“But If I Can’t Buy You A Coffee, How Will Our Species Reproduce?”: How To Hit On Women

When I wrote my essay about buying coffee as a metaphor for sexual harassment, men started asking: “Well, what do I do if I can’t hit on women?  Do you expect me to live my life in a closet, wandering alone through my tie racks forever?  Why, if no man ever approached women, our species would go extinct!”

The panic is understandable, to some extent.  It’s scary meeting new people, let alone asking them out on a date.  There’s a lot of upsides to being a guy in modern society, but one of the downsides is that you’re expected to take the initiative when it comes to asking someone out on a date – which is pretty fucking scary.  It’s like going on a job interview, except they’re not rejecting your work experience, they’re looking right at you and going, “No, you suck, go away.”  I’ve had women friends who had to start asking out strangers for various reasons, and their reaction was invariably, “My God, how do men do this?  This sucks.”

But you know how you don’t approach it?  By treating it like you’re doing the woman a favor.

The overall reaction from men is a whiny, “But I’m being nice!” No, sir, you are not.  You’re buying a coffee to try to get in her pants. The whole “What a nice guy I am!” aspect makes it easier for you to approach an intimidating situation, but let’s not romanticize this moment.  You’re not paying a compliment to that old, unattractive woman, or sharing your love of Terry Pratchett books with that dude over there.  You’re trying to buy five minutes of a cute woman’s time via a combination of guilt and gift-giving.  Jeez, what a prince you are!

If you gotta, you gotta.  And there are places that’s likely to be well-received.  If you’re at a singles bar and the girl is alone, well, chances are good that she may actually want that drink.  But the trick is understanding that this is in no way a compliment. It’s a strategy.

And if you spam that attack like somebody using Ken’s fireball in Street Fighter II, people are likely to hate you.

Look, if the girl is so attractive that you just have to snag this opportunity at this very moment, then so be it.  But acknowledge you’re being selfish.  You’re saying “She’s so pretty, I have to go bother her at this very instant on the off-hand chance that she’s into me.” And maybe she likes your looks and you’ll click.  Synchronicity happens.

But think carefully, chum.  The odds are good that she’s not going to respond well. And if you keep bugging women just because they happen to be within eyesight, then you send the none-too-subtle message that “A woman showing up in public means that she’s fair game.”  Which means she’s not a person, but an antelope in a game preserve.

There are those who think you should never ever approach a stranger in public; I’m not one of them.  But if you take the attitude of, “Hey, anything could happen, might as well take my shot,” then you are being a dick to women.  What you should do is size up the situation: is this a space conducive to strangers talking to each other?  Does she look involved in something else?   Does her body language say she’s receptive?  Would this friendly approach look threatening if she had no clue as to your intent?  (Because despite your peppy smile, she does not.)

If all of those clues don’t add up, then fucking walk away.  Give her the privilege of being a person, and not some slot machine for you to take your shot at.

And even if you’re really nice about it, recognize that hundreds of men have done this before, and this may not go over well.  If she rejects you coldly, she is not a bitch.  That’s on you, chum.  You took a shot, knowing full well you might irritate her, and lo you got exactly what you deserved.  Don’t tell yourself the story that “I was just trying to buy her a present!” because you were not.  You were bothering a woman in a clear attempt to get something from her.

As I said, I don’t think you should never approach a stranger in public.  But I think you should carefully consider it, because some people do think you should never approach a stranger in public, and the rest usually don’t like to be bothered.  So the hitting on people should be a rarity, that time when all the planets align.

Will the human race die out without your botheration?  Well, maybe it would have in the past, but now there’s this thing called “OKCupid,” where like-minded people can specifically search each other out for romance.  While I appreciate your concern for the future of humanity, I’m pretty sure we’ll find a way to get by if you don’t call out, “Hey, you so beautiful!” on the street corner.

We’ll get by.  So it’s okay for you to be quiet.  Really.

138 Comments

  1. Uncle Asriel
    Oct 19, 2012

    I rather appreciate these articles. in my first yar of university, a friend of mine strongly advised Neil Strauss’ The Game as a means of building my feeble sexual confidence to pick up women. I am ashamed to say I tried some of those tactics, but grew disgusted quickly with the way it promised to turn dealing with people from conversation into skeezy-ass mind-control bullshit for dickings.

    I appreciate seeing someone else talk down to the garbage that is assuming everywoman want to be confronted on this level all the time.

    I find the use of compliments still handy, though. I still seem to catch myself singing praises of whatever anyone is wearing, regardless of their gender. It does make people like me, it seems, and that appreciation has made me far more confident.

    It’s a shame folks can misconstrue that as creepy things, really.

    • Sarah
      Oct 24, 2012

      But it IS creepy! Your approach says more about you than the person you’re attempting to complement.
      You’re looking at an entire being and calling it beautiful, prettily packaged, and nicely dressed. There’s no flattery in dehumanization. If you want to give a REAL complement, say nothing about looks and expect nothing in return… If you must complement looks or clothing, complement their taste and if it doesn’t feel authentic don’t say it. If the situation doesn’t present something to talk about. Leave and find something else to do with your time.

      • Phil
        Oct 25, 2012

        I have to agree with Inurashii here. If you find yourself creeped out by compliments, there’s a good chance you’re being hit on, not complimented. And if someone is Actually trying to say something nice about you or your choice in appearance or demeanor, trying to make a brief, positive interpersonal connection with you, then that OK.
        If you react negatively, then that’s entirely your call. But bear in mind that there’s a good chance you’re making a range of unfair assumptions about that person’s character and intentions.

        • TheFerrett
          Oct 26, 2012

          The problem is that so many have been lying to them about these compliments – for the good hitters-on will actually seem extremely nice up until you realize their true intent – that women are often right to treat people as though they have an ulterior motive until proven otherwise.

          The problem here is that you’re making it sound that “Hey, it’s YOUR FAULT” for not seeing the nice men, and assigning literally zero blame to the hundreds of men who are pretending to be genuine to try to get sex. It may not be fair, but the people who make it not fair are the guys.

      • Random Guy
        May 4, 2013

        I agree with almost every point you make except for singling out that dude in your reply. You’re arguing a point, not a specific person’s actions.

    • inurashii
      Oct 24, 2012

      Most people seem genuinely pleased when I compliment their wardrobe, but that’s different from the compliments that TheFerrett talks about here.

      If I walk up to someone with an awesome mohawk and say “I love your hair color!” and they say “Thanks!”, I smile and walk away. If they want to keep talking to me, they’ll probably do it after saying ‘thanks’. If that’s the extent of the exchange, our interaction is done and it’s time to move on.

      • Nessie
        Feb 11, 2014

        While I agree in principle with what you’ve said, I also agree more with TheFerret’s comment a few above this, which is that while your intentions may be genuinely nice and complimentary, there are so many people whose intentions are not as polite/good that it can be very creepy and sometimes genuinely scary when people say things like that, especially in situations where you can’t really get away. I’ve been hit on while on the New York subway. It was very creepy, and I hope to god nothing like that ever happens again (and I’m agnostic XD). In short, I appreciate your viewpoint, and there are places where that’s acceptable – certain auditions, any kind of nerd-convention, etc. – but for the most part, that’s kinda a bad way to go through life, unfortunately =)

    • Callie
      Oct 26, 2012

      I’m glad you got out of that godawful gaming practice. As Terry Pratchett once wrote(poorly paraphrased), the root of all evil begins with treating people as things. And gaming does exactly that, in the most repugnant ways imaginable. It’s good to know that men can wise up from that. (I’d like to be gender-equal in that declaration, but…do women even have an equivalent? Does gaming work on men? I’ve never heard of it, if so.)

      • Some Guy
        Oct 27, 2012

        Actually, I’m sort of an example of this. Perhaps the girls who did this to me were confused and half genuine, but the experience at least showed me how possible it is.
        I happen to be one of those guys who realized the problem of asking women out so easily, so I long ago decided to limit that practice and even expect that some women might come to like me enough to do the asking out themselves.
        Unfortunately, this gave me the typical problem (wondering about that whole “friendzone” thing every time a girl talks about not wanting to risk a friendship) and came equipped with an unexpected problem: sexually free and confident women.
        You see, these aren’t actually as rare as they appear (same as innocent and caring men aren’t so rare)…they just get marginalized as other categories of people “sluts”, “cougars”, or…ok…I’m sure there’s a term for a young woman with a “cougar’s” attitude… Men get terms like nerd/geek/”closet gay”/effeminate/”great guy who’s single, but hasn’t asked me out”.
        Anyway, back to the subject…I’ve had women, who seemed only as friends to me (albeit, ones who complimented my looks and personality), lure me to their place for sexual escapades; causing me to question if that had been the intent from the start (for one, it had started when I first spoke with her). Another even went so far as to ask me out but, when sex was not immediately forthcoming, she became rather unfaithful.
        I think the trick is that few men will say “no” if they aren’t already taken…and those who do feel talking about it would be met with ridicule: “what, are you gay?”
        So yes…women do it too.

        • Not A Straight Male
          Nov 16, 2012

          Every gender has predators. Cis hetero men just take the grand prize at it because it’s been acceptable for them to do it longer, and women have been the most objectified and accused. There is a dedicated culture to being a “player” even, a microcosm within the single and swinging worlds. This player cult is pretty exclusively hetero dudes, but that’s not to say there aren’t players, scammers, gold diggers, etc of all sorts, gay, straight, male, female, trans, already married and still playing the field, etc. Anyone is capable of objectifying anyone else.

          Trust me there. I will lay off the personal anecdotes; they make me feel incredibly sad and guilty these days.

        • Chundershock
          Jan 20, 2013

          ‘Risk’ a friendship? ‘Risk’? No wonder you’re having problems.

          • AK
            Jan 13, 2014

            I wish I could agree with you.
            Previous to my last attempt at telling someone up-front and honestly how I felt, I could have… Not any longer.

            Basically, I was honest, I declared that I wanted to have a romantic relationship as well as a friendship, and if she was into it, she should know I am too. Also stated that if she wasn’t, then I was okay with that and it is not like it would stumble our friendship, She would be one of the coolest people I knew regadless and I was still her friend.

            She told me she did not share my feelings. And this was a perfectly valid answer… but then, over the course of the next few days she started to tell me that she now felt guilty about being my friend because she could not offer more That she would always feel like she was taking advantage of my kindness (instead of collaborating on cool stuff and having fun together, which was my idea of normal)… and yeah, over the course of a few weeks, in whihc she asked for and got space to think…I was basically cast off. Which is a great shame, because she was awesome to make art and adventures with. So, I risked the firendship, without ever for a moment wanting to…and I lost it, even though I never held it up as an ultimatum.

