Guest post: Imagine that women are people

Originally a comment by Maureen Brian on Approaching a woman in a confident, easy going way.

As Samantha says, listen to women.

Do you go up to men reading and demand that they talk to you, that they flirt with you even? Do you go up to men out jogging and demand that they converse with you on the basis of no known common interest? Do you get all het up and defensive when you try to start a conversation and the man walks away? Probably not but the way you are addressing this issue suggests that you might just be daft enough.

When women are interested in making new friends and acquaintances they put themselves into social situations where casual conversation is easy – a bar, a hobby club, something like that – but no-one is under any obligation to begin or to continue any particular conversation, to stay while the other person bores them to death or to agree to see them privately.

You, though, seem to be trying to put some random woman into a position where she is obliged to put your sexual curiosity ahead of all other considerations. It’s not on!

As for “faint heart never won fair lady” do you even know where that notion comes from? Think France in the fourteen century and the cultural aberration which produced the troubadours. Sure, that produced some middling poetry and some slightly better songs but it was a game played by the elite and was almost entirely played in people’s heads. It involved men getting or pretending to get a crush on a woman of high social status and drooling poetically all over her, knowing that she had the clout to get him beaten up, locked up or disappeared if he went too far. It was a game of “how far dare I go” and does not translate to the New York subway or wherever in the twenty-first century.

There is another way of going about this if you’d be interested. Imagine that women are people. They are on the way to, say, an interview or having a last read of their brief before they appear in court. Or they might just be trying to pick up the bread and milk on the way home to feed the kids. It doesn’t matter. No matter how superficially you may be attracted to someone at first glance she owes you nothing. Stop trying to remake the world so that she does. Stop trying to convince us? yourself? that women like it. We don’t. And look out for all those signals which say, before you open your mouth, I do not wish to speak to you.

If you can understand a clenched fist coming towards you then you can understand earbuds or hunched shoulders, a refusal to make eye contact. If you try.

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