Why do I not respond politely to every message, even the ones I’m not interested in? Once we make it out of the safe cocoon of the Internet and into the real world I’m better about aligning my actions with my values.Why do I alternate between playing the damsel and the playing the demanding entitled a**hole? Out here, at a bar or restaurant, I work really hard to make sure that you know we are equals participating in a traditionally unequal transaction.You don’t order my wine and we split the check because we are peers. I have a job, you have a job, we’re all on a budget, and I did eat most of the sweet potato fries!Down the line, we can trade off and treat each other and enjoy the security in knowing there will be a “next time,” but for now, we both walked blindly into the same bar, so let’s walk out having equally invested in the last hour.You will try to split it, but he will pay, and you will stand to re-wrap yourself against the frigid wind.You will part ways, and you will probably, almost certainly, begin again the next day with another “Hey there…” message from the next contender.This is not the behavior I would expect of a feminist, sex-positive 21st century lady. Why would I put myself through the rollercoaster of the drafting, the editing, the sending, the waiting, the hoping, the checking, and the sighing in disappointment when the fact of my gender (and let’s be real; that’s really all it is) means the attention comes to me?
I write about gender on the Internet for crying out loud!She will offer to split, but you think she doesn’t mean it and you don’t want to be a jerk.You will march home to an empty inbox and the desire to spend another hour browsing and writing will start to fade.With those, you will send a few messages back and forth before he invites you for a drink.You will put on some mascara, plunge out into the snow, meet a stranger, and after an hour of slightly stilted conversation, he will grab the check.Why can’t I apply this “equal investment” attitude to the getting of dates and not just the paying for dates?