January 18, 2018

Now that some of the dust has settled (the key word being “some”), I’m going to give my take on the Aziz Ansari situation. Note that I actually wrote this on Monday evening, right after the story broke, and decided today that it was worth sending. Without further ado…

I’m going to write about something taboo. Or maybe it’s not taboo. I just don’t know anymore. I’m writing this in the wake of the most recent allegation of sexual misconduct, this time against Aziz Ansari, our beloved Dev from Master of None and comedian extraordinaire. He went on a very bad date with Grace, who changed her name for her public outcry. On this date, Aziz allegedly (and I say “allegedly” not because I don’t believe the account of the date—in fact, it’s quite specific—but because it’s still one person’s word against another) forced sexual behaviors—oral sex, both ways—upon Grace, who expressed that she was uncomfortable. He, apparently, did not relent. This is where things start getting murky. Did he mistake her accepting of oral sex as a sign that she wanted more? Did he misread her signals indicating that she wanted to stop? Did she express herself clearly? Did her tone and body language match her actions? I can’t answer any of these questions, of course, because I was not there. Based on her account, it’s clear to me that he behaved very, very badly. It’s also clear that the whole thing is unclear. What I can say, though, is that, as a dating coach, my male clients are confused. Dating in the time of #MeToo is hard, and it’s actually hardest for some of the nice guys.

I work with quite a few male clients who are less secure — or lack dating confidence — for one reason or another. These particular clients interpret this movement as, “I don’t know whether to ask someone out anymore because it might be harassment.” “What if I go in for the kiss, and she doesn’t want it? Is that harassment?” “If I text someone after a date, and she doesn’t get back to me, and then I text again, is that harassment?”

With a recent male client, this internal debate reared its head when he and a woman decided—mutually—to go to her place after a third date. The woman wanted to have sex. My client wasn’t sure. They undressed. They were about to do the deed, when he asked, “Are you okay?” He wanted oral confirmation, or “enthusiastic consent,” as we’ve been reading about. He did not want to proceed in the absence of that. Rather than waiting for a “no,” he was waiting for a “yes.” This question backfired on him, unfortunately. She didn’t answer (I guess they were in the throes of passion), so he asked again. That’s when things took a different turn. She was so turned off by his lack of “confidence” that she ended the sexual experience, leaving him both annoyed and confused. He emailed me afterward and said, “I guess I should have just f**ked her.” I told him he did the right thing.

I’m not sure if I even have a point to what I’m writing. I feel for every victim of sexual misconduct or harassment, of which I am in the unlucky club, too. (I have a personal story not as graphic but with similar undertones to “Grace’s” story. In the end, I did feel disrespected, but I was more angry with myself for not being the strong person I know myself to be.) No one should have to endure that. Ever. But, when my female clients tell me they want a take-charge kind of guy, the kind who asks them out confidently and who pays for the bill, what they have to remember is that things are now blurred. One woman wants this treatment and another wants to yell “I am woman, hear me roar” and not be treated to anything. A woman may want a man to push her against a wall and kiss her on a date because it’s sexy. Another may view this same action as sexual harassment. Neither of them is wrong. But men, at least some of those I’m working with, are shying away from taking risks and making the approach. It’s just an interesting and strange outcome of such a serious movement, and I see it every day.

To give one piece of advice: Be a good person. If you feel like you’re doing something wrong, don’t do it. And if you feel like you’re doing something right, go for it. But if and when you ever get a “no,” quit. Period.

Dating in the #MeToo Movement

4 thoughts on “Dating in the #MeToo Movement

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  • May 1, 2018 at 9:00 am

    First article I’ve read actually addressing and validating good men’s fears. Overwhelmingly the “metoo men are scared for no reason grow some balls” articles are overwhelmingly written by women who refuse to address this. Google “men fear dating after metoo” etc. All one has to go to is http://www.saveoursons.com to see the results of false allegations which for some have ended in suicide. There’s a saying, better red than dead. I’m waiting for the hashtag for chastising men for being too careful.

  • July 14, 2018 at 2:39 am

    What is missing, is the consequences for a man who has guessed wrong.
    While we have a criminal justice system, designed to punish the guilty and protect the lives and livelyhood of the innocent, the present environment of social media vigilante justice punishes the guilty and innocent without distinction and is unrelenting until the accused has been totally destroyed without regard to the hard fought and paid in blood concepts such as “due process”.
    Clear direction is needed beyond blaming the men for not “growing a set”.
    First, I advise men to not get involved until all this sorts itself out.
    Second, keep your personal information private until it looks like things are progressing to a LTR.
    Third, if you do get involved with a woman, conduct all business in public and make sure anything done in private is videoed (this is a must and has been the only lifesaver for those who have been falsely accused).
    Fourth, don’t get caught up participating in the mob frenzy whenever anyone is accused of anything outside the justice system, no matter how emotional or entertaining it might seem. This toxic environment will not change until society makes it clear that this abuse of justice through social media in unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
    Last, if you have been harassed and/or assaulted, call the police, twitter is not 911, facebook is not 911, snapchat is not 911. Take responsibility because and we will no longer tolerate mob rule and we will not believe you until there is a conviction in a court of law. PERIOD. END OF STORY.

  • May 28, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    This is why I decided to never date. I want to be successful, my reputation means a lot to me.

    Not worth the risk, if im lonely I’ll talk to my friends. Hopefully they will come up with a pill to kill my sex drive. I think it will change the world.


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