Despite the struggle for “gender equality” so far, women still prefer to hear a “Would you like to go out with me on Saturday night?“, rather than having to say it themselves.
However, there is room for all tastes in this subject. There are people who prefer to be asked out directly, and there are others who prefer to suggest rather than ask, i.e. show an interest, or other non-verbal signals, that eventually make it clear that they want to go out on a date, and that it is then the person who is the subject of the invitation who proposes to go out on the date.
In other words, there are two basic ways to date someone: by asking them if they want to date, or by making suggestions so that the person takes the initiative.
Please invite me… but what about the “gender equality”?
Traditionally, men have always taken the initiative when asking for a date. Men have generally asked for a first date, while women have generally shown signs of interest or receptivity because of such a request.
The funny thing is that things haven’t changed much these days, even though changes are increasingly being noticed in many other fields thanks to the feminist movements and other social forces. In the area of love relationships, women still continue to adopt the traditional role: men propose and women dispose.
At least that is what a study conducted by Michael Mills, Agata Janiszewska and Leslie Zabala suggests, to verify how often each gender wanted to be invited or wanted to make the invitation, and the actual number of times that both men and women were in one of the two options in the last year.
The first question that was asked to the people studied was if they preferred to ask someone out, or would prefer to be asked out, and the answers obtained were the following:
- Women: 93% prefer to be invited out.
- Men: 16% prefer to be invited out.
We also asked how many times survey participants had been asked for a first date last year. On average, men reported being asked out once. Women reported that, on average, they had been asked out about 5 times.
Why have decades of struggle for equality barely changed this situation when there have been much more noticeable changes in other fields? Why does equality of rights and responsibilities seem alien to the social struggle?
One possible explanation for this sexual difference may lie in the so-called “female reputation defense theory”. From an evolutionary perspective, men and women have faced different reproductive opportunities and constraints due to fundamental biological differences of sex in their reproductive rate and in the confidence of genetic parenthood. These differences have influenced a wide range of behaviors, including, of course, the courtship.
Male parental investment has generally been highly valued by women, and is a reproductive resource over which women, particularly in monogamous societies, will compete vigorously. To attract a high-value reproductive partner, women show the qualities that men desire in a long-term relationship, and which are usually based on fertility, health and sexual fidelity.
Thus, in the context of impressing potential partners over the long term, women will probably try to distance themselves from promiscuous females, and will also express more negative emotional reactions (compared to men) towards a female who shows a tendency to be unfaithful. This would explain why women still don’t take the initiative in asking for a first date, which is nothing more than an effort by women to protect their sexual reputation.
If this is true, if in fact there has been a whole struggle for gender equality, should the fight for equality also include this area, and should we ask women to be more active in the field of love and sex? If trends in what a man considers attractive to a couple in the long term are deeply rooted at the evolutionary level, then such women will be less attractive, as will women who we force not to wear make-up or clothing that favours them, which would be taken advantage of by those women who do not want to conform to this new trend, thus cornering ‘the market of available men’.
Or perhaps, someday what is considered desirable will be shaped in such a way by the culture that these traditional roles will eventually disappear. However, this is still very difficult to predict because behaviour is a confusing mixture of genes and culture, which leads to such surprising things as the Nordic paradox: the more gender equality there is in a society, the more easily natural tendencies emerge, and that is precisely why in the Nordic countries women prefer to make fewer scientific-technical careers, as is the case in Sweden, Finland and Denmark.