Who makes a better date: men or women?
(published Cosmo, Sept 2012)
After a decade of dating both, Georgia Clark gives us her verdict on the ultimate battle of the sexes
Last week, I went on two first dates. One of these dates took place in a fun Cuban restaurant, with a beautiful bunch of flowers to boot; the other ended with me faking a recent family tragedy in order to get the hell out of there. So far, so standard. But in my case, one was a woman, and the other was a man. After 10-plus years of dating everyone from comedians to childcare workers of [i]both[i] genders, it got me wondering: is it men or women who are better at the whole dating game?
Round One: Confidence
First things first, I faked family tragedy because my male date told me “the gays in this town have gone too far”. Even if I wasn’t a half-gay girl, that’s kind of a dealbreaker. The flowers and dinner were bought for me by an impossibly sexy Russian girl who looked so much like Natalie Portman I was having trouble thinking anything except: “Natalie Portman. She looks like Natalie Portman. I am on a date with a girl who looks like Natalie freakin’ Portman.” The whole date was a delight, but at the end of the night, did she try to kiss me? Nope. What about after our romantic, low-key lunch yesterday? Nu-uh. And she’s pretty typical of the women I’ve dated – women who might be confident and self-assured, but who go coy when it comes to The Kiss. I love dating women, but with them, I usually have to take the reins. Guys, on the other hand, seem to be born with an innate sense of self-confidence. This can, of course, be attractive and charming – power is sexy. But it also means guys are not as good as reading “not in this lifetime” social cues. I once met up with a guy who made Nicki Minaj look painfully tongue-tied. Despite my clear disinterest/horror at the insane monologue he was passing off as conversation, he still tried to give me a ride home on his motorcycle and invited me to go salsa dancing with him the next day. While I never spoke to him again, I had to hand it to him, dude had confidence.
Round Two: Manners
Speaking of monologues as conversations, that brings me to good old-fashioned manners. By this I mean paying for the bevvies, plus the ability to give and take in conversation, and common courtesy. I don’t expect every date to pay for me, but I do expect that if I’m asked on a date, that the askee buy the first round without blinking. But I’m finding on most dates that originate from an online meeting, guys aren’t forking out [i]even if they asked me out[i]. Whether you call it dating fatigue or a misguided attempt at feminism, I call it a general lack of manners. The unspoken assumption with girls is to go dutch, but generally I pay if I want to sleep with them (I know, I’m like a dude!). And, of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. My adorable ex-girlfriend Amanda loved paying for everything on every date, as did Nathan, the guy I dated after Amanda and I broke up (they both clearly enjoyed treating me). But when it comes to general courtesy in conversation, women win this one hands down. Women understand dates are a conversation – they ebb and flow. Men of the world take note: if I wanted to see your one-man show, I’d buy a ticket. [i]I do not want to see your one-man show[i]. I want you to stop talking about yourself and let me talk about myself.
Round Three: Sex
In my experience, most men would have sex at a funeral if given the chance. But, while I’d say men are better at initiating sex, I find the build-up with women more exciting, because it’s less of a sure thing. I could put money on the fact a guy will accept an invitation to come inside (my apartment, you guys, come on), whereas I really don’t know if a girl will say yes, making the whole thing more thrilling. I was going to say men are better at treating sex like a normal part of dating, as opposed to “a big step” that only happens once you’re in love. But when I think about it, most women these days are pretty cool with sex, too. How about foreplay and the old clichés? Well, I’m here to tell you it’s all true: while both men and women are aboard the foreplay train, guys seem to get off a couple of stops early once you start sleeping with them in earnest. I’m sort of sleeping with a (male) ex at the moment and even though you’d think he’d want to wring every second of forbidden skintime out, it’s still pants off in under a minute.
Round Four: Enthusiasm
Enthusiasm should never be underestimated as a key tenet of a good date. You’re a catch, and you’d like your partner-in-crime to visibly and verbally confirm it. Generally speaking, women are enthusiastic, because there are fewer women to date, but they’re not about to drag me into the disabled toilets and commit ungodly acts. Like I said before, men like sex. Any time. But when it comes down to it, enthusiasm is generally linked to how much you like each other, which has more to do with personality than gender.
Round Five: Follow-up
Like enthusiasm, that all-important follow-up is directly related to how interested you are, and for that reason this round is gender-blind. Intention trumps manners: I never get a follow-up text or call from someone who doesn’t want to see me again but who thinks it’s the right thing to do. Both genders will simply disappear if they’re not interested, but both will reach out directly if they do. An interested girl is just as likely to suggest a second date as an interested guy. To be honest, I think both genders could do better with the nature and speed of follow-up.
Looking back on my decade of dating, it’s clear that if we were playing a numbers game, women would come out on top (so to speak). But you can’t quantify chemistry, that elusive fizz that can make even the most compatible date a disastrous partner. Whether they’ve got a penis or not, finding someone who’s just that into you is a matter of trying your luck – and gaining a few funny stories along the way.