Dating making moves
(It’s worth noting that there are pickup artists who recognize and critique the most unpleasant attitudes within their subculture, and who seek to co-opt its best analysis for real, non-adversarial gender liberation.
As one such pickup artist writes: “There are a lot of problems with the seduction community that feminists correctly observe, including misogyny, cynicism towards relationships, and a few tactics that are bad for consent.” Unfortunately, none of these guys have yet written their own pickup guide.)♦◊♦When I Googled “feminist dating advice,” not much came up to help me.
Many are thrown off by my unshaven legs and discussions of privilege.) Still, notwithstanding the fact that every man is a beautiful and unique snowflake, I could isolate a number of frequently effective Clarisse Thorn Romance Tactics.
Because I don’t know whether those tactics work well for me due to other characteristics of mine, or because I tend to be attracted to guys who respond well to them, maybe one place to start could be with an open space for discussing romantic strategies that strive to be both feminist and ethical—and also enjoy a high success rate.
One of the most important things feminists can do is give people of all genders more choices in how we live our lives, and how we interact with the gendered scripts that shape us.
I can laugh about this now, but it sure sucked in my teens, and gave me a complex about asking guys out that lasted through my 20s.
Don’t get me wrong—I like it when guys ask me out; I really don’t ever want to be in a position where I’m taking all the sexual initiative—but I often find that I start the conversation, offer my number or ask for his, suggest dinner, suggest that we go home together, etc.
And I often find that guys don’t react well.♦◊♦Part of the problem may be that straightforward women are often seen as “sluts.” In the blunt words of Derek L., cofounder of a San Francisco–based company called Social Savant that claims to help men improve their romantic lives: “I’m not surprised that women don’t make the first move. There’s judgment from their girlfriends (‘Oh my God, she’s such a slut to hit on that guy’).
When we feminists can have a positive impact on that, then we should offer to help.
And after all, it’s not like we can’t include advice on how to respect boundaries alongside, perhaps, tactical advice on how to read a woman’s signals or how to approach her in a charming way.
It’s not in my interest for guys who could be a great match to feel paralyzed approaching me because they’re not sure how to avoid coming off as a creep. Supposedly, there’s a whole dating advice industry that could help me with this.