Unwanted Sexual Advance ≠ Bravery

Garrett Brown — @GarrettABrown on Twitter — sent this tweet to us:

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/GarrettABrown/status/295014071449841665"]

Now, to be clear, what the guy does in the commercial is not rape by any definition we know of. It is, however, most certainly an unwanted sexual advance, to a high school girl who didn’t see it coming. Watch it again, you can see her flinch. Is this really the definition of #bravery, as Audi touts? Is that how we want boys — coming of age and somewhat socially awkward — to think about the world? That all they need is one manly instrument — in this case a car — to turn them into a sexually aggressive animal? (The boy even howls at the end. You know, like an animal.)

Addendum: One commenter asks these questions as well: “What about the message that not having a date for a Prom is socially unacceptable, what about the boy should some how feel empowered to act rebellious because of a car, what about the fact that the boy became the victim of violence?”

Comments, please. We will publish the best in our Comment of the Day.

PS: The video posted on YouTube has the note: “You’ll have to watch the 1st of three alternate endings to the 2013 Audi Super Bowl commercial to see if his newly found bravery pays off.”

PS: Using a man-made product to “prove” your masculinity reminds us of the equally heinous ads by Bushmaster, which suggest that all you have to do if your man card gets taken away is to buy a gun.

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Comments

  1. I’m not shocked by this commercial at all. TV shows, movies, songs etc. all perpetuate the idea that if given the power, people will claim whatever they want as theirs. The young man in this commercial parks in the principal’s space because he feels entitled to it. He kisses the prom queen because he feels entitled to it. He takes the black eye and drives home exhilarated because he still has the car and he still had that kiss. He asserted himself in a way that perhaps he hadn’t before (as at the beginning of the commercial we find out that he was going to prom alone, one could assume that he was not exactly popular). He turned a potentially lame night into one that society tells young men that they should aspire to. Fast cars. Sexy ladies. Fist fights. Howl all the way home at your sense of accomplishment.

    The fancy car makes you a better man and the better man gets (use of) the girl. This isn’t new.

  2. Unwanted advance? She exhibited signs of shock, but she certainly showed signs of interest afterwards.
    Not to mention this is in fact an ad, with paid actors. I find it intriguing that of all the aspects of the ad the tweeter, and Good Men Project, choose to focus on the girl as the victim and the boy as a predator. Never mind the message that not having a date for a Prom is socially unacceptable, never mind that the boy should some how feel empowered to act rebellious because of a car, never mind the fact that the boy became the victim of violence. These facts are not worthy of mentioning, The demonizing of male sexuality continues, even in a place where men might come to find solace from gender stereotypes. It saddens me that Good Men Project seems to have just as narrow, albeit different, perspective on men.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Let’s be clear:

      It is NOT worth the risk of assault to find out AFTERWARD that it was sexual assault.

      He became a victim of violence because of something he chose to do. Something which could easily have been considered sexual assault.

      This is not the demonizing of male sexuality. This is the demonizing of a form of male sexuality that takes without asking, that violates people’s personal space without asking, that feels entitled to kiss anyone, anyplace, any time regardless of whether she has a boyfriend, a girlfriend, or a pledge to never kiss anyone until she’s married.

      • I agree with your point about violating people’s personal space without asking. I have had too many things happen to me on tube trains/ in the street etc., to not understand that.

        And if someone kissed my date or partner I would be pretty mad about their sense of entitlement.

        But I think this video is about doing that thing we’ve all thought of once or twice… striding over to a stranger and kissing them… and the thrill that could give you.

        Sure the woman is surprised, who wouldn’t be, but she is for sure interested, intrigued, inspired.

        • “But I think this video is about doing that thing we’ve all thought of once or twice… and the thrill that could give you.”

          In that case I think I’m going to go shoot David Cameron in the face. That would certainly give me a thrill. Is that the sort of thing you ment?

  3. I have to disagree with Nikki and the author of this post. This young man doesn’t feel entitled to ANYTHING. That’s the point. He’s going to the prom alone. Entitlement is something for the jocks, and the prom king. This outcast found confidence in a car. His confidence was evidenced when he took something that wasn’t his; the principal’s parking spot and a kiss from the prom queen. Unwanted sexual advance? I don’t know. Let’s be honest. The writer wrote this as UNEXPECTED sexual advance. She flinched (for a second), but she didn’t push him away, and further – she smiled. Don’t flush away a backstory. The flinch was a natural impulse to an unexpected action. Not the action itself. Her subsequent smile defined her response as one that was pleasantly surprised to the unexpected action. NOT “unwanted sexual advance”. There’s a bigger narrative here, and the point of the auto company is their product gives you confidence, not the power of rape.

    Unwanted sexual advance is WRONG. But to read into a commercial this way, only to posture the editorial agenda in a slanted way, is equally off base. I absolutely believe this site is better than this sort of silliness, to water down their commentary looking for ways in which to vilify media with such an article like this. There are so many other atrocities against women to attack. Please stick to the ones that make real sense.

    • Will,

      You nailed it. “Don’t flush away a backstory.” Whatever the true emotive drive (power, entitlement, confidence), this — like many other situations — can be twisted to suit the agenda of any commentator.

      Honestly, watching that made me root for the underdog-Audi-kid, and want to be that prom queen at the same time. Years ago, we would have all been cheering them on. Clearly there’s a back story. A good one, I bet.

      Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Entitlement does NOT belong only to jocks and popular guys.

      Entitlement makes you think you deserve something without asking for it, or working for it. And when someone else is involved, you have to ask.

      I once had a VERY similar situation happen to me, when I was a teenager. At a party, I had a boyfriend but he was older and was in college out of state. A guy who apparently had liked me for a while came up to me and kissed me, just like this, without asking. I kissed back for a second, because I was horrified and felt obligated. Then I ran away and cried with my friends because I felt I had cheated on my boyfriend. But in reality, I was NOT cheating. I had not asked for it, I didn’t like this boy. He just wanted to score one on me.

      In retrospect, the shame and embarrassment and guilt I felt for that is clear.

      I’m almost certain the boy who kissed me thought that I was going to smile and be in love with him or something, just like this girl did. And our society’s f’d up media probably taught him that. But you know what? I didn’t. I detested him for it. Every time I saw him, I felt ashamed. HE made me feel ashamed, by doing exactly what this boy did.

      Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss. But you better damn well be sure that that “just a kiss” doesn’t cause someone pain, humiliation, shame and embarrassment.

      How will you know? You ask before you do it, unless you have an arrangement beforehand (like a relationship) where you’re clear that he or she wants to be kissed beforehand.

      • I don’t think it’s right, but I don’t think it’s necessarily entitlement as well. Boys have been told by women and men (even by female writers on this website) that women want to be ravished. And that ravishing is not framed as the man taking something that he is entitled to, it is framed as something the woman really (sometimes secretly) want.

        • In this case, it’s hard not to see his actions as entitlement, He took what he wanted and he was glad to do so.

          But I do agree with you that discussions about male sexuality all are all too often frame this kind of aggressiveness as a form of entitlement, when that isn’t always the case. For us men, it often feels like that’s what expected from us; we’re not allowed to ask because we’re supposed to just know. We’re supposed to just take and if we stop to ask permission then we’re just showing our weakness.

          I’ve never really had it in me to pull something like what he did in that ad, I just feel too uncomfortable ignoring someone else’s boundaries. Because it seemed like that was what women expected of me, I felt like something must be wrong with me because I couldn’t deliver on impulsive, forceful masculinity.

          It’s only been recently, as I’ve been seeing these cultural tropes examined more closely that I’ve been starting to realise just how messed up it is. I’ve been made to feel like less of a man because I want to respect other peoples boundaries.

          That’s messed up.

          • Odd side question about entitlement. I’ve noticed that even though there are two sides to this transactional model of sex (as you have to do something specific in order to get the desired outcome, which is sex) it seems that only the male side of it is called entitlement.

            If this had been a girl that put on a certain dress (meaning it would be an ad for a dress designer), went to that prom, and did the exact same thing to a guy flinch and all, would the word entitlement even come up in the resulting conversation?

  4. All good points “Nikki” it sells an image of what guys think being cool is, didn’t think it was offensive, just normal advertising. I am the father of 3 girls, all with good heads on their shoulders and was not offended buy the commercial.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Would this commercial change for you if the same thing happened, but the girl was upset about the kiss?

      What about if it were your daughter, kissed in front of everyone, by a boy who wasn’t her boyfriend?

  5. I could be wrong about this but…..Unwanted? Umm, watch the ad again, she flinched at the initiation but did not push off, did not indicate any negativity and even smiled at the end. There’s nothing rapey about it, but it is RISKY as hell to ever do because you can never be sure the outcome will work like that.

    Hell if my partner flipped me around without me knowing who it was and kissed me I’d flinch too, doesn’t mean it’s unwanted, but it means it startles, this add is showing someone kissing another who apparently clearly enjoys it and isn’t unwanted. Her hand moves up his shoulder, she gets a natural smile and stays in the moment.

    Go ahead n talk about how it’s a stupid idea to do because you can never be sure the other will want it, but in this case after she realized who it was, she was a willing participant, which is what the ad would have called for since I doubt they’d be stupid enough to just make an ad where she hated it and didn’t slap him.

    The ad was meant to be the cool guy getting the girl, even though she was taken, and that she liked it. A bad move of course, but it appears to be wanted (hence playing into the stereotype) but she was taken by surprise.

    But hey lets call everything rape because it really works, let’s see rape everywhere, let’s see monsters everywhere. I’m sure that makes for a healthy society. This is probably on the stupid level of those movies where the guy kisses the girl, she backs off, wait a second and lust overtakes her and they both makeout n have sex. It’s a fantasy situation, I doubt will happen ever, no one should try it of course because chances are the person they try it on won’t want the contact and then you have unwanted physical contact. But in this video? The woman wants more as youtube comments are saying, there’s no scowl, no anger, no fear on her face, she stays n doesn’t push back over n over, there is a startle moment at the start but where is the negative behaviour that comes next? Would someone who doesn’t want it naturally smile and stay there, would they have the silly look afterwards that’s often used to show people stuck in the moment enjoying it?

    There isn’t a single negative indication apart from startled at the start. Why would she slowly and gracefully slide her hand up his shoulders whilst actively engaging in the kiss if it wasn’t wanted? She leans BACK INTO HIM, people that don’t want it don’t do that, I’ve never ever seen a human not flinch backwards and continuously try move back from a kiss they don’t want, there’s no weasling out of it trying to escape. You could argue she is stuck in fear but she isn’t in the freeze aspect of fight, flight, freeze. If it’s meant to show unwanted sexual contact then it’s doing a piss poor job at showing it because all I see, and apparently quite a few other see, is someone being kissed that is sticking around for more followed up by a jealous prom date giving the guy a black eye. Of course a very bad move to do because the girl/guy you do kiss like that in real life will probably hate it, and you’ll end up charged with assault, or assaulted, at the very least hated.

  6. Unwanted? She totally kisses him back!

  7. QuantumInc says:

    Obviously this isn’t rape, but it is the kissing equivalent of it, it is definitely sexual assault. Stealing a parking spot is less egregious, you could argue if the principal deserves it anyway, but assuming the principal owns that space, that act counts as theft.

    So here was have a guy committing immoral acts and benefiting personally from it. Isn’t that the definition of evil? I know after watching 11,000 Hollywood movies you might associate “EVIL” with something else, but again he’s performing acts which might not be the worse thing ever, but are still obviously immoral, and the consequences harm other people but benefit him, and he’s doing these things in full knowledge. That seems like evil to me, maybe not movie villain levels of evil, but still evil enough that he deserves to be punched in the face and not celebrated in any way.

    The guy who has the brass balls to do these things obviously gets a certain amount of happiness from it, but if everyone started stealing what they wanted, even just kisses and parking spots, the world would be a worse place, closer to that Hobbsian “brutal, nasty, and short”

    This is one of the problems of modern masculinity and the modern “me” culture. Men are valued for being smart, brave, and strong. Apparently if men have those in sufficient quantity it can more than compensate for the guy being an absolute asshole. Obviously you have to respect the guy who could potentially pound you into the ground any day of the week, but that isn’t the same as the sort of admiration you sometimes see for the asshole with the brass balls. This doesn’t seem to work for women as often. Also the “pursuit of happiness” seems to have been elevated to the point where sometimes it trumps the rights of other people. You have the right to pursue happiness, but not in ways that trample other people’s rights, and I would rather treat a stupid, weak, but morally decent man out to dinner, but have anything to do with the smartest, strongest, bravest asshole.

  8. This is the teen age guy equivalent of Thelma and Louise. Same plot lines, just switched genders. Isn’t that movie praised by the fear and shock crowd here.

  9. To those who think its fine because she turned out to be ok with it: the point is that he didn’t know whether she would or not, he flipped round someone and kissed her, it was clearly an unwanted, unasked for kiss, whether she seemed to enjoy it after the event or not. Let’s not forget the cultural myth that women only pretend they don’t want men, that if you just force a kiss on her she’ll magically melt into your arms rather than ask what the fuck you think you’re doing. How many ‘romantic’ movies use this exact same thing? The woman hates the man, frequently says no and her no is ignored repeatedly. He eventually forces a kiss in her and suddenly she likes him after all. Its completely unrealistic but it has been built into our culture so that many people actually believe its true. These all build up to teach men that’s what women want and when they say no they don’t really mean it. Pretty much all the messages this ad sends young men are horrendous, from the traffic light to the yell of victory at the end, he doesn’t turn into a brave man, he just turns into an asshole.

    • It was an unasked kiss, but her actions clearly don’t appear to show it’s unwanted. Unless of course you can not want something, continue to engage in it, smile, and seemingly enjoy it?

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        Archy, how did he know beforehand that she wanted it?

        This whole thing is actually too personal, and too upsetting, to continue talking about.

