Comments and Replies

I asked for some assistance from my readers on Wednesday.  I want to create a primer for girls to teach them how to be more assertive in expressing their interest directly to someone they are attracted to.  I received two comments, but only one of the comments was approved to post, as the other also included some insults directed at me.  You will see the entire non-posted comment below, as I respond to each sentiment.

I found the two responses that were posted here on the blog to be fascinating for various reasons.  Both of the comments were posted by men; I didn’t get any feedback at all from my female readers.  Both comments also recommended that the hypothetical girl in question remain passively flirtatious while the (assumed) man does all of the assertive behavior.  However, Dan, the author of the comment that was approved discussed his shyness, and he asked for some feedback and advice.  The comment that was not approved was rather misogynistic, to be honest, and I don’t think Tom, the author of the unapproved comment, realized that I was asking for advice for girls in general, not for myself.

For romance and dating.

Find a male who you find attractive. Give them the coy come hither look to draw them in. Men mostly like to make the first move and you are attracted to super social attractive band members so your standards are very high, but that doesn’t mean you can’t chose the guys you like and help them make the first move.

My anecdote at the beginning of Wednesday’s blog was to illustrate how girls are socialized to be passive about expressing any desires, and I asked for advice on how to change that.  Giving a “coy come hither look” is not an assertive behavior.  Based on the approved comment by Dan, not all guys like to make the first move, and I know from personal experience that there are some wonderful men who are relieved when a girl is blunt about expressing interest.  Why play games and be coy, when these signals can be overlooked or misinterpreted?

Touch your hair, giggle at their jokes, act weak and defenseless and vulnerable as above. Once you’re with them drink or eat with them, dress promiscuously, and touch them lots.

If you’re thin and have acceptable looks getting sex from a male doesn’t require any skills or special articles on how to do it.

Whoa, whoa, whoa there, Tom.  For starters, acting weak, defenseless, and vulnerable are not assertive behaviors, and these suggestions, along with the advice to dress promiscuously, and the caveat of being thin with “acceptable looks” are insulting to any woman who has a brain.  Are you honestly suggesting that a man will only be attracted to some waif-y damsel in distress who is showing a lot of skin?

No one has ever been able to accuse me of being thin since I was in high school.  I am in good shape, but my genetics have dictated that I have an hourglass figure, no matter what size I am.  These assets have served me well, but they do not allow me to wear clothing that shows a lot of skin while maintaining any semblance of class or modesty.  There are more women in the US who look like me instead of having a smaller figure, and suggesting that the majority of women are not worthy of dating (or one night stands) is simplistic and again, insulting.

You just have to ask them to have sex with you. Not even that is needed. Approaching a guy is generally seen as a marker of sexual interest, and any experienced guy knows it.

Finally, some assertive advice!  Oh…  Wait…  No…  Tom, have you ever heard the saying, “sometimes a spade is just a spade”?  Well, that can be applied here.  Sometimes, a girl who approaches a guy really does just want to compliment you on your shirt, or ask you a question about that conversation she overheard.

In fact, unless she outright says “yes, I want to have sex with you”, you should probably assume that the conversation at hand is just that, a conversation, not an invitation for sex.  I am actually quite disturbed that you seem to think that a conversation between two people means that sex will happen at some point in the near future.

I am going to break down the remainder of the comment into each sentence.

Finding guys who are right for them is not a problem for most women.

First of all, you seem to have the incorrect assumption that women have an easy time dating.  This is absolutely false.  I spent a year just dating around, with a caveat of no serious relationships.  Although I am a gregarious person with high self-esteem, finding someone, anyone, who didn’t have some serious issues (like being an alcoholic or emotionally constipated) was incredibly difficult.

They just only flirt with people they find attractive.

My main problem with this sentence is when it is viewed in conjunction with your earlier assumption that all interaction is indicative of sexual interest.  Do you honestly think that if a girl talks to you, she is really saying “I want to see you with your clothes off”?  I am a notorious flirt.  I flirt with most of my male friends, but that does not mean that I am attracted to them or want to sleep with them, and they know that, because they don’t have your warped sense of cross-sexual interaction.

Your issue, I presume, is that your attractometer was slightly off and you were either seeking out douchebags or wimps.

I don’t even know where to begin on this one.  I was not asking for advice about my own personal relationships, as I am in a healthy stable relationship.  I was asking how we could move away from girls taking a passive role in expressing sexual interest to girls acting more assertive.

Further, no one has an “attractometer” that automatically filters out people who are not right for you.  I have dated quite a few very attractive men who had some serious issues that were not readily apparent, even after three months of dating.    This goes back to your assumption that women have the easy part in the dating game.

You couldn’t be more wrong about women if you tried.  If you were indeed trying, then bravo, Tom, you are a successful troll.

Posted on March 23, 2012, in Comments and Replies. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Nice Girl,

    You’re asking a question for advice for the general case. And I think the only advice that will ever work for the general case is, “Every person is different.” If you’re asking a question about the general case, the only other kind of answer you get will come from people who are addressing one stereotype or another. If you don’t have a stereotype in your mind, the only good answer is, “It depends.”

    “Every person is different” may sound trite, cliche and unhelpful. In this case, it sounds trite and cliche because it’s such a universal truth.

    You cannot make someone attracted to you who isn’t, and you cannot become attracted to someone you’re not. What turns me on is what’s right for me, and what turns you on is right for you. These are not new rules; they’re natural, logical extensions of the above.

    You should be assertive if that is something that feels right for you. That will work on a guy if he assertive girls are right for him. If you don’t want to be assertive, you shouldn’t try to be; if a guy doesn’t like your approach, changing who you are to fit what he wants is a rotten idea.

