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Unless guys are all dunderheads, I should be able to ask them out, right? Or not?
October 23, 2012 10:09 PM   Subscribe

I've read about 50,000,000 assorted peices of dating advice and there's one rule that I've followed religiously: Girls (who want LTRs) Should Never Ask Out Guys. This advice has some seemingly-reasonable justifications backing it up. You can respond to the justifications or skip the whole thing and just tell me whether or not it's legit. I would especially like to hear from men about this. Have you ever willingly entered a happy, functional, long-lasting relationship with a girl who asked YOU out?

These are the reasons that I've absorbed as Reasons a Girl Should Never Ask A Guy Out. Do they have any validity?


1) Guys who won't ask you out aren't interested in you.

This is pretty self-explanatory. I'm sure we can all think of numerous instances where this is true and numerous instances where it's not. But, all told, it's believable.


2) Guys who don't like you enough to ask you out, aren't interested enough to put in the effort neccessary to sustain a relationship.

Similar: Guys who need to be pursued will stay in a relationship out of laziness, fear or inertia rather than a genuine desire to be in the relationship.

This seems to make sense and it seems to hold up under scrutiny. Certainly, in my life whenever I've had to chase a guy, he hasn't been invested in the relationship and aways had one foot out the door. I have a female friend with a very forceful personality, who essentially did all of the pursuing in her relationship- and now she has to do all of the work to maintain the relationship. Neither of them seem especially happy, and they don't even really seem to like each other that much. He's certainly not very passionate about her and not especially invested in their relationship- it really seems like a combination of his inertia and her insistance that keeps their relationship together. I've been in relationships like that, and it sucks.


3) Guys dont like being asked out. Guys like to be the pursuer/agressor.

Guys like the uncertainty and if going out with you is too easy for them, it ruins the fun of the "chase". A guy might like it or feel flattered if you ask him out, and he might even go, but he'll want you less, especially in the long run.

Guys are bored by a woman who asks them out.

Guys value more what is challenging to them. Guys like to feel like they've accomplished something by "winning" you. Guys don't want to feel like you're easy, like anyone could "get" you- they want to be special. They want you to be special, difficult to obtain.


I am not a guy and have no way of knowing whether or not it's true. But it's guys who are giving this advice a lot of the time, so yeah, I dunno.


4)Guys will think that you're too aggressive or domineering or powerful if you ask them out. This will make them less attracted to you.


See my response to #3. Although, honestly, I'm starting to get to a place in my life where if a guy thinking that I'm powerful makes me unattractive, I don't think I want to date him, because forcing myself to be less than I am gets more obnoxious and exhausting every day. So if this one is true, I just might not care anymore. Plus, I'm starting to suspect that men who want weak women may not be the men I want to date.

On the other hand, the idea is I guess that guys have very fragile, easily damaged egos, and this is why women who would like to date them need to soothe them by not seeming too powerful. Is this really a thing? Because I've been operating under the assumption that men are really like this (and I've certainly known men like this), but I'm starting to wonder if they're really as fragile as all that.


5)The only guys who want to be with women who ask them out are weak-willed or submissive.


Again, this seems to make sense. And ideally I'd like someone who is equal to, or slightly greater than me, in terms of personal power.


6)If you have to ask a guy out, it means you like him more than he likes you. This puts you at risk for being hurt/ played. If you make him ask you out, then you have the power in the relationship.


I don't know, this makes sense but I also think it's kind of silly. Getting hurt or being rejected is always a risk, right? I mean, I guess that not asking guys out does limit my risk of getting hurt, but I'm starting to feel like it's only being limited because I'm reducing the dating pool, not because it's some magic secret formula of success. Plus, when I like a guy a lot less than he likes me, I just kind of feel bad for him/ turned off. Because, you know, I don't like him that much.



7) I am Worth being unambiguously asked out on a Real Date.



I mean, hell, I want to believe that. Why not? Why would I not be worth it? I'm great, right? I'm so great that guys should be asking me out all the time. Right?

I guess, at the end of the day, I just feel like I've been trying to follow rules and it doesn't seem to be working right. I either don't get asked out for really long stretches of time (especially on Official Dates), or I wind up with guys I don't like much.

And I'm kind of wondering how strict Rules-style dating can really be valid. I mean, it's usually fairly obvious to me when a guy is doing some PUA-type crap, and it's laughable at best, obnoxious at worst. But it only "works" if I already have decided that I am willing to let myself be convinced because I'm in the mood to play that game (or be played), so I'm willing to overlook their obvious attempts at being manipulative.

The thing is that, unless men really are dunderheads, I would hope that by the time they're in their my age the same can be said for them; they know Rules-style game-playing when they see it and know how to game the system. Right?

But, I don't know. I'm single, I'm 26, I want to meet a guy and maybe eventually get married and have an awesome life together, and all of the advice says the same thing. Don't Ask A Guy Out. So, yeah. Does anyone have experience with this, and can confirm or deny the validity of these points?
posted by windykites to Human Relations (108 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
I love it when a girl makes the first step. it's extraordinary, be it because girls seem to think they shouldn't do it or something else, and that makes it awesome. here is someone going the extra mile. if you are looking to meet interesting people first and foremost then how on earth could that not be a prime indicator?

if you were approaching me and I was at all interested in getting to know you, I would go out of my way to try keep that conversation going to find out who you are. sometimes the only reason I don't approach someone is because I think she is with that person next to her. I am too old for "stealing girlfriend" drama. or lazy. your choice.

that being said, I have to admit that I once was dumbfounded enough to give an incredibly stupid answer to a perfectly nice compliment I got from a girl who walked all across the bar to where I was playing pool. I still feel shitty about that one.
posted by krautland at 10:18 PM on October 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Married to a Girl Who Asked Me Out and we've been together over 10 years at this point.

Likewise most of my pre-her dating was girls who asked me out because I was pretty oblivious to "signals" and had what seems to be the usual variables of dating (some good relationships, some not-so-much).
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:20 PM on October 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


Wow, I don't even... There is some crazy stereotyping going on in your question. "Guys" are not this mythical homogenous concept you seem to think they are.

These ridiculous rules, they don't seem to be working too well for you. Try something else for a change.

Anyway, my only qualification to answer this question is that I asked a guy out and pursued him (that was 7 years ago, I am now 28 and he is 30), we got married and have a fantastically awesome life together.
posted by halogen at 10:22 PM on October 23, 2012 [72 favorites]


If you play be sexist, demeaning and reductive rules you will set a sexist, demeaning and reductive template for the relationship. Simple as that. And almost all of those rules are horribly sexist, demeaning and reductive.

And if it isn't working for you then it isn't working for you - if you're either not going on dates, or going on dates with people you don't like, change what you are doing! Ask men you like out. Sometimes they may be excruciatingly shy, or have shitty self-esteem, or they may not have even noticed you. And that's okay! Relationships can grow from friendships, or strangers, or acquaintances. There is no 'one true way'. You might get knocked back, you might find they're not quite right, but waiting around isn't getting you anywhere, so maybe try something different.

I am not male but I asked my partner out, I asked him to marry me, we've been together 8-9 years, married for just over 6, have a kid and are happy - he was one of the 'shitty self-esteem' guys who had always been second fiddle to an attractive older brother, predatory older-older brother and woman-hating best friend. I asked him out, side-tracked all the 'she'll only end up preferring someone else' bullshit (which is totally a self-fulfilling prophecy for either gender) and bam, great relationship.
posted by geek anachronism at 10:24 PM on October 23, 2012 [52 favorites]


Ok I am sorry but I couldn't make it all the way through, but this is bullshit. Guys are not this one large entity to make sweeping generalizations about like "all guys want to pursue women". Many of these things you are questioning are based more in our culture and society than what people actually want.

I am in a LTR with a guy whom I pursued initially and because I am somewhat proactive regarding relationships, I continued to pursue him. We are in an equal relationship, he puts in just as much as I do, and in no way am I running the entire relationship because I pursued him originally.

I have always been the type of person to put myself out there and be very proactive and while I have experienced what you have experienced in the past I think that it comes down to this: He's just not that into you. I really hate quoting movie names and book titles and whatever, but it's true! Every single guy I have casually dated with hopes to move into a more serious relationship with and it didn't work out was because either I was not really into him or he wasn't into me. It had nothing to do with who asked out who.

Also for the record Mr. Ruhroh says "That doesn't make any sense" when asked if girls who want long term relationships should wait for the guys to ask them out.
posted by ruhroh at 10:28 PM on October 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Do these "rules" apply to some guys? Probably. Do they apply to all guys? Not even close.

Exhibit 1: A woman approached me at a show and asked me out. We went out a few times. That ended, but because we weren't compatible, not because she came onto me first.

Exhibit 2: A woman asked me out (online dating, so, not sure how that changes things from your perspective). So far so good. I like her, she likes me. Will the relationship last? I don't know, obviously, but I can say for sure it won't end because she asked me out.

Exhibit 3: I can't for the life of me remember who asked who out in my first serious relationship (from 18-22). Why not? Because that shit seriously does not matter at all. Someone has to force the moment to its crisis.

There's plenty of reasons why a guy could like you and not ask you out. There's also plenty of reasons why a guy could not like you and ask you out.

Ask dudes you like out on dates. Simple.
posted by MetalFingerz at 10:28 PM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Could it be that none of the relationships where you asked out the guy turned into LTRs because you hold very negative, degrading attitudes toward those men? Seriously, holding those views about men are going to have more of an impact on the success of a relationship than who asks out whom.
posted by Nightman at 10:35 PM on October 23, 2012 [18 favorites]


I asked out a guy once (actually kind of threw myself at him sadly) and we dated for two years, at which point I broke up with him and kind of broke his heart, again, sadly. So, I won him over. No issues there.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:37 PM on October 23, 2012


Does the LTR/marriage you're after involve manipulation and passive aggression, or do you hope it will magically become honest and respectful later? I mean, it might. But you're probably better off with honesty and respect right off the bat.

These rules and justifications are super dumb.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:37 PM on October 23, 2012 [18 favorites]


I'm not a guy, but if you are interested I will tell you my take on this.

I think all of the items you listed about "guys" are true for SOME guys and not true whatsoever for other guys.