        • No one could know, he did it, it worked, she wanted it. Not rape, not unwanted sexual contact, just rare as hell and not a good idea to try. Sorry to say but what you experienced is worlds different from what this video was about, in this video the kiss was fine. It’s fantasy and not advisable, nor is peeling out from the lights unless you want a ticket.

          • Lord Boofhead says:

            No don’t be ridiculous, he needed full written consent notarized by a Justice of the Peace before smooching can commence…

        • Well seeing as how we saw, a minute of the kids life, I’m not sure. Maybe she said “you should kiss me” or something similar well before hand? As people have pointed out, its very rare that people respond well to kisses from random people. So its probable that this WAS NOT a kiss from a random person.

      • While I don’t think the video portrays the kiss as being unwanted, it’s kinda besides the point: It was unasked, and he had no reason to believe it would be wanted. The whole commercial is glamorizing taking liberties with other peoples possessions and other peoples boundaries, all while packaging it up as “Bravery”

        It’s not hard to see how that’s a problem.

  10. OK, old hags and spinsters to one side please.

    The girl in question was OBVIOUSLY cast as a soon-to-be-proponent of “pokemoning”. You’re ignoring the obvious fact that it’s the male character’s first kiss, and the oppression he’s experienced over the entirety of high school left him feeling like he was less of a worthy person that the jock who “owned” the girl.

    The father gives a single sign that “You’re a man now, son”. Son grows to enjoy the thought that he is no longer inferior, but equal to his former oppressors.

    Fact is, BOTH characters, kisser and kissee, are shown having eye-opening experiences that displayed a wider range of possibility than they had previously perceived. BOTH were stuck in prefab lives. Then a father gave his sign of approval to a son, and that son gave his sign of approval to the girl he’s been half terrified of for as many years as they’ve been schooling together. His howl and her smile were equivalent signs of burgeoning bravery. Anyone who decries this commercial as sexist OUTS THEMSELVES as a sexist. Case closed.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Hey, sexist language. “Old hags and spinsters” – let’s be clear that language like that is unacceptable. And not that it matters but I’m 35 and have never been called a “hag”, far from it, nor am I a spinster. I’ve been happily married to a handsome man for 9 years.

      I just don’t want images like these to go forward in our media any more. Everyone has a right to bodily autonomy.

  11. Joanna Schroeder says:

    Okay, the boy becomes a victim of violence because he kissed a girl without her asking. That’s on him.

    We presume the girl’s boyfriend is the one who punched him, and presuming that, is it right for a guy to feel so proprietary over “his” girl that he should punch someone?

    Beyond that, if the girl punched him, should he be celebrating?

    Thing is, we don’t think it’s the girl who punched him because she smiles and looks happy after the kiss.

    This commercial could have been 100% in the clear had he just said, “I’ve been wanting to kiss you for 12 years” or something, and then if she leaned in, the kiss would have been mutual, but surprising her with a kiss? That’s assault. Or at least potential assault.

    See, this is the problem: He won’t know until AFTER he tries it whether it will be considered assault. Instead, she smiles, so we (as typical Americans) feel like, “Oh it’s wonderful!” but if she’d been upset, we’d be horrified because that would be assault. Thing is, we CANNOT keep continuing the idea that it’s worth the risk of assaulting someone because of the chance that they MAY like our advances.

    No chance, no way, no how, should anyone EVER do this. Like I said, a few words, even just “Kiss?” would do it.

    • Indeed, impossible to know, not worth the risk. It’s very common in movies though.

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        Thank you for acknowledging that, Archy.

        It’s so easy to say something sexy and playful before kissing someone to confirm that’s what they want. I talked about this before:

        http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/why-its-dangerous-to-say-only-bad-guys-commit-rape/

        • Problem is what you think is sexy n playful in asking to kiss/do something, other women get turned off by. Those women want the guys to kiss them without asking for some dumb reason, so if the guy does kiss without asking it’s all good for them, if they ask it turns em off and ruins the guys chance. Weird but that’s what guys are saying is happening in the comments here. World needs more Joanna’s and less weirdwomen who get turned off by being asked.

    • We are told over and over again in articles and in comments that women value confidence and assertiveness. The kid was being assertive for once in his life.

      Not to mention many women hate and are turned off when a guy “asks permission” to kiss. In my dating years I had one girl tell me promptly end a date when I asked if I could kiss her with, “ugh I can’t believe you asked to kiss me, just take me home.” When we got to her place she said, “nothing is lamer than a guy asking permission to kiss a girl, just do it.” She got out of the car and I never saw her again. My first girlfriend told me that asking a girl if you can kiss her was a huge turn off also.

      Is it any wonder men are so confused from these mixed messages?

      • In all the discussions online I’ve seen about asking before kissing the vast majority of women have said that you should never do it and they’d never be interested in someone who did. I’m not sure that can be described as “mixed messages”.

      • Bay Area Guy says:

        As usual, Jimbo nails it.

        This is precisely the kind of contradictory double bind that guys are put in. They’re the ones who have to do all of the initiating, and showing confidence and assertiveness without really giving a crap has time and time again proven to be quite attractive to women.

        And yet, how are they supposed to be confident, assertive, and even spontaneous when they have to “ask permission” to kiss a girl? I mean, as Jimbo said, how lame does that come across?

        It’s like guys have to take all the initiative, and yet sign some sort of contract before they can even touch a woman.

        • Lisa Hickey says:

          I actually think the way to reverse what you guys are talking about is to make it easier and more socially acceptable for girls / women to make the first move.

          The other thing I’m wondering is — say it was an ugly girl going up to a handsome guy at the prom and doing that. Would you like the commercial as much then?

          • Bay Area Guy says:

            I actually think the way to reverse what you guys are talking about is to make it easier and more socially acceptable for girls / women to make the first move.

            Absolutely!

            The problem I think is that there isn’t enough will, including among most women, to really push for this change.

            I find it somewhat bewildering. On the one hand, women, feminists, and other activists have fought tooth and nail for women to enjoy representation within congress, the senate, corporate America, top universities, etc.

            And yet they’re still afraid of making the first move for fear of being slut shamed.

            So they’re willing to take on the corporatocracy, religious leaders (in the case of fighting for abortion), congressmen, and other powerful figures and institutions.

            And yet they’re still too afraid (or unwilling) to make the first move.

            Don’t really know what to make of that…

            • Lisa Hickey says:

              It’s part of the reason we try to have such open conversations here — so both men and women can see things from different points of view, and work together to what is most helpful to everyone. I’d love for women to feel confident enough to make the first move, quite frankly.

            • @Lisa…..

              Personally, what is stopping you?

              It makes no sense to have an open dialogue here but then revert back to the status quo ante.

              Women MUST take greater ACTION. When a woman wants to have sex with a guy, she certainly knows all the things to do to make sure that happens.

              So, what is stopping you or other women?

            • Because women can take a passive role and still be hit on far more on average than men, so there’s no real need for them to do more initiating. Men would have to stop hitting on them, although here that is already happening to some extent as more n more guys are shy. There are a few women I’ve seen complain of never being hit on though, I sure hope they’ve tried to hit on men, I guess they get to see what it’s like for men.

            • Lisa Hickey says:

              Nothing is stopping me, personally, Jules. I am a proponent of it. I don’t have time to date at the moment, but believe me, I, both now and in the past, have simply had very honest discussions with people I’m attracted to. It didn’t even feel like a “first move” by one or the other of us, but a clarity that the way we were connecting always made it easy to advance to the next stage. Sometimes I’ve been the initiator, sometimes not — which seems exactly as it should be.

              My daughter — seventeen, said to me last year “Mom, I have a problem.” I asked what. “I don’t know which boy to invite to the prom.” I responded, “Who are you thinking of asking” and she said “Like 5 different guys.” I think back to my own prom — when I was horribly insecure and…oh yeah, I had invited someone to that too. But it was different — for me, it was almost an act of desperation, just so I could go. And I’m glad nothing about relationships now seem as stressful as I felt they were back then. Back then, I have to say, I was so worried about *me* that I rarely even saw the other person as a person. I think that the switch to being able to connect with people first — instead of just being attracted to them — is what made it all easier.

              As for other women, why they don’t initiate — I couldn’t tell you. It almost seems unfathomable to me. It’s sad. I think bravery *is* going after what you want. But in the case of a relationship, it’s simply going slow enough to make sure that is what the other person wants too.

            • “As for other women, why they don’t initiate — I couldn’t tell you. It almost seems unfathomable to me.”

              I feel like I should respond to this, because I’m one of those women who almost never asks a guy out. I’m currently in a relationship, but I’ve spent a lot of my life being single or dating casually. So I have a fair amount of experience in this area, fortunately or unfortunately!

              If I’m interested in a man, what I do is try to flirt and seem approachable, hoping that he will ask me out. Over the years, that strategy has worked okay. If a man doesn’t respond to my flirting, I assume he is not attracted to me. I’ve never been considered a “hot chick” and most men are not attracted to me. I know this. I’m pretty average in appearance and my weight as fluctuated a lot over the years, from underweight to overweight at various times. Now that I’m middle aged, things have only gotten worse.

              When I’ m single, I feel like I have to go through a constant process of filtering through all the men I encounter in my daily life to find the ones who are most attracted to me so that I don’t waste my limited time and energy on negative prospects. And the best way I can tell if a man is interested in me, is if he asks me out first.

              Men always complain that women don’t initiate more, but I think their fantasy is that they would be pursued by dozens of really hot women. Men are no more comfortable than women are with sexual attention from people they aren’t attracted to. Most men would not be at all happy if they were being asked out by a lot of overweight, older or unattractive women.

              I know this sounds like I’m kind of cynical about what men are looking for in women. Is it all about physical beauty? Well, I believe the answer is yes — for the most part. That doesn’t mean that a woman’s personality and character isn’t important to men. But personality and character won’t get you through the door. Personality and character is only a critical consideration for men when they are thinking about a long term relationship, and even then, they have to be strongly physically attracted first. (There is nothing wrong with that necessarily. It’s just how it is. Women need to feel attraction too.)

              Gorgeous women can safely assume that most men are attracted to them and most men would be thrilled to be asked out by them. I can’t make those assumptions.

              I suppose that if I asked out a man out who wasn’t really attracted to me, he might still say yes. But that relationship won’t go anywhere ultimately. (I know this from experience, believe me). Heck, he might even have sex with me, if I asked, since most men won’t turn down an opportunity for sex unless the woman is really unattractive. (That said, in my younger years, there were a couple occasions where I had to talk a reluctant guy into having sex with me. Maybe I’m even uglier than I think? :-) However, it’s a complete waste of time for me to get involved with a man who isn’t really feeling the magic, for lack of a better word.

              So, waiting to be asked out is a kind of filter, that’s all.

              I would argue that it’s different for men because women usually don’t make up their mind about a guy immediately. They want to get to know the guy. They may not be physically attracted to him initially but they can often won over by his personality. Men have the ability to “woo” women with their personalities. Women don’t have that opportunity, at least not to the same extent.

              I realize that the criticism of my argument here is that a guy might be attracted to me but too shy. I realize I may be overlooking those guys, but if they don’t do SOMETHING to let me know that they are interested, what am I supposed to do? I have no idea what percentage of men who don’t ask me out are actually too shy to ask me out vs. those who are just plain uninterested. However, the latter category is most likely the majority. Like I said earlier, it is a matter of where I expend my time & energy.

            • Nick, mostly says:

              Wow.
              Men always complain that women don’t initiate more, but I think their fantasy is that they would be pursued by dozens of really hot women.
              Is it all about physical beauty? Well, I believe the answer is yes — for the most part.
              Personality and character is only a critical consideration for men when they are thinking about a long term relationship, and even then, they have to be strongly physically attracted first.
              I would argue that it’s different for men because women usually don’t make up their mind about a guy immediately.
              Heck, he might even have sex with me, if I asked, since most men won’t turn down an opportunity for sex unless the woman is really unattractive.
              So, waiting to be asked out is a kind of filter, that’s all.
              I realize I may be overlooking those guys, but if they don’t do SOMETHING to let me know that they are interested, what am I supposed to do?
              I think you accidentally got some misandry mixed in with your cynicism there. You might take a look at that.

            • @Nick, what is wrong with what I said? You don’t think men want to date women who they find physically attractive? You don’t think men reject physically unattractive women? Tell me one thing I said about men that is inaccurate. Also, I’m not blaming men or saying they are bad. You can’t change what gets you going.

            • Nick, mostly says:

              You really don’t understand what was so wrong there?

              If I had written a post saying that women were just cock teases looking for chumps to buy them free drinks while hoping to find a man with a large cock and loads of money, you’d write me off as a misogynistic lunatic (and rightfully so).

              Aside from the offensive gender stereotyping, what I found in your post was a bunch of rationalizing for why you don’t approach men. It’s your life, so do as you please, but don’t pretend your rationalizations are somehow due to the character of men rather than being completely self-serving.

            • Nick, in past years, I did experiment with asking guys out. IT DIDN’T WORK. I finally realized that the reason it didn’t work is because I am not attractive enough — most men are not interested in me. In fact, this is something men have actually told me. At least if I wait to be asked out, I know that the guy sees something in me and wants to get to know me better. That is not an assumption I can make otherwise. I don’t think you have any concept of what it is like to be an average/plain woman. Like most men, you are only thinking about hiw nice it would be if attractive women did more pursuing. Because the rest of us are invisible to men.

              I’ve been in situations where I just lightly flirted with a guy or tried to make conversation and I could actually see panic in his facial expression at the idea that I would be interested him, as he mutters something and escapes as fast as he can. I can’t tell you how many guys in college told me “you are really nice but I only date attractive women.” Actually I relate a lot better than some women do to the rejection men face.

            • Also Nick, if you are telling me that men don’t care about a woman’s physical appearance or that they would consider a relationship with a woman who they don’t find physically attractive, well that’s news to me. Other than telling me I’m sexist, you haven’t disputed my central point at all.

