There are many different personal beliefs and cultural customs that surround dating. I find myself questioning those double standards after witnessing several dating encounters. How often have we heard “Women should do this.” or “A good man should do that?” Where do these notions come from? Are these ideas set in stone or from the Stone Age?
The tradition of a man paying for everything is an old fashioned dating “law.” I’m calling for an amendment. Any woman would take offense to “you need to cook and clean,” so how can we tell suitors prior to a first date “you need to pay for everything on the date.” If a guy wants to pay for you and you agree to it then, by all means, enjoy a complimentary meal with a cutie but if you continue seeing this person, it might be nice to give what you take. If times are rough financially, offer to cook a meal instead, so that your date doesn’t feel obligated to pay for every tab when you go out. Most twenty-year-olds, of any gender, cannot afford to put up the bill for all meals. All your dating habits may be creating a high stress level to continue seeing you.
Another old fashioned “law” is the incredible importance we place on someone’s sexual partner “number.” The old belief is very slut shaming towards women who have loved a few times. For example, Marilyn Monroe, is often referred to as a whore who was with multiple men. I have yet to see an article written about JFK calling him a “whore” for cheating on his wife during that time. Somewhere in history, men created the idea that a penis can literally change a woman. If I had 1 partner or 100, I am still the same woman. As I grow older and wiser, I have noticed that men that often ask about my sex history were the ones with volumes of sexual partners themselves. If someone is STD free but may have had a long list of sexy times in their past… who cares? Maybe you’re their “one” soulmate or their November boo, but holding someone accountable for their past lovers is irrational.
The next outdated law is only giving the time of day to a pretty face or set image of what you’re trying to pursue. I’m 5 foot 9, and I often feel a subconscious sense of grief when a guy says that he shorter than me. Of course, I would be offended if someone used my size as a reason to not see me. Are height and size the most important factor for looking for a suitable suitor? Not at all. Maybe this image of how our perfect soul mate will look is something all genders need to reevaluate. We all probably have wanted a partner who dresses the style we are most attracted to and may avoid someone who doesn’t fit this mold. I encourage you to go on a date with someone you wouldn’t have previously considered. Live a little!
Age is a stale double standard often used to insult women. If a woman is single and over 30, she wouldn’t be able to find a date, but a man over 30 is “livin’ the bachelor life” and an admired stud. If a woman dates younger, she is flawed. While middle aged men are praised for having “hottie-tottie” 20-something significant others. When men talk about whether a young girl is or isn’t over 18, they’re not worried about statutory rape or the endangerment of a child; they’re worried about themselves getting arrested. I have often seen the comparisons of ages of Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey and their partners in the headlines but very rarely about the male celebrities. If you’re looking for a highly contrasted example, look at Hulk Hogan and his ex-Wife Linda. He’s dating someone 20 years his junior, and “it’s really great,” while Linda’s relationship with a younger man was mocked constantly, with lines like “Beyond their matching hairdos, it’s hard to see what the pair has in common. And aside for a penchant for dating older women, little else is known about Charlie Hill.” One can look up several TV specials about female cougars; we love looking into their “bizzar-o” worlds. But it’s not often we see a special about the crazy lives of a sugar-daddy, unless it’s focused on the younger, “spoiled” woman who is “exploiting” him.
Traditions like dating older men to achieve stability and security in society has been ingrained in our culture and customs. Which brings me to my last grievance: financial status. Women who claim that they want their partner to make more than them as a mandatory trait for a significant other support this double standard. We cannot proclaim we want equal rights but then hold men to some accountability to be more financially successful than us. You are putting your own gender down by saying that men have must have superiority to make more money than you. I don’t want my siginicant other to be successful or rich because I expect them to or because I need the financial help. It should be their own will and from their own motivation. The same goes for me; I will be successful because I want to be successful. Furthermore, I’ll date successful people because it will mean we have something in common. Thank you, Bey and Jay for being a great example of a power couple.
There isn’t any shame on people who decide to make their significant other pay for every date, or a stay at home mom who likes to cook and clean. It’s only important that we understand what implications these double standards have, and whether we are choosing to follow them or letting society choose for us.