            Shit happens.

        • Aurora Novus
          Feb 25, 2013

          Not even sure where to begin or even if it’s worth it, because the sexism is so thick I don’t have a defogger powerful enough. No, women don’t objectify men the way that men objectify women, namely because women don’t have the same power that men do, and the social consequences of objectification are much steeper for women than they are for men. The fact that you would even torture logic and the English language to such an extent to come up with this labyrinthine, ridiculous argument, rather than just proving a point with a straightforward statement of fact, is demonstrative on its own. But I suppose I’ll have to take it a step farther since I bothered to get on the road.

          “Gaming” as is so disturbingly used and described, is the practice of turning a human being into a thing, and manipulating that thing for a specific end: male dominance through sex acts. There is no such thing as female dominance through sex acts in the context of a male dominant society, only the dominance of one woman over one male who, for reasons specific to that one male, he allows it to occur. In our society, 90% of violence is committed by males. Globally, only 11% of resources are owned by women. The US is 90th in the world for number of women in public office. The stats on other power strata are equally dismal. Hence, there is no culture on the planet where women dominate, because even those so-called “pink collar” jobs are in industries owned by men.

          So any example of so-called gaming is always going to be in the context of a male dominant society, even if an individual woman is using those techniques, she is still using the tricks of male dominance.

          As for that “friendzone” scheisse, here is what a guy has to say about that, since I’m fairly certain at this stage none of the men reading this thread are going to give any weight or credence to a female voice. Now I’m going to leave so that I can shower off all of this sexist nonsense.

          http://nosleeptilbrooklands.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/yes-another-blog-about-nice-guys-and.html

          • Bennie Wanderer
            Apr 29, 2013

            …if you think women don’t objectify men, you’ve obviously never stumbled across the Tumblr Supernatural fandom.
            In all seriousness though – it might not have as dire consequences when it’s a girl doing the objectifying, but it definitely happens. I know I (I’m a girl!) catch myself doing it on a fairly frequent basis. It’s a scumby thing to do – doesn’t matter what you’ve got in your pants.
            I think the main reason I have a problem with your argument is that you’re presenting it as a zero-sum game. Men are always ‘dominant’ (winning) and women are always stuck on the other end – even when Some Guy’s anecdote and my little statement last paragraph show that’s clearly not accurate.
            Comparing you and ‘Some Guy,’ you’re actually the one who comes off as sexist to me! The way you’ve presented your views, you make it sound like individual women’s dominance is meaningless, ineffectual, and rare.

  2. Lisa Nohealani Morton
    Oct 19, 2012

    I really can’t get over the people (who pop up in the comments to every post like your coffeeshop-Jesus analogy, which was awesome by the way) who want to know how anyone would ever meet anyone or get into a relationship if men didn’t hit on women (presumably more or less at random and in public).

    I mean, yes, some people do meet that way and wind up romantically involved, but I don’t think it’s the norm. I met my boyfriend at a party because we were both friends with the host. We got to talking, and then it got flirty, and I suppose you could say that he hit on me, but it was radically different from just randomly walking up to a stranger and putting the moves on them.

    That seems to be pretty much how most of my partnered friends wound up in their relationships, too – you meet someone, either through mutual friends, or work, or a hobby, or what have you – talk to them a little, and *then* someone makes a play. It has the added benefit of giving the person making advances more information about whether those advances are welcome, too.

    I guess if the human race relied on hitting on strangers at bus stops and in coffeeshops for reproduction, we’d probably be in a pretty bad way. Fortunately for the human race, most people have other ways to get to the reproducing part with someone :)

    • Nicky
      Oct 19, 2012

      Exactly.

      My husband and I met at a shared hobby. As soon as our eyes met, we were done for. I’d never met a man I more instantly wanted to be with in my life. I think he’s the most gorgeous man alive and have since the day we met, but in reality, I’m the only person who feels that way. It’s not like I saw Brad Pitt and said, “I’m in love!” My husband was a scrawny little geek with a goatee and an Akira t-shirt, and by God, I wanted to be with him forever.

      One of the reasons we’re together 10 years later, happy as can be, and with a wonderful family? Because he didn’t jump into my personal space as soon as his penis pointed me out. He didn’t Cheeto-breathe some horrible pick up line into my ear. He took the time to be my friend, but also to clearly show interest so I knew his intentions.

      2 months later (which isn’t long in a hobby you see one another at once a month) and I kissed him.

      Isn’t that a better love story than Twilight “I hit on her at the bus stop every day for a year until she decided to mace me when I followed her home trying to convince her we were MEANT TO BEEEEEEE!”? I’d say so.

      Find a hobby. Enjoy that hobby. Maybe meet someone knew, make your intentions known when you can see that you get along well, and don’t get butt-hurt if you need to try someone else.

      • TheSkald
        Oct 23, 2012

        Is that hobby by chance anime? (Akira shirt makes me ask) because that’s totally how my wife and I met.

        We just had a conversation and hit it off. The desire to become involved came later.

    • Lauren
      Oct 21, 2012

      I met my boyfriend of four years on a bus ride. The bus had to take a detour and it ended up being a six hour ride and he did hit on me, but he was subtle about it (I actually didn’t even notice) and we ended up talking for five hours, during which we really hit it off. We’ve been together ever since. But the situation made sense. I didn’t agree to a date or to exchange numbers until we had talked for a long time and realized that we actually had a lot in common and liked talking to each other. There would have to be some pretty impressive chemistry before I would agree to give someone my number right off the bat.

    • Jasminevermilion
      Nov 16, 2012

      Yep. Met my first two boyfriends through mutual friends. Met my most recent ex-not-quite-boyfriend volunteering. Met my current partner at a party, via my sister, and we hit it off immediately, though nothing creepy happened. I just knew that after talking to him for a little while that he was the person I wanted to be with, and so made the next move.
      In between all of these people there were various online dating encounters, and I’ve only once started something at a bar, but even that was with someone I had talked to several times before at other people’s parties.
      It’s easy enough to meet people, if you cultivate your own interests and friendships and don’t act creepy.

  3. Riv Swanson
    Oct 19, 2012

    This is why I advocate the friends-first thing. It’s a lot easier to just go up to someone, have a good conversation with them, exchange numbers, be friends, and hang out a few times before even worrying about actual formal dates or anything. Then again, I’m an entertainer by nature and it’s a lot easier for me to just talk to random people and make them laugh than actually navigate the social maze of the dating bollocks.

    Plus, if you’re friends first, the first date itself is a lot less like dancing blindfolded through a minefield; if you make a social gaffe or slight mistake, you’re a lot less likely to be written off forever. I’ve even had moments like that become endearing inside jokes (because I’m also willing to laugh at/about myself) which helped bonding.

    Of course I’ve never approached a woman with sex as a goal anyhow, I’ve always been one for relationships. I’m weird like that.

    • Aoife
      Nov 9, 2012

      I think there’s a lot of guys who would have this approach who would then feel “cheated” if, after a few weeks/months of developing a friendship, the guy’s romantic feelings for the woman have grown, he asks her to move on from friendship, she says she doesn’t feel the same about him.

      He then whines about having been “friendzoned”. God, I hate that “friendzoning” makes “being genuinely fond of someone but not feeling romantically about them” into something mean that women do to men.

      • Modern Man
        Jan 21, 2013

        A lot of men try to be the friend of a woman they are interested in because they are trying to be respectful and not overly sexual. However, acting like this usually ends up with the guy being just a friend, and then he gets confused how he ended up just a friend when he was trying to be respectful. Then, the guy who wanted to be the boyfriend/lover and acted like it and showed he was sexually interested is the one who ends up the boyfriend/lover. The guys who try to be friends end up pissed off because they were trying to be respectful and left the sexual tension part out of the equation.

        • Kai
          Feb 10, 2013

          That’s where you should try, er… communication? If you want to be friends with someone, great. If you want to become lovers with your friend, you should probably tell them at some point, rather than being ‘confused’ why they’re not jumping you. You should also seriously consider that, while they may also harbor secret desire, the reason you’re only friends may actually be that they’re not that into you in that way. However they also might be, and asking them out or flirting with them might turn out successful. It’s an emotional risk and it’s up to you.

          And if being turned down makes it too hard to continue being friends with them because you feel spurned? Then that’s genuinely sad and unfortunate, but it’s not something they ‘did’ to you, it’s an unfortunate situation that you should probably deal with by getting some space and watching a film to distract yourself, not building an angry worldview that incorporates the concept of friendship with women being a bad thing.

          (To clarify Modern Man, I’m not saying I’m assuming you yourself needs to hear this, it’s more my response to the type of view you’re referring to.)

      • Aurora Novus
        Feb 25, 2013

        A very good article debunking that whole “friendzone” nonsense. http://nosleeptilbrooklands.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/yes-another-blog-about-nice-guys-and.html

    • Aurora Novus
      Feb 25, 2013

      I will never understand why people think that you can be intimate partners without being friends first. But then there is that whole pornified concept of intimacy, and complete ignorance of what intimacy actually is.
      http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/contributors/sexualisation-of-the-young-is-becoming-societys-cancer-20130225-2f1y4.html#ixzz2LxWYg16r

  4. Sharon
    Oct 19, 2012

    Thanks for writing these two posts. I think your analogy was very effective, and I’m happy to see such constructive advice.

    I’m not sure if you intended to really conflate these concepts, but I think that street harassment is vastly different from hitting on someone directly. Both are sometimes described as “compliments,” yes, but the speaker is expecting different results.

    It’s annoying for someone to be interrupted repeatedly in a coffee shop. It’s a very different imposition to be yelled at on the street as you’re walking by. As I understand it, street harassment isn’t an attempt to ask for a date or a hookup. It’s just “paying a compliment,” sometimes with the explicit intention to intimidate.

    • TheFerrett
      Oct 19, 2012

      There’s a whole other post on the “compliment by way of intimidation,” but I’m not the one to make it. I know it happens, but I don’t do it, and I don’t hang around men who do. So my familiarity is at a null.

    • Sarah
      Oct 24, 2012

      ALWAYS with the explicit intention to intimidate. It’s about power. When someone is debased to their looks, their humanity is taken away.

      • Aurora Novus
        Feb 25, 2013

        Exactly, which is why street harassment is always done in pairs or groups….it’s not about getting close to a woman, but demonstrating his membership in the cult of masculinity.

  5. Madfishmonger
    Oct 19, 2012

    “But I don’t continue doing the stupid and irritating things I have been doing forever, things will CHANGE! Change is bad! Everything will fall apart!”
    I can’t stand being called a bitch because I don’t want to talk to some wanker. As the commenter above said, it’s pretty rare that two total strangers will hook up. The best way is to go looking for a friend. Treat every potential partner the way you would if you were looking for a new friend. Romance will make its way in if it’s in the cards, but treating people like a friend will really help, because you’re treating them like a person, not a blow-up doll.

