The year is 2019, and real women who aren’t two-dimensional characters in a ’90s rom-com are apparently turning to male dating coaches for advice on how to land a guy.
A recent Mel Magazine feature by C. Brian Smith dove into the world of male dating coaches who cater specifically to female customers looking to date men, and the inside look revealed a practice as surprisingly popular as it is unsurprisingly cringey.
Logically, it stands to reason that men may be able to provide women with useful insight into what men seek in heterosexual relationships. In practice, however, the views expressed by the male dating coaches MEL profiled inevitably tended to reinforce outdated and often problematic views on relationship dynamics and gender norms.
Take dating coach Evan Marc Katz’s notion that, “men look for sex and find love; women look for love and in the process find sex.” The 46-year-old dating coach, writer and podcast host markets his services as being “for smart, strong, successful women,” with the tagline “Understand men. Find love.”
Perhaps predictably, the vast majority of these men’s advice seems to hinge on a similarly archaic belief that the key to the relationship every woman supposedly desires lies in the ability to unravel the impenetrable mysteries of the male mind. Who alone can help these exhausted bachelorettes navigate the complex matrix within the mind of every man? Why, a fellow man of course.
Peter White, a former affiliate marketer turned dating coach and the founder of whydoguys.com, explains how his gender makes him uniquely qualified to help women in his bizarre, ellipses-ridden “about” page. “I’ve been a male my whole life, studied women my whole life and earned my non-doctorate degree in women,” he writes, which is a not-at-all-weird way to refer to what I assume is a gender and women’s studies degree.
Across the board, the advice also tends to parrot gendered stereotypes about women and men. “Women are chronic overthinkers,” L.A.-based dating coach David Wygant told MEL, adding that he constantly has to manage his female clients’ “unrealistic expectations.” Meanwhile, 56-year-old female dating coach Jonathan Aslay warns women against trying to talk to men about their feelings. “Questions about his emotions will make him back off,” he advises, reinforcing the kind of emotional repression that many critics point to as the very heart of toxic masculinity.
As MEL noted, male dating coaching targeted at women has received unsurprising feminist criticism. In a 2013 post on the blog Cupid is Burning, one writer, identified only as Miranda, argued that Katz’s advice “echoes the male-headship rhetoric that has become so popular in the conservative Christian community as a way to fight back against the dreaded progressivism that’s gained ground in the last few decades.”
However, some male dating coaches are making efforts to revise their approach for a more progressive social climate. When pressed on some of his claims, many of which date back to 2011, Aslay told MEL that he has “gained a ‘greater awareness’ over the last eight years.” The dating coach has even conceded that it’s okay for women to encourage men to discuss their feelings, so you could say there’s a lot of important, groundbreaking work being done in the world of male dating coaches these days.
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