*To the beat of Olivia Newton-John’s Physical
Sometimes I wish I were attracted to women so I could just date my friends. I have such a deep bond with my female friends that has been difficult to replicate in my romantic relationships. Selecting a life-long partner feels like a daunting undertaking. As I’ve become more clear about what I want in a significant other — someone who understand what makes me tick, offers comfort through difficult times, and can identify and articulate his needs and feelings — I have also come to realize that finding these things is a tall order.
It’s no secret that women are seen as more emotional than men. Research has shown that, in fact, all humans have the same capacity for emotion, but that much of the difference in the genders is due to the way we treat boys and girls; the behaviors we reward and chastise beginning as soon as a child is born. I think I speak for single straight women everywhere when I share my frustration with society for severely limiting the dating pool! But in all seriousness, I think people are starting to come around to the importance of emotional intelligence to healthy relationships, strong leadership within the workplace, and happiness… for all genders.
In fact, business schools are recognizing its importance and adjusting their curricula in kind. The most popular class at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business is Interpersonal Dynamics, nick-named Touchy Feely. In this class, students role play various scenarios and get feedback from each other on how each of their leadership styles made them feel.
I recently heard a woman say the she’d had to “crack her boyfriend open” when they started dating. Unfortunately, that is what many women expect to have to do in order to truly get to know their partners on a deeper level. Wouldn’t it be great if we all were taught from a young age to acknowledge feelings in ourselves and others rather than waiting until we enter graduate school or serious relationships to learn this skill? We can get there once we start valuing emotional intelligence, which has traditionally been seen as a feminine quality, as much as stoicism and restraint. Maybe then we will enter relationships pre-cracked and I can re-join the dating scene.