No, this was not online dating. She knew me from the “real” world.
Turns out we were both at the same wedding a while back, but she was there with another guy at the time. But she remembered me and asked me out months later once they broke up.
I was incredibly flattered and agreed to meet her even without ever seeing a single photo of her. I figured I’d embrace the mystery of it all, that, hell, even if I don’t fall in love, I want to reward that kind of courage. It couldn’t have been easy for her to take that chance with me.
So we met up. And shared a few drinks and laughs. It was a perfectly nice meetup, but I didn’t feel we had great chemistry. She asked me if I’d like to meet up again, and I painfully had to decline, really not wanting to hurt her feelings. “Wow, I guess this is what it feels like when guys get rejected, eh?” she texted back with a smiley face.
And yes, it is. Guys will tell you it ain’t easy. “But please don’t take this as a reason to never try asking a guy out again,” I pleaded. “Maybe it’ll really go somewhere the next time. I’m a piece of work anyway,” I added with a wink.
And I sincerely hope she will.
Because that kind of bravery made her instantly more attractive to me.
And it was absolutely wonderful to not have to be the one initiating for once.
It reminded me of a time when I was 17 and in love with a local girl in my hometown. I’d professed my affections for her a thousand times. Even tried to kiss her once or twice. But she dodged it, usually with the familiar excuse that “we should just stay friends.” And then one night when I was just casually playing a song on guitar for her, with no agenda whatsoever since I thought I’d been friend-zoned, she leaned in and kissed me. For a while.
And it was beautiful.
Not just because it was a lovely kiss, but because it felt so beautiful to see her take the chance for once. Make herself vulnerable. Dare to find out if I wasn’t so into it. (Luckily for her, I was still rather game.) That kind of courage made her sexier to me than I’d ever felt about her before.
Makes a guy wonder, what if this happened a lot more often?
What if women more often made the first move?
The #metoo revelations have rightly shown how many terrible things can happen when men do not understand consent and push too hard to “make something happen.” So maybe it’s time for more women to make the first move?
My friend Jennifer says, “But I hate doing that. I want a guy to just know when it’s the right time to ask me out or kiss me.” This sentiment has been echoed by many of my female friends.
But maybe this is how we got into this mess in the first place. It sort of asks men to be mind-readers. And sometimes we get it right. But a lot of times we get it wrong. We take a chance and find out it wasn’t as welcome as we thought it was. This, of course, is not referring to cases of outright sexual assault, which aren’t innocent mistakes and must be condemned in the strongest terms.
Maybe this just means men have to become a lot more emotionally intelligent, read signs better.
But it might also be a good reason for women to take the wheel a bit more often.
So I invite the women of the world to consider taking the plunge. Be the first to ask a guy out. The first to grab his hand on a walk home from the restaurant. The first to lean in for that first kiss. You might find men are a lot more receptive than you think.
You might also find it truly empowering, and wonder why you haven’t done it more often.
Sure, not all guys want this. (But I think they should.) Maybe you can use it as a litmus test: if a guy doesn’t like a woman who dares to make the first move, maybe that’s not the kind of guy you want to be in a relationship with anyway.
A guy who appreciates you making the first move is a guy who is probably more likely to see you as an equal in the relationship, to respect your wishes and desires.
It might be naive to imagine a world women do most of the initiating. But it’s at least worth hoping the pendulum swings the other way a bit more.
And I kinda bet you’ll be a lot better at it than many of us guys. My hunch is we could probably learn a few things from you in the process.
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