To chase or not to chase. That is the question.

My single girlfriends and I have debated this question an untold number of times. And it’s not often that we come to agreement. Rather, it seems to be an endless round of discussion that never results in a solid conclusion. I’m tired and I want a freaking answer! So any men out there – weigh in. And ladies, don’t be shy! Your opinions can only foster more fodder for the debate.

As a single woman and shall we say, eager to date, the question that always arises for me is how much does a woman pursue a man versus allowing the man to initiate with the old adage of giving ‘chase.’ Generally, I’ve never been one who is afraid to say “Hey, I’m interested” and I’ve asked guys out on dates before. This has become even easier with online dating and being able to show interest without even saying a word. (More like cop-out). But the more I discuss this topic with my girlfriends, the more I am persuaded to hang back and wait for the guy to make the first move – whether it’s showing interest online or getting asked out on a date. But I honestly find this utterly frustrating and ridiculous. (Well, maybe that’s why I’m not dating much at the moment. Ha!)

In this day and age, after our mothers fought for equal rights and women’s liberation, are we still subjected to a culture of male pursuit and dominance when it comes to relationships? I think the answer is yes, but why do I find it surprising? Maybe it’s my overly optimistic nature. And who’s to blame?  Is it the men whose very nature abhors the idea of a woman pursing them or asking them out on a date to such an extent that it nullifies any possibility before it even happens? Is their ego such that the thought of not being in control and pursuit is too demoralizing? Or is a woman who gives them chase too much of a threat to their very being? I think this same issue closely parallels the concept of the male ego and what makes a man a man.  For example, some men feel more comfortable and masculine when they make more money then their partner, support their family and are the key decision-maker at home. I think you could also add the element of giving chase and winning.  (Granted, I am generalizing here. I recognize there are some men who don’t have issue with this. Of course, masculinity has its up sides too, but that’s not what we are discussing :).) So what happened to the idea of partnership? Is that too foreign a concept now? I still just don’t get it. I thought we had all evolved beyond this, but maybe we can’t evolve beyond our basic nature.

So maybe it’s the women who should take some blame. As much as we often tout independence and strong nature, we sometimes seem to fold in the relationship zone. We want the men to do the heavy lifting and pursuing. Show us what a big strong masculine man you are. Show us how much you like us and want us. So we feed the whole premise and acquiesce so they feel stronger and more powerful. We believe it is their job to take that initiative; it’s their job to chase. And if they don’t, they aren’t interested. I have a friend who simply won’t pursue men at all or ever take the first step. The guy must show definitive interest in her and follow up with an ask out. He should be the first to call, first to ask her out and generally make all the first moves. But if you take that tactic, it seems to me you become more of a responsive pawn and it suggests a lack of control over your own fate. It seems to take away the power a woman can have in the relationship from the start and plays right into the culture of domination. So should women just have to wait around, be pretty and try to attract men until one of them decides to pursue?  Does that mean some of us could be waiting around a long time? Is it so bad for a woman to show she likes a man and then do something about it?

This whole question recently came to me again during my efforts at online dating. I got to chatting with a guy via email. We had several back and forth emails, getting to know each other. At one point, I felt comfortable enough to say to him ‘hey if you want to chat in person or get together for coffee, here’s my number.’ To which he responded, “Yeah, that would be great. I would love to chat or get together. Give me a call at….” OK, now what the $%*& should I make of that? To date, I’ve not replied. Frankly, I was annoyed. I told him I was interested with the offer and my number. Now the least he can do, at this point, is pick up the phone and call. Why should I call him now? In my eyes, the ball was in his court. Swish, smack, over the net; now what you gonna do with it? My take away message is that he is not interested since he is not readily giving chase. Or so society has taught me. I mean I’m willing to put myself out there, but if you are not interested, just man up and say so. What’s so hard about that?



6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Leigh Ann
    Apr 25, 2012 @ 13:46:29

    Hey there. I read this some time ago, and since I’m coming back to it, it’s clearly stuck with me. So well written.
    As your age-mate who continues the husband hunt, I’ve come to realize that if I want an alpha male who will take charge and make plans and assert himself (which I do), then I have to actually LET him do it, in his time and in his way.

    We also should stop pretending like men are clueless. Maybe some are, but by and large, they know what they want and they do what they want to do. That sort of the gist of ‘He’s just not that into you,’ ie, if he wants to call, he’ll call. All our nudging and suggestions tend to make us crazy, because deep down we know that we’re trying to manipulate the situation and for me I end up feeling a little desperate and needy. Ugh.

    Not to say that you shouldn’t state your needs or ask for something in an open (non-confrontational, non-aggressive) way. But do it in a way that allow you to see if and how the guy steps up. As in ‘Thanks for your number. I’d love the opportunity to talk and I’m available on xxx evening to chat, so call me when you’re free”

    It’s been a while, but I know what it feels like when a guy is into me. He follows up, he’s attentive and pretty unequivocal in his interest. And it feels great! What doesn’t feel great, is when I’m into a guy but he’s not doing these things. What I’m trying to remember (and like to think I’m getting much better about) is that no amount of over-functioning on my part is going to fix that situation. That for me, it’s probably best to just move on and find that guy who is enthusiastically into me.


  2. Aurathena
    Mar 11, 2012 @ 03:38:43

    I’m not a feminist; I’m egalitarian. I want to vote and work, but I don’t fight against God-given differences between men and women. Men are biologically wired to pursue women, not the other way around.

    If you doubt this, read He’s Just Not That Into You or any other dating book written by a man.

    I know that I’m worth being pursued. I’m worth being asked out. All I need to do is show up to where men are, and my job is done.

    Why do women want to ask out guys and know that the guy said yes because A) he likes you but not enough to risk rejection, B) he only wants to sleep with you or C) he feels bad for you? How is that appealing?


  3. Trackback: You won’t meet a man in your closet…if you do, you should probably call the cops. – West End Singleton
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    Mar 09, 2012 @ 00:13:31

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  5. lifeinthefarcelane
    Mar 08, 2012 @ 12:16:53

    Men NEED to chase. I have learned this but the balance between letting them chase and giving off the “I’m interested” vibe is the key cos they’ll move on if it’s too difficult to get a ‘bite’ .. (lazy buggers) 😉

    As to that guy online and his “OK call me”. I’ve had the same experience! (They’re just all idiots lol) I just don’t think they even read things properly .. honestly!

    One guy I was seeing (online then in person) once left me 8 days without contact so I sat there burning wondering wtf had gone wrong (cos it’d been great up til this radio silence phase!) then he finally emails me and says “uh hey I lost your number”. Schmuck.. Lucky he was cute as hell *grin*

    PS Re use of graphics in a post, tis simple: Copy and paste them into the entry! (As per your question on my blog) I Google “free jpgs about love” (or whatever) and then select the one I want as per my blog topic ..

    If that doesn’t work or make sense, flick me an email – it’s on my profile k!


  6. Peace, Love, Fabulous
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 18:22:04

    Oooooh I hear you on this. I know it doesn’t make sense but I swear, men are easier conquered when the chase is left up to them. At least, that is how it has worked out for me. Although I may very well be wrong because I am divorced, and single. So eh :/


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