Why Women Don’t Have to Ask Out Men

Sadie Hawkins Day is famous as a day when girls take the initiative by inviting the boy of their choice out on a date

If you go to Wikipedia and read up on the 1937 origins, it’s not nearly as empowering:

“In Li’l Abner, Sadie Hawkins was the daughter of one of Dogpatch’s earliest settlers, Hekzebiah Hawkins. The “homeliest gal in all them hills,” she grew frantic waiting for suitors. When she reached the age of 35, still a spinster, her father was worried about Sadie living at home for the rest of her life. In desperation, he called together all the unmarried men of Dogpatch and declared it “Sadie Hawkins Day”. A foot race was decreed, with Sadie pursuing the town’s eligible bachelors. She was specifically interested in a handsome boy named Adam who was already in a courtship with a cute girl, Theresa, whose father was the area’s largest potato farmer and, unlike Sadie, had a number of courtship offers. Adam was invited to the race because Miss Theresa and Adam weren’t actually engaged. With matrimony as the consequence of losing the foot race, the bachelors of the town were running for their freedom. Adam scored fourth place out of 10, leaving John Jonston as Sadie’s prize.”

Because if a man likes you, he pretty much knows it’s his job to ask you out. And if he hasn’t asked you out, he probably doesn’t like you all that much. Sounds logical doesn’t it?

That’s neither here nor there, but I thought it was interesting. Over 80 years later, we still have a culture where men are the primary initiators of interest and women debate whether or not they should ask out men.

My take: you CAN but you shouldn’t HAVE to. Because if a man likes you, he pretty much knows it’s his job to ask you out. And if he hasn’t asked you out, he probably doesn’t like you all that much. Sounds logical doesn’t it? And yet, according to Kate Neuman, writing in the New York Times a few months back, women should ask out men even more.

“As the MeToo movement threatens to uproot the patriarchal assumption of women as objects, we need to recognize that women’s self-denial is connected to the mentality that allows men to believe that our desire is their prerogative. Our conditioned passivity leaves a vacuum that male narcissism fills with its version of us.

Until it is no big deal for a woman to say, “I want,” as well as “I don’t want” — until heterosexual women no longer feel the need to wait for the man to propose or to invite us to the prom or to kiss us on a beautiful summer evening when we want to kiss — we leave ourselves at the mercy of men’s desires.

Sadie Hawkins should be any and every day we choose.”

I don’t think that expecting a man to ask you out is an act of “self-denial” as much as it is an act of common sense. The vast majority of 30+ men picked up on the idea that it’s their job to approach. How many adult men are passively waiting for women to make the first move? And how many of those men do you actually want to date?

Listen, I know stories of women who asked out their boyfriends. Hell, I probably would have liked being asked out as a nice guy who wasn’t too confident when he was younger.

Then again, nothing is preventing you from asking out men. Go ahead, do it. What you’ll likely discover – especially with a man you already know – is that the reason he hasn’t asked you out is that he’s not interested. If he was, he would have done it himself.

Thus, it doesn’t hurt to take things in your own hands, but, to me, the blessing of being a woman is that if you’re out and about and smiling and flirting, you can rest assured that (most) interested men will express their interest.

Men, on the other hand, can’t wait to be approached.

Which is exactly why we don’t.

Your thoughts, below, are appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    MilkyMae

    1930s was before my time but I had several great(great) aunts from that time who never married. The 1930s was difficult time for women to find a husband. Men were out of work and deaths/disabilities from WW1 didn’t help. If there aren’t enough men and/or you are not meeting men, you need to do more than hope.
    BTW. If you are out and about smiling and flirting with men, you may ask men out without even realizing it. When you are happy and comfortable, nice words pop out of your mouth. Many people in relationships aren’t sure who did the asking.

  2. 2
    Ashanti

    So true!

  3. 3
    Chris

    I agree that a woman shouldn’t have to specifically ask out a man if she’s interested in him. By flirting with him, she gives him the signal she’s interested and there’s a decent chance she’ll say yes if asked, and the balls in his court. This requires she be decent at flirting, which I think is a skill that women (and men) can develop.

    the blessing of being a woman is that if you’re out and about and smiling and flirting, you can rest assured that (most) interested men will express their interest.

    I’m not sure what you mean by this though Evan. Targeted flirting with a man she’s interested in is one thing. But just going about the day lightly flirting with strange men that cross her path and expecting them to ask her out? Women usually don’t appreciate being asked out by complete strangers, except maybe for such venues as bars and parties. Most men know that such “cold approaching”, outside of these few select venues, is a waste of time. Furthermore, it seems to be classified as “street harassment” now. Actually, asking out strange women you barely know is a nerve wracking experience for most men and they won’t do it.

     

    1. 3.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Disagree. Some men are too afraid to ask you out. Those men don’t get the privilege of going out with you. Sucks for them. For men with enough confidence to try – whether it’s in real life or online – you do not have to ask them out because if they want to meet you, they will do the asking. It’s not all that complicated.

      1. 3.1.1
        Yet Another Guy

        @Evan

        While I agree with you in theory, they reality is that confidence with women stems from being successful with women.  You and I both became confident through experience, but that was because we received more “yes” and than “no” answers.  That is not the experience of the 80% of men who women overlook.

      2. 3.1.2
        Chris

        I mostly agree with you. I just disagree that if a woman is going about her day and smiling and being friendly she can expect sexy strange men to come up and ask her out. Few men can ask out strange women they haven’t met before. They need to have known her, at least for a short while, first. And being asked out by strange men in public is apparently usually disconcerting and unpleasant.

        1. Clare

          I don’t know, Chris.

          I know this post is not about individual women and that what I say is only anecdotal, but I have been hit on by:

          * The cashier at the supermarket;

          * A complete stranger at a showjumping tournament while I was waiting for my friend to arrive;

          * A complete stranger at a pub while I was waiting for my friend to arrive;

          * A guy who jogged past me while I was out walking and had my headphones on;

          * Numerous guys I’d never met before at bars and nightclubs during my clubbing days. Hell, this happened to me at a Halloween party and while out having quiet drinks at my local with a friend, just in the last few months.

          These are just ones I can think of off the top of my head. These were not insanely good looking or impressive guys. Just guys with balls. It’s not at all unusual.

      3. 3.1.3
        Wanderer

        Evan, I generally agree with this but I have so many caveats and I’m curious to hear your thoughts on them:

        1) Most of my life, I’ve let men pursue me and not been very helpful or sympathetic to men who couldn’t bother to take the initiative. The result is that I’ve dated a bunch of very masculine alphas. I’m starting to realize this type of man might not be the best match for me. When I look back, I feel like I recognize lots of quieter, sensitive men who were probably interested in me but didn’t take the initiative to ask me out. What’s wrong with hand-holding these guys a bit through the courtship, especially if they might be better partners for me in the long run? And how should I do so? Is it ok to drop a hint like “we should get dinner/go for a hike sometime” for those who seem to like me but aren’t asking me out? Or what about “hey, I like you, do you like me?” for the guys who seem totally googly-eyed but can’t seem to get it together to make a move?

        2) Likewise, I’m marginally a public figure/an influencer (ew). I often wonder if the kind of guys I want to date are a little intimidated by me, and not the kind of guy to make a bold cold approach. A lot of the men who do make bold approaches to me I often suspect fall somewhere on the player spectrum/guys who love to chase difficult women. I feel like if I just sit back and let the men come to me, I’m sorting through a bunch of questionable dudes. Is this an irrational fear?

        3) A lot of the men I meet, I meet initially on a professional basis. I get the sense that some of them would be interested in dating me but are wary of crossing the line and creeping me out. How do I give them permission to ask me out?

        4) Finally, what about when you’ve come out of a long-term relationship? How do you let the guys who approached you or flirted with you or were interested in you during your relationship — until you told them you were taken — know that you’re open for business again (gross), without it being a tacky/desperate turn-off?

  4. 4
    Emily, to

    As much as I hate to agree with this post, because I think a woman should be able to go after whatever man she wants and I hate having to wait to be picked and sit around like a passive flower, the problem is that if a woman does the initial approach work, he’s either not that interested or too shy. If it’s the former, she could end up having to nudge the dating interactions/calls along while he goes along for the ride. If it’s the latter, she could end up having to take on the role of sexual aggressor, at least in the very beginning, which turns a lot of women off, unless that’s the role she likes to take on.

    1. 4.1
      D_M

      Emily,

      It’s simply the road not traveled. Who knows how “ex-coworker” would have responded if you made the call. Sexual banter is likely to provide more insight than whether or not he makes the first move.

      1. 4.1.1
        Emily, to

        D_M,

        It’s simply the road not traveled. Who knows how “ex-coworker” would have responded if you made the call.

        I missed a one-night stand with someone I’d never see again. I was moving hours away. I’m ok with that.

        Sexual banter is likely to provide more insight than whether or not he makes the first move.

        Completely disagree. Banter, flirtation mean nothing.  90% of flirting is just something to do. I know a man is serious if he makes a direct offer. Then I have something to work with and can decide if I want to run with it or not.

    2. 4.2
      Nissa

      Yes, 100%. I say this as someone who believes in equality and feminism and the idea that men might just be a little shy or awkward. That being so, for years I tried to “make it easy” for men by asking them out or just being really friendly. In response, I got grabbed, propositioned, went on a few dates that I paid for (because, hey, it was her idea), and ended up marrying someone whose general attitude toward me was “meh”. I’m very much with Evan when he says his focus is on what is effective, vs “how things should be”. I tried being the one asking for dates. It was profoundly ineffective in achieving my goals. In addition, it wasted my time and subjected me to a lot of inappropriateness. Almost universally, the men I asked on dates interpreted this behavior as my being either desperate or up for sex (neither of which was true). The ones that didn’t think that, seemed both bemused and bewildered, like they didn’t know what to do. I had expected men to be flattered, but since they viewed my behavior as desperate or sexual, they weren’t flattered. In fact, they seemed to feel that they were expected to put out, which they seemed to feel was surprisingly distasteful.

      So this experiment was a massive failure, both for me and the men involved. Like Emily, to, I despised having to wait to be picked and sit around like a passive flower. It was completely incompatible with my beliefs about being able to achieve what I wanted in life if I just tried hard enough and was direct enough about what I wanted. It was crushing to me that something I wanted so badly was essentially contingent on the whims of others.

      That’s when I really started to pay attention to what men want. Not because I agreed with it, approved of it or was even angered by it. I needed to understand it so that I could achieve my desires, by baiting my hook with whatever men found most desirable. I needed to understand why doing what most men said to do, had the opposite effect.

      As archaic as The Rules seem to be, it’s founded on principals that are very effective. People value things they work for more than things that come easily. People value things after they have invested, not before. It’s why having men pay for things is an important component. It’s the investment that generates value. For whatever biological reason, women value relationship at a lower level of investment, which results in the lopsided appearance of this dating behavior.

      1. 4.2.1
        Jeremy

        It’s funny, Nissa, I’d like to think that men would like women to ask them out.  That I’d like to have been asked out in my youth, having been shy myself.  But is the advice for women to ask men out equivalent to all the bad dating advice for men out there?  The things women think “should” be true about themselves but aren’t?  Maybe.  Not sure.

        Only once in my youth was I asked out.  I was at a club with a group of people waiting for a chance to leave (I hate noisy, pretentious places), when a woman approached me at the bar and struck up a conversation.  I was so surprised I didn’t even really know what to do.  She asked for my number and I politely declined.  It was just so against the social script I’d internalized.  I had nothing against it in principle, in fact I liked the principle, but I just had zero experience with the dynamic.

        I was a person who needed signals from a woman before I’d ask her out.  If I didn’t think she was interested at all, I generally wouldn’t ask.  So if a woman was interested in a man like me, she’d have done well to learn to flirt directly (not generally), in a way that makes it difficult not to understand.  Advice that a man with confidence will ask you out if he wants would have weeded me out, unless it was tempered with advice to express your interest overtly.

        We’ve often disagreed on what “overtly” means on this blog.  Nassim Taleb writes that “a woman who calls a man smart is sometimes saying that he is handsome.”  The sometimes is the problem.  Those with the intent think the intent should be obvious.  Those without think the without should be obvious.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          I highly encourage flirting – on and offline – so he has the signals and opening to ask her out. I don’t generally recommend asking men out.

        2. Jeremy

          I know, Evan, and in the end I think the advice is good in most cases.  Nissa’s comment just surprised me by turning the narrative I like to present on its head – by describing the advice for women to ask men out as advice that men give women about themselves that is bad advice, in spite of the fact that it’s about themselves.  I think often about the reverse, and have never before been presented with a solid example of the gender-flipped equivalent.

      2. 4.2.2
        D_M

        Nissa,

        I’m not following your last sentence. “For whatever biological reason, women value relationship at a lower level of investment, which results in the lopsided appearance of this dating behavior.” Expand on that a little more for me.

        Men know that we are expected to pay for things, so we pay for things. If the happy medium could be achieved by buying tools and working on the house, a larger number of men would do just that. Discussions about those little teal boxes would never come up in the jockstrap circles. Having men pay for stuff is only meaningful with men who subscribe to the view that monetary expenditure equals affection.

        1. Nissa

          D-M,

          What I mean by this is that women (in general) have more interest in relationships than men do. Men tend to be satisfied with less talk, less contact and less commitment (again, in general). Since women already, intrinsically value relationship, it takes less investment to interest her. Men, by virtue of having less interest, require more investment (focus, time and money) to get them to the level that matches the level of the woman he’s dating.  It’s not based on tradition or expectation – it’s functional. And it’s not limited to men. Women also invest more when they have to work harder for it. That’s why women who have sex with a man, tend to chase him longer and harder than is generally warranted by his behavior. It’s because she has invested, which literally changes her feelings toward him. That’s why it’s a losing strategy for a woman to be sexual right away. It increases her investment in him, and increases her feelings for him.But since the woman tends to be more interested and invested initially, this leads to an ongoing imbalance between the two. If the woman refrains from sex, and requires the man to initiate, plan and pay, it balances investment and interest between them.

          I’ll give you an example. I have a dog who was born with a birth defect in his eye. I had to medicate him, starting twice daily, then up to 4 times daily. After multiple vet visits, I ended up having to remove his eye via an expensive surgery. He became my favorite, over his sister that I got at the same time, who was objectively easier and better  behaved. The acts of caretaking  (the focus, time and money) invested me in him in a way that I would not have been invested without that. It changed my feelings about him.

          By extension, a woman who would like to have a man be more interested in her, would do well to require him to be the one that initiates, plans and pays. It invests him and changes his feeling, usually in a way that matches the level of feeling already present in the woman. That’s why a woman of integrity will not continue to date a man once she has determined that she is not interested in him. She knows that the process itself will tend to cause an increase in feeling. That is why women who find they have no interest in their date, insist on paying. It’s a way to decrease his interest in her and mitigate his costs (in the name of fairness) simultaneously.

          IMO none of this is about hurting men or using men in any way. It’s a functional way to create balance of interest in a burgeoning relationship. Once the relationship is established, a woman’s ongoing investment via sex and management of his household tend to keep her invested. Men continuing to initiate, plan and pay keeps him invested. Both are flexible enough to be maintained even when the woman pays for some things, or does more of the planning, such as when children are involved. Working on the house does count as part of the man’s investment. BUT – if either one discontinues the behavior, the function ceases, and disregard begins to grow.

          However, women tend to get saddled with kids (and kid costs) over time, so it’s harder to her to transition from this investment once it’s made. She no longer has the physical assets to make a new contract with someone else at the same level. She’s physically compromised in the way men feel financially compromised in divorce. But when money is replaced, it has equivalent value to what was held previously. The physical does not. IMO that is the basis for the traditions we saw in the past, which balanced that irreplaceable physical with finances.

        2. Emily, to

          Nissa,

          That’s why women who have sex with a man, tend to chase him longer and harder than is generally warranted by his behavior. 

          Its all the bonding hormones. A woman can be decently interested in the beginning (enough to accept dates and see where things go) and he ‘s pursuing her, but if she sleeps with him too soon, she becomes very interested, and then she’s chasing him. The whole things shifts. Maybe that’s why the men on here are pushing for sex so quickly. It’s a way too get women hooked and chasing them! 🙂 (It’s even worse if she really likes him and has sex too soon …. BAD news.) So I agree with you. A woman is best to hold back a little. It gives her time to see if she really likes the guy or likes him because she slept with him.  I think the only way women don’t get attached at all after sex is if they don’t like the guy. And who wants to do that?

      3. 4.2.3
        AdaGrace

        This is consistent with my experiences asking men out, something I was never reluctant to do but now reluctantly keep myself from doing.  Unfortunate, but more effective.

    3. 4.3
      Clare

      My experiences tally with Emily’s, Nissa’s and AdaGrace, and so I definitely think the advice being offered by Evan here is solid.

      I’m a very strong, independent woman, and like Emily and Nissa, I’ve had my efforts for going after what I wanted proactively rewarded in every other area of my life, so I saw no reason why it shouldn’t also work in dating. Every time I tried being the one to ask a guy out and get the dating process rolling, it backfired. That’s why I always gulp back a mouthful of skepticism when guys on this blog (and in real life) talk about how they’d love to be pursued by a woman. It’s not that we (women) are unwilling… we’ve just tried it and found it ineffective. I’d happily ask out a man I was drawn to and found interesting and attractive – I’m not shy at all; I’ve just learned that it’s not my role.

      That said, I’m not happy with an entirely passive role, and I’ve learned that there are plenty of ways women can nudge things along. Flirting is obviously a big one. Positive reinforcement, maneuvering things so that you can spend time together and responding in an encouraging way to his communications are others. Basically, making it as easy as possible for him to move things along.

      Of course – and this is probably not a very popular feminist notion – there is the effort we put in to being an “alluring” female as well. Being exciting and fun and charming… someone he wants to get to know more and also feels he could keep learning about you because you’ve got your own life going on. I dunno. I think there’s a great deal of power and proactivity about the kind of woman we present to the world and the guys we’d like to date.

      With my current boyfriend, he made 100% of the moves and took 100% of the initiative (still does most of the time), but I was not passive. I thought about the kind of person I wanted to be in a relationship, and I presented that.

      1. 4.3.1
        Emily, to

        Hi Clare,

        I agree with you that it’s not effective to go after a man. You either get someone who wasn’t interested enough to pursue you or someone who’s passive and you will be taking on the more assertive role in the relationship. If a woman is ok with that, it may work.

        Flirting is obviously a big one. Positive reinforcement, maneuvering things so that you can spend time together and responding in an encouraging way to his communications are others. Basically, making it as easy as possible for him to move things along.

        I understand what you’re saying, but these efforts don’t get someone interested. What I mean is … you can see someone you want and approach him, start the chatting and flirting … but he’s into your or he’s not. We’re still at the mercy of whether someone comes after us.

        1. Clare

          Emily,

          “You either get someone who wasn’t interested enough to pursue you or someone who’s passive and you will be taking on the more assertive role in the relationship. If a woman is ok with that, it may work.”

          I have been in the situation before (three times actually) where the guy was initially interested enough to ask me out, but then I had to take the initiative for us to keep seeing each other, and that is equally as bad. If you have to chase a man to get him to know you’re alive and to spend time with you at any point in the relationship, it’s just probably not worth your time.

          “What I mean is … you can see someone you want and approach him, start the chatting and flirting … but he’s into your or he’s not. We’re still at the mercy of whether someone comes after us.”

          Absolutely true.

          I have flirted with a guy and maneuvered myself into position and still come up empty handed a couple times.

          I just like to know that I’ve done something from my side if I’m interested in a guy. 🙂

      2. 4.3.2
        Tim

        And THIS here is why Katz champions sexist behavior from women in dating.

        A Man walks into a room with 10 women and only 1 is attracted to him. But if he becomes hesitant to keep approaching the last 3 after 7 rejections he is told by experts like Katz he’s not really confident and she’s better off without such a coward.

        But a woman in a room with 10 men with only 6 interested in her receives one rejection and all of a sudden she is told her APPROACHING him is what turned him off. I mean do women never consider that the few guys they asked out were NEVER INTERESTED in them to begin with.

        A guy gets rejected he is told “she wasn’t into you and she has that right” A woman gets rejected she is told “its NOT you, men just don’t like women asking them out”

        So Scarlet Johansson asks a guy out and I suppose Katz and his female audience just knows that the guy will run for the hills screaming you’re not attractive anymore because Me Man and Me Creave Chase.

        I’m not sure if it’s just sad or insulting to be told that women have evolved beyond cavemen antics (aren’t women on here always screaming about how the research that says women evolved to discriminate based height, money, etc and only choose those types of men is B.S) but at the same time they are disgusted with men who say they also have evolved beyond not being able to control an urge to chase and lose interest in women who ruin the chase by approaching. Of course these are the same women who almost riot calling it B.S when a man quotes the same caveman research that says his looking at other women, watching porn, and wanting multiple sex partners.

        So I guess the science on mating is only valid when it supports women???

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Welcome, Tim. We haven’t had a troll in awhile. I’m sure you’ll find our demeanor to be slightly more hospitable than MGTOW sites in that you won’t be called a “mangina” around here.

          As to your above statement, it’s reflective of your own experience (and bias), the same way women’s bias is implicit in their statements. However, I’m an impartial observer whose loyalty is to truth, not to a specific gender. So…

          I understand if you don’t want to be rejected by 10 women in a bar in one night. I didn’t either. That’s why I got good at online dating. I had more time to be clever in my marketing/emailing, I didn’t have to face the sting of face to face rejection, and I was less likely to be judged on pure looks. I recommend this to you if you’re open to it.

          I was really confused about your statement in which a woman gets rejected and is told “It’s not you, men just don’t like women asking them out.” Of course, it’s flattering to be asked out. Of course, no one would run from Scarlett Johanssen. But Scarlett Johanssen surely knows that she does not HAVE to ask out anybody and she will still have limitless opportunity. Why? Because men who are interested – online or offline – for the most part, know it’s their responsibility to take action. If you fail to take action, because you’re tired, sad, and insecure, then guess what? Some OTHER guy is going to get to go out with Scarlett Johanssen, not you.

          You want to come here to complain life isn’t fair. You’re right. It’s not. Men can get grey and heavy and still be seen as attractive. Men have more dating options at 50 than they do at 20. Men are happier than women when having sex without commitment. And you’re all “Whoa is me” because women prefer when men ask them out? Yep. That’s the way it works. I didn’t invent it. I’m just observing it. Same way I report that it’s normal for men to look at other women, look at porn and want multiple sex partners.

          So I guess your accusations of me favoring women are a little dimmer, aren’t they?

        2. Emily, to

          tim,

          A guy gets rejected he is told “she wasn’t into you and she has that right” A woman gets rejected she is told “its NOT you, men just don’t like women asking them out”

          I think most women know that a man turning them down means they aren’t interested. The meaning of no is pretty universal.

        3. Adrian

          Hi Emily,

          You said, “I think most women know that a man turning them down means they aren’t interested. ”

          Yikes! I agree with Evan, this is either a troll or someone who is deeply hurting… Anyway, would you explain what I’m not seeing? If it’s just a case of duh he’s not attracted to me why every time this subject comes up women always say they were rejected BECAUSE they approached and not because he didn’t like me? It’s always used as a justification as to why women shouldn’t approach.

        4. Emily, to

          Adrian,

          It’s always used as a justification as to why women shouldn’t approach.

          I never wrote women shouldn’t approach. I wrote they shouldn’t chase after or ask out. Read my response to Clare.

          I just read a piece on askmen.com about women asking men out and a guy wrote about being at a bar with his friends. He ended up sitting next to a woman and they talked. When he got up to leave, she told him she wanted to go out with him and asked for his number. He admitted to being surprised by the role reversal but also admitted to not wanting to go and saying no. Surely if he’d wanted to go he would have said yes.

        5. Clare

          Tim & Emily,
          “A guy gets rejected he is told “she wasn’t into you and she has that right” A woman gets rejected she is told “its NOT you, men just don’t like women asking them out.”
          Haha, I’d love to know who is telling women that. Because it’s certainly not our girlfriends (who are telling us “He’s Just Not That Into You”) or our guy friends (who are telling us, “if he was interested in you, he would have asked you out”) or dating coaches, who are saying “Sure, give it a shot and ask the guy out, but an interested guy will ask you out if you are warm and flirtatious.” And lo and behold, that is what we find in real life.

          I understand men do the asking out so they experience a lot of rejection in that way. But they do not have the market cornered on rejection. There’s plenty to go around, and women experience their fair share. Aside from the initial first date asking out, women can get rejected at any point from then onwards. Most women who have been dating for any length of time have had plenty of knockbacks, I can assure you.

           

        6. Yet Another Guy

          @Tim

          A guy gets rejected he is told “she wasn’t into you and she has that right” A woman gets rejected she is told “its NOT you, men just don’t like women asking them out”

          I am usually the dark cloud on this site, but you have topped me in this blog entry by a considerable margin.  The reality is that men pursue, women accept or reject.  It is one of the few traditional gender roles that has escaped feminism.  I agree that it sucks getting turned down by women, but that is the price of playing the game.  The beauty of being the pursuer is that you get to select the women you approach.  The pursued has to hope that a person in whom they are interested approaches.  Yet, most women will still take those odds instead of facing the specter of active rejection.

          With that said, I do agree that it does not matter if a woman in whom an emotionally mature man is interested approaches or he approaches ( even if he is confident, there are reasons why a guy who is interested will not approach, especially if we are taking about the modern workplace).  It does not make a bit of difference because a guy who is into a woman is into her.  Nothing short of being a total basket case is going to change that opinion, so, yes, the “men do not like being asked out” argument is a lie that many women tell themselves in order to avoid active rejection.  The reality is that women are significantly more selective than men.  There is just no way around that truth (if you did not have to risk active rejection in order to get a date, you would become more selective as well).  Remove part of the sting of active rejection, as occurs on dating sites, and women are more likely to initiate contact.

        7. Adrian

          Hi Emily,

          You said, “I never wrote women shouldn’t approach. I wrote they shouldn’t chase after or ask out. Read my response to Clare.”

          I know you never said that Emily (^_^). You are the only regular commentor that says that she approaches a guy, that’s why Chance, myself and a few others use to call you an outlier.

          I was surprised to see Tom10’s blog jaded side in a recent comment (though he often spoke about suffering from it) I think perhaps you to are affected? I was just asking your thoughts not attacking or accusing you my friend (^_^).

        8. Tron Swanson

          “…but that is the price of playing the game.”

          To quote one of my favorite movies, “The only winning move is not to play.”

          Ironically, I’m in the same position as many of the women in this thread. Though I’ve never asked out a woman, I’ve spent far too much time pursuing them…and it’s never really worked for me. So, like them, I’ve ceased to carry out an unproductive strategy.

          Asking someone out usually fails, regardless of gender. Women say, “See, it doesn’t work. I’ll sit back and wait for men to ask me out.” Men say, “See, it doesn’t work. But I want sex, so I guess I have to keep trying.” Women can get away with being passive; men force themselves to do something stupid.

        9. Emily, to

          Adrian,

          You are the only regular commentor that says that she approaches a guy, that’s why Chance, myself and a few others use to call you an outlier.

          I will approach a guy. I am shy but I get frustrated with myself and push through it. 

          I was surprised to see Tom10’s blog jaded side in a recent comment (though he often spoke about suffering from it) I think perhaps you to are affected? I was just asking your thoughts not attacking or accusing you my friend (^_^).

          I know you weren’t attacking me, but you are right. I need to get off this blog. The redundancy of the comments is starting to irritate me. I think I’m going through a period of general irritation. I have to get a new job. Have been trying for 2. 5 months. No luck and my hope is waning. I’m about to go in now for what is going to be at least a 10-hour day. I dread it.

  5. 5
    camille

    What if you have gone out a few times, does the rule still apply? I don’t like asking for the first date, but date number four, five or six?? Is that more acceptable?

  6. 6
    Chelsea Malesa

    I agree whole heartedly with Evan. Women most seem to use the excuse of ‘he’s probably just shy!’ Or ‘he’s probably too intimidated!’ And to that I simply always say, do you truly want to be with a man who’s too wimpy or intimidated to ask you out? If he’s not confident enough to ask for a date, he’s probably not going to be confident enough to make the first sexual move, plan a proposal, etc. total turnoff for me personally. I’ll never ask a man out again simply because I’m turned off by guys that aren’t interested in me, and turned off by guys who may find me intimidating.

    1. 6.1
      No Name To Give

      I’d take it a step further. When I was still dating, any guy that said after the first date, “call me if you want to get together again” never got that call from me. He was either just killing time with me until someone better came along or wanted to get me to chase after him.

  7. 7
    K

    I made the first move in my relationship (been dating him almost a month, Thanks Evan!) and here’s what I learned:

    He thought I was a bot.

    He said he couldn’t believe a woman as sexy as me would contact him because most of the “women” on internet dating sites are bots.  Sexy picture, generic profile, scripted conversation.  He scrolled past my photo several times and never bothered to click on it because I was too attractive.  Even after I messaged him, and he replied, and I messaged again, it took him two days to convince himself that I wasn’t a bot.  The reason he realized I wasn’t a bot was (following Evan’s advice) I had a very unique profile.  And, when I messaged him, I mentioned local things as well as things from his profile.

    I asked him to meet first, too.  He said until we met, he kept expecting me to ask for a credit card number or direct him to a porn site.  I wasn’t real to him until we met.  Now, he’s on my like flees on a hound (sorry, not a particularly romantic image, but you get the point) and is always asking when he can see me next.

    The current guy is not the first guy to complain about bots on internet dating sites.  If men are scrolling past our picture because they see us as little more than “fake news,” or fear that they’ll ask for a date and we’ll suggest a “pay-per-view” porn site, then we women are going to have to take the initiative.

    Just my two cents worth.

    1. 7.1
      Yet Another Guy

      @K

      I will admit that I “next” profiles with professionally-shot photos because it looks like a setup.

    2. 7.2
      D_M

      This subject has come up before, but I always find it fascinating.  Women are apprehensive about asking out a guy that appeals to you. A guy that checks your would like to get to know him box, for because he asked me out. It comes across as a recipe for discontentment. Shouldn’t you be finishing in the salmon stream, rather than hoping salmon is mixed in with the trout?

      1. 7.2.1
        K

        @D_M
        Your analogy isn’t quite correct since trout and salmon swim in the same rivers.  Also, steelhead offer just as much sport at salmon and are just as tasty, though, I prefer the pink-fleshed mackinaw (lake trout) who come from waters inhabited by mysis shrimp.  The texture and flavor is superior to salmon and lake trout are much easier to come by.  Anglers, like women, enjoy a good catch no matter the species.

        As for the rest, aren’t women better off by proving their humanity to a good catch who fears they’re a bot over dating the guy whose message consists of a carefully crafted “Sup?” accompanied by a photo depicting his torso, but per terms of service does not extend so low as to show they only head he thinks with?

    3. 7.3
      Gab

      My ex-bf said exactly the same thing about my profile. He thought my profile sounded too unique to be a bot, but that my friendliness and attractiveness made him question whether I was real. He said that within the first few days of being matched, we had exchanged more words (texts) than all his previous matches combined.

      In regards to women doing the asking out, I think it’s case by case. If I’m just meeting a match but not overly optimistic I’ll suggest a coffee somewhere local to me. If I’m very keen and there’s good online/phone rapport I’ll let them plan a date.

      1. 7.3.1
        K

        @Gab

        I don’t advocate for planning a big evening date.  But I do think it’s beneficial to suggest meeting for coffee at lunch, simply to prove you’re real.  After that, if the guy wants to date, the ball is in his court.

  8. 8
    Tron Swanson

    As the rare guy who’s never asked out a woman, I suppose I should chime in. I don’t blame women for not asking out guys–the whole thing sounds terrifying, to me. I’ve dealt with enough rejection as it is; I don’t need to open myself up to even more. I’m a cautious, risk-averse kind of person. Of course, I never liked the idea of dating, anyway, so I didn’t have much motivation. And these days, I have motivation not to do it. Combining my legendary lack of social skills and the current MeToo climate…if I bungled something on my end, or if the woman misinterpreted or misunderstood, I could be in serious trouble.

    Some women are very, very good at making it clear they’re interested, but without actually asking the guy out. When I was younger, a few girls practically threw themselves at me, and I was either too blind or too nervous to see it. I eventually learned to pick up on those deafeningly-loud signals. I’ve technically never had a woman ask me out…but my long-term (for me) girlfriends did tell me that we should get married, as did a long-term FWB, so maybe I kinda got proposed to? I’ve actually had some very serious and detailed marriage offers, come to think of it. This is why I fear that many women are struggling–they shouldn’t have to bother with the likes of me…

  9. 9
    Olongapo

    Bwahahaha!!!!  All of this intellectualizing and deconstruction belies the fact that being “rejected” is tough.  Most men learn how to handle rejection from a very young age and the smart ones learn to calibrate well with indicators of interest.  I believe that women don’t handle rejection well but, I don’t think that’s a cultural thing.  I believe this is hardwired into the biology because they’re at higher physical risk if they pick wrong.  What I’ve observed lately is that men are real gunshy these days for a number of reasons.  Some have been taken to the cleaners in a divorce, some have seen friends or co-workers #metooed (yes, that’s a verb these days), and some have realized for whatever reason, the juice just ain’t worth the squeeze.  This all complicates matters for a lot of women looking for a partner.  My recommendation is to develop some “wingmen” to practice on to develop skills.  Safe guys:  Brothers, safe co-workers, etc., to develop your chops to put men at ease and to decrease your own anxiety levels about potential rejection.  Men who don’t want to have sex with you will tell you bluntly what they like because “we”, like to be helpful (that’s one of our system features).  Personally, I’ve been hit on by women a lot and some I’ll go out with and some I won’t.  It feels real good to get asked out……even for coffee.  Men, like women, love to know they’re desirable.  Good luck with this!!

    1. 9.1
      James

      “All of this intellectualizing and deconstruction belies the fact that being “rejected” is tough.”

      Exactly. We can talk in circles and cloud this issue till the cows come home, but in the end what it all boils down to is nobody likes being rejected. Women in particular want to avoid rejection, even when they think the risk of rejection is small. When women claim it doesn’t work for them to chase men, what they are really saying is it doesn’t work for them to be rejected by men. Yet they seem to think it works just fine for men to be rejected by women.

      OK, so we know women don’t like being the pursuers because they understandably hate being rejected. But as it’s been mentioned, the prevailing socio/political climate these days (#MeToo, “toxic masculinity”, etc) has made it very daunting for men to risk pursuing women. Men who assertively pursue women are risking legal problems, career problems, financial problems, and a shattered reputation, whereas women who pursue men are essentially just risking a bruised ego.

      Even bold, confident men can believe their advances are considered predatory and unwelcome in this environment, and they can feel guilty until proven innocent just by virtue of being male. So if a woman expects a man to pursue her in this day and age she needs to make it very clear, as in CRYSTAL clear, that this is EXACTLY what she wants – no ifs, ands, or buts about it. And that means no more coy and cagey hard-to-get games from her as well.

      But the problem for her is that by making her interest so glaringly obvious she now risks rejection the same as if she had been the pursuer, since the lines have now been blurred in terms of who is chasing who. So at this point she may as well just abandon all pretense and pursue men to her heart’s content with no apologies.

      Or, she can always just wait around and hope for one of these gun-shy men to pursue her…but she might have to wait a long, long time.

  10. 10
    Jenn

    I can confirm from experience that showing interest, asking men out, flirting, or passing them your number when you think they’re cute are all mistakes I have made in the past. In my late teens and early 20s, I could have saved myself a lot of heartache had I been properly forewarned against chasing men.

    Alas, I came of age in the 90s when The Spice Girls’ “Girl Power!” was all the rage and feminists were all insisting that calling a girl a “chick” was sexist. I read Teen, YM and Seventeen magazine religiously, and they all said the same thing: “Boys TOTALLY love it when you ask them out!” and “37 Flirting Tips GUARANTEED to Work”. Uh, yeah, not-so-much.

    My first boyfriend was a guy who flirted with my friend before he met me. She pointed him out to me because she was so turned off by him she wanted to make fun of him with me, but I was intrigued and asked her to introduce me. I passed him my number through her before I left – I was too chicken to give it to him myself, but she had no problem talking to him of course. We dated a few months before he broke up with me over the phone. I later found out that he’d blatantly flirted with her at a party in our friend’s basement while I was there. This was a couple months after we’d met. Thinking back now, I sometimes wonder how disappointed he must’ve been when she came to him with my phone number and not hers. I was 17 at the time and really, it wasn’t that bad. I wasn’t that into him.

