As pointed out in the comments to part one, my first post about the rejections inherent in the men-approach-women-wait model was focused entirely on how bad it hurts for men to suffer the inevitable multiple rejections inherent in that model. That’s true, and it’s part of why it was titled “part one”.
A word to my fellow men: fellas, as we get together over our cigars and brandy in the billiard room, let us take a moment away from our usual discussions of how awesome it is to pee standing up (pretty awesome) and the pain of being rejected by women, and empathize for a second with the other side of that pain.
When one is sentenced by social convention to the passive role of waiting to be approached, the pain of rejection becomes the pain of waiting. Hoping every day, every hour, that today someone will say “My goodness, you’re attractive, we should have awesome makeouts now.” And it keeps not happening. That hurts in a different way, because past a certain point there’s just nothing you can do about it. At least in theory, a rejected man can pick himself up, dust himself off, and try again, but if all you can do is wait and you’re already waiting as hard as you can…
I think there are, interestingly, a lot of guys in this position, as well as a lot of ladies. The fellows I mentioned in the previous post, who have accepted that they can’t get up their nerve to approach women, and so just hope that some women will approach them. And if not today, maybe tomorrow. Maybe the day after. Maybe someday.
Let us then note that rejection comes in two flavors: passive rejection, where one is simply never approached, and active rejection, where one’s approach is rebuffed.
It is extraordinary to me how tightly intertwined all the aspects of gender damage are. For example, much of the pain of passive rejection comes from believing that one is grossly unattractive. For women, this ties directly in with the idea that a woman’s primary value is her looks, and all the awful shit that goes along with that. For men, it ties right in with the myth of men not being hot. That myth, in turn, is linked to traditional male privilege and the male gaze, based as it is on the assumption that if I, the presumed male subject, am not attracted to men, how could anyone else have a different view? It’s a giant Gordian knot of utterly awful gender roles, causing everyone pain.
That metaphor established, there may be a way to, if not slice dramatically right through the knot, at least hack at a few of the strands.
Gentlemen, back me up on this if you will: it is fucking awesome when a woman makes the first move, is it not? I know when I’ve had a woman approach me first, I’m not only flattered (in a culture where men are starved for flattery) but I feel a surge of gratitude. She’s put herself out there, laid her ego on the line, and thereby spared me the stress and fear of doing so myself. She must, clearly, be a pretty cool lady. Every time I raise this issue in a group of men, there is a general consensus that yes, it is seriously wonderful when a woman does that.
So yes, the more we end the unidirectional approach model, the better for everyone. And unfortunately, ladies, the ball is in your court on this one. The gents are already waiting as hard as they can. The way to a less painful society lies in more women finding the courage to fight their cultural programming and say “Hi, can I buy you a drink?” or “Want to continue this conversation over dinner?” or “Sir, those must be space pants, because your ass is out of this world.” (Maybe not so much the last one.)
Will this involve more women experiencing active rejection and the gut-punching pain that comes with it? Yes. But hey, at least the amount of pain will be more evenly distributed. Also, due to that surge of gratitude I mentioned, there will probably be less rejection than one might expect, at least for the first decade or so. Perhaps most of all, active rejection at least comes with the knowledge that you tried. Rather than sitting waiting for something to happen, you got up off your out-of-this-world ass and made something happen.
Ladies, I urge you to try this today. Don’t just smile and look away from that cute guy in the coffee shop, hoping he’ll get the hint; ask him what he’s reading. Don’t just look at that guy’s OkCupid profile and hope he messages you, drop him a line and ask him where he got that awesome hat in his photo. Don’t try to send telepathic waves to that smart guy in your class, go over and ask if he wants to study together. (The telepathic-waves approach has a batting average of zero, yet it remains popular for some reason.)
The way to a happier and less painful world lies with you, and hey, you might get laid.