I will be brutally honest: the situation in the singles' world today makes me happy I'm already married. Over the time while I've been writing here on "Domestic Felicity", and especially since I got engaged, I received several emails from young girls asking advice on how to find a good man and how to act in course of a courtship.
I don't have a magical solution, and I do know that the prospects can sometimes seem almost hopeless. As a single woman, you are surrounded by a generation of men who wouldn't think of opening a door for a woman, of carrying her coat or bag, or treating her by buying something nice when they ask her out. Wait, did I say ask her out? There are more than enough men out there who won't do even that. They will expect the woman to make the first move. Needless to say, they will also expect their wife to provide when they finally take the plunge and get married (which often doesn't happen until their late thirties), and preferably earn as much or more than they do.
Sadly, we have to admit that these attitudes didn't pop out of nowhere. This generation of men was brought up by women who had it hammered into their heads that having a man show courtesy towards them is humiliating, as well as their husband providing for them. Men were bullied out of gallantry, and the result is before us; the young man who treats a young lady like "one of the buddies" grows a few years older and expects his wife to fend for herself.
Despite that, many good women today are happily married to excellent men - which means these men are out there. There are still men who treasure feminine gentleness and want to protect their wives; there are still men who are ready to provide for their families. You just need to look out for them. A man doesn't wear a "Good Guy" sign. The kind, reliable, trustworthy, steady, hardworking, supportive men are often quiet and modest - and those who try to draw attention to themselves are often precisely the ones you should stay away from.
Years ago, I became infatuated with someone who didn't show signs of being interested in me. Had I been raised with the knowledge that the woman must be courted, it would have stopped right then. Instead, I continued to pursue him. He turned out to be self-centered, exploitative, and abusive on top of all. I realized it probably wasn't the way.
If you don't live in a close-knit religious community, and if your parents aren't involved in the process of making introductions, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Orthodox Jews have professional matchmakers and websites for religious singles, which has been especially wonderful for the shy, the detached, the lonely and the new guy (or girl) in town. However, I must say that a great deal of caution must be practiced here - the online world might be dangerous.
When my husband started courting me, I never called him until we were engaged. He was always the one who came to pick me up, and always the one who paid. Of course I'm not saying a girl should take advantage of men by ordering the most expensive item on the menu, but scrupulously splitting the bill for two cups of coffee seems to have taken away much of the courtesy in conquering a woman. It's a man's nature to win the woman's heart. Yes, I believe it still is, and if we act like ladies who need to be courted, we will attract those men who will treat us like princesses and remain our knights when they win our hand in marriage.
Being sweet, charming, gentle, courteous, delicate and feminine will encourage potential suitors not to be afraid of being men.
The way my husband is happy to cook and clean when I'm not feeling well, makes him no less knightly in my eyes than if he were actually clad in armor and riding a white stallion. I'm so happy I gave myself the chance to be a princess, because now he makes me feel like one!