I've been thinking about this topic, having seen many questions which dance around this idea, and today I decided to write about it. What am I talking about? This idea that men are still the initiators when it comes to asking girls out, driving the relationship, that it's always been that way and always will, and even some of the more incendiary ideas such as 'guys love the chase', 'wait for him to call you', and 'girls should hold back to make sure the guy is in it for the right reasons'. I think this is faulty reasoning, and here's why.
Benefits to Girls:
1. You cannot avoid being vulnerable. Don't make current or future partners pay for the mistakes or poor characters of those in the past. You have a good memory, I know, but your suspicions are not always founded, and it is not fair to bring this baggage into the present. You will corrupt all new relationships, with this mindest. And vulnerability is very endearing. I know, you're worried you will be taken advantage of. But so are they. You want something real? You want depth? You start. Be on the level. If there's one thing men consistently agree on, it's respecting a girl who is direct.
2. No risk, no reward. Taking risks, and dealing with the consequences of those decisions, good or bad, builds character. Going after what you want, and sometimes getting it, is one of the most surefire and authentic ways to build genuine inner confidence. And this is confidence that matters, not all that superficial external stuff.
2. "It's tradition." Tradition doesn't explain anything. It's something to fall back on it. It feels safe and comfortable, and yes, it honours the past. But it's not a reason. Society's changing. More women are in the workforce than ever before. More people are living singly (or with roommates or parents, but not in relationships.) Fewer babies are being born. The marriage age is increasing, the oldest it's ever been. Arranged marriages worldwide are at ~ 50-60%, but for everyone else, they're in the slog, looking for 'love marriages', trying to figure it out. The time of princesses is gone, and passivity gets you nowhere. Waiting around to be chosen, or rescued, sucks. "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair." Isn't it about time the days of Rapunzel in the tower being rescued are gone? We've all heard the idea that Disney has ruined generations of girls. (I don't necessarily strongly agree, but many do.) You might get lucky sometimes, but mostly you'll miss out on life, and opportunity. Carpe diem. It's your life. No one's going to do it for you. And you shouldn't want them to. Grab life by the balls and go after what you want.
3. Adversity builds character. Hearing 'no' is not the end of the world. Guys are no more psychologically or emotionally equipped to deal with rejection than girls are. So other than practice, or societal norms, why should they be the only ones to hear it? It is part of all human experience. Eventually you'll hear a 'yes' and will be empowered by having taken the initiative. You also learn how to pick yourself up, and like water off a duck's back, keep on swimming. Being hurt in the past is no prediction of being hurt in the future (unless you pick the same types of people to get into relationships with.) Even if the other person doesn't act fairly or reasonably, what matters most is how you act. Your character, your honour is what you have to live with. You cannot control others or how they act, but you can take ownership and accountability for yourself (and being a better person.)
4. Don't do a power play. You might think it puts you at a disadvantage, but just because you show interest, doesn't give all 'power' to the other (and really, there is no power.) And the other person may resent you if they get whiff of this as being strategy.
5. 'The chase' doesn't work. (With most men. Don't believe me, check out the many prior polls and questions here.) If you deliberately hold back, tease, neg, it's going to turn off the good guys. The ones who don't play games expect you not to as well.
6. Not all men just want women for sex. It's not going to change anything in regards to finding out whether they want you for sex or something more meaningful. Just because guys tend to want more sex with more variety of partners, does not mean all men are only after sex. Whether you initiate or they initiate, agreeing or disagreeing about if and when to have sex is a decision to be made on a case by case or couple by couple basis. There are no shortcuts here. The more direct and honest and open both people are, the better. And if they're not? It's not going to make it anymore difficult just because you initially showed interest.
7. It's one of the original, relatively untarnished, mandates of #feminism that most people can get behind and agree upon - the power of choice (without gender stereotypes, limitations, prejudices, etc.) You want #equality? You can't have it without stepping up, taking action, and shifting some of the classic male relationship responsibilities over to yourself (and then vice versa - they have to step up, and be flexible and adapt too.)
8. Isn't more choice more fun? By being the initiator, you are able to pick from the widest pool possible, not just the ones who initiate with you. You will therefore be more attracted, more passionately motivated, and the payoff more enjoyable if and when it does work out.
Benefits to Guys & Society:
1. It fills in the gap where many guys are now too worried to initiate, because of big changes like the #metoo movement. They hear stories of men's lives being ruined. Always founded or not, men have very real concerns about #sexualharrassment claims. To many of them, they don't want to take the chance, it's just not worth the risk anymore.
2. Many men do not understand you. Your cues are too subtle. Many times, they cannot tell whether you like them, or are just being nice/polite/friendly. Especially in a professional or online setting. The digital games are a very slow play. Low risk, yes, but very calculated and lacking in substance and clear intention.
3. It's a compliment to guys. Is that really so bad? A compliment or an overture to guys can brighten their day. Even if they are don't reciprocate, or aren't available for a relationship, many are still polite enough to be nice, and tactful. And they spread this out into the world, making it a more pleasant place to be for everyone. Happy guys create happy girls (and vice versa.)
4. It takes some of the pressure off guys. They're already stressed out and confused enough in today's landscape as is. Why leave the success of the entire dating population up to guys, when we could effectively double the chances of success if girls also stepped up to be more proactive?
5. Men feel that women are so independent now. Many don't feel needed, wanted. They struggle to find their value and what they are to women. Being approached will give them information on who exactly they are appealing to, and confirmation that they are still desired in general. Maybe it is not for the reasons they once were. With women making their own money now, actually relationships can now be more honest, less pragmatic, more a result of true desire for companionship and love, not because of codependence. This type of understanding could solve a lot of things.
That's it, that's my two cents. Or 13.
"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."