Updated: Mar 31
Recently, articles and videos making the rounds have championed the case for "dating with purpose" and pointing out the pitfalls for women who do the pursuing. Having discussed this myself in my book, Sex Makes People Stupid: How To Avoid Ending Up With a Loser it seems like a good time for a refresher...
Did you see the 2009 movie, “He’s Just Not That Into You”? (Starring Jennifer Aniston and Justin Long.) It was a comical depiction of how women evaluate every tiny thing a guy says and does. She sees every action as an “indicator” of how he feels about her. And then reacts according to her detailed analysis of what it MEANT. The movie had some amusing revelatory moments. In particular when the guy-friend (Justin Long), explains to the single girl (Ginnifer Goodwin) what a guy means versus what he says. The comical insights about how truly off-base women are in their interpretations of male behavior are so true!
I found the first part of the movie to be hilarious. I’ve been the girl who fabricated a whole future out of “I’ll call you sometime.” But there were several scenes that had me talking back to the screen.
In particular, the social acceptability of women being The Initiator. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not just repeating what my grandmother said: “Only fast girls call boys!” [Author’s Note: In this case, “fast” meant fast-to-take-their-clothes-off]. My Nana could, would and regularly did give me the lecture: “Boys don’t respect girls who make the first move.” Maybe they do and maybe they don’t, but that’s not why I think women shouldn’t initiate.
I feel very passionate about this. No girl should initiate! It just trains him to take you for granted! You’re working against your own interest!
Let’s think this through. You get impatient waiting for him to make a move. You think he’s interested, but he’s just not stepping up to the plate. So you make the call. You choose the restaurant. You decide what time. Everything goes according to plan --- except that you probably have to pick up the check since you invited him.
Now what does he learn from this? He learns he doesn’t have to do ANYTHING to date you!
Maybe he only went out with you because he didn’t have any other plans! What if you asked him out and he thought, What the heck? A meal and a movie with a prospect for sex, versus hanging out with the guys? Who wouldn’t!? Especially if SHE picks up the check.
That’s how he saw it, but this is what was going on in her head! She was thinking, “If I’m witty and pretty and he has a good time, he’ll follow my lead and then HE’LL make the next move.”
Why should he? All he has to do is wait you out. If he’s mildly interested, he knows you’ll call again, on some pretext or other. If he’s not interested, he just won’t answer your calls.
Doesn’t it seem obvious? If he was really interested, he would have made the FIRST move. No matter what you want to believe, this is the guy, down the road, who won’t plan anything for your birthday or anniversary. He’s the one who says, “Yeah, sure, whatever you want” when you suggest going out. You have to plan everything --- place, time, sitter --- and if you don’t, then you’re staying home!
This creates the woman who complains about her boyfriend all the time. But frankly, it’s not his fault --- YOU trained him to be that way! Is this what Women’s Liberation did for us? We got the “right” to initiate! Yippee-skippee. But what does HE get? Let’s see....
When you initiate, he gets permission to “date-around.” He didn’t declare his intentions. He’s not committed to anything. From his perspective, you gave him your approval to add your name and number to his dating line-up.
When you initiate, you create the guy who won’t commit until you say “Marry-me-or-I’m-leaving.” It might take a few years to gestate, but that’s what you give birth to eventually. Riiight. Now there’s a marriage that’ll last.
In our culture, women accuse men of being afraid of commitment. But women are the ones who give the guy a free ride through the whole dating process. Nothing is required of him. There are no standards, no social expectations. Nobody’s going to come along and say, “What are your intentions with my daughter?”
I talk to parents who tell me they’re not sure it’s any of their business to inquire about who their kids are “going out” with --- and they would never ask their adult child who’s not living in their home!
Men cruise along, enjoying the sexual freedom society says they’re entitled to, never imagining they’ll be confronted. In fact, most guys would be indignant and offended if someone were to say, “Friend, you do know this gal is pouring her heart and dreams into this relationship? Are you planning to marry her, or are you just using her for sex until something better comes along?”
In this day and age, dating is more like auditioning. The girl is trying out for the “role” of wife. But, girlfriend, in case you didn’t know it, he could be someone who’s just auditioning. There is no “role.” There is no theater booked. There’s no play. He just likes to hold auditions.
On the one hand, that paints a really ugly picture of men. But on the other hand, it’s women who fall for it!
I’m of the opinion that men are NOT afraid of commitment. I think there just isn’t any reason for them to commit to you. Why should he? You make it easy for him. You mistakenly think he will soooo appreciate all the wonderful things you do for him, that one day it will suddenly dawn on him that you are indispensable to his health and happiness. And quick as lightening, he’ll decide I better marry this girl before she gets away!
