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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » Asking Someone Out

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Author Topic: Asking Someone Out
MusicNerd
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Hey peeps!

I've met with a therapist a couple times so far, and she's been really great in the few sessions I've had with her (we really click nicely). [Smile] But recently, there's one thing that came up that I thought would make an interesting gender roles question. I told her about how I asked a guy out and how he accepted, but kept rescheduling and asking when I was free and then he eventually just ended up flaking on making plans with me. She said that a lot of men (but not all) prefer to do the asking, and that when it comes to dating men I should possibly drop hints and have them ask me out instead. She said she knew it sounded archaic, but that it might make them more motivated to ask if they instead see the positive attributes in me and come to the decision themselves.

So, I have a few questions to put out there to all of you (and I won't insert my opinion until the posts get rolling):
1. Has anyone here who identifies as a man been upset by someone who identifies as a woman asking them out?
2. Has anyone here who identifies as a woman asked out someone who identifies as a man and had positive results (as in, the person actually going out with them and not just saying they wanted to see them)?
3. Do you think there's anything negative in a girl asking out a guy?

These may sound like really simplistic questions, but I thought it would be an interesting topic about gender/sex roles to discuss.

P.S. If any folks here who don't identify as a man/woman or male/female have any input on this topic, then please feel free to post, too!

(Edit: I decided to shorten the post and make it more to the point and to edit out my own opinion so as not to sway the posts in any one direction.)

[ 07-03-2013, 10:46 PM: Message edited by: MusicNerd ]

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Hey MusicNerd, great topic!

My gender identity right now is a bit up in the air, but I did identify as a woman during the scenario outlined below.

When I began dating my ex-boyfriend I was the one who did the asking out. That resulted in and 8 month relationship. I've never dated anyone else beyond a first, unofficial date.


I see no issue with women asking out men. To forever hint and hope that someone else will do the asking out serves no purpose.

I, personally, would not want to date someone who was offput by me asking them out.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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moon_goddess
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I honestly don't understand why men would feel threatened/put off by women asking them out.

I have asked several guys out, probably about 3-4, and have been asked out by a similar number. Only one of these really resulted in a relationship. For the one that did work out, I was the one who did the asking, and it lasted a year and a half.

I agree with moonlight and have to say that I have no interest in dating someone who would not want me asking them out. If that's their opinion, there are probably a bunch of other things I would do that would similarly bother them.

Many of my guy friends have been asked out by women, and they don't see any problem with it. The 'success' rate of people actually agreeing to go on a date is also comparable to the number of people they have asked out, so even though many of the women end up getting 'rejected' (about 2/3), it does not appear to be because of any inherent bias against women doing the asking.

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Heather
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Personally, I've been the initiator with things like this, with people of all genders, including men, the majority of the time in my life. And given my age and the fact that my dating and relationship life has been pretty busy, that's a pretty large sample size.

And the only time it's been an issue with men, it's been pretty clear they've been the kind of men who aren't really on board with gender equity, and who hold to some traditional gender roles. Both things that would have made us going out a waste of everyone's time at best, and disastrous at worst. I figure that on top of the benefit asking people for things I want gives me in being more likely to get what I want, not playing the shrinking violet is also a very good way to screen for folks where we wouldn't be a good match in the first place.

Really, I don't think a therapist giving you dating advice like this is sound in the first place, myself, and when they said it sounded archaic, I think they were telling the truth: it is archaic. (Especially since I'd expect a therapist right now to know that we have a LOT of data which makes clear that traditional gender roles, and playing to them like this, can also make winding up in abusive relationships more likely, by a pretty serious long shot.)

Flatly, if those are the kinds of relationships you want, than yep, what your therapist is suggesting would make that more likely.

But I'm guessing it's not, so I'd say expecting archaic approaches to give you modern relationships of equity? Probably less likely than just acting from the place that speaks better to the relationship you want. And if that's something where you're not locked into traditional gender roles, then don't lock yourself into them from the start, know what I mean?

That doesn't mean, mind, you always have to be the one doing the asking: part of the deal with equity is that people take turns, and with anything, including initiating dates, the burden isn't put on any one group or person's shoulders. So, if you want, sometimes you can wait on other people to do the asking, too. But I'd just say that putting it all on men because they apparently can't handle or cope with a woman taking the initiative (which is really quite insulting to men, if you think about it)?

