Where Are All The Men?

Posted: 3 March 2016

Man and Woman DatingWhen I am not writing columns I spend my time in an office which works with and for young people. Last year we thought we’d try a new event for young adults which we called ‘Dating & Degustation’. The evening consists of a five course meal in an upmarket hotel but at the start of each course the male participants relocate tables according to a preset list so that each person has the opportunity to have a ‘mini date’ with five different people. While there are many events at which young adults can meet and mingle, we wanted an event that was explicitly pointed towards the goal of good relationships.

We of course had no idea how the event would be received and whether or not we would even achieve the minimum number of forty people to actually book out the hotel restaurant. The risk with dating-type events is that a person who might interiorly be interested has to rather explicitly admit to themselves (and others) that they are interested in (b) meeting someone with whom they could enter into a relationship and (b) one day marrying such a person, and in the 21st century we knew that would be a rather large call. None the less we created the event, started advertising, and to be sure the registrations began to come in. Within a short space of time the twenty female tickets were gone and we began a waiting list of ten, twenty, thirty extra women. However the twenty male tickets were barely moving.

Naturally, an event like this could only be held with equal numbers of men and women so we began adjusting the advertising target men specifically. At one point it felt like we almost had to beg men to register. Happily we ended up securing enough men to fill the restaurant though so that there were actually a total of sixty participants at the dinner (the maximum the restaurant could hold). The night went really well, conversations flowed freely and the feedback was very positive. In fact the event went so well that we have now hosted it on three separate occasions and on every occasion it has been the same experience, the female tickets sell out with little energy and a significant waiting list, while the male tickets sell last with much greater effort and a small waiting list if any.

So I am left to wonder…where are all the men? In my mind the whole situation is highly ironic because men are naturally (supposed to be) the initiators of relationships; they are the ones who most often ask a woman on a date, and they are most often the ones who drop to the knee and ask for a woman’s hand in marriage. Study after study shows that women do not want to be the ones to ask their man to marry them. And nor should they. This order of behavior is not merely some type of social construct, there is something within the man which summons him to action. Yet every time this event is on it’s almost like we have to send out special invitations to men. Our event, small though it is, is just another indicator of the depressing low to which dating has reached in modern Western society. In fact it would be fair to say that traditional dating has effectively been killed off in our society and replaced with a free and easy approach to relationships where everything is on the table except any talk of possible commitment. That may suit men (in the immediate) but it sure doesn’t suit women.

Thankfully though we still see in the hearts of women that they do desire opportunities to meet men, to be taken on the classical ‘date’ and they are willing to take a risk in the search for love. Perhaps because men have seemingly forsaken their role as initiators, (many of them to sit on the lounge at home with their mates and their PlayStations), that women have felt the need to be more daring and active in the dating scene. Perhaps an event such as ours provides an opportunity for women to be a little proactive. However even with the opportunity laid out for them, too many men are impotent (pardon the pun) to act. Any single men reading this really need to realise that there are so many wonderful women out there who are anxious to just encounter a man who would be brave enough to also take a risk in search of ‘the right one’.

Copyright 2016, Bernard Toutounji