  6. Jellyfish
    Oct 19, 2012

    Personally I have never hooked up with anyone based on a random encounter with a stranger in public, but I have made a lot of friends of both genders that way.

    Pay special attention to this line gentlemen! “Would this friendly approach look threatening if she had no clue as to your intent? (Because despite your peppy smile, she does not.)”

    Putting a woman on her guard because your approach seemed threatening to her is probably the best way to make sure she’s never alone with you again and tells all of her friends to stay away from the creepy guy she met.

  7. Colin
    Oct 19, 2012

    Talk about generalizations! Right ALL men are just trying to get into your pants… have you ever thought that there are guys out there who just want to have the possibility of maybe getting to know a stranger they are attrated to? The end result being they may find someone with whom to share thier lfe with.

    Oh and it may just be common sense that’s not so common if some men think it’s OK to hit on women whenever and wherever they are. Unfortunately these idiots seem to outnumber guys like me 10 to 1.

    To Lisa Morton:
    Congrats on meeting your current BF through a mutual friend!

    You try meeting someone single through a mutual friend when you are over 30 and all your friends are married and all they have is other married friends. Heh someone makes a play… its always been me who makes the first move; 15+ years of trying and still striking out! yay me?

    • TheFerrett
      Oct 19, 2012

      “Right ALL men are just trying to get into your pants… have you ever thought that there are guys out there who just want to have the possibility of maybe getting to know a stranger they are attrated to? The end result being they may find someone with whom to share thier lfe with.”

      Yes. And clearly, these men who’d want to find someone to share their life with would be happy to do so platonically, in the sense that they’ll never ever get into the pants of these women. They’d be thrilled to find a life-mate and no kissing, ever.

      …or what you’re peddling is bullshit, friend. Sorry to hear you’re striking out after 15+ years, but perhaps this inability to understand that yes, you’re still trying to fuck them even if you’re fucking them in the context of ZOMG LIFE-LONG COMMITMENT AND CUDDLES, may be a contributing factor. A little more self-reflective honesty may help in the pick-up. Love, T.F.

      • Colin
        Oct 19, 2012

        So what you are saying is that all I want is to find someone to have a platonic life long commitment with and cuddle no sex involved? Look, I want sex as much as the next guy, but I don’t go around hitting on women with that being the first thing on my mind as you imply in your post. How am I still fucking them? Please explain?

        “Not all guys are desperate sperm donors. Some of us actually value a good conversation, and we value girls who have enough respect for themselves that they don’t view sex as a transaction.” –Unknown Author

        Oh and after the amount of medical issues i’ve had, it’s hard NOT to be self-reflective and honest. Especially after you spend 9 hours in critical… you tend to take a very long look at your life and what you’ve accomplished.

        • TheFerrett
          Oct 19, 2012

          (((So what you are saying is that all I want is to find someone to have a platonic life long commitment with and cuddle no sex involved? Look, I want sex as much as the next guy, but I don’t go around hitting on women with that being the first thing on my mind as you imply in your post. How am I still fucking them? Please explain?)))

          Simple: You can claim all you like that “it’s not about fucking.” But realistically, what you want is to talk, and get to know her, and go on a few dates, and make it a very intimate relationship…

          …and then fuck.

          And if fucking’s not a part of it, chances are extremely good that you’re going to feel like she’s wasted your time. Which makes you a liar. It’s like you’re saying, “Oh, no, going out to a restaurant’s not about the eating! It’s about the atmosphere, the good conversation, the experience.” But if you got the bill and went home hungry, you’d be ripped off.

          The point is that yes, maybe fucking isn’t your primary intention, but it’s certainly well in the mix. And they know that. And you going up to them and dancing around your boner, going, “No, this is about getting to know each other! It’s about conversation!” is the kind of sad tactic that makes women not trust you. Because yeah. You want other stuff, but all that is stuff you could get elsewhere. You could have many fine friends who you don’t fuck. Instead, you’re lying about the friendship, and what you really want is the sex.

          And there’s nothing wrong with that, except that you apparently feel that it is wrong. Most people want sex. But you, you’re going, “No, no, it’s more than that,” missing the point that since all of this camraderie is going to be worthless WITHOUT the sex, you’ve pretty much made sex the core of it. That’s a scummy lie you’re telling yourself, and it’s doing you no favors, because chances are good women know what you’re really after, and are turned off by your dishonesty.

          You say it’s not the first thing on your mind. But I’m willing to bet that if you’re straight, you don’t approach guys like this for fun conversations, or angst about it this much if they reject your hand in close friendship. That means that you’re lying to yourself, because really… it IS the first thing on your mind. You just are doing a little dance to pretend otherwise.

          • Colin
            Oct 19, 2012

            Game, set and match!… Thank you for clarifying it (even more) for me… I can be a bit dense sometimes.

          • bob
            Oct 23, 2012

            So, perhaps I am way off here, but the thesis is pretty much “don’t think you’re nice or doing anybody a favor by hitting on strangers”? Sure, continue to do so with the realization that a large proportion of the time it is not wanted, and that you are a selfish prick for it.

            I’m ok with that since that is just about how talking to people I don’t know feels anyways.

          • TheFerrett
            Oct 24, 2012

            Yup, that’s pretty much it.

          • Kit Whelan
            Oct 24, 2012

            I’m floored by how blunt, honest and yet respectful you made that response. I’m probably going to borrow a few of these ideas for my next argument with someone who feels he’s entitled to my time.

    • Lisa Nohealani Morton
      Oct 19, 2012

      You’ll note that I indicated an open-ended list of other avenues to meeting someone. I assume you have a job, maybe hobbies, possibly a church, etc. Or there are bars, singles events, cons, and a whole host of other places that are appropriate places for encountering members of your romantically preferred gender socially and striking up a conversation. Just because your friends have no single friends that you can meet does not mean your only remaining option is to hit on strangers in places where they can be assumed to be going about their business and not looking for a date. Your odds of success will be higher, too, because the people you hit on won’t start out by being annoyed at being interrupted at whatever they were doing.

      You could even try to make new friends, and then you’d get invited to their parties and maybe meet someone. Or I’ve heard the Internet has many dating sites these days, where everyone on them can be assumed to be open to advances.

      But even assuming that someone is for various reasons incapable of meeting people in any of those ways, or is striking out when they try, what would give them the right to go around bothering strangers until and unless they managed to ask one out successfully? Why would their desire for a date be so much more important than other people’s desire to be left alone?

      Also, for the record, I am over 30 and was so at the time that I met my boyfriend, so I’m pretty sure that’s not an age cutoff after which no single people exist.

      • T
        Oct 19, 2012

        No , that age is 40…at least in my experience.

        • Numenaster
          Oct 25, 2012

          Your experience is not universal. I’m 46, and my boyfriend of 3 years is 57. We met through…wait for it…a mutual hobby.

          Boyfriend’s advice on meeting women has served him well for 57 years, and I’ll pass it along here as a public service. “The way to be interesting is to be interested. When you meet a woman you’d like to get to know better, get her talking. Show interest in her AS A PERSON. Ask her questions about her hobbies, what she does for a living–public stuff, not where she lives or where her work address is. Listen to her answers and ask more questions. Let her talk. Do NOT talk about yourself. Do this long enough and she’ll come after you.”

          If she’s not sufficiently interested in you to reach the last stage, she’ll break off the conversation a lot sooner and you’ll only be out a little time. And you might have learned something, maybe.

          • Calenchamien
            May 9, 2013

            Not so crazy about that advice = “Let her talk. Do NOT talk about yourself”. If I’m going to view someone as a potential partner, I want to know a little more than “He’s interested” and “I’m attracted/not attracted to him”. Plus, huge turn off to be the only person carrying the conversation – no sorry, it’s not even a conversation. It’s an interrogation. And, assuming I don’t feel interrogating, it’s going to make me feel (and worry that I’m being seen as) self-centered.
            Finally, even if he’s listening, if he has nothing to contribute, I start wondering if he’s only enduring this until he can get to the sex part. Frankly, if a person’s only response is to ask questions? Sure, he may be interested, but I’m not.

      • Andy
        Oct 21, 2012

        Speaking as a late-thirties singleton I can confirm that meeting people is damn near impossible . All my friends are married or coupled up. My workplace is mostly male and what women there are there are all married. All of them.

        I don’t go around hitting on strangers in public places, but maybe I should.

        Frankly it seems hypocritical for women to expect men to take the initiative then complain when they do.

        • minuialear
          Oct 24, 2012

          You’re missing the point. The point isn’t that you should never approach a person whom you don’t know ever: the point is that it’s rude to solicit someone for sex unless you’re in a situation/environment where the other person is probably (or should be) open to it.

          In other words, flirting (respectably) with a woman you’ve never met before on an online dating site? Acceptable, because she’s put herself on the site to solicit attention. Flirting with a woman in a bookstore who looks like she’s trying to find a particular book? Not acceptable, unless she’s been looking at you in a manner that screams “Flirt with me”; if she hasn’t, it means it’s not what she’s looking for at the moment, and you need to leave her alone. Not respecting is almost guaranteed to cause you to fail.

          As for finding other single women, there is online dating (most of those sites catering to the 30s and older crowd, by the way), there is signing up for classes for single people (try the site Meetup)…the point is, if you’re going to go after complete strangers, do it in scenarios where the other person has willingly put his/herself in a situation where (s)he is expecting to get hit on–don’t just harrass random people everywhere you go hoping one will tell you what you’re hoping to hear.

        • inurashii
          Oct 24, 2012

          If any women here were promoting that standard, you would have a point.

  8. TM_lady
    Oct 19, 2012

    In my experience, when a truly considerate man (or any considerate person) tries to make friends with me as a stranger, it’s not a random compliment (“you’re pretty”) or a one-on-one confrontation (“I’ll buy you a drink”) but something more along the lines of “hey me and my mates are sitting over there at the table, and we noticed you were here by yourself, and wondered if you’d like to join us for a round of drinks/coffee,” and then if I say “no” it’s like “ok ”

    Basically, it’s clear that he doesn’t expect anything romantic (or, for that matter, jesus-related) from me, and if I say no he’s not going to be put off, because he’s got friends and maybe a few other avenues for finding romantic partners. In essence, he’s not sure what he thinks about me, let alone certain that he wants to date me, because he doesn’t know me. He’s just friendly and open to meeting new people.

