Initial plans for our Saturday night out together consisted of a ‘90’s-only themed dance party at a local club. Now the dancing part I was really looking forward to; the ‘90’s part, not so much. It’s amazing what a man might find himself doing for a woman.
I didn’t love the ‘90’s. You know, like dudes wearing short neon shorts, girls crimping their hair (sorry, ladies), and, of course, “I’m Too Sexy” (not to mention “Barbie Girl”…). Grade school and middle school were not exactly the prime of my life, and as much as I’ll always cherish the ‘91 World Series, Boy Meets World, and dc Talk, there is plenty more I’m happy to leave behind.
So what I’m trying to say is this ‘90’s thing was a bit of a stretch. But she wanted to go, so I was in. “She,” whom we will call Ginger, and I had met through a mutual friend and had gone out a few times. This woman was fun, cute, and especially skilled herself on the dancefloor, I wasn’t about to let memories of pre-teen angst ruin a good thing. So ‘90’s dance party, here we go.
So there we were, heading toward downtown Minneapolis in my car when she turned to me, practically mid-sentence, and said, “Are you seeing other women?” There was no warning. Which, for you ladies reading this, is a great way to ask a question that you really want an honest answer to. Because, completely unprepared while also driving in downtown traffic, I had no recourse to possible evasion tactics.
Luckily, I’m ultra suave is such situations, so I responded with a question (to myself): “Have I… gone out with a different girl since… I first went out with you?” She didn’t like that response. And she definitely didn’t love the answer to that question, given that it was a yes. Her next question was harder to answer: “Have you gone out with other girls since we kissed?” “Yes,” I replied, sheepishly.
I had kissed Ginger. I kissed her long and I kissed her good. And then I went out with another woman. And now Ginger knew about it. And it sucked. Because I had hurt her. In fact, she said as much. “Wow, I’m not sure I thought about what you might say, but this definitely hurts.” I remember her saying it earnestly and somewhat jovially, which made the moment all the more bizarre.
I forget if it was right then or later that she said, “You can’t kiss me and go out with other girls.” And it wasn’t news to me. But it was definitely a challenge to me. And, interestingly, a welcome challenge.
I’m not sure I had even thought about how Ginger would feel about me dating other women. I do know I was “power-dating” at the time, as a friend has called it, and was going on a lot of first dates. And I do remember that a lot of the women I had gone out with didn’t seem like the type that would mind if I had a drink with another woman. But this woman did mind. And, honestly, that was impressive to me.
The truth is, I want a woman who has standards, both for herself and for the man she dates. I want a woman whose kisses mean something. And I want my kisses to mean something. And it was her gentle line of questioning, however random it seemed, as well as her honest responses, which brought me back to realize what matters to me.
It was obvious that Ginger had a high sense of self-worth. She liked me, and wanted our relationship to continue, but she also had a clear sense of how she deserved to be treated and made it clear to me that I had to treat her well or hit the road.
Safe to say I learned a valuable lesson about how to treat a woman. But I also learned something about the power of a woman who knows her worth and is not willing to compromise— in other words, a lady. I recognized something in myself that wanted to be challenged by a woman, because I know that they have the power to bring the best out of a man. And, frankly, I’m not always confident in my ability to bring about the best in myself on my own.
Women have the power to call on men to treat them well, simply by expecting it and not settling for less. Not only that, I have realised that—believe it or not—I want to be challenged to be a better man and that means treating the women I date with respect, like they deserve to be treated. So, now I know what I want, even if it took a little trial and error to figure it out.
Guys, do you want to be with a woman who’s cool with whatever, or a woman with expectations and who brings out your very best?