            • Sarah, I thought your post was interesting. I’m not quite sure what Nick is picking up on either; it seems pretty obvious to me that guys and girls both prefer to go out with more attractive mates, will appreciate more assertiveness from approximately equal mates, and don’t care for excessive sexual attention from people they aren’t attracted to.

              I don’t know that this ‘excuses’ not being more assertive, since your situation is exactly what every guy suffers through when they go into a bar (except, as you say, the most naturally attractive). If I step into a bar or mixer, like you, I haven’t the slightest idea who finds me attractive. Most girls are happy to talk for awhile, but if the attraction isn’t there then, like you, I can “waste” time on something that doesn’t become a relationship.

              I put excuses in quotes because you don’t need excuses. Your method clearly worked for you. Does that make you selfish, like Nick, mostly said? I don’t know; if it does, what would non-selfish be? Someone who bravely sacrificed her future happiness for a less assertive man then the one she eventually loved and married, all for the sake of showing a girl can if she wants?

            • Nick, mostly says:

              Like most men, you are only thinking about hiw nice it would be if attractive women did more pursuing. Because the rest of us are invisible to men.

              First, you clearly – comically even – don’t know what I’m thinking. But your quote there does give me assurance that I didn’t misread you the first time. So, since I have to spell it out…

              When guys say they want women to also approach, it’s not because they salivate at the idea of a dozen hot women chasing after them. Maybe it’s simply because they’re shy. Maybe it’s because they, like you, think rejection sucks. Maybe they don’t want to waste time chasing after so many women, and instead focus on the women who’ve already demonstrated attraction in them. Maybe they simply think it would be more fair that women also approach. Maybe they aren’t good at picking up whatever stray signals are being thrown their way, and would appreciate something they can understand a bit clearer, like an actual approach.

              You see, there are plenty of reasons guys might want women to initiate more, and many of them are the very same reasons that Sarah herself has. But instead of extending charitable reasons for why men might want women to approach, she assumes it’s because they want to be chased by hot chicks. I’m sorry, but that’s pretty damned sexist tripe there.

              While so self-assured that your interlocutor hasn’t spent a day in your shoes, perhaps you might look a little deeper and find that the same is true of yourself, and you won’t ever know what it feels like to be a shy guy who has a hard time approaching women (I’m not describing myself, mind you). Next time you hear a guy expressing a desire to have a woman make an approach, perhaps the explanation that readily comes to mind won’t be that he just wants to “be pursued by dozens of really hot women.”

            • Sarah, it’s the generalizations of men that triggered Nick I assume.

            • Nick, look, I don’t disagree with what you said. It IS tough on men to have to be the initiators. But you are still missing my main point which is that of course men want to be approached more — BY WOMEN THEY ARE ATTRACTED TO! Not necessarily “hot chicks,” okay. But women who are attractive. They don’t want to be approached by women they AREN’T attracted to! Who does? Nobody, and I mean NOBODY likes being the recipient of unwanted sexual attention from someone they aren’t interested in. It is awkward. It is embarrassing. It really isn’t flattering, it is usually just weird and uncomfortable.

              Let me ask you this — would YOU like to be approached more often by UNATTRACTIVE women? Would you find that a pleasant experience, or would it just make you feel awkward and weird? I don’t know you, of course. Maybe you’d be fine with it, but if so, I suspect you are in the minority.

              By not approaching men, I am actually doing them a favor by not creating an awkward situation where they have to reject me. I am actually thinking about their feelings as well as my own (believe it or not). I am making things EASIER on them, not harder on them!

              Just because a shy man has trouble approaching women and would like women to do more approaching does mean squat about whether he wants ME to approach him. Okay? You are speaking about what men would like in general in their perfect world, but you have nothing to say about what works in my specific case.

              This is the fundamental problem as I see it with this whole issue. Attractive women are the ones who would get the most positive results by taking the initiative more, but they don’t have to because they are already dealing with more offers than they can handle. So they have no incentive to change their behavior. You might think that unattractive women are the ones who have the most to gain by approaching, but in reality, it often doesn’t pay off because the vast majority of men aren’t interested in them. Unattractive women (in my opinion) benefit more by simply being as friendly and approachable as they can, and waiting for the men to self-filter. This also gets back to my point that men can benefit by taking the initiative because they have the potential to woo women — i.e., women like to get to know a guy before they decide if he is “dateable.” Men in general (this is just my life experience, okay?) tend to make much more rapid judgments about the women they are interested in, based largely on physical attractiveness.

            • I can’t tell you how many guys in college told me “you are really nice but I only date attractive women.” Actually I relate a lot better than some women do to the rejection men face.
              While I don’t doubt your experiencing guys telling you that if you say you relate to the rejection men face and then come up with this:

              Like most men, you are only thinking about hiw nice it would be if attractive women did more pursuing. Because the rest of us are invisible to men.

              Then I’m wondering exactly what men you are relating to.

              There are quite a few men out there that after years of being shot down and still being expected to make the initial move it would be nice to be on the other end of things. It’s not about having “power over women” or “wanting to be chased by hot women”.

              It’s about a desire to be approached because someone find us attractive and desireable enough to make the first move.

              I’ve been dating a woman for the last several months and despite my efforts to fight against the urge to question her compliments she flatly asked me why I do. Why do I second guess her compliments and attempts to grope and grab me?

              It’s because I have almost never been on the recieving end of such attention. It doesn’t have to be Miss USA or whatever model is currently dominating the runways or even that one “hot chick” we all know/knew in high school. It’s about being desired.

            • OK, I see now.

              Sarah, your main point in contention seems to be that guys don’t want to be approached by anything but the very hottest playboy-mansion chicks. That’s wrong. I would trade having to deal with random people I’m not attractive to striking up conversations if it meant I also meet some girls I am (even if they don’t think so).

              There was another point worth investigating, though. If I may be so bold as to summarize, it was that guys can tell if their interested on sight, and girls can’t, but instead must have some conversation first. Therefore, waiting for a guy to approach allows them to utilize their advanced filters, and reduce the overall number of unwanted interactions. Is this actually true? If not, it may be where Nick is drawing some offense.

              Acknowledging that none of this changes the more core fact of: if you don’t gain significantly by being more aggressive, then there’s really no reason to do it.

            • @Jon, I just realized from your comment that I am coming at this from a completely different direction than you, Nick and Danny. You said, ” I would trade having to deal with random people I’m not attractive to striking up conversations if it meant I also meet some girls I am [attracted to]“. I totally get that. It would be better for the average guy if a lot of woman approached him on the off-chance that he’d be attracted to some of them. If he is a shy guy who doesn’t approach women, his normal chance of meeting someone is zero, but if, say, 100 women approach him over the course of a year, he would benefit even if he was only attracted to 5 of them. Because he’s gone from 0 to 5 prospective dates/relationships without doing any work at all.

              From my position, however, the math is different. Say, in the course of a year, I meet 100 available men and 10 of them feel attracted to me, and of those, 5 are willing to initiate something (ask me out, or whatever). So out of those 100 encounters, I have potential dates/relationships with by 5 interested men. But I approach the other 95 men, I will get 90 rejections. So doesn’t it make more sense for me to focus on the 5 who approached me first?

              Obviously this all depends also on an accurate assessment of one’s own attractiveness to the opposite sex. If I felt that 90% of available men were attracted to me, it would be different. But in that case, I’d also have a lot more men approaching me.

            • Nick, mostly says:

              From my position, however, the math is different. Say, in the course of a year, I meet 100 available men and 10 of them feel attracted to me, and of those, 5 are willing to initiate something (ask me out, or whatever). So out of those 100 encounters, I have potential dates/relationships with by 5 interested men. But I approach the other 95 men, I will get 90 rejections. So doesn’t it make more sense for me to focus on the 5 who approached me first?

              The math for men is exactly the same. Which is why I characterize it as a rationalization – you are comfortable with other men doing the work you don’t want to do. Oh, sure, you say you don’t want to waste their time, or put them in the awkward position of having to reject you. If men also followed that logic no one would approach anyone else. Instead, men have to approach 100 women, wasting the time of 90 and putting those women in the awkward position of having to reject them.

            • Well Nick I guess we just get back to the question whether asking men out would help me get more dates or relationships or whether it would be a waste of time. I’ve learned it’s mostly a waste of time. I have to do what works, not what doesn’t work. Should I waste my time asking out men who are likely not interested simply to make a point about gender equality? I mean, who would really notice or care about that? What good does it do me, or the uninterested men I ask out? Zip.

            • Nick, mostly says:

              What good does it do me, or the uninterested men I ask out? Zip.

              Well, by your own math, it would double the number of potential matches you meet.

              Do what works for you. Or doesn’t work. That’s all about you and your happiness. But let’s not deny the experiences of men, or project upon them motivations and beliefs, simply because it makes the story you tell yourself sound better.

          • Sure I would. The commercial isn’t about sex or gender it’s about the triumph of the underdog, taking risks, and going out of your comfort zone to to achieve something.

            A commercial with a homely girl kissing the prom king and getting slapped by his girlfriend would be just as good.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              Here’s an even more important question:

              If it were these same two people, and he kissed her, and she pushed him away, then walked away and cried in a corner, would you still be cheering for this underdog?

              Because as far as we know from this spot, it could’ve gone either way.

              I’m not saying he shouldn’t have been assertive. I’m not even saying he shouldn’t have kissed her. I’m saying that kissing her out of nowhere, with no indication that she wanted it (and the fact that she was at the prom with her boyfriend and was in front of all her peers indicates that she most likely doesn’t) is dangerous.

              It’s dangerous to this female character because it could’ve been sexual assault, it’s dangerous to the kid because she could’ve hurt him or her boyfriend may have, and most importantly it’s dangerous to the REAL young people watching this who get the idea that turning someone around and kissing them with no prior information about whether they want the kiss is okay.

              Simply, he could’ve said, “I’m dying to kiss you” and waited to see her reaction. That would’ve been bold. And it would’ve been hot.

              And as far as this “sign a contract thing goes” – what a horrific exaggeration that minimizes the experiences of people who’ve been sexually assaulted.

              No one’s saying she needs to sign a contract, but she needs to say “yes”.

              Is it so hard to imagine that a person you’re about to touch sexually needs to say “yes” beforehand?

            • “Simply, he could’ve said, “I’m dying to kiss you” and waited to see her reaction. That would’ve been bold. And it would’ve been hot.’

              But as several guys here have pointed out, that is decidedly _not_ hot to a large number of women (I daresay the majority in the US). That’s a reality the writers were working with.

            • Lord Boofhead says:

              Just the US? Try Western women everywhere….

            • Bay Area Guy says:

              Forgive me, Joanna, but by your own admission, you and the women you know live in an atypically educated, affluent, and progressive area.

              The average guys out there cannot count on most women having your kind of attitudes towards dating.

              (ie. girls asking guys out, asking for permission is hot, etc)

            • I’m not saying he shouldn’t have been assertive. I’m not even saying he shouldn’t have kissed her.

              It kinda sounds like you are.

              I’m saying that kissing her out of nowhere, with no indication that she wanted it…

              How do assert that without making assumptions about the backstory? Why do you rule out the possibility that she’d been interested in this guy, and the message is that the car finally gave him the confidence to act on that interest? Or maybe the’d been interested in each other but he was too afraid to act on it and she was too afraid to leave the boyfriend because of his jealous tendencies? I’m not saying your story makes no sense, but on a fictional car ad that leaves much to the imagination, it’s far from the only plausible story.

              No car ad trying to associate their product with confidence is going to have the same two people, but the girl pushes him away to go cry in a corner. It’s a car ad! In real life, I expect good guys not to try kissing someone without any reason to think it’s welcome, but I also expect good guys who miscalculate to immediately *stop* kissing and apologize, not leave her in a corner to cry while he returns to his car to howl on the ride home.

              Is it so hard to imagine that a person you’re about to touch sexually needs to say “yes” beforehand?

              Yes, because as you demonstrated in an earlier comment, consent is not limited to verbalized “yes”s:

              If you’re on a date, or at a dance, and you’re dancing close and gazing lovingly, or if you’re sitting in a quiet car and she’s leaning into you, you could try it.

              I think that’s a very real-world type of example, that’s about reading the situation and body language well enough to realize it’s okay to make a move. I think this is the type of consent people give and receive way, way more than asking as hotly as possible, “Do you mind if I kiss you?”

              How hot and bold is, “I’m dying to kiss you,” or “I feel this pull toward your lips,” if the guy you picture saying it is closer to Chris Farley than Ryan Gosling? It’s kind of like telling guys to work on “the look” where some hot guy is given credit for having perfected some smoldering, yearning look, as though that expression is hot on everyone. You work with what you’ve got, so if you’re a typical guy for whom outright asking permission looks desperate and insecure, you try to gauge when it’s welcome and just take the risk.

            • Nick, mostly says:

              The commercial trades in familiar stereotypes and gender role expectations to sell a product. Nothing new there. The product, in this case a car, transforms him from an insecure teenage boy to one with growing confidence and a sense of rebellion. First he rebels against authoritarian norms by parking in the principles reserved spot, then he rebels against social norms by being aggressively forward with someone out of his social caste.

              Simply, he could’ve said, “I’m dying to kiss you” and waited to see her reaction. That would’ve been bold. And it would’ve been hot.

              I doubt it. Or rather, I doubt that would be true for the majority of viewers. Moreover, that would play counter to the stereotypes the vast majority of advertising trade in, and I suspect the majority of viewers believe to some extent.

