Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

You Had Me at Hello?

Last night was the third, and as far as I’m concerned, the most useful night of Dating Bootcamp thus far.  Officially the theme for the night was “How to Get a Guy”, but a better name for it would have been, “It’s Time to Get Over Yourself and Face Facts – Women In NYC Need to Be More Aggressive”.

And for the first time, I was in complete agreement with them.  Really, I don’t think there was any major thing the hosts said all night that I could quibble with.

Here’s the deal – there are approx 200K more single women than men in Manhattan (210K according to the author of Who’s Your City, Richard Florida).  And as I’ve written about, way too much, men in NYC tend to date women who are a bit younger than they are.  So any women over the age of 30 is pretty much screwed if she expects some great guy to just come up to her in a bar (or a book store, supermarket, cafe, etc) and start a conversation.  It might happen a few times a year, but it’s not going to happen on a regular basis. Sorry.

OK, well it might happen if you look 10 years younger than you are, because then guys in their twenties will hit on you (this still happens to me sometimes).  But the guys in their 30s, or god forbid the ones in their 40s, forget about it.  I’m not even going to bother getting into the hundred and one reasons why it’s not going to happen.  It’s just not.

So smart women, the ones who are willing and able to take control of their own destinies need to be willing to initiate contact with those guys.  It’s not about being pushy or overly aggressive.  It’s certainly not about throwing yourself at every cute guy that crosses your path.  But if a woman isn’t willing to stick her neck out and say hello to a guy who catches her eye, then she’s gonna get awfully lonely.

Anyway, I was SHOCKED at how many women at the session last night said (by a show of hands) that they’d never approached a man.  It was a diverse group, but it trended kind of post 30+ if you catch my drift.  Lots of designer clothes and make up and clearly no clue.  Less of a clue than me.  Which is saying something.

There were women who said, during the Q&A, that they were under the impression that it was against “the rules” to approach men,  That guys were completely turned off by women who initiated contact.  I was horrified and saddened, really, that there were grown women who still believed that nonsense.  But then, maybe I’m in the minority.  Maybe lots of women still do believe that.  Maybe I’m an outlier here.  And maybe there are still men who think it’s a major turn-off to be approached by a women.

So here’s this week’s poll question:  What do you think about women approaching men?  Do you think it’s a smart idea, or something that shouldn’t happen?

  • I like it. I think more women should do it. (80 votes)
  • I don’t like it. Men should be the ones who initiate first contact. It’s their role. (23 votes)
  • I don’t have an opinion. (10 votes)

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17 to “You Had Me at Hello?”


  1. OpinionatedGift says:

    I’ve always liked being approached by a woman. It’s a rare thing so it feels good that a woman was together enough to just muster up and do it.

    Dating in NYC is daunting for men too. Real men don’t mind a headstart.

  2. aguy says:

    Florida’s research has been pretty much debunked because he counted every single person 20-64, and women have a higher life expectancy. (It also didn’t account for population — 210k “extra” singles for the entire tri-state area, population 18 million, isn’t that much…)

    Anyway, if you look at singles, say, age 30-44 in the NY/NJ metro area, there’s actually 3 “extra” single men per 1,000 people.
    http://gawker.com/5046816/corrected-singles-map-means-ladies-get-to-have-standards-again
    http://www.xoxosoma.com/singles/

  3. ecletikfeel says:

    I completely agree that women should be more aggressive. It’s something that I’m trying work on myself [no easy task I might add], but I definitely realize that if I’m not gonna be [more] aggressive in terms of my love life, then I’m going to solo for quite sometime.

  4. RVASarah says:

    I find nothing wrong with women taking the lead. As soon as I am ready to date again, I plan on trying to approach men more. And I agree, “Hello” or even a smile is a great way to get the ball rolling. ;-)

  5. starangel82 says:

    I agree there is nothing wrong with women taking the lead. I just suck at it.

  6. Ex Princess says:

    I see no problem with a woman approaching a man and asking him out for coffee or something. I think too many of us had it drilled into our heads that the man needs to make the first move. Why should men be the only ones to face the risk of rejection? And really what man with reasonable expectations is going to say no to a woman who was brave and upfront enough to ask him out for a drink?

