I’m a sucker for a decent chick flick, and I really enjoyed the film version of ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’, so when I saw a copy of the book at a boot sale at the weekend for 20p – well, what could I do? We know I need all the dating help I can get.
The premise is this – if a man wants to ask you out, he will ask you out.
That’s it really. (I never said it was complicated). The authors claim that if a guy really likes you, he will find a way to get in touch, he will call when he says he will, he will want to have sex with you and he will ultimately want to marry you. If he fails to come good on any of these points, ever, then you face the facts – he’s just not that into you.
Because according to the book, men will do absolutely anything to avoid actually saying that to someone’s face. They will lie, cheat, ignore you… whatever it takes to avoid directly having to say something that might upset or offend. It’s the crying apparently. They show us their disinterest through their actions, not through their words, and hope that we get the message.
There are no excuses – the book just doesn’t accept that a man could be shy or intimidated, and Mr Right is definitely not allowed to be busy, be influenced by issues from his past, be concerned about spoiling a friendship, or be distracted by work or family commitments. If he wants you, he will find a way to make you his. Under no circumstances are you allowed to make the first move, pursue a man, or tolerate any kind of lack lustre behaviour. The message is underlined throughout by the reader being told how gorgeous and desirable she is.
Now on the face of it, I love this advice – it’s simple, and it does take the pressure off me as a woman. I’m supposed to just happily go about my business, ignoring the phone, enjoying life, waiting to be ‘chosen’. It’s also fantastic to think I am so fabulous that the right man only has to meet me once and he will track me down. It’s a proper Gavin and Stacey style love affair isn’t it? We meet once and you won’t be able to help but drive all the way to Barry Island to meet me off the coach at the other end.
But is this real life?
What I really admire about the book though is the way it is written, so that questioning its message is in fact questioning yourself. If you are in any doubt as to the point they are trying to make, you are, the book claims, simply doubting your own desirability, undermining your own self-esteem. See what they are doing there? Clever huh? Basically if you don’t believe the book, you’re a fool, with no sense of self-worth. And if you do believe it? Well, then you’re probably also a fool, but this time the kind that believes everything you read in a cheap book.
It’s a dilemma isn’t it?
Now I know I have quite a few male readers, so I thought we needed a man’s eye view on this one – if you meet a woman, and you like her, do you always find a way to ask her out? Really? Always? And if you do, and you find yourself in a relationship, how do you behave? When you realise you’re just not that into her, do you tell her to her face, or do you make excuses?
I want to believe the book is totally right – it would be amazing to discover relationships really are that simple, but I have suspicion they’re not. Or maybe I’m just thinking that because of my low self-esteem?? Who knows, I certainly don’t…
I havent read the book or seen the film, but if you are expressing it correctly (and I’ve met you and read your blog, so know you are intelligent, so I think you are) and being a man I have some idea of how men behave, I can tell you that is a complete crock of poo.
Please ignore the book and film.
Oh. That’s a shame. I quite fancied the idea of it being so straightforward.
Is it ALL rubbish?
Sorry but the last comment was a bit mental if they haven’t read the book. Do men not pursue women they want to be with? Make an effort to contact them, be with them and progress the relationship, if they are seriously ‘into them’? Of course they do (as do women, but as the book explains, this takes a bit of the shine off the man’s efforts) but the main premise is that if it feels like a huge effort then it is a sign that they are not that into you.
Why would a man who wanted to be with you NOT make an effort to be with you?
I loved the book (thought the film was poo) and thought it would be worth reading for anyone with a non-committed boyfriend, a casual friend who is often ‘busy’ or a new boyfriend who was ‘just coming out of a messy relationship and needs time’ or indeed anyone who feels they should be more ‘pro active’ in a relationship (read: stalker).
Believe me I’ve been there, and social networking can’t help modern girls empowering themselves to go out there and find a man. But the message is perfectly sound: you are worth it, he will make it obvious and it will be EASY. If it is awful hard work (talking about first 6 months here, not 10 years into your marriage obvously) then it probably isn’t right.
I met my husband and he proposed within 12 months and we have been married for 7 years this year. I was never in any doubt he wanted to be with me. Luck? Well possibly, or choice. There were a fair few frogs previously but I chose not to pursue those.
It isn’t a case of sitting and waiting for your handsome prince, it is a case of meeting plenty of options and choosing not to pursue any that feel like hard work. And choosing to be alone as a better alternative to a hard work relationship.
