Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

I can be independent and vulnerable

By Audrey Irvine, CNN
There's nothing wrong with being open to a man sincerely doing something for you, Audrey Irvine says.
There's nothing wrong with being open to a man sincerely doing something for you, Audrey Irvine says.
  • Audrey Irvine says women still need to find ways to let men feel needed
  • Some men say women proudly wave their independence like it's a weapon
  • She learned from date after they played tug of war with her arm
  • Irvine says she learned she can be an independent woman and a lady
  • Dating
  • Relationships

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) -- How often have you read something like this on a dating website: "Single, independent woman seeks a man who she considers her equal to spend the rest of her life with."

Translation: A man who matches her hours, her pay, her lifestyle and who would look good on the cover of a magazine.

Have single women become so independent and set in their ways that they are destined to be alone?

I have actually heard some men say that women --- who proudly wave their independence like it's a weapon, who always wear their "I don't need a man for anything" armor --- make men feel like they're dating a man wearing a skirt.

Ladies, it is fine to have a successful career, own your home and make your own money. But you still need to create a way for a man to see where he can fit into your life and still feel important. It can be a simple gesture to allow a man to feel needed.

It has taken me a lot of years to realize that men like to feel needed and have an instinctive need to be protective. By women always trying to prove that they have it all together and don't need anything, we have lost our vulnerability. Notice I did not say needy or weak. There is nothing worse than a woman who acts as if she can no longer tie her own shoes just to make a man feel special.

Recently, I went on a lovely date. We had some time to kill before the movie so we walked around the area window shopping. In the midst of a great conversation, I felt my date tugging on my arm. He wasn't trying to hold my hand, just tugging my arm which seemed odd. It wasn't a hard tug but I tugged my arm back any way..

This tug-of-war went on for a few minutes until he finally walked in front of me and stopped and said "I have been trying to move you to the inside of the sidewalk to avoid you getting hit by a car."

I was so embarrassed. Here this man was trying to be a gentleman instinctively protecting me from incoming traffic. I laughed saying "so what happens when you're not around, I just have to pray a car doesn't jump the curb I guess."

I apologized for the misunderstanding. And he told me, "there is nothing wrong with relaxing and just being a lady."

At first, I was offended. How dare he accuse me of not being a lady?

But then the more I thought about his comment, I realized that he was right. Too often, women go out of their way to prove to the world that they are independent and capable of taking care of EVERYTHING.

Granted, not every date will protect you from incoming traffic. But ladies, there is nothing wrong with at least being open to a man sincerely doing something for you.

Also, there is nothing wrong with not knowing how to do everything. There is nothing wrong with not being afraid to state what you want, but more importantly, acknowledge what you may not even realize what you need.

So, that evening with that wise gentleman turned out to be such a great date that there was a second date.

On that night, I actually let him open the car door, pull out my chair in the restaurant and make sure I was walking safely on the inside of the sidewalk.

Then I noticed the most amazing thing the next day: I was still that independent woman who has it together most of the time, but more importantly I remembered that I was still a lady.