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Dear Evan,

What’s the truth? Should women ask men out on first dates? Is it true that a man is “really not that into you” if he’s not asking you out?

Thanks!
Danielle

Dear Danielle,

You asked me a question, but you really asked me two different questions which have two different answers:

1) Should women ask out men on first dates?

No. No, they should not. Women asking men on first dates can be taken as aggressive, desperate, and masculine. At the very least, it can signify a loss of power. So I wouldn’t recommend that you ever utter the words, “Would you like to go out with me?” to any men.

This doesn’t contradict anything I’ve said before, because God knows, I’m not an advocate of women acting like helpless, shrinking violets. Not at all. But there’s a difference between asking a man out and getting a man to ask you out. I vote strongly for the latter.

There’s a difference between asking a man out and getting a man to ask you out.

So let’s get this straight:

Women asking men out? No.

Women using all their feminine wiles to get men to ask them out? Yes.

So what are these feminine wiles of which I speak? Besides your everyday, run-of-the-mill flirtation, there are TONS of things a woman can do to aid in her own dating process.

Let’s say you’re at a party and you see a cute guy across the room. Your friend tells you to go up and ask him out. But you’ve read this article and you know that he probably won’t respond to such a direct approach. What are you gonna do? How can you take action to make HIM take action?

So, if you see a man   you want to meet, how can you meet him? By putting yourself in the position to meet him. You can cross the room, park yourself seven feet to his diagonal, turn and smile. Now that he’s in your line of sight, he has an opportunity to make eye contact with you. And when men make eye contact with you when you’re smiling, that’s their invitation to come over and introduce themselves.

Result: Woman takes action. Man makes a move. Woman stays in control and keeps her feminine energy.

It’s important to understand this dynamic when we get to Danielle’s next question.

2) Is it true that a man is “really not that into you” if he’s not asking you out?

Yes. Kind of…. See, we men know, and have been conditioned, and may even have the biological imperative, to be the “aggressors”. For better or worse, this is the way society is set up. Men ask out women. We ask them to prom. We ask them to go steady. We ask them if they want to have sex. We ask them if they will marry us. Women are the gatekeepers to what we want. When that energy shifts, it often throws us for a loop.

This is why women shouldn’t push men for sex. Or ask men to commit. Or ask men to marry them. It’s not that they shouldn’t desire these things; it’s that generally, the man asks and the woman says yes/no.

But there are some men who don’t embrace these traditional roles — not because they’re iconoclasts or neo-feminists, but simply because they’re shy or insecure. Unless you give them the key to your heart and half-way unlock the door, they’re never going to get inside. Mostly because they’re afraid of rejection and don’t want to put themselves out there.

If you have the hots for the cute, quiet guy in IT, he may be totally into you, but be too shy to do anything.

So where does this leave a woman with a crush? Depends on the guy. With guys who are alpha male types — confident, secure, good with women — yeah, if he’s not asking you out, he’s just not that into you. Type A men know that they need to ask out women, and are usually adept at doing so. However, if you have the hots for the cute, quiet guy in IT, he may be totally into you, but be too shy to do anything.

That’s when it’s your job to make it easier for him. Not to ask him out, but to make it clear that you’re amenable to being asked out. Being flirtatious, hanging around his desk, joining him for lunch… As long as he knows that his advances will be well-received, he will probably make the advance.

And if he doesn’t?

Just ask him out.

It’s only rejection. Guys deal with it every day.

(And yeah, I’m contradicting myself, but only for shy guys!)