It isn’t a case of sitting and waiti
I think you’re right Helen that it would be more useful for someone who is six months into a relationship that wasn’t really going anywhere. I’m just not convinced it applies to STARTING a relationship, and that it should be up to a man to be in charge while us girls passively let them take the lead in everything.
It is about putting yourself out there though I guess, but just being a bit choosy maybe about how you do it?
“Now I know I have quite a few male readers, so I thought we needed a man’s eye view on this one – if you meet a woman, and you like her, do you always find a way to ask her out? Really? Always? And if you do, and you find yourself in a relationship, how do you behave? When you realise you’re just not that into her, do you tell her to her face, or do you make excuses?”
I’d like to sound like Mr super confident but the reality is …. Well, the reality is we often don’t ask the women we’re interested in out. We’re cowards basically, and let’s be honest it’s easier for a woman to meet a man than it is for a man to meet a woman. Ok, it may not be easy when it’s the one that you “really really want” but men are more pragmatic than women, and realise that women get a better choice on the whole.
If I wasn’t that into her I wouldn’t make excuses, but to be fair this hasn’t exactly happened a lot for me …. Why don’t you cut all the crap out and just ASK THE GUY OUT for a change ? Would save a lot of bother. You can ask me out anyday :-p Shame I don’t live closer, doh.
Well you see that was what I thought Steve – men are cowards – but the book paints you all as macho men who know what they want and will stop at nothing to get it!
Ultimately I’d prefer to be asked out than to ask someone, but that’s probably because I’m a coward too! I don’t really believe though that it’s easier for women to meet a man than the other way round. (Especially not when you work at home!) Women are much fussier for a start, and I think some men WOULD find it threatening to be pursued by a woman.
Possibly Jo, but some men might appreciate being pursued by a woman :) As for the “coward” thing, we can’t help it, like I say we can only tolerate being told to “get lost” so many times.
“woman are fussier”
Exactly, fussier. But it comes to the crunch and you really really want to find a partner I still think it’s easier for a woman than a man, simply because women are fussier as you say. I’m not insinuating that you’re fussy particularly but I know a lot who are. I met this lady once who told she only wanted to meet guys with “gym bodies”. Cheeky mare, she wasn’t that special. I told I prefer to meet saucy redheads a la Gillian Anderson but I was more pragmatic than that ….
Female fussiness is a nuisance. it wears a bit thin when you see the same guys “get the woman” again and again whilst you’re sat twiddling your thumbs. Although it’s not as bad as you get older.
But being fussier just makes it HARDER, honestly, believe me. My friends are always telling me I need to lower my standards :-)
“Do men not pursue women they want to be with?”
Not always Helen, we can only tolerate told to “get lost” so many times :)
I sometimes think there is a weird part of women though that quite likes to see how serious a guy is by telling him to get lost a few times to see what happens :-)
There’s also a weird part in some women who seem to take pleasure in telling men to “get lost”. Not nice in my opinion.
There is something else to mention. In my experience the more interested I am in a woman romantically (as oppose to just wanting a s^&*) the harder it is to ask them out. I don’t know if other guys would agree with this.
Well everyone is bound to speak from their own experience, from the woman that says ‘just wait for the right one’ to the bloke that says ‘I’m sick of getting told to sod off’ and I suppose I’m no different but there are some fairly universal truths about all this as far as I can make out.
– Some women are terrible, prissy princesses. Some blokes are awful sleazebags. They are welcome to each other but they do make things rather more difficult for those of us who are (at least relatively) normal. Nice girls are probably wary of most guys because they get approached by so many slimy gits, and decent guys genuinely do get tired of rejection so they stop bothering. Who likes rejection? Only an idiot. Seriously right, if you have a boyfriend or a husband, can you wear a badge or something so we can save ourselves time and embarrassment? Wedding rings only work if you’re married, otherwise we’re flying blind.
– Blokes do have to make the first move but this is a bit anachronistic to be honest. We shouldn’t really have to behave like 19th century gentlemen unless for some reason we want to. Equality is brilliant but embrace it girls… make a move. Though the reality is you don’t have to which leads me on to…
– It is easier for women, on the whole. It really is. Men are idiots who mostly think with their third leg and so even an average looking woman doesn’t have to try particularly hard to attract guys. Rubbish ones perhaps, but hey, attention is attention, right? The question of attracting someone good – a ‘keeper’, if you will, is rather different. Just pray you don’t do what a lot of people do which is get to about 40 and think “aah sod it, I’m running out of time” and just marry the nearest available person. That’s a bad move.
