Saturday, 25 July 2015

How Times Have Changed

When I was a young man, in those dim and distant days when I found myself desperately seeking female companionship, womankind had me in their clutches. They had power over me and I was a slave to them.

I fancied any woman who would talk to me and the more beautiful the woman, the more enthralled I was.

Sadly, in those days, society dictated that it was the man that had to do the chasing. It was the man who had to ask the woman for a date or make his desires clear. And that was why women had power over me. They had the ability to twist me around their little finger.

And they were cruel, dear reader.

I remember one occasion when my so-called mates goaded me into asking a woman out.

“She fancies you, Dave. It's obvious,” they would say, goading me into action by appealing to the optimist in me. “Shall we come with you to give you moral support?”

Being a fool – and too blindly in lust to realise that the gorgeous target of my affections was fancied by just about every other male in the vicinity – I marched over to her with my “friends” behind me. She was with her mates too.

In order to protect her identity, let’s call her Alison.

“Hi Alison,” I said with a smile.

“Hi Dave,” she said smiling back. Yes – she smiled – that means she must like me.

“Can I ask you something?” I said summoning up all the courage I could muster.

“Sure,” she said.

“Can we – erm – get together? Will you go out with me?”

In my imagination, she stood up, threw her arms around me and said “I’ve been waiting for you to ask!”

In reality, she said “WHAT? With YOU???? You must be joking!”

She laughed.

Her friends laughed.

My “friends” laughed.

I ran away looking like a complete arse.

Don’t get me wrong; she genuinely liked me – but because I was funny. She wouldn’t have even entertained the idea of anything more than just friendship.

Bless her, she later found me and apologised and asked if we were still friends. Of course, still being enthralled by her, I agreed. But our relationship had changed.

This was the story of my love life around that time.

Thankfully, something changed and all of a sudden women decided that it was time to turn the tables. I guess they became fed up of waiting for guys to ask them out. I don’t know when it started – I just noticed that women were actually marching up to guys and asking them out on a date.

And then it happened to me. My ex-wife W basically took control and made her feelings perfectly clear. Many years later, my beloved Mrs PM did exactly the same.

In fact, over the years, I have been approached a few times, and had to let the poor woman down gently in the nicest possible way (realising how painful such rejections can be).

I for one am really glad that it happened and it marks a significant power shift in the way women behave.

I had an interesting chat with Mrs PM’s mum the other week. When we go to the pub with her and her other half, she refuses to go to the bar or pay for any meals we have in restaurants because, in her eyes, it’s the responsibility of the man. Mrs PM is a modern woman and we share most of the responsibilities.

“Why are YOU going to the bar,” Mrs PM’s mum says.

“Why not?” says Mrs PM.

It’s the same at home. Mrs PM’s mum does all the cleaning, washing, cooking etc. and accepts that role. She even packs both suitcases when they go on holiday, selecting all of his clothes and everything else he needs.

And she accepts this without question. In fact, she positively revels in it.

There is no way I would let Mrs PM choose or pack my clothes for me. Besides, she wouldn’t do it.

Not all women have embraced the power shift. Mrs PM has friends who still want the man to chase them. She calls them “princesses” presumably after fairy tale princesses who are swept of their feet by handsome princes.

When I cast my mind back to the time when I desperately wanted to be that prince, I recall being let down almost every time, sometimes cruelly.

I used to think that I wasn’t “prince” material and I considered myself, with the aid of Captain Paranoia, to be a hideous villain who would never get the girl.

Of course, these days, the whole concept of dating has changed. People do not have to humiliate themselves by marching confidently up to a member of the opposite sex and asking them out. The internet and social media has revolutionised the dating game.

You can join a dating site and now even get a smartphone application to help you. Take Tinder, for example. This app allows you to find other people within a certain distance of your location and matching certain criteria and, if you like them, you simply tap a heart icon if you like them and a cross icon if you don’t. Obviously two people like each other then they can arrange to meet.

I wish there had been something like that around when I was about eighteen years old. It would have protected me from being humiliated and having my poor heart shredded by a female friend who had no desire to take our friendship further.

Unbelievably, there is also an app called Binder that allows you to dump people too if you are too scared or too much of a coward to do it yourself.

This is the kind of message you get:

If there had been an app like Tinder around when I was young and single, I wouldn’t have been told to “Piss off” when I resorted to desperate chat up lines.  

In fact, I would have been equally concerned by a crass app like Binder because in those early days I can only imagine my poor heart being destroyed by a text message.

At least I wouldn't have received it in front of a group of people, I guess.

Anyway, I for one am glad that times have changed and that there is more equality when it comes to relationships.

After all, we are in the 21st century now, and not in the 1950's.


joeh said...

I met Mrs. C on "Match" it is a big improvement on bar shopping or blind date fixups. We ware probably losing the fine art of flirting.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Joeh,

Apparently I am a flirt (it must be an inbuilt reaction) but it has never helped me at all.

If I were single now I think I would use something like "Match" or Tinder.




River said...

I'm glad times have changed too. I no longer have friends trying to match make, because they think I need someone. That old fashioned "women can't cope on their own, they need a man" thing.Pfft. Even when I had a man around the house, I still did most of everything. Had to with hubby #1 away a lot with the Army; as for hubby #2, he was as useless as a two year old when it came to household things.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

To be fair I think men can barely cope on their own. :o)

I'm okay though; I do my fair share of household chores (even though I hate them).




Jackie K said...

Yes things are better now, though not without their own worries. I have heard people say they find dating a little depressing now because everyone's always looking for something better, as there is so much to choose from on all the dating sites. And being dumped by text would be pretty awful.
I can't believe women could be so cruel in their rejections back then - what a horrible way to say no.
On the other hand, politely saying 'no' and then being abused or repeatedly asked, was also not very nice. I remember those days without any nostalgia.
You and Mrs PM have it right - both partners should share the responsibilities. I have no patience with anyone of either sex who wants to keep the old roles. It leads to clueless husbands and bitter wives, in their old age :)

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jackie,

I think some people aim too high when it comes to finding a partner. A mate of mine was single for ages because he expected his woman to be a beauty queen (when he looked like a walrus :o)).

Sadly, there are still people who want traditional roles. And they aren't happier for it IMHO.