe it means? I myself have pictured this stereotype when hearing the word feminist. I do not now.

What do you think?

RUNNING MAN PART 2

I know right – him again. Well no story would ever be fun without some tales of lowering your standards so much so, that you actually prune the path that lets idiots walk back into your life. So at least I can provide some entertainment.

So I had been out with our banker guy and that had ended pretty badly. I had just gotten home after an extremely long bus journey. I was tired and had been missing The Running Man a little bit. I wasn’t upset though, I had actually found the evening funny. I knew it would always be a good story at the very least and I felt a sense of independence that I was proud of.  I had escaped an arsehole and his underground car park and then I had found my way home through the nighttime jungle of drunken party goers.

 

I had just tucked myself into bed when my work phone went off – It was the Running Man – I had blocked him from contacting me on my personal phone and had forgotten he had my work number too. He sent me several messages trying to get me to talk to him. He saw me go online, read them and then go offline. He didn’t stop messaging so I asked him what he wanted. He tried to apologise and say he missed me. I wasn’t having any of it though and eventually he called me. He was telling me how he had freaked out majorly and hadn’t felt this way about anybody before and he didn’t think he was good enough so he just ran and he felt so awful about it all. He said he opened up to his brother and even he had a go at him for the way he had treated me. He told me how he would be at work miserable, trying to think of things wrong with me so he wouldn’t think about me as much but he couldn’t find anything real enough. Now pride, he might be a schmuck but he isn’t doing too badly with these lines is he? He went on and on for about an hour telling me he just wanted one more chance. So I said to him ‘Running Man, you are giving me a whole bunch of reasons as to how amazing you think I am, however, I am not going to commend you for seeing what is in front of you, I want to know why on earth I should even consider giving you another chance. He went on to tell me he wanted to prove to me that he was good for me and that he could be the man I deserved. I blamed him for my bad date, I told him I had a date lined up on the Sunday too. I told him that I was so angry.

The annoying thing was that I could feel I was going to forgive him. I knew it. I should have not replied to any of those first messages but I had and here I was entertaining this conversation. There was no point in pretending otherwise. Besides, people deserve second chances right?

So we were back to seeing each other. He asked me if I was still planning to go on my Sunday date and I told him if he wanted me to cancel he better arrange something for us to do instead. He did. We had a nice day together and things were good again. I still panicked every time I didn’t hear back from him for a few hours, I was still waiting for things to go wrong and him to disappear, but he didn’t and things were good.

A couple of weeks passed and me and my little sister had decided to get away for a night. A real girly night away just the two of us and then the next night I was going to spend with the man in question. It had turned out to be a pretty bad day, he had to go into work for a pretty stressful meeting and was really worried and my cousin had phoned me to tell me my Uncle was in hospital and wasn’t going to be with us for much longer. The two of us had a nice conversation trying to lift each other’s spirits. I decided to still go away and make the most of our plans.

About an hour after we arrived at the hotel my cousin phoned and told me the sad news that my Uncle had passed away. It was a sad moment. Still I was glad to be with my sister and thankful for the support from our Running Man. I decided to see how his meeting was going and if he was out tell him what had happened.

I couldn’t see him on Whatsapp. I tried calling him, straight to voicemail. I picked up my sister’s phone and called him – ringing. He has done it again. What the hell?? WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL????? IS HE SERIOUS? It was all a bit much to take in the space of 20 minutes so I took a moment to breathe and compose myself. I blocked him on everything. Sent him a very angry message off of my sister’s phone and opened a bottle of wine. He was then spotted later on that evening back on POF, his photo, his details except with a different age and star-sign. Where do these crazies crawl out from? All I knew was that I was done giving him chances. He would never have a space in my head!

That is the thing with second chances. They shouldn’t be given out too easily. Do you think if you cross a Lioness you will get away with it even once? Most certainly not, there wouldn’t even be a second time. Bare this in mind when you are hearing the desperate plea of an undeserving male suitor!

A few more crazies to work through yet pride don’t worry…..!

DATING DO’S AND DONT’S PART 6

CONVERSATION

This, in theory, should be a topic that doesn’t need covering. However, it does need covering….very much so….for both genders.