              The commercial is not about the girl; she is little more than a prop in the story of his transformation. Her role is a passive one, in which she is the willing recipient of his assertive kiss. With respect to her part, there are several stereotypes being reinforced here. First is the girl as passive actor. She’s the recipient of the kiss, and her role is to accept his move or to parry. It’s clear in the cut that she accepted. The flip-side of her lack of agency is plausible deniability; she can enjoy the kiss while denying she wanted it.
              The teen plays the role of initiator, finally working up the confidence to go after the popular girl. This is an image men are told time and again they need to project. (Even this very site trades in the same gender norms of men as initiator – you know, because men react badly when women initiate, and women totally would initiate more if men didn’t freak out about it or slut-shame them or cruelly shoot them down).
              The boyfriend plays the role of the possessive jock, quick to anger and quick to action with his fists rather than his words. The “assault” wasn’t against the girl, it was against him and his proprietary interest in the girl.
              All of which culminates in the celebratory moment, in which he has overcome his insecurity and timidity and his transformation is complete, all thanks to the product being sold. I’ll take two, please.

              There are many things wrong with the commercial, but none of them are exceptional. The commercial simply reflects the prevailing stereotypes about gender roles and expectations in courtship. It presents the standard narrative of transformation through product acquisition, working within prescribed cultural stereotypes.

              The trickier question is whether or not it’s sexual assault. Frankly, I don’t know. I’ve been kissed by a girl like that, and while the desire wasn’t mutual, I never considered it “sexual assault.” It’s not because I felt “lucky” to have been on the receiving end of the kiss, but rather that I felt the kiss was a positive expression of her desire, a bold, initiating act and one that opened her to a risk of rejection. That is, the kiss was an invitation, not a taking. It’s uncertain (to me at least) if the kiss in this advert represents a taking or not.

            • They have a point Joanna, one guy above actually got ditched for asking for a kiss, there are women who do not want men to ask for a kiss and will dislike it very much, telling them they should just do it. It’s impossible to know if she wants the kiss but there are some who will hate people that just kiss, with a feeling they are too entitled whilst others will hate those who ask with a feeling they are too cowardly. We can err on the side of caution but who is right? And which is more common? “I’m dying to kiss you” will probably get anger from the women described above because they want to apparently be taken by a confident man.

              Other women have a lot of blame here for this shit, mixed messages. I err on the side of caution because I don’t want to be the unlucky person in the position where I’ve just kissed someone that didn’t want it, so I ask. To me if they are so petty as to whinge about being asked then I don’t want them, they can find someone else to kiss them without regard for chance of sexual assault.

            • Nick, mostly says:

              To be clear, the mixed messages aren’t coming from a single source. You have some women, Joanna being one, who want men who respect boundaries. Then you have some women – speak up if any are reading here – who want men to just go for it. There’s a lot of uncertainty for the initiator out there, both men and women, so it’s no surprise that we retreat to culturally prescribed scripts.

              I think a lot of men want to be respectful, but are fearful that if they don’t follow the script they’re going to end up lonely. Hence the consideration of which type of person the woman sitting across from them might be, someone like Joanna or someone like the women we see advertised in commercials. It’s easy to say the commercials are just fiction, but women see them as well and some also model their behavior based on the messages contained therein.

              The best course of action is as you suggest – be the type of person you want to be, and consider it a sign of incompatibility if the woman doesn’t react positively to your style.

          • @Lisa…

            No one is stopping women. It is 2013.

          • The other thing I’m wondering is — say it was an ugly girl going up to a handsome guy at the prom and doing that. Would you like the commercial as much then?

            I am a straight male so perhaps I’ve completly off target here, but was the guy in this commercial ugly in any way? I thought he looked pretty conventionally attractive.

            I definitively think that if the guy had been ugly the reaction towards this commercial would’ve been very different.

            • I am a straight male so perhaps I’ve completly off target here, but was the guy in this commercial ugly in any way? I thought he looked pretty conventionally attractive.
              I think for the sake of time (ads are made to be short, sweet, and to the point because literally every second costs money) the establishment of “ugly” was the fact that he was going to the dance by himself.

              According the logic if he had been attractive he would have been able to find a date to the dance, thus not needing a bravery boost from the Audi.

              In fact I think the only reason the little sister was in the commercial at the start was to push home the point that, “Something is wrong with you. You couldn’t even find a date to the dance.”

      • (New here, found this comment thread by googling “Wow, sexist Audi Super Bowl commercial” to see if I were alone in how uncomfortable it was for me to watch.)

        I’m not sure it’s as mixed a message as you seem to think. The women that seem to want you to go for it? The example you provided was within the context of a date. One I presume you asked her on (or that she asked you on) indicating a willingness. You can gauge interest in a kiss without having to ask for it; “god I want to kiss you” and lean in part way so that she has to lean in the rest of the way. It’s not rocket science. With very few exceptions then men I dated before marriage were not perplexed by this.

        Onto the girl in the commercial; she was also on a date. With someone else. She enjoys the kiss in the commercial and it’s defended by saying, well there’s obviously a backstory we can’t know. If viewers are supposed to create an elaborate back story of reciprocal flirting then the commercial is irresponsible. Because what is SHOWN is “like random girl, kiss random girl, she’ll love you for it.” And in real life? Not gonna go over so well.

        Commercials like these, without intending to, contribute to a culture where women are objectified, not even deserving of their own personal space and incapable of making their own decisions. The fact that the commercial seems so innocent by casting an underdog is what potentially makes it so very dangerous.

  12. Our assumption of the backstory and our own experiences really determines how we could react to this commercial. Joanna this commercial obviously struck a chord with you, and not in a good way. I had a similar experience with a girl who latched on to me at a party, and I, like you kissed her back and then pushed her away… I then went on to tell my girlfriend at the time about it because of the guilt I felt…and then it was all forgiven and forgotten. This begs me to ask though, are you comments about the commercial or about your anger and resentment to man from you past? I’m not minimizing your experience, I think it’s awful what he did so please don’t misconstrue my comments. If however, the alternative… you broke up with your boyfriend because of the love and connection you realized with this kisser, would the commercial then be a positive one?

    “this is the problem: He won’t know until AFTER he tries it whether it will be considered assault.” Are we saying goodbye to all spontaneity and any first kisses? There are lots of first kisses that go bad! If she pushed him away and said “no!” and he respected that would this commercial be ok? ANY form of sexual assault is wrong…let’s make that clear.
    I think that we don’t give credit to a truly good man(or woman) who can recognize a connection, be comfortable in his own vulnerability and taking that leap of faith, whether it’s a first kiss or introducing himself in public. There are lots of men and women out there who are not good people… but if we go around assuming all of them are bad, they’re sure to turn out that way.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Sure, I’m upset about it because of my experience. It gives me insight into what it’s like to NOT be asked to be kissed by some random guy, which is what happens to this girl.

      Take my experience out of this. Every situation’s different. If you’re on a date, or at a dance, and you’re dancing close and gazing lovingly, or if you’re sitting in a quiet car and she’s leaning into you, you could try it. Seems less risky. But if you’re at a party chatting, or even on a date and it’s not obvious, saying, “I so want to kiss you right now” is awesome. And let me tell you… That’s HOT. If it’s your girlfriend/boyfriend or someone you’re dating, spontaneous kisses are probably fine.

      To me, it’s always best to ask/communicate the first kiss. Like I said. It can be super hot. “I’m dying to kiss you” or “I’ve been dying to kiss you for hours” or “God, I feel this incredible pull toward your lips”… Lots of options.

      But someone else’s girlfriend, whom you spin around, in front of a huge crowd of her/your peers, and kiss without any prompting? That’s a different story.

      And yes, it turned out fine for him, but in this sort of circumstance, there’s always the risk that it could go the other way, and then you’ve hurt somebody.

      To me, it’s not worth it.

      • Would you still consider it not worth it if the alternative was having any possibility of romance excluded from your life forever? Which is not unlikely to be the alternative given the strong revulsion that the vast majority of women express towards men who don’t just kiss “spontaneously”.

      • To me, it’s always best to ask/communicate the first kiss. Like I said. It can be super hot.

        That’s great for you, but like others have said, it was my experience that asking only ever reduced the chances of a girl wanting to kiss me. I was so painfully shy about it that I sometimes didn’t kiss even when I thought the odds of wanting it were on my side, but I refrained not for fear of rejection, but for fear of causing the exact reaction you’re talking about, of her feeling violated. The only physical escalations in dating that I ever had were either where they made the first move (rarely, and I know some guys aren’t so lucky), or when I just took the chance that she wouldn’t want it, but with the attitude that if she didn’t, I would immediately stop and apologize, not press on as though it didn’t matter what she wanted.

        I’m going to combine a response here. From one of your comments higher up:

        He won’t know until AFTER he tries it whether it will be considered assault.

        By your definition, I assaulted my wife the first time we met face-to-face. I’ve told this story before in a thread somewhere, but we knew each other from a discussion board for almost a year before we met in person for the first time, at a gathering of people from the board. She was one of the last to arrive at the airport, and when all of us were there to greet her, I embraced her as she came into the baggage claim area and gave her a big kiss before so much as “Hello” had left my lips. There was backstory as to why I thought there was a good chance she’d welcome it, but the point is I didn’t *know* how she’d respond until I tried it and I never cleared it beforehand; since it was welcomed and reciprocated, it worked as a bold romantic gesture. Had I been wrong, that would have backfired and I’d have some backpedaling and apologizing to do, but I had to take the risk to make the impression I made. I spent a lot of my life to afraid to take those risks, but I *had* to take those risks eventually to ever get anywhere in sex and relationships.

        I don’t think it’s okay for guys to kiss girls who they have no reason to expect are attracted and willing, but if they have some reason, it’s practically required because asking permission will *usually* (a few Joannas notwithstanding) show lack of confidence, which is almost unanimously perceived as an unattractive trait. It’d be great if more women would make the first move, but most don’t, and even if they did, it would just mean that more guys would have the experience of an unwanted kiss, since all those empowered women wouldn’t be asking most of the time either. (The couple who made first moves on me didn’t.)

        Finally, I want to point out that it’s a short ad, so the fictional backstory is fairly open to interpretation. When I watched it, I saw surprise on the girl’s part, but no flinch or sign of not welcoming it. I wouldn’t expect real life to go that way if a school outcast just planted a kiss on the prom queen who had not interest in him. This being fiction, though, who’s to say that this guy isn’t more like Ducky from Pretty in Pink, and the girl could be the best friend having a lousy time with the jerk prom king (he appears to be violent, right) and the kiss was the romantic gesture that made her realize who she really cared about? If you get to make up details that make it sexual assault, then I get to make up details where she was secretly hoping he’d show up and do exactly what he did. Also, I choose to believe it was the Hyundai-driving principal who gave him the black eye, due to a dangerous mix of spiked prom punch, jealousy over the better car, and indignation at having her parking spot taken.

        • It’s sad that men have to try these kisses without asking, I don’t think Joanna may realize what her fellow women are like. What she is advocating is going to make men look less attractive in many women’s eyes apparently, reducing the chances of romance because for some reason many women like to be kissed without asking and find asking a turn off? I’d rather there be more Joanna’s, it really bothers me that someone would be so bothered by asking as the women you n others describe. A confident man to me asks for permission as he respects her, why isn’t that seen as sexy?

          • Alyssa Royse says:

            For what it’s worth, Archy, I think that being asked is the sexiest thing ever. And on a very deep level, it signals to me that I am safer, and therefore more likely to relax and be open to sex – and more fun sex. If I know, straight up, that my boundaries are going to be respected, then I am much more open to anything. I wish more guys understood that. My sweetie asked me before he kissed me the first time, which is why he got a great kiss. He asked me before we went back to his place if I just wanted tea or if i was open to making out a bit more, which is why I felt like making out a bit more. He asked me before pulling out condoms if I was open to having sex, which is why…. well, it turned out he didn’t have any condoms, which is a funny story and why we waited. Point being, from the get go, I knew I was most likely safe in his hands. As such, his hands were very busy.

      • I agree with you, Joanna,… it’s awful being surprise-kissed like that…it happened to me when I was with a bunch of my grad school friends in a bar…and this creepy looking bearded guy was edging into our group and trying to surprise kiss the girls in our group…I was so shocked when it happened to me…it was so fast and surreptitious….he’s lucky my BF (now hubby) and his best friends did not notice or something would have happened to him….!

        Gross! Blahh!

        • So he was creepy based on his looks alone? Or was he acting creepy but looked like a normal person?

          • @Archy: My friends and I were in our 2nd year of grad school (age 22 -23) and all hanging out together with our group in a tiny packed bar….the stranger kept cutting into our group and then would tell each girl how gorgeous/pretty/whatever she was and then try to surprise kiss her on the sly… he was scruffy, middle-aged, 40’s – 50’s (long greyish scraggly hair and beard and woolen hat…definitely, more homeless bum type [definitely not Mr. Big from SATC!!]….I can’t remember too many more details…I have tried to block it out !!)….[My friends all played football together after school...he is lucky I let him get away with that that night!]

            • Well I hope you only call him creepy based on his actions and not his looks, otherwise you’re proving what many men have said on the creep-shame thread where peoples looks are often called creepy vs their behaviour, thus ruining the the creep label as it becomes too loose in meaning.

  13. Mark Sherman says:

    This is a very tricky issue, and it’s very hard for me to see that what this young guy did was rape. And I agree that she did seem to at very least have mixed feelings about; and perhaps liked this unexpected kiss.

    And and I do think a lot of young women like a guy with confidence and are not crazy about guys who are afraid to “make a move” at all. I have been out of the dating game for well over 40 years, but I do remember when I was in high school and college that I was afraid, very afraid, to kiss a young woman even though I had had a very nice time with her and she, apparently, with me. I was so afraid of rejection. And I absolutely didn’t want to make any young woman uncomfortable. But I know that there were several different young women who never saw me for a second date because I was so afraid to kiss them on a first one (and in those days, the woman almost never made the first move).

    I knew plenty of other guys who, by today’s standards would be called misogynists, who clearly were using women for their own sexual pleasure, and who these women seemed more than happy to go out with.

