Shy guy

He is a quiet man. Perhaps he wears glasses. He spends his time in solitude, his head often tilted down, eyes drifting across dense pages of material. There is something about his bookish qualities that draws you in…perhaps he seems mature and even-tempered, a stark contrast to the usual testosterone driven neurotic you are used to seeing. This seemingly shy fellow is manly in his own right. Perhaps there is even something a little mysterious about him…what lies beneath his cool and unassuming exterior? He seems apart from the rest of the guys around him. You are intrigued. Yet you do nothing. Why? Because you are a woman, of course.

This is poppycock, if you want to know the truth. True, traditionally it is the man who is the aggressor. He will be the one to make the move. He will signify to the woman that he is interested and he will court her. The choice of mate that a woman has depends on her ability to attract suitors.However, the feminist movement has since changed the playing field (please bear with me, there is a point to all this digression). Women are now allowed to hold jobs and build careers. They are no longer relegated to the kitchen, they are no longer educated only to stay at home to raise the children. Women are allowed to vote, they are allowed to drive. It is not unusual for the woman to be the breadwinner in a family. Stay-at-home fathering is now an option. Men are expected to do their equal share of cleaning around the house as well as cooking. We have measures to protect women from sexual harassment in the workplace. A woman now has more freedom in sexual selection than any other period of time. Women in our society are now essentially equal to men, at least on paper. So what happened to dating and relationships? Why are men still the ones that have to go out there to initiate the courting rituals? If women are so equal, then they should bear the equal burden of the mating process. I think that women’s equality is all good and well: I have nothing but love and respect for women. But I also think that things are stacked against the man in our day and age. If men and women are so equal, why are we still expected to open doors for them? Why are we expected to foot the bill for a night out on the town? Why are we expected to ensure their safety when returning them to their homes? Why are we the ones who have to make the first move? Why do we have to ask the woman out? Why can’t a woman ask a man out? Why can’t a woman treat the man to dinner and a movie?Women want it all. They expect perfection. They rally for equality and women’s rights. Yet when they reach a point where the man and the woman are on relatively equal ground, the realm of relationships has not changed. Walk into a shopping mall. Go find ten women. Eight of them will tell you that while they want the same opportunities as a man, they greatly prefer for the man to be the one to approach her to ask her out on a date rather than the other way around. The other two of them will tell you that they don’t have a problem asking a guy out, but only one of them will actually go after a guy they like.

With that said, I wonder what happened to the strong silent type. Today, we’re expected to talk about our feelings and to cry when we watch a touchy feely movie. Men are held to very high standards. Women, on the other hand, are not. At the end of the day, most men will be happy to date a very average woman (or less than average) if it means that he will get laid in the next two weeks. Maybe a handful of breast or a handjob will suffice. Women wield an incredible amount of power when dealing wit h men. I wonder if they really needed all the equal rights they fought for: a woman has, and always had, the power to lead a man by his penis. In short, I relate to you this entire digression to remind you that women have a natural power over men, and that women should not be afraid to exercise their power.

I remember this girl I met. She was an incredibly energetic person, very bright and enthusiastic, if a little crude. As I talked to her while I was helping my friend recruit candidates for a United States Marine Corps program, I learned that she had a boyfriend. It turns out that he was the very quiet bookish librarian type. Hell, he was actually a librarian. I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually wore thick rimmed glasses and sweater vests. This girl was the one that pursued him. From what I could tell, she was the one who decided to talk to him first, and she made the moves. This is a girl who really knows what she wants and will go and get it. I respect that. It just made me uncomfortable the way she was salivating over the firemen that were in view just outside the glass doors.

We live in a day where women are allowed to wear pants. Women are allowed to go out and make a big fat paycheck that she doesn’t have to bring home to her husband. She can choose to let her husband cook dinner. She can go to work, in a place that protects her from unwanted sexual advances from her male co-workers. She can step into a voting booth and pull a lever to tell our government whether she wants Obama or Clinton to represent her. She can drive, she can play sports, she can go to school and get an education. She can become a police officer or a firefighter. She can serve her country in the armed forces. She can go to a trade school and learn how to swing a hammer better than most men. With all this equality, women should feel quite comfortable being the person to take the first step in a relationship. Is it so bad for a woman to move in for the first kiss? There aren’t any laws saying that a woman can’t state what she wants. A woman can go and get a man she finds desirable.