Good conversation is essential for a date to be considered successful and although nerves can come in to play a bit it is really quite simple to avoid any awkward ‘mind-blanking’ silent moments.

It is also very obvious to avoid being vulgar or emotional…or so I thought. Apparently too many people are unaware of what shouldn’t be talked about on a first date.

So below are some of those beloved Do’s and Don’ts.

DO:

  • Ask questions – It is important to make an effort to get to know the person you are on a date with. Take an interest in who they are.
  • Listen – Do not interrupt (unless it is relevant to what they are talking about and cannot wait another two minutes). Listening is so important. Too often people try to simply compete with each other. It is not a fun conversation when it goes along the lines of ‘I did this’ ‘well I did this’ ‘and I like this’ ‘well I like this’. Each time you open your mouth remember it is not a chance to brag about what or who you are in comparison the other person. Enjoy listening.
  • Be honest about what you are looking for – you don’t have to inform someone that they need to marry you or show them the condom in your wallet, but, being open about what you are looking for ensures you are both on the same page and not wasting each other’s time.
  • Be genuine – you don’t need to act or be a certain way. Let someone get an idea of who the real you is.

DON’T:

  • Talk about sex – Learn someone’s boundaries before making possible inappropriate comments. It is important to show a lady you respect them and pushing through those boundaries too fast could be fatal. Likewise ladies, it is important to show a man you respect yourself.
  • Act like you are with your friends – Whilst it is important to be comfortable with someone you are considering as a partner it is important to consider that you are not ‘chilling with a friend’ you are in fact, on a date. A little charm goes along way as does a little grace and elegance. It is nice to have a joke and be able to have fun and relax but remember you are playing man and woman not Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Save that for your actual friend’s. Speak politely, keep your jokes clean and be kind. I actually have a friend who went on a date with a guy that spoke about his toilet activities for a good while. He didn’t pick up the disgust on her face or the confused and nervous laugh. He just carried on with the subject. I will let you guess whether or not she met up with him again. I have been on a date where the guy told me all about his recent first experience with LSD. I hadn’t once mentioned drugs or implied that I would find anything of the sort impressive. I was completely unimpressed by his story and my face clearly showed this but he went right on talking and laughing at himself. I have endless stories of shocking conversation topics from myself and my friends that still leave us jaw dropping-ly gobsmacked.
  • Put down the other person. The person sitting opposite you is exactly who you see. If you don’t like what they say or think then accept that they are not the person for you. Do not criticise the way they are simply because you are different. Accept it or move on. The amount of men that have thought they can manipulate me into changing who I am by belittling my principles and beliefs is astonishing….and guess what…..not one of them managed to succeed but they were all completely shocked that I didn’t want to see them again. The other side of this is that you can make someone feel bad about themselves and that is not on, no matter who you are.
  • Excuse behaviour that you won’t tolerate down the line – If you are spoken to in a way you do not like then make it clear. You cannot simply brush it off and then have a problem with it at a later date. Be clear on what is acceptable and unacceptable from the beginning.
  • Be too emotional or negative – Yes you want to meet someone you can eventually share everything with but you are not an open buffet. Save some personal problems for down the line – or try to resolve them before hand. Nobody wants to hear all about your debt, your horrible boss, your Ex’s, your health worries or your miserable outlook on life. Your personal problems are exactly that – personal. Unless it is a fun story or you gently touch on the subject because you have been asked, nobody wants to save someone from the victim river so wear your armbands and a rubber ring. That damsel in distress act is not to be confused with a Negative Nancy!

People are so different that you cannot put too many rules on conversation but you can follow some basic and courteous guidelines. Prepare some questions before you arrive and that way if conversation does run out a little bit you can try to spark it off again. I have included some nice easy questions you can use below:

  • Do you have brothers or sisters?
  • Have you always lived in the area?
  • What kind of films do you like?
  • Have you ever had any pets?
  • Have you travelled to many countries?

These are some easy questions that can spark off a whole new conversation with tons of sub topics.

In the meantime pride I would love to hear some of the most shocking things you have had to listen to…..