This is article #19 to be published on the Get The Guy blog from Stephen Hussey. Steve helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.
This week’s article calls out your excuses. It’s a fun (yet powerful) piece from which you’ll actually enjoy having your excuses picked apart. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
(Photo: Mik Salac)
For the past three years I’ve been studying a lot of academic philosophy.
One great thing serious training in philosophy gives you is an eye for a bad argument when you come across one.
Here is one my favourite examples of a VERY BAD argument:
Premise 1: Every man feels it is his job to approach a woman for whom he feels attraction.
Premise 2: The idea that ‘men ought to approach women’ is a strong idea held by most of mainstream society.
Conclusion: Men do not like the idea of women approaching them, and CANNOT be attracted to women who take the initiative to approach.
Can you see why this is such bad logic?
The conclusion does not follow at all from either Premise 1 or Premise 2, yet these are two of the most common reasons that make women averse to the idea of ever starting a conversation with a man.
It’s the argument that never seems to go away, despite it being so logically flawed.
It seems that no matter how far gender parity has progressed, many of us still believe that there is some sacred, inalienable truth that a man’s job is to approach, and a woman’s job is to passively await her turn to be chosen, and cannot take initiative in getting a guy’s attention.
Now I want to finally expose this idea for the empty, limited, old-fashioned, stifling, ridiculous argument it really is.
Four Stupid Reasons Women Are Told They Can’t Approach Guys
How many times have you heard dating advice tell you: “It’s his job to pursue you. A woman must never make the first move”.
Notice how in this quote the second sentence doesn’t follow from the first. Even the first part was right, that it is a guy’s job to pursue a woman, would it follow from this that a woman can never make the initial approach? No! Because just starting a conversation does not automatically make you the pursuer.
Starting the conversation is a tiny, tiny part of an interaction, and is generally the most meaningless part. It’s the opener. Put it this way: do you remember the first words you spoke to your best friends when you met them? Did that first sentence define your entire future relationship dynamic? No? Of course it didn’t. Because the first lines are only the initial 1% of the interaction. And it’s the same when you speak to guys. It’s the 99% after that first line that really determines whether or not a guy is attracted to you.
But this all still might be unconvincing.
You might agree that the first line of conversation doesn’t really matter, but still think it’s a guys job to come up to you and spout that first line, however inept and bad a job he does of it.
In my experience, most women either feel either (a) it is just not their job to approach a man, or (b) they would potentially approach a man, but worry that it will kill their desirability, because it seems desperate and needy.
Let’s briefly survey (and destroy) these and some of the other arguments that arise when people explain why women can’t approach men:
1. Argument From Tradition:
Men have always approached women. That’s the way it always was. Go back to any time in history, from the Middle Ages to the 1950’s, and you see the same ideal: The man’s job is to approach and pursue a woman, and hope she chooses him.
Why is this a bad argument?
Tradition alone can’t justify anything. Go back to the Middle Ages and you’ll also see rampant sexism and women who had no political or economic power, yet the fact that these are ‘traditional beliefs’ can’t convince us that these were good things.
Moreover, if you know your Victorian history (and this is something we mention in the Get The Guy book), you’ll also be aware that it’s a myth that women never used to make the first move. In the Victorian-era women would be known drop their handkerchief in the street in order to get a male suitor to pick it up and bring it to her, thus starting a conversation. So women have been making the first move for a lot longer than people believe, even if they used to have to make that move in more subtle ways (in the book Matt talks about some of the ways women can make the move before they even start a conversation).
2. Argument From ‘Naturalness’:
Men are hunters and need to feel masculine. Approaching a woman makes a man feel masculine.
Why is this a bad argument?
Approaching does not make a man feel masculine. Being desirable to a woman makes a man feel masculine. Even if being able to approach a woman did boost a guys masculinity, there are a dozen other ways a man can be made to feel masculine, so it’s pretty much irrelevant who approaches.
When people make the Argument from Naturalness they tend to mean something like: Men like to pursue and earn a woman’s attention.
But in truth, a guy doesn’t mind if he gets the initial attention from the woman. As long as he feels like he pursued and earnt her attraction. See, it’s true on some level that men like to feel like they have done something to impress you, but there’s no reason this has to be on the initial approach.
So even if men do need to ‘hunt’ in the way this argument says, this doesn’t mean they need to do it by starting the conversation. Even if you give a guy a flash of initial attention, you can now make it his job to try and keep your attention. This is what really makes him desire you and feel like you’re a prize.
Most guys, no matter how good-looking, live under constant pressure and fear of approaching women. When they have a woman relieve that tension by speaking to them, it’s refreshing. It feels good and boosts his confidence. He becomes more alive and talkative and will suddenly snap into action and start wanting to keep her around.
Bottom Line: Guys can actually feel like more of a man if you approach. As long as you show that he still has to impress you.
3. Argument From Weirdness:
It just feels weird to approach a man, it feels unusual and un-lady like to go and try to pick a guy up.
Why is this a bad argument?
I’m not recommending you go around like a predator trying to ‘pick a guy up’ (unless you have no problem with that, in which case, go nuts).
Perhaps it’s the use of the word ‘approach’ that makes this seem like a bigger deal than it is. Really, by ‘approaching’, we just mean starting a conversation. It’s easy, fun, and something you can do anytime, anywhere.
If this idea feels insane to you, just start as small as possible. Make more eye contact (an incredibly effective tool not enough women make advantage of), or just say “how’s your night going?”, or just talk to the guy next to you and ask him something about the place you’re in (party, bar, park, museum). If a guy is eating lunch ask him what’s good on the menu – speak to waiters, coffee shop owners, people at work, security guards. These things seem tiny and silly, but this is what women who meet lots of guys are able to do effortlessly every single day. This isn’t one big action, it’s lots of tiny interactions. The best strategy to get comfortable with this is to go for quantity over quality every time and ‘warm-up’ your social muscles.
This means (a) talk to LOTS of people. Become an unbelievably sociable and open person no matter where you are, and (b) Don’t try to be too clever/witty/charming – just focus on having lots of conversations.
It gets less weird. Promise.
4. Argument From ‘What Most Women Do’:
This argument says ‘most girls don’t approach men, so I’m not going to either’.
Why is this a bad argument?
The love lives and opportunities and ‘most women’ are confined to either meeting some guy in their office or hoping someone in their social circle introduces them to a friend, or perennially waiting for a charmingly awkward rom-com meet-cute (probably involving someone falling off a bicycle). This is an embarrassingly limited pool from which to choose.
A good general rule in life is to avoid modelling the ordinary. We need to be the exception to the rule if we want exceptional things to happen.
Unfortunately, some women will always have an anecdote about a friend who got approached by a guy on her first day of college, married that guy, and lived happily ever after. But this is only one anecdote. It’s one person getting lucky. And that’s fine. Any of us can get lucky. But isn’t it better to have a strategy you know will work?
I feel I can never write enough about the importance of meeting people and starting conversations. Because everyone under-appreciates how much it can change their entire world.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s keep it as small as possible.
What if you spoke to three new people this week?
I propose that we all set ourselves this challenge and post some of our stories below. Good, Bad, or Weird, tell me what happened when you took things into your hands and made a move.
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