One of the things which strikes me when reading women’s accounts of dating is how completely unaware some of them are that they are a participant on a date and not just there to judge the man’s performance.
I’m sure many men do this too, but I think it is much more common for women to fall into for several reasons. First, men are the chasers. They are the ones expected to take the risk and ask women out. If you aren’t the one taking the risk, it could become easy to forget that it isn’t always as easy as it looks. Second, it is considered in bad form in our culture to point out bad manners in a woman. Mention this and you are practically begging to be shamed, and maybe scolded a bit for good measure. Expecting women to have good manners is just another way the patriarchy oppresses women after all. Moreover, we wouldn’t mind bad manners in women if we were better men. Real men don’t let little things like that bother them. Besides, you just attacked a woman! A helpless innocent victim who dispite her constant professions of girl power is so fragile she couldn’t possibly bear the pain of introspection you are suggesting she endure. Bad man! Bad, bad man! Speak no more of this.
I think this is at the heart of the controversy over my post yesterday. All was fun and games so long as the male dater was the one on the dock. Every action was analyzed and reanalyzed to score his performance. Dude, why did he fold under pressure like that? There is something positive for men in looking at the world this way. Demanding more of yourself means you will get better. It is the only way. Men need to not only know how to handle themselves around women who are polite, but also how to handle the situation when women are rude.
But only focusing on the failure of the man in the end isn’t fair to women. We treat them like children so often. And so often (some) women act that way.
Edit Sept 23: I’ve closed off comments on the Clueless Dater post. Comments are still open on this post but I ask that you avoid further discussion of Casey and her Beta date as a courtesy to Susan. Comments on the basic question of women (or men) seeing themselves as judges vs participants on a date are fair game, as are thoughts on the general issue of criticizing men vs women.