I liked this bit:
“But the message is perfectly sound: you are worth it, he will make it obvious and it will be EASY”
… because it reveals a lot about the difference between men and women. I can’t imagine a bloke ever being told to reaffirm their sense of self worth (at least not outside a psychiatrist’s office) because blokes are expected to ‘just get on with it’ and be the alpha male. In that context, is it surprising that so many men are just pretty much out to sleep with whatever they can? I am far from that kind of guy, in fact they make me feel a bit sick but it’s an interesting contradiction. On the one hand, men are supposed to be strong, confident and bold – characteristics that women apparently desire. But at the same time we’re supposed to be caring, sharing, compassionate and above all, monogamous. It’s not impossible, but it’s a tall order.
And that quote also underlines the fact that it’s the bloke that’s supposed to do all the work in ‘wooing’ the woman. There’s no indication that the bloke might be ‘worth it’ and therefore the woman might actually have to put a bit of effort in. That may well just be how life is, but it’s certainly nothing like books or movies make out. You don’t meet and sleep with glamorous single women at weddings, or bump into the love of your life in a greengrocers. A crazed dash to the airport cannot save a doomed relationship.
Gosh, what a thoughtful answer, I don’t know where to start…
Firstly, as I said to Steve, I think it’s a myth that it’s easy for women to meet men, and that nice girls are always getting approached, even if it is by slimy gits. I am a nice girl, (honestly), and I rarely get approached by men.
I am prepared to make the first move, and I have done in the past, but seriously it isn’t just a case of ‘you can get any man to sleep with you just because you’re a relatively normal woman’. Not that I want just any man to sleep with me, but still. And do men really WANT women making all the moves? How would you really feel if you met a woman and she called, asked you for dinner, sent you flowers… any of that stuff – would you not think it a tad weird?
I agree though that men have a hard time of it sometimes – we can be a bit fickle about exactly what it is we’re looking for. On the one hand we want sensitivity, kindness, understanding, but quite often we also actually want to be just bent roughly over the kitchen table. That’s probably quite confusing from a male point of view.
“Firstly, as I said to Steve, I think it’s a myth that it’s easy for women to meet men, and that nice girls are always getting approached, even if it is by slimy gits. I am a nice girl, (honestly), and I rarely get approached by men.”
I think everyone has a different take on this based on their own experience. So although I am sure you’re telling the truth, I have female friends who are constantly getting chatted up at bus stops, walking to work, in shops etc. They are attractive but far from flirty. Perfectly normal, really. I think this says more about the fact that a lot of guys who would crack on to someone like this are to a greater or lesser extent predators. I see it all the time. Failed with this one? Move on to the next person you see. Really, it happens.
“I am prepared to make the first move, and I have done in the past, but seriously it isn’t just a case of ‘you can get any man to sleep with you just because you’re a relatively normal woman’. ”
It does seem like that from ‘the other side’!
‘Not that I want just any man to sleep with me, but still. And do men really WANT women making all the moves? How would you really feel if you met a woman and she called, asked you for dinner, sent you flowers… any of that stuff – would you not think it a tad weird?’
Yes in fact I’ve had it happen to me and it reeks of desperation but only because it’s ingrained in us that “man hunt food, protect family, woman look pretty, clean house’. It’s true that if a woman does all the chasing it’s too much and can seem pretty odd but I’m really just suggesting there’s a balance to be struck. It seems a lot of the time like it’s very one sided. It’s like peacocks displaying to win the affections of the female, or something equally primal.
“I agree though that men have a hard time of it sometimes – we can be a bit fickle about exactly what it is we’re looking for. On the one hand we want sensitivity, kindness, understanding, but quite often we also actually want to be just bent roughly over the kitchen table. That’s probably quite confusing from a male point of view.”
Damn right it is! :-P
Damn. I knew it was just me not getting chatted up as bus stops and the like…
So it’s tricky from both sides really then isn’t it? Women clearly don’t have a clue what they want, and men say ‘women should make the first move’ but would actually find it disturbing if a woman did pursue them.
I like the badge idea though. I inherited my Gran’s wedding ring and deliberately had it altered so I could wear it on a finger that wasn’t my wedding ring finger!
Or maybe all the single people just put their names in a hat like a football draw.
Jo, I can count the number of women who’ve made an approach to me on less than one hand. That’s a lot less than I’ve approached ….
Of course every angle looks slightly different. I suppose it comes down to how it makes you feel. I mean really feel, inside. Ringing them, texting them, inviting them out on a date how does that feel? Empowered as a woman or well, a bit crap. How does it feel when they are ringing you, texting you, asking you out on dates? Well, a bit amazing.
