Who Really Makes the First Move, Men or Women?

| 10/01/2011 | Comments (0)


I was in a divided discussion the other day in which one side said the women really made the choices of romantic partners and the men only thought they did. The other side said men, being the aggressive ones, made the choices, showed initial interest, asked for the first date, asked for a dance, made follow-up phone calls, sent flowers and pursued. And women, ever the hopeful romantics, rationalize that anyone who has clean fingernails and goes to all that trouble must indeed be a good match.

My friend Orme, a typical man, thinks he chooses. He has a sort of a free-floating, potential romantic interest in a whole lot of women simultaneously. Most of them, of course, are beyond his reach. They tend to be movie actresses, international models, stars of their own TV series, or celebrities featured on the cover of Newsweek. He’s never met them. But in the unlikely event that he found himself at a swanky party populated by those women, and one of them looked his way, smiled and winked, Orme would still think he, not she, had made the choice. He would not bat his eyelashes, smile demurely, blush and look at the floor waiting for her to follow up. More likely he’d claw and trample his way across the room to where she was standing and introduce himself.

I know this scenario of Orme choosing from a menu of beautiful luminaries is a bit of a stretch, but stay with me. I’m enjoying it vicariously.

From her viewpoint, the woman would probably think she made the first move. She might reason that, had she not winked and smiled, nothing would have happened. No one would have been clawed or trampled because Orme wouldn’t have been motivate to move post haste to her side. And as far as that goes, she’s right. What she doesn’t realize is that Orme had already made a choice – in fact several. All her wink did was create in Orme a sudden mental imbalance. Predictable and no big deal.

If all men were blessed with cast iron egos, unrelenting self confidence and foot-thick skin, they’d need no such encouragement. Any man might approach any woman at any time. What the heck. It’d be sort of a free lottery. Everything to gain, nothing to lose.

But, sadly, men have egos that bruise. They go to great lengths to avoid being humiliated, embarrassed, diminished, ridiculed, or told the truth. And they’re especially adverse to brawling with irate husbands and boyfriends. So they approach with caution or not at all. Also, it’s a scientific fact that men are attracted to women by criteria far more complex and enduring than mere pulchritude. They really are. Honest. Some of them.

Sasha has a differing view. She thinks women make the first move by showing an interest in and encouraging the object of their choice. “If he catches me looking at him a few times during the evening, he’ll surely come over to say hello,” she says. “If he doesn’t, there’s probably a good reason. He’s spoken for, gay, or I’m just not his cup of tea.”

If, after a time, the relationship fails, incredibly, women like Sasha tend to ask “Why do I keep choosing the wrong men?” That’s probably when she is most convinced that she made the choice and that she made it poorly.

Men, it seems to me, have no such second thoughts about their judgement. “It’s over. Not my fault.”

Certainly both don’t make the choice at the same time. Only in works of fiction do sparks fly in both directions simultaneously at the initial meeting. But in the real world, somebody makes the first move. Either the man or the woman acts. And the other reacts.

So who really makes the first move? I’m convinced that men do. Except sometimes.

It’s a little like fishing, isn’t it? Men make the choice in that they are ever trolling. Women choose whether to take the bait.

Or is it the women who do the trolling?

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Veteran social researcher, relationship advice columnist, author and radio host. Author of hundreds of articles on American and black culture, gender issues, singles, dating and relationships. Author of "Sucka Free Love!" , "The 24 Types of Suckas to Avoid," "The Black Church - Where Women Pray and Men Pray," and "Why Vegan is the New Black" all available on Amazon.Com. Her unique voice and insightful commentary have delighted fans and riled haters for 20 years. Read her stuff on SurvivingDating.Com and AskHeartBeat.Com.

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