Yeah, that is archaic. And I don't think it really serves anyone well, and certainly isn't something where women need to protect most men from their purportedly delicate sensibilities by pretending it's 1850. [Razz]

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MusicNerd
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Hey everybody! Thanks so much for all of your responses.

I'm sure it was a bit obvious from my initial post, but I agree essentially with what you all have said. I typically don't even ask guys out, or girls either, but that's because I'm quite shy around crushes and I rarely feel compelled to stop waiting and ask them myself, not because of gender roles I feel the need to follow. But if I somehow do feel the desire to ask out a guy again, I'd probably do it in person, and I would be more bothered by the fact that he was bothered by me asking, then by him not being interested because I asked. I hope that sentence made sense. [Smile]

I have a bit of a devil's advocate question to throw out there: My therapist compared it to when someone has an addiction and the doctor tells them all the reasons why they should quit; she stated that it would be less effective if the doctor did that instead of allowing patient to reach the reasons why they should quit themselves. This metaphor was supposed to be analogous to me asking the dude vs. him being motivated to ask me; as in, maybe that guy I mentioned wouldn't have rescheduled so much and flaked had he felt motivated to ask me himself. What is your take on that?

[ 07-05-2013, 04:23 PM: Message edited by: MusicNerd ]

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Heather
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My take on that is that I'm perplexed as to how she feels that's a sound analogy for an interpersonal relationship, where everyone has agency, everyone makes choices, everyone has motivations.

In other words, neither person in this is a thing to "get," nor must relationships be a thing where one person is leading and other other person isn't. Plus, if what she was saying was true for, say a dude you have interest in, why wouldn't it also be true for you? Honestly, I just think this is one of the most broken ways of talking and thinking about something as truly simple as one person asking another if they want to hang out or go on a date I've heard in a long time. I also think it overcomplicates what is a very, very simple request to the extreme.

This also makes me wonder if she knows how to dance. [Smile]

I don't mean to disparage your therapist here, it's just sounding to me like giving dating advice for people who want relationships with gender equity, or want to have them in an era where women can show their ankles without scandal, is very much not where her skills lie.

And that's me being as nice as I can be about what she's been telling you in this regard.

Edited to add: the more I sit with this, the more mortified I am, I gotta say. And also morbidly curious as to if she'd give you the same advice if you were talking about asking women out.

[ 07-05-2013, 04:54 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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MusicNerd
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Hey Heather! Actually, she specified this advice for me dating men, but she hasn't said this about me dating women.

Jeez, I feel like I'm about to make this thread kinda personal now and I'd feel awkward if I asked you questions here pertaining to my situation specifically since I kinda wanted people to sound-off here about the gender roles posed in this discussion.

Should I start a different thread in a different category to ask you for advice so that other peeps can still post away their thoughts on this topic here, or should I just ask away here anyway?

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Heather
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Whichever you prefer: I don't see either being a problem.

Just FYI, part of my being mortified here has to do the the ethics of being a therapist, and of sharing very personal opinions with patients. In a word, a good therapist shouldn't be doing that, and advice like this is very much expressly that.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Molias
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You know, I do think that when someone is really interested in someone else, it's often likely that they won't flake out of dates, or will be really eager to reschedule if they do. But it seems really unlikely and odd to suggest that what would impact that flakiness or apparent interest would be who initiates a date.

I'm with all of the commenters above who say that if a guy is put off by being asked out instead of doing the asking, that's a really helpful and convenient way to realize that this is probably a dude who would be no fun to date at all. So if it turns out that this IS the reason this person has been kind of flaky (and of course there's no way to know this), then guess what? You were spared the agony of dating someone who is invested in being the Manly Pursuer in his relationships. But there's really no way to know what was up in this particular situation without the guy in question letting you know.

Just for the sake of data, when I was dating guys as a girl in high school/early college, I initiated relationships about half the time, and half the time they were that sort of blurry "uh, I guess we're hanging out a lot, oh hey we're hugging now, was that a kiss? Are we dating?" universal semi-decision that people too awkward to use their words do when they want to date each other (not recommended). As a genderqueer/sort-of-dude-ish-person, I've had two women and one man initiate something, initiated with another guy, and been a simultaneous/mutual initiator with someone else. I've never really felt like who initiated anything made much of a difference. =)

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MusicNerd
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Okay, I think I'll start a thread in the body and soul section.