So, how should she go about getting that shy man that intrigues her?

She could just start off talking with him. It’s that simple. Find common ground and become friends. I’ve always been a believer that building a friendship is the way to go for any long-term relationship. A strong friendship is the foundation that one can build off of, to turn it into something more. That doesn’t mean that you have to build a friendship first and ignore the romantic aspirations: they can developed be in tandem. I feel that it is actually ideal that way: there is no wondering if there are other less honorable intentions. And if there are issues in the future, you can fall back onto the platonic origin of the relationship (if you’re mutually mature about it).

Shy guys are no different from shy girls. They are just as interested in finding a romantic partner. They are just as interested in having a girlfriend and in developing a healthy and satisfying long-term relationship. Create opportunities for him to take things forward in a direction he is comfortable with. Let him know that you like him. Let him know that you are romantically interested in him, that you wouldn’t say no if he asked you out.

The SAS motto does not discriminate against sex: “Who dares wins.” Take a chance. That guy sitting by himself in the campus lounge, his nose buried in a textbook, could be more than a nerd. He could be a wonderful romantic partner, a caring lover, a man you could spend the rest of your life with. But you won’t know until you try. You can’t win if you don’t play.

  • Hi,
    I like your posts. Regarding this particular one, I agree. I don't think the genders are near equal with regards to relationships, and it would be great if they were – in all respects (from domestic duties to the game of pursuit).

    But I must also present a defense to your particular argument, that women should ask men out. I agree that we should be able to. Speaking for myself, I believe a lot of why women don't is because there is a feeling that it is not completely socially acceptable for the woman to be the "aggressor." Sure, I've heard many guys say they would love to have a woman pursue them – but even so, I have this sense that many guys would not like it, say, if it were done too blatantly – or they would think badly of the girl if she were too forward. Whereas if a guy pursues a girl, however forward he is, it is considered more or less "normal." There is a perception in much of our society that the guy should pursue the girl – and it is not only women who think that.

    So it is not just that girls want guys to do all the work. I'm sure some do. But for may others who don't go out in pursuit, it is not just personal choice, but also social norms. Of course, one could argue, it is all one's choice in the end. But it is just much harder. I'm fine going to talk to a guy, but open pursuit beyond that? Out of bounds.

  • By "out of bounds," I mean, that many people might think so.

    Just coming to mind – there are guys who will get offended if you won't let them pay. I also had a male housemate once who, talking to me when we went to a bar once, he watched a girl hit on a guy and called her a slut. There. So that's the potential cost of a woman pursuing a man. Even if, to yourself, you're just being a strong, forward woman.

    (By the way, this is an interesting topic to me in general – regarding gender and the pursuit – which I was actually just talking about the other day.)

    Another thing is, no matter how far the genders have come in moving towards equality, it is important still to realize that huge inequalities do remain – both in and outside of relationships. Stay at home dads? Possible? Yes. Actual? One percent of stay-at-home parents.

    Income? Women still make between 70 and 80 cents per every dollar a man makes. This website has an interesting discussion

    Running for political office? We won't even get into that right now. But if you're someone who proclaims to be a feminist, then surely you have seen the things…that have gone on.

  • [EDIT-Originally posted April 20, 2008]
    Firstly, thanks for your readership. I’m glad somebody out there is reading my stuff, but more importantly, is reacting to it.

    Clearly we are leaps and bounds away from true equality. I highly doubt we’ll get there in our lifetime. Now, as to what you’re saying about social norms…

    I’m a non-conformist. Just not the type that wears ratty jeans and sports a faux hawk on my head. So what does that mean? I say forget social norms. And forget what other people think about you. Be free to do whatever you please, regardless of the opinions of others. That woman who was called a slut…should she be upset? By most standards, yes, she should.

