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Hey there Captain Awkward!  I found your blog a couple months ago and have been reading it religiously ever since!  Thanks for all the great advice!

I’m a fellow feminist blogger, writing on my blog mendaredo.com, and I have a question for you on dating that I was pondering a bit on my blog.  I’m a self-identified cis, straight, feminist dude, and to quote from my post:

But perhaps a “problem” as it were specific to dating is that simply stated: people who self-identify as feminists are a minority, so if you’re going to be out there dating and you’re a self-identified feminist, chances are you might be dating a non-feminist (or even an anti-feminist!).  How do you do that?  Should you bring it out on the first date?  Second?  Not at all and just let it come organically?

[…]

As a feminist man, when I find I’m with someone (either just socially or on a date) and a discussion of feminism comes up with a non-feminist, I frequently get something like, “You’re a lot more feminist than I am!”  It’s a peculiar position to be in, and not one that any of my prior feminist experiences really prepared me for.  After all, when you’re a feminist talking in a safe space with other feminists, you usually aren’t confronted with a lot of people being “more feminist” than others in the same way.  Of course, you have debates within feminist communities with more radical feminists on one side and less so on the others — there is a spectrum, but everyone in the room is still feminist.  My admittedly limited prior feminist outreach and activities was often in sexual assault prevention type stuff, and well, that’s obviously not dating.

So, I guess my question is this: what advice would you give a feminist dude who’s trying to date?  I don’t particularly want to be in a relationship with someone wants to adhere to traditional gender roles, but that be a tricky thing to suss out on a first date.  I also recognize it can also be pretty limiting to say, “I won’t date anyone who doesn’t share so-and-so beliefs.”  Thoughts?
-Jeff

Dear Jeff:
My rules of dating are the same for all people.  Let’s review:
  1. The other person is just a human
  2. Ask the person out sooner rather than later, before you get too caught up in a fantasy or invested in the outcome.
  3. Nobody owes you time or affection, so don’t approach dating with a sense of entitlement.
  4. Be cool with rejection.
  5. You can’t control whether someone will like you.
  6. Listen to the other person – pay attention to the actual interaction that is taking place and not the one in your head.
  7. Don’t date anyone who isn’t as cool as your friends.
  8. Acknowledge the awkward. Don’t try to be smooth if you’re not smooth.  It’s okay to say “I feel shy about asking you out, but I like you.”

These apply to the very early stages of dating where you’re just getting to know someone.  Obviously in those early stages you’re also probably finding out how the other person feels about books, music, movies, food, family, work,  alone-time vs. together-time, sex, and politics. Read More