I got really tickled at the article out there where Michele Bachman stresses that her daughters do not call boys, but wait for boys to call them. My girlfriends and I talk about dating regularly. Before, we talked about our dating. Then, as we gradually all got married, we talked about the dating habits of our friends. Now, as we amass children (of our own, or by marriage, or as our siblings spawn), we talk about the whens, wheres, and with whoms of their dating. I have a boy child, so it seems pretty straightforward socially. As a guy, he can pretty much do whatever he wants.
If a boy asks out a girl, he might be rejected, but it is socially acceptable. If a boy accepts a date from a girl, also not a problem, save for the question of who is going to pay.
When I was asking out boys (you read that right), I always assumed that as the asker, I would pay at least my own half (expecting the boy to offer to pay for at least his,) but was prepared to pay the whole check if there was any confusion. Even though my parents tried to enforce the traditional boys-ask-girls ideologies onto me, I could never understand why I should have to hang around and wait for a guy to ask me out? I figured if I knew I liked someone, I should find out if they liked me, too. See the hill, take the hill. How could a Marine NOT raise that child?
So, I asked out plenty of boys. I also got shot down plenty of times. Probably the most embarrassing was in high school when I tried this cheesy set up:
Me: So, Mike, if you wanted to ask out a girl you had a crush on, what would you say?
Mike Love (he was so cute!): Uh..I’d just ask her if she wanted to go out with me.
Me: (cheekily) Do you want to go out with me?
Mike Love (so cute!!!): Uh…no. Thanks, though.
Me: Sure! Had to try.
Mike Love: Uh…yeah. Thanks.
And off I trotted to blush through my shame in private. But did that put me off? Nah. I figured that life was a buffet, and I wasn’t going to know what did or did not agree with my digestion until I tried it. So I made it my aim to sample as much as possible. I wasn’t going to sit around and hope that someone served me that fabulous looking beefcake. I was going to go ask for a bite. (Which is pretty funny, considering one of my strident rules was No Sex.)
Some of my girlfriends revile asking out boys as unladylike. Some of my girlfriends feel like it diminishes the value of a romance if the woman does the pursuing. Some of my girlfriends think they would feel less feminine if they were the hunter rather than the hunted. Me? Sheesh.
First, I don’t think any boy I’ve ever dated would suggest I wasn’t ladylike–no matter which of us made the first move. In fact, the most frequent descriptor I heard was “prim”. I also never considered myself a hunter. I considered myself a collector of fine art. I did!
See, if I wanted to be around someone, it didn’t matter if they were male or female–I just said so. “Hey, I think you are really interesting–wanna hang out?” Now, if the person were male, I did usually hope that there would be some kissing in the hanging out, and I have never dated a boy without trying to picture myself married to him (which explains how a lot of dates never got past appetizers), but it wasn’t a Hunter/Hunted thing. It was a “hey, I like looking at/talking to/being with you, and I’m going to ask if you’d be willing to do that more often/for extended periods of time/in private. If not, cool! See you in class/at work/next time we end up in the grocery store together.”
I was never embarrassed to express my interest, maybe because I always felt so flattered when someone expressed interest in me. I was embarrassed by the way some people shot me down, but that was on them, was it not?
Boys and Girls, whenever someone asks you out, be gracious. If you are saying no, say no graciously. There’s no need to hurt feelings.
There is a certain thrill in being asked out. It is thrilling and delightful to be desired, and to have someone think so much of you that they go outside that comfort zone and work up the nerve to ask you to dinner. But, that isn’t what makes me feel feminine. I have never felt masculine in asking out a boy–or a man. I have felt like I was taking control of my life and shaping my own destiny by asking for what I wanted. I have felt powerful and strong for being bold enough to express my desires, and I have enjoyed and been proud of myself for not just sitting on my hands waiting for someone to pick me.
I am never embarrassed to tell people that I asked out my husband. I liked him! He was cute! He was funny! I wanted to spend more time with the cute, funny, smart guy! And when I did get to, I hoped that there would be some kissing involved. And on that first date (after some false starts to finally manage it) when I tried to picture myself married to him…well…two years to the day later, I was. And it was worth every ounce of courage it took to tell him I’d like to see him socially, and just the two of us.
Do what makes you comfortable, but do it because it’s where your comfort is, not because someone has told you it makes you less of a lady to say, “Hot Boy, I’d love to hang out with you. Want to go for coffee?” Because you know what? If Hot Boy is for you, he will think it makes you all woman. And if he isn’t, you’ll have thinned the herd.
Just enjoy life, enjoy love, and always ask to enjoy the people you find worthy of your time.