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20 Something: Holding out for a Hero (will settle for a gentleman)

I like to envision myself as a forward-thinking young woman. I believe that women can do anything that men can do. I believe that I don’t have to be (or even have to desire to be) a mother to be feminine. I think that most gender-stereotypes are nonsense and that people should generally do what makes them happy without hurting others. Whatever that thing may be.

But there is one thing that I find myself being a bit of a traditionalist on: Dating. I have fully and completely given up on online dating (which to be honest, I was never particularly serious about it anyway, but now I’m done for good.) As with anyone, I’ve had minor success and abject failure. Oh, the horror stories and uncomfortable encounters I could tell thee of. Oh wait, I did some of that here.

Anyway, I gave up on it because there is an insidious new practice that seems to be perfectly acceptable for some reason that I have yet to fathom: Netflix and chill.

And even leaving out the “chill” part to where Netflix (or DVDs or what have you) is genuinely being watched, seriously wtf, mate?

There’s nothing impressive about that. And let’s face it, dating (at least in the beginning) is all about trying to impress the other person. And before any gents get their boxers bent over that statement, it does go both ways.

I want some traditional things like being asked out by a guy to actually go partake of some activity. It could be dinner, bowling, pool, the zoo, rock climbing, a playground, wine tasting, etc. ad infinitum.

I don’t even care if he pays or if we split it. I’m a (predominantly) self-sufficient woman, so I can pay for myself. Would I be impressed if he paid or offered to pay? Of course, I would. But it isn’t the only way to impress me.


In fact, here are a few (really common sense) ways to go about it:

1. Ask Me Out On a Real Date

I’ve really already been talking about this, but it bears repeating. Don’t just suggest that I come over and watch a movie. No, no, no. That’s something I do with my friends, not something I do with a prospective significant other. It doesn’t even have to be a particularly creative date idea. At this point, a real date in itself would be a novelty. And novelties are impressive.

2. Dress Nicely

You know how there are tons of jokes about how long it takes women to get ready to go out? That’s because nobody just wakes up like that. It requires make up, hair products, and some minor obsession over the best outfit for the outing. Guys at least are spared one of the three, and if the guy is one of those wonderfully attractive bald boys, he’s spared two of the three. But it’s still nice to see someone putting a little attention into their appearance when stepping out together. This doesn’t have to be a three-piece suit, which in many situations would actually be awkward, just wear something appropriate to the location that isn’t channeling Raggedy Andy. Pro tip: Lose the gym shorts unless we’re rock climbing.

3. Have Hobbies and Interests

This is a biggie. “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,” as the Bard said (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, for the curious) and while I’m sure this is not true for everyone, it’s very true for me. A pretty (read: ruggedly handsome) face is nice, but I need some mental stimulation to take this thing to a second date. I try to be an interesting person. I have a wide range of interests (anime, cooking, sci-fi) and I do some very cool things (knitting, yoga, writing). To me, it is weird if someone doesn’t have a hobby. It’s boring. And for a long time, I didn’t believe it was possible to live like that. I have since been proven wrong on multiple occasions. It’s fine to like going to bars and hanging out with your friends; it’s not fine to like only doing that.

4. Listen

If you want people to like you, you have to remember things about them. The only way to do that is to listen to the things they say to you. Don’t just let them ramble while waiting for your turn to speak. Be engaged in the conversation. Even if you don’t feel a connection to the person use it as good practice for when you meet someone that you do connect with. Empathy and understanding are important, but so is not making me repeat myself. If I have to reiterate the same bite of information three times, clearly I’m just a piece of wall art intended to listen to your boring stories and over-sharing. Which brings me to the next point:

5. Don’t Tell Me Everything

I once met a guy for coffee, and while the location he chose was great, everything else about the evening sucked. For one thing, he was really late getting there. But really the worst part was that he didn’t follow the advice in #4, so I kept answering the same questions, and his conversation topics were… weird. Exhibit A) I did not need to know about his kidney stone problem, and certainly didn’t need to know that having coffee with me was going to cause a flair up of said problem. Leave a little mystery.

6. Respect My Personal Space

I have a bubble. Everyone has a bubble, but some are bigger than others, and mine has a decent diameter. Don’t put me in the awkward position of telling you that I don’t like being touched. Just don’t touch me. I strongly believe that when both parties are feeling it, the cue for physical contact will be clear. And especially on a first date don’t make a move. Seriously, take some time to get to know me as a person. I’m respecting you in that way. Return the favor.

Obviously I’m going to be doing these things trying to impress YOU, so can I get a little reciprocation?

This list is far from exhaustive, and I know it’s extremely general, but just take it with the guide mentality it’s given with and let your imagination go wild on how to take it further.

The thing that really drives me crazy is that this list feels like common sense. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m clinging to the past and a traditionalist view is no way to meet people these days. It’s possible that my insistence on being wooed rather than bored will mean that I remain single for the rest of my days. I guess it’s a good thing I like being single.

And because hopefully my title has Bonnie Tyler stuck in your head and the Avengers are bomb: Here’s a video.

8 thoughts on “20 Something: Holding out for a Hero (will settle for a gentleman)

    • jenovotony says:

      It still surprises me every I meet someone who doesn’t seem to do anything interesting. I usually try to give them the benefit of the doubt that when they say something generic (like “I like movies”) that maybe they are just bad at expressing themselves, but it’s hard to hold a conversation with someone like that.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. sportsattitudes says:

    As someone who has been married for 32 years I found your post on dating to be so thoughtful and intelligent. If life is indeed about managing change that doesn’t exclude things circling back around again and realizing some tried and true ways should not be abandoned. I hope younger generation guys get with the program and realize what has been lost due to technology, the economy, the pace of life…whatever forces that have all conspired to make what you propose not in vogue right now among men younger than myself. It should be a standard checklist for any man asking a woman out. Your list is common sense. It worked quite well back in the day. I see and hear your frustration because I see a lot of men younger than I not “getting it.” Common courtesy…respect…and courtship. Here’s hoping for its return.


    • jenovotony says:

      Thank you for reading! And I definitely think that the pace of life has a negative impact on the dating culture. I didn’t really touch on it here, but I think that courtship has also gone by the wayside because everyone wants instant gratification. It’s like we aren’t allowed to take things slow anymore. But I hope that can change, as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. shellyray says:

    Great blog post! It was so refreshing when I started dating my current boyfriend, who fits all six of your requirements. I remember being so fed up with dating in college, especially the idea of “netflix and chill”. I remember my friends and I ranting endlessly about how none of us had gone on an actual date in months, instead only being invited to “hang out” or go to a party. That does not count as a date, boys! Anyway, I loved your post and I totally agree with everything you said 🙂


  3. thegraduate21 says:

    We have the same ideas on dating. I am told that my expectations are too high but I don’t think so. I want to share my life with someone and it’s going to take time to find the right person. I think the most important thing initially, is going out on a real date. Why should I come and sit in your house for free? This will ultimate lead to ‘netflix and chill’ lol.

    I am ambitious so I need to be with someone who has their own hobbies and goals, so that they can entertain themselves sometimes….this has started to sounds like a singles ad!

    Liked by 1 person

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