Monday, September 15, 2014

Take a Man on a Date Month!

A friend of mine recently started dating someone. After their first date he asked for a second by informing her that September was “Take a Man on a Date Month."   

The idea of taking a man on a date made me start thinking about female assertiveness, gender roles, and healthy relationships. I know several females who would be very uncomfortable with the idea of asking a man out on a date—almost to the point of finding it socially unacceptable.  

When I think about healthy relationships, however, assertiveness and the ability to state your wants and needs—as well as the ability to respect the wants and needs of your partner—are very important. So simple, right? Well, not exactly so simple. In the past when I have asked for the second date, my friends have looked at me like I was an alien from Mars! 

Also, in general, we know that clear communication, respect and boundaries in relationships are often easier said than done - which is why our youth need ongoing support and positive modeling in all relationships. 

I sometimes wonder if a lack of assertiveness at the start of relationships will lead to people being unable to state their needs later on in relationships. While I am not currently a parent, when I become one I hope that I can teach my kids to say what they need and want and to not allow traditional gender roles to keep them from making healthy connections. Maybe I’ll even use “Take a Man on a Date Month” to do it. 

by Elizabeth Polinsky, University of SC Master of Social Work Intern, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy