Why Women Don’t Have to Ask Out Men

pretty woman wearing white top talking on her cellphone smiling

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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  1. 21

    Hi Jeremy,

    I have noticed that on a lot of recent post (this one, past ones, ones after this) that you bring up women demanding of men: letting go of power, not making us feel desired/or doing it by their standards not ours, and being with women who feel their priorities should supersede men’s in the realm of dating and relationships.

    I rarely if ever disagree with Evan but I just can’t swallow the whole thing about women shouldn’t have to approach because EVERYONE knows it’s men’s responsibility and she’s better off without someone who lacks confidence <in that area>. However, I’m here to learn and grow so I’ll suck it up.

    What I would like from you are two things:

    1). Advice on  how to feel wanted or desired by someone who demands you take all the upfront risks by approaching, initiating  all contact, planning & paying for dates.   With the majority of women this is not a problem but how do you deal with women who feel like Nissa, Jenn and a few others who have said on here recently that, as the man your reward is their company?

    2). Advice on how to approach more. Karl R advises just keep doing it until the rejection doesn’t sting anymore, but I see so much of myself in your stories so I was wondering if you had different advice?


    1. 21.1

      I think it’s important for a man who is looking for marriage (if that’s what you want, Adrian), to find a woman who understands him.   Who understands his wants and needs, is willing to provide them, and is likely to continue wanting to provide them in the future when her goals predictably change.   See Mrs Happy’s story of her newly-separated friend for a cautionary tale about this.


      My best advice for dealing with women who believe your reward is their company is to steer clear.   Wide clear. If she doesn’t realize that you’re making a sacrifice to plan, pay, initiate, and court – if she thinks you’re doing it because that’s what YOU want to be doing rather than because it’s what SHE wants –  if she doesn’t feel that there must be some way she could – and should – reciprocate that sacrifice, she will not make a good partner in the long-term.   Will simply demand too much from you and provide too little in return.   Too little of what you actually want, though she might think she’s providing lots.


      Regarding your second question, I’m not an expert on dating.   I used to hate initiating.   It was easier to do online because the context makes initiation expected.   Much easier than to approach women at a bar or on the street where the context is unexpected.   Otherwise, though, I agree with Karl.   You just gotta keep doing it until you don’t have to anymore.

  2. 22

    I notice that this dynamic is true with sex (in an established relationship) as well, at least with myself. I like to be the one to initiate sex. I like to be the one to make it happen and I like to be the one to work for it just a bit. I don’t quite like it if a woman is too forward and just jumps on me (I am talking about a woman whom I am in an established relationship with).

    1. 22.1

      MEanwhile this comment was misleading. OF course I like my partner to initiate sexually, but I do like to lead a bit more than not 🙂

  3. 23

    Well, I do think that women need to be take our gender’s responses to this topic with a grain of salt. A big frustration that our gender tends to have towards dating is that it seems as if we are the ones who do all the work and put ourselves out there, and it sometimes seems ‘unfair’. It is very very tempting for many of us males to say ‘well we subjected ourselves to rejection so why can’t you, what makes you think you’re so special’   . Or ‘you need to be making your hints more obvious’ [i.e., I didn’t consider you a romantic prospect because you just didn’t seem into me, it is a shame you kept us from what could have been great for BOTH of us].

    But then again, your job is to find the right guy for you, not to fix what some in our gender may find unfair about dating. As long as you don’t use anyone or lead anyone on or be unkind, I think you are fine. I myself have never had troubles knowing that she could be interested and that it was time to make a move if she seemed happy to see me each time, did her part to extend the conversation, ect. At least by the time I got into my 20s that is. I don’t think a woman needs to do more than that.


    1. 23.1
      Yet Another Guy


      On the flip side, it is not about rejection with me. I do not experience rejection very often because I read women very well and I tend to date in my league.     For me, it is that I have reached a point in my life where I do not believe that it is necessary to put forth the effort that was required of men in my parent’s generation, which was the last to follow traditional gender roles throughout their lives.   The rewards for following the gender-based script in a post-feminism world no longer exist; therefore, I expect a woman to pull her weight when dating and in a relationship.   For a man to see it any other way, means that he places his value below hers.   I refer to this male mindset as “Frog and Princess” syndrome.   The guy has to prove that he is a prince while the woman does not have to prove that she is a princess.

