Should Women Make the First Move?
  • Naza Shelley

Should Women Make the First Move?

We've all been there, right ladies? A handsome gentleman joins you on the elevator or is standing in front of you in line as you ponder your lunch options and you think, "Should I talk to him? Give him my number?" Great questions, let's discuss . . .

There are two main schools of thought on this topic - old school (the man should always make the first move) and those who follow the Friedan model (women can do anything, including pick-up a man). There is obvious validity in both approaches, one steeped in traditional thinking that a man needs to pursue a woman (easy come easy go, you know?), and the other borne from feminist belief that women should go for what makes them happy without fear of rejection or of social reprisal (after all, you do miss all the shots that you don't take).

I talked to two friends about this very subject and surprisingly each subscribe to a different school of thought and they told me exactly why!

One friend said that she believes men need the thrill of the hunt and that by making the first move, even if it is as small as just giving a guy your number or asking for his, the woman takes away part of the challenge, thereby reducing his interest. She also noted that when most men see what they want, they find a way to get it. So, if the guy doesn't make the first move, then maybe he's just not that into you (or maybe he's unavailable). Lastly, she said that in her experience, when a woman asks a man out, the man immediately assumes that the woman is DTF - which has discouraged her from making the first move.

Now my other friend said she feels like she's too old to play games, so she just goes for what she wants! She also believes that women shouldn't be afraid of rejection, because that's a part of life; adding that if more women approached men, it would normalize the behavior - making it a more common and acceptable practice - which would reduce the likelihood that men would assume women want to sleep with them just because we make the first move.

Let's be clear, I don't think either approach says anything about a woman's confidence, predilections, or sense of self worth. And while I fully support women who choose to make the first move (you know we are all about seizing the day!), I lean towards the more traditional school of thought (Sorry Bumble). My perspective comes from personal experience.

Last summer, after a fun day party with my girlfriends, I made the first move approaching a guy in Shake Shack. We talked for a bit, exchanged numbers, and immediately started texting. But he soon turned innocent getting-to-know-you texts into suggestive messages full of innuendo. This turned me off and we eventually stopped speaking. While this is only one anecdote and I'm sure there are tons of examples of happily ever afters resulting from a woman expressing interest first, I prefer more subtle tactics that allow the guy to take the lead.

That being said, I do think there are ways that a woman can show her interest without running the risk of turning the guy off, being rejected, or sending the wrong signals.

So, what's the happy medium between outright making the first move in what may be perceived by some men as "aggressive" ("Ey boy, let me get your number!" *rubs hands together while licking lips*) and letting your potential Mr. Right walk right out the door?

Flirt! Duh!

Much like the tactics employed by men to get a woman's attention, instead of coming right out and asking for his number, start by first trying to make and briefly hold eye contact, proceeded by a warm and inviting smile. This is a great way to use non-verbal cues to convey interest. If you are unable to capture his attention or make eye contact (i.e., you're standing behind him in line), then try to spark a conversation - "Excuse me, can I get your opinion on something? What's the best thing on this menu?" - or - "That's a nice cologne you're wearing, who makes it?" Choose a conversation starter that is innocuous enough that you will not come off as "hitting on him" (or at least one that provides plausible deniability) but is direct enough to break the ice so that you can gauge his interest. This also gives the guy (who may not have noticed you initially but is now interested) enough of an "in" to keep the conversation going and begin his pursuit.

What do you think? Should women outright hit on men? Ladies have you ever hit on a guy? Fellas, how do you feel when a woman approaches you? Tell us in the comments below.


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