    Yes, I was a nice guy. And I was very, very frustrated much of the time. And lonely. And not happy.

  14. I`ve been surpise kissed by girls several times, twice unwanted also after the fact. Calling that sexual assult is crazy and creates far more problems than seing it as an advance that gets turned down.

  15. I started to read the comments and then just skipped to the end. So if someone has already raised this point forgive me of the reiteration.

    First, it’s a one minute commercial. Second, we are only shown what’s taking place in this one minute. The amount of extrapolation other comment

  16. Hey everybody the point is that it’s a commercial selling a sexy, expensice car. Cut it some slack.

  17. Initial reaction: I really don’t like the initial twitter comments’ declaration of rape which is clearly “rape washing.” It ruins any chance of credible discussion in some cases and dilutes the power/meaning behind the word when someone really is raped.

    To the video: Many women expect men to react on certain cues, be they body language, words, tone, and/or environment so who’s to know that she didn’t previously do or say anything? We do not have any back story to base any of our perceptions on, so don’t try while claiming Audi is a bunch of misogynists.

    Personally I believe that instead of “men they should aspire to: fast cars, sexy ladies, fist fights.” It should be “men aspire to be confident, happy, and able to sweep a woman off their feet and our car can help you feel that way.” (Heck you should be a little happy and grateful that you can afford such a nice machine)

    The nice car gave him confidence (yes this is high school) to break some rules and be a little rebellious. 1) Break real rule = park in principals parking space. 2) Break social rule = Kiss the girl who you have been denying even trying to approach. Here is the linchpin of the ongoing conversation: Most people initially think he is a creep. Why? He is unpopular and a man. Now let’s give him the benefit of the doubt that we normally give women, or the creator that didn’t go “let’s troll women by putting a creep in here.” Prom Queen previously gave him signals that he either didn’t pick up on or ignored. (because he read an article somewhere that told him it wasn’t an appropriate time or place, or that she was out of his league)

    Now look at the rest of the video. She continues kissing him, good sign right? Her face is completely neutral after the kiss so not much can be determined. He is obviously happy on the drive home so we can guess she didn’t shoot him down, along with the image of her after the kiss. Now the real creep, I own this woman Prom King, socks him. I don’t think Audi kid was looking to get beaten up. It is not very fun and it hurts.

    Bravery was standing up to social norms that trapped him and taking the risk that “I own this woman Prom King” would beat him up. Don’t immediately expect every man to be a creep.

  18. Alyssa Royse says:

    I have been waiting to chime in until I could sort out my thoughts, but, I still can’t sort them out, so I’m just commenting anyway.

    Everything about this commercial is sending the wrong message.

    The boy does not have the “right” to kiss the girl, period. No matter what kind of car he drives. It is not brave to use anyone else’s body for your gratification without consent. Is it rape? Probably not. Is it some lesser form of sexual assault? In my mind, yes.

    And what sickens me is that we are told, via this ad, that once you have the right material possessions – the expensive and fancy ones – you are able to go “get the girl.” As if she is a prize buck on a hunting expedition. So, right there, you’re telling guys that they have to have the right things – be rich – and they you can get the prize. The prize. The “thing” you win by having the right moves, that you get from having the right things. Wrong.

    And this, THIS, is the hallmark of Rape Culture. It is not rape, in and of itself, but it is how we lay the groundwork for the kind of thinking that makes guys, probably perfectly reasonable guys (even, dare i say it, “nice guys”) think that this is how it works. That it’s not big deal. If you have the right things, did the right things, you get to touch the girl, it doesn’t matter if she consented, because you played by all the rules of the game, so it’s kind of a foregone conclusion.

    This same scene plays out in movies. In the most recent Spiderman movie (which I loved) there is the scene on the roof top in which Peter Parker tries to kiss the girl, she says no a bunch of times, walks away, and he shoots a web at her, pulls her in, violins sweep in and we swoon because he “got the girl” with a grand gesture. If she had said no a bunch of times and he fucked her, we’d see it for what it is. But it’s these “shades of gray” that lay the foundation. That are much less clear.

    I have read enough of the comments that say, “but if we ask, it lessens the odds we’ll get to kiss her.” Yup. And that, right there, makes our point. You are right, it lessens the odds. And you do not have some “right” to kiss the girl. We have the right to say yes or no. Period. I can’t even feign regret that you don’t get to kiss the girl who would have said “No” if you asked her.

    And this is why we MUST MUST MUST sort out the mess that is Rape Culture. Because these kinds of ads and media messages are what teach boys that they should just do it, and girls that they should just take it.

    And to be clear, I would be just as offended if the genders were reversed. No one has the right to use someone else’s body for gratification without their consent.

    I do think that if more women would stand up and communicate about their sexual and romantic desires, that would help, a lot. However, this ad doesnt’ help that either. Here, the girl is just the passive recipient of a guy’s sexuality. That doesn’t serve anyone’s goal of more sexually empowered women – which I think most of us want.

    And no, getting black eye is not a badge of honor, unless you got it protecting someone.

    This ad perfectly sums up what I was trying to say in my inflammatory article about how perfectly nice and reasonable guys sometimes do exactly the wrong thing, without even knowing it, because, amongst other things, the media has trained us to believe that’s that guys are supposed to do, and girls should just take it.

    So. Much. UGH.

    • Nick, mostly says:

      Alyssa, I’m there with you except for one thing. It’s not that it “lessens the odds we’ll get to kiss her;” It’s that part of the narrative says that women expect men not to ask; indeed that they prefer that men not ask and instead just go for it. It’s a fantasy for no small number of women to find a man who understands what she wants without having to ask. And so women are taught not to express their desires explicitly, but rather to rely on cues and clues that the guy is supposed to pick up on and correctly interpret to know whether his advance will be welcome or not. There is no shortage of essays and articles on this very site promoting that idea.

      I think in this discussion we have a tendency to frame it as being one-sided, that men are being sold a message that they need to reject. Women are being sold the very same message, and they need to reject it as well. There’s no such thing as benign sexism – if you want the good parts of it (he initiates, he pays, he makes the first move for a kiss), you’ve got to expect the bad is not lurking far behind. That bad may not be rape, per se, but does it need to be for us to recognize how corrosive the message is?

      As many men and women will attest, asking for a kiss is something of a deal breaker for some women. This is wrong, yes, but that’s what it is. That’s where the odds lie; not in getting to kiss someone, but in finding someone who is willing to likewise buck convention and see obtaining explicit consent as an attractive trait. Even among my very progressive, very feminist friends there are a number who have expressed to me about a date, “I wish he’d have just kissed me.” It’s not a surprise to me that some men might regress to following the cultural script rather than hoping they’ll come across an Alyssa or Julie or Joanna some day. I, too, share your hope for the future, but I’m not certain you realize how depressingly rare your type are.

      • And so women are taught not to express their desires explicitly, but rather to rely on cues and clues that the guy is supposed to pick up on and correctly interpret to know whether his advance will be welcome or not. There is no shortage of essays and articles on this very site promoting that idea.

        Indeed. Consider this gem from Dr. Nerdlove:

        I walked up to the far corner of her table. “Hey, can I see what you’re drawing?” I asked. She looked up – she didn’t notice me as I’d walked over – and I smiled. I nodded at her sketchbook. “Is it ok if I look at your sketch? I know some people don’t like it when somebody stares over their shoulder when they’re in the zone…”

        “Sure,” she said and leaned away from the sketchbook.

        “Mind if I…?”

        I pulled an empty chair from an adjacent table and sat perpendicular to her. “I’ve only got a couple minutes before I have to meet up with some folks,” I said as I put my latte down. The figurework was loose and sketchy, but the clothing was surprisingly detailed.

        One might say, “He did ask for permission! He asked if he could see what she’s drawing!” Yup. But that’s not asking if she minds if he flirts before he escalated to sexual innuendo, is it? Also, he offered a rhetorical question about whether she minded if he sat down with her as he sat, and made no mention of waiting for a clear “go ahead”. He just sat.

        Nerdlove continues:

        “Wow,” I said, “I really like the way you do cloth. Drapery drives me fucking nuts.”

        “Yeah, me too,” she said. ” Makes me wish I was only doing underwear. Are you an artist?”

        God I loved questions like that. They might as well be asking “Hey, would you like this opportunity to show off and humblebrag a little?” …

        Ohhhh yeeeah [Barry White voice]… she asked me if I do art, too, since I asked to see hers. That’s a clear verbal indication that she’s into me and it’s time to let the sexual innuendo begin. Bow chicka wah waaah.

        “Hey, first things first. You show me yours and I’ll show you mine.” She laughed. “I’m Harris,” I said. “April,” she said, shaking my hand before flipping her sketchbook back to the first page. April was studying fashion design with an eye towards interesting prints and unusual dress designs and accessories. “That explains the hat,” I said.

        “Hey, don’t knock the hat!” she said in mock outrage. “It’s my one concession to being a Texan,”

        “Does it get you a lot of guys asking if you could hog-tie ‘em?”

        He negs her – “That explains the hat” – then goes for the hog-tie innuendo, after determining that her outrage is only of the mock variety, so he’s clear for take-off.

        And so on. To his credit he correctly interprets her non-verbal cues as interest, and she’s giving plenty back, like reciprocating with the innuendo. Good guy that Nerdlove is, I presume he would have backed off if he’d detected any resistance or discomfort. This is how non-rapey flirting and dating typically work. What he did not do, unless he left it out for some reason, was ask for permission prior to each escalation in a more sexual direction. Even before the innuendo started, he invaded her space without clear verbal consent (“Mind if I…?” and sitting without waiting), based, I presume, on reading her posture and attitude as sufficiently welcoming to make it appropriate without a verbalized, unambiguous, “Yes, I’m enthusiastic about you sitting down with me.”

        Whether or not you’re personally a Nerdlove fan, I don’t think it’s a reach to say his dating advice makes him a darling among feminists. But even he describes successful approaches in the same familiar terms we’re used to – a guy sees an attractive girl, intiates interaction with her, building sexual tension as he goes. He incorporates some important, but relatively no-brainer details, like paying attention to her response, not making her feel trapped, and being witty, but direct questions to check for consent to being hit on? Not there. The anecdote therefore doesn’t blaze any new dating trails so feminists can run free. It’s an entirely conventional story of a guy being the iniator, picking up a girl who was attracted enough to him that all he had to do was not blow it, which he probably would have done if his opening line had been, “I’m very attracted to you – mind if I sit down and chat about your sketch and flirt a bit to see if you find me attractive, too?” And then waited for a “yes”. Do you think she would have said “yes” to that? I don’t. I think it would have weirded her out (understandably) and she’d have said no, at which point instead of being smooth Dr. Nerdlove with a story of how feminist men woo women, he’d just have been Harris-who-gets-no-sympathy for getting a “No” by asking straight out.

        • Bay Area Guy says:

          So a guy needs to display the perfect confidence and assertiveness, but at the same time “ask for permission” in a way that “respects her boundaries.”

          Seems easy enough…

          I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist of sorts, but sometimes I can’t help but get the feeling that feminists want to make dating as difficult as possible for men. It’s like walking through a minefield with these women. And to the extent that it is difficult, big whoop, life’s not fair, man up, etc.

          • Bay Area Guy says:

            I’m not saying that Alyssa and Joanna personally are trying to make men’s dating lives more difficult, but the feminist dating advice they espouse certainly has that effect.

          • If you look at how dating works in our culture, and at all the weird ways that shame muddies the water, it’s pretty apparent that things are a bit screwed up. It would be a much better world where asking was sexy and everyone could have clear and mature discussions about their sexual needs and desires. That requires changing some of our dominant social paradigms, and will be a challenging task to accomplish. But, it’s absolutely a worthwhile endeavor because in the long run it will improve society.

            However, any change is likely to take years to accomplish, which is why we also need to look at pragmatic options that allow us to work in the now. Here, the pragmatic approach would be to try and work out how to work within those paradigms. It would mean developing skills to read body language and taking the current context into account to make educated guesses about whether a kiss would be welcomed. It would mean learning how to escalate slowly so you can feel out the other persons comfort level, and it would mean accepting that verbal communication isn’t considered sexy by many women and therefore choosing to focus on non-verbal options. It’s flawed, but it’s an approach that is viable without trying to change the world.

            I do think we need to look at both aspects here, the social change is worth the effort but will take many years to take effect if it ever does at all. The pragmatic approach may not help with the wider issues, but it enables us as individuals to make the best of the world as it is.

            • NIck, mostly says:

              I’m sorry, but I don’t see how what you suggest would bring about change. Can you point that part out to me? I keep re-reading what you wrote, and perhaps I’m being dense but it sounds like you’re advocating for more of the status quo.

            • AnonymousDog says:

              Yeah. Everybody on every internet discussion board where this subject comes up is in favor clear, open and mature discussion of everyone’s sexual/romantic needs and desires, but nobody ever has any idea of how we get there from here.

              My own feeling is that no one, men, women, gay, straight, whatever, wants to have to deal with the amount of rejection that all that open, honest discussion would necessarily require. It’s not BEING rejected that people want to avoid, so much as it’s having TO reject that keeps us hiding behind plausibly deniable, unspoken, non-verbal, and implied communication in tying to convey our sexual/romantic desires.

            • I think Novati’s first paragraph shows he’s all for the change. The rest isn’t suggestions for how to effect that change, but how to make the best of the status quo, seeing as how so many people seem to want that kind of change but you can’t just decide to “date different” and have success.

              I don’t pretend to have answers for how to “get there from here”, but I’m pretty sure suggestions that lead to more rejections and fewer dating/relationship opportunities *for either or both genders* will not go over well. I think a lot changes to dating/courtship flow more from broad cultural conditions than from people of good will deciding they’re fed up and ready to try something new. Things like economic conditions, medical advances (e.g. new contraceptive options), and even technology (sexting, anyone?) all affect the courtship rituals. It’s just a hunch, not something I have data to prove, but I suspect those types of factors will always influence dating more than some corner of the blogosphere that really wishes people would talk more.