      Additionally, I believe that any man who feels like he has to initiate sex all of the time in an established relationship has serious insecurities when it comes to his masculinity.   We are in a post-feminism world that empowers women to make the first move.   If a woman with whom I am in a relationship makes the first move, I do not rebuff her.   I give her what she wants because I consider it to be a compliment.

      1. 23.1.1


        While I get your point, what would be the reward of following the gender-based script in your view? Would it appeal to you or not? And who would be satisfied with those rewards and not?

        I agree that reciprocity is the key, regardless of whether it seems gender-based on the surface or not. As long as both parties reap the rewards there is not a problem to be concerned with.

        I concur with your last paragraph as well in an established relationship context. It would hold true in a “traditional” setting as well. Your partner is supposed to find sexual contact with you desirable, unless they are asexual. If they are doing it like a chore, it’s a red flag. To think badly of your partner for that is like being mad at they enjoy your company, so it signals insecurity.

      2. 23.1.2

        @Yet Another Guy

        Good for you on not getting rejected.

        Here is how I’ve come to look at it: Mating is a dance in that we each have our own steps. As much as we like to think that we humans have evolved from earlier times, our reptilian brains–where attraction originates–really haven’t changed that much.

        That doesn’t mean that we guys have to live in this world where we are the ones doing all the work and all the paying and women get to sit back and pick from their options. I will tell a story that illustrates this.

        I was at Starbucks yesterday, sitting at one of these large community tables. Across from me was a woman working. Smartly dressed, cute face, no ring on the 4th finger of her left hand. I started a conversation with her. She was certainly friendly but she answered my questions and then put her focus back on her laptop. She didn’t really do anything to keep the conversation going, and after my last question (I asked her 3 questions   I gave it a decent shot but I didn’t badger her or anything) she went right back to work. Then about 20 minutes later she packed up her things and as she left, said “Nice talking with you”. I said “you as well” and left it at that.

        Now, do you think I am kicking myself for not asking her out?   No! I did my part to show interest and she didn’t pick up on it. If on the oft-chance she WAS interested then it was on her to do something at that point. If she actually HAD shown interest I probably would have asked her out.

        Meanwhile once the dating is established it tends to be back and forth as to who pays in my relationships too.


      3. 23.1.3

        My point being if she were interested, the woman has a role to play too–her role would have been to help me keep the conversation going in some way, so that my “asking her out” would have felt about as natural to me as rolling out of bed in the morning–instead of this big risk of rejection.

  4. 24
    Better safe than sorry

    In the 70’s and 80’s I can imagine that the man had to take the initiative to ask a woman out. Women knew how to play that game. A little flirting here and there and after some time, the man would ask her to go out for movies or something and she would politely refuse. She feels awesome and she has a good story to share with her friends, he feels bad. The world you envision Evan, is not the real world. Nowadays, with this whole metoo stuff, a man should think thrice before asking any women out, if he doesn’t want to get himself into any sort of trouble. The “don’t be a jerk” mentality is no longer sufficient. And then there are more and more women, particularly in high 20’s, early 30’s who have recognized that feminism, and putting the bar high for any potential lad, has hurt them more than ever. The lads simply won’t approach these cats. I think the notion that a men has to ask a women out and not the other way around, is outdated and obsolete. Fortunately, many women recognize that. With more man going mgtow, and lots of highly educated women not being able to find a partner of (what THEY consider) equal footage, I don’t think the dating world is going to be easier in the future. I am so happy that I am past that stage.

  5. 25
    Of course

    All I read was, be a tall, attractive man women want to be asked out by.
    If not, stay out of the dating pool.

  6. 26
    Most men

    Wow, this blog is like a timewarp back to 1972.

    The paradigm is all wrong.

    I go to the dentist. It’s not something I enjoy as I’m not a masochist, it’s just what I have to do.

    I’ve also asked women out, of the two the dentist is easier.

    Men like to persue ? LMAO.

    Lions like to eat, the fact that they endure getting kicked in the head by a water buffalo doesn’t mean they like it!

  7. 27
    Mary Jo

    i think men need to grow some balls and ask a women out if he likes her and doesn’t want to lose her. Now a days women do everything, they work, take care of the house, take care of the children and now have to ask men out because of this feminist movement. i think it’s crazy….let the men ask the women out he needs to work at something. Men have become lazy because of women today who want to control everything.

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