One of the most recurring complaints that I hear from men, both here and in my columns at Kotaku, is that women don’t approach enough. Many, many guys, especially ones who are more socially inexperienced or who deal with acute approach anxiety, regularly lament the fact that men are expected to do all the hard work when it comes to trying to start a relationship and wish women would help out by being willing to make the first move.
Of course, all too often this goes from simply wishing that women would approach more to folks explaining ((By which I mean: people making shit up)) that women are the sexual gatekeepers – especially in the short-term – and generally like being in charge, thus feel no need to go out and be the initiators like they should. Moreover – so the complaint goes – women have the power to not just shut down but ruin someone by unfairly labeling him “creepy” and insist that women need to be more considerate of the feelings of the men they’re rejecting… maybe even stopping to give him lessons in how to get her to like him so he can do better next time.
The thing is: women do approach guys. All the time in fact. Women frequently message guys they’re interested in when it comes to online dating; it just seems less significant compared to the many men who will shotgun out messages. Other times they get brushed off by the men because they’re not the women those men want to approach them. Then, there are the times when guys don’t recognize that someone is trying to make the first move. More often than not the way women approach men they’re interested in doesn’t match up with how they picture the approach going. She may use proximity and body language to try to catch his attention and signal that she wants to talk to him, she makes an observation about something or finds an excuse to talk with him about, say, a class they have in common, as a way of breaking the ice.
If some of these sound familiar, they should… these are many of the ways men approach women. Most forms of indirect openers and indirect “game” from PUA circles are variations of techniques that women have used to signal interest without being too overt.
But the fact of the matter is, more men make the approach than women do. However, once you understand the social dynamics of why women don’t approach, it becomes much easier to create an environment where women feel empowered to make the first move, too.