    It didn’t get much better after that. I fell HARD for a guy at work a couple years later. He was exactly my type and he was a rookie cop part-time, just working at the clothing store to make ends meet until his career took off. For almost an entire year I was obsessed with this guy. I practically followed him around like a lost puppy dog and he, of course, knew how much I liked him and tried to use it to his advantage. I made a fool of myself in front of all my coworkers because they all knew how crazy I was about him.

    I flirted very suggestively, thinking it would help him see me as a “woman” and not just some girl he worked with. Well, it did make him see me as a woman – a woman he wanted to have sex with! He tried to make that happen but I declined his advances.

    I still tried to get him to see what an awesome girl I was so he’d fall for me. When I found out he actually had a girlfriend the entire time I’d been practically throwing myself at him, I was devastated and humiliated. After I finally realized he was never going to be into me, I stopped trying and completely ignored him.

    Funnily enough, that’s when HE started coming around ME, just for the attention of course. I was an ego boost to him so when I withdrew my attention, he felt the need to seek it out again.

    Things still didn’t get much better after that. I met a guy through a friend about a year later. We made out at a party and I was completely hooked on the guy after that, but after asking my friend for my number and setting up a day to go out, he completely stood me up and never called again. Months later, he came to see my friend where we worked one night and approached me again. He wondered what had happened and I had to remind him he’d stood me up. That night, the three of us hung out at his house and he got quite cozy with me on the couch. After my friend left, he tried to show me around the house (at 3am) but since I knew where this was heading, I said good night.

    That kicked off about a year of agony (for me) because this guy was a master at keeping girls on the hook but never actually delivering. Every time we hung out together with my friend, he was all over me, flirting, touching, hugging, saying we should go out, blah blah, etc.

    But then, nothing. No call, no date, nada. Hard to believe, but I made an even bigger ass of myself with this guy than I had the last. This one, I actually chased down all the way to Wal-Mart when I called my friend’s house to find out where they were and her mom told me they were there shopping.

    I knew they were hanging out and that the “bitch” hadn’t invited me on purpose (she could see what was going on even if I was totally blind). They were quite surprised to see me there and they left without inviting me along. Naturally, I was crushed.

    I finally got a clue when our friends announced their engagement. I was to be a bridesmaid and he was to be the best man – perfect scenario if he really wanted me to be his date, right? WRONG. He asked a friend he’d been in love with since high school, who never returned his interest, to be his date. I was 21 and that was as close to heartbroken as I have ever been without being in a relationship with someone. Since I’ve never actually been in a relationship my entire adult life, I’m kinda hoping maybe I can skip out on the whole heartbreak thing now, and just go straight to the happily-ever-after part and get married. We’ll see what happens.

    Even after those two idiots and all the valuable, if excruciating, lessons I’d learned while pining after them, I still didn’t quite learn the error of my ways. I took a few more times getting stood up or treated as nothing more than a friend or a potential booty call, before I figured out that it does. No. Good to try to chase men, to flirt with them, to try to arrange things so that the two of you just “happen” to run into each other.

    A couple years later I got a crush on a guy I’d worked with for years and never noticed until he took his shirt off in the parking lot. Once I saw how ripped he was, things changed! One day, we were at work talking about movies. He suggested I see “Alien Vs. Predator” because he had, and it was so awesome, at least according to him. I cocked my head to the side, smiled and said, “Yeah? So, are you going to go with me?”. He got flustered and said I should invite my friend to go see it.

    So, there was my answer. I was in my mid-20s by then. After that, I vowed never to flirt first, never to ask a guy out, never to do ANYTHING to signal my interest. I was done.

    I figured that because there had been guys who did like me and asked me out through no prompting on my part, that it was just better that way (even though I didn’t like any of the guys who liked me, unfortunately). My friend’s husband urged me to ask that last guy out on a real date. I told him there was no WAY I would ever do that again. He continued to press me and I asked him, “When you first got together with your wife, who asked who?” He said “I did.” I replied, “Exactly. You went after what you wanted. That’s what guys do when they like a girl.”

    I was on quite a long dating hiatus after that. I was in school and even though there were some cute guys at work, they showed zero interest in me and since I was done chasing men, I let it go and focused on school. In my early 30s I found The Rules and I was ecstatic. It explained literally every single mistake I had ever made with guys and completely affirmed my hard-earned view that pursuing men does NOT work.

    Sure, you may get what you want in the short term by initiating things. But the truth is, flirting with that cute guy and trying to get the ball rolling will only backfire in the end, because if you are not his look or his type of woman, no amount of “skillz” with flirting, etc, will keep him interested. He may keep you around for a little while because he just got dumped or he’s lonely and it’s been a while, but as soon as he finds the girl he really likes, you are donezo.

    I don’t believe in every single thing the authors of The Rules say to do, but I know this much: the right guy is the one who knows he wants me and pursues me. I won’t need to do anything to convince him except show up and be my sweet, happy, feminine self. For the right guy, that is going to be enough. I’ve seen dozens of stories of women who have gotten engaged and married after learning to date this way and they couldn’t be happier, even years later. I want nothing less for myself.

    1. 10.1
      Chris

      “except show up and be my sweet, happy, feminine self”

      then you would have already have flirted with them a bit beforehand.  Maybe longer if you already know them. You’ve engaged with them, bantered with them, joked around with them. That’s flirting. I was thinking there for a minute you were saying you could just walk around completely ignoring men while expecting them to throw themselves at you. That of course is not going to work.

       

       

      1. 10.1.1
        Jenn

        Chris,

        Actually, it has worked many times. I’ve gone to Meetups where I have barely noticed a guy and he later messages me on the site saying how beautiful he thought I was. I don’t flirt with guys, I’m just a naturally friendly, humorous person with everyone. To me, flirting suggests a certain sexual element of speech, tone and body language. I don’t do that. First, because I suck at it and would feel like an idiot. Second, since I’m a virgin who’s waiting until marriage for sex, I don’t advertise what ain’t for sale!

        1. Adrian

          Hi Jenn,

          I’m assuming that you are in your mid-late 30’s. If you found yourself turning 50 and was still single because of your desire to wait until marriage would you continue to wait or change your strategy?

