Societal norms on what are acceptable and cultural mores have changed dramatically through the years. Women working outside the home have added other responsibilities and the pressure of succeeding in their careers to their domestic duties. Since 70 per cent of women in Canada currently hold careers outside of the home, this shift has meant that men have had to adjust to their evolving role. We are breaking away from tradition of men being the breadwinner and the image of women as Stepford wives. With women being able to practically do everything a man can in today's society, what are men left with?
This is question is especially difficult to answer when we look at the generation of the Jersey Shore guido- urban, working-class Italian-Americans-who fist pump their way into women hearts. They spend hours doing their hair, use tanning booths, facial creams and obsess about fashion. Even traditional dating rules and expectations have changed for some men.
Let's be honest and put it out there that Vancouver houses a high percentage of beautiful men and women. But that doesn't mean the dating scene itself is beautiful. Consider the scenario of my friend Janine, who is active on the dating scene here in Vancouver. Janine is a young, serial dating marketing executive who is appalled at the change of roles men have come to adopt. Her most recent example of the sorry dating scene is a fellow named Rob, who gave off the appearance of being an attractive, well-dressed, charming fellow when she met him at a lounge during a night out with her girlfriends. Though his career in sales was not a matching point, he was "arrogantly charming" enough to keep her in the game.
On their first date, however, Rob was late to pick her up. Janine called him thinking that maybe traffic was bad. When Rob answered his phone, he said he was still busy doing his hair and that they should probably meet at the restaurant. Janine was annoyed but went to the restaurant. When Rob arrived 25 minutes later, he looked great and was so polite that Janine essentially let the previous lack of attention and previous treatment go unchallenged.
His politeness didn't last. During the date, Rob bragged about outings with his friends and even had other girls messaging him on the phone. He explained to her that he usually answers his texts at dinner but has kept it to a minimal for her. As the waitress sent the bill to the table at the end of the night, Rob pulled his credit card out to pay. Then the waitress asked Janine how she would like to pay for her share. Even though Janine was willing and able to pay for her share, she was surprised at Rob's lack of consideration; he didn't even consult her how they would settle the bill.
There is an increasing trend. Men are now holding women to the standards that women used to hold them to. Now more than ever, men are asking the question "what are you willing to offer and do for me?" After all, some men believe that if women are striving for equal rights they should pay for their own meals on dates and open the door themselves. Other men offer the explanation that actions such as opening doors for women oppresses them by signaling that they are incapable, and further perpetuates gender stereotypes.
It can be confusing when navigating exactly where men and women stand in relation to their partner's dating expectations. The message behind actions like opening the door for your date is subjective. Consider that it's one of consideration and kindness rather than oppression. If a woman feels oppressed by your actions, she will often let you know. As for who should pay the bill on the first date, it is better to err on the safe side and at least offer, or perhaps suggest alternating who pays on future dates.
More than ever, men are seeking women as financial partners within the household. And as people shift into the new mores of society, they will attempt to balance our old values with the new. In this transitional period, communication is key to finding out where your partner stands on the continuum and establishing a common ground. Plus, it takes the guessing game out of finding out your partner's expectations.
As for Janine, she continued to date Rob for a while, but soon realized that she was able to give herself everything Rob could and more. She ended the relationship after six months. After Rob's high maintenance, she found she had a new respect for a man's man. After all, there can only be one woman in the relationship and she was not willing to share that title.
Amy Yew is a researcher and therapist. Tell us what you think and submit any questions you have to email@example.com. You can also tweet your thoughts on Twitter @AmyYew.