Dating Whoa!

Courting, Dating, Romance — what do guys complain about? What do gals have to say? We cover the gamut from first date to true love with some tips from the experts.
Text by Francesca Cruz | June 19, 2018 | Lifestyle

Gone are the days when courting consisted of dropping a perfumed handkerchief and watching coyly as your proposed paramour returned it to you on bended knee. And who doesn’t recall the tales of chivalrous knights rescuing the docile doncella from peril? Well, these narratives are worlds ago, as archaic as the dinosaurs.
It all started as the feminist movement took hold and women rolled up their sleeves and entered the workforce — finding the need to dash their delicate feminine disposition in order to tap into their masculine side to even the playing field. For women, this is when the shift from gatherer into the more masculine role of hunter came into play. In other words, as the dynamics in the workplace shifted, so did our dating rituals. Women no longer felt the need to wait to be courted — they became the courters as well, creating a bit of a catch-22 predicament at times in the dating world.
While researching this article on dating with attraction specialists and relationship experts, there were recurring themes on both ends of the male and female spectrum to address. For Team Male it was a loss of femininity in women and the overwhelming pressure placed on men to commit while still in the dating faze. For Team Female, their main cavil was the emergence of The Pick-Up Artist Movement and all that entails.
We forget that men are instinctively hunters. That’s how they’re wired. It goes back to Neanderthal Times, and while they enjoy being captivated, that’s a far cry from captured. What’s more, female roles are not supposed to be that of the cavewoman clubbing the guy and dragging him away; although some women still haven’t gotten the memo. Yes, Miss Thing you wear your CEO hat well, but it can still be in a sexy shade of demure pink.
Dating Expert, Author & Social Media Whiz Marie Forleo puts it into prospective: “Women have forgotten that their power lies not in competing with, or trying to be like men but in embracing their natural and womanly strengths of compassion, enchantment, tenderness, softness and vulnerability.” To this notion Steve Santagati, a self-proclaimed bad boy who wrote The Manual: A True Bad Boy Explains How Men Think, Date & Mate — And What Women Can Do To Come Out On Top, adds that times are a changin’. “Women don’t need men for basic survival anymore, and men know it,” he says. “But men want to be needed, not just wanted.” Part of the attraction that takes place between a man and a woman is that they’re in fact complete opposites. It’s a game of chess of sorts between opposing energies with the intent of coming together…not to merge, but to become two separate parts of a unit.
Elizabeth Egan Everett, Attraction Specialist & Life Coach puts it beautifully. “The Native Americans have a concept called shadow dancing. They say that when people enter into a relationship, they enter into a special dance with each other,” she says. “This dance, they believe, lasts as long as it should — days, months or a lifetime. It’s a dynamic, fluid process and not as a fixed thing the way so many of us view it from our indoctrinations.”
And like a dance, things must flow always in sync. Ladies, if you’re thinking tango, and he’s up for hip-hop, there’s going to be a lot of unnecessary pushing, shoving and toe-stepping. Nobody should have to be forced or bullied into a dance. With that in mind, we must consider that as evolution would have it, the female body only has a limited amount of time to breed. The female brain is wired to find the healthiest male and multiply. Conversely, for men, it’s more about spreading their seed in as many places as possible. This is why most women, in place of being in the moment and enjoying the natural progression of events, unconsciously feel pressured to get the show on the road.
So what’s the remedy? Ignore that nagging voice. Both men and women need to understand that they are whole and complete already. Falling in love is about embellishing our lives and not finding a person to be the perfect fit, as if a piece of us were missing. With so many forms of communication and the advancement of technology, there are endless options out there. As bad-boy Santagati puts it: “Consider each and every situation by its own rule of gravity,” he says. “In other words, the heavier you feel the situation might be, the slower you should go.” Forleo adds that we should all live each day with enthusiasm. “Don’t wait for someone,” she says. “Instead, be someone. Know you are irresistible.”
And what these newly irresistible women seem to be scoffing the most about in the dating scene is the emergence of PUAs (Pick-Up Artists). This is a once underground, now very much mainstream, cult-like movement that has produced an industry of men and some women geared toward learning attraction and seduction techniques derived from social psychology, and at it’s worse, manipulation.
When asked if the Pick-Up Artist Method has helped or hindered the dating scene, Elizabeth Egan Everett says it depends on the user. “It’s a learned skillset, and can truly assist all parties involved, but it can equally be used by the emotionally immature to cause irreparable damage,” she says. “If not used wisely, it can become a cover-up crutch, making a guy who normally would have a chance with a woman come off extremely manipulative and creepy.” Alisa Ruby Bash Haro, a leading Marriage & Family Therapist seconds that notion: “Whenever something starts out on false pretences, it’s difficult to become emotionally intimate and honest later,” she says.
In summation, most experts — and daters — agree that the dating scene has evolved to be more about a vast global community and less about unrealistic fairytale endings. The dreams of marriages and baby carriages are steadily giving way to other alternatives. With so many options, one doesn’t necessarily need to settle. Take the time to know yourself before you get to know someone else. To genuinely experience all the wonder, glory, adventure and ecstasy of true love, we’ve got to be fully in the moment, relinquish the idea of control, and must be willing to let go of the idea that love is guaranteed. And therewith lies the magic.