        2. Jenn

          Adrian,

          It’s not a strategy. I decided to wait until marriage initially because once I turned 30, I figured eh, why not wait until marriage since it had taken this long to find love anyway. I didn’t imagine I’d still be single at this age (I’ll be 38 next month). I figured when I was throwing myself into the dating pool at age 32 that it would only take a couple years to find someone. In that time, I came to realize that waiting is the right thing to do because it’s what God wants for us. Sex wasn’t designed to be shared with every Tom, Dick and Harry that comes along and if it takes until age 50 to find the right guy, so be it. Michelle Hammond, a prominent Christian who’s written her story about finding first love at that age, would agree that it’s worth it. I’d rather be alone than with the wrong guy.

          Of course, to fall in love that means I actually need to get out and get found, as Pastor Mark Gungor would say. For the last four years I’ve been hiding myself away in part cuz I can hardly stand the thought of trying again (there have also been other life concerns, such as my current job situation not being very conducive to dating).

          I resolved to at least try to go to speed dating events when they’re held here once a month, but the idea of online dating again makes me cringe. Not only because of all the stress and disappointment, but because I’m a lot heavier and older than I was six years ago when I first started out, and bonus, I have horrible acne again because I swore off using hormonal birth control ever again when I had a related medical scare.

          I just hate the thought of going through all the trouble of getting photos taken, posting profiles and paying for memberships just to be largely ignored by men who want younger, thinner and more beautiful women. It doesn’t seem worth it even though I know it’s what I need to do if I’m to have any chance at all of getting to “I Do.”

          I guess all I can do is try to work on myself, get a job that’s more conducive to dating, and hope for the best, really. It takes as long as it takes. In God’s time, not mine.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          You are putting a lot of pressure on God to solve your dating woes, Jenn.

          Please join Love U when you get a chance. I really want to help you find a man who appreciates you, the way I’ve helped other Christian virgins to love.

  11. 11
    Lynx

    “What I’ve observed lately is that men are real gunshy these days for a number of reasons.”

    What I’ve observed among the single 20- and 30-something men in my family is that they are way too self-absorbed to pursue a woman. They’re focused on school  and/or work and/or hobbies. Don’t get me wrong — I love these guys. They’re totally decent, not users whatsoever. And they think they’d like to be in a relationship, but based on watching one opportunity after another sputter out, it appears what they really want is a rapt audience — there’s lots of concern with finding a woman who “gets” them, but far less interest in “getting” her.

    Maybe my family has unusually self-centered genetics and their behavior does not reflect a broader trend. It will be interesting to see if they ever pair up. If they do, it will be because a woman Sadie Hawkinsed them, but did so deftly, knowing how to massage an ego.

  12. 12
    Noquay

    Spot on Evan. If you have to approach a guy, he is either not interested, involved with someone else, socially awkward, or has some other serious emotional problem. I understand that men get rejected a lot but then, so do we women. As a Brown, highly educated, outspoken old chick currently living in a geographically undesirable area, I’m often rejected by the caliber of men I want (true peers) and will not waste my time with folk that are incompatible. I’m also more OK alone than being with someone I do not wish to be with. Lots of women need to learn this.

    Dating involves a great deal of emotional risk and if you cannot deal with that, don’t date. A confusing part of this whole flirting thing is the huge range of individual behaviors vs intent. I’m one who tries to be polite and kind to all but that often gets misunderstood as interest. I’m a good listener and conversationalist but never very sexual in public. On the other side, there are men who aggressively approach yet they have no interest and men that seem to be nearly indifferent and are actually interested.

  13. 13
    Adrian

    Hi Emily,

    You said, ” I need to get off this blog. The redundancy of the comments is starting to irritate me. I think I’m going through a period of general irritation.”

    It’s not the blog, it’s not even the commentors. It’s as you said: going over the same arguments again and again without feeling that the other side acknowledges or understands your struggle is the problem. The comments section feels like being trapped in a box with contentious people.

    You said, “I have to get a new job. Have been trying for 2. 5 months. No luck and my hope is waning. I’m about to go in now for what is going to be at least a 10-hour day. I dread it.

    If I remember correctly like me you moved to a new state/city for your new job. I also remember you went back to school to help you get that position so I can only imagine how unhappy you are with that job; especially because you did so much to end up in a place that doesn’t have any social connections at work or in the town.

    Just this weekend I was greatly angered by someone over this very subject. He is a local while I’m from another state so when I commented that it was hard to find friends here he blow me off saying it doesn’t matter and that perhaps I am the problem. Of course he can say it doesn’t matter he has both friends and family here. If I didn’t put in effort than I would agree with him that perhaps I was the problem, Seattle isn’t the only city with a freeze.

    So trust me when I say Emily that when you speak about your unsociable co-workers or your struggles to meet people in your city I understand. I looked into meetup but the few I found that I would be interested in the activities usually only had about 3-5 members who were all socially awkward guys… I think they only joined to find women and not to actually make friends. The groups with 300 plus members are just to big.

    1. 13.1
      Noquay

      I understand Emily too. Some places, regardless of how hard we try, we just cannot bloom where we are planted. Very frustrating when one has worked hard to get the job, the home, made the land into something functional. I’ve also been told “ it’s you” by locals who don’t want me to leave but also do not care to be supportive either. It’s kind of like “stay here although you’ll have to put up with crap I don’t have to”; hypocrisy really.

      1. 13.1.1
        Adrian

        Hi Noquay.

        You are exactly right. I now realize that so much emphasis is placed on the job, the weather, the cleanness of the neighborhood, etc when we are told what to research about moving to somewhere new but little to no acknowledgement on ease of making friends.

        I say making friends instead of friendliness because I’ve found that most people are generally friendly towards the new neighbor or co-worker because it only requires short-term almost effortless personal commitment from them. A quick hi or 2-3 minutes of small talk at most before continuing on their way. But to actually build a good friendship takes more work and commitment than most people want to offer.

        Many of the themes we have spoken about concerning finding a good romantic partner on here can easily be applied to finding a good friendships as well. There is the user who hangs with you until someone better comes along, the one who text, or calls you because they are bored, the one who strings you along, the one who wants to spend time with you but you feel not excitement (chemistry) when you hang with them.

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