    Sure, he might be the kind of guy who likes hooking up with new acquaintances – nothing wrong with that – but he doesn’t know if I am also into that sort of thing, or that I would be interested in doing that with him in particular, or that he would even be interested in that sort of thing with me, so he proceeds with caution and without specific expectations…because, again, he doesn’t know me yet.

    And it could be that I take a liking to this guy, or maybe I like one of his mates, or maybe I’m too busy to date/already in a relationship/none of them particularly fancy me/whatever.

    When you are meeting new people, you are going down a path that could lead you in a hundred new directions, all of which make life more interesting and interactive, but only some of which lead to romantic sexytimes. You can’t and shouldn’t try to force the interaction down any one preferred path in defiance or ignorance of the other person’s wishes. You have to acknowledge that deserve only, at most, 50% of the vote. In general, people like me are more receptive to you if you fully embrace this reality, and exude the corresponding attitude.

    • D.C.
      May 3, 2013

      THIS. A million times this. If men who do this yelling (sorry “complimenting”) in the streets and harassing in public (why, yes, I am wearing headphones and reading whilst simulteneously wearing sunglasses at night but, sure, I WANT to talk to YOU on public transit–work overnights and actually had some nervy fuck come sit uncomfortably close on an empty bus and WAKE ME UP to try and talk at me, and, yes, I mean AT me), would simply come up, hand a lady their business card or number and say, ” You seem interesting/lovely/I like the hat you are wearing (not the cleavage shirt that emphasizes the body, but the hat that emphasizes her sense of style), and would be interested in getting to know you a bit better….shoot me a text some time, maybe do coffee next week.” and then WALKED AWAY, we would not even need to have this ridiculous conversation on a thousand blogs everywhere over and over because some very nice people are very dense to others’ feelings and some MRAs think they should have the right to invade your space/day/body. So, yes, gentlemen, the hit and run is the way to do it. Buy some business cards, scrawl a cute note on a napkin, solicit the barista to give her a drink and a headsup while you sit somewhere else and go about your business. If a girl is interested, she will happily contact a GENTLEMAN, if none of them are interested, maybe there is a reason. Maybe she sees you there hitting on other women every week, maybe she doesn’t like your tennis shoes, maybe she’s already quite happily involved. This is important: DON’T TAKE IT PERSONAL. Move it along, plenty of women in the world, find someone else who actually wants to spend time with you. Self-respect is a beautiful thing.

  9. Eric
    Oct 19, 2012

    What people don’t understand is, humanity evolved as a community-oriented species: we’re supposed to be wary of strangers, both male and female. The best way to meet new people, for anything, is to become a part of something. And really genuinely be part of that something for the sake of it, i.e. a gaming club, a startup business, etc. Build a decent reputation for yourself (you don’t have to be the alpha male, or anywhere near that upper echelon). THEN women will know where you’re coming from.

  10. Wyzra
    Oct 20, 2012

    Of course men should know when to back off but otherwise you are totally wrong. Where can a single man meet a woman? Working people have small social circles, and not everyone is a freaky bisexual polyamorous OKCupid user.

    • TheFerrett
      Oct 22, 2012

      Not everyone on OKCupid is freaky, bisexual, or polyamorous. And there are tons of hobby events you can go to in order to meet women – you just have to have a hobby and a personality.

      It’s difficult. But not impossible.

    • minuialear
      Oct 24, 2012

      If you over-generalize groups of people the same way you just over-generalized the OKCupid population, maybe that’s your problem.

  11. Kella
    Oct 20, 2012

    I have an issue with the “it’s not about fucking” vs. wanting a relationship that inevitably is a progression to fucking argument.

    It is possible that as a man, your main goal is sex, or maybe your main goal is a relationship that leads to sex, or maybe it is a relationship with zero sex, or a relationship with a very specific kind of sex. Even if you’re just after a relationship, that is still something that you want to get from her.

    But wanting a relationship, or sex, or whatever you’re after, from a complete stranger, is not the thing that’s offensive or annoying to women. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a relationship with whatever gender your attracted to.

    The thing that gets annoying and gets women to put up their guards is when you assume that what you want is the same thing as what she wants, and if when you approach her, you find out that’s not what she wants, you take that as evidence that she’s a bitch, unkind, etc. It’s just as okay for her to not want something as for you to want something. But you have to respect her in that decision.

    I’m saying this because it seems silly to say, “All men inevitably want sex” because it’s a generalization but ALSO, ” All women dislike being hit on because sex is always the primary goal. But if the man just wanted a relationship with no sex, that would be fine.” That’s still assuming what women want or don’t want, and that’s kind of the problem here.

    I felt like this article addressed a lot of DON’Ts, which I thought were good, like assessing the context of the situation, is this an appropriate place for strangers to talk, etc. But it seemed low on DO’s.

    How about things like, coming from a place of respect and openness? What you want is not an entitlement but a suggestion that she’s free to say no to if she wants, and it’s ON YOU to make sure she knows it’s okay to say no. This is a place where being bumbling and nervous is a lot more charming than being smooth and well rehearsed. Honesty can also be a good tool: “I wanted to start up a conversation with you because you’re really cute but couldn’t think of a way, so I thought I might offer to buy you a cup of coffee?”

    And, not all women are going to find this appealing either. There’s no guarantee because WE’RE ALL DIFFERENT. Part of the risk is being okay with getting it wrong and not blaming her for the mismatch in desires.

    And lastly, it should be said that this article completely leaves out women hitting on women. Similar principles apply but it is a very different kettle of fish.

  12. Who'd by
    Oct 21, 2012

    It’s a bit presumptuous to purport to speak for women.

    • TheFerrett
      Oct 22, 2012

      It’s a bit presumptuous to purport to speak for people, too, but I notice that didn’t draw attention.

      • Kella
        Oct 26, 2012

        Actually, I mentioned generalizations that seem unnecessary for both men and women, which I guess may leave out a portion of the population, but I would qualify that as “people”.

        I’m not saying that no women agree with the stance in this article. I’m saying that the “guys just want sex, that’s why women are fed up with their offers” part is just one angle of a larger problem, and that “guys wanting sex” is not the larger part of it.

        So some women have an issue with guys wanting sex, some are fine with it, some women like compliments or “gentlemen behavior”, some women find it condescending, some women never want to be asked out by a stranger, some women wish they would be.

        Wanting something is not bad. Understanding that someone else does not necessarily want the same thing that you do and being clearly open to and accepting of no for an answer is what I was looking to emphasize.

    • Kim W.
      Oct 23, 2012

      It’s a bit presumptuous to presume that there aren’t some women who agree QUITE STRONGLY with what he said.

  13. Larry P.
    Oct 21, 2012

    First off this article is not about how to hit on women the right way. It’s just an argument extension of your last post. You mention OKCupid in your last paragraph, albeit aloofly. The post title is most misleading.

    Second, OKCupid is a bad solution. You get far more information about a person within the first 10 seconds of seeing and interacting with them in person than in a weeks worth of email exchanges online. OKCupid and online dating are time wasters often inflated by lies from both sexes

    Third, your arguments, by extension, also indicate that you are not ok with things like Valentine’s Day, Anniversaries, random gift giving, etc. Taking your significant other out to dinner? Sexual harassment, you just are bribing her to get in your pants. Valentina’s Day? Bribery for sex in every way. Anniversaries? You don’t new to buy her anything, unless you’re trying to bribe her for sex. Sending her flowers at work for no reason? Bribery!

    Your argument is quite contradictory. Unless you firmly believe that the only way sex can ever occur without it having some connotation of misogyny or sexual harassment is for it to happen out of non flirtatious, non sexually stimulating, muted interaction between two people. Because even flirting is a form of bribery according to you.

    • Cady
      Oct 24, 2012

      That’s not what i understood. He was trying to demonstrate that it’s not always nice to approach, or be approached by a stranger in public, unsolicited, and effectively buy some of their time. He mentioned nothing about buying things for significant others. Assuming the couple were together in a successful relationship with mutual respect, etc, then I’m sure neither party would mind sporadic gifts to make each other feel good.

    • inurashii
      Oct 24, 2012

      This is a topic about human interaction. No one is trying to set !!!RELATIONSHIP RULES!!! or anything. The Ferrett has no obligation to provide you with an airtight argument; he is providing a perspective on why it is that many women react badly to being approached by strangers.

      The article resonated with a lot of women, which is probably an indication that there’s something to learn from it.

    • Ricki
      May 16, 2013

      If two people are already in a relationship, then any kind of gift giving or romantic outing takes place in a context of understanding between the two people. Both of them understand “Hey, we’re going to have a nice evening, and maybe get it on later” or “This is purely a gift of affection” or whatever context is created by those two people. In any case, the gift would not be coming out of nowhere, and any implications of the gift (or lack thereof) shouldn’t be a complete mystery either, because the couple have reached a certain level of understanding of each other. If I’m in a serious relationship with someone, I know that if they buy me a gift, it’s not just about sex, but also about affection (even if sex is part of it).

      But when a gift or advance comes from a stranger? I don’t know you. There is no context of familiarity or mutual understanding. I have to discern what exactly your intentions are based on probability and experience, and both of those point straight to “hey I want to get in your pants”.

  14. Larry P.
    Oct 21, 2012

    The population sample of women who will react in the ways laid out in these two article is small enough for me to continue being nice by giving a girl a compliment or buying her a drink. Maybe I will encounter a feminist or femenazi here and there, but I also have the chance of encountering a tranny or a serial killer or a mentally disturbed individual. Most girls out there love compliments, love being given flowers or other signs of affection. Pretty much because they are human beings and not robots. So my chances of continuing and succeeding are vastly in my favor. Arguments like these are just a sample of a vocal minority.

    • YaelTiferet
      Oct 22, 2012

      WOW. “Tranny”? “Femenazi”?

      By all means continue down the road you’re on; I wouldn’t want to run into you in person and somehow get the idea you respect women.

    • Kim W.
      Oct 23, 2012

      Larry – just because a woman turns you down, it doesn’t make her a “feminazi.” It makes her an individual who’s got other shit to do.

    • NellieBly
      Oct 23, 2012

      “A feminist or a femenazi (sic)”? Really??

    • Coriandre
      Oct 23, 2012

      *facepalm* you are so, so missing all the points, dude. I mean, using (and misspelling) the term “feminazi” is a red flag to begin with – it makes you come across as an angry, sexually insecure little man who blames women for whatever lack of success he’s had with them. Not saying that’s what you are, that’s just how your comment reads.