Out of everything you listed, I think the most common thing that women who ask out men run into is that the man agrees to go out with you even if he's not that interested, because it is such a novelty for him to get asked out at all. Or, sometimes he figures he would enjoy sex with you if nothing else, and goes along with it to see if that is a possibility. But, when this is the case, this doesn't last long. I think it's pretty rare a guy would stay in a relationship with someone he had *never* been that interested in, entirely out of inertia. I think he would either have to be seriously depressed, or be really unattractive (or think he was really unattractive) and be afraid he wouldn't be able to find anyone else.

However, I think the most likely outcome for you if you ask out a guy and he is not into you, he will make some really polite reply like "sure, maybe sometime" and then the topic will never come up again. No big deal.

Certainly, in my life whenever I've had to chase a guy, he hasn't been invested in the relationship and aways had one foot out the door

Yeah I totally believe this, but there is a HUGE difference between just asking a guy on a date, at the beginning, and chasing him. Once you ask someone out on a date, if the chasing doesn't get pretty mutual after that, that's not good and you shouldn't try to force it.

I'm great, right? I'm so great that guys should be asking me out all the time. Right?

Nooo, I totally disagree. I mean I don't disagree that you are great. I disagree that it follows from that that guys should be asking you out all the time. We aren't owed a relationship in life, and other people don't owe us romance or love or sex or whatever. I would just step away from this line of thinking, I don't think it's helpful.

If you have to ask a guy out, it means you like him more than he likes you. This puts you at risk for being hurt/ played. If you make him ask you out, then you have the power in the relationship.

I bitterly laughed at this in my mind. The only thing that will protect you from being played is not dating players, and there is nothing that can protect you from getting hurt. It doesn't matter who asks out who. I suppose if one person is a lot less interested/invested in the other person, they might have more "power," but that doesn't seem like a very happy kind of relationship to be in for either person.

My conclusion: ask out whoever you want, but don't chase people. Ask them out, but only continue dating them if they seem overjoyed and thrilled to be dating you. If they seem wishy washy and not that into you, just move on, early.
posted by cairdeas at 10:38 PM on October 23, 2012 [28 favorites]


Whether or not to ask a guy out should be determined solely on what you like and what makes you feel comfortable.

If you feel desperate or uncomfortable asking guys out, don't do it.

If you feel cowardly or uncomfortable not asking guys out, then start asking guys out.

I am always AMAZED my the comments that argue "what men like" or "what works on men". This question has been asked on Mefi multiple times, and inevitably, a few guys come on to say how orgasmically ecstatic they are when a women asks them out and recommend that all women get right on it. Then there are a few who say that they prefer to do the asking.

But who cares what they prefer? What matters is what makes you happy. You are the one who has to look yourself in the mirror at the end of the day.

Stop worrying about what "men want" and what "men like" and do what you feel comfortable doing. At the very least, you will be being yourself, thus giving men an accurate picture of who you are and what you value.
posted by Shouraku at 10:38 PM on October 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hey friends, this isn't stuff I made up or decided on myself, it's advice I've read from a variety of sources, (largely written by men), internalized, and am now questioning. So if you just came in to yell at me, maybe don't, because I'm looking for answers, not angry/insulting lectures. I never intended to imply anything about gender whatever, so calm the heck down. I asked the question to better understand the real world, not to get yelled at for not understanding it.


Ruhroh, a portion of these concepts are from the book He's Just Not That Into You. So, there's that.
posted by windykites at 10:39 PM on October 23, 2012 [11 favorites]


I don't really understand why you would believe anything you've said here. I'm a man, and I've been in relationships where I asked the woman out on the first date, and I've been in relationships where the woman asked me out on the first date. I happen to have recently ended a relationship with a woman who initially contacted me on a dating site, and I'm pretty sure I technically asked her out, but I'm not sure — the topic of going out tends to come up naturally on those sites, so I don't always keep track of it. All of those relationships had their ups and downs and ultimately ended for specific reasons that had nothing to do with who suggested the first date.

I'm pretty sure I was the same person in those various relationships, regardless of how they started. I wasn't one type of man in some of the relationships and a different type of man in the others, depending on who asked out whom. So I don't understand why you'd frame this decision as if it's going to define the entire relationship or the people in it.

I would not want to date a woman who believed in your 7 points. That doesn't mean you shouldn't believe them. Maybe you want to date a type of person who's very different from me, who sees the world in terms of rigid gender roles, instead of seeing men and women as individuals who should all pursue what they really want. If so, then continue to apply this rule. But it's not really a "rule"; it's your preference. Ultimately, everyone is just acting on their individual preferences, and you need to decide what yours are.
posted by John Cohen at 10:41 PM on October 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Relevant.

I don't ask girls out, I get asked out pretty frequently. It's never crossed my mind that it was bad.

Your rules come from a time in our culture when women largely didn't have careers and were expected to be housewives. Maybe they went to university for an "M.R.S." degree.

It might be helpful to flip all of your examples around and see how strange they are.


5)The only guys who want to be with women who ask them out are weak-willed or submissive.


Again, this seems to make sense. And ideally I'd like someone who is equal to, or slightly greater than me, in terms of personal power.


I mean.. uh.. no. This does not make sense, and that you think it does means you need to invest in some serious time relearning what people actually are like rather than thinking of them as weird homogenous groups. To put it in a REALLY DRASTIC example for clarity, what you're doing here is the sexism equivalent of "All black people are ____". Does that make sense? "All men who wait to be asked out are _weak_." in this example.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:46 PM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I asked my husband out (via a cryptic internet diary entry. We were emo kids). We've been together for ten years, married for three. He referenced that diary entry in our wedding vows as "the most romantic thing anyone's ever said to me."

(I also asked him to marry me.)

I find it kind of insulting that this kind of Rulesy-style advice insinuates that my husband doesn't find me sexy or recognize my inherent self-worth because I am more of a mover and a shaker than he is. Also I don't really understand why it doesn't matter that women reciprocate and show how much they appreciate and value men. It's like attraction is this gift to be bestowed on passive women by men, like we're corpsey princesses in a castle waiting for a prince. Frankly, I find that to be a lot of bullshit and not very romantic at all.

But, uh, your mileage may vary, I guess.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:50 PM on October 23, 2012 [13 favorites]


Frankly in the real world there ARE NO RULES. Some men like to ask women out, some men like women to ask them out - everyone is different. And that can be scary and confusing because the possibilities are kind of limitless and that can be slightly overwhelming especially if you are new to dating.

What kind of men do YOU like? What are YOU comfortable with? THAT'S what matters.
posted by littlesq at 10:53 PM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just ask him out already.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:54 PM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and if you need to hear it from a powerful man to be convinced, here is metafilter's own John Scalzi debunking the rules on Oprah in the mid 90s (he is still with his wife, fifteen years later).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:56 PM on October 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


Life is short - if you want to ask a guy out, ask a guy out. This will be a problem for him if he wants it to be.

Long term relationships come from far deeper places than which person does the initial asking out.

All of the 'advice' you read in magazines/books is mostly designed to sell magazines and books and to keep people functioning within neat little boxes in order to sell crap. It has limited place in The Real World.
posted by heyjude at 11:00 PM on October 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


relationship rules, the games, and those that participate in such fashion, are in it for the short term. They don't have merit for people actually looking for long term relationships.
posted by Happydaz at 11:04 PM on October 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Out of everything you listed, I think the most common thing that women who ask out men run into is that the man agrees to go out with you even if he's not that interested, because it is such a novelty for him to get asked out at all.

Or, well, because he's not an asshole. Think about it, women often accept dates from men they like and enjoy the company of even if they're not madly in love with the asker. Men can be expected to behave similarly. If you've only ever dated people who've had to go out of their way to date you, then dating someone who merely enjoys spending time with you may be a let-down.

Also (and I am phrasing this badly, bear with me) guys might not have the social referents to gracefully handle being asked out by someone they aren't really into. It can be an unsettling situation (and is presumably where a lot of homophobia comes from); you might think that anyone who grew up since the 60's would be ok with it but cultural conditioning changes more slowly than that. So you'll end up with some fraction of guys who actually don't want to be there but don't know how to say no. That's just the risk of dating, though.

In both these cases, if you keep asking that guy out, you'll probably not have a good relationship. But i don't think the key here is not to ask people out; the key is to try to know and understand them well enough to discern how much they like you before you start thinking of it as a long-term relationship. Plenty of guys will ask you out if they're not very into you, also: either they have some superficial passing attraction, or they're using the shotgun method of getting dates, or you were just in the right place at the right time.


Frankly in the real world there ARE NO RULES

This is really the best advice.
posted by hattifattener at 11:05 PM on October 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why not just replace "guys"with "women"? would it not be equally true? Or equally not true? We are all just people. ...and yeah, there are no rules.
posted by jrobin276 at 11:09 PM on October 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


a portion of these concepts are from the book He's Just Not That Into You.

True story: my partner (who I asked out; we've been together for over 7 years) used to work the comedy circuit with the guy who wrote that. Whole chunks of the book are from his old comedy routines. It's not real.

The "rules" you're getting hung up about aren't actually rules. They are shit that comes out of a bull. Do what works for you -- and the only way you'll find out what works for you is to do it.
posted by scody at 11:10 PM on October 23, 2012 [33 favorites]


I understand where you are coming from on this, because I actually think it is something women hear A LOT and when you are a shy person, it's easy to hide behind these "rules" than it is to take a chance. And I did used to buy into them.

And then I thought, "do I really want to be in a relationship with the sort of dude who wouldn't want to go out with me JUST BECAUSE I made the first move?" Hell no. I am not particularly retiring in another other aspect of my life, so why be a wallflower in this one? It was sort of dishonest to who I was fundamentally as a person.

I think the people you will be most happy with are those who will like you the way you are, so stop worrying so much about "what guys like" and just hope you meet A Specific Guy who likes YOU, specifically, just as you are.

Throw out the rulebook. I wish to God someone had told me there ARE NO RULES ten years ago.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 11:11 PM on October 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


Look, you know all the AskMe questions from guys that say "I don't know how to talk to WOMEN?" "I want a girlfriend, how do I talk to WOMEN?" "Help me talk to WOMEN?" And the chorus of answerers say "Talk to them like they are PEOPLE. WOMEN ARE PEOPLE.*"

You are basically doing the same thing to MEN. They are not a monolithic group. Some will not want women to ask them out! Some will! There are not rules that apply across the board. Figure out what you are comfortable with, and do that.

And He's Just not that into You? It was inspired by an episode of Sex and the City. Not some exhaustive psychological research.

