Ladies, let us think back to the last time a boy we didn’t know asked for our number and then politely called, or complimented our outfit or bought us a drink.
What about the last time even a familiar acquaintance did that?
Think hard about the last time it happened, if it’s ever happened, and then think about how many times it’s happened overall in the span of your young adult life.
OK, now let’s think about the last time a boy texted us, “What’s up,” or, “What are you doing?”
I’m going to guess the number of times a boy has asked you to casually “hang out” via text message or Facebook chat is quadruple the number of times one has asked you out on a one-on-one date.
I’m not trying to make you boys feel bad, but it’s undeniable that a cultural shift in dating has long since made its debut.
For men, things have changed for the easier — for women, not so much. Cell phones and texting have made everyone instantaneously available.
Communication occurs at lightning speed, but it is in half-sentences and malformed words.
The fact that any person is accessible at any hour through a passive form of communication makes approaching a girl remarkably risk-free.
The South still retains more tradition when it comes to dating than many parts of the country.
Southern gentlemen do deserve some credit.
But still, in our parents’ days, the rules of courtship were prescribed. There were guidelines and strict processes that defined socially acceptable behaviors.
Men followed these rules with the risk of being turned down, rejected or ridiculed. There was significant courage involved in deciding to woo a girl, but that was accepted as one of the unavoidable vulnerabilities necessary for life.
While the casualness of dating has made it easier for men, the stakes are higher for women and harder to attain.
Feminine sexuality is still directly tied to the self-worth of a woman. It is easier today for a man to bed a woman, but it is not easier for a woman to retain her reputation.
Women are still demeaned for being promiscuous and are expected to wear makeup and dress well; the pressure for women to look a certain way is a huge focal point in our society.
The duality of having a career and child-rearing is still a struggle for women.
This is not a pity party.
I am only mentioning these aspects of being a female because these are the same problems that existed decades ago, and yet for men, masculinity has changed enormously.
Sure, it’s acceptable now for women to approach men, too, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, logically, why would a woman take the risk of approaching a man if her reputation and sexuality are at stake?
Some men might say, “Hey, why do we have to do all the work?”
And I’m saying, you don’t have to — but maybe you should consider doing the work anyway, since women still struggle with the same aspects of dating that men no longer necessarily have to.
I’m not saying men are bad and women are martyrs. I’m saying, buy a girl a drink and call her on the phone, damn it.
E.M. Tran is in her first year of MFA graduate studies. She is from New Orleans, La. Follow her on Twitter @etran3.