Since the eruption of the online #metoo movement last year, and the continued outings of Hollywood big-wigs, many men have become so afraid of doing and saying the wrong things, that they have chosen to stop dating. Others wonder what they can do and not be accused of harassment.
As someone who coaches women, has always had close women friends and continues to listen and support them, I am here to answer the question: “How can men approach and date women in the current climate?”
The reality is, with just a little bit of understanding, you’ll do just fine, and the women you date will appreciate you.
If you have no idea what I am talking about, first let me offer up some historical context: The “me too” movement was started back around 2006 by Tarana Burke to raise awareness and support victims of sexual abuse and assault in coming out. In 2017, following the rape accusations against Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, actress and activist Alyssa Milano urged women to share their stories; the hashtag and the online movement followed.
Women and men began using “#metoo” and sharing their experiences across all social media platforms, ultimately resulting in #metoo being named Time Magazine’s 2017 “Person of the Year.” What followed was a steady flow of new accusers coming forward and outing perpetrators. And it has not stopped.
While I was personally moved by the unification and the courage of those who were sharing their stories, the reality was that most men were caught off-guard; having had little awareness of how common these occurrences were. There was an anger and a backlash directed mostly at men who, understandably, became defensive. With this seemingly impossible way to relate, what are men to do?
Understand and become aware.
Most women experience some version of harassment on a regular basis. And what’s more, they are used to not being believed when they report it. There is a very real fear for their lives that occurs very, very often. And whether you, as a man, believe it to be rational or not, it is real for them.
So, the first thing to understand is: Women are suspicious of men. They don’t know who the “good ones” are, and saying you are one of the good ones only brings about more suspicion. When you can bring this sensitivity to your approach, you will have a much better chance of connecting.
The next thing to understand and be aware of in regards to dating women is the level of bullshit they put up with regularly across all platforms. It isn’t just the cat-calls and invasiveness on the streets, but on social media as well. Strange men “sliding into their DMs,” friends and followers propositioning them, the barrage of genital photos (yes this is a real thing), all of this with the added layer of men becoming belligerent and hurtful if she doesn’t respond graciously, or even if she doesn’t respond at all, has severely tainted women’s views of men.
When you can approach politely, and graciously accept a “no,” this puts you in a whole other category: the category of “thank God, he gets it.”
The last thing I want to share is the importance of knowing the best time and place to approach a woman. This is why I like dating apps: Everyone knows why you’re there. When you already have the agreement of being in a place to meet and date people, there is an implied invitation to connect.
From there, you get to use the other awarenesses you now have to say “hello,” introduce yourself, say something nice and respectful, and be good with receiving either a “yes” or “no.” Whether she’s the one to say “yes” or not, leading with this type of energy will ensure much greater success in safely dating women.
It should go without saying, but to be fully responsible I will state that this willingness to hear “yes” or “no,” needs to exist everywhere for you; in meeting her, in dating her, and in all areas of your life, with everyone.
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