In case you haven’t caught on, Boyfriend Bootcamp isn’t really about the boyfriend. This chapter is to point out, its women who decide how they’ll be treated.
For example, when a guy says he’ll “I’ll pick you up at 7:00 pm,” but finally cruises in about 8:00 with the “I was running behind” line, a woman has two choices. About 7:30, she could call up a gal-pal and go to a movie. Leave him a message, “Sorry for your inconvenience, but I made other plans when you didn’t show.”
Or she can continue on their date when he finally shows up, and pretend it’s no big deal. In her mind, this is so he won’t think she’s too much trouble. But, of course, it teaches him she is OK with NOT being a Top Priority.
Women will rarely do the former. Although she would learn a LOT about him if she did! If he shows up late, and she’s not waiting around, she can be darn sure he’s not going to take an evening with her for granted. But if he blows her off, and doesn’t even ask to see her again, then she knows he wasn’t really interested.
She knows she was “Miss-Right-Now” not “Miss Right.” (OK, that’s from my Nana again, but you get the point.) Few women ever do that. Instead, she initiates. She makes excuses if he shows up late. She has sex without knowing anything about him… and then she can’t understand why he cheats on her.
Duh. Because he can.
When I suggest a woman take sex out of her relationships, the complaint I hear is “But then he’ll go out with somebody else!”
And that would be a bad thing, why? In the first place, if sex is all he wants from you, then he isn’t looking for a relationship, he’s looking for a Booty Call. Secondly, not every guy is looking to get laid with as many nameless, faceless women as possible (admittedly, there are quite a few, but not ALL). Third, if he doesn’t have to work at being with you, then he won’t.
Not just now, but ever!
Please --- this is the STUPIDEST thing women believe! Great relationships will NEVER EVER begin like this:
You catch his eye by wearing something revealing or tight-fitting, so he knows what you’ve got is worth going after. You find out what he’s into. You initiate a date designed around something he likes. On that date, you flirt with him and get him revved up sexually. If you like where it’s going, you might have oral sex or “safe” sex (taking the least amount of risk possible, but risk nonetheless.) You think this will make you unforgettable.
You say things implying that you’re not really looking for anything serious, just in case he’s afraid of commitment. And so he won’t think you’re desperate. At the end of the evening, you tell him you had a great time. Then you hope the sex was great or your conversation was witty so he’ll be convinced he just can’t live without you.
In your fantasy, he calls you back --- within a day at the most. He returns your interest in HIM by planning a date around your interests. He organizes a romantic setting and spends the whole night hanging on your every word while looking longingly into your eyes. Within a month, he’s talking about moving in together and getting married. [Author’s Note: For the males reading this: I swear this IS how women think!]
But in the Real World, he processed that same set of information very differently. For him,
If you’re wearing an outfit that shows off what you’ve got, he assumes you are advertising Sex.
If you make the first move, he is convinced he can get sex without effort.
If you plan a date around his interests, he concludes you have no expectations or interests of your own.
If you say you aren’t looking for anything serious, he thinks you aren’t looking for anything serious.
If you have sex with him right away, he thinks your attitude toward sex is the same as a guy’s.
Reality Check: there are men who believe some women just want sex. No relationship, just sex. When the sex comes early and easily, he assumes you must be one of those girls. Naturally, he concludes, if you’re one of those girls, then you probably have other sex-buddies, so you won’t mind if he does too.
If this relationship actually manages to go somewhere, at some point it will dawn on him, “Hey, it didn’t take much effort for me to get her in bed. How hard would it be for somebody else?” Congratulations! You just created the guy who’s controlling and jealous.
Women are shocked and alarmed to realize these are the potential outcomes caused by their fantasy behavior. They almost never recognize there’s nothing in the scenario I described which would motivate a guy to think Relationship-Commitment-Forever.
But, in fact, it gets worse. If he does keep seeing her --- and she keeps doing all the work --- she starts to despise and disrespect him. Because he doesn’t have to make any decisions, she starts to treat him as if he’s not capable of making decisions. She turns into The Nag or The Mother. Eventually, he gets sick of it and leaves.
When it ends, she’ll pour her heart out to her girlfriends. Women who are all doing the same thing with the same results. After a big group hug, they conclude, all guys are dogs.
Don’t laugh. This is absolutely what happens. You’d think at some point, at least one of those women would say, “Hey, if we’re all doing the same thing, and it’s not working for any of us… maybe we should try something different?”
So, what’s the solution? My next post will outline the benefits of NOT initiating. ;)