      Also, your misconception that all forms of gifts or flirting are bribery is way off base. Giving a partner a gift is a gesture of affection – if they’re already dating you, chances are you’re going to be having sex with them on days when you don’t give them gifts as well. The article isn’t talking about that. It’s talking about approaching women who are complete strangers and feeling like because you said something complimentary to them or bought them a drink, they are therefore obligated to talk to you and let you hit on them and are frigid bitches if they don’t want to talk. Being a feminist has nothing to do with it, unless by “feminist” you mean “woman who won’t put up with your bullshit”.

    • Sarah
      Oct 24, 2012

      So you buy flowers, speak in complements, and open doors? Sorry, I can do those things for myself and would prefer a partner who is capable of treating me like a human and not put me on a pedestal or kick me to the curb when I speak my mind.

      • Jorge
        Oct 30, 2012

        It’s not a dichotomy, Sarah. Someone can give you presents and be nice to you while (or because) they respect you and don’t put you on a pedestal. It’s not one or the other, necessarily.

        • Guest
          Nov 22, 2012

          I think it’s safe to assume that, if a guy thinks it’s okay to use terms like “feminazi” and “tranny,” he isn’t the type to treat people respectfully anyway.

          • Ricki
            May 16, 2013

            Agreed.

      • seloc
        Jun 11, 2013

        Lets face it you are bitter and angry, there is no way that you would be happy with what men do. You will always, but ALWAYS find a reason to complain.

  15. Dolanpls
    Oct 21, 2012

    “The overall reaction from men is a whiny, “But I’m being nice!” No, sir, you are not. You’re buying a coffee to try to get in her pants. The whole “What a nice guy I am!” aspect makes it easier for you to approach an intimidating situation, but let’s not romanticize this moment. You’re not paying a compliment to that old, unattractive woman, or sharing your love of Terry Pratchett books with that dude over there. You’re trying to buy five minutes of a cute woman’s time via a combination of guilt and gift-giving. Jeez, what a prince you are!”

    Um, no. Believe it or not, sometimes I just want to be nice to someone or make a friend. Not everything is about your vagina.

    • TheFerrett
      Oct 22, 2012

      …So you also do this “buying drinks for strangers” dance with men, to be nice and make friends? Or is it solely women?

      If so, you’re exempt. If not, then you’re lying to yourself.

      • seloc
        Jun 11, 2013

        No, just no, its old fashioned human attraction, millions of years of biology. A man likes to spend time in the company of an attractive woman. You and these crazy feminists would have all men feel bad about completely 100% natural emotions. Just because a man is talking to an attractive woman it dose’t mean he is actively trying to get in to her pants, he may of had the thought that he would like to sleep with this woman, so f**king what, if he did’t have that thought at one point, he would be gay (witch is also fine. Some men are naturally gay) But why do you people think a man has got no god dam right talking to a woman he is attracted to.

        • Krishna
          Jun 24, 2013

          So it is about sex, seloc. There is nothing wrong with that if men would stop being so dishonest with themselves and with the women they interact with. If it isn’t about sex, you wouldn’t be trying to solicit attention from attractive women specifically.

          Not all straight men try humping everything in sight. Way to generalize, sexist.

        • Cakemaker
          Jul 8, 2013

          A guy DOES have the right to talk to a woman, in fact he has just as much right to talk to a woman as that woman has the right to be left alone if she wants to.

          That’s the gist of it. I recognize a man’s right to try and strike up a conversation, what more often than not happens though, is that that man does not recognize MY right to end that conversation or completely shut him down if I don’t feel like talking or if I am busy.
          My right to be left alone is not lesser than anyone else’s right to take up my time.

          • Julie
            Nov 29, 2013

            Actually, since people’s rights stops where others begin: your right to be left alone and not harassed by strange men takes precedence over his “right” to bother you.

  16. Lilla
    Oct 23, 2012

    I really liked the first article and thought this was a good follow on. It reminded me of Phaedra Starling’s article on advice for men approaching strange women which is very funny and definitely worth a read, especially for the guys on here asking how to meet women: http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger%E2%80%99s-rapist-or-a-guy%E2%80%99s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/

  17. Brandon Van Every
    Oct 23, 2012

    The author does not seem to be familiar with an adage that proto-men learn early: “You snooze, you lose.”

    We’re not really interested in hitting on women less because some of them may not like it. We’re after what we want, which is to get results. Sure, buying a coffee may be a bad tactic… or a great tactic, it depends on the woman and we’re not mindreaders. Nor are we especially gifted at picking up any and every nuance of body language or tonality etc. Thus you are assailed with direct speech. If the speech is not compelling and fails, fine, whatever, the guy slinks away to find the next “victim.” So what? If you don’t like men in public approaching you, then don’t hang out in public. Feel free to shut them down however you like, but we’re never going to stop trying, until you’re not obviously desirable anymore.

    We’re not going to adopt your litany of “best” ways to initiate “meaningful” relationships because it’s not in our best interest to do so. You want what you want, we want what we want… if that aligns, great! If not, oh well, too bad. You go away irked that you got bothered, he goes away irked that he didn’t get a phone number. On to the next “crisis.”

    • TheFerrett
      Oct 24, 2012

      I am aware of what you’re out for, just as I’m aware of why scammers pick on lonely old women (it works sometimes!) and businessmen pick on uneducated people (it works sometimes!). Doesn’t mean I don’t find it distasteful.

      And somehow, I manage to snooze in this category and not lose at all.

      • Brandon Van Every
        Oct 24, 2012

        You don’t know me and have no idea what *I’m* out for. Except that I am trying to get a result, just like all the other guys who are taking action instead of passively letting the world go by. “You snooze you lose” means if you’re a guy, and you don’t take action, some other guy will come along and take action and you’ll get nowhere. She’ll be out with him, not you. Yes, women can snooze all day, if they’re attractive. They’ll be pestered indefinitely, they really don’t have to lift a finger to cause anything to happen. We have opposite gender roles in that regard and until you gals start hitting on the guys all the time, we’re going to keep doing what we do because that’s pretty much what we have to do to get somewhere.

        • Cady
          Oct 24, 2012

          Your approach to women is utterly Victorian. You just wonderfully highlighted all the points The Ferret was trying to make!

          ” If you don’t like men in public approaching you, then don’t hang out in public. ”
          Then I guess we should just stay indoors all day and not get a real education and learn to be proper little housewives and wait for our daddies to auction us off to the wealthiest suitor! We have every right to be in public as you do. Would you like being harassed in public on a regular basis, based purely on the way you look? Your comments show just how little you know about women, and how women deserve to be treated in the 21st Century.

          ““You snooze you lose” means if you’re a guy, and you don’t take action, some other guy will come along and take action and you’ll get nowhere. She’ll be out with him, not you. Yes, women can snooze all day, if they’re attractive. They’ll be pestered indefinitely, they really don’t have to lift a finger to cause anything to happen.”

          Wonderful; simply delightful. You’re suggesting, in effect, that women’s minds, their personality, their opinions don’t matter at all, it’s purely their looks that count. You see a woman sitting in a coffee shop and think “yes, she’s the one I want to get with,” without even consulting her, without even asking about her interests.

          And you make the assumption that women are utterly passive when it comes to initiating a friendship, or in fact a relationship. I actually initiated the relationship I am currently in, as he was far too shy to even talk to me and i found him utterly fascinating. The fact of the matter is, the intelligent, worthwhile people in this world (this goes for men AND women) don’t make judgments purely on looks or first impressions. They appreciate the person for who they are, not what they can offer them. So perhaps the reason you have to resort to such lowly methods to acquire women, is in fact, because you make for bad conversation.

          If I was sat in a coffee shop; a somewhat plump young woman in nerdy glasses, with a book, very little make-up on and somewhat unruly hair; but across the room there was a buxom lady fully painted and groomed to perfection, I know exactly which one you’d approach. And I would be silently smug that I was not the subject of your pathetic mating ritual.

        • TheFerrett
          Oct 24, 2012

          Your response is patently absurd because it means we live in a world where the only way men can find women is to approach them as strangers in a place hostile to interactions. Which is a great way to stack the deck: I mean, if you take out work, social meet-ups, Craigslist, singles bars, OKCupid, friends, parties of friends, and dance clubs, then men have no choice but to approach women wherever they stand!

          Which is bullshit. Basically, what you’re saying is exactly what I said: “Hey, someone’s gotta take a shot. Why not me?” Which is, also as I said, a way of dehumanizing women to say, “Well, if they’re in public, that means they’re open game.” Which is a reasonably shitty attitude towards women. You think of them as an opportunity, an “action” to be taken, instead of as people who may desire privacy.

          As noted, I snooze a lot in terms of “not hitting on women I don’t know,” but still I seem to get somewhere. There are other methods; they just don’t get you the pretty girl you want to try now, now, NOW.

          As for your opener: You don’t know me, either, but hey. It doesn’t matter. The “You don’t know me!” is the first acknowledgement of loss in a comment thread, since no, we don’t know you, we just know the ideas (and perhaps idiotic ones) espoused in the comment. And that’s all we need to know, since this is a comment thread.

        • inurashii
          Oct 24, 2012

          There are all these men, just waiting to swoop in and take away the pussy that you richly deserve!

          You have to grab the pussy!

          You PUAs seriously have the most nauseating rhetoric.

          • Paige
            Oct 24, 2012

            Oh, my god, I almost just laughed out loud at work

        • Miche
          Oct 30, 2012

          Women are not “results.” We are people, and your blitherings are a prime example of why articles like these are needed.

        • Rick
          Jan 21, 2013

          With all due respect, Brandon, you need to quit talking out of your…nether regions. Speaking as one of the “snoozers” of the dating world (I managed my first date at the age of 31, after having asked a grand total of six women before that), I can quite firmly state that I in no way “lost” or “settled” when I met my wife.

        • seloc
          Jun 11, 2013

          Exactly everybody has got needs, even sexual needs, even women have got sexual needs but the thing is, a woman can fulfil that need very easily, all they have to do is ask and its done. Can you imagen a man just asking, wow! he would prop be locked up. But there is no way to go about this without upsetting the crazy feminists, they wont be happy until men make no move what so ever to fulfil this need and just wait to be asked (even then they will prop find something to be angry about) they will never see that men and women are biologically and sexually programed to be how they are. Are some men total pricks? yes, and so are some women. Thats the way its always been and the way it always will be.

          • Krishna
            Jun 24, 2013

            Humans aren’t ‘programmed’ to do anything. We aren’t rigid machines, even as I type, my body is evolving. In the grand scheme of things, humans are a fairly new species. Perhaps you PUAs and MRAs should stop taking in shoddy evolutionary psychology and start becoming more informed about biology, since you love talking about how men and women are biologically/sexually “programmed” so much, whatever the fuck that means.

