The Death of the Gentleman
I miss him. We cross paths every once in awhile, as he holds a door here or offers a seat there, but our time together is brief. And there is one area in which I miss him most: the dating scene. Today I mourn the death of the gentleman, and shake my head at the lady who killed him.
I had a conversation with a girlfriend once who was frustrated about an upcoming date. No, she was not trying to line up the perfect outfit. It was something much more elementary: her date had no idea where to take her.
Hint to men who have just approached a woman, secured the phone number and are now ready to make a move: a single woman has to think about every aspect of her life. She wants you to come on the scene and offer her a good time – without requiring that she be on the planning committee. We don’t mind giving you a general idea of our likes and dislikes, but we don’t want to hear silence on your end of the phone as you wait for us to tell you what, where, when, and how. I personally cannot bear the 30 minute conversation about what we’re going to do. It’s the same annoying conversation I have with my girlfriends. However, I understand why I have this long conversation with the girls because in that case setting the agenda is a shared responsibility. Guys, sorry to break it to you, but the agenda is your responsibility. Here’s why:
You asked her out (presumably, but we’ll get to that). The person who asks should plan. It’s that simple. If the man does not plan, the woman is wondering: ‘If I plan the whole date, who’s taking who out? Next thing I know we’ll be sitting in a restaurant staring at the check and wondering who’s going to pick it up.’
We don’t know your budget. Yes, we’re assuming that you’re paying. It is, after all, the first couple of dates. It will be uncomfortable for everyone involved if a woman suggests Ruth’s Chris and the man can only afford P.F. Chang’s. If the man takes control, he sets the tone and the price tag.
We have to plan our appearance. We know you have to plan yours as well, but your preparation does not compare to ours.
We want to know that you’re comfortable in the driver’s seat. The first few dates (and the course of the relationship in general) are a woman’s first glimpse of a man’s ability to take control. Men often say that women need to learn to submit, but I personally cannot in good conscience follow a man who has no idea how we can spend a few hours on a Saturday night.
I know this is harsh, but remember I’m only talking about the first couple of dates. Of course women don’t mind taking a more active role later after we’ve grown to like you, but many of us are just not impressed (or pressed) enough to do all the work in the beginning.
Perhaps men prefer not to take the lead because they worry that the woman will dislike their choice. This is possible, but if a woman likes a man, she’ll be happy just to be on his arm. And a ‘lady’ would never tell a man in a harsh way that she would have preferred Italian over Japanese. Like your mama said, if she does, she wasn’t the right one for you anyway.
Granted, good date planning is not the defining characteristic of a gentleman. It is, however, an area that I feel has suffered due to society’s decision to blur gender roles. Therefore, I am in mourning.
But while I don a black dress and shades, there are likely some women who disagree – and many men who have dated them. That’s why I said that I’m not only mourning the death of the gentleman, but also shaking my head at the woman who killed him. Read on as I paint you a picture of the slaying.
SheryLeigh is a woman who loves God, words, and people. She is currently living and loving as an author, blogger, poet, and spoken word artist in the Washington, D.C., area. A communicator by education and trade, SheryLeigh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Howard University and a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University.