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Men are confused about 'Rules' of dating

Dear Dating Doctor:

I am 26, attractive and have a great job and career. I find howeverthat men in my age group don't ask women out. "Dating" seems to have gone by the wayside. Do you thinkthat women's attitudes and the feminist movement have confused men?

Lonely and Not Liking It

Dear Lonely:

Women are perplexed all across America because the answer to your question is yes --men areconfused (and so are women) as to what they perceive aspolitically correct dating practices.

lthough the feminist movement has seen more active days (since most of what they espoused is now anaccepted mindset), men have excellent long-term memories and are still attempting to sort out where theystand socially with women.

Certain men may be intimidated by the fact that you are attractive and are anticipating that they will berejected as not good enough to approach you. Others may be hesitant because you have established such asuccessful career or may live by the motto, "I can't get rejected if I don't ask!" If they refrain fromasking you out on a date, they can't get "dissed."

Men are confused. Should they sincerely compliment women at work, at lunch, at the gym or bookstore orwill their advances be perceived as harassment? Should they be the aggressor and approach women about asocial opportunity or wait for the perfect moment to suggest a joint venture where they can go "Dutch"(as not to offend her sense of independence)? Should they make a concerted effort to "pick up the tab"(an expected behavior learned from their parents and grandparents over decades) or quickly concede so thatreal or perceived expectations do not surface? This, men claim, makes them appear cheap, uncaring andnon-committal.

This confusion among men has spawned the "brother, not lover" mentality. Straight, single men who prefersimple platonic partnerships (and a peck on the cheek) to physical and emotional interpersonal intimacy.There is less opportunity for misunderstanding and disappointment.

What's the answer? Communication, assertiveness and flexibility by both men and women. Don't be hesitantto ask men out. Simply make eye contact, smile and say "Hello." You will only have to do it once.They'll take it from there. Be clear about your expectations and desires up front. Men follow directionsquite well, it is trial and error that we're not very comfortable with.

Let him know that you appreciate being treated like a lady (as long as it is his nature to do so), butstill desire the freedom to live independently. In short, men and women need to stop playing games andend the madness. Life is far too short.

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