I think meeting a great supply of ‘potentials’ is the subject for another book entirely – this is a brilliant book for women sorting the wheat from the chaff.
I also noticed that you asked for men to comment – so I will shut up now!
PS I don’t know about the greengrocers but I met my husband at the cash machine, and I am SURE dashes to the airport have saved at least one doomed relationship in real life.
“Women clearly don’t have a clue what they want, and men say ‘women should make the first move’ but would actually find it disturbing if a woman did pursue them.”
No not really, I just think that blokes shouldn’t have to do ALL the work, which is how it feels a lot of the time. I’m not suggesting women should always make the first move or go mental like a stalker, just that you could help us out a bit by not making us jump through hoops! There’s a bit of give and take. And I realise that you will probably say that you personally don’t do this – and I’d believe you – but in my experience it can be a full time job being a dude, which is why so many people probably just give up and marry the next person they see, living out the rest of their life in seething resentment and muffled despair.
The premise of the book you’re talking about seems to be that it’s down to the bloke to do whatever it takes to get and keep your attention, including but not limited to making a right tit of himself and that’s how things should be. Which I think is just as archaic as saying that women should stay at home and look after the pretty flowers.
We’re far from perfect too of course, I’m not suggesting otherwise.
The names in a hat thing sounds interesting.
So basically I think we can conclude the book is RUBBISH.
What’s weird is that it’s written mainly by a man!!
Christ I thought that book was backwards.
Why shouldn’t a woman take 50% of the responsibility for initiating and pursuing a relationship? This is the 21st century for chrissakes.
That said, I do think that beyond initial shyness, if someone (male or female) is really into you, they will let it show.
I think you have to be able to read the signals too though, which I am terrible at. I’ve had men apparently making it obvious they like me, but I’ve been completely oblivious to it! I am a bit backwards sometimes…
Hi Jo, just sat down with my latest copy of The Green Parent and there you were! – i squealed to my mum (who was sitting next to me) i know her i know her. i know i don’t exactly know you but was excited all the same…
Hahaha! Yes, there are am! I’ve written for them pretty much every issue since they started. I am their breastfeeding expert :-)
If you want to put your copy in the post I will sign it for you. lol.
And if anyone has any recent editions of Park and Holiday Home Magazine you might want to look out for me in that too… Oh the glamour!
Searching for a partner always reminds me of searching for a job …. Constant rejection, a few glimmers of hope that end in yet more rejection. An impossible “check list” to match, yet once in a blue moon you strike gold. Doesn’t make all those rejections any easier mind you ….
As frustrating as all this can be, I’m starting to feel a lot better about myself after reading Steve’s posts. Mine is a mild annoyance, yours seems to be a sort of gloomy resignation. Sorry dude.
lol, you’re right.
You need to buck up Steve, you’re starting to sound like the predatory desperate bus-stop guy. That’s never going to be a winner with the ladies.
No, Steve wouldn’t make it as far as the bus stop based on his increasingly morbid posts. Sort it out Steve! Have you got all your limbs? Can you string a sentence together? Then you’re not doing too badly.
Well I reached my mid 30’s and time was running out, the women I cared about weren’t interested and basically had to settle for what I can get. I had to be pragmatic about it and realise that I simply didn’t have what it takes to get the sort of women I want, c’est la vie.
I’ve been married 13 years now. On many levels it works but it’s not what I wanted. As for predatory that I’m not.
Incidentally I am not “morbid”, I am simply a realist. As for stringing sentences together I am educated and have even written a book :p
“basically had to settle for what I can get. I had to be pragmatic about it and realise that I simply didn’t have what it takes to get the sort of women I want, c’est la vie. I’ve been married 13 years now. On many levels it works but it’s not what I wanted.”
So why are you complaining about dating? In all honesty you don’t sound like a barrel of laughs, perhaps it’s not surprising that you found it tough.
P.S I hope for your sake your wife doesn’t read this and find out that you consider her to be something less than third prize, someone for whom you eventually, reluctantly settled when all hope was lost. How romantic.
Seriously, not to get too personal about it but yours is a cautionary tale to others to get out there and DO SOMETHING. The prospect of ending up really quite astonishingly bitter and jaded posting on some website about how you just gave up and went with whoever would have you ought to terrify most right thinking people into some sort of action.
No, you didn’t have to settle. You had another option. Don’t get married. Ever. It sounds vastly superior to settling, to me. But that is just my opinion. You sound miserable, but perhaps you are less miserable than you would be if you were alone. So maybe it wasn’t an option at all.