  7. browolf says:

    From my point of view In the scheme of things, women appear to be most interested in the guys that make the moves and on the surface say all the right things and the guys who on the suface are “less interesting” and dont say the “right” things don’t get a look in and yet the world is full of websites of women saying they met a guy who said the right things and then turned out less than ideal. It stands to reason, to me, that women ought to more in control of the process .

    I wonder if a dating site whereby its free for guys but they cant initiate contact would work.

    I always get on better with women who initiate contact as it implies characteristics about them that I get on with better, strong minded enough to know what they like and do something about it implies a strength of mind to stand up to mine. Whereas if I contact them, i have to determine that.

  8. browolf says:

    *assuming they even reply

  9. Simone Grant says:

    First, thank you everyone for your comments.
    -aguy
    Welcome to the blog and thank you for that link. I spent 20 minutes this morning looking for some real data to either back up or debunk the our host’s claim of 200k more women than men and the Gawker didn’t come up in my research. I guess I should have dug further.

    And now a question for the women who answered YES they think it’s a good idea. Have you ever done this. Starangel says she thinks it’s a good idea but that she sucks at it. What about the rest of you? Is this theory or practice?

    And I agree Opinionated Gift, real men don’t mind the head start. And any guy who feels this is emasculating is probably one I wouldn’t want.

  10. TonyImages says:

    I just think it would be great to have the guessing game taken out of the whole scenario. Even if she just came up and started a nice conversation, I would then at least know she was interested. I could then make the next move… “hey how about getting a drink” Women in general have a way of giving you that “twinkle” of the eye… if thats not an open invitation to “I’m interested in you” then I don’t know what is… Speaking of “games” I’m just not good at it…. I don’t mind chasing, wining and dining .. I just don’t want to chase up the wrong tree :)

  11. SerialSinner says:

    Being hit by women was fun at the start, but as I grew older and it became too frequent, it became a problem. The park, subway, bars. And don’t even get me started with the public aggressive groping…

  12. LuckyChica says:

    I agree that women should absolutely take the lead more often. That is, if they are not doing it at all already. If you’re already that girl, ramping it up, might not necessarily be the answer (you might just seem nuts).

    Personally, I am OK with the smile and hello, but would be more shy about actually asking a guy out. I think because I would be afraid he’d say yes, just to be polite, but not really be into it. Full disclosure: I am probably not the savviest dater out there, so someone else might be able to read the signs better.

  13. Teifion says:

    I think that as per normal with my answers, it depends on the context. Take me, I’m probably not going to be making the first move unless the girl in question gives a load of probably unsubtle signs, at that point is it still called the first move?

    On the other hand some men may well find it disconcerting and not like a woman making the first move.

  14. URwingman says:

    In the end, if you want something, you have to go out and get it. You can’t expect it to just fall into your lap every time. I am very active in approaching women but what impresses me is if a woman beats me to the punch.

    Interesting how some women claim to be “independent” but yet are still “dependent” when it comes to something like this.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I think I’m going to be the first person to disagree. I’m a confident, attractive woman and I have never had any problem making the first move. Problems are: 1) guys like the chase 2) guys are looking to get laid at every opportunity. If an attractive girl takes the initiative (hell, even if a mediocre girl takes the initiative) guys will go with it cause they think they have a chance at scoring. Never mind if they are interested or repulsed. Why the hell not?

    Once they’ve gone out a couple times, if the woman has set the tone by taking initiative, guys will completely check out. Why put in an effort if they don’t have to? Then, it turns into why would I want it if I don’t have to work for it?

    Not saying that every girl that makes the first move also gives it up easily – but the tone has been set and they are more likely to get cornered into maintaining a role of initiator.

    Just my experience with it. Maybe Canadian guys are just lazy.

  16. Racy says:

    I have to say that it depends on the place and time more than anything when it comes to the woman approaching the man.
    Most men will like it, but it may also change the perception they have about you as a woman.
    Not always in a good way.
    That said however… I know a lot of great men are very shy about making a first move and often wish to but don’t. Having the woman they are interested in come over to them would be like a god send.

  17. aguy says:

    we may all be talking about different things here… but what’s wrong with just asking, “hey, do you have the time?” or, “do you know what happened with the yankee game?” … or even just staring and smiling and then looking away. no guys mind flirty stuff like that. it gives a guy an opening, but he’s still the one who still has to do the chasing.