A fundamental and biological truth is that men and women are different. The sexes are different below the shoulders and above the shoulders. The brain of a woman works very differently than the brain of a man. For all the blithering in polite company about the sexes being so similar, there are millions of words of advice for singles that point out just how different men and women truly are. The relative privacy of online dating highlights still more the massive differences between the sexes. This example from Marie Claire describes both online dating and the differences between the sexes.
The social expectation that the sexes are equal pollutes the cultural landscape and has made online dating a strange tug-of-war between the realities of attraction and the expectations of attraction. The psychological concept of projection is also tugging on the rope. This is one of the reasons that dating is such a terrible experience for so many singles. This is especially true for post-divorce singles who must deal with this socio-biological conflict.
No matter what social expectation dictates, attraction can never be symmetrical because men and women are so different. This works more against women than men. Here’s how it plays out – A woman is attracted to powerful, confident, emotionally strong men. With psychological projection and social expectations strongly influencing her, she assumes that men are attracted to powerful, confident, emotionally strong women. So, she’s the one who “man’s up” in the context of attraction and dating. It worked well for her in the workplace, after all. But the men she dates won’t commit. They’ll bed her, they won’t wife her.
A woman who “mans up” because she assumes attraction symmetry is destroying her chances of meeting her relationship goals. In this context, the masculine does not attract the masculine. The feminine attracts the masculine. Because of the difference between the sexes, attraction is asymmetrical. The strong and independent woman can certainly be the target of seduction. The physical attraction can easily overwhelm the emotional attraction and confuse matters in the early stages of dating.
Men can also succumb to the expectation of attraction symmetry. This expectation is reinforced by the social expectation that a man should be more expressively emotionally. “Be in touch with your feelings” was the mantra for the sensitive new age guy (SNAG) back in a confusing time when dating habits were established for the currently middle age crowd. These men are also frustrated as they attempt to meet their relationship goals. Even middle age men can be the stereotypical “nice guys”.
It’s extremely hard to resist social expectations in the context of attraction and dating. But biology always wins. As attraction coach David Deangelo says, “attraction isn’t a choice”. This is why so many online dating profiles demand “chemistry” between a man and a woman. Acknowledging the existence of attraction chemistry is acknowledging how attraction really works, not how it’s supposed to work. This is also why the dating coach industry exists. That tug-of-war between social expectation and biological reality is where coaches like Evan Marc Katz and Bobbi Palmer sooth female sensibilities while gently (or not) educating their clients about the asymmetrical realities of attraction, among other things.
This blog and its peers work to improve men in a masculine context while also strongly recognizing attraction asymmetry. In the realm of men, little soothing is required. Because men are different than women, we receive truths differently and process them differently than women. If we all publicly acknowledge and openly accept that attraction is asymmetrical, this whole dating business will be far more enjoyable to far more singles.