Through literature, film and art, we are made to believe that men would go to various lengths to capture and hold the interest of women they were attracted to…
Okay maybe this still happens but to a lesser extent these days. To be honest, I am thrilled by “the chase”, and I would like to believe that most women still are, as it is part of our emotional and biological make up. However, nowadays, I have noticed some changes in the dynamics of this initial stage of a relationship, which have left me just a little confused.
After some discussions with people from different generations, including my parents, their elders, some a few years older than myself, as well as my peers, I have realised a bit of a disconnect in the concept of ‘the chase'.
Back in the 70s and prior times, it seemed like things were much simpler; even if a man was not necessarily looking for a relationship with a woman, but just seeking an interest in establishing a friendship with her (which he did or didn’t mind evolving into an intimate relationship), approaching her did not seem to be very daunting task. But nowadays, the complexity involved in this approach could really wear a person out.
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Are men more intimidated by the modern woman? Or is the modern woman just more dismissive than the woman of the 1970s?
This disconnect may lie in the circumstances we find ourselves in these days, most of which are influenced by changes in our society and mindsets. Some young women set ridiculously high and sometimes, unrealistic standards these days; they dismiss a man if he doesn’t drive a certain car, live in a certain area, or have a certain family name.
At the same time, some men, even when they may be attracted to a woman would not make a move, or do it at a very slow pace due to the fear of being rejected. So there is this void in which people are unsure of the steps to take towards approaching or being approached by a member of the opposite sex.
Hence, at some social events, you would notice people just staring at each other, flirting with their eyes rather than initiating any actual physical or verbal contact. And this could be very exhausting. What is wrong with approaching someone and just saying hi?
If the person were of a decent upbringing, he or she would return a conversation or at least a smile. If the response is snobbish or dismissive, isn’t that an indication of one of the answers you were seeking from the person in the first place?
Wouldn’t you just want to get it over with and immediately know if that person could be a friend, has the potential to become more than a friend or is just not interested, and then just move on? Rather than have your mind wondering for entire the duration of the event or even much later after? Life is way too short for this long lingering.
Then there is yet another side to this! Sometimes, even when some people are just being friendly towards the opposite sex, messages are misread. For instance, I might be friendly to a guy, then later find out that he is under the impression that I am flirting with him, when in fact, I am just seeking a friendship or a networking opportunity. This happens very often for both men and women.
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Then, there is also the situation, which is becoming common these days; where the woman does, in fact, initiate the first move. Depending on how it is done, and if the man was interested in the first place (and what exactly about the woman he was actually interested in), it could work to the benefit of both people; to the man, as a sigh of relief that the woman was, in fact, interested in him, and to the woman, well, she got the man she had set her eyes on.
Or it could be perceived as desperate move from the woman’s side… who knows?
These situations just bring forward the questions, “Who makes the first move, and what is the right way of doing so?” I don’t think there is a textbook answer to this.
I would say, “Just go with your gut, take a risk and be polite. If it works out, then that’s great. If it does not, move on.
It was not meant to be.”
Written by Oyin Egbeyemi
Oyin Egbeyemi is an engineer-turned-consultant-turned-educationist, runner and writer.