Dating: Men, women, Fred & Ginger

Thirteen months ago now I embarked on a journey of self-discovery marked by an abstinence from sex and dating due to all the failed relationships I had endured and survived. Wanting to go into my next relationship with a little lighter baggage I decided to spend the last year gaining some self-awareness and trying to figure out where I’ve gone wrong when it comes to romantic entanglements.

The fact that I’d refer to relationships with a metaphor of conflict gives you an idea of my experience. Relationship to me always equalled drama and pain and I am now ready for a relationship that equates with peace and comfort and maybe a touch of growth and understanding. The most potent piece of information I’ve gained on my travels is something that I already felt in my heart and soul, but that “society” (family, friends, books, gurus, television hosts) had all but convinced me was wrong. Intuitively I had the sense that as a woman I was different from a man. I wanted different things, I felt differently, reacted differently, wanted a different role in the relationship. But society kept telling me that was WRONG.

Men and women are equal, they said.

Men and women are the SAME, they said.

Men and women want exactly the same things, they said.

I tried to believe them, I really did, but something inside me always rebelled. When I tried to behave like a man, my body and soul complained and I didn’t feel like myself. It felt wrong to ask a man out. It felt wrong to pursue a man, to call him before he called me, to compete with a man. But I was told that those were all things I should want and that in order to be successful in work, life and love, I would have to learn to do those things. Man was the standard and we were all to adhere to that standard, regardless of how we were born.

Obviously, by my history of failed relationships and that of the majority of the free world, we can see this model of “equality” is not working. Women have no respect for their men and why should they? We give birth to the children, then have to go out and make money to support them, and discipline them as well…what’s to respect? But if men do try to take their rightful place and “be the man” they are challenged by the woman who has been trained to believe that she should be the boss as well. But you can’t have two bosses.

It’s a relief to me to know that it’s OK to be a woman, that there are men who want to be men. I’m a former dancer so I can draw an analogy here in those terms. When a couple dances, the man leads. No self-respecting female dancer will ask, “Why does the man always lead? Why can’t I lead?” Or refuse to follow her partner’s lead. She knows if she does that the dance will fall apart. Is there anyone who will say Ginger Rogers isn’t as valuable as Fred Astaire?

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