Last night I decided to binge watch old episodes of Seinfeld. In an early episode, during a stand up routine, Jerry tells the crowd that men have no idea how to speak to women. They’re just driving around, yelling out of their cars and honking horns with no clue what they are doing. Seinfeld first aired in 1989, and 27 years later I find that this is still true.
After a quite a long break, I headed out on a first date yesterday. We had chatted online and he seemed pleasant enough, if not a bit over eager. When he turned up I knew instantly I was not attracted to him and that this would be a short date. Conversation was a bit stilted at first but it began to flow and I managed to stay for an hour. His current life circumstances are significantly different from mine and that coupled with no physical attraction at all meant that when he texted me less than 2 hours later to ask for a second date, I declined. I did however tell him that I’d be happy to remain friends. His politics were similar to mine and we both have a creative streak. In these dark times, making a new friend isn’t a bad thing right? I was very clear that I was only able to offer friendship.
So I assumed, when he said okay, that he was in fact, okay with that. Why then, did he think it was acceptable to send me a text suggesting that he could’ve given me a massage yesterday afternoon? When I called him on it, he claimed to be “joking”. The 40’s plus white man’s defence of everything offensive which comes out of his mouth. When I said it wasn’t funny he became huffy and as a result, was instantly blocked by me.
It seems to me that when trying to work out how to speak to women, men make the mistake of asking other men. Who clearly don’t know the answer. Making sexualized remarks, offering massages and directing me to an instagram account which specializes in making school girl outfits for grown women after we’ve had just 4 messages, is really creepy. I wish I could tell you I made these examples up. I did not.
I cannot help but wonder how many men offer new male friends a massage as a “joke”. I am thinking not too many. Because it isn’t funny. It’s sexually suggestive and it’s done without any prompting or invitation. Perhaps men think that letting me know they want to have sex with me is flattering? It isn’t. Men have been sexualizing me since I was 12 years old and I can tell you that at its best, it is boring and at it’s worst, really frightening.
If you want to know how to talk to women, ask other women! Make friends with women without trying to get them into bed. I am so attracted to men who want to talk to me about books and politics and holidays and the best coffee places and something they recently read on line and so on. Making suggestive comments on the first date kills that attraction immediately.
There was for a while a rise in workshops for men who were keen to know how to talk to women, and inexplicably these workshops were run by men. Creepy “pick up artists” whose advice included putting women down, making them feel bad about themselves (the dreaded negging), and in some cases, openly assaulting women to get their attention. Really? Have a woman run the workshop because for the most part (and I accept that not every woman is the same), women have a clue about what it takes to speak to other women.
Be decent, offer to pay for the date (if $7 for a couple of coffees is going to break your bank, perhaps you’d be better off attending a financial management workshop), turn up on time, be honest if you’re not interested (ie no ghosting), and keep your sexual fantasies to yourself, at least until there’s some sort of established relationship.
I’ve said this many times before, I know that most people are just wanting to make a connection and sometimes you say something dumb. We all do. But if someone calls you on it, apologise and accept you made a mistake. Then chalk it up to experience so you don’t do it again. If you’re prepared to take this advice you might find a marked improvement in your dating experience. And it will definitely improve mine.