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For a date, better kind than right

Hi, Carolyn: I am 29 and single. I have a very strong mother, who raised me to treat women with respect. I was taught women are strong, intelligent and independent. And that women don’t need any special treatment.

When I go on dates I treat them that way. I respect them, but I don’t offer to hold their door open, or always take my car. I ask if they want to drive. And I always split the check rather than pay for them. I think it’s insulting to think women are fragile and we need to treat them as if they are.

As you can imagine, I don’t get very many second dates. And most of my female friends say I act like a jerk. Am I a jerk? Should I change my way of thinking, or stay strong to my beliefs … and remain single? – B. from Maine

Your mother instilled in you some valuable beliefs, but either she or you fashioned them into a needlessly blunt instrument.

Dates have nothing to do with scoring political points. If you ask someone to dinner, you pay. Not because your dinner companion is financially dependent upon you, but because you are the host and the pleasure of someone’s company is more than worth paying the tab.

If you get to a door first, you hold it for the next person. Not because that person is too frail to handle the door, but because it’s the courteous thing to do.

If you are amenable to giving your companion a ride, then you offer a ride.

Note that none of these is gender-specific. Each is one person showing kindness to another – and people of all varieties appreciate kindness, even (especially?) the strong, intelligent and independent ones.

You have female friends, so presumably you enjoy their company. So, dating women needn’t be any more complicated than your friendships. Try being kind, not right. See if that helps.

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