Despite successfully overcoming many gender hurdles at work and home, women still find it uncomfortable to ask men out on a date. She may be an aggressive go-getter at work or a powerful single mom running an entire home but when it comes to taking the initiative for a date, she may still hesitate. Is this reluctance simply a hangover from earlier times when it was deemed improper for a lady to behave this way? Or are there other issues involved? Here is a list of ten probable reasons why women still don’t ask a guy out.
- Afraid of rejection
According to psychologists, asking a person out on a date is an example of “risky initiative”. These are direct and unambiguous requests that have not been made previously, and that will either be clearly accepted or rejected. What lies at the source of their risky nature, is the fact that such requests are completely unambiguous – there are no two ways you can interpret them and hence they will elicit either a clear ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. It is because of the entirely unambiguous nature of the gesture and its possibly that it may be rejected that women find it difficult to bring themselves to ask a guy out.
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- Sending signals is easier
The second way to show interest in a potential partner is to indulge in, what psychologists term, “proceptive behavior”. This mainly involves non-verbal signals that indicate interest and receptivity and wait for the other person to do the asking. Women feel more comfortable engaging in this kind of behavior and by making eye-contact or smiling indicates that she is willing to go on a date, if you can bring yourself to do the asking.
- Traditional gender roles
Now the question is why women find it easier to engage in ‘proceptive behavior’ rather than take the ‘risky initiative’ when interested in going out with a guy. This could be traced back to years of social conditioning which labeled women as unlady-like – and hence undesirable – if she expressed interest in courting a man. This was essentially a patriarchal culture’s way of defining appropriate gender roles for women with the ultimate intention of controlling their social and sexual behavior. And even though contemporary society is more egalitarian rather than outright patriarchal in nature, certain attitudes continue to linger which could explain why women still expect the man to make the first move.
- Evolutionary aspect
One of the ways of looking at the modern woman’s reluctance to ask a man out is to consider the evolutionary angle. At the beginnings of society it was still unsafe for women to venture out from the safe confines of domesticity, considering the threats of abduction posed by rival tribes and wild animals. Thus women came to have lesser and lesser say in the freedom of their movement and eventually in their sexual decision-making. All these restrictions further intensified and became standardized with the establishment of patriarchal attitudes which took away any remaining freedom of sexual choice for women.
- Sizing him up
Despite all the evolutionary and historical reasons, there has to something that holds women back even today from making the first move – after all if other conventions have given way to more equitable attitudes, then why not this one? The reason is perhaps the most simple of all – she chooses not to do so. In fact letting a man ask her on a date is a fool-proof way of sizing him up. A woman will evaluate how a man poses the question – whether it shows him as brash and overconfident or reveals him as hesitant and insecure. And you can be sure the results of this secret little test will determine whether she chooses or not to go out with him.
- Wanting to take it easy
Asking out someone for a date implies that the initiator takes the responsibility of planning the entire evening. This could bring its own hassles about deciding what a partner would enjoy doing, eating, drinking and a host of other things, not to mention checking the availability of movie tickets or tables in a restaurant. And a woman may find all this too much trouble – even for the sake of a guy she would like to go out with.
- Being genetically hard-wired
Evolutionary psychologists further believe that women are genetically hard-wired into preferring non-verbal modes of proceptive behavior rather than making first-time risky initiatives. This could hark back to the primitive times when male members of tribes would look for non-verbal cues of affection and tenderness from their female partners to determine which offspring were their own. Females were thus encouraged to display such non-verbal cues of interest which eventually diminished their preference for making direct sexual request.
- Wanting to be indulged
Despite the absence of evolutionary of traditional compulsions, women still prefer to be asked out by men. One important reason for this could be that she simply wants to be pampered and courted the old-fashioned way. All those images of the chivalrous hero a la Rhett Butler or Shakespeare’s Romeo who would pass through raging fires and clashing swords for the sake of the woman he loves, still acts as a romantic fantasy for the woman of today and which is why she would much rather leave the job of asking out to her male partner.
- Not wanting to pay up
A far more practical reason why women don’t make the first move could be that she wants to be sure of the guy before she loosens her purse strings for him. For all you know she may end up having the most boring evening of her life and end up paying for it too, all because she made the mistake of asking him out.
- Wanting to have the upper hand
This could be the real reason why women even in the midst of rapidly changing social conventions want to hold on to this one. When they are asked out, they have the prerogative of saying yes or no – and this power of choice in the end is perhaps more valuable than what she stands to gain if she is the one to initiate the proposal.