*Not in the way that Soylent Green is people. Just to clarify.
posted by grapesaresour at 11:16 PM on October 23, 2012 [17 favorites]


1) Girls who won't ask you out aren't interested in you.
2) Girls who don't like you enough to ask you out, aren't interested enough to put in the effort neccessary to sustain a relationship.
3) Girls dont like being asked out. Girls like to be the pursuer.
4) Girls will think that you're too creepy or domineering if you ask them out.
5) The only girls who want to be with men who ask them out are weak-willed or submissive.
6) If you have to ask a girl out, it means you like her more than she likes you. This puts you at risk for being hurt/ played. If you make her ask you out, then you have the power in the relationship.
7) I am Worth being unambiguously asked out on a Real Date. "I" being a hypothetical dude


Oh man that was way too easy.

I'm a pretty normal guy. I have a good job and I'm happily with a great partner. When I was dating, if a woman wasn't confident enough to initiate dates that was a 100% deal-breaker for me. Why would I want to be with someone who wasn't willing to show that they wanted to be with me too? A woman asking me out on a first date was pretty much the biggest turn on possible.

There's been a bunch of these silly "should the man pay for the date" type question here the last couple months, and they're all the same. You're more than welcome to live by these rules if you want, but just be fully aware that you're implicitly ruling out a giant swath of men who are looking for equal partners, not some 1950s idyll of a relationship. Your remaining dating pool is going to be heavily biased towards people with old-fashioned ideas of gender relations with everything that entails. If that's what you want, then bully for you. If you're looking for a guy who will treat you like an equal then drop the rules and go after the guy who makes you happy.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 11:17 PM on October 23, 2012 [9 favorites]


Have you ever willingly entered a happy, functional, long-lasting relationship with a girl who asked YOU out?

Yes. I was pretty young, barely an adult at the time, but yes. It didn't last forever, but yes. We were friends, she told me that she had feelings, and things progressed quickly from there. I'm glad she told me. It was really good for awhile.

You have quite the litany of reasons. Number three and its variations are interesting. First, wanting to "win" a girl by being the aggressor and wanting to feel like I am special for having her attention are not the same thing, or even necessarily related. Second, I am an "alpha type" myself but I know many men who aren't and I have close female friends who would never, ever date an alpha. And third, even as an alpha, I don't feel like women are prizes to be "won."

There may be something satisfying about daring to make the first move and discovering that the feelings are reciprocal, yes. But one thing I've learned from relationships is that there is more than one way to skin a cat. That is, the emotional payoff I'd get from having my bravado rewarded might also be gotten other ways—like the ego boost of having a girl buck some of the social conventions you're talking about here and make the first move.

Looking more generally at your list, I think you're buying too heavily into Sex and the City-type, "He's just not that into you" thinking. (On preview...yep.) More specifically, I think you're putting too much weight on quantifying and comparing how much he's into you. Is it more than you're into him? Is it less than you deserve? Is it enough? My advice would be to drift away from this thinking. The trouble with estimating how much someone is into you is that it will evolve. Yesterday it was 5 out of 10. Then today he learned that you can fish, and it skyrocketed to 9. But tomorrow he'll meet your mother so prepare for 3. Et cetera.

I don't think the things you are quantifying and comparing are really susceptible to being quantified and compared. There are all kinds of different guys. I don't think it will be helpful to tell you, "Guys like being approached" any more than it was accurate to say, "Guys hate being approached." Guys are individuals. To the extent there is any question here, I think it's this: Do you like being the one to approach? Live your life.
posted by cribcage at 11:17 PM on October 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


My guy opinion:

Reasons 1-5 are completely invalid as stated. If you rewrite these to say "some guys" instead of (all) guys or "the only guys," they become true. But then they're no longer reasons to never ask a guy out.

Reason 6 is invalid as stated, because asking a guy out doesn't always mean you like him more. It's also sexist and manipulative because it suggests that men should take all the risks, and women should have all the power.

Reason 7 is entitled, because it suggests that being asked out is something that women are owed by the men who would date them. It also neglects the possibility that if a man is worth dating, then he too might be worthy of being asked out.
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 11:21 PM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


i totally asked my boyfriend out. we have been together for almost 10 years at this point, and although we have no plans to get married, neither of us have any designs on going anywhere.

we were friends, and then i flagrantly hit on him, really. if you like the guy, go for it. the "rules" are bullshit.
posted by koroshiya at 11:24 PM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's unproductive to conflate all the things that various guys want into one big "What Guys Want" box. Consequently, anybody who claims they can answer you with authority on this subject is trying to sell you a bill of goods.

I can't answer this question for all guys, but I can give you my own personal answers to use as a data point. My personality is aggressive, thoughtful, and humorous. I tend to be very committed but also high-maintenance - I offer a lot in my relationships, but in return I have high standards for my mate.

1) True. I'm aggressive, if I want somebody I go for her (unless I have a compelling reason not to do so, such as the woman in question having a boyfriend).

2) Not applicable (see 1).

3) Very false. I only pursue those whom I perceive to have a higher subjective value than me. However, the converse is not true - women who try to manueover me into pursuing them do not automatically gain a higher value in my eyes. In fact, if they do not have more going for them than me and they try to make it seem like I should be pursuing them, it is an insult to my social standing.

4) Powerful women are sexy. I tend to be the one "in charge" of my relationships, and consequently the more powerful the woman I'm with, the more of an ego boost I get. Weak-willed women don't give me an ego boost at all.

5) I can't say for sure since I'm the strong-willed and dominant type. However, I think this depends more on extroversion/introversion rather than dominance or submission. I have one exceptionally strong-willed friend who is an introvert, and he would probably love to be asked out. However, he's not submissive at all - in fact, he crushes people when they get in his way.

6) If everybody followed this principle, then the human race would die out because nobody would mate. So clearly it's not a good principle.

7) Are you though? I mean, you don't know the other person's worth until you've already established a long-term connection. Even if you have a sense of it, you don't know what other possibilities the guy has. He could have a supermodel or Nobel prize winner eager to get into his pants. So if you make yourself hard to get, he might put you on the back burner and pursue his other options, and use you as a fallback. Plus, if you've misjudged his value and you assume he should automatically be attracted to you Just Because You're Awesome, you could be insulting him accidentally. (See question 3.)

Anyway, regardless of whether you're turned on by guys like me or would prefer to steer clear of us, hopefully this helps.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 11:33 PM on October 23, 2012


Reasons a guy you are compatible with has not asked you out:

- He's a little shy.
- He's a little distracted.
- He's afraid of rejection.
- He has a busy life and isn't sure he wants to add dating to the mix.
- He doesn't scrutinize every woman he meets for Mate Potential.
- He can't read your signals and is not psychic.
- He doesn't know you exist.


I have a friend who will not make the first move. She has a line in the sand about needing the men she dates to be assertive enough to approach her. To her, all the above things are deal breakers.

I roll my eyes at that attitude, but she chose that path on purpose.

I've asked out guys. I tend to like the dorky ones who are interesting and exciting, but not so testosterone driven that they have the need to be the pursuers. I think it comes from the fact that those men have enough things going on in their lives that they don't need to have a psychological focus on Making Relationships Happen.

I go through very socially energetic phases, especially while single. If a guy is turned off by me approaching him first, that's fine. I try to be confident and assertive and ask for what I want at every stage of a relationship, so if he doesn't like it on day 1, it saves us both a lot of time.
posted by itesser at 11:45 PM on October 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was asked out through an online dating service by a woman. This happened within days of me deciding that online dating was not for me, and that I would not respond to any more dating emails. But... Out of politeness, I responded. We had a date. That was almost 2 years ago. We've been married over a year and a half and I am happier than I've ever been.
posted by The Deej at 11:54 PM on October 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


As a picture of the way that the world is supposed to work, those rules are leaving out some pretty big details. They put all the responsibility on the guy to do the legwork, while ignoring that women, in practice do a lot of the legwork too even if they're following these rules. Women flirt, women signal, women do various things to help walk the man through the steps these rules outline.

In other words, the rules imply that women act aloof and men chase them. In real life, men and women engage in a lot of back and forth behaviour surrounding every step of the process, so it's never clear that one or the other is the aggressor while the other is a passive recipient of attention.

And, in practical terms, the best relationships are ones founded on the basis of equal interest and equal participation. Ditch the rules, because they don't work, and they're not a good description of the way the world is, or should be. If you're not having luck getting dates, figure out how to signal interest in others. Figure out flirting and engagement and genuine pleasure in the company of others. It'll happen on its own.
posted by fatbird at 11:57 PM on October 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ruhroh, a portion of these concepts are from the book He's Just Not That Into You. So, there's that.

Keep in mind that that book was co-written by comedian Greg Behrendt. By his own admission, he is no relationship expert. It was a fun book with some possibly truthful observations, but you shouldn't take it seriously. Its success and the fact that anyone took it seriously surprised even Mr. Behrendt.

Also, you seem to use the word "power" a lot. I know you are just referring to things you've heard, but don't worry about who has power. That in itself sets up exactly the kind of games you want to avoid.

Good luck!
posted by The Deej at 12:04 AM on October 24, 2012


Just for the record He's Just Not That Into You is the most depressing book I've ever skimmed. I would never take relationship advice from that book.

Apparently I didn't ask my fiancé out first but I definitely made the first move to get his phone number and initiate the contact that led to our first date. Now we are getting married.

If you like someone, ask them out. Why should men have to deal with all the rejection?
posted by amapolaroja at 12:14 AM on October 24, 2012


I have met men who would hate to be asked out for all the reasons you outline. They are nice people but have quite stereotypical views of how men and women behave in other respects too. They see being asked out as diminishing their masculinity. I used to be worried about this, but then I remembered that I have decidedly non-traditional views, so actually any man who didn't want to be asked on principle would be a poor fit for me, so it would actually be a good thing if they turned me down. YMMV.
posted by plonkee at 12:29 AM on October 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


points 1-4: Some men think like this, some men do not.
points 5-6: Not true although some people do think this way.
point 7: I don't know, this seems like a really retro idea. To me it's like a thing that happens in movies; I hardly ever went on dates, it seems very formal. I think hanging your worth on this is quite problematic, it's like a fantasy of how relationships begin rather than how most relationships actually begin.

Some men do prefer to be the active pursuer - absolutely there are men who do not like it when the woman seems to be more active or taking the pursuer role. I know in my experience (anecdata) I was often the initiator (and actively escalated interactions) and it definitely turned some guys off, and/or gave them some funky, unpleasant ideas about me (though they might well have sex, because why not, but they didn't view me in a friendly way before or after). The men who didn't mind sometimes did behave as if they were with me because I was an opportunity they weren't going to pass up even if we weren't compatible.