    Can we avoid making mistakes when we’re younger? Being young is all about those mistakes and the lessons we learn from them. Our parents can do what they can to help us through those, but even the best parents are not going to be able to prevent their kids from making the worst kinds of mistakes. And each person is going to have to learn a new thing about his or her sexuality. This is how we learn who we are and what we like.

    By learning what we like and accepting that as a part of ourselves, not only do we grow in self-respect, but it also gives us tolerance for others. I once was homophobic; the instant I overcame my own homophobia was the very same exact instant that I admitted to myself that I could not possibly imagine why a man would find another man attractive.

    This is why people date; it’s about learning what the other person likes, but also learning about yourself and what you like. It’s about finding out if the other person is interested in doing what you like, providing what you need, and learning just what those things are. It’s about the fact that no matter how attractive (or unattractive!) someone seems at first, you don’t yet really know that person until you’ve spent some time with him or her.

    And that is a very, very important point when you talk about “assertive.” “Assertive” should never mean that you stop learning who that other person is; that person may show you a very different face after dating a while from what you knew about him/her even after YEARS of friendship. If you’re going to be assertive, the absolute key — if you’re a boy OR if you’re a girl — is learning about the other person. Respecting his or her feelings. Not trying to “make” them like you. And constantly adjusting your idea of who they are to the actual reality of the person you experience.

    “Assertive” can mean, “Makes the first move,” which many guys do like. It can mean, “Initiates sex,” which most guys like. It can mean you’re the one in charge of the relationship, which many guys also like. But it SHOULD NOT mean, “ignoring the other person’s boundaries” or “trying to make the other person like you” or “assuming the person is who you thought he or she was before you got to know him or her.”

    “Every person is different” means understanding who you are and accepting it. It also means accepting that other people are going to like what they like, and you cannot change how they feel. And it also means that there isn’t any other “in general” advice that can be given, except to listen to each person for each specific case.

    • Hi Rimbo.

      It seems like you are saying that everyone is so different, that advice on how to act with people is useless. I understand where you are coming from, people are wonderfully varied.

      That said, you are taking a position inconsistent with mainstream psychology. Behavour trends are observable, and there are generalities to how healthy people act. There are also generalities as to which behavours tend to result in successful dating, successful study, successful work, etc. Yes, people are different, but lore is still useful.

      • “It seems like you are saying that everyone is so different, that advice on how to act with people is useless.”

        Ah, curse my poor communications skills! Because that is not what I was trying to say a t all!

        In fact, I thought I spent most of the above post outlining (as precisely I could) what behaviors tended to result in successful dating and what healthy behavior does look like.

        What I was wondering was why it was that I hadn’t responded, why other girls hadn’t responded (I know they’re out there reading this!), and why the two responses Nice Girl received were so horrible. And when I thought a bit more about the specific question she was asking, the answer is: It depends.

        May I attempt to make an analogy? When playing a bowed instrument such as the violin or the cello, one of the hardest aspects is simply pulling the bow across the string in a way that makes a nice sound. That’s not just because of the need to train the muscles how to make a straight line, but because humidity, temperature, the amount of rosin on the bow and the age of the hairs alter the requirements every time the instrument is played. The player has to be sensitive to the feedback that’s coming back to him/her through the strings, the sounds and the bow and adjust pressure, speed, direction and location constantly. And that’s even if you’re playing the same cello all the time; if you switch cellos, you almost have to re-learn everything about how to draw the bow across it. There are basic rules and training on one will make playing another easier, but you always have to be aware of where you are and the feedback you’re getting from the instrument and adjust accordingly.

        How one deals with people is like that: You have to know who you are and how that person is responding to you and adjust what you’re doing accordingly. What seems magical for you on one day on one person, the next day may put that you or the other off; with each person, you have to learn what that person expects and wants.

  2. Also: All of the advice I give about being assertive above for girls trying to pick up guys applies equally to guys picking up girls, girls picking up girls and for guys picking up guys.

    Except, of course, where it doesn’t. Because… everyone’s different. 😉

  3. I agree and disagree Rimbo. I am more than willing to assert myself in social situations, and when I read that a man is used to the assertive role and wants to pursue me, I step back and let him lead and follow his steps for sure. On the whole, I am the aggressor. I choose you. You do NOT choose me. I do NOT like men to approach ME on the street especially when I am in a hurry or obviously disinterested. I am NOT a “holla back girl,” though being brown does make it seem that some men think me more approachable than others or give them leeway to treat me with less respect! I get down right hostile with those types, but then again that’s part of the game isn’t it? Any response is a good response?

    IF you like a guy, he is NOT going to notice you magically from across the room, lock eyes, and suddenly time stops as it does in the movies. As for it depending, who ISN’T flattered by attention from the opposite sex whether it goes anywhere or not? Sometimes I just want someone friendly looking and warm to talk to because the place is not my seen or the sound of my own voice in my head is tiresome. The monologues we have talking ourselves out of things are louder than the positive ones that so, GO FOR IT!

    You must go over to him and make your presence known, whether it be by speaking to him casually, sidling up to him and buying him a drink which I’ve done, and start something. It’s as easy and simple as that. If he’s interested, he’ll engage. If not, it’ll be obvious. Sending a girlfriend over to do recon won’t do it either. This is not grade school nor is it passing notes. I make my intentions clear. I like you. I like your style. Let’s talk whether it’s in passing on a bus, a train, or at a bar, women must not fear rejection. I feel men may be more used to it than we are, so it will take some getting used to, but we should not fear the words, “I’m not interested,” or just being plain ignored. For every guy who isn’t into you, there are 10 who are, and filtering the ones that you are attracted to and good for you is the next and hardest part.

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