While courtship handbooks have always existed, for some women new technologies have both facilitated and necessitated a change in approach.
R ebekah Campbell remembers the moment she knew things had to change. Campbell was single and had not been on a date since the death of her boyfriend a decade prior. In those 10 years, she focused her energy on building a successful business career, including founding the order-ahead app Hey You. She created a list of the traits she wanted in a partner.
To vet candidates, she had screening calls with potential dates before meeting them. The approach paid off — after three years of dating, Campbell met her now-husband.
The board began inbut the Female Dating Strategy universe expanded this year to include a website and podcast. FDS advocates dating multiple men simultaneously, cutting suitors off at the first red flag and, as Campbell did, conducting pre-date interviews over the phone.
Deploying some form of strategy around dating is nothing new. Since the s women have parsed Jane Austen novels for wisdom on selecting suitors.
While The Rules prescribed what women can do to snare men, FDS focuses more on asking its disciples to ensure men are actually worth their time. For the female dating strategist, adherents say, being single is not a failure but an opportunity to work on yourself.
Two years on, Savannah is in a relationship with a man she courted using FDS principles. Grace Sharkey, an academic at the University of Sydney whose work examines feminism and queer theory, believes FDS is a way of taking back some control in an area of life that can feel overwhelming — for both women and men. Dating is messy and complicated, and we all bring our own histories to romantic entanglements.
Inventing rules and regulations for dating is a way to feel like we are counteracting that messiness. But she did eventually break that self-imposed rule.
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