My take is that many people have absorbed some fairly rigid ideas about gender roles - so your points, they are somewhat a thing, yes. However - first off, those points in no way apply to all men, everywhere, across the board, by any means. And second, to me, it's all game-playing and that's obnoxious. Those points imply some pretty nasty stuff about how men and women are "supposed" to relate to each other. You don't seem to like what they imply and I don't either. So don't bother. I figure it's a great measure of compatibility - if you don't want to follow these rules, why would you want to be with a man who would find it unattractive if you didn't follow them? Ask first if you want to ask; just be prepared and okay with rejection because you will be weeding out people who wouldn't be a good match for you anyway, which is the point of the whole endeavor, isn't it - to eventually find a good match? You can't do that without throwing yourself into experiences, and neither by trying to mold yourself into a framework that doesn't suit you, all to find people who buy into that framework - that's a recipe for unhappiness. I'd personally rather be alone than feel stuck in an unhappy relationship or trying to please someone who didn't fundamentally get me.
posted by flex at 1:08 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


My credentials - been a man fairly consistently for the latter half of my 29 years. Been in the same relationship for the last 11. Some of my teenage relationships were initiated by the girl and my most serious "other" relationship was one of these. My partner (now wife) kind of co-initiated our relationship. We didn't start with a date as we were already part of the same social circle, but she made her feelings pretty unambigous before I made the 'formal' steps (feel daft describing it like that but you know what I mean).

1) Guys who won't ask you out aren't interested in you.

Possibly, and possibly not. One way to find out. And really, a man could say the same thing - if she's not ready to make a move on me, she's probably not that interested.


2) Guys who don't like you enough to ask you out, aren't interested enough to put in the effort neccessary to sustain a relationship.


There are girls I've liked who I'd never dream of asking out for one reason or another. One of the big worries for (some) men is that they're potentially making women uncomfortable, the kind of "I'm forcing myself on her" fear. "Guys who don't like you enought to ask you out"... well there are plenty of guys who perhaps aren't confident enough to ask you out. Perhaps they're sensitive. Perhaps they'd be good, considerate partners. And of course, perhaps the opposite.

2(a)) Similar: Guys who need to be pursued will stay in a relationship out of laziness, fear or inertia rather than a genuine desire to be in the relationship.

I don't see how one follows from the other. A guy who needs to be shown you're interested in him is just a guy who doesn't pick up on hints or small signals. Laziness and fear don't enter into that, although of course a strange man could be the laziest and most fearful person you ever meet - hence the dating process.

3) Guys dont like being asked out. Guys like to be the pursuer/agressor.


Speaking personally, I've been asked out a few times and I absolutely loved it. Once or twice in the early days it led to some great relationships, and now I'm happily married it's still a very pleasant experience. Meatheads like to be agressors in relationships. People who love being the pursuer aren't likely to stop once they're attached, in my experience.

4) Guys will think that you're too aggressive or domineering or powerful if you ask them out. This will make them less attracted to you.


The sort of man who would feel threatened by a woman comfortable enough with them/themselves to ask them out is probably not worth the effort.

5) The only guys who want to be with women who ask them out are weak-willed or submissive.

See the above.

6) If you have to ask a guy out, it means you like him more than he likes you. This puts you at risk for being hurt/ played. If you make him ask you out, then you have the power in the relationship.

Men face the same thing - you're always putting yourself on the line and setting yourself up for bad treatment. "Making him" do something so you have power in the relationship is a pretty unhealthy way to start what you're (maybe) hoping is going to be alife-long collaboration. Someone who would view things this way falls foul of points 2(a)), 4) and 5) themselves - they want "power" rather than the genuine relationship, they're consciously seeing things in an extremely agressive/domineering way, and they're essentially demanding the man be submissive.

7) I am Worth being unambiguously asked out on a Real Date.

Absolutely, but if you're asking these sorts of questions I'd suggest there are men out there who are worth being unambigously asked out on a Real Date as well.

Hope this is useful and I say go for it! Good luck
posted by tzb at 1:09 AM on October 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wrong, all of them... except #7. Where does this stuff come from?
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 1:29 AM on October 24, 2012


I'm a guy! I can say something on this!

I am also a guy who tends to miss signals like crazy. So an unambiguous asking out is generally nothing I'm against at all. It also tells me off-the-bat that the person doing the asking out is probably less trapped in societally-enforced gender lenses than average, knows what they want, and so on. It predisposes me to respect the asker quite a bit.

I also have no real patience for the whole 'chase' or pursuit thing. I think it's dumb, emotionally taxing, and a waste of energy. So there's that, too.
posted by kaibutsu at 1:48 AM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also I believe in this enough that, when I was doing the ok cupid thing, I got fed up with the dynamics of the site and decided to just respond to people who messaged me first. And that ended up working about a thousand times better than sending out the piles of one-off messages to women, which is the default mode within the site.
posted by kaibutsu at 1:50 AM on October 24, 2012


The simple answer is that everything you list as reasons why girls shouldn't ask guys out apply exactly as well for why guys shouldn't ask girls out. Reductio ad absurdum.
posted by cthuljew at 2:03 AM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm a woman who just got out of my twenties and who is dating and who has lots of single friends, and I can understand where you came up with all of these rules, OP, because I hear them everywhere all the time too. Like you said, it's not a question of waking up one morning and thinking, 'Oh! I'm going to be sexist today!' It's just that the culture is relentlessly telling us that Men Are Like This, and Women Are Like That.

And as a woman, you have your own lived experience to compare to and you can therefore say, "Yeah, Cosmo is full of crap. I know all women don't like pink fluffy handbags better than sex, because I am a woman and I don't even like pink." But if you don't have a lot of relationship experience, it can be hard for you to debunk these same sorts of claims about all men that are in a book like The Rules, because you don't have a lot of data to work with. I mean, even if you have brothers and uncles and male friends, part of the idea that All Men Are Like This is that men act completely differently when they are interested in someone/dating/in a relationship than they do any other time. Which means--if you were like me--that it can be easy to discount what you actually know about men from interacting with them daily, because you have this vague idea that they completely transform when it comes to romance. And since you're stuck trying to figure out who exactly it is that men transform into when they are dating--because, strangely, you've never actually experienced yourself this version of Men As Another Species Entirely with Totally Uniform and Opaque Motives--it's easy to get freaked out and assume that maybe you're the one who's wrong and not, say, the entire culture. Because, for example, you don't have a multi-million dollar book contract or a magazine with world-wide circulation.

But here's the secret: they're wrong, not you. Not because some men won't like women who play by The Rules, and not because some women won't police you for not following The Rules. But because any time anyone in the media makes a blanket statement about men, you need to remember how wrong so many blanket statements are about women and judge the universal veracity of that claim about What Men Like accordingly.

And finally, I think the kernel of this question is the fact that you've been trying to play by these rules and you say it's not working for you. So why not try doing something differently and taking the initiative next time you come across a cute guy you like the looks of? After all, the worst thing that can happen is that it doesn't work out with him, and it sounds like you've already experienced that with your current methods. So what do you have to lose by trying something different? It's like Einstein supposedly said: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
posted by colfax at 2:05 AM on October 24, 2012 [18 favorites]


You can respond to the justifications or skip the whole thing and just tell me whether or not it's legit

You can totally go ahead and ask guys out. It might not always work out, but there are plenty of possible situations in which a guy can be happy (or even overjoyed!) to date you but for whatever reason has not asked.

Again, for emphasis: it is totally OK for you to ask guys out.
posted by ominous_paws at 2:11 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Would you like to date my rock star brother (sold out concerts, big cd sales etc) or perhaps my very wealthy cousin (property developer) or my other cousin who is an awesome doctor? If you did, none of them would want to date you. Your attitide makes you appear all caught up in power games and none of these beautiful men in my life play such games.

I've read the book you mentioned. It's a hoot. Such a laugh. The are seeds of truth in it but they are confused by attaching genders to the actions and outcomes.

Men are people. Like women, they do not like to be stereotyped. Do you like to be stereotyped? If so, fine. If not, consider yourself a human first and female second and act acordingly. Love generously.
posted by the fish at 2:45 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry OP. I didn't mean to come across so abruptly above. But your question got my goat. Women my age have been working for decades so women and men yr age can have equal relationships and it seems you want to believe in the old, inequal ways.

Be bold. Ask for who and what you want in life. There is no other legitimate, honest way to achieve your goals and loved one. You are not a commodity. You are a human. Be bold and act like one.
posted by the fish at 2:52 AM on October 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


I asked my now-husband out 10 years ago. I was looking for an equal relationship, and that's what I got. I didn't want a man who felt emasculated by me. I didn't want a guy who was going to play power games to make himself feel better (which is what all your rules boil down to, except the last one).
7) I am Worth being unambiguously asked out on a Real Date.
This is probably true, but isn't it also true that you want to date someone who is worth being asked out on a Real Date? Why would you want to date a man who isn't worth asking out on a Real Date? In fact, we could do this gender switch with every single 'rule', and they would be equally applicable to some men and some women.
posted by muddgirl at 3:38 AM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have found that guys who were really into me and super aggressive about asking me out, making all of the plans, etc, to be controlling and very undesirable. Clearly, one wants to find someone who is confident and not afraid to be in control, but just because a guy does take on that role doesn't mean he's going to be someone you want to spend a lot of time with. Sitting back and letting the guy do all the work is not fair to either of you. Perhaps take the attitude that it will be back and forth effort rather than all or nothing.
I know dating is hard, it's mysterious and feels exhausting sometimes, but that is when you put too much thinking into it and not enough just letting things be. It sounds cliche but live in the moment and don't grip the wheel so tight.
posted by waving at 3:42 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Honey, all of that is buckets of crazy. The sources of information you're looking at are not good sources. I want to say it is really good that you were wise enough to question them.