              If blogs, PSA’s, and eductation really could change things, then it seems to me the people you’d have to convince first are the really attractive people (of both genders) who will not have all that much trouble attracting people even if they play by “new rules”. For everyone else, we can complain all we want, but getting things wrong like asking when she didn’t want you to or not asking when she did can make or break an opportunity that won’t come around again any time soon. In conditions like that, people will stick to what works, even if they don’t like it, rather than end up enlightened and alone.

      • Alyssa Royse says:

        Nick, I totally agree with you. We have to reframe this for both men and women, from the get-go. It has to be sexy to ask and tell. Which, Bay Area Guy, would make dating a lot easier for everyone. If men didn’t feel like they had to not only initiate everything, but that they didn’t have to play guessing games with women. (We are being hetero-normative here, because the Audi commercial was, but I think this is true regardless of gender and orientation.) What I would like to see is a world in which consent and communication were the norm, shame and fear were isolated instances.

        There’s a lot to that though. Not least is the understanding that someone saying “no, I’m not interested in that” is not some sort of failure. It is not a condemnation of the person who asked, it is not a demotion on the status ladder, it just is what it is. When I talk to high school kids I compare the reality of rejection to the reality that some people don’t like broccoli. It doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with broccoli, just because someone doesn’t like it, it just means that someone doesn’t like it.

        Yes, we risk “rejection” every time we ask someone permission to touch them, date them, fuck them, whatever. So what. Someone else will come along who likes broccoli. But we have this entrenched mentality in this society that holds sex up as a prize, those who get it are winners, those who don’t are losers. And it’s utterly brutal on our collective psyche. It’s sex, that’s all. Arguably one of my favorite things in the world, but no one has ever died from not getting it right this minute. Which is the other problem with out society, we think we should get everything right when we want it. Life rarely works that way.

        Especially in a society in which women are still told that liking sex is something to be ashamed of, while at the same time being told that if they’re not sexy enough their worthless, while at the same time being victims of sexual violence when communication is unclear or men simply think they have a right to sneak up behind them and kiss them without asking.

        What Joanna and Lisa and I are proposing would, I promise, make dating a whole lot easier. And efficient. I mean, why bake a fancy broccoli dish for someone who doesn’t like broccoli? Move on, spend that energy somewhere else.

        Bonus, less fear of it coming back to haunt you later.

    • But if this is an example of “R C” then it’s women who created it. Here’s an example of a guy who has “all the right possessions” and did get the girl right here on GMP.
      http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/the-good-life-i-had-an-affair-with-a-married-man-and-i-dont-regret-it/
      On top of that the woman who wrote the article still can’t get over the guy and is unhappy with her husband basically because the husband _doesn’t_ have “all the right possessions”.

      “I have read enough of the comments that say, “but if we ask, it lessens the odds we’ll get to kiss her.” Yup. And that, right there, makes our point. You are right, it lessens the odds. And you do not have some “right” to kiss the girl. We have the right to say yes or no. Period. I can’t even feign regret that you don’t get to kiss the girl who would have said “No” if you asked her.”

      You do have the right to say yes or no, and I also wish all women would appreciate when a guy asks (it sure would have made dating easier). That’s not reality though. Just by asking, a man can turn off a woman who would have been receptive to a kiss. So it’s not that by a man asking she’s exercising her right to say no, it’s that a man asking turns a yes into a no just because he asked.

      As a woman you’ve never been in that situation so you’ve never experienced the confusion, disappointment, and frustration of screwing up that first kiss moment.

      • Bay Area Guy says:

        Frankly, the more I read comments from women advocating that men “ask for permission” or that “yes, asking does reduce your odds of success, but so be it,” the more I realize that feminist women simply cannot be trusted to provide good dating advice to men.

        I’m not presuming ill intent on their part. Their hearts are probably in the right place. They’re just too naive. And as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

        • Alyssa Royse says:

          Bay Area guy, you made me laugh, because “the feminists” of which you speak kicked me out of their club long ago.

          But in all sincerity, and with an absolutely genuine interest in solving this problem, let me ask why it is bad advice to ask if someone is interested in you and move on if they’re not? It’s not like you can / should be with someone who doesn’t want you. Or that you don’t deserve to be with someone who truly does. While you may not “score” that night, is that the point? And if it is, which is fine, then it’s even more important / efficient to locate the person who wants the same thing at the same time. Or is being rejected just too much to deal with? If it is, then what we need to figure out is WHY?

          • It’s not that it’s bad advice, it’s that it’s not universal advice, which makes it about like practically every other piece of dating advice. If a guy is consistently an asker or not-asker, he has to rely on luck to encounter a compatible woman when the opportunity presents itself. If his natural bent doesn’t mesh with the majority of available women in his area, even if it would work great in some other place, too bad for him. If he has the knack for reading people, either naturally or through practice, then he improves his chances by reading her and deciding whether she’s an Alyssa/Joanna type who will think being asked is a total turn on, or a more old-fashioned type expects him to pick on on her signals and just act with confidence, and adjust his approach accordingly. This will be true whether all he wants is to score that night, or whether he thinks this one might be his soul mate and he doesn’t want to screw it up at the start. The point isn’t scoring or rejection – it’s not screwing up opportunities, which weighs heavy on people not accustomed to the next dating or relationship opportunity always being right around the corner.

            I wholeheartedly agree it would be great if initiating were more balanced, no mind-reading was required, and there weren’t a bunch of screwed up reasons keeping people form being more open, honest and direct. If you’re going to date, though, you have to do it in the culture you live in, not the ideal one you want. So, you can break with convention and do whatever the hell you want because it feels like the better way to do it, and maybe it’ll even work and be an inspiration to others, but unless you happen to be super-attractive to begin with, it’s also a good way to end up rejected and alone.

          • “But in all sincerity, and with an absolutely genuine interest in solving this problem, let me ask why it is bad advice to ask if someone is interested in you and move on if they’re not? It’s not like you can / should be with someone who doesn’t want you. Or that you don’t deserve to be with someone who truly does. While you may not “score” that night, is that the point? And if it is, which is fine, then it’s even more important / efficient to locate the person who wants the same thing at the same time. Or is being rejected just too much to deal with? If it is, then what we need to figure out is WHY?”

            Its bad advice because, in many instances, a woman’s interest is not a constant thing unaffected by a man’s actions. So framing it as “you should ask if she wants a kiss because if she wants a kiss she’ll say yes and if she doesn’t want a kiss she’ll say no” is misleading, because it often is the case that “She wants a kiss but only if you don’t ask first.”

            Also, its not just about that particular night or that particular kiss. If asking results in the woman seeing the man as weak, insecure, or timid, it’s very difficult (close to impossible) for the man to ‘recover’ and end up with that woman.

          • But in all sincerity, and with an absolutely genuine interest in solving this problem, let me ask why it is bad advice to ask if someone is interested in you and move on if they’re not?

            Because even if she might be interested in you, the very act of asking possess a significant risk of turning the table to your disadvantage.

            I don’t know, Drew said it so much better above…

            • Alyssa Royse says:

              Which is why we have to work on women too. Consent has to become an integral part of foreplay. There are MANY people who find it hot, I am definitely one of them, for the reasons that I listed way up above – if I know I’m safe and respected, I’m much more likely to relax and have great sex.

              I would never suggest that women don’t play self-defeating games, I promise, I’m not that clueless, They do. So do men. But we need to work together to end them. And it can’t just be about “scoring,” or we will forever be locked in a predator / prey dynamic that serves no one.

              And men will forever be stuck in the “it was rape” trap, that I’m pretty sure no one wants to be in. Not asking puts you at great risk. Unless you are damned good and sure that she wants it (though, see my original inflammatory article for how wrong you can be. That’s a pretty huge risk.)

            • FlyiongKal says:

              @Alyssa Royce:
              I’m a very timid man, and it’s not like I’m advocating something like this.
              I was just trying to give a sincere and somewhat concise answer to your “absolutely genuine” question above. We seem to have gone awfully fast from total confusion to a ready solution..

              From the day we are born, we are brought up to the words of “Treat girls/women with respect!”. Yet we are forever left to stand around and see that it’s the boys who pull the girl’s pigtails that get all the attention.

    • “I have read enough of the comments that say, “but if we ask, it lessens the odds we’ll get to kiss her.” Yup. And that, right there, makes our point. You are right, it lessens the odds. And you do not have some “right” to kiss the girl. We have the right to say yes or no. Period. I can’t even feign regret that you don’t get to kiss the girl who would have said “No” if you asked her.”
      You did read what they said right? They aren’t entitled or thinking they have a right to kiss someone, THEY ARE TOLD THE WOMEN WANT THEM TO KISS THEM WITHOUT ASKING and that by asking it destroys their chance. Kiss without asking, these particular women want them still, but when they ask it turns them off. These women want them to kiss them without asking, which contradicts messages other women say who want them to ask first. By only ever asking first they pretty much rule out relations with those who want to be kissed without asking is what they are saying.

      “This ad perfectly sums up what I was trying to say in my inflammatory article about how perfectly nice and reasonable guys sometimes do exactly the wrong thing, without even knowing it, because, amongst other things, the media has trained us to believe that’s that guys are supposed to do, and girls should just take it. ”
      To you yes, but to other women it’s the right thing apparently as others are saying (though this is highly questionable since they aren’t on a date whereas the comments seem to be on dates). Not all women are like you, some want to be kissed without being asked and those guys are talking about frustration of which women are they meant to listen to. Personally I ask first because it’s risky, but there are women out there that hate that.

      ” I can’t even feign regret that you don’t get to kiss the girl who would have said “No” if you asked her. ”
      No one here would regret that, they’re talking specifically about women who want to be kissed by them but are relying on body language alone to communicate it. Quite frankly it’s a huge mess, women really need to be held accountable for these extremely mixed messages. You hate when guys kiss without asking? Get angry at those guys AND the gals who encourage it.

      I don’t kiss without asking because I don’t have assurance they want it, and if they can’t handle being asked then why would I wanna kiss someone so narrow minded? There is too much miscommunication in body language to rely on that alone, I’ve known of women who unknowingly send a lot of sexual signals and known of men who misread friendliness for interest. Clear verbal communication is the winner I think but how do you change so many women’s minds who say they want to be “taken” “ravished” or kissed without asking? I’m sure they mean they only wanna be kissed by people they choose but how does that person find out if they are it?

      Hell even I find it annoying that I may lose romance by not taking steps without asking apparently, but I don’t want to take those steps cuz I can’t be sure they want me. I find it annoying that some women may have relied solely on body language to try attract me, and that if I ask they’d get annoyed, but quite frankly I don’t want them. I’d rather people be fine with asking. This isn’t entitlement.

      • Well said, Archy!
        FWIW, I’m with you all the way on this one.

      • Alyssa Royse says:

        I DO get angry with women who encourage non-consensual behavior. I absolutely do. And I do work on that from that side, because I think it is hugely important. I don’t see this as a battle between the sexes, but a battle between communication and non-communication. We have to teach women to reward positive behavior like kindness, respect, communication, asking etc….

        This is a big ol’ mess, and it’s not going to be fixed by men OR women, but by BOTH.

        • It’s a huge mess indeed. There are huge amounts of frustration with dating, a real lack of universal desires is part of that. Some like being asked, some hate being asked, so asking can turn a woman off who likes you or it may turn em on. I want to know why it’s such a turn off, do they feel the same towards sex too?

    • “And what sickens me is that we are told, via this ad, that once you have the right material possessions – the expensive and fancy ones – you are able to go “get the girl.” As if she is a prize buck on a hunting expedition. So, right there, you’re telling guys that they have to have the right things – be rich – and they you can get the prize. The prize. The “thing” you win by having the right moves, that you get from having the right things. Wrong.”

      To piggyback on this, it also teaches men that they themselves are not worthy of women, but rather the material possessions or power they posses determine their worth. Harmful on both sides.

    • @AlyssaRoyse…

      This sounds so lacking in romance and spontaneity. It’s like a toddler asking if he can have more ice cream. I am big on spontaneity and reading a woman’s body language.

      If you had been making out already, the fact that you are going back to his place IMPLIES there is more to come!

      I just

    • @Alyssa Royse

      “And what sickens me is that we are told, via this ad, that once you have the right material possessions – the expensive and fancy ones – you are able to go “get the girl.”

      Because there IS a lot of truth to this Alyssa. I know you and Joanna do not wish to admit to it, but many women still remain hypergamous. They flow to the men with the greater resources and status. Do you know of any male groupies? There are even studies indicating that some women experience more orgasms from sex with a wealthy man.

      Women tend to be sexually attracted to high status men. Ivy League educated escorts have reported that having sex with CEOs and CFOs is far more exciting than other men.

      The evidence is there for you guys. But, you seem hell bent on denying what is plainly obvious.

      • Bay Area Guy says:

        Because there IS a lot of truth to this Alyssa. I know you and Joanna do not wish to admit to it, but many women still remain hypergamous. They flow to the men with the greater resources and status.

        Exactly.

        I think the reason why feminist dating advice is so lousy is because, as I mentioned earlier, it’s incredibly naive.

        Feminists see women through a very idealized lens. In other words, as wonderful. Many don’t want want to admit that women can be just as shallow as men.

        Hence Joanna’s old comment that Ryan Gosling’s “look” or behavior works so well because of how he pulls it off, and not because he looks like Ryan Gosling.

        Like I said before, their hearts are in the right place, but we all know what the road to hell is paved with…

      • Alyssa Royse says:

        Some ≠ All. And no, making out does NOT automatically imply a willingness to have sex. And perpetuating that is why a lot of date rapes happen. I am not denying that it happens, I am saying that it happens all the time, and it’s not always okay. Yes, sometimes it is. Great. But a lot of times it’s not, and that is not a risk worth taking.

