Brewing Thoughts: The new dating normal

Addison Smith | Opinions Editor

When I was on a date a couple weeks ago, the boy said something along the lines of, “I want you to be comfortable and I want to take this at your speed.” Instantly, I felt a wave of relief. “He’s a good one,” I thought to myself. “This boy isn’t out to hurt me.”

After the date was over, I began thinking to myself more and more about the wave of relief I had felt. Why did I feel better hearing those words come out of his mouth? Why did I feel like he needed to say that to me in order for me to feel more comfortable around him? Similarly, why did he feel the need to say it?

Women have been trained throughout their lives to expect that men only want one thing from them. Popular culture has shown that women are expected to put out early on in relationships or has just shown men as oafs looking for only one thing.

In the movie Friends with Benefits, we’re treated to examining one of Hollywood’s takes on men only craving one thing from women. Mila Kunis’s character begins to date a doctor (who is not played by Justin Timberlake), and she tells him early on about her “five date rule.” She won’t sleep with him until at least the fifth date. Cue the annoyingly cute five date montage, run some footage of the doctor and Kunis begin to have sex and then see Kunis learn that after the fifth date, the cute doctor doesn’t want to see her again.


This may have been a fictional tale but it’s relevance in society is still just as prevalent. The reason why males feel like they need to say these things is because society has told men these things need to be said.

Upon discussing this phenomenon of sorts with male friends, they agreed. The majority of them said they felt letting the girl know up front that they were there for her and her so she wouldn’t feel unconfortable.

We all know the body languages a woman has when a man makes her feel this way, she crosses her arms and she begins to scowl. Do men think that by laying it out in a gentle “I’m not going to hurt you,” way, the woman will begin to lean into him more, trust him more and uncross her arms? By the way things are looking, yes.

Now, obviously I am not a man, so I am not one to speak on their desire to say those things to women to ease her into a relationship, but from the perspective of a female who has been on a few dates, I can speak to my experiences with males laying things out to make me more comfortable.

A year ago, a boy asked me out on a date and he said after the date he would go in for the hug, or the kiss, whichever I felt comfortable with. He didn’t want to pressure me, he said.

He wanted to take things in a comfortable way for us. Regardless of the fact that he was seeing me and another girl at once and the shelf life on our “relationship” was only about two weeks, I can honestly tell you that him wanting to take time with me was a plus.

We are bombarded every day by the rape and domestic abuse culture in relationships and good men are easing the burden of that. We read about a new nail polish that tells you when date rape drugs have been dropped in your drink. We read about Ray Rice beating up his wife in an elevator. As women, we feel the need to retract ourselves because of it. For men, presumably, they feel the need to make it clear that they are not like that. They won’t rape you, they won’t hit you, they won’t verbally abuse you.

So, a big apology to all the nice guys out there who feel like these things need to be laid out from day one. It’s just the way society has shaped us that we are concerned. And yes, some boys still do only want one thing and will do anything to get it, but that doesn’t mean that every male has to apologize for the bad seeds.

I’m here to say thank you to the men who do say those things to me and all women and men. Whether society may make you feel obligated to say it or it comes from within, the words of reassurance you do say are important to us.