I'm in a LTR with an incredible man (and I made the first move, FWIW), but I was single a lot up until the point that I started my relationship with him. I learned a lot during all my time being single, and through having close male friends with whom I was able to speak candidly about such things. Here is my advice to you:

1. Men aren't that different from women. Keep that in mind.
2. There isn't a single "All men _______" statement that I can think of that is true. People are just too different and varying.
3. Yes, some men don't like to be asked out, but it has been my experience that the types that would find it a turn off aren't the types of people I want to date. I want to date my EQUAL, not someone who thinks/feels that there is a power game in play.
4. Men have it tough. It takes people very little to label a man a creeper if they showed interest and it wasn't returned, no matter how respectfully and non-aggressively it was done. I've seen it first hand. For that reason (among others) a lot of men are hesitant to ask women out or to make the first move. Often the men who are most considerate and sensitive to a woman's boundaries are the ones that are hesitant to make a move.
5. You need to make some nice, normal, respectful male friends. The things you have cited are seriously seriously effed up and are not only not going to help you get a boyfriend, they are also pretty insulting to men. So make some male friends and observe them. Talk to them. Learn from them. Let them show you that men are playing from the same deck women are.

6. There. Are. No. Rules. Seriously. Human relationships aren't boardgames, there aren't rules you must follow to get certain things.




My final piece of advice is to RELAX. You are way too focused on this, and that isn't helping you. I frankly think you would benefit from taking some time off from dating. Take a few months (or maybe longer) and just be single. Spend that time trying to remove all those ideas and rules you've cited. Focus your energy on figuring out exactly what kind of relationship you want. Put thought in to the type of traits you would like in a partner. Then, later on, once you have your head screwed back on straight, just see whats out there. If you are interested in a guy, chat him up. Ask him out if it feels right.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 3:55 AM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


My experience is that who asks who out doesn’t make any difference to the long-term prospects of the relationship: it will succeed or fail on its own merits and the compatibility between the people in it. I (female, 30s) have asked men out and been asked out, and the only difference has been that when I started getting up the nerve to do the asking rather than passively waiting to be asked, I had the chance to be close to awesome guys I’d never have known otherwise, and felt confident and assertive with it. Honestly it’s still gut-clenchingly terrifying at times, but more than worth it when it works out, and even when it doesn’t the kick to my self-respect has been great. Highly recommended.

(Also, what have you got to lose? Guys can still ask you out, you’re just expanding the pool of great people you might get to know by asking some of them out too.)
posted by Otto the Magnificent at 4:21 AM on October 24, 2012


Yes. Twice. Relationships lasted more than 3 years each. Great ladies.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:26 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm married to a woman who asked me out. We've been together for 12 years. She asked me out because I was too shy to do so.
posted by Area Man at 4:30 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hogwash. Follow someone else's capricious rules and you'll come across as phony to anyone who has any sensitivity. I've been very happily married for 18 years and I was the one who first asked him out. I think the key is: Asking out does not equal pursuing. It's all about the tone. I think there is a lot of truth in the idea that men like to pursue, generally, but that doesn't mean women have to do a ritualized, coquettish "I'm not interested -- or am I?" dance they got out of a book.

In my case, I asked him if he wanted to go out to get lunch, and I really only meant it as a friendly gesture. I truly had no romantic intentions... but he did. So he still did the "pursuing."

As a side note, it's interesting how many articles and books about how to achieve a successful LTR/marriage are NOT written by people with successful long-term marriages.
posted by ROTFL at 4:32 AM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Do you consider men and women equal? Do you want your relationship to be a partnership between equals? Then yes, it is absolutely okay and normal to ask guys out.

It's easy to get suckered in by lists of rules when you're single and looking, even the gross stereotype-based ones that run counter to what you believe in theory. There's this idea that there's one "right" way to do it, and if you follow the right set of rules you'll succeed. (This also manifests itself in fad diets and cults). I did a lot of rule-searching in my early twenties: they seemed ridiculous, but I wanted to find a simple, surefire route to a relationship (and weight loss). They didn't help, and by focusing on these imaginary how-to-get-men truisms, I spent so much energy trying to behave correctly that I lost sight of what I wanted.

My husband asked me out, so my anecdote is not a perfect counterexample. But. By the time he asked me out, we'd gotten to know each other well, and he was familiar with the real me, not the dating-mode Weird Old Tip me. I think that made a world of difference.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:41 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Guys like the uncertainty

This, and #3 in general, I want to single out for being all sorts of wrong. Dating is a high stress, emotionally fraught proposition. The only people who like uncertainty are going to be the people who get off on drama and find some sort of thrill in that kind of thing. And if it isn't there they will create it.

Maybe this is the mid-to-late-30s speaking, but I've definitely said and been in conversations where one or both of us expressed relief about to ease and straightforwardness of dating each other by saying, "it was so easy".

I might also add that #3 is especially bad when combined with all of the other points, because it means that a guy doesn't have a payoff for all of the effort. The point of various etiquette rules about dating like this is to create certainty. #3 obfuscates and creates uncertainty, almost serving as a disincentive against all of the other items that a guy "should" do.
posted by deanc at 4:42 AM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


1-7 no.

Cite: LTR I initiated by asking for date/phone number at a warehouse by the airport (which we visited 16 years to the month, plus or minus, of said event, recently).
posted by tilde at 5:35 AM on October 24, 2012


Where are you looking and what type of guy are you trying to date? I (and, uh, probably you since you're posting in metafilter) live in the nerd world. Stereotyping wildly here, but my kind (and especially myself) tend to be pretty oblivious/traumatized by highschool/slow developers/just plain awkward. An unambiguous sign that yes, you ARE interested is a sign for me to switch off the 'defensive nerd paranoia' and risk being hurt to see where investing good time and energy in this relationship will lead. So, ask! ASK!!!!!! This is the 21st century, seize the power your feminist sisters fought for and ask men out :)

Alternatively, (not trying to attack here) drop some of the..... very reserved attitude? Judging solely from your post, it comes across as a little standoffish, just not approachable. I whole-heartedly recommend dating nerds (well, the mature-ish ones anyway) and they just need some... nudges here and there.

But yeah, 100% re-think the 'must not ask out' thing. A more sensible approach, to me, is ask out and then evaluate how much interest and effort goes into well, wooing you :)

Good luck!
posted by Jacen at 5:42 AM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


a portion of these concepts are from the book He's Just Not That Into You. So, there's that.

"He's Just Not That Into You" is for after one of you already has asked the other out and you've had a few dates, but it's just sort of puttering along and he seems kind of half-assed interested in things and you're feeling "wait, why am I the one doing all the planning here" and you have the urge to try to talk yourself out of being hurt by saying that maybe he's just busy at work or whatever. It is not for when you are just first meeting a guy and want to have a first date.

It actually really doesn't matter who asks whom on the first dates. People are people, and some people are better at making the first move and some aren't. Go ahead and try asking a guy out if you really dig him. If it doesn't work, it won't be because he's thinking "well, she's a great girl, but she was the one who asked me to get coffee before I did, so no".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:54 AM on October 24, 2012


Three things:

Yes, My Wife asked me on the first real date. Given the situation at the time, I wouldn't have asked her out. So it really would have sucked if I had to obey your rules.

I think these rules are reductive bullshit. BUT maybe you want to only be with guys who believe in odd sexist shit... do you?

People write dating/self help books for one reason. To make money. That's it. That is all those books are doing.
posted by French Fry at 6:04 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


My now girlfriend of two years asked me out on Match.com.
I'm so damn glad that she did, that's all I got to say about that.

For every dating guru, dating expert, dating advice column, dating book or dating blog that give you a rule, there are at least ten exceptions to that rule walking around, happy as hell.
posted by THAT William Mize at 6:12 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


My conclusion: ask out whoever you want, but don't chase people. Ask them out, but only continue dating them if they seem overjoyed and thrilledto be dating you. If they seem wishy washy and not that into you, just move on, early.

This. Work on a case by case basis and be open and sensitive to the person/situation you're dealing with rather than trying to follow some formula, because there are no fool-proof, surefire, simplistic rules to getting what you want in this world. So yes, message guys on dating sites if they interest you. Be friendly with the cute guy in your office building when you're in the same line in the cafeteria. Go up to a guy at the Halloween party and tell him you like his costume. If the guy isn't responding at all, or even if he's giving you some encouragement but isn't meeting you halfway and acting willing and eager to be with you, write him off and move on to the next one.

I usually don't have the nerve to actually ask a man out outright, so what I do is just act friendly, like I would with a woman I'd like to get to know, and gradually escalate things from there. My experience is that if a man is interested, he will take me up on that in spades. If he's only being friendly and demonstrates no interest in anything more, I leave it at that, and I don't feel like I've been rejected because I haven't offered him anything overtly and it hasn't come to the point of his having to give me a blunt no. You might try that approach.
posted by orange swan at 6:14 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just read out your post to my long-term boyfriend. He thought the rules were completely ridiculous and frankly, insulting to men. No, most men don't have such fragile egos, except perhaps the ones you want to avoid. My boyfriend did ask me out, as it turns out, but he felt that the notion that men have to do all the asking was outdated and irrelevant today. Relationships are hard enough without all this extra baggage.
posted by peacheater at 6:14 AM on October 24, 2012


When I was in college/grad school, I was one of the girls who never asked out guys, waited to be approached, totally played the game to a tee. Met some nice guys, had some good times, but lived a dating life fraught with questions. (My best friend and I had to debrief each time we went out - Did he like me? Did you see him looking at me? Do you think he'll call or the other guy?)

And then when I was 25, I moved to a new place with zero friend-support-system in place. And after a New Year's Eve spent alone, I resolved to go up to guys that I thought were physically attractive and talk to them. (In a bar--I also know you're not supposed to meet worthwhile LTR material in bars, but that was the only place I could brainstorm at the time.) The first cute guy that I went up to asked for my number, called me a few days later, and 4 years later we're married. Now, almost 5 years into a really great marriage, I am so glad that I bit the bullet and got out of my guys-must-approach-me comfort zone. I marvel at how equal and strong our relationship is, and I think that some of that reason is that we got started on a level playing field with -zero- rules playing.
posted by Kronur at 6:15 AM on October 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


As (yet) another datapoint, I (hetero female) asked my (male) partner out on a date 3 years ago. He didn't make the first move because he was shy but was interested in me. We're getting married in the spring and we have a fantastic and equal relationship. At the very least, some guys may be like you describe, but everyone is different. Generalizing rules across people and genders doesn't always work out that well. If I didn't ask my partner out when I did, we wouldn't still be together today and I would of missed out on a fantastic relationship.
posted by snowysoul at 6:17 AM on October 24, 2012


My soon-to-be mother-in-law asked my soon-to-be father-in-law out. They've been married for ~33 years. The relationship did not involve her doing 100% of the pursuing; he proposed to her.

