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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Role Reversal

Do they still have Sadie Hawkins dances, where the women ask the men to dance?

They were fun, and different...somehow less predatory, more charming.

That innocence and charm translates well, when a woman asks a man for a date. It doesn't happen nearly often enough - and never happened to me - but it seems to be a way to fundamentally shift some of the characteristics that define relationships.

It's probably an open secret that men get tired of being in control, of always having to be the 'active party' in the early stages of a relationship. I know I did, and there were years where I just refused to date at all.

For those women who are single, or who have single friends, here are some thoughts on how to approach a man to ask for a date.
  • Put aside shyness - a bashful manner is a plea for someone else to take control. Popular culture says it's cute, but all it really shows is a lack of confidence and purpose. If you tend to feign shyness, don't. If you're naturally shy, keep in mind that the man you're approaching probably has a touch of that, as well
  • Smile - most people have nice smiles. Ask a friend to evaluate yours...I'll bet the smile that makes you feel self-conscious (too many teeth showing! it's crooked!) is really winning.
  • Speak up - start by saying "Hi!" in a clear, friendly voice. It's the best pickup line imaginable, and most men will be bowled over by a woman coming up and just saying hello. I would have been.
  • Be direct and specific - if you're interested, say so, and bring up a plan - immediately. If you're at a party, try this..."Hi! I noticed you when I came in. I'd like to get to know you...would you like to go out for coffee on Saturday?"
  • Touch - gently touch his forearm, or shoulder. Don't hug, don't do anything that implies physical intimacy, because that'll spoil the magic you're creating.
  • Don't linger - once you've made the date, go. The next step has been arranged, and avoid the temptation to take an advance on that event. Let it bloom in its own fullness.
  • Don't debrief with your friends - this is your moment, for one thing. For another, if you talk to a friend who knows someone who knows someone who knows your upcoming date, there's a good chance he'll hear about what you said. Even if what you say is complimentary, and passed on as such, he'll feel a little bit less special, less exclusive. Wouldn't you?
(If you get a "no, thanks", well...that happens, and it likely has nothing to do with you. He's committed, or gay, or about to deploy to Afghanistan. If he were free to accept, he would have. And if that happens, smile, say goodbye, and move on. And don't, whatever you do, approach someone else. Would you want to be someone's second choice? The common myth is that men aren't very observant. That's not always true.)

Being happily married, I'm pretty sure this is something I'll never experience. But if it's something you can and would like to try, rest assured...you'll enjoy the process more than you expect, and you'll make some lucky fellow's day.

And maybe his whole life.