            I don’t consider myself more attractive than the next guy, but I get laid by telling women I want to have sex with them. I haven’t been locked up yet. Some women may find my bluntness offputting, however, I usually talk to a woman long enough to gauge if she’d be the type of person who’d be okay with my straight forward way of propositioning them for sex. If they reject me, I move on. If they accept, I never kiss and tell. I get sex because I’m honest and I make women feel comfortable, not because I harass them in the streets. And even with rejection comes friendship (sometimes), and one can never have too many friends in this world.

    • T
      Oct 24, 2012

      “You go away irked that you got bothered, he goes away irked that he didn’t get a phone number.”

      So, what happens when the dude who hits on you at the coffee shop doesn’t go away when you ask them to? What do you do when a guy refuses to leave you alone? (It happens, believe me). It isn’t just being “irked” — when a strange man gets in my personal space and continues to bother me after I have said “Thanks but no thanks,” it becomes far more than just a bother. It’s really frightening to be harassed by someone who is bigger and stronger than you physically, and doesn’t seem to realise that ‘no means no’. So what would you do in that situation?

      I don’t think the author’s point was ‘never approach women ever because you’re a bad person’. I think what guys need to do is take a good look at the girl you are going to approach. Look at her body language. If she’s facing away from you, no eye contact, her headphones are in, she’s reading a book, she doesn’t want to talk to you. If she says, “No,” without so much as a ‘thank you’, she doesn’t want to talk to you.
      See, there’s this idea that women are required to smile and be nice to people, especially people who are in their personal space and bothering them. Which is, frankly, bullshit.

      Talking from my experience as a woman, if I am sitting on a train or in a coffee shop I am likely to have my earphones in and be writing. I do not want to be disturbed. If someone bothers me, I will be annoyed and no, I do not have to be nice because you are not doing me a favour by explicitly ignoring my body language and my demeanour to talk to me. And sometimes I have been so fed up with being harassed that nothing short of a “Fuck off!” will dissuade them. And then of course I get called a bitch. I can’t win.

      Guys need to stop thinking they are entitled to our time and personal space. Ok? And that’s part of what these articles are talking about. You are not doing a girl a favour by offering to spend $4 on a coffee — and oftimes a girl will refuse this simply because sometimes men believe that if you buy something for a girl, that they owe you something in return. Which is, again, bullshit.

    • Paige
      Oct 24, 2012

      Are you kidding? Are you? “If you don’t like men in public approaching you, then don’t hang out in public. ” So, women don’t have the right to exist in public without being approached in a sexual context? I mean, really, do you also think that if women don’t want to be raped then they shouldn’t go out in public?

      • Brandon Van Every
        Oct 24, 2012

        Responding to several people:

        Frankly, people who intend to get real work done *do* stay “indoors all day,” such as at home, an office, or a library, where they can more done without interruptions. A person trying to get “so much work done” at a coffee house cannot be taken seriously, as far as them not wanting any distractions at all. You are responsible for where you choose to get your work done; if it isn’t an ideal location, don’t blame others.

        When you’re in public, *anyone* has the legal right to initiate a conversation with you. Even the police. You don’t have any special rights entitling you to silence. You have rights as far as whether to *continue* a conversation. Like if you say “no thanks” or “no” or even more strongly “go away!” it stops being consensual and starts being harassment. You can deal with true harassment in any way that is legally and morally appropriate. I prefer threatening to dial 911 on my cell phone. If you really have to pull out your concealed handgun and point it at some guy, fine, do what ya gotta do. But men are going to approach you until you’re not pretty anymore, so you’re going to have to decide for yourself what your Rules Of Engagement are.

        “Intelligent, worthwhile” people have all sorts of proclivities that have nothing to do with how *you personally* think they’re supposed to get up with one another.

        Let’s “take out” a few venues. “Work.” You’re not at my work. I’m a computer guy. Last time I was in an office, there were no women in my workgroup. There were women elsewhere in the company, but they tended to be 15 years older than me, and probably married too. The most recent job I had, I telecommuted. So no, you’re not at my work. I’ve never expected to meet any women in the computer industry as long as that is my career. There are darned too few of them and way too many guys. It could happen anyways, but the odds say it won’t. It’s a big problem in the STEM professions but I can’t personally fix it, I can only deal with the situation as it is.

        “Social meet-ups.” Yeah that can work. Or not. Professionals are busy. Groups have trouble staying organized. Social chemistry doesn’t always pan out. Groups never meet often enough for someone who’s really trying to get something going. Some groups only meet once a month. Miss 1 month, continuity is lost, and quickly results in a lack of attendance. Sure, things happen in groups. But they don’t have to. I can hardly blame any guy or gal for trying *something else*.

        “Craigslist and OkCupid.” Gag! What incredible timewasters. Free sites are full of bottom feeders. Paid sites aren’t much better, especially if you’re in a more regressive part of the country. Strong feelings of been there, done that.

        “Singles bars.” Would it shock you to learn that some people aren’t interested in alcohol as a regular part of their life? Why do you think you’re being hit on at a *coffee* house?

        “Friends, parties of friends.” Who says your friends know any women, or have the social graces and connections to throw parties? If you’ve got such a heavily lubricated social existence, you probably have no idea what the life of an introvert is like.

        “Dance clubs.” Some people don’t like the cheesy music or the cheesy social behaviors. I’d *like* to hear your complaints about being hit on at a dance club. I mean, if you complain about being hit on at a coffee house…

        Yep, approaching women wherever they stand is sounding pretty good to me. Thump that cantaloupe carefully, wouldn’t want to send the wrong signals. ;-)

        • Numenaster
          Oct 25, 2012

          So, let’s recap. You work from home. You assume (on no evidence) that women elsewhere in the company are all married. You are an introvert. You don’t go out to bars or dance clubs. You may have friends, but none who throw parties.

          Your difficulties meeting women appear to have a common source, and it’s not them. I know quite a few guys with similar resume’s and habits, and I know them because they pushed themselves to go join a group to find people to socialize with (and possibly date). Also because they don’t approach conversations with an attitude of using “tactics” to get “results”, as you said above.

          ” we’re never going to stop trying, until you’re not obviously desirable anymore.” It seems that you are only interested in getting “results” from the hot girls. Congratulations on narrowing your field down to the nanoscale. No wonder you aren’t getting the “results” you want: it’s because you aren’t offering anything a woman actually wants. What you’re offering, we can get from a vibrator for free.

          • Krishna
            Jun 24, 2013

            If I punch in the cheat codes, she will dispense sex at me.

        • paige
          Nov 6, 2012

          Come on, people do not exclusively –or even often — go to coffee shops to pick up a date. So you can’t find a date anywhere else? That’s your problem, and you can’t assume that whatever woman you find attractive is there to be hit on. You’re not respecting her as an individual.

        • D.C.
          May 3, 2013

          I feel like some very, very large (to keep it proportionate–I’m 5 foot even) dominant bear male needs to follow Mr. Van Everyjerk down the street some dark night and catcall him. Failing that, just send some rather unattractive woman ten years his senior to buy him a coffee, then keep sending another person he finds untempting to keep doing this ’til he gets the point hammered in.

  18. Beenie
    Oct 23, 2012

    Yes! So good!

  19. Demon
    Oct 24, 2012

    THANK YOU. This whole article is ON POINT. As a young woman, I can’t say too many men have bought me drinks, but I’ve been given a few phone numbers (which men acted like was the equivalent of handing over the key to the city, like I should be HONORED), and on one occasion, told that what my husband didn’t know wouldn’t kill him.

    Newsflash to the men complaining: there are ways of approaching women in public without making them feel like big pieces of meat. If you want to buy a woman coffee, try instead asking a woman at a cafe if she’d mind if you shared her table. See if she’s open to having a conversation. General notes about body language: If she’s tense, the answer is no. If she turns her body away from you, the answer is no. If she is giving curt, one-word answers, the answer is no.

    And when the answer is no, just back off. No doesn’t always mean no forever, and it’s something that should be respected. Believe it or not, treating a woman with some damn respect will earn you some respect. And sometimes some company.

    (stop the cat-calling on the streets (respect), and telling women that they should smile (I’m not a doll, I have shit going on), too. There are few things that piss me off more than being treated as less than human.)

  20. Andrew
    Oct 24, 2012

    It’s a good article, but it still doesn’t address the “how-to” so much as the “how-not-to”. Along with “just be yourself!” nearly all the advice I have ever heard about trying to ask people out has been phrased negatively, in terms of what not to do. Actually the filters you suggest are more useful than most of that advice (for which thank you), but they’re still filters—you need to have some idea what you’re planning to to before you can run that plan through them to check if it’s OK.

    So: how SHOULD you ethically hit on people? What does that look like? I’m absolutely serious: I think we need a clearer picture of it, and I think everyone would benefit from there being one, because it would make the advice more likely to get followed by people who are crappy at this. All suggestions not mainly phrased as negatives welcome.

    • Brandon Van Every
      Oct 24, 2012

      Women can only tell you so much about how to successfully hit on women. They do have perspectives worth taking into account. However, at the end of a day there’s a big difference between what they *say* they want to happen, and what many will actually respond to. Like for instance, complaining about all those males pestering them at coffee houses… until *the right* male comes along. The Pick Up Artist community has interesting perspectives on what “the right” male is to a lot of women. Take their perspectives with a grain of salt; they may partly help you, or greatly help you, depending on who you are and what you want. But many in that community have their own demons they’re dealing with, and they never gave me any magic answers.

      One of their better pieces of advice, however, is NEVER let a woman “own” your mind as to whether you can hit on women or not. You can hit on them; it’s not up to them to decide that. They can only decide how they’ll respond to you hitting on them – or they can hit on you, making your life easier. In general, don’t let other people “culturally colonize” your mind as to what is “ethical.” Own your ethics.

      • Amy
        Oct 29, 2012

        You sound delightful. I’m surprised to hear you’re still single. /sarcasm

      • Krishna
        Jun 24, 2013

        Those silly fickle women can never make up their pretty hysterical little minds, can they? I can’t believe you’re still single, because you clearly know what women want more than women themselves do.

        Let me guess, you’re truly a nice beta male trying to make it in an alpha male world?

    • No, there absolutely is a “how to” in this article, but, despite the article’s subtitle, it’s not actually”how to hit on a woman ethically”–although some hints to that would come naturally from understanding what the real “how to” thesis of this article is.

      It’s the same “how to” as the previous article, which is “how to better understand women’s perspective, which may well differ from yours.” Also, possibly, “how to see women as people.”

      It’s really telling, the difference between who read these articles and say, “Oh, is that how it is for you? Wow, I never realized. I understand now,” and those who read it thinking, “I am totally adding this to my strategy book on How To Be A Player.”

  21. JSM
    Oct 24, 2012

    An awful lot of comments, I didn’t read them all.