So yeah, girl-ask-guy worked back in the 70's, and can lead to a healthy LTR and marriage. Glancing at the responses, it looks like that's still the case.
posted by Tehhund at 6:22 AM on October 24, 2012


a portion of these concepts are from the book He's Just Not That Into You. So, there's that.

Um. Just because it's written in a book doesn't make it true, or valuable advice, or anything other than trite pap.
posted by elizardbits at 6:25 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


What kind of guy are you looking for? Are you looking for a guy who is invested in adhering to 'traditional gender roles' (if you are, that's fine - its your life and your choice, don't ever forget that), if so then these rules probably do apply and you should not ask anyone out. If not then go ahead. Men are people too, they're just as afraid of rejection as women and everyone (as in all kinds of people, not every . single . person) likes to be desired/pursued.

If you're not asking them out, are you at least flirting with guys you like?
posted by missmagenta at 6:26 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I believe that there are men who love pursuing, who would be turned off by you making the first move, and would fit your set of rules rather nicely. And there are men who are the exact opposite.

Now, if you are looking for a long term relationship, possible forever marriage, the second set is the better bet. Why would someone who loves to pursue choose to stop pursuing? Men who love to chase women are the ones who will continue chasing women, even after catching one. It's all about the chase, not the success.

Find a guy who has to really talk himself into it, and feels only relief that he won't have to again. He's not going to throw a bunch of chauvinism at you for asking him out if it saved him some anxiety, and he's not going to miss having the option to pursue.
posted by Dynex at 6:30 AM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I started dating my now husband, who was a good friend prior to us dating, while I was complaining about a date I had that went poorly.

The date that went poorly started by me boldly asking out a guy who I thought was attractive and possibly an interesting person, and then he turned out to be an ass. It was very disappointing. I do think that the guy I asked out only said yes because he was kind of tickled by the idea that I was pursuing him. However, I could clearly see that the reason why things had gone badly had nothing to do with the fact that I asked him out - they went badly because I asked out the wrong person. Had I gotten to know him a little better before asking him out, I think it would have been painfully clear to me that I did not want to date him.

In any case, shortly after the bad date, I was complaining to my friend about it (who had recently broken up with his girlfriend) and he said "I never would have treated you that way." Which could have been just a thing that a friend says to another friend, but when he said that, I knew it was true, and I had a feeling that he was interested in me. So I responded "If only you had been single, we could have dated instead." Because I knew that he was a shy type of person, and I wanted him to know I was interested in him too - and beating around the bush is not my style. He thought about that for a few minutes, getting up the nerve to respond, then told me that he liked me - and I confirmed the feeling was mutual. No formal 'date-asking' involved. We recently celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.

Had I been the type who worried about whether making my interest in him apparent would drive him away or make him less attracted to me, that conversation might never have happened. I might be married to someone else right now. I'm happy to be married to someone with whom I can be honest about how I feel.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:37 AM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


You should back off the gender essentialism a bit. Many guys prefer to do the asking, and many guys don't. It's not like every man is either a Desirable Alpha Male Who Asks You Out or Sniveling Passive Beta Who Waits To Be Asked. As long as you're looking for an equal (roughly), why not go ahead and ask some dude on a date? It's not like there's some secret guy grapevine where nobody will ask you out ever again. Also, it's much more likely to get you an answer than just waiting to be asked.

(24/f/happily relationshipped/made the first move)
posted by mismatched at 6:37 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


1. Don't follow any published dating 'rules,' especially books full of them.

2. Don't treat any group of people as a homogeneous population that all like/dislike one thing or act the same.

For what it's worth, I am currently in a relationship with a man I initiated contact with and asked out.
posted by rachaelfaith at 6:38 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm starting to get to a place in my life where if a guy thinking that I'm powerful makes me unattractive, I don't think I want to date him, because forcing myself to be less than I am gets more obnoxious and exhausting every day

Boom. You said it better than any of us could, right there in your question. There are some guys for whom these rules will work. They are not, however, guys that you want to date. They come with a bunch of fucked up gender baggage that you can definitely live without. For example, you have as one of your principles that guys like the chase. I hate the chase. Most guys I know hate the chase. The chase sucks. Every so often, I do meet a guy who says he likes the chase. These guys are the absolute worst.
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:12 AM on October 24, 2012 [19 favorites]


My wife made the first move.
posted by Shutter at 7:22 AM on October 24, 2012


As many have said, no set of rules will be true across any population of individuals. The reasons you posted seem like things that people you probably don't want to be in a relationship with would be concerned about.

If you are a fairly rational person and find a partner who is as well, 'how' you got together isn't relevant after it happens anyway.
posted by sinical at 7:33 AM on October 24, 2012


From this question and your question about being vulnerable, it seems like you're in a stage of your life where you're getting fed up with bullshit and you want to start having real and honest interactions with people. In other words, like many other people around your age, you're growing up. That is great news! I'm sorry that you're feeling attacked in this thread. I don't think it's you, I think people are remembering how constraining and depressing it is to play by these rules, and to be the person stereotyped by them.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you seek out the kind of relationship you seem to want. Maybe they will be more helpful to you than the rules you have internalized.

1) If either member of a party is dwelling on "power relationships", that is probably not a great place to start things off. Long-term, happy couples tend to be equal partners who look out for each other and both put in the work. If someone is dwelling on who has the upper hand, that person is not ready to be a life partner. Unless it's a consensual BDSM thing.

2) Healthy adult relationships are fed by honesty, openness, and respect. When approaching a potential partner, if you are hiding your feelings and expecting behaviors without clearly communicating your desires, you are not being open or respectful.

3) If you think you could care about a guy, give him the benefit of the doubt. Do not assume that, because he is male, he prescribes to a set of beliefs and behaviors, "guy rules" or a douchey "bro code." Treat him as an individual and judge him by his actions, not the words of others who have never met him.

None of this is to say you shouldn't be cautious and trust your instincts. Metafilter has some strong feeling about The Gift of Fear. But good adult relationships that work in the long term require better soil to grow in than what you're currently planting them in, I think.

By the way. Two things helped get me out of this headspace. Falling deeply in love with a friend and observing and spending time with other couples who had the the type of relationship I wanted.

Good luck!
posted by Lieber Frau at 7:39 AM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


My wife asked me out (I was going to ask her out, but she beat me to it). So, sure.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 7:41 AM on October 24, 2012


There are so many awesome shy guys out there that are not in relationships because they are shy! My relationships have started with me pursuing the guy and my hook ups have started with me just going along when some guy expressed interest. Asking a guy out seems like the obvious way to ending up with a guy you're really interested in. Once you've started things, there are plenty of ways to gauge his interest. Does he initiate dates? When you tell him you'd like to see him, does he say "Ok, I just bought plane tickets"?

Risking rejection is sometimes hard, but we expect men to do that. I have a 2/4 success rate, which is pretty good considering those successes were 2+ year happy relationships, one of which is still going strong.
posted by carolr at 8:15 AM on October 24, 2012


I asked a guy out and we have been going out for 2 1/2 years and are moving in together next week. Worked out fine for me.
posted by mlle valentine at 8:18 AM on October 24, 2012


1) Guys who won't ask you out aren't interested in you.

Nope. They may be shy, or unconfident, or terrified of being thought a creep. That last one seems to be particularly problematical in current times.

2) Guys who don't like you enough to ask you out, aren't interested enough to put in the effort neccessary to sustain a relationship.

There's an a priori false assumption in this: that guys who don't ask you out don't like you enough. See response to point 1).

Similar: Guys who need to be pursued will stay in a relationship out of laziness, fear or inertia rather than a genuine desire to be in the relationship.

How does that sound if we replace the word "Guys" with "Women"? Pretty damned sexist, right? Right.

3) Guys dont like being asked out. Guys like to be the pursuer/agressor.

Two of my long-term relationships - including my marriage - started with the woman asking me out. This guy feels extremely flattered and very grateful when it happens, I can tell you. Many guys find this whole business of being expected to be the pursuer incredibly tiresome, frustrating and, yes, sexist. It's also, I venture to suggest, why many get actually angry when, having fallen for the idea themselves, they get told their clumsy approaches come off as harassing or creepy. It seems to me that a whole lot of the miscommunication between the sexes in the modern age is caused or aggravated by a rather puzzling retreat to some pretty old and sexist ideas.

4)Guys will think that you're too aggressive or domineering or powerful if you ask them out.

Some guys might, but you wouldn't want to be in a LTR with someone like that, surely? Plenty of guys actually like strong, confident women, you know.

5)The only guys who want to be with women who ask them out are weak-willed or submissive.

Simply false. Do I strike you as weak-willed and submissive?

6)If you have to ask a guy out, it means you like him more than he likes you. This puts you at risk for being hurt/ played. If you make him ask you out, then you have the power in the relationship.

Try that old "reverse the sexes" thing again. How does it sound now? Right.

7) I am Worth being unambiguously asked out on a Real Date.

You probably are. Don't you think plenty of guys are too?
posted by Decani at 8:43 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


First off: kudos to you for starting to question these beliefs. Seriously, you deserve a lot of credit -- you've been getting a lot of bad advice and are starting to see through it, which is awesome.

Some people above have gotten a little heated -- please don't take it as them tearing into you or lecturing you; they're not angry at you, they're angry at the ideas you've been fed. Which are pretty terrible ideas for the most part.

I'm a guy. I definitely definitely don't fit into the stereotype you're describing. I honestly don't remember whether my wife asked me out first or if I asked her out; it was a pretty strong mutual attraction. Before I got married I had several relationships where they asked me out, several where I did the asking, and in no case was that a factor in how the relationship ultimately played out.

On to the "rules":

1) Guys who won't ask you out aren't interested in you.

Or they're interested in you but lack confidence. Or they think you're out of their league. Or they've gotten the news that a lot of women don't like getting hit on constantly and have learned to sit back for a while and let the woman take the lead. Or they like it when the woman makes the first move, because they like strong, confident women. Or lots of other reasons.

2) Guys who don't like you enough to ask you out, aren't interested enough to put in the effort neccessary to sustain a relationship.

The amount of skill, or lack of it, in asking someone out doesn't have much to do with the amount of skill or lack of it in maintaining an ongoing relationship.

Think of it like a job interview. Some people are really good at their jobs but just blow it in interviews because they get too stressed out or don't think well on their feet or they're just better at doing their work than they are at talking about doing their work. Same thing with dating and asking people out.

