We live in a shared economy today. Sharing cab rides with strangers, sleeping on a stranger’s bed and renting scooters by the hour – all of these things were unthinkable a few years ago, but today it is how we roll. We’re beginning to time-share lovers too, and monogamy is beginning to lose relevance. If we’re forging towards new ways of loving, shouldn’t gender roles in a relationship become archaic too? But you’d be surprised to know that our expectations of genders hasn’t evolved as much.
Earlier this evening, I was chatting with a girlfriend who wondered if she could apply the same rigour of finding that perfect job to that of finding a perfect partner, to which I nonchalantly responded “Yes, why not”. She was worried that she’d be perceived as too forthcoming for a woman if she initiated every single conversation. Having been someone who has always chosen to go get what I’ve wanted on my own, I didn’t see the value in sitting around and waiting.
Of course, one would have to draw the line between being interested and desperate and that’s one goddamn hard line to draw. Having said that, there’s no good way to be able to draw that line well without some practice. Given that there’s no returns without risk, let’s not even argue about the rationale for practice.
While I thought that my friend might be overthinking, I was confident that men would more than welcome a woman taking the initiative and it could even be hot sometimes. So, I just told her to follow her instincts. In this case, I knew the guy in question and I thought he was quite progressive in general.
In any case, I decided to check in with the guy myself just to be sure of my own judgement of him. I casually asked him what he’d think of a girl who makes the first move, and to my surprise, he said he’d be cautious of a woman, that too a great one, who’d want to pursue a man rather than be pursued herself. When I asked him why, he said that the singles market was market for lemons.
I wondered what shaped his views on the market. Was it his own insecurities? Was it patriarchy? Was it media?
While we’re beginning to make progress towards equality in the workforce, we are not yet ready to embrace a woman making the first move without an element of caution. So, we’re not really modern lovers yet, are we? I wondered, if we would ever break free from our social conditioning of gender roles in relationships or other?
Apps like Bumble are a step in the right direction. The app in itself may not be very different from any other, but its attempt to tip the balance of power in a relationship is a signal, that cannot be missed. Of course, the problem with Bumble is that more often than not, women misuse this power by raising expectations of single men who are genuinely ready to meet these liberal thinking modern women, by not pursuing a chase that they appear to initiate.