On Not Asking Guys Out

Ages ago, I posted a call for confidence boosters on my personal Facebook page. I was thinking of it as a more general, give me your best mantra to get through the tough times kind of call for proposals, but what I got in response was all dating-relevant. Tips like “You’re cute. Go for it” and “Everybody’s afraid of rejection but that gets them nowhere” were followed by “Try online dating. It worked for me.”

Of course, my friends are much more eloquent than that, but you get the gist. What could have been a Facebook wall full of platitudes that could help me power through a shitty run turned into a crowd-sourced push toward asking a guy out. Which initially pissed me off, because why was everyone just assuming I was after a date and not after a running mantra or some sort of Viagra for my impotent self-confidence? But I took the ball and rolled with it, shortly thereafter posting this blog about how I was having difficulty (to put it mildly) with the whole notion that it may be true that in Germany women do all the work leading up to a possible date.

After a whole lot of nonsense and back-and-forths with friends much more confident than myself about how to actually wrangle a date, I finally decided to attempt to be a German woman and ask a guy out.

I won’t go into the details here but I will just note that the whole “being rendered mute in dude’s presence” thing I wrote about in the other blog post did not ever change. It still hasn’t changed and it’s been forfuckingever since this happened. And it certainly didn’t suddenly change while I was attempting to ask him out.

Here’s what’s weird, though. Something in me changed (albeit briefly). Because immediately after I did the asking (like seriously hours later), I hopped a train for Copenhagen (nothing says I’m interested like asking a guy on a date and then saying oh, yeah, by the way, it’ll have to be in a week or so since I’m leaving town). And suddenly, strangely, men were interested in me. I must’ve been giving off serious pheromones because literally, on the train ride north, the guy sitting next to me was interested in getting to know me better (I wasn’t). And then some random guy I was interviewing was very interested in getting to know me better (I wasn’t). And the streak continued for like a week straight, where everywhere I went, some dude was asking for my phone number. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. Everywhere I went when the Diva was not with me, some dude was asking for my phone number (nothing serves as an invisible cloaking device as well as a stroller).

And that’s when I was like, woah, wait a minute! I thought the ladies had to do all the work here?!? Where did all these men come from? And why are they asking me for my phone number?

I had bought into a myth perpetuated, I believe, to allow the women to feel some modicum of control. But it’s a scam, I tell you, this whole “woman on top” fantasy here in the Fatherland. It’s part of the Germany-specific fairy tale version of feminism that makes women believe they have some sort of equal-opportunity say in their dating lives. And it’s this exact scam that has kept many lovely Teutonic ladies single way past their prime. Not because they’re as terrified as I am of asking. But because the guys they ask are too soft to be the right guys for such strong women and the women figure this out right-quick and drop those dudes in search of a more equal partner (whom they never find because they are too busy asking the wrong assholes out and their equal is actually doing the asking himself).

I decided shortly after I tried to ask the dude out that I was having none of this fairy tale anymore. If someone wants me, he can let me know. Though I’m sure there are respectful gentlemen being asked out, if even at the beginning of the relationship, a man cannot be bothered to muster the courage to chat a lady up, the likelihood that guy’s going to see his future wifey as a replacement for his mom is pretty high. At least in my random sampling of the one relationship I’ve been in during my entire 30+ year existence, that was the case. And I’m too old to take care of another person who’s not pulling his own weight anymore. I don’t want the power imbalance that comes with someone thinking I wear the non-gender-specific pants in the family when really I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing most of the time. I would very much prefer a partner who contributes equally to the relationship and I think for me, at least at this point, that’s going to have to be shown through a little wooing on his part.

Then again, since I have turned down every single man who’s come within ten feet of me in the last year, I may not be the best expert on the whole gender dynamic aspect of dating. What say you, readers? Who should do the asking?

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5 thoughts on “On Not Asking Guys Out

  1. Azazel March 29, 2013 / 9:28 am

    Well. Both? At least if you ask someone who is single for like 5 or 6 years now… d’oh 😉

    If one of the two (and I stay neutral on the sex here) is starting the flirting it’s totally ok for this one to lean back a bit after demonstrating interest and waiting for the other one to take over the action. If this goes back and forth a bit, you know your potential partner is capable of keeping his/her share of the equal contribution.

    But if one just starts the flirting and the other one leans back and does not want to / is not capable of taking over the initiative I excpect neither man nor woman to go on and do all the work.

    In the end, it does not really matter who started the dance, as long as both of them are dancing.

    • Milly March 29, 2013 / 2:39 pm

      I totally agree with the dancing bit, but I feel like flirting and moving beyond that are two different animals. Then again, I stink at being both flirter and flirtee, so I can’t say my opinion’s of much value in this discussion.

    • barbtaub March 29, 2013 / 9:59 pm

      All I can remember from my dating years is that it was feast or famine. I wouldn’t be with anyone for a long spell. But the second someone was interested, it was like I was giving off pheromones telling everyone in a three-state radius that it was open season. Since I’ve been with the same man since we fell off our dinosaurs, I’m probably not the best person to weigh in on this one. (It was the seventies; we were housemates. You could cut the attraction with a knife, but when we had all moved in together, we agreed there would be NONE. of. that. So I moved out just so we could date. Here we are, 35+ years and 4 kids later…)

      I checked with my three daughters. The eldest began dating her husband when their friends locked them in a room because they were sick of the sexual tension between them, telling them to please work it out one way or another. The middle one says she meets people in bookstores but if it doesn’t work out she just finds another bookstore. She’s lived in NY for eight years, and is starting to worry about running out of bookstores. The youngest says, “Mamas should NOT be asking questions they don’t really want to hear answers to.”

      But I can’t help wondering if it really has to be such a big deal. Could you just suggest a cup of coffee and see how things go from there?

  2. Riayn March 30, 2013 / 12:13 am

    Being a lesbian means I get to escape the whole ‘the man should do this, the girl should do that’ crap. However, my feeling is that if you feel attracted to someone, ask them out. This is the 21st Century, who cares about the dating rules that were popular in the 50s. If you don’t risk being rejected, then you are never going to reap the reward of being accepted.
    Yes, I should probably take my own dating advice and do a bit more asking out of my own. However, if you have any tips of how to keep things going after the first date, please let me know. I’m great at getting first dates, but absolutely terrible at getting a second one.

  3. Steven April 21, 2013 / 1:41 pm

    I’m in agreement with everyone else so far- it really doesn’t matter who does the asking, as long as somebody does.

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