        I am well aware that there are both men and women who are attracted to both power and wealth. But there are many who are not. So I think it is dangerous to perpetuate the idea that power and wealth automatically means you can get the girl. Without asking her. It is consent that I’m talking about, pure and simple.

        For what it’s worth, I’m marrying a man who is both a firefighter and a CrossFit trainer. And he asked before he kissed me. Powerful man, no matter how you look at it, and he asked. They are not mutually exclusive.

        And in a society that is steeped in messaging about wealth and material possessions being equivalent to “good,” “hot,” “successful,” etc…. Are you really confused about why women would desire men who have those things? Moreover, are you really confused about why focusing a man’s worth on those things is harmful to men, in much the same way that focusing women’s worth on small waists and big breasts is harmful to women?

        And how sending the message that women are prizes, that you can just claim if you have those things is harmful to both men and women? That said, you are doing a very good job of highlighting just how big a problem Rape Culture is. And why I wrote that Nice Guys article in the first place. That we are, as a society, all complicit in a culture in which perfectly reasonable people think that it’s implied we should be able to fuck the girl if we hit a few milestones, even if she doesn’t actually consent.

        Yes, the rules change once you’re in a relationship. They change constantly. But no, it is never okay to walk up behind someone you are not in a relationship with and kiss them without their consent. Or fuck them, which would much more obviously be rape. And it is not okay to perpetuate the myth that it is somehow gallant to do that.

        • But no, it is never okay to walk up behind someone you are not in a relationship with and kiss them without their consent. Or fuck them, which would much more obviously be rape. [Emphasis added.]

          No, not “more obviously rape” – fucking them without consent would be rape. That other thing, where you kiss someone without consent…that’s not rape. Not just less obviously rape — not rape. This kind of hyperbole is a big reason why I have such a hard time taking the concept of Rape Culture seriously, because the working definition of “rape” in these discussions seems far too inclusive. The worst unwanted kiss you could imagine might barely make it onto the low end of the sexual assault spectrum, but there are abundant scenarios where someone misreads another’s desire to kiss and upon realizing it, stops, apologizes and doesn’t try again. It may suck to be the kissee, but try taking that story to a rape support meeting. Do you seriously want people to consider that sexual assault, and since pretty much all sexual assault is rape by Rape Culture rules, call every klutsy kisser a rapist? That’s insane. <– Not gaslighting, because I mean it.

          I don’t think this is an either/or issue where either it’s only right to ask, or it’s only right to rely on indirect or non-verbal cues and just go for it. I think different ways work for different people, and some people may even try or prefer both ways at different times, so the best advice (if it even counts as advice) is to try to be attuned to the person you want to kiss (or be kissed by) and act accordingly. It’s just one in a long line of behaviors and preferences you’ll have to share, notice, and adapt to if the relationship goes further. If you got past the first kiss okay, you may eventually reach a point where you discover a mutual fondness for “talking dirty”, or BDSM, or whatever. If there’s room in sex-positive thinking for other people being turned on by words or behavior that you personally find revolting, it seems to me that this tolerance could extend far enough to cover preferences about the earliest stages, like whether it’s hotter to ask, or to take a chance.

          And finally, I want to point out that you keep using the word “consent” as though what that means is an unambiguous verbal statement inviting the contact before it begins. Sure enough, that’s one kind of consent, but if it’s the only kind you count, then other kinds of consent and a complete lack of consent get blended together. For example, in my story about greeting my now-wife with a kiss the first time we met face to face, before uttering a single word, that looks on its face to meet your definition of a non-consensual kiss with someone I had no relationship with. (Give me 1 pt. for approaching her from the front, though). I was hoping for chemistry and thought she was, too, but we didn’t expressly say so or agree beforehand that we were totally going to kiss and make out when we met. What made me think she’d like it? Well, we’d had extensive conversations online, including flirtatious ones. We had exchanged photos, so we weren’t completely unknown physical specimens to each other. Before we kissed, I gave her a hug for a few seconds, where I paid close attention to how much she returned the embrace, and I sensed no reluctance on her part. By the time I tilted my head for the kiss, I can’t say I knew 100% it would be welcome, but I felt pretty sure I had her consent, and her kiss and subsequent behavior showed that I was right. That’s a world apart from seizing a stranger from behind, or a prom queen who has no interest in you just because you borrowed Dad’s car, but my point is that the “never okay…” attitude and only counting direct questions and answers as sufficient consent paints too restrictive a picture of consent.

          • Alyssa Royse says:

            Some very fair points there, and I admit that my frustration is allowing sloppy language. Let me try again, which isn’t to say we’re going to agree.

            This commercial does not depict a rape. I said that many comments ago, but it would be impossible to track all the comments in a thread like this. It does depict a culture in which it is okay to just “take” the woman to get whatever gratification you think you need or are owed. It also depicts a culture in which owning the right things means you win the prize, which is usually a girl.

            I do NOT suggest that the only way to get consent is explicit and verbal. But this does not depict any long hugs and knowing glances and tilted heads with parted lips and moans that many of us would also consider consent. This is just walking up behind and grabbing. This is not okay. But hey, he has a fancy car, so he can do it, right?

            Yes, you get points for approaching from the front. Also, for a relatively lengthy pre-existing relationship and dialog about it before the kiss. All of which is absent from this ad. And no, we cannot “assume” that such a thing existed when we don’t see it in the ad, because what this ad is selling is THIS MOMENT, where the guy with the right car gets to walk in and take the girl and use her body to make himself feel better.

            What happened in this ad is never okay. What you did is in no way related to this ad. I explicitly said it is never okay with someone with whom you don’t have a preexisting relationship. You had one with your now-wife before you kissed her. You had conversations, you talked about intent, you did the classic “hug them and see if they’re open to it.” All of that can reasonably be construed as consent. That is not even vaguely related to what happened in this ad. And what happened in this ad is never okay. And we know that advertising has powers of persuasion over people’s behavior – teams of scientists design it to, and millions of dollars spent show that it has a reasonable ROI. (This is the world that I came from.)

            By the time my soon-to-be-husband did one of those grand gesture mega-kisses (and goddamn it knocked the wind out of me) we had been on a few dates, there had been other kissing, a lot of flirting, he knew I wanted it. Because I had said as much in flirting previously. But the very first time he kissed me, yes, he asked. Asking, for me, happens to be a huge turn on, so maybe he was lucky.

            It’s funny that you bring up BDSM, because if ever there was a thing that is totally dependent on clear, concise and mutual communication and consent, it’s BDSM. There are often literal contracts written, safe words are almost always discussed, language and behavior is agreed upon in advance. I use it all the time when I teach about consent. It’s my hyperbolic example that some of the hottest, kinkiest, wildest stuff out there is only possible because of explicit consent. Sure, once two partners get to know each other, it’s rare to ask at each turn, but until that comfort level is there, communication is the norm.

            The guy in this commercial is not a klutzy kisser, he’s someone who walked up behind a woman, grabbed her without warning and kissed her because he thought he deserved it. Do I think it’s rape? No, I said many times that I don’t. Do I think it’s sexual assault? Yes, i do. But remember, I’m the one who has been arguing for a sliding scale here. At least partly so that we can recognize the slippery slope of the sexual assault spectrum that our society supports. In a culture where more is better, it’s not a leap to think that more of this kind of behavior is also better.

            Back to you and your now-wife. Or me and my soon-to-be-husband. Or anyone else who assumes that because they flirted with me, they want to kiss me. Or because they kissed me, they want to fuck me. Sometimes you will be right. But a lot of times, you won’t be. Remember the Nice Guys article, that’s what i was talking about. He was wrong. But when we have commercials like this one, and then you ad in all the flirting, etc, you can begin to see how a perfectly reasonable person would make that mistake. And it’s THAT, precisely THAT that makes this so important.

            Look, I want everyone to be having not only more sex, but more of the kind of sex that they want. And that can’t happen until we ALL know how to ask for it, and accept the answers we get. No more games until you know you are understood and safe. This ad is dangerous.

            • Alyssa, the terms you use, “just “take” the woman to get whatever gratification you think you need or are owed”…is it possible instead of taking he wanted to share? Seems to be viewing it from this place of she has something he wants, instead of wanting to share a kiss with her. The language I am seeing doesn’t take into account any romantic feelings he may have, he may not want to take her at all, he might want to SHARE with her (though he picks a terrible way to do it imho). A rapist takes, someone kissing their crush or whatever after some courage I do believe has the potential of trying to be romantic and want to share themselves. Some will see Marcus’s actions with his future wife? as him TAKING from her what he wants, but did he intend that or did he want to share a passionate kiss?

              We must be careful not to see evil everywhere, to see such negative behaviours, this kid in the ad I don’t believe is the evil person who “takes” what he wants, when he wants, I think the only thing he took was a risk in kissing (often a romantic gesture) with someone he may want to share his life with (story doesn’t say). Misguided Romeo or is he a future Johnny 23? I don’t think it’s wise to see him simply TAKING from her or implying the transactional model of sexuality where he gets something from her, vs shares something with her. The risk seemed to work with her being happy with the kiss n continuing it, that’s not taking, that’s sharing. Of course it’s also a very very risky move to do, quite frankly I think Marcus was courageous to just kiss his future wife? straight away.

        • FlyiongKal says:

          And how sending the message that women are prizes, that you can just claim if you have those things is harmful to both men and women?

          What never seems to be mentioned is that in this view, wealthy men are just as much prizes as (“hot”) women are.

          • The complaints over “women as prizes” fails to accept that dating (mating) _is_ a competition. Ultimately any woman (or man) is a prize to the people who want to date (mate) them.

            The complaint rings hollow every single time I hear it.

            • Alyssa Royse says:

              There is a difference between a prize that is won, handed over like property to a victor, and a treasure that is found. I look at it as treasure, for which we had to sort through a lot of crap and overcome a lot of obstacles and were somehow fortunate enough to find and choose each other. Not a prize at the end of a game that someone handed to me because I successfully completed some externally ordained set of tricks and therefore deserved it.

            • Am I the only one here utterly turned off by the thought of dating as a prize or treasure? I don’t want to date someone I find as a prize, I wanna share experiences with them and goto the fair n win prizes there, we would be lucky to have each other but seeing it in a transactional model or reward system is icky.

              Hi I’m Archy, if you get 1000 points I will have sex with you, helllll noooooooooooooo.

            • Alyssa Royse says:

              Nope, I’m right there with you. The prize idea makes me sick, which is why I tried to do the buried treasure thing….. But maybe that’s not different enough. I feel so insanely lucky, every day, that I found My partner. He seems like treasure to me, but sure as hell not a prize that someone handed to me. The transactional model makes me sick too. Gotta find a better analogy, I’ll keep trying.

              It’s chemistry, right. Maybe it needs a scientific analogy – alchemy? Our love and relationship is something we made together, that just worked. I had a lot of failed experiments before this one, changed some key ingredients, tried again, voila….. closer?

            • I like chemistry, it gives a romantic touch and also some mystery. I also say “we mesh together great”. Finding a great partner, being lucky to do so. Or even just saying you found great love, love is far better than any prize since a prize is usually won once yet love continuously updates itself and keeps that bond tight.

            • Agreed. I don’t want a prize I want a partner.

            • Danny if there’s another guy interested in the woman you consider an ideal partner, and you through your head/heart/looks do enough that the women would rather be with you than the other guy is that not in a sense a “win” on some level because you out “competed” the other guy?

            • Alyssa Royse says:

              Jimbo, but it’s about what she wants, not what you want. It’s great – and lucky – when you both want the same thing. But she gets to choose, period. It shouldn’t be about beating the other guy. At any point. It’s about a right match, and that has to be fully mutual, or it isn’t a right match.

            • Jimbo, but it’s about what she wants, not what you want. It’s great – and lucky – when you both want the same thing. But she gets to choose, period. It shouldn’t be about beating the other guy. At any point. It’s about a right match, and that has to be fully mutual, or it isn’t a right match.

              How about we revise that to saying *both* the initiator and the object of their advances must choose to proceed for it to be a good match? It’s a little clunkier, but at least it doesn’t give all the power to one gender, making them a de facto gatekeeper from whom being granted access could easily feel like a “prize”. If you really mean that women get to choose, period, then that whole paragraph just looks like a mess of old-fashioned contradictions to me. If it’s about both people wanting to proceed, regardless of who initiated and what they’re gender is, I’m onboard, and given what I’ve seen from you so far, I’m guessing that’s closer to your intended meaning. :)

            • FlyingKal says:

              Alyssa, whatever way you put it, as long as we perpetuate the idea of monogamous relationships it’s still about selecting one person above any other…

            • FlyingKal says:

              My very best friend is married since almost 15 years to a very sweet and beatiful woman who, when they first met, was engaged to another guy. They both fell in love instantly, and just a couple of days later she had dumped the other guy and was seriously dating my friend.

              Now, use whatever analogy you like, but I don’t think you in any way can deny that my friend “won” the dating game over this other guy?

        • You say your fiancee is a firefighter and crossfit trainer which means that no one is going to question his “man credientials” no matter how he approaches a dating scenario including a first kiss. Easy for a guy like that to “ask permission” before kissing when no one will be wondering if he’s confident, assertive, or “masculine” in the moment to be turned off by the asking.

          Now contrast that to me in my mid 20s, a soft spoken college grad who was working at a library. Do you really think I (or another man in a similar position) had the latitude to be asking permission and questions every step of the way while dating without having the woman wonder if I was confident, assertive, or “masculine”?