    If us men are going to be tasked with doing 90% of the initial hard work, then women will just have to learn to be gracious about saying yes, no, or maybe to our propositions. It’s hard to feel sorry for an attractive, confident woman being politely approached by men. If it happens often, well, be thankful for your genetics and upbringing that got you here.

    Now true harassment, yelling, catcalling, things that truly intimidate–that’s different, and not ok.

    It would be interesting to get the perspective of some women from Israel or Latin America, where the men are apparently much more aggressive/assertive, and women evolve defense mechanisms to deal with it.

    • Sarah
      Oct 24, 2012

      I can understand your frustration, but I’d like to point out that women will be harassed no matter what they look like. If someone is perceived as having a vagina, she will be harassed. As a woman, it’s really very hard to take your own voice seriously after the constant debasement. A lot of women aren’t able to spiritually separate themselves and they shut down.
      Don’t blame the victim by not feeling sorry for them if they’re attractive. It isn’t her fault. When you do that, you are reinforcing that looks are her only value. When approaching a woman, don’t let it be because she’s hot. Maybe she’ll be interested in sleeping with you, but again, be sensitive to the constant debasement society subjects her to.

  22. Sarah
    Oct 24, 2012

    I love the articles you wrote, but I want to point out that some of the language you use normalizes violence against women.

    What I mean is the phrase “hit on her.” Though, it is socialized to speak in this manner, I do think our language has a huge impact on how we view gender norms in addition to all other aspects of society. Try to catch yourself next time if this resonates with you at all!

    • Brandon Van Every
      Oct 25, 2012

      At present in our society, “hit on her / him” has the virtue of clarity. What’s an alternate term that doesn’t sacrifice clarity?

      As for the subtext, it seems to suggest that sexual propositioning is a form of violence. I think that says a lot about the sex negative culture we live in. Just as this article does, that there’s something basically wrong with men hitting on women in coffee houses, that the women in coffee houses are not supposed to be wanting any sex, that it’s a static unyielding feature of the environment rather than a dynamic communication between 2 people, that interruptions in public are a violation of women’s rights… it’s an awful lot of construction over something that could be as simple as “Hi!”

      The term also carries the connotation that sex is the *only* reason for the interaction. Which is often false, as men are often not that one-dimensional.

      • Sarah
        Oct 28, 2012

        I’m actually responding to the actual use of the word “hit” being the violent term. Why not use “flirt” instead?

      • Sarah
        Oct 28, 2012

        Ps, women aren’t often that one-dimensional either. It’s a case by case basis. People regardless of gender can sense the intent by an approach. And even if the approach is good natured, sometimes people just want to be left alone.

        It has little to do with a sex negative culture (which I don’t think is the case, I think we live in a sexually repressed and sexually uninformed culture). Because of this, sadly, women and occasionally men are publicly mistreated based on sex. That’s the issue this article deals with. How NOT to mistreat someone based on their sex.

  23. Sarah Hans
    Oct 24, 2012

    I love that you mentioned OKCupid at the end. This is where I met my current love two years ago, and some of my friends have found their long-term boyfriends (or casual hookups) there as well.

  24. helpful adam
    Oct 24, 2012

    ryu’s more of a fireball spammer. ken’s specialty is dragon punch.

    • TheFerrett
      Oct 24, 2012

      Fun fact: originally, that line was “Guile’s handcuffs move” (from SF II), but I decided to change it to be a little less accurate but a little more accessible.

  25. CW
    Oct 24, 2012

    I love your articles right now.
    And you’re right, it is about approach. I don’t get a lot of people who approach me in a “can I buy you a coffee” way, but it’s flattering if they do. There are girls who this happens to all the time, and those are the ones who take it for granted that they’ve been given an advantage with being pretty.
    I am a blunt and honest person; this has been obvious to me for years. I have learned to let out only what I feel is positive, though. I will give guys and girls random compliments if I pass them; sometimes I will say something just to make someone smile.

    • seloc
      Jun 11, 2013

      But a guy can’t say something just to make someone smile. No, the guy has got to acknowledge that hes being selfish.

  26. no Nope
    Oct 24, 2012

    ‘The trick is understanding that this is in no way a compliment. It’s a strategy.’

    Yes! Spot on.

  27. saoili
    Oct 26, 2012

    “Will the human race die out without your botheration?”

    Nope. I live in Ireland. As far as I know, asking strangers out is pretty much never done here. And, ya know, we’re not known for NOT reproducing…

    • Guest
      Nov 22, 2012

      lol Brilliant. I laughed so hard at this. :)

  28. Chris
    Nov 9, 2012

    Can’t say that I appreciate your previous analogy. If you showed up to the coffee house with the intention of talking to people about jesus, but only the ones you want to talk to about it, for some reason, then the problem is yours.

    People don’t randomly harass other people in coffee houses where I live, but if you go to a singles bar, dressed to attract attention, because you want to get that attention, you are going to have to tolerate getting that attention from people you don’t want as well as from those who do.

    It doesn’t matter if it’s fair. It’s reality, and changing it isn’t feasible without a change in the dynamic of who ‘buys the coffee’. If she’s going to turn around and buy the guy the drink at a singles bar, how does she know she’s not harassing him, since the way that’s decided is entirely subjective and can’t be read before interaction?

    Your premise is flawed, and it derails your entire argument. If you go to a singles bar with the expectation you’ll be left alone to work, why are you at the singles bar?

    And if you’re at a coffee house busy working, do you really get interupted that much? I never see it. You admit you made the whole thing up to demonstrate a point, but your point fails because it neglects the part of the analogy where you went to the coffee house precisely so you could be talked to about Jesus.

    Sorry if I didn’t give you enough positive reinforcement, but this is intended as constructive criticism.

    • TheFerrett
      Nov 9, 2012

      If you want to give GOOD constructive criticism, you would have looked at the many, many comments from women saying this happens to them when they’re NOT dressed up at singles bars, and reacted appropriately. As it is, what you did here is went, “Well, in certain places women would like to be hit on, so if they get hit on at all, it’s their fault!”

      No. Sometimes, a woman’s just at a bar – not a singles bar, a bar – and gets hit on a lot. Sometimes, they’re on the bus and it happens. Sometimes, they’re just standing there. Which is something stated over and over. And to tell me my premise is flawed on the rather dim assumption that I went to the coffee house to talk about Jesus, when there are hundreds of responses from women all over the net to this piece saying, “I GET TALKED TO EVERYWHERE WHETHER I WANT TO BE OR NOT, AND I DID NOT WANT THE COME-TO-JESUS TALK” is to do the rather dim thing of thinking that they wanted it.

  29. Giles
    Nov 9, 2012

    I like to talk to strangers. Sometimes it leads to long and interesting conversations and sometimes not – surely the key is to read how the other person is interpreting your behaviour.

    I generally like it when strangers talk to me but sometimes they turn out to be a bit nutty and then I’d rather be somewhere else.

    I wouldn’t offer to buy someone a coffee but I might choose to talk to them. In this act I offer the choice between drinking alone and glancing occasionally at our phones and learning a little more about another human.

    Sex is really not the motivating factor!

    • TheFerrett
      Nov 10, 2012

      Well, in that case, Godspeed. As an introvert, people like you often bring me out of my shell. That’s different, and I usually support it, especially if you’re cool if I’m busy.

  30. Pyx
    Nov 11, 2012

    At times like this I’m glad I’m fat, since fat is currently seen as unattractive by the idiot brigade commenting here. Of course I still get the odd one who’s crappy tactics have had him shot down so many times he’ll hit on the fat chick ’cause she must be desperate and she’ll be grateful *gag*.

    Most of the guys I’ve dated have been shy, socially awkward and interested in the same things I am, we’ve met, been friends, realised we were flirting and one of us made the first move (without any assumptions).

    The few guys who have tried treating me like they earned stuff from me because they pretended they were nice or interested lasted about as long as a snowball on a hot stove and their chances of getting better than a polite go away were infinitesimally small.

    For those who now seem to get it, smiling and moving on give a woman an opening to smile back without feeling obligated, a polite hi if it’s someone you’ve seen several times and let things move at a natural pace. Finding hobbies, book clubs, local events is a good way to meet someone and gives you an easy topic for starting conversations

  31. Some guy from someplace
    Jan 9, 2013

    This is all very well, but allow me and others like (if such people exist) to be bitter in peace.

    I don’t talk to people out of context and never have. This has the inevitable effect of me not having friends nor of course romantic partners. (Not strictly true – I’m 29 and have had 5 friends in the course of my life, 1 at a time for 1-3 years or so, due largely to their efforts)

    Yes I do have hobbies, one of which involves other people. A form of partnered social dancing. But as I said, I don’t talk to people out of context (so in this case, I’d be limited to a few words like “care to dance? Thanks! sure! and No-thanks :)” ).

    It’s hard for me to get over the feeling that it’s incredibly rude to talk to people out of context , a feeling reinforced in reading your two blog posts. However, by sticking to this deeply rooted self-imposed rule I ensure that I don’t make friends. I accept my responsibility in that.

    Still, I feel bitter about not having friends and to some extent I resent the truth (and I’ve always believed it to be true) that it’s rude to talk to people out of context. But I’d rather be bitter than be that rude.

    I’d appreciate it if you let me (us, if there are more like me) be bitter and resentful at the norms of the world without being portrayed as having motives I don’t have, or accused of being deluded for thinking I don’t have such motives.

  32. Terri
    Jan 21, 2013

    If a man walks up to a woman to strike up a friendly conversation, he may be completely convinced that he’s not out trying to get sex from her. “It’s not about that,” he thinks. “I’m just being friendly.” But then you notice that this man doesn’t walk up to men, elderly women, etc. It is obvious to everyone but him that he is targeting a specific subgroup of women for a specific purpose. If you are telling yourself “I’m just being friendly” but you’re only “friendly” to women you find attractive, you’re not just being friendly. You’re using a strategy (great turn of phrase, that sentence).

    If you’re just being friendly, you’ll be equally friendly to everyone.

    This isn’t saying it’s not OK to approach someone you have a romantic or sexual interest in. It means be honest with yourself about what you’re doing. It isn’t a favor to her. That doesn’t make it wrong, just be aware that you’re not talking to her out of charitable civic-mindedness or anything like that.

    Having a friendly conversation (or at least taking a shot at one) is not out of context with a dance partner. That is a great place to start a conversation and get to know someone. “The roof is the introduction,” as we sometimes say–they’ve voluntarily come to an inherently social situation and I don’t see how friendly socializing is out of context. Perhaps you are one of the the rare individuals who needs to widen out your definition of appropriate context.

