When I was new to dating, I would read conflicting advice on the internet like the following:
- “Yes means Yes. A gentleman will always ask for permission before trying to kiss me.”
- v.s.: “You weak person. Be a man! Don’t ever ask for a kiss because it’s creepy and will kill the mood.”
- “Nice Guys are creepy because they are infatuated but hide their true intentions.”
- v.s. “Players are creepy because they hit on everyone.”
- “If you like someone, you should ask them out on a date.”
- v.s.: “People should see me as a person with a unique personality and a career, not a sex object.”
So the problem is that if I fail to ask someone out on a date, I’m creepy. But if I do I ask them out, I also run the risk of being creepy. If I ask for a kiss, I’m creepy but if I just go for it, I might also be creepy.
It got so confusing that I actually saw a counselor about this and he had a very simple piece of advice:
You are creepy unless your love interest also wants you.
SNL actually makes fun of this in a skit called “Sexual Harassment and You“, which gives the advice that to avoid being creepy, you should “Be attractive” and “Don’t be unattractive”.
My take on it is this: In American culture, men are expected to make the first move. As a result, you always run the risk of not just being rejected but also being unfairly accused of being creepy. Life isn’t fair but you have to take risks to get a date or romantic relationship. Here are some additional tips:
- Talk to someone before asking them out: Ask questions, show interest, and get to know her at least a little. The healthiest relationships involve compatible personalities, not good looks. So if you are looking for a long-term relationship, you should at least find out if you have any amount of compatibility at all. If she can’t even hold a short conversation with you, she isn’t interested or compatible.
- Increase physical intimacy one step at a time: Most people will expect to be kissed within 1-3 dates or they will think that you are either creepy or not interested. You should increase the level of intimacy over time e.g. from least to most: hug, hold their hand, sit close to them & stare into their eyes, kiss.
- For sex, you absolutely need to ask for permission: Both people need to be sober, of legal age (the definition varies from state to state), and capable of giving consent. It is rape otherwise.
- Look for signs of wanting more or less of you: Consistently open body language, touching you back, laughing at your jokes, and inviting you into their apartment are all positive signs. Closed body language, letting go of your hand, and one-word answers to your questions are all negative signs. It’s all about getting good at social calibration and feeling whether the other person wants you. If they keep giving you negative signs, you should respect their boundaries, back off, and look for someone else who actually likes you. This one time, on a third date, a girl invited me into their apartment, got me to sit next to them, started touching my arm, and stared into my eyes. I got nervous, failed to read the signs, and didn’t kiss her. She assumed that I didn’t like her.
- Build social skills and confidence: through doing activities. Dating is one of the most complicated social dances. You need a solid foundation in order to build rapport with your love interest.
- Get more attractive through self-improvement: whether that’s getting fitter, more educated, more wealthy, employed, better-groomed, or better-dressed. The dating market is an economic market. As cold as it sounds, people date each other of similar value. If you want someone more attractive, you have to be more attractive.
- Don’t be so obsessed with looks: I know we all want the hottest person but are you dating someone for their personality & long-term compatibility (and they just happen to have good looks), or are you dating a mannequin? People who are physically attractive get hit on all the time so they are more likely to reject you.
If you are unhappy with the people you are attracting, make yourself a better catch first. Look yourself in the mirror and ask: “Would I date me?” If not, work on self-improvement. It’s true that people who won the genetic lottery and naturally have good looks don’t have to work anywhere near as hard as you, but that’s just life.
Lastly, I was amused (and saddened) by a Reddit user’s surprisingly accurate definition of what is creepy:
She calls him creepy … Because he’s breaking social conventions/norms. Attractive people are supposed to flirt with attractive people. Unattractive people are supposed to flirt with unattractive people.
The conclusion is that you have to take risks and you always run the risk of rejection – sometimes brutal rejection. You can reduce your chance of rejection by making yourself more attractive through self-improvement.
Until next time my friends, keep dating!