A growing number of ladies are making the first move, changing the rules of dating
A few months ago I ran into a newly divorced friend skulking in the corner of a party. Hugs and tears followed until she asked me the all-important question: how do I start again?
My friend had a rather genuine problem, she was married to a national celebrity and her divorce was rather public too. Since her ex was a famous figure, she discovered she had no suitors thanks to being in the public eye herself. “It’s been a long and lonely year. And no one has even shown interest,” she admitted.
“Don’t wait to be asked out, you make the first move,” I replied. She was aghast, she made a face as if I had asked her to get her tongue pierced. She said she had never asked a man out. “Do it once, cross that bridge, and you’ll find how easy and empowering it is,” I smiled.
Women making first moves in dating
Women of my generation find inviting a man for coffee or dinner unfathomable. It’s almost as if we are raised to be coquettes, to simper and wait wide-eyed for a gentleman caller, and then express surprise when someone does call. It’s a silly dating ploy that goes against the very grain of equitable relationships. It almost puts women in the passive role and waits for the men to do all the decision-making.
But for all the leaps in feminism and empowerment younger women today are making, I am all for the idea of women taking ownership of their likes and wants. This also lays the foundation for consent. Where a man must ask for permission before kissing a woman, and ask again before moving to second base. The woman’s approval is sought at every step, making her voice heard and her sanction sacrosanct.
By extension then, a woman may make herself heard once again when she asks a man out to dinner.
This is also why Whitney Wolfe founded Bumble, the dating app where only women can choose the men they want to date. The men on the app wait to get chosen and, well, right-swiped.
The idea of Bumble came to Wolfe as a rival to Tinder, which she also co-founded with a bunch of men, including one Justin Mateen. Wolfe was not allowed to be called cofounder, or the team feared Tinder would not be taken seriously. She also got emotionally entangled with Mateen and then had a rather public breakup. She sued the company for gender discrimination (I love the USA) and accused Mateen of abusing her publicly. The matter was later settled out of court, with Wolfe receiving $1 million and company stock.
She then cleverly listed all the negatives about Tinder, male toxicity, cringe pickup lines, men who misbehaved when rejected, unsolicited crotch shots, abuse, and turned them on their head.
In an interview with The New York Times, Wolfe stated, “I’ve thought long and hard about this…and I think a lot of the dysfunction around dating has to do with men having the control. So how do we put more control in women’s hands?”
Wolfe went on to launch Bumble, also called a “feminist Tinder”. All the men who downloaded the app had to have a photo ID uploaded for safety concerns.
Bumble even went on to call out misogyny. A man named Connor who had called women “gold-digging whores” was outed and ousted after an open letter and a hashtag #LaterConnor was published. Another man was kicked out for fat-shaming.
I asked four of my male friends today whether they would be okay if a girl made the first move and asked them to dinner. They all said they were fine with it. I then asked if they had ever been asked out by a woman, and they all said no. All four of them are on Tinder but not on Bumble, and oh, two of them are married.
Women not asking for things, and waiting for them to arrive at their table, is painfully patriarchal. Women who don’t ask for help with the chores are the good wives, women who don’t ask for raises or leaves are good workers, women who don’t ask for orgasms are better off faking them.
When women ask for things, they are called ‘demanding’, ‘difficult’, ‘opinionated’ and ‘aggressive’ and thus bullied or gaslit into submission. But with more women working, and choosing to stay single, they are slowly beginning to take charge of their dating life too. Being direct gives them a confident, can’t-mess-with-me vibe that’s sexy and sieves out the sissies too.
Women have come to realise that making the first move puts the power in their hands. Women are choosing to be hunters, and not the hunted.
Views expressed by the author are their own. Feat Image: Creator: miakievy | Credit: Getty Images
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