I just wanted to point out, that not getting married is an option.
I wish you well.
I have to agree with you Brian – for me personally, being in a relationship that I know isn’t really right for me is a far worse option than being on my own. I know in the past that I’ve felt much lonelier in ‘wrong’ relationships than I do now as a single mum.
Well, walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Much as I love my wife (and I do) it’s not what I wanted. I can at least be honest about it. I still think it’s a lot easier for women.
Gosh, from everything you’ve been saying Steve I didn’t have you down as married! Seriously, does your wife know you say things like ‘much as I love my wife, it’s not what I wanted’??
Incidentally I didn’t “give up” particularly, I just chose to be realistic and settle for someone who was interested and available. Obviously there could have been other options, but equally 13 years on (which is how long we’ve been married) there could have been nobody, and past experience told me that women were largely uninterested. I was 18 stone, not exactly “attractive” and lacking in self confidence to a very large extreme. I am not a “barrel of laughs” as you suggest, however, I am not a miserable old scrote either.
At the time in my mid 30’s, the women I was generally attracted to were already married (I don’t generally find myself attracted to younger women, although there can be exceptions) and I didn’t want to spend my life alone. Being unmarried was to me, AT THE TIME, not an option; it may be for other people but it wasn’t for me.
I do love my wife dearly but it’s not what I wanted from a marital relationship. Maybe my expectations are too high ? Perhaps.
Like I say, I am a realist, not morbid. Oh and Gillian Anderson wasn’t available, lol :)
To be honest Steve I think you have some real issues. Seriously, it’s one thing to just give up on your life but it’s another entirely to go on websites using your full, real name (????!!) to go on about how much you settled for some woman who you just got together with because it was a better prospect in your mind than dying alone. Is that very fair on the woman who (perhaps foolishly) agreed to marry you? How does she feel about this third rate, booby prize relationship that you are keen to talk about with complete strangers. Jesus…
Anyway Jo you don’t need to wait for lightening to strike – blog your list of partner attriblutes – ordered into essential/desirable/deal breakers and two things will happen – the universe will take notice of your written intent, and I imagine you will be inundated, if not by men (emboldened by this convo about them taking the lead) then by women who know ‘just the perfect man’. You don’t need online dating sites mate, get your ‘job spec’ online and wait for the applications. Cold and unromantic? A bit. Hilarious concequences. You bet. Plenty of new material for you too, never have a blog-block again!
If every man asked every woman he fancied out, just like that, there would be no need for alcohol or internet dating!
lol, that’s true :-)
Pearls. If a man’s into you, you know it. No guessing required.
It’s interesting isn’t it – alll the women are saying that, whereas all the men are saying the book is tosh!
To answer your question, “if you meet a woman, and you like her, do you always find a way to ask her out? Really? Always?”
The answer is no. Almost never. It is just to much of a bother.
Brian, you are clearly far too busy writing novels and building things out of wood to ask a woman out. I feel the same though, it does feel like a lot of bother sometimes :-)
Finding a partner IS like applying for a job. I just apply for ALL the jobs going and if I get offered one I take it. This is v. similar to my love life.
I suspect this is many people’s experience in reality Lucy. In jobs and in dating.
And this is the woman who expects me to take her relationship advice…. lol
When dating I had one rule that was paramount. If it feels wrong then it is wrong and no amount of putting it right will make it right. Being true to yourself and not settling for anything less than what you want from a relationship might be hard to achieve but we all deserve the best dont we!!!
Do we all deserve the best ? It depends on how much “best” there is to go around.
Yes we absolutely do! And one day Colin Firth WILL knock on my door dammit.
I have both read the book and watched the film. I didn’t rate the film, but then again films of books I have already read usually disappoint me. Anyway, I brought the book when I was in a God awful relationship that was going nowhere and was basically destructive. When I read it back then I remember thinking there was a good deal of truth in the book and that if this man really wanted to be with me then he would be behaving better and making more of an effort with me. BUT that’s because we had already got the initial bit of the relationship out of the way, we were a good year + into things. I don’t think it’s as black and white at the start of things, there are all sorts of reasons why people struggle to communicate well at the initial stage of a relationship. But it’s a great wake up call if you are in an established relationship that’s going nowhere and wasting your time. I stopped wasting my time on that particular one very soon after.
I think you’re absolutely right – it is most useful as a reality check six months into a rubbish relationship, not so useful as a guide to meeting new people. I just didn’t buy into the idea of men never being shy!