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Gender roles continue to affect how we think about dating

Dating is about taking the lead

Should girls be afraid to ask out guys?

Well, I have to admit I’m a little biased by experience. I only got my current boyfriend after giving up on waiting for him to strike and asking him to grab lunch. I was the first to kiss him, too, although he likes to say he conned me into it.

When I asked him whether me asking him was too “weird,” he gave a slightly bewildered look and shrugged as if to say, “Why would it matter?” Other guys I’ve asked have ranged in response from indifference to eagerness – some said, “I wish they would!”

Asking someone out is a nerve-wracking process for every single person on the Earth. You’re risking your pride and facing the fear of rejection from someone you probably value highly. But I don’t see why the burden should fall entirely on the male gender. Having to wait until a girl clearly shows interest is a clear disadvantage to men, and having to wait for the man to ask is a clear disadvantage to women.

Men approaching women goes back to the days when marriages were decided by families and money rather than love. Women earned the right to propose beginning in Scotland in 1228. Even in Victorian times, a man had to first be introduced to a women to speak with her, and would give her a card to indicate his interest, all under the supervision of a chaperone. All if it indicated the influence of the family over the young woman’s virtue, while leaving the woman herself powerless to choose her own fate.

But now, women have control over nearly everything in their lives: their careers, their social circles and their virginities. Why should the matter of who to date or marry be put into a separate category? In an era where we are beginning to question the necessity of supposedly “chivalrous” activities, like forcing the man to pay, the practice of sitting and waiting for a Prince Charming seems extremely antiquated.

I hear too many women complain about how lonely they are or how they wish their crush would pick up on their signals. If I ask them why don’t they just ask that special someone out, they stammer something about it being “the guy’s role.” It sounds to me as though they are only hiding behind tradition as an excuse for being shy.

Another reason they give is the fear that they will come off too strong and will “creep the guy out.” Well, men have to worry about the exact same situation! Too many people of both genders mock the proposer if the subject of affection is not interested. That doesn’t mean the stress of worrying whether the woman will find them “creepy.”

I hope that any women reading this column don’t see it as a debate, but as directive. If you’re pining over that cutie in class or the nice-looking treasurer of your club, don’t wait – go get ‘em!

Erin Petenko is a School of Arts and Sciences junior double majoring in journalism and public health. She is the Associate News Editor of The Daily Targum.

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