It’s the day of love. It’s also the first Valentine’s Day of the #MeToo movement. Some are unsure of how to act. How can I be romantic during #MeToo? Can I ask out a woman these days? Some think the days of love, romance and courtship have gone out the window because men can’t pursue women as they used to be able to.
I don’t believe that’s true, at least as it relates to the #MeToo movement (Tinder and Bumble? A completely different story). I believe love and romance can still be very much alive. It just may require a little more work than originally thought – on both sides.
The #MeToo movement is about bringing to light the sexual injustices and power imbalances that have plagued women for thousands of years. It’s about making sure that when a love connection or sexual encounter happens, all parties are 100% on board with it. Maybe consent isn’t sexy, but it’s a necessity. I mean, why would you want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you?
So yes, gone are the days of believing that when a woman declines a romantic invitation, it means “please, keep trying.”
The movies, TV shows and music have given us this false notion that if we just keep trying, if they just knew us then they’ll definitely change their minds. But to quote another cliche-filled rom-com: This is the exception, not the rule. The romance of Noah and Allie from The Notebook is not real life. More often than not, when someone says no, they mean it.
This doesn’t mean don’t try, don’t take the chance or don’t put yourself out there. It means read the signs. It means take no for an answer – and maybe ask why (if appropriate).
She may not be ready or interested in a romance. Maybe she just doesn’t feel a connection. Maybe she just wants to be friends (THIS IS NOT A BAD THING, but that’s another post). All of these are valid reasons to not want to date someone.
This also requires us as women to be honest. To have the courage to say no and be honest about why (and yes, “I just don’t want to,” or “I don’t have feelings for you,” are valid reasons). Not to give in and say yes because we feel bad for rejecting someone. We are allowed to decline a date or not sleep with someone if we don’t want to.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be mindful of someone’s feelings and not be honest with them. In the era of ghosting and zombies, it’s easy to not confront, but it’s not helpful.
To those fearing that this movement will kill romance, that’s just not so. It’s really just about making sure the romance is wanted.
So, what can love and romance look like these days? What it always should have looked like: As individual and specific to the people involved. Love and romance can appear in all shapes and forms. It never looks the same way for the same person.
No woman (or man) is exactly the same. We don’t all love flowers, chocolates, sugary sweet cards or doors opened for us. Some of us do, but not all.
We do; however, want for the person doing the romancing to get to know us. To learn what we like, what we don’t like, what we want, what makes us tick. To be genuinely interested and tailor their romancing to that.
Falling in love is about falling for that person, every part of them. It doesn’t happen in an instant (as much as I would love to believe that love at first sight is a thing). It requires listening and patience. It takes work. But it’s totally worth it.