          • Alyssa Royse says:

            Actually, he’s so shy that I almost didn’t go out with him a second time because I was afraid I’d hurt his feelings if we didn’t continue after a few more dates. He is, in many ways, the most feminine man I know. Yes, he asked first, at every major first move, because he is that respectful. And yes, it took me aback. At one point I did have to tell him that I was afraid I’d hurt him, that I wanted to make sure that he wouldn’t let me steam-roll him with my considerably more assertive personality. He laughed at me, which was a great response. He assured me that I couldn’t hurt him, and he was perfectly capable of looking after himself, but that he demanded respect and communication in a relationship. Hot. His man card has been questioned lots, by lots of people. Because he’s shy enough to look at the ground a lot when he talks, because so many of his friends are gay, and women. Because he would rather go dancing than almost anything. Because he would cancel anything to spend time with his daughters. Because there are plenty of photos of him at Burning Man in a tutu. His own step-mom calls him Brady Ann because he’s the most feminine man anyone knows. He just happens to look like a really manly man. Point is, these ideas that we have about what is “manly” are ridiculous. They hurt men as much as much as women. It took me a lot of years to figure that out, and to not be turned off by men who ask first, who show that they respect me enough to risk rejection. Yes, in my 20’s it would have been a tough sell. But I want to work to change that. So that women in their 20’s are rewarding men in their 20’s for such things. And not fucking the gropey douchebags who just want to stick it in them. (Actually, it’s in my teens that would have been a tough sell. The man I was married to for 16 years, who I married at 23, was also a nice guy who asked first. Actually, he said no to me the first time, because he said he didn’t know me well enough to have sex yet.) As flawed as things are now, we need to work towards something better.

  19. Chris Wilbon says:

    I see a lot of people pointing out that the girl actually appears to enjoy the kiss. While I think that’s true, it’s sort of missing the point. I believe the point the author is trying to make is that you can’t assume that somebody wants you to kiss them. The fact that that assumption turned out to be correct here doesn’t meant hat it will in the real world.

  20. I’m a bit late coming into the comments but here’s what I’ve got (and sorry for repeating what’s been said).

    From the tweet at the top:
    New @Audi comercial calls rape #bravery.
    This is what guys are talking about when it comes to shaming and mistreatment and sexism they face. Why is it that anytime a guy does something negative in the realm of dating/relationships/sex it’s called rape or there is an effort to liken it to rape? Mostly likely because the ones that make such associations are looking for something negative to attach those guys actions to.

    Get over yourself Garrett that wasn’t rape.

    I’ll agree that commercial does tell a boys a dangerous lesson. That if you have the right car you will have the right attitude and if you have the right attitude you will be what every girl wants. This is obviously dangerous because it gives boys false hopes about “what they need to do in order to get the girl”. (Axe has been doing this for years with their line of sprays and body washes.)

    It perpetuates the idea that when it comes to sexual attraction there is a magical formula that if one follows it they are guaranteed success.

    Now about possibly changing the ad I would say that about the only change that could be made to the ad and it still make some sort of valid point (remember the point here is to push Audi cars) is for when the boy approached the girl he asked her to dance instead of reaching for a kiss. At least then the message would be “Audi: the bravery to speak up.” not “Audi: the bravery to take what you want.”

    But even then there is still the problem is a manufacturer of a product advertising it’self as that special “something” you need in order to be worthy of someone else.

    • Making a romantic approach IS bravery. Needing a car or other prop is a bit sad.

      The fact that your approach may be unwanted is neither good nor bad; it’s a known risk of bravery.

  21. Absolutely the wrong message! It perpetuates the image of women being property to be fought over with no consideration for their boundaries. He felt bad that he didn’t have a date, the car gave him confidence and the belief that he could take whatever he wanted.

    • “It perpetuates the image of women being property to be fought over with no consideration for their boundaries.”
      This is supported by the Prom King not so much Audi kid.
      “He felt bad that he didn’t have a date, the car gave him confidence and the belief that he could take whatever he wanted.”
      How do we know he wasn’t confident before? No back story so we don’t know. Same problem with what i will say next.

      So lets add back story in a positive way and give the kid and the creator the benefit of the doubt and say she gave him signals at some point earlier, instead of automatically claiming hes a creep. People, especially feminists, like to view men in a bad light when there is not enough information and women as victims. Men elicit pessimism in others. (Why is that old man buying children’s books?/Are those his kids or did he take them?/ect.) Women elicit optimism. (Girl punches cat calling guy in the street/ect.)

      The creator could have done a better job of showing her earlier attention to him and his lack of confidence though.

      • Even if she showed an earlier interest in him, does that warrent him coming up behind her and grabbing her for a kiss?

        I also think we need to pay attention to the role the young girl is playing. She is Prom Queen. She is the trophy right? She isn’t just any girl at the dance. She is the epitome of physical beauty and popularity as symbolized by Prom Queen “status”.

        • Trophy? Maybe, maybe not. Could just be the most attractive person and be based purely on lust. Trophy I’d say is way too negative a label. If I wanna kiss miss universe, it’s not because she’s a trophy, it’d probably be lust. I don’t date people to have something pretty around my arm, I date people I am attracted to (though I go for a mix of beauty n personality, beauty alone won’t work for me). You can still see people as humans even if lust is on your mind.

          • Yeap, Trophy is a negative label yet it exists largely in perceptions of masculinity and what men have to “win” to be considered masculine. Such as the hottest or most popular girl at the dance.

            The reason the young girl in the commerical is respresented as Prom Queen isn’t because of some standard of equality among all the young girls at the dance. It is because the Prom Queen represents the epitome of trophy status. Like everything else in the commercial, it plays on stereotypes. I don’t think this needs to turn into a discussion about your personal life since no one is actually commenting on your personal life but the stereotypes that are present in the commercial.

            • Way to miss my point Erin, I am talking about how people assume he is someone looking for a trophy instead of assuming he just wants to share a kiss with someone he likes. A trophy is ONLY valuable for her looks, how do you know this person only values her looks? There is a shitload people are reading into this commercial. He probably did kiss the most beautiful girl at the dance, does that mean she is just a trophy to him? You can read it as that, or you can read it as his long-term crush depending on who you are. You can see him as someone stealing a kiss, or someone finally getting the courage to kiss the woman he loves/has crush on/likes/is attracted to/take your pick.

              Where do these assumptions come from? Peoples intrepretation of the ad, yet there are a wide variety of interpretations from seeing it as an underdog story to a rapebutnotrape, taking a trophy to simply sharing a kiss, entitlement to hope n overcoming shyness. He might be kissing her because she is prom queen, or he might be kissing her because she is Stacey who he’s loved since 8th grade. The stereotype of prom queen is much more than just the status, it’s a common trope in teen romance for the guy to fall for the beauty (and usually the friend next door plain Jane who often turns out to be supermodel Jane at the prom). So why choose the trophy stereotype and not the I loved you since 8th grade one?

              People see what they want to see in this commercial and other media plays a huge part in how they are reading it I think. Being that it’s only a few seconds long it’s pretty damn vague and all of us could be right or wrong.

            • I didn’t miss your point. I disagree with your point.

              “A trophy is ONLY valuable for her looks, how do you know this person only values her looks?”

              Because nothing else is shared or expressed about her other then her looks and Prom Queen status. You don’t value someone for more than their looks when that is all you represent them as.

              You make a case for his shyness and make your own assumptions based on this. Is his desire to kiss her and over come his personal shyness of more importance then her ownership of her own body and if she even wants to be kissed or not and have control over who is doing what to her body? Does it matter if he is kissing her lips or touching her butt or grabbing her boobs? Aren’t her lips just as much a part of her body as her other parts?

              In grade school when we were all going through puberty, it became popular for the boys to snap the girls’ bras. It didn’t feel good having to go through school worried about some boy snapping your bra against your skin and making it sting. But that was something a lot of the girls had to deal with because the boys felt entitled to it. You would be walking down the hallway with your girlfriends and before you could blink the guys would come up behind you and snap your bra and try to unhook it. It brought a lot of angst for us girls. It was considered “cool” by the other boys. Where these boys terrible people? No. They were young boys that were going through their own stuff but it wasn’t right what they were doing. And at the time, none of us said anything to the teachers because the boys would have shamed us further and made us further into the bad guys in the situation. And at that age, we all wanted to be accepted.

              No one has any right to touch another part of someone else’s body without their agreement. Seeing how her back was turned and she was in the middle of a conversation, she wasn’t even given a chance to disagree or agree. His desire to overcome his shyness does not trump the freedom she deserves to have in saying “yes” or “no”.

            • Which is a great point about ownership of a body, but it still doesn’t imply she is a trophy to him. And when you say I wanted to talk more about my personal life, you failed to understand my point. Don’t tell me what I am trying to do, I know what I wanted to talk about and it wasn’t what you thought.

            • For me it doesn’t even matter if she’s the prettiest or a nerd or goth or whatever trope or type you want to throw in there. Or even if he kissed to Prom King (or some other male classmate instead).

              People are people NOT toys or objects to win …

              BOTTOM LINE: One shouldn’t be kissing someone else without consent.

  22. What if the young man had stolen the principal’s parking spot, walked into the gym and up to within about 2 feet of the young woman, paused while looking her in the eye, stepped closer to her and and paused again before putting his arm around her, and leaned in for a kiss, giving her the option of meeting him half way or not?

    I think that’s closer to the way first kisses happen. I think it allows her choice in each successive step he takes, and allows him his dignity if she says no or steps back or turns away. If she’s caught her off guard and she doesn’t see where he’s going until he leans in and he’s left leaning in ready for a kiss and she then turns away, well that’s the chancwe he took.

    I bring this up because I think it’s plausible and it gets away from the idea that a young man, especially a young man who is a bit less than the ideal, has a choice to be either super bold and at least presumptive as hell, or to be forever celebate.

  23. @The Editors,

    So, does it mean,

    Wanted Sexual Advance = Bravery?

    While reading and watching I could not help but recall one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs/videos, “You Rock My World”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4tpuu-Up90

  24. I totally agree that men and women should not be able to try to kiss or put sexual advances on anyone they would like to… but I am going to continue to be present in each moment and determine when it is or isn’t the right time to kiss. If that moment calls for me asking first, I’ll do that… if it means we both go for it… great!
    Sexual assault is one thing… unacceptable. Trying to establish rules and plans to the beautiful dance of a healthy courtship takes away from what it is… a dance.
    I am agreeing that you need to ask when the time, moment, and person dictate, but you dismiss all of the people(not just men) who do have a good sense of intuition and recognition of connection. We try to establish rules and regulations for everything in life because we have forgotten what it’s like to be human, to feel, to make mistakes like a girl and boy fumbling on their first kiss.
    I absolutely respect everything that has been said, but like this website is about… there are a lot of good men out there and I think we tend to paint them all with the same brush when there are some bad apples. Is this commercial right in the message it’s sending… depends on how you receive it. We all have the right to our own interpretation and our own experiences and thoughts will dictate the emotions we attach to it. Just because it is how our lens of the world sees doesn’t mean it is the way other people should have to see it.

  25. When women start making advances (for real, and not just giving up because it doesn’t work out for them. It doesn’t usually work out for men, either), then they can criticize this kind of thing. Until then, you play the game by the rules that exist, not the rules that would exist in a perfect world.

    And really, calling this ‘sexual assault’ is a big part of the reason I ignore all of that ‘1-in-4′ nonsense. You lump stuff like this in with actual rape, and you totally lose all credibility. Saying that indicates that you want to see this kid in jail, where he will almost certainly be raped (because again, that’s the real consequence regardless of whether you think it should be or not), just because he made someone uncomfortable.

    • Really? you’ve never had a woman make an advance toward you? Somehow I find that hard to believe in 2013. In point of fact I get hit on more *now* that I’m pudgy and thus not as conventionally attractive.

      However when I was model thin (several illnesses and years ago) – and literally used to do petite modeling for extra cash – often I asked guys out because the nice guys who I wanted to date were often too shy to ask me out. Many years later I even asked a few and they thought I would shoot them down because (and I quote) “you used to be so hot, I thought I didn’t have a chance.” Sad thing is about half of the guys I asked were one’s I would’ve gone out with if they’d just had the courage to ask!

      • I think most men have not had women hit on them, it’s pretty rare. I’ve had zero women hit on me.

        “In point of fact I get hit on more *now* that I’m pudgy and thus not as conventionally attractive.”
        You are a woman right? Most women probably get hit on, most men do not. Many women still expect men to hit on them but don’t hit on men themselves.

        • But that’s the thing I don’t “expect” men (or women) to hit on me.

          My preference is that people just start a conversation and go from there. Plus like I said if the other person is shyer than I I’ll often make the approach, not just in romance but in platonic friendships as well.

          • You are also not all women, I would prefer more women to be like you since it’d make it much easier for me to date as I am a shy man and I also think people should hit on those they like without sticking to silly gender roles. Thing is women like you are still pretty rare which is why many of us men haven’t been hit on, if that is surprising to you I’d rather live where you are since it sounds like women actually do hit on men there often.

  26. Interesting post!

    Considering this offers some insights into why this kind of message persists. Here’s the line of thought I’m running through atm: Many guys do feel, privately, to lack bravery when they are trying to meet women. And that lack of bravery can affect their chances – a man who isn’t afraid to go sit by someone and start talking will do better than one who is more passive. It takes both courage and a certain amount of disregard to inject yourself into someone’s day; a certain amount of “I don’t really care if you’re not and this annoys you, because I’m on the hunt and am going to find someone who is interested.”

    Walking up and smooching someone is a much much greater degree of imposition than walking up and ruining someone’s solitude, of course. But that idea is probably why it appeals to some people.

    Taking a different track, a more honest question might be whether this would ever work or not. Per the prior point, a man who is aggressive, and even persistent, will have more success than one who is passive. However, there’s obviously a limit. Is this something any girl would ever appreciate? If so, you might as well blame evolution it. If not, then the commercial authors created a fiction that is just trouble for everyone.

  27. This is what I took away from it. Dad fully knew what giving the car could mean. Son simply felt empowered to come out from the shadows and pound his chest like Tarzan :)

  28. Lacey Powers says:

    That was absolutely one of the most offensive advertisements I have ever seen in my life. What the Hell.

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