3) Guys dont like being asked out. Guys like to be the pursuer/agressor.

Some guys like to be the pursuer/aggressor. Some guys like to be pursued. Some guys like beer. Some guys like wine. Some guys like orange juice. Some guys are tops, some guys are bottoms. "Guys" are not a monolithic entity who share the same desires.

4)Guys will think that you're too aggressive or domineering or powerful if you ask them out. This will make them less attracted to you.

Some guys will think that you asking them out means you're aggressive or domineering or powerful, sure. Some of those will be turned off by that. Some of them will be turned on by that.


Other guys won't think it means you're aggressive or domineering or powerful, they'll just think it means you asked them out.

5)The only guys who want to be with women who ask them out are weak-willed or submissive.

Right, because Real Men smoke marlboros and are rugged and unshaven and don't eat quiche. Other men are weaklings who get sand kicked in their faces.

In other words, this is really really sexist thinking. This is the equivalent of -- and leads directly to -- thinking that women belong in the kitchen and men should make all the decisions.

Preferring strong, powerful, confident women doesn't equate to "submissive." "Submissive" doesn't equate to "weak-willed," for that matter.

6)If you have to ask a guy out, it means you like him more than he likes you. This puts you at risk for being hurt/ played.

For starters, it doesn't mean you like him more than he likes you: when you're still at the "asking each other out" phase, you don't really even know each other yet, so you have no idea who is going to wind up liking who more.

Meanwhile, in any relationship, you're at risk of being hurt. Or played, for that matter. Both of you are. Part of love is opening yourself up enough, and trusting enough, that there is the potential for hurt. Who initiates the relationship has absolutely no bearing on this.

If you make him ask you out, then you have the power in the relationship.

If you start right off the bat thinking about relationships in terms of who has the most power and who has leverage over who and treat it like a competition instead of a relationship, you'll wind up with one of those PUA assholes who thinks of it the same way, and you'll spend your whole relationship playing each other instead of loving each other.

This is a really awful way to have a relationship. One of the most important parts of keeping it going long term is to let go of the "keeping score" thing -- you're not competitors trying to one-up each other, you're a team.

7) I am Worth being unambiguously asked out on a Real Date.

This one is true! But only if you accept the completely false axioms #1-6 that it's based on. You are worth a real, true, unambiguous loving relationship, absolutely. But you don't have to buy into the old women-as-passive-recipients, men-as-burly-aggressors trope in order to get that.


I'm starting to get to a place in my life where if a guy thinking that I'm powerful makes me unattractive, I don't think I want to date him, because forcing myself to be less than I am gets more obnoxious and exhausting every day.

Yes! I'm glad that you see the effect that this kind of thinking is having on you. Don't force yourself to be less than you are, to wedge yourself into this 1950s stereotype of what dating is supposed to be. You don't have to do that.

On the other hand, the idea is I guess that guys have very fragile, easily damaged egos,

Oh honey, seriously, you have got to stop reading whatever nonsense sources are feeding this bullshit to you. This is just ridiculous. Some guys have the fragile macho ego going on, yeah. (Don't date those guys.) Plenty don't. Men aren't all alike. Women aren't all alike. People are people.


Here's the thing about advice books: many of them are written by idiots. Many of them are completely wrong. Or they're right for the particular tiny demographic they're written for, or the particular philosophy they're agitating for, or for the nostalgia's-eye-view of some past golden age they're longing for.

To take the most charitable view, the person giving the advice is giving advice on how to find the kind of relationship they want. That doesn't mean it'll be good advice on finding the kind of relationship you want.


So instead of continuing to read dating advice written by bitter games-playing PUAs, desperate How To Snag Your Man types, or 1950s gender essentialist throwbacks, read back through the relationship questions here on AskMe. You'll see plenty of first hand accounts of people (of both genders) who don't fit into those stereotypes at all. Almost everyone, in fact, doesn't fit into those stereotypes.
posted by ook at 8:44 AM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've asked out or initiated in all the relationships that had any tenure. This is because I prefer to be the one to make the first move, more or less (I think I prefer guys who are not very aggressive in this respect, or maybe I'm not so approachable, either way there's at least been a 'dude, you're attractive!' moment) and the tenure is probably related to liking to get to know the guy first or be friends.

It's not a good sign if you have to do *all* the pushing in courtship but the first step is hardly a commitment that everything is going to be one sided. If he's hung up on some sort of highly gendered paradigm that doesn't match yours, you're also not losing by running afoul of it.
posted by Phalene at 9:26 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a picture of the way that the world is supposed to work, those rules are leaving out some pretty big details. They put all the responsibility on the guy to do the legwork, while ignoring that women, in practice do a lot of the legwork too even if they're following these rules. Women flirt, women signal, women do various things to help walk the man through the steps these rules outline.

This is so, so true. Even in the
most traditional relationships where both the man and woman uphold traditional roles related to who can be the pursuer, you will still see the woman engage in active flirting behaviors that are, essentially, passive ways of pursuing him. My conservative Idaho grandmother! Very traditional! Did things such as: when she was the head of the summer ice cream social planning committee (for reals), she totally put my grandfather as the head of the music committee, which everyone totally knew was on purpose, because they'd have to work together, and that he should totally ask her to the dance because it's obvious she'd say yes.

Also, it's 2012, and lots of dudes are all modern and junk, as are lots of women, so this theory that Men Must Chase sounds pretty bunk, and I know a lot guys who would agree.
posted by vivid postcard at 9:37 AM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


...Girls (who want LTRs) Should Never Ask Out Guys....I would especially like to hear from men about this. Have you ever willingly entered a happy, functional, long-lasting relationship with a girl who asked YOU out?

No. I am the type of man who likes to speak my mind and act on my inclinations. When I was single, I would almost always ask a woman out the first time I became aware of her existence. If I was interested, and she was reciprocating some interest by engaging with me, then that was all the deliberation I needed before taking action.

These days I think there is a lot more reticence and uncertainty that sometimes seems to transfer into apathy and shyness. I am not going to speculate as to why.

HOWEVER: If I was advising a 26 year old woman living in the cyber-wasteland of 2012, I would suggest that she be more comfortable making the FIRST move but that she also protect herself by confirming that at the one month mark she was not doing all the heavy lifting (communication-wise) in the budding relationship.
posted by 99percentfake at 9:47 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, this is quite a pile-on.

I read All Those Books during a difficult single period in my life. (Incidentally, I'd also recommend the somewhat less controversial Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller, though I've found that mentioning even that book to a what!-there-are-no-rules-whatsoever crowd raises hackles.) It made me ruthless, which is to say, I stopped accepting half-assed attention in lieu of dates. And right now I am in a great relationship, with one of the nicest, kindest, most considerate people I've ever known.

I can't offer you peer-reviewed evidence on this. And there were probably plenty of other things about me, about us, that were different this time. But in a nutshell, yes, the guy got my number and asked me out and so on. I can't run the experiment again and tell you if it would have worked out if I had asked him out first.

I can't in good conscience unambiguously endorse the first 6 points. I have known confident women who confidently negated those. The only one I would actually recommend is #7, holding out for real dates. To indulge in some stereotyping, in my experience only Nice Guys, players, or just kind of apathetic guys would skip the Real Date part. There is a lot of bitterness on the internet about women "friend-zoning" men, but irl I have been privy to many guy friends describing some hot, smart woman in their life as "just a friend" even though they were quite obviously sleeping together on the reg. Or on the irreg. So, you know, if dude just wants to "hang out" or make dinner for you with his roommate there or whatever, maybe write that one off as not having serious relationship potential.
posted by ziggly at 10:13 AM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


None of these ring true for me, as a man, except perhaps as ziggly says above the seventh, "demand someone's full attention and be classified as Really Dating if you are intending for something solid to come out of it". The remaining rules sound like cliche dating advice from sexist people who can't imagine relationships of power-equals. Which is like .. how any relationship I want to be in functions.

Have you ever willingly entered a happy, functional, long-lasting relationship with a girl who asked YOU out?

My wife asked me .. uh .. demanded our first interaction, a decade ago. Of the women I've fallen for, and wanted to stick with, easily half were pursuers. I find a woman asking me out flattering and charming.
posted by ead at 10:19 AM on October 24, 2012


Maybe it would be useful to think about The Rules as a way of screening for a particular type of guy, rather than a foolproof method for interacting with all guys ever.

I tend to think that what you're going to get with The Rules is a guy who…
- is fairly culturally conservative/traditional
- values (and is perhaps somewhat rigid about) traditional gender roles. This might include ideas about division of labor, women being "up on a pedestal," sexual style, etc.
- wants to be with someone who displays a fairly traditional femininity, including both appearance and behavior
- wants to be with someone equal to or perhaps slightly weaker/lesser than him

I'm not going to rag on you for wanting that, if that's what you want. But if The Rules aren't working for you, maybe that's not what you want? Or maybe it is what you want, but you don't fit the traditionally feminine role well enough to satisfy the guys you're screening for?

The other thing about doing this kind of screening is that you're setting yourself up for an entire lifetime (or as long as the relationship lasts) of playing out these fairly rigid roles. If you read The Rules books, you'll see that laid out very clearly -- that The Rules are expected to be in action for the entire duration of a marriage, not just for the courtship phase. So it's really important to ask yourself -- is this what I want to live with for my whole life? Or is it just what I think will work right now?

My qualifications: I really value reciprocity/mutuality, so I've asked folks out and been asked out in fairly equal proportion. I can't see that it's ever had any real effect on how the relationship has progressed.
posted by ourobouros at 10:26 AM on October 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Non-rule-following woman here. Not only did I pursue him, I also slept with him right away AND (sort of) asked him to marry me. We've had our ups and downs but we've been together for almost 20 years, married for 17. It really does come down to what kind of man and relationship you want. You run the risk of ruling out a whole lot of really amazing men by following these rules, but if what you truly want is to be pursued by a man who wants to be with a woman who prefers to be pursued, then that's what you want.
posted by atropos at 11:06 AM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you're confident and assertive enough to ask guys out, do it!

As a fellow confident and assertive lady, the guys who will get in a snit because you asked them out are, generally, not going to be awesome/compatible partners for you anyway. So really, asking guys out only saves you time and energy.

(Considering that there are plenty of ladies- those who date other ladies- who still manage to find love and relationships without these rules, clearly following these rules isn't the only path to happiness).
posted by Cracky at 11:32 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Late 20's guy here.

1-6: I feel the opposite way about these conclusions from what you describe.