    Comments that seem to assume that street harassment is rare and *most* interactions are fine so why are you being such a bitch to such a good guy as myself, are based on the erroneous assumption that street harassment is rare. It isn’t. It’s everywhere, every day. By the time some poor woman comes on the bus in the afternoon, she has had days and years of this crap. So do not expect a “courteous response” to unwanted attention in a public place. Any courtesy she gives you, after all she has been through, *is* a favor from her to you. Unwanted attention in a public space is *not* a favor to her.

  33. jovan b.
    May 4, 2013

    I used to like talking to strangers. All that changed 10 years ago.

    Now, I no longer talk to anyone outside of family and friends who I actually now (which are few and far between).

    I am gonna be real honest: I am NOT about to make the first move. Not anymore in my lifetime. The women out there need to step it up and make the first move. After all, they took that big first step towards ending harassment and have started to take back the public space from the men who leer, catcall and harass them.

  34. In fact when someone doesn’t understand then its up to other visitors that they will assist, so here it happens.

  35. Goth-Ann
    May 9, 2013

    Fascinating articles (fourth one away from original post on facebook); sad, though, that this may never be resolved by humanity as long as women continue to be regarded as prey (though many cultures of the past considered females just as valued as males). as long as there is a double standard, this will continue. my personal observation is that many men are terrified that women will ‘get the upper hand’ and treat THEM the way they treat women. frightening, isn’t it? i prefer the term ‘equalist’ to feminist or feminazi, certainly. but men, if you want to hold women close to you when you’ve barely met them, take ballroom dancing. i know for a fact that many women are putty in the hands of a man who can dance well. or dance at all.

    • seloc
      Jun 11, 2013

      So when they shout women and children first in order to save there lives and leave the men to die, who seems more valued. A man and a woman are trapped in a burning building but only one can be rescued, witch one do you think it would be? the one that is most valued, thats who!

  36. seloc
    Jun 11, 2013

    I just don’t know where to start, every single point you make is bullshit. What you’re saying is that if a man has got the cheek, the front, the god dam audacity to find a female attractive enough to want to sleep with her, that he should walk away because he wants to sleep with her. Or, if he dose approach her he should say something like “Hello, I find you very attractive so the absolutely only reason I’m talking to you is because I want to fuck you. I can’t buy you a drink or give you a compliment. I’ve got no real intrest in talking to you, finding out more about you, what you like, what you don’t like or listening to anything you’ve got a say” Is that how it should go. Even if he did’t say those things, hay, he must be thinking them, after all hes not approached anyone else in the room, right! Bullshit. No, hes not approached anyone else, why? because hes not ATTRACTED to them, the clue is in the word.
    A guy might see a girl in starbucks and fall instantly in love, he will want to know all there is to know about her, and yes part of that feeling will be lust, a big part of it will be, but that is how the world works its called biology.
    There will always be sleaze bags in all walks of life, men and women and if you think what you’re preaching is going to stop them you’re going to be disappointed.

    Also what the hell is a game preserve? is that some kind of meat flavored jam? or do you mean game reserve!

    • Krishna
      Jun 24, 2013

      The one I believe you need to go back and reread the post, you missed the point. There is nothing wrong with being honest and upfront about your intention to bed a woman. There is everything wrong with harassing women and using deceit and guilt as a strategy to sleep with them, deluding yourself into believing you’re being a ‘nice guy’. There is nothing nice about men hitting on women in a space where the interaction is coming from a random place without any context.

      If a man is genuinely interested and ‘in love’ with a woman, he may care enough to notice when she is uncomfortable/irritated/scared. If a man truly cared about this person the conversation would revolve around more than her physical form. If a man was interested in a female he would not respond to rejection with insults, threats, and/or physical violence. If that man has no interest in what that woman has to say, his interaction isn’t about anything except sex. This interaction is for the benefit of the man, not the woman sitting before him, he should not fool himself into thinking otherwise. that’s viewed as fragile and defenseless chattel, that’s who!

  37. Kate
    Aug 3, 2013

    I am writing simply to agree.

    I actually googled harassment at Starbucks because I was feeling so imposed upon.

    I am generally an open, friendly person who enjoys and welcomes intelligent conversations from others, along with opportunities to meet people, acquire professional opportunities in the process.

    I have had to change my view on this. By the way, to reference the Irish man above, European/British men are more inclined to treat women as people, to respect their minds, spirits, morals, character than American men who seem to have commodified women and reduced them to the sum of their parts.

    Sitting at Starbucks…men would sit next to me and strike up conversations. At first, they were friendly. I learned about their families, interests..and then soon it would all come down to sex. Their end game for talking to me was sex even though we had little in common beyond the fact that I was nice and wiling to talk and listen to them.

    I had men profess their love for me. One who surfed online all day for women decided I should leave my boyfriend for him since I was “perfect” on account of my looks.

    Men who couldn’t even speak English presumed sex. Some stared at me –explaining they were doing this because they found my “beautiful.”

    Some bought things for me, coffee, etc. and thought this means I was open to a romantic relationships.

    One guy who always waved furiously at me but couldn’t speak English actually seemed to have interpreted a question to him as an offer for sex and nodded furiously and followed me out of Starbucks. (I learned his intention through translator.)

    Another waited for me to get out of my car and struck up a conversation about the car and then asked for my phone number. I said no, so he offered his. Upon providing it — he demanded mine. Put on the spot, I gave it to him. In that ensuing conversation, he made it clear that he wanted me because of my looks — and thought I had money so he could move in with me!

    Old men would just prop themselves next to me while I had ear phones on and was working …and start talking AT me…not caring I was busy or not interested.

    When I was out shopping a man approached me who had seen me at Starbucks and tried to use that as an opener to come onto me.

    Another stalked me because he thought I looked like a woman he had seen on TV whom he wanted to F***. Charming.

    The weirdest approach was a borderline retarded/mentally ill man who was learning life skills. Since I was “nice” to him and he considered me a “beautiful woman,” he was encouraged by other men to go for me — to try to ask me out and get sex. Isn’t that nice, having men think an attractive woman who merely speaks to a man should be available for their sexual experimentation and to help a man learn life skills and get sex by propositioning a random woman.

    Oddly after I told off one of these clowns off, after he had refused to take no for an answer …and told me repeatedly I should leave my boyfriend for him….and wouldn’t leave me alone…the other men at Starbucks began to abuse me…such that if I dared sit anywhere near them, they would get up and walk out…

    How dare a woman ever stand up for herself.

    I noticed that the moment I put up barriers and acted confident, aloof, bitchy…all the men left me alone and began targeting and leering all of the other unsuspecting women..and introducing themselves…and trying to strike up conversations…You could tell the women were uncomfortable but too nice to say anything. At least they aren’t bothering me.

    Odd, but be feminine, open, kind and the stalked….Act like a tough bitch and they leave you alone. Women shouldn’t have to be bitches to get respect. If men wonder where all the sweet, feminine, kind women are — they should look to themselves.

    I agree with what most everyone has said as well — that the best relationships are based on friendships. I have never acquired a relationship from a stranger…I have accepted a few dates from these guys — all ended in nothing…just obnoxious guys focusing the entire conversation on my body, whether I would be open to wearing short skirts and high heels….and weird, inappropriate gropes. Never again.

    Accepting a date from a stranger is almost never the way to go.

    Now I am afraid to even engage men in conversation at Starbucks as I don’t want to have to endure wasted time entertaining their pick up strategies….I would welcome interesting conversations, business opportunities, friendships, etc., but coffee houses don’t seem to be conducive to this…These things would happen in professional settings.

    It’s true..that women get hit on over and over and over..and it gets old after a while……Read the boards which encourage this type of male behavior and you will see that these men do just see women as stupid bimbos whose only only use is to pleasure and amuse them..and that they should try to get P****** as often and frequently as they can….

    I therefore no longer make eye contact or speak to men at Starbucks. Whereas a few weeks ago, any of these men would have gotten a friendly reception from me, now they can accept a curt “not interested” to their hellos and offers for coffee. I expect I will be called a bitch.

    Great blog. The OP gets it.

  38. Jo
    Dec 19, 2013

    You are awesome- I wish there were more guys that thought like you do.

  39. Dave
    Feb 10, 2014

    What if it is only a R.A.K. I found paying for the persons drink before they get to the counter/in line is a much better way. This way they don’t even know who bought the coffee and your already out of the coffee shop. No issues, just do something nice for someone.

  40. Cris
    Feb 10, 2014

    I know I’m a bit late to this game, but… I love you! okay, not you, your writing..whatever. great job!

  41. Lili
    Feb 10, 2014

    I Love This. Thank you for being Awesome!!! Well written, intuitive and sincere. You have put a lot of men in their place. I dislike misogyny disguised as “nice” or “gentlemanly.” Some men do not know how to approach women with respect at all and I wish more of them thought like you. :)

  42. Isabella
    Feb 20, 2014

    Thank you for articulating things so clearly. I’ve tried to explain to so many times to my guy friends.
    I think that the biggest point about not being a jerk is accepting the “no ” answer. When people come to hit on me, as long as they are being polite, I try to say no politely, because I realize it’s never fun to be rejected. Some people seem to think if I’m not being a total bitch, I may just need some “convincing”. This makes me want to be a total bitch.
    If I say no nicely, it does mean no. But it doesn’t mean you’re hideous or that I am a frigid lunatic. It may mean that I’m busy right now, or already in a relationship, or that you’re just not my type. That’s life.
    Bottom line is, it’s ok to talk to strangers, but if they say no, take it with grace.

  43. RJ
    Jul 13, 2014

    This and the original article you wrote are great, but I do want to critique one particular statement you make:

    “Look, if the girl is so attractive that you just have to snag this opportunity at this very moment, then so be it. But acknowledge you’re being selfish.”

    If I’m reading this quote correctly, I would add a very strong note of caution that the most attractive women will be the ones who get hit on and annoyed the most often. So if a man sees an attractive women and is so overcome that he feels he must hit on her, caution be damned, odds are most other men she meets during the day feel the same–and therefore she is on the receiving end of the worst disruptive behavior. When the logic in your quote is scaled up/outward to other men, it still makes life miserable for many women.

    Instead, its better to treat all women you’re attracted to equally, and exercise the same caution that this article advocates in all situations.

    Again, hope I didn’t misread you here.

  44. Nick
    Nov 1, 2014

    Good advice. Thanks. The ‘concern’ raised that this article is responding to is ridiculous. Last time I checked, the human race was growing at a rate that is going to choke the planet and there doesn’t seem to be an epidemic of non-coupled people (I see couples and families everywhere I go). In fact, I’d say that not only not hitting on people, but not having kids at all is a rather noble gesture, but maybe that’s just me.

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