But if anyone else has thoughts to add about this kind of dating scenario and the gender dynamics involved, then post away!

Oops! Sorry, Molias, I just saw your reply!

quote:
But it seems really unlikely and odd to suggest that what would impact that flakiness or apparent interest would be who initiates a date.
Thanks for sharing your experience on this issue, too! Yeah, I guess you're right. I think I was a bit worried that maybe me asking did have an impact on the flakiness of the other person. Also, LOL at "Manly Pursuer". [Big Grin]

[ 07-05-2013, 05:21 PM: Message edited by: MusicNerd ]

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Redskies
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"...might make them more motivated...come to the decision themselves": this leapt out at me as straight from the pages of pop psych stuff like "Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus", where the idea is to guide people to how to communicate with the other binary gender in a way that they understand. A big part of women-understanding-men is all about "letting men have their space" and "letting men figure out for Themselves what they want to do, they don't like being told/nagged, everything is much smoother and better when they do it because they've decided they want to and not felt pushed into it" and some implication of "men feel better when they feel like they're in charge, at least of their own selves".

I think the addiction analogy is utter nonsense, it's not an analogy, it's talking about an entirely different situation. An addict needs to want to get better themself, but asking someone out... is just letting them know how you feel and what you'd like. Pushing someone to go to rehab would be more like... pestering someone to go on a date with us?!

There is a small piece of sense in the therapist's thinking here, but I'm not sure how useful it is. Humans generally are sometimes more interested in something unattainable or new - but I don't think I'd want someone to be interested in me just because they thought I was unattainable or a challenge! That doesn't seem like the route to a compatible, rewarding relationship. It gets odd if someone's only talking about men. Men and women aren't all that different! For sure, different groups of humans can pick up general expectations for their group, but any kind of "men prefer X" is always going to be mind-bogglingly wrong for many members of the group, and essentialist.

Personally, I would steer well clear from any person who was upset by my asking them out. Why would I want to be involved with someone who was uncomfortable with my expressing what I'd like and my taking steps to see if it can happen?

I think I have asked out/been the blunt one with marginally more people than have with me. I can't remember any man who seemed to mind - most of them said yes, too. Although the pattern, when I think about it, is that I realise they're interested in me and then I have the confidence to be forward about it... so that's kinda a gender reversal, when with men, than what your therapist's thinking of. Funny, that.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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MusicNerd
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Hey Redskies! Wow, I'm really late on seeing this. My bad!

quote:
Originally posted by Redskies:
Humans generally are sometimes more interested in something unattainable or new - but I don't think I'd want someone to be interested in me just because they thought I was unattainable or a challenge! That doesn't seem like the route to a compatible, rewarding relationship.

THIS. So much of this.

It just seems like, if I'm playing all these bullshit mind games to get them to ask me out and doing all these eyelash-fluttery-type things, then:
1. I'm not really being myself, because I just don't do things like that
2. Then after they've "gotten" me... They probably won't have much motivation to treat me well afterwards, because they'll just see me as some sort of prize that they've already won --> game over.

quote:
Originally posted by Redskies:
"...might make them more motivated...come to the decision themselves": this leapt out at me as straight from the pages of pop psych stuff like "Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus", where the idea is to guide people to how to communicate with the other binary gender in a way that they understand. A big part of women-understanding-men is all about "letting men have their space" and "letting men figure out for Themselves what they want to do, they don't like being told/nagged, everything is much smoother and better when they do it because they've decided they want to and not felt pushed into it" and some implication of "men feel better when they feel like they're in charge, at least of their own selves".

Yes!! I definitely get that sense when I hear advice like this regarding generalizations about men. It's like, if some dude "can't handle" me expressing interest in some way then that's saying more about them than about me. Now that doesn't mean that I'm not shy about these kinds of things regarding crushes ('cause I totally am), but on the rare occasion that I do want to show interest, I don't want my gender identity as a female to get in the way of that.

Also, yeah, I'm not a fan of the "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" stuff. I figure if we can speak the same language, we can communicate with each other since we're all people.

[ 07-12-2013, 03:07 PM: Message edited by: MusicNerd ]

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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