I was perusing some feminist Facebook pages today – because those are always good for a laugh – and I came across an article entitled The Feminist Guide To Non-Creepy Flirting. Of course I had to click.
Why is it that we live in a world where men have to adhere to a rigid set of rules just to talk to a woman?
But STILL not as unbelievable as this list. Here it is for all your enjoyment.
1. Read Her Body Language
Let’s say a woman on a train has headphones on and is reading a book. In her mind, this may seem like a clear signal that she wants to be left alone.
But, wanting to be friendly, you approach her and attempt to strike up a conversation. Since she’s engrossed in something, you might just say, “Hey I wanted to talk to you a bit but don’t want to be a bother either. Is it ok if we chatted?”
This hasn’t crossed into creepy territory, because you’ve asked her and not assumed anything. But if the woman is constantly trying to bow out of the conversation or if she avoids making eye contact, chances are she wants to be left alone.
If her body language is even stronger—she frowns when approached or scoots away and puts her music on blast—then she clearly wants to be left alone.
This may seem like common sense, but women who do their best to make it clear that they are not interested in interacting still get harassed and badgered. A woman walking down the street wearing headphones, and a scowl might even be told by others to “smile,” which may seem like a nice sentiment if it weren’t coming from a total stranger who is more concerned with her appearance than with how she actually feels.
What’s more, some women may smile or act polite out of nervousness or fear, so smiling shouldn’t always be taken as a sign of interest. That’s why body language is only part of the equation when it comes to picking up on boundaries
2. Listen To What She Says
You decide to ask for her phone number, but she politely declines.
A non-creepy person recognizes the rejection and moves on. A creepy person reads her signals wrong and presumes that she’s interested based on her body language and pleasant conversation. A creepy person might then decide to continue trying to get a phone number in the hopes that her “positive” response to his approach can be exploited.
If you don’t want to be creepy, do not do this. “No means no” applies outside of sex as well — if someone sets a clear boundary with their words, it’s important to respect that.
3. Do Not Stare Or Follow – It’s Scary!
So the woman in the train is reading and you’re thinking of approaching her. As you’re gathering up the courage, you find yourself absent-mindedly looking in her direction. She’s noticed, and is visibly uncomfortable under your gaze.
Easy mistake. At this point you can just look away. But do try to be aware of your gaze when approaching strangers.
Being stared at is unsettling for everyone because we can’t read minds—we don’t know if the person staring is thinking, “What a nice scarf they’re wearing,” or “I think I’ll follow them home and strangle them with that ugly scarf.”
4. Don’t Assume She’ll Like You Because You’re Being Respectful
If you’ve done everything you could to be respectful – respected her boundaries, avoided staring, avoided catcalling – you’re on the right track. But don’t expect women to fall at your feet just because you were respectful.
Respect is a basic human right. Showing respect to someone else doesn’t automatically get you brownie points in the dating world, and you may still get rejected even if you’ve been respectful.
Does this mean women hate guys who treat them with respect? Nope. It just means that women do not owe romantic attraction to everyone who treats them like a human being.
5. Don’t Assume That She Wants Your Attention Because She’s Attractive and In Public
Women who wear heavy makeup, push-up bras, heels, or other “sexualized” clothing in public aren’t necessarily looking for the attention of every man in the room. And even if she is, this doesn’t mean that she wants to be treated with less respect.
It’s a common misconception that women are constantly dressing up for the sole purpose of getting men to talk to them. The truth is, you’re never going to know why someone chose to wear they outfit they’re wearing.
6. Don’t Take It Personally If She Gives You the Cold Shoulder
She may have given you the cold shoulder because she wasn’t into you personally. She may also have given you the cold shoulder because of other reasons unrelated to you.
And if you see one of your friends disrespecting someone’s boundaries in an attempt to flirt, have a talk with them or show them this article.