    However, if she is a strong and independent person, then it shouldn’t matter. If I were her, I’d probably tell your housemate to fuck off and mind his own goddamn business unless he wants me to dig my four-inch heels into limp dicked loser face. I don’t know what words she used to hit on the guy though. It’s possible that she hit on that guy the same way guys hit on girls: “Hey baby, I love that dress.” “Wow, nice rack.” “Damn honey, you look fine!” Personally, I think a guy who does that is a “slut” just as well: he’s a sexually motivated dirtbag who notices physical attributes first and foremost. If a woman uses the same kind of words to hit on a guy, then she’s just as much of a dirtbag in my eyes. You know what? If a guy was hitting on a girl, wouldn’t you think that there are girls out there rolling their eyes too? If he was using some creepy or perverted lines, I wouldn’t be surprised if a girl walking by would call him out as such.

    But I digress. Being a non-conformist, I couldn’t care less about what other people say or think about me. If I were that woman in the bar, I would probably give your housemate a disdainful look and leave it at that because at the end of the day, who cares what a stranger thinks of me? I’m going to be who I am wherever I go, and I’m going to do the things that make sense to me. And if someone is going to poke their nose into my business and say something stupid, so be it. It doesn’t affect my course of action.

    Yes, it’s more normal for guys to be as forward as they want. And in some cases, women will swoon for a man who relentlessly pursues them. Although ideally a woman should be able to pursue just as aggressively, we live in reality. I don’t think that it’s really possible to find such a true kind of equality. Men will probably find it a little awkward for a woman to be so completely entranced that she would be chasing him with such boldness. Now, it’s hard for me to really put myself in a woman’s many pairs of shoes (haha get it?), but I would find it uncomfortable for a man to pursue me single-mindedly, the same way I would feel if I were a man being pursued by a woman. It has nothing to do with gender roles.

    The thing is that women are placing more and more demands on men now. With financial freedom, women find that they have greater mate choice. Getting married is no longer a requisite to survival. As such, men are now expected to be in incredible physical shape, intelligent and well educated, funny with a sharp wit, and also tall, dark, and handsome. Men have always preferred a woman with curvy hips, large breasts, blond hair, blue eyes, and all for evolutionary reasons which I won’t get into here. But you know what? At the end of the day, a man is probably going to take what he can get. With increased power, women have to take on a greater share of the responsibility of being in active pursuit of a relationship. If more women would do it, it would become more prevalent and more acceptable. The first women in the workforce had it hard, but now it is commonplace.

    I have no doubt that though we have come a long way, we have a long way yet to go in terms of equality. I just don’t see it happening in our lifetime.

    All in all though, I think that if it is your instinct to be forward, if it is in your nature to pursue a man, you shouldn’t let anything stop you. The way I see it, being yourself is the only way to go. If you are truly the type of woman who is aggressive and gets what she wants, then there shouldn’t be any reason for you to hide this. Showing your true colors only increases the chances that you are meeting the right men.

    Life is too short to let anything get in the way of finding someone who is right for us. The only real way we can find that out is by trying. As I’ve taken to saying, to win you must play.

  • Rob

    i just read this article and it was definitely refreshing to see someone who agrees with me that girls should give shy guys a chance. it certainly isnt fair and i hope it changes in the future

    • Anonymous

      Hello Rob,

      Thanks for your kind comments, I appreciate that very much.

      I'm not a shy person (well, not anymore, at least), but I still do stand by what I say here.

      How many times have you heard a woman say something a long the lines of, "Oh, it's just so hard to find a good decent guy nowadays"?  Plenty, I'll bet.  And what I have to say to those women is that they are merely not looking.

      To all women who complain of the quality of men suitable for dating, I say this: You reap what you sow.  You can't sit around and expect Mr. Right to magically swoop you off your feet.  You've got to put in some effort.  Take a chance.  Guys go out there and put themselves on the line all the time, risking public humiliation to get a date.  It's time women take matters of love into their own hands, just like they did in the workplace.