Who Pursues Whom

Question: Dear Luise: Here we are into a new century where women ask men out on dates, going Dutch is common even when the guy does the asking and when the time comes women propose. I’m not sure we haven’t lost something in the translation. I’d be the first person to agree that women’s rights are important but what about tradition? Can’t we be equal without trying to be identical? I for one would like to have the door opened for me once in a while, and to be pampered on occasion. I know you are from another generation but you must have watched this happen. How do you see it? Sonja

Answer: Dear Sonja: I like both. I really appreciate being treated with consideration and I like to be treated as an equal as well. I don’t think they have to be mutually exclusive concepts.

Men and women aren’t basically the same. We’d be in one heck of a pickle if we were. I know there are women athletes that are unbelievably strong and well disciplined. I also know there are men who are very gentle and deferring.

Aren’t we all seeking something that is somewhere in between? When I was very young, my husband and I had a baby who was so ill that the doctors told us we would lose him. That didn’t happen, but it wasn’t because of any help my husband offered. I fought for our child’s life night and day for months…while my husband went to work, came home, put his feet up in front of the TV and called for a cup of coffee. Almost anyone these days can see what was wrong with that picture…but not back then.

If I were single now and I had to ask a man out or stay home, my days of dating would be over. I just go too far back. No problem, so do the men of my generation…(I’m 78.) If most of the single guys I know got a call from a women asking them out, they would probably agree to go out of surprise and not knowing what else to say, but it probably wouldn’t lead to anything.

You sound young. If I were you, I’d look for a man who is sensitive and thoughtful. Someone I could talk with about this. Surely they have their own take on where the middle of the road lies. Look for a guy who reflects where you’re coming from. When and if you get serious, why not talk about the division of labor? There are countless “liberated” women out there who are enjoying the “privilege” of full-time careers plus full-time child-care and housekeeping while their husbands still come home from work, put their feet up in front of the TV and call for a cup of coffee. And there is still something wrong with that picture. It’s definitely not a step forward in my book! Blessings, Luise

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