There are so many unemployed and underemployed men these days. For the first time ever, single women earn more than single men. What does this mean for dating? How are we men supposed to court women when we’re broke? What is a man without money or time to dote on his woman?
I know what you’re thinking. A man doesn’t have to spend a whole lot of money to take a woman out on a date. He doesn’t have to go to Fogo de Chao, he can go to Applebee’s. Then they can go for a walk. That sounds great for a couple, but for a man who just met a woman who may or may not even be interested, I think not. Further, what if the man has absolutely no money for Applebee’s? What if he works and studies seven days a week to stay afloat? This is more common than you might think—does it mean he can’t date?
Today’s young men are not accustomed to being broke when compared to women. Our fathers earned far more than our mothers and consistently bought them things they couldn’t buy on their own. That was the knight-in-shining-armor format. You rode in on a horse, and took her with you. The presumption is that she (a) doesn’t have a horse, and (b) she wasn’t going anywhere in the first place or wherever you were going was much better. What if it isn’t? What if riding off with you will lower her standard of living?
Today’s young women are not accustomed to being able to buy themselves more than what they get from their men. I’m not talking gold diggers here. Most women gauge a man’s interest by his spending of (a) money or (b) time. If the guy has no money, how can she see that he deserves a shot? If the guy has little free time because he is busy working so that he can someday have money, how can she still know that he cares for her? If the twenty-something woman has access to [older] men with more money, why would she go on a date to Applebee’s?
When I began my career as a single man, I struggled heavily with this. I still struggle with it because I know that until my generation’s women start having children, this issue will continue. It will only end if women stop pushing forward in their careers and their men continue. However, I worry that many young men will spend money on dating now at the expense of their future, when the women will need them to “provide” the most.
How do you define manhood in a time when men earn less than women? How do you determine romantic interest when a man has little money or time? I think we’re all due for a paradigm shift, don’t you?
—Photo credit: derekskey/Flickr