Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Theory & Essay

Why Boys And Girls Need Different Dating Advice

"Thanks Dad for the advice and for dressing us alike in this picture!"

In the comments of yesterday’s post, numerous people brought up the fact that the advice I’d give to a teenage son had a bit of a different feel than the advice I’d give to a teenager daughter. Paraphrasing, while the daughter-centric advice was “protective, thoughtful, and caring,” the son-centric advice came off as “harsh, snarky, asshole-ly, and cynical.”

I responded to a few of those comments to explain why the son’s advice and the daughter’s advice may have seemed contradictory, but I felt like I needed to say a bit more. Today is “a bit more.”

Both lists were coming from the same place — a father’s want for his children to have the best, happiest, and most fulfilling lives possible. But, since males and females are (obviously) very different — different motivations, different fears, different expectations — the advice did need to be different. For instance, the very first thing I told the son — he should try to wait until he’s in his early 30’s before getting married and starting a family — is, for various biological and sociological realities, absolutely awful advice to give to a young woman. This isn’t to say that young women can’t be successful if they followed that same path, but they’d have a much less likely chance of that happening than a guy would.

Anyway, realizing these differences, the advice I gave my daughter was a bit more protective and concerned with minimizing risk. Why? Certain “mistakes” such as having a baby at a young age or staying in a bad relationship far too long — things that aren’t “mistakes” per se, but will be interpreted as such — are generally more damaging for a woman than they would be for a man.

Is this fair? No. But, the fact remains that young women just aren’t able to get away with many of the things that young men are able to, and as a father it would be irresponsible not to recognize that reality. In my opinion, teaching a daughter how to spot and avoid bad situations is the best dating/relationship/man advice any father can give her.

I want both “team daughter” and “team son” to win the game. But, while “team son” needs to play to win, “team daughter” would be best served playing not to lose. The fact that women have certain “advantages” over men (and by “certain advantages over men”  means “pretty much everything men do is specifically structured around getting access to them“) means that “team daughter” starts the game with a 30 point lead, and “not doing anything stupid or reckless to give up that lead” gives them the best chance at winning.

Team son, on the other hand, will need a deep playbook, a reliable substitution pattern, an advanced scouting report, an offensive and defensive coordinator, and some favorable refs to have a shot at winning. Basically, while team daughter can be the 1996 Chicago Bulls — a team that, since they had the two best players in the league (as well as the best coach, best rebounder, best defense, etc), basically won games by just showing up at the gym — team son needs to be the 2008 Boston Celtics — a bunch of grimy, shit-talking, cheating, crafty, and resilient motherf*ckers to be competitive

Fair? No. But again, this is a reality, and (IMO) parents should prepare their children for the world that is, not the world they wished existed.

Last thing. I want to make clear that this was the advice I’d give to my children, not what I think every parent should tell their sons and daughters. It’s not meant to be universal, easily palatable, or politically correct, and it’s based on what I — as a man who’s had very specific experiences in his three decades on Earth so far — think would be the best way for them to navigate the dating and relationship world.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) 

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't.

  • Santa Monica

    I don’t understand why you would have to explain yourself on this topic, people always confuse the terms different and unequal when it comes to men and women. Just because they’re different doesn’t mean they can’t be equals, and to ignore those differences in the genders to ‘equalize’ the playing field is doing both teams an injustice.

  • http://twitter.com/kjnetic King Jordan

    “team son needs to be the 2008 Boston Celtics — a bunch of grimy, shit-talking, cheating, crafty, and resilient motherf*ckers to be competitive”

    another person has seen the light concerning the boston centrum silver Cs….

  • NYCgyal

    I agree with the first post in that I didn’t think that this really needed to be explained further. This explanation is great, though.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/mackaroto Jay

    Your descriptions of the different playbooks needed for “Team Son” and “Team Daughter” and the 96 Bulls and 08 Celtics comparisons… Reasonable Doubt-grade metaphors. Well done sir.

  • nillalatte

    Stop it. It was interesting to break down the advice you were giving to the daughter v. son. I give basically the same advice to my kids regardless of gender (note: my son is not old enough to date, yet claims to have had 3 girlfriends already) regarding the paths in life that I’d like to see them take and things I’d like to see them accomplish before getting themselves in a relationship. Don’t know that will change with my son’s age, but I can certainly see the differences. Not that I like it, but I can see it.

  • http://www.iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

    IMO, your break down of separate-but-equal advice made it worse. It really comes off as you thinking less of your daughter and her ability to make good decisions

  • http://pinchmycheekie.wordpress.com Cheekie

    First off, I have to note that 12 year old Cheekie really loved your ’96 Bulls analogy. ;)

    Anyhow.

    “I want both “team daughter” and “team son” to win the game. But, while “team son” needs to play to win, “team daughter” would be best served playing not to lose.”

    I thought this was well put when you said it in the comments yesterday and I still think this today. Because it was… pretty well put. Makes all the sense in the world.

    And I’m with you in that we have to raise our kids for how the world is. I liken it to racial issues in this society, though. Using Trayvon and the hoodie thing as an example, I’d totally teach my son that he’d likely to be profiled wearing his hoodie but will make sure NOT to leave out the important parts: how, when you break it down, the hoodie ain’t really the trigger, etc.

    Same with the unfairness concerning women and men. The double standards. Sure we have to let our kids know that it’s the way it is, but simply leaving at that promotes complacency and absolutely no change. If everyone was just “okay” with the way things were in the past because it was reality, we certainly wouldn’t be living in the world we do today.

    So, sure… I’ll teach my kids the way things are and prepare em for it, but I’ll also tell em how and why it shouldn’t be … so that they’ll know their worth.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    Wow, so you are just going to talk shit like Boston Celtics, ain’t shit?! Oh mi gosh! You are so fanning the flames with this one. Before, anyone starts to argue with me about the Fakers and the Bullies and what not, my allegiance to BC is purely Aubrey Graham soft and shallow. With that much said, so long as these four players are on the team, KG, PIERCE, RAY ALLEN and my basketball baby daddy RONDO——————>I’m their number one groupie with absolutely no shame!!! :)

  • http://mrweethomas.wordpress.com weethomas

    Pure laziness. I say everyone just go read my blog for today. Start at the beginning though, I’m guilty of laziness in the more recent stuff.

  • Iceprincess

    Yea champ we didnt need the explanation. Nobody on here is accussing u of being sexist or whatever about some imaginary kids lmao. This topic for the 3rd day in a row is redundant. Peace.

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