Thursday, September 30, 2010

MEN vs. WOMEN: Who really has the advantage in dating?

We can all agree that interactions between men and women undeniably consist of a Venus vs. Mars dynamic, particularly when it comes to dating. Sometimes it seems like a constant battle with one another, trying to understand the different mindsets, communication styles, responsibilities—who plays what role in a relationship, etc etc. Considering all these different elements that take place when we deal with one another, who do you believe understands the situation more clearly and has the upper hand when it comes to dating? Men or women?

Ms Qui Vive
What kind of question is that?? WOMEN GET it better in general because we’re smarter!
Ok, before the rains come tumbling down, I’m kidding!
I actually think most men and women have equal understanding, just different reactions, and maybe we can construe those reactions as one person having a better grasp or upper hand over the other. Women tend to be more vocal, while many men think more than they talk. So, when a woman deals with an issue she may deal with it by talking it out, venting, and creating room for discussion – does that make her smarter than the man who may be quietly thinking things through? Not for me…
I know an equal number of dumb-dumbs in both gender categories!

Ms Mashari
Ms Qui, I have to agree and disagree with you. Women are more talkative and express their emotions where men typically aren't as vocal, but that makes neither sex better than the other at dating in my opinion. What I do think sets women apart from men is our supernatural abilities. LOL! That's right, I said supernatural. I'm just saying if you think about, we have a keen sense of awareness and intuition, so we can use our powers to navigate the dating landscape. For instance, we know if ole boy ain't really feeling us and he's just taking us out to get into the panties, we know when "RayRay' is catching feelings, and we know when the Mister calls himself stepping out on us too. The cards are always on our table, ladies!

Ms Qui Vive
Ms MaShari – you sho’ right! A woman’s intuition is one of her best assets!

Miss Berneta
I'm going to second Ms. Qui Vive on this one. I do think most men and women understand each other about equally. And I also don't think it's as simple as Venus and Mars. Men and women have a little of both, to be honest. That division just doesn't capture the complexity of men and women.

A friend and I were recently discussing how difficult it is to understand men, and we decided that the problem is simple: we all want love, but maybe we just have very different conceptions of what love is or should look like.

For instance, I am going to generalize from myself and assume that many women have a very straightforward view of the type of romantic love we want: we want to find a partner (probably a life partner) who is a companion and a friend, someone whom we can nurture and who will nurture us, a partner who will forgo other sexual partners, just as we ourselves will forgo other sexual partners.

It would be easy to say that men want that too. But I sometimes find it difficult to determine what type of love many men want. Does the average man also share this average, straightforward view of romantic love that I (hesitantly) suggest many women want? Does he also want a partner (a life partner), who is a companion and a friend, someone whom he can nurture and who will nurture him, who will forgo other sexual partners, someone for whom he himself will forgo other sexual partners? Or is it something different that they want? A lot of men don't seem very interested in "life partners" to me, for instance, and when they do end up with one, some of them seem a tad resentful about having to (or being pressured to) abandon their options. But maybe I'm just generalizing too much about men?
I think in the end men and women both understand each other equally; maybe we all know how to make it work or maybe none of us know how to make it work. And so we struggle with and against each other. I’m starting to think John Legend gets it right: maybe everybody knows but nobody really knows.

Ms Mashari
Miss B, I like what you said here, and I wanna go a bit further. My boo, Hill Harper, wrote about this in his book called The Conversation. Men are conditioned from childhood to "Man up" and told not to cry. In addition, men are encouraged to play the field and "shop around" like the ol' school tune. However, women are sold some fantasy and encouraged to save themselves for Prince Charming. Only a handful of us have met him according to the statistics. After years of being told one thing, women are pressuring men to settle down and become their dreams of this great man who is loving, educated, sensitive (not too sensitive), faithful, and the list goes on. So I guess the score is Women 1 for intuition and Men 0, but maybe it’s unfair to have this dialogue without the input of our men.

Miss Berneta
I definitely agree, Ms. Mashari. This type of romantic love that women idealize (that I outlined) is definitely programmed into us. (I tried to read that Hill Harper book, but couldn't get through it.) I think we, men and women, really need to own up to and examine the images and cultural ideas from our childhood (from television, from books) and how they have influenced our perceptions of love and dating. A lot of us want to make "men are just like this" and "women are just like this" arguments, which only hide the fact that we are all sent the same images about love, messages that push us to behave according to certain roles. And our firm adherence to those gender roles only cause problems between us. (This is also why I tend to be more interested in men who have a feminist mindset, men who have thus begun to examine the notions they've received about masculinity since childhood; random side note. :D).

This is a big question and not easily answered. In today's world of dating, it is a lot more philosophical so to speak. A lot more dynamic. During our parents and grandparents era, dating was static or black and white. The guy inititated the contact on most levels. From the, "Hi my name is...", to the, "would you marry me?" From that perspective the advantage could have been perceived to be in favor of the woman since everything depended on her response to the man's inquiry.

