Well, it would be an understatement to say that I enjoy shopping. Truthfully, it’s not only a hobby, but one of my best life skills. I am just exceptionally good at finding what I want for a great deal. And, I’ve mentioned before that dating can feel a lot like shopping…which is why it is crazy that I never really liked dating!
A friend-we’ll call her Mrs. New York, since her birthday is also in July and there can’t be two of us-recently sent me this link about a French dating website turned traveling “pop-up-shop” where men are put on display, Barbie-doll style, as if in a grocery store aisle and women can come peruse the goods and try to pick a good melon- I mean, man. Well, friends, this takes “man-shopping” to a whole new level, now, doesn’t it?
I did a little more research on the subject. Because these things are important. The original dating website, loosely translated (ok, basically just guessed, I took Spanish in high school) as “Adopt a Man” was geared toward men posting profiles and women making all the first moves, thus eliminating the “pressure” for women of having all this “unwanted” solicitation from men you don’t like, and giving women more control in online dating situations. Apparently, there was a U.S. version of this website for awhile, but now when you go to adoptaguy.com it redirects automatically to a U.K. site, bagabloke.com (haha). I understand how some women may be hesitant to use traditional online dating services-you lay it all out there publicly and then sift through all the weird propositions from strange men (why do you think I started writing this blog?). Therefore, it might be appealing to certain women to take the reigns and only approach men that they’ve pre-screened as attractive/rich/whatever enough. However, you risk missing a great guy that isn’t in your desired height/weight/income bracket that might’ve contacted you and won you over with his wit and generosity, or something like that. It seems like only letting one gender be in charge of the picking, whether it is guys or gals, is more focused on the “temporary” (looks, income, career, location) and less focused on real compatibility (values, personality, shared interests). And that’s certainly how a lot of people approach dating and relationships…and probably why most people aren’t very good at either (but that’s another blog). Online dating is definitely an investment of your time and can certainly be soul-crushing at times. No, you won’t be a match with every guy that “winks” at you, but won’t it make you feel good and attractive if a lot of guys are interested in you based on your online profile? Even if they aren’t exactly your type? How is that “unwanted” attention? You are on a dating site, remember? Isn’t that the point-for guys to be interested in you? A nice message from someone who’s not right for you could still be the confidence boost which gives you the courage to write back to the guy that does have potential.
And-it pains me to say this, and I expect to catch some flack for it, but…do women really want to be in the drivers seat??? I know, I KNOW. (Miss July ducks.) I have to say…I really don’t want to make the first move. SIGH. Let me be real with you. I’m totally a girl-power feminist. I love Hillary Clinton. (2016!) However, as a strong, independent woman, I also tend to be a little bossy and domineering if I don’t watch myself. Therefore, I love a man with a plan-I actually enjoy being able to sit back and not be in charge all the time. It’s kind of relaxing! And, as my mother will tell
me you, we also need to make sure that the man can hold his own so I won’t “run right over him.” (Thanks, Mom.) I’m not looking for a “Yes Man.” I’m looking for someone who challenges me a little more than that! So, for me, letting the guy make the first move is almost a little relationship test. I need to make sure he has it in him, you know? Or it’s never going to work.
Another interesting facet to this concept, particularly with the “live” store, rather than just an online website-what if the genders were reversed in this situation? What if this was an “Adopt-A-Woman” site with women on display and men doing the picking? I am pretty sure feminists would be coming out in droves about how such a program is degrading, insulting, and offensive. It’s noted that in Europe, this is practically a “red-light” activity and would actually be highly suspicious. Maybe it would be viewed differently if men and women were on display at the same time, which wouldn’t necessarily all that different from what we refer to as “speed dating” so maybe this is the European version of that? The gimmick of putting guys in “Barbie-doll” style boxes with generic nicknames might be taking the joke too far, especially for anyone serious about finding a relationship (which I suspect, these people really are not). The article also duly points out that men and women are people-not purchases-and maybe shouldn’t be treated like something you’d buy off a shelf next to the toilet paper.
Isn’t that basically what any online dating service is “selling” though? Ultimately, aren’t we all browsing through zillions of profiles, weeding people out by size, shape, and attractiveness as if we are picking out a Christmas tree? Does it really matter whether or not men, women, or both are “allowed” to make the initial contact? That’s why there are so many different types of dating sites-some focused on specific races or religions, geographic area, or “who makes the first move.” Essentially, we are “shopping” for someone that meets a general list of criteria, and using dating sites that filter things out for you based on what you are looking for or what you are comfortable with could make things easier. It’s a modern day version of Goldilocks…trying to find the one that is juuuuust right. Not necessarily very romantic, a little embarrassing to talk about, but practical…just like shopping for toilet paper.
Thanks again, Mrs. New York, for the tip…and keep them coming, you guys! Send me any interesting dating/relationship news at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be sure to blog my thoughts.