I am a feminist.
Personally, I think anyone—man or woman—with a brain should be a self-proclaimed feminist. WTF?! isn’t exactly the forum for ranting about human trafficking or maternal health, so I’ll rattle off a few reasons closer to homepage: If a guy has any sort of performance issues, it’s worthy of medical attention and ads on the subway, but if a woman can’t orgasm during sex, well, she’s just a woman. Or, the age-old question: Why are men who sleep around pimps, but women who sleep around sluts? And why is “pimp” positive, but “slut” negative?
But despite my confidence in feminism, it is this same outlook that has given me trouble in the World of Dating. After all, how can I demand that men treat me as their equal counterpart, but simultaneously hope for preferential treatment on dates?
And so, at least for 4+ years in New York, I eschewed romance. Or rather, I accepted its absence with a smile and successfully convinced myself that I didn’t care. Sure, we can meet in Hell’s Kitchen and walk till we find a place. No need for you to plan anything. Sure, we can split the bill. I’m an independent, working woman. Sure, you can text, gchat, Facebook message, or email me. I don’t need to hear the sound of your voice.
I was ashamed to admit—even to myself—that I cared. Why should these small things matter in the face of far more important issues, such as, say, intelligence? Can you make me laugh till it hurts? Do I want to tear your clothes off? Will you challenge me? Entertain me? Call me out on my shit? Do you like travelling to foreign countries, eating unidentifiable food items, and sleeping in hammocks? In a recent development, do you own a motorcycle?
I digress. It turns out the small things do matter. And I do care.
That’s right, I am not afraid to admit it anymore: I am craving a little romance.
I’m not talking about breaking the bank here. The most expensive date I’ve ever been on was also the, well, douchiest. (Though yes, I am disappointed when you don’t pay on at least the first date. I can’t help it!) Nor am I talking about traditional, meaningless gifts or extravagant gestures. If you show up with anything heart-shaped, I will vomit on you. Similarly, like all good New Yorkers, if I you show up on my fire escape, I will stab you in the face with a fork.
But would it kill you to make a reservation once in awhile? To take into account our wide array of interests and put some thought into our plans? And yes, show up at my door once in a blue moon with flowers? (And not just when you’ve already screwed up?) I’ve heard men and women alike complain that the problem is New York, with its limitless options and single-mindedly career-focused residents. But really, people, with New York’s limitless (and often free) options, it would take less here than possibly anywhere else in the world to plan an amazing, affordable date. (Anyway, stereotypes of millions of people don’t generally hold.)
Example of some of the above ranting: A friend of mine (let’s say, hypothetically speaking, of course, that she’s a writer for this blog and encouraged me to write this post) told me that one of the best dates she’s even been on occurred after revealing on the first date how much she loved hot chocolate. For the second date, he planned a hot chocolate tour. Expensive? No. Thoughtful? Incredibly.
And let’s face it: romance has its benefits. First of all, I hear it’s awesome. Second, my brief encounters with it were pretty sweet (pun intended). Third, it’s far easier for us to forgive you for doing something stupid if you did something thoughtful the week before.
So why do so many men and women tell me romance is dead?
The blame doesn’t fall entirely with men and, for the record, I’m sure there are plenty of reasonably romantic men even on the island of Manhattan, though I haven’t met them yet. I suppose we women who have accepted the status quo are responsible as well. Moreover, though my list of ex-boyfriends is pretty short, more than one complained that I went further out of my way for my friends than for him and, similarly, of not feeling needed in my life. Have I fallen prey to my own feminist tendencies and striven for independence at the expense of romance?
Or is feminism + romance simply a double standard that we shouldn’t expect?
What do you think, WTF readers? Is feminism to blame? Men? Women? Is it New York? Is dating better in other, less populated cities? Is it just me?
Alli is an actress, vlogress, and works part-time for a cause-marketing consultancy group. Her views are entirely, unabashedly, her own. Check out her own forays online with her partner, Jen, at https://whyareyouonmytrain.com.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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