Cat (selectively) got your tongue?

15 Nov

(To the tune of the Brady Bunch theme song):

Here’s the story of a lovely lady
Who was drinking with two pretty wing-girls.
All of them were having fun with each other.
They were in no way churls.

Here’s the story of a man named Andy
Who was drinking with some mates of his own.
They were three men hanging out together
Yet they were all alone.

Till this one night when the ladies met the fellas …

… that’s where the song ends because the ladies and the fellas didn’t meet.

manMap meets Martin PlaceOut surveying on Friday night at Martin Place Bar an unattached surveyee drew my attention to three women in their 20s sitting on a nearby couch. They were dressed glam-casual, so they’d clearly made the effort to freshen up and change after work. Anyone who looked at them would have assumed they were single because:

  1. There were no rings on fourth fingers.
  2. There were no men with them.
  3. They’d made an effort to look feminine and attractive (eg. frocks and heels, freshly straightened hair, evening make-up and accessories).

Sure, it could’ve been a girls’ night out while the boyfriends played poker. But to the general passer-by they appeared to be single ladies looking their best.

My surveyee and his mates were sitting at a table about two metres away. They were a nice, non-psycho looking trio which is why I’d approached them. They didn’t seem like guys who’d be rude to you if you said hi. Although two of the three guys were in relationships, anyone who looked at them would’ve thought they might be single. There were no women with them and no obvious signs of wedding bands. But as my surveyee pointed out, the groups didn’t interact. The girls stayed on the couch and the guys stayed at the table.

The groups were varied looks-wise. The three girls were all attractive but they had different styles and colouring. The guys were a mixed bunch too: one in a suit, one semi-casual and one more casual, all attractive in their own way. So you’d think there was something appealing for everyone. But as my surveyee pointed out, the girls didn’t approach the guys. And because he felt socially awkward, he didn’t feel comfortable going over to them.

And so my surveyee put the question to me: why don’t women approach men?

I rattled off a few reasons I thought were true:

  • We fear rejection.
  • We spot other women in the room we think are more attractive than us, so we give up.
  • We worry that if we start talking to a guy and realise we don’t like him, we’ll have an awkward time escaping.
  • We feel that the man should initiate contact.
  • We think that if a guy’s interested he’ll make the first move; ie. if no one’s hitting on us no one must like the look of us.

In other dating cultures, women don’t suffer from these concerns. New York women accept that competition’s fierce and that they either need to be assertive or embrace a possible future alone.

But in Sydney, where statistically 7,000 women will miss out on a long-term relationship with a man, fear seems to drive us in the opposite direction. Instead of approaching that guy and flirting with abandon, we sit on a couch with our wing-girls sipping champagne, hoping guys will come to us.

So back to my surveyee’s question: why don’t Sydney women approach men? And what can we do to help women feel it’s ok to talk to guys they don’t know? 

I’d love to know your theories. Guy readers, tell us how you’d feel if a woman approached you. Would it be a turn-off or would you like it?

PS. Thank you to all the Martin Place Bar surveyees, particular the trio who inspired this post.

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4 Responses to “Cat (selectively) got your tongue?”

  1. Justin November 15, 2010 at 9:42 pm #

    The sad truth of the matter is that I probably wouldn’t realise it, if a woman came up to me in a bar. No one, even in the best of situations, will come out and say, hi, you look interesting,I thought I’d scope you out as a prospective partner. No, I would probably chat away oblivious to the fact, and only on my way home (alone), I’d think and go, hey wait a minute, I think maybe that girl might have been hitting on me.
    That is possibly (probably) the reason I am currently single. I hope everyone’s experience is not the same however.

    • Lucie Stevens November 16, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

      Thanks for reading Justin! I tend to be a bit oblivious too. Maybe next time it happens you should slip the girl your number. It’d be a nice reward for her for being brave enough to make the first move.

  2. Catherine November 16, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

    I liked this post, but I have to say that I think we suffer from the same problem in the US. I’ve been told so many times that men like to initiate… so many times, me and my friends lay back. If they want us, they’ll come to us. I’ll do a flirtatious smile, but that’s about it. Other times, I’m really aggressive. BUT: I think most women have bought into the storyline of men want to initiate and chase them (whether it’s true or not. I actually believe it to be true).

    • Lucie Stevens November 16, 2010 at 7:24 pm #

      I think it’s just part of the cultures we’ve been raised in. Sydney has a really conservative dating culture, so it’s no surprise that women think men should make the first move.
      My comment about NY women was based on a few conversations I’ve had with Aussie guys who’ve gone into shock by having so many women approach them. Maybe they were just in the right place at the right time, or women realised they weren’t from the US and thought they might be up for some casual fun. I look forward to investigating when I’m over there in January.
      Thanks for your comment Catherine – good to hear what’s happening on the other side of the globe. 🙂

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