Monday, October 14, 2013
He's Not That Into You (Or Is He?)
I'm beginning to question some of my long-held assumptions about dating. My programming about dating has been equally informed by conservative Christian active man/passive woman expectations, secular "He's Just Not That Into You" philosophy, and my relationship with my ex, who was a complete stranger to self-doubt. I've been taught, explicitly and implicitly, that men act on their romantic interests clearly and swiftly. They either go in with guns blazing or do nothing at all. If they're interested in someone, they go after her and declare their interest immediately. Therefore, if nothing's happening, that means they don't want anything to happen. The end. (Ironically, the guns-blazing approach makes me, and many of my friends, uncomfortable – I even consider it a red flag. Most modern women don't enjoy feeling like a prey animal.)
My constant refrain when discussing men vs. women, single vs. married, kids vs. no kids is, "Can't we all just be people?" (Seriously, that could be the subtitle of this blog.) Through that lens, the Tarzan programming looks kind of sexist… toward men. By ascribing one set of aggressive behaviors to all men, we dismiss their individuality and deny them the healthy option to be vulnerable. I don't like this, and I hereby confess my role in promoting it and my desire to do better. But to get there, I'm going to need more evidence. So, with trepidation, I'm requesting input from some actual men. Preferably Christian men over college age who are single, but others' thoughts are welcome too, on some or all of the following:
- Does lack of intense pursuit always equal lack of interest?
- Select all that apply: If a woman asked you out, would you
a) feel flattered?
b) feel horrified?
c) think less of her for doing so?
- If a single woman is friendly toward you (e.g. initiates conversation), do you automatically assume she's romantically interested in you?
- Are you interested in having female friends regardless of whether those friendships lead to more?
That's all I have at the moment. Discuss, and please be kind.