We all grew up with our mothers and fathers telling us the proper etiquette for dating and socializing with our peers and as we grew older and more independent we picked up some of our own little tricks and beliefs on how to attract the opposite sex or how to act in public to get noticed. We all know our friends are wonderful, but they don’t always give the best advice and depending on fashion magazines to tell you how to dress or act just seems a little utopian. Downing four tequila shots or getting breast implants to feel confident enough to approach that guy at the bar is not the best idea either. Both of these concepts are what I like to call social myths. Below are ten social myths that you will or already have fallen victim to believing. What you thought was trendy or cunning may just be a social myth you might want to rethink.
Myth 1: Getting wasted with your friends at the bar makes you look fun and very approachable.
No matter how tempting it may be to down a couple martinis to help you break the ice when talking to the opposite sex, the only thing too much alcohol will do is make you appear sloppy and not yourself.
It’s important to be confident. Men love a girl who is secure enough with herself to walk up and initiate conversation. But when you look like a bumper car as you make your way through the tables, the only thing that guy is hoping for is a phone call from his buddy to get him out of that situation.
Alcohol is the ultimate barrier-breaker when it comes to talking to an attractive member of the opposite sex, but it should only be consumed in small doses and used with caution. Unless you are looking for a night of meaningless sex with a stranger or you are determined to make a fool out of yourself, just say no to the second (and fourteenth) round, take a deep breath, be confident and walk over to that person with a friendly smile on your face and just give them a simple “hello.”
Myth 2: Sitting at a movie alone or having dinner for one makes you look lonely and pathetic.
Just the opposite. Going to a movie or eating dinner at your favorite restaurant sans a date or friend just shows that you are confident and comfortable with yourself. You are able to enjoy the simple pleasures in life without being accompanied by an escort. It’s always nice to enjoy an evening with friends, family or a date, but it’s important to connect with yourself.
Myth 3: Guys want the sluttiest looking girl at the bar.
Hormones are racing and the alcohol is flowing, so sure, it is hard for a girl to be optimistic about reality. Your fun night out all of the sudden turned into a Barbie doll convention where there’s apparently a contest to see who can wear the tiniest outfit without a wardrobe malfunction. When the statement “sex sells” is so widely obeyed, it is sometimes hard to remember that good girls usually prevail in the end.
I have a friend who I affectionately call the “Samantha,” (from Sex and the City) of the group. She is completely amazing and dates like a man. She enjoys having sex, is very open and pretends not to care about what people think of her. She has never had a boyfriend, but more hook ups than hands and toes can count. She is finally in that stage of her life where she realizes she wants commitment and a man she can share her life with. The only problem is she has a reputation that’s hard to overlook. So, while it was fun for a few years, her wild oats are turning away any suitable guys. If only she would have sowed them a little sooner.
It’s not about showing off your sexual side or being overly timid. The most important thing to remember is to be yourself. Have fun and don’t worry about picking up a good man. Forget about it and have fun. Life is short and love comes when you least expect it.
Myth 4: Paying for a guy during a date is demeaning to him and shows that you are a control freak and you plan on wearing the pants in the relationship.
Back in the 1950s, you might have become social road kill for flipping the date bill. But with women embracing their independence and becoming just as powerful and successful as men, buying them dinner or taking them to a movie is the least we can do.
It is very modern and acceptable for a woman to pick up the tab or split the check with her date. We are no longer housewives wearing pearls and pushing the vacuum cleaner while getting Beaver ready for dinner, and men are no longer the only breadwinners in the household.
Let’s face it. Gender roles are pretty much equal today, so go Dutch or take turns picking up the check. We all know that most men are penny-pinchers; it will most likely impress them when the two of you both reach for your wallets.
Myth 5: Blondes have more fun.
Marilyn Monroe, Pamela Anderson and Jean Harlow are all famous for their blonde tresses and epitomized the saying of “the blonde bombshell.” However, brunettes and red heads are all getting their chance to shine as the ultimate beauties. For as long as anyone can remember, blonde hair and blue eyes has been the definition of beauty in American culture, but with celebrities such as Katie Holmes, Mandy Moore and Sandra Bullock lighting up the movie screens, more A-listers try their luck at going brunette then that bleach blonde, playboy playmate hairdo.