But today's dating world is much more as I said above, philosophical. People are more learned than in the past. Both men and women work, there's the proliferation of many dating sites, so on ans so on. So now both men and women have more "options". No longer do people just date friends from school or from the neighborhood, but many have long distance relationships, some crossing state lines.

The question is who has the advantage given all the different variables (i.e. Communication, mindset, etc.)? On a large scale I believe women have the advantage when it comes to dating... If! If I am looking at it from a mental perspective, women have proven throughout history that they are just better built communicators.

From a physical perspective, men have the advantage very simply because of sheer numbers. Women outnumber men so much so, that even the most unsightly guy thinks he's "somebody". I traveled to Washington D.C. and witnessed a gentleman dressed in skinny jeans, loafers no socks, a leather vest, and receding hairline. The ratio of women to men in D.C. is greater than 5to1. In a more balanced society, this gentleman who wasn't much of a looker wouldn't have left happy hour with "Beyonce." Just my opinion. Because of this these types of ratios, I believe men on some levels have become more selective in picking a dating partner. I believe because of this it has become more competitive for women, which has forced them to become the aggressor. So, now as a guy it has become normal for a woman to initiate a lot of the dating "contact".

On the surface it all seems advantageous but that shift in dating stems from a deeper problem in society that can be discussed later. ..and I have not even touched on bi-sexuality or anything else. Should I keep going LoL..!

Ms Qui Vive
Now, that's what I'm talkin' 'bout James! Maybe men DO think...JK, JK!

So, women have the upper hand in communicating and men have the advantage in numbers...

Ms Mashari
I say, "What!" Um, I don't even have a rebuttal. Hand clap, two snaps, and a pat on the back, justJames!

Miss Berneta
James, yes, let’s not even start on bisexuality. I could go on forever about my own difficulty, as a bisexual, dating and having to have two different dating styles: one for men and one for women. Ya'll don't even want me to get started.
But I'm curious about the "deeper problem " that you think the shift stems from. Because I think you're on to something with that. This shift is an issue of numbers, but as you suggest, it's also an issue at once much more complicated than just numbers. There is something occurring in our culture in terms of human interaction. Texting, internet communication, and unprecedented numbers of college-educated people...all those factors have everything to do with this shift—we probably have one of the highest populations of college-educated people of any country. And we’re seeing the affects of these factors (good and bad) on the world of dating. In fact, I think the change is most obvious in the world of dating and relationships. Too bad my thoughts are too scattered at the moment, but maybe this could make for an interesting follow-up post. But it was nice to get a male perspective.

This was a great question, so kudos to who ever thought of it. There are many layers within the question itself depending on how deep a person is willing to "dig" so to speak.

Who do you think has the upper hand?


  1. women have the advantage because they are in control of the situation..

    Jimmy (via Facebook)

  2. I asked a friend of mine this question on Friday, and she looked at me like I was stupid. She said, men of course. She's a woman in her 40s, so I kind of believe her.

    She analogized the question to this one: "Who has more power (the advantage) in the NBA? Black men or white men?" The answer is, of course, white men because they own the NBA (99% of the coaches are white men). Black men have some power because they are the players, and the game wouldn't exist without them. They choose which team they want to play for. But at the end of the day, the coaches and owners (white men primarily) have the upper hand: they pick the players, they are in control of the money and the livelihood of the players, etc.

    So, I think we might look at dating in the same way. If you accept that we live in a patriarchal world, where men simply run things and have always had more real power than women, then the answer to this question we've posed is as easy as what my friend said: "Men, of course."

    Women have some power, since the game (heterosexual dating) couldn't exist without our participation, but at the end of the day we are at the mercy of men's picking (especially, since, as JustJames said, we totally outnumber men at the moment). As far as our understanding of each other, we are equal. But as far as who actually has the upper hand, it's men.

    What do you guys/ladies think about that?

  3. Absolutely agree that WOMEN get it better in general because we’re smarter! lol :)


  4. Has justJames ever once looked at facts before opening his mouth and saying something so factually incorrect as women outnumbering men so so much? In what country, city or even town do women outnumber men by any significant percentage? What percentage counts as so so much? 2%? 3%? The fact all agree that men have advantage in dating because of the scarcity of men further jumps on the "No good men left" train of disgusting stereotypes. Given the female applause I imagine he is just speaking words to make the female audiences happy. In that case this is simply another pop faux article on the internet written with zero credibility. Let's give everyone a hand clap... women with their precious gift of intuition. If that were true the women's shelters would be empty and women wouldn't complain so much about men if their intuition was so god like. The entire article is fallacious and pure conjecture with zero proof or unbias writing. Miss Berneta could you be anymore passive aggressively bitter towards men? You are gonna generalize women as loving creatures looking for commitment and generalize men as philandering pigs in the most indirect passive aggressive way?