Monday, July 18, 2011

Should Contemporary Women Play Hard To Get?

Throughout time women have been told to play hard to get.  Our mothers, sisters, aunts, and girlfriends insist that men should be the aggressor.  Even the men in our lives agree, sharing stories about their disapproval of aggressive women.  Playing hard to get has worked for generations, but does the same ring true today?    

Contemporary men report that they like when women are aggressive.  According to some men, women who make the first move appear to be confident and sexy, making them more approachable than other women.  An aggressive woman lessens the fear of rejection men have felt for centuries.  It makes their job in the dating game much easier.  

On the other hand, there are men who disagree and do not like it when women are aggressive.  These men feel that their job is to "hunt" and they get excited in the thrill of the chase.  Therefore, when they are approached by women, they feel emasculated and that their contribution to the ritual of dating has been taken away.

With conflicting information as to what men prefer, what should contemporary women do? Should they be aggressive and render men powerless OR should they wait for someone to approach them, thereby risking loneliness?

The answer is that genetics and culture do not lie.  Men are biologically wired and socially conditioned to value the "hunt".  They enjoy being the aggressor and are more than eager to test out their skills.  Women have been socialized to be the "damsel in distress", appearing available and worth the wait.  But contemporary women also have a need to assert their independence and work for what they want.

In my opinion, there is a middle ground here.  Although the game has changed and new rules may exist, the old method is still the better method.  The difference is that "playing hard to get" has taken on a new meaning.  Today's woman can be aggressive while still allowing a man be a man.    

Being aggressive means that you should make yourself more approachable.  Make the first move by getting his attention, pulling him to you, and allowing him to hunt.  Make him think he is the hunter and in control when in all actuality, YOU CHOSE HIM.  But instead of pursuing him, you are allowing yourself to be the target.

To assert your independence while playing hard to get, you should:

Establish and maintain eye contact
The trick here is maintaining the eye contact.  Once you catch his eye, smile and keep looking for about 5 seconds.  After that, look away for a second or two then catch his gaze again.  If he's still looking, chances are that may be interested.  Continue to smile (not too wide making you look insane) and show him that you are open to being approached.  The rest is history.

Initiate the conversation
Scary thought for some women but men appreciate a sign that they have a chance.  Here you do not want to be the aggressor and ask him out, but show him that you are open to being hunted.  Choose what to say depending on the situation.  If you are in a bar or other social setting, you can use a cheesy line to show you have a good sense of humor.  In a more relaxed atmosphere (i.e., mall, book store, friends' house, etc.) bring up something that is relevant to the situation.  Ask him what he is reading, directions to a store, or his relationship to the person whose home you are visiting.  Or use the simple, yet effective, "Hi.  I'm .... and you are?".

Drop something
Seriously.  I have seen this work a million times and not just in the movies.  When the object of your attention walks by or when you pass his way, drop an item.  No clothing ladies (please don't do that) but drop something unbreakable like a book, a pen, your lip gloss, or anything else you can find the bottom of your purse.  If he is a gentleman, he will pick it up.  Then work your magic with the two suggestions above.  If he does not pick it up, cut your losses and move on.

As you can probably guess by now, I am a fan of more old-fashioned rules of dating.  The way I see it, if it ain't broke....