7: Yes, you are! So am I!
posted by cmoj at 11:35 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm a woman and use OKC almost exclusively to meet potential dates. I am almost always the one who initiates contact. Sure, I get plenty of one or two line emails from men, but those men don't usually strike me as interesting and I rarely respond. Maybe I'm sexist in the opposite way, but I like to make contact first. I would say that the guy ends up asking me out on a date more often than I ask him on a first date though, but it tends to flow naturally from the conversation.

I definitely want a guy who reciprocates by showing interest in me, but I generally like to be the one who initiates contact. I feel freaked out and nervous when a random guy comes up to me and starts talking.
posted by parakeetdog at 12:33 PM on October 24, 2012


In my experience, who asks whom is a pretty useless predictor of relationship success and happiness. My worst relationship was with someone who did all the asking out. He got bored after he "caught" me and then stuck with me out of inertia. I was blind to this because I followed the rules. He did all the asking out, so that meant he liked me, right? It was only after I realized that we only did things that he wanted to do that I realized that he wasn't really into me.

Much better predictors of relationship success: body language (public displays of affection, eye contact if they aren't shy people), being on time or being communicative about not being on time, willingness to compromise, willingness to share their plans and inner thoughts, willingness to listen and a genuine interest in being part of my life and plans.
posted by rhythm and booze at 1:18 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Reading those rules I expected the OP to be closer to 16 than 26. I am a 25-year-old dude who was asked out by my current girlfriend 4ish years ago. The reason I didn't ask her out first was that I did not think she'd be in to me. If she had not asked me out, we would definitely not be together and I would not be as happy.

If a guy is put off by the idea of you taking the initiative and asking him out, I'd say he probably isn't the guy for you anyway.
posted by Aizkolari at 1:21 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was the first one to invite my husband out(not on a date exactly -- to a hike with other people and then a party at my house). He liked my moxie I think. 10 years and were still going strong. Don't listen to sexist bs.
posted by bananafish at 2:05 PM on October 24, 2012


I expected the OP to be closer to 16 than 26

Ha ha, yeah. This is something my therapist and I are working on.

Anyways, with this many answers, marking "best answers" might get a bit absurd, though I might do so when I read them all again. I'm gonna go ahead and call this one "resolved". A lot of you gave imput that really spoke to me, and I appreciate it. I think one of the things I value the most is the permission to stop acting like an idiot trying to maneuver some guy into asking me out. It's neither fun nor especially that effective nor authentic, it's just how I thought I had to behave. I hope I'll find a happy medium of reasonable behaviour soon.

This is a huge weight off my shoulders. I'm gonna go ahead and assume that this also means that I can go ahead and stop pretending to be bad at things I'm good at, scared of things I'm not scared of, and dumbing myself down too. I'm actually thinking I might get rid of my copy of Fascinating Womanhood and The Rules and all of them. (I know I know, I should know better than to fall for this stuff... but it can be hard to believe that equality actually applies to me and the people around me rather than as an ideal. I hope that makes sense). I mean, I'm going to sound horribly ignorant, but it never, ever occurred to me that those ideas were sexist. And I am someone who really should know better.

Anyway yeah. I'm sometimes glad to find out that the world is not how I thought it was. This is one of those times.
posted by windykites at 2:26 PM on October 24, 2012 [19 favorites]


I made the first move on my husband six years ago, pursued him, and then slept with him right away. According to those who go by The Rules he should have lost interest and respect in me for being so aggressive and slutty, but The Rules don't apply when it comes to men like my husband. He's just not the kind of guy who applies ridiculous double standards to women, or feels threatened by women who know what they want and aren't afraid to ask for it.

I wasn't the only one with eyes for my husband. A mutual acquaintance of ours made no secret of having a big crush on my husband before he and I started dating. Except she made her crush known to everyone but him. She took to giggling with her girlfriends in the hallway outside of his bedroom door (we lived in shared student housing) hoping to catch his eye, while I actually talked to him and told him honestly that I was into him. He wasn't the least bit intrigued by our aquaintance's coyness and passivity, but he was majorly impressed by my confidence.
posted by keep it under cover at 2:30 PM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have one more piece of advice, because you sound a bit like me. I love guides and walkthroughs and rulebooks. I'm afraid if I try to do something on my own, I'm going to mess it up beyond repair. Thankfully I've never had to do this with dating advice, but with pretty much everything else, at some point or another I've googled, "How to Do X."

One thing I've learned since becoming an adult is that there's no greater teacher than experience. In an overwrought cliche of a motto, I sometimes have to Just Do It. And "It" is something I'm usually terrified of. One of the things about dating rulebooks in particular is that they can give a woman permission to be passive, as a defense against disappointment or heartbreak. We are humans. We're going to be rejected. We're going to get our heart broken.
posted by muddgirl at 2:34 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm gonna go ahead and assume that this also means that I can go ahead and stop pretending to be bad at things I'm good at, scared of things I'm not scared of, and dumbing myself down too.

Oh hell yes! How else would you meet men who will love and appreciate you for exactly who you are? No more hiding! The right guy will think you're badass for being your talented, brave, and smart self. He won't make you feel bad for being you, and he definitely won't take it as a personal affront to his manhood that you happen to be female and awesome. Doesn't that sound so much better than having to tiptoe around men who get all insecure and butthurt because A GIRL is good at stuff(!!)? Best of luck. It's scary to put yourself out there and be the risk taker, but the payoff is so worth it.
posted by keep it under cover at 2:49 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm gonna go ahead and assume that this also means that I can go ahead and stop pretending to be bad at things I'm good at, scared of things I'm not scared of, and dumbing myself down too.

Yes, do this. Be with someone who finds your smarts, talents and courage attractive, not threatening. You've said you are looking for marriage and a life together. What would that life be like if you always had to play stupid to boost his ego?
posted by Area Man at 2:55 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mrs. txmon and I will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary in June. She invited me out a few times before I initiated a date. (My bff told me at the time that she was out of my league. I guess I had to be sure she didn't care what league I was in.)
posted by txmon at 3:14 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


windykites: "I'm gonna go ahead and assume that this also means that I can go ahead and stop pretending to be bad at things I'm good at, scared of things I'm not scared of, and dumbing myself down too."

Yay! and Yes! There are guys out there who will be attracted to you not in spite of the things you're good at, but because of them. It's possible to meet a guy who will be your #1 supporter, in your corner and cheering for you because he thinks you're great and loves seeing you strive and succeed.

"I'm actually thinking I might get rid of my copy of Fascinating Womanhood and The Rules and all of them. (I know I know, I should know better than to fall for this stuff... but it can be hard to believe that equality actually applies to me and the people around me rather than as an ideal. I hope that makes sense)."

Tossing them sounds like an excellent idea. A book that might be more helpful is Be the Person You Want to Find: Relationship and Self-Discovery by Zen teacher Cheri Huber. (You don't need to be Buddhist to find her ideas useful, though.)

"I mean, I'm going to sound horribly ignorant, but it never, ever occurred to me that those ideas were sexist. And I am someone who really should know better."

Like all of us, you were born into and grew up shaped by a fundamentally sexist (and racist, and otherwise-biased) society. It takes time and experience, and particularly the kinds of experiences that shake you up a bit, to start to question the way things are. But to quote Barbara Kingsolver, "If we resent being bound by these ropes, the best hope is to seize them out like snakes, by the throat, look them in the eye and own up to their venom."
posted by Lexica at 3:16 PM on October 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Windykites, your update made me happy. You have just given yourself permission to have a big authentic life. Excellent!
posted by the fish at 3:17 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm gonna go ahead and assume that this also means that I can go ahead and stop pretending to be bad at things I'm good at, scared of things I'm not scared of, and dumbing myself down too.

If this thread did that for you, then I feel better about it than almost any other AskMe I've participated in.
posted by Ragged Richard at 3:26 PM on October 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Ha! I think the best answer is OP's own reaction to try all this advice. I hope it fits you!

Some of the best advice for singles is the same for all people of all genders. Invest your time in becoming the best, most awesome you you can be. 

Worst case scenario: Wow! You are totally more awesome. Likely scenario: Awesome attracts awesome (and awesome repels lame). 

Your pool of potential friends and partners expands immensely as you build confidence and self efficacy. The way to build self-efficacy is to design for yourself (and with your therapist) baby steps towards mastery experiences. Be gentle with yourself. Try new things. Make it your goal to be a black belt at trying new skills and new competencies and meeting new women and new men. Success is to be brave enough to make the attempt, even if you fall on your face.

There are two mantras that are kind of cliche but also very common to awesome people I've known:

1) Be the change you want to see in the world.
2) Do what scares you.
posted by Skwirl at 4:31 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


My wife "D" asked me out. I met her a couple of times through a mutual friend. I thought she was interesting but she wouldn't engage me in conversation, so I thought she didn't like me.
I found out later that the reason D wouldn't talk to me is that she didn't want to "be friends" and even though she wanted me the minute I walked into the room, we were both were with other people at the time.

I ended the relationship and had been single for almost a year, when I got an email from her. She asked me out in the nicest way...and I jumped at the chance!

Turned out better than I ever could've imagined...we got married in August.
posted by black8 at 5:00 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for that followup: that's completely awesome.

"Be yourself" doesn't guarantee that you'll find a great relationship. But not being yourself pretty much guarantees you'll find one that isn't right for you.
posted by ook at 5:18 PM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Don't be too hard on yourself, Windykites. 26 is hardly an age to be done with epiphanies about how to live. And there are few societal shackles as ingrained as those about gender norms...
posted by Kibby at 6:21 PM on October 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think you might benefit from reading Outdated: Why Dating is Ruining your Love Life. There are a lot of ideas in it, but it does spend a fair amount of time criticizing traditional dating advice and that spouted forth by popular dating advice books. It may serve as a good jumping off point for you to examine your ideas about "rules" for dating and where they come from, and making your own decisions about how to interact with someone in a relationship situation in a way that minimizes all the "shoulds" we get from gender and societal norms.
posted by Fuego at 9:36 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


All I have is an anecdote.

A girl asked me out for earnest in college - of course, I thought it was a joke because I didn't think I was worthy to have a girl pay me that kind of attention, period.

I stood her up because I thought it was a joke.

Thankfully, she turned out to be awesome and married me a few years later.

But the point is: sometimes men are just fucking stupid. YMMV, depending on the man, of course.
posted by Tevin at 12:46 PM on October 31, 2012


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