Anyone can dye their hair blonde and walk the streets of downtown looking like a replica of Barbie, but only real women who are confident with themselves can pull off a brown or red hair color and prove that blondes aren’t the only ones who get the glances at the bar. Besides, blondes don’t always have the best reputation of being intelligent. Prove to the world that you can be smart, sexy and have just as much fun as a girl with blonde hair.
Myth 6: You have to be skinny and anorexic to be attractive.
New York City is notorious for skinny fashion models prancing down the street heading to their next photo shoot, but for us Northern Kentuckians or Cincinnatians, we are not forced to stare at the ribs of the supermodels on Main Street, however, we do tend to memorize the fashion magazines. No matter what you see in those magazines, anorexia is not beautiful. It’s agreed that women with curves aren’t always appreciated, the most important thing is to be healthy. Eating right and working out regularly will keep your body in perfect proportion and have your looking just right.
The cigarette and champagne diet is well-known in big cities, but if you aren’t a super model and you don’t rely on your skeletal frame to put food on the table, please at least have a salad. Your date would much rather share food with you on your date then constantly excuse you from the table while you purge your bread rolls.
Myth 7: Once you hit 40, it’s time to purchase a room in the retirement home and stock up on a few cats.
When you are in your twenties, you feel as if you are on top of the world. Nothing can stand in your way and you have your whole life ahead of you. But once you hit 40, you are deep within your career, your body isn’t as perky as it used be and you have exchanged your nights out for a good book and an 11 p.m. bedtime.
However, it really is true what they say, 40 is the new 20. Just think back to when you were 20, you may have been in college or starting your career. You didn’t really know where your life was going, and admit it, you had no money. Unless you were born with a trust fund and a relative who had saved you a place in the family business, you were clueless. Now you are 40, you have a great place at your job, you are making money, and you have your own place to live, no rules and you know yourself better now than you ever have before. You have most of the partying out of your system and know better than to hop on the back of the motorcycle of the guy with the leather jacket.
Although 40 may sound like a higher number than 20, it is only the beginning of a great life. You are so much more secure with yourself and comfortable with your life, you should really feel bad for those twentysomethings that have to start from the very beginning and work their way to where you are.
Myth 8: You have to be toting the Prada or Louis Vuitton logo to be fashionable out in public.
Fashion is what you make of it. Personally, I think spending your life savings on a pair of shoes is absolutely ridiculous, yet I consider myself fashionable. Dressing for your body type and outfits that attract the eye, without hurting it, is what fashion is all about. It’s supposed to be unique and fabulous just like you. By conforming to designer labels and high price tags we are only conforming to society and basically giving up our creativity, we might as well be robots.
If you really want to be fashionable, head to a vintage store or go to JC Penney’s and pick out an outfit that is you. If you are always happy and full of life, wear a lot of colors and dress it up with unique accessories. If you are classic kind of person, Google Audrey Hepburn and copy her fashion style; labels should be the least of your worries. Unless you plan on announcing it to the world, no one is going to be reaching down your back to read your label. Have fun with your clothes, be yourself and you will definitely be saving your money in the end.
Myth 9: It’s impossible for men and women to “just be friends.”
Remember Billy Crystal arguing with Meg Ryan that it’s impossible for a man and woman to just be friends, because there’s always a sexual element present, at least from the man’s point of view?
Most of the time you see a man and a woman out together, you usually consider them to be a couple and if they’re past a certain age, you generally think they are married; a very common misconception and social myth. Believe it or not, men and women can be friends and go out together whether they have significant others or not.
It may actually be healthy for people in relationships to go out with friends of the opposite sex. In my experience, getting advice from members of the opposite sex can help you understand where your significant other is coming from and see things from their perspective.
But despite the success of some (like lucky me), other people don’t think platonic relationships can work. One reason, according to Dr. Tracy Shaw of UCLA in this BNET article, is that “people confuse intimacy and sexuality.”
Intimacy is “where you can develop a close, supportive relationship with someone,” she suggests. “If that in fact happens with an individual of the opposite sex, there may be a tendency to believe that the next step is for some sort of romantic component to take place.”
But that does not have to be the case. A male and female can be intimate without being sexual, Shaw says. “Friendships between men and women don’t have to end in romance.”