In the interest of beginning the year with a little self-reflection, I’ve taken some time to ponder the state of my love life. The landscape is as such: lots of nice guys on the horizon. I said horizon. They are watching me from a distance. Sniffing around my way. Saying howdy. Scuffling away without writing their name on my dance card, if you will.
The good news is, I’ve finally started to attract the kinds of guys I want to. The high-quality ones with good hearts. Only problem is, these guys tend to be more reserved (or maybe respectful?) than the guys I’m used to dating. In the past, the guys who’ve scored dates with me are the guys who approach without hesitation.
I’ve become accustomed to an old-fashioned dating model where I smile, flirt shamelessly, drop breadcrumbs of interest, perform my gender normative role as female and wait for the guy to follow the trail. In the past, I’ve lived by the dating credo, “If he likes me, he’ll come to me.”
As I took stock of the potential suitors on the horizon, the logic didn’t seem to fit. I could think of reasons, all totally legit, why each of them might refrain from asking me out, even if I dropped all the necessary breadcrumbs. My stringent, generalized dating credo suddenly seemed pointless.
There is one guy in particular I’ve felt drawn to. I’ve known him socially, peripherally for a while. Every time I’ve seen him at events or friends’ parties, we’ve had good conversations. I’ve sensed he was interested, but then … nada. I asked a friend if she thought I should do something about this guy already.
“Ask him out,” she said.
“I would never,” I gasped.
“Because I’m old-fashioned,” I justified.
“But you are a modern, forward-thinking woman in every other way. You want a modern relationship. So why not?”
I really considered her question. Why do I hold on so tightly to my rule? I’m not old-fashioned. That’s a lie. It’s because I’m afraid of being rejected. Waiting to be asked out is my way of controlling the situation, my way of ensuring that I am liked, that I don’t make a fool out of myself. And this has absolutely nothing to do with gender normative dating behavior. This has to do with my insecurity, which comes with being burned so many times in the past. It’s how I protect myself. But do I really need this protection anymore?
I am hardly special in feeling this way. Every person is fearful when taking a risk. Every person — or at least most — has had their heart broken. Even the men I might want to date. They may be just as scared of being rejected, maybe even more so. I had a profound moment of empathy for men, being expected to always be the ones taking the risks. That doesn’t seem fair.
I say I want to date a guy with a good heart. But these guys with good hearts might find it more challenging to put themselves out there. In the book I’m reading right now, This Is Where I Leave You, the main character, whose wife left him for another man, is entertaining the thought of approaching a woman and says, “If you want to know where all the good guys are, we’re standing right in front of you, lacking the balls to actually make ourselves heard.”
I thought about the guy standing right in front of me not making himself heard. I don’t want to miss him. I can make things easier for him. That was when I decided to toss my lame rule out forever and only use it if I felt it applied. From here on out, I, Ami Angelowicz, will make the first move if the situation calls for it. I will take the risk. I will withstand the rejection if it befalls. I can handle it.
I opened my computer and emailed the man in question. I asked him if he wanted to have a drink sometime. Good news! He said yes. And let the record reflect that he thought it was “hot” that I asked him out.
So far, so good.