One of my dating resolutions this year was to declare a moratorium on going to singles events. Friday night, I was reminded of the many reasons why.
A good friend of mine asked me to join her at a 40+ singles mixer. As she hadn’t been to one in a while, I gladly obliged, telling myself I was going strictly to be a supportive friend. Of course, despite my prior experience with these things, a small part of myself couldn’t help thinking—maybe this one will be different.
The venue (Pranna in NYC’s Flatiron District) and price point ($20) were both great. The crowd that turned up?
Not so much.
Simply put, the event was a perfect microcosm of what makes dating in New York so frustrating. Women far outnumbered the men. We were also the ones who were obviously expected to do the heavy lifting.
Over and over again, I watched women approach men as said men either stood idly by waiting for that to happen or looked down at their phones. Though everyone received a list of mostly odd icebreaker questions (“have you ever cried in a movie theater?”), it was only the women in attendance fast and furiously working the room with it.
My friend wryly observed that the entire scene felt like a repeat of awkward high school dances. I said this was decidedly worse. At least in high school, guys eventually stepped up to the plate and took some initiative. Yes, I know times have changed, women feel empowered to make the first move and are more independently minded, etc. etc. But I can’t help wondering, at what cost? Has all of this progress come at the expense of good old fashioned romance?
As Savvy Auntie Founder Melanie Notkin writes in her fantastic memoir Otherhood, men mistakenly assume that our more equal footing in the workplace means we’ve somehow lost our femininity when it comes to dating and relationships. News flash—we haven’t. We still want you to plan a first date (maybe even a second one too). We still need to be courted (instead of being asked from day one, ‘what do you want to do tonight?’). None of the rewritten rules have changed any of that.
As for singles mixers like the one I just went to, I have another pet peeve: no free cocktails. Considering how much work it takes to mingle these days, $20 should at the very least cover a shot of liquid courage.