Think men have an easier time in the dating game? Lucy Cavendish indulges is a bit of myth-busting and offers some crucial dating advice for men.
You might be surprised at this question. You might think of course dating is easier for men – why wouldn’t it be? Yes that is not necessarily true. As much as dating feels completely different now for women, it does too for men. Like the rest of us, when they were last in it, people probably met through friends or at work. Now dating is something that is done worldwide. The internet has opened up a myriad of possibilities yet us 45-plus generation are relatively new to all this.
The truth behind a dating myth
Men are just as nervous as women about what the rules are. Meeting a stranger on the internet can be a pretty scary prospect and for men – traditionally the ‘chasers’ it is even more daunting than it is for women. They imagine pitfalls – rejection, humiliation, reading the signals incorrectly – the same as the rest of us. Dating is not easy – it is usually something that is real and significant. Some of us find it harder than others. I have a male friend, aged 51, who is ‘dating’ a woman who lives in Haiti. ‘We’re very happy,’ he says defensively.
Conversely, part of the problem with dating these days is that it’s too easy to do. There are endless online dating websites, speed dating events, sex dating sites, foreign friends, forever friends…it really is an endless world of opportunities yet many male friends of mine seem to never actually meet up with anyone. They just spend hours chatting away online having cyber relationships.
My friend Mitchell, who has been on dating websites for the past five years, says, ‘the problem is, it’s so easy to meet people online you almost never go beyond that.’ He likens it to being in a sweetie shop where he can browse and feel tempted but never actually have to pick anything.
Too much choice?
‘There’s so much to choose from! So what happens is, you’re never sure if there’s a better or more shapely bon bon waiting for you around the corner. I spend so much time logging on to dating sites and contacting potential dates, I never actually go on any.’
For me, the idea of dating is to have some fun but it’s taken me a while to realise this. In the past, I always thought if you dated someone you had to go out with them. Now the world of dating probably reflects the rest of our world – it’s pretty laid-back, free and easy, let’s-meet-up-and-see.
‘Women always think it’s easier for men to meet people,’ says Daniel. ‘But that’s not true. Many of us are discerning and we find it as nerve-wracking as you do!’
He says that, since he has been dating, he’s had to build up a thicker skin. ‘Now I am older and wiser, I have finally come to see that people’s actions are not actually about me but more about them. If someone doesn’t ring me back, I just assume they are busy. If they cancel a date, I don’t think it’s because of me. I assume it’s about the problems they are experiencing in their own lives. This means I can be free of the endless guilt, pain and paranoia most divorcees go through.’
5 dating tips for men
So given Daniel’s experience, what dating tips for men can Lucy offer?
1) Find women interesting – everyone has at least one thing about them that’s interesting. Focus on that and on them and see how they respond. It’s a start…
2) Smile a lot, it really helps. Everyone likes someone who smiles
3) Hang out with people who like you for you – get to know your female friends again and ask them for advice.
4) Get a bit selfish – do what YOU want to do not what other expect of you
5) Enjoy your life – oh and never make a move on the first date EVER (even if she does!)
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About Lucy Cavendish
Lucy Cavendish is a successful journalist and mother of four living in Oxfordshire. She writes for the Times, the Guardian, and the Daily Mail.