Why Don’t Women Make the First Move?
This is a topic that came up during an English Language Workshop that I gave in Barcelona a couple of years ago to a group of lesbians. I had just got to the end of the workshop when a girl raised her hand.
“Aren’t you going to teach us some techniques for making the first move’ She asked “You know, tips for pulling?”
It was clear that others in the crowd wondered the same thing. I had prepared the workshop from a purely linguistic point of view, that is to say, phrases and vocabulary in English that might be appropriate for the purposes of seduction. I didn’t claim to be equipped to teach them a variety of specific seduction techniques. Besides, I do not consider myself to be an expert in this field.
“I can’t teach you any techniques that are guaranteed to improve your pulling power.” I confessed to them.
When I saw the disappointment etched on the faces of my students, I had the idea to initiate a debate. It was based on the premise: ‘Should we make the first move or not?’. Some of the girls had proven techniques, successful ploys and pick-up lines to improve their success rate. Others confessed that they had never made the first move because of shyness and the fear of being rejected. Moreover, several bi girls revealed that it was hard for them in particular. This was mainly because they were experienced in heterosexual relationships where they had become conditioned to men always making the first move. Now that they were in lesbian territory, they felt a little out of place when it came to pulling and dating.
It takes a lot of courage to make the first move, we concluded.
But how do we define what it means to make the first move? Is it initiating a conversation, asking a question, using a pick-up line or establishing eye-contact and maintaining it? Going back to the heterosexual world for a moment, I think that women are already making the first move by making eye-contact. I include myself in that but, in my case, it rarely goes beyond that point. For example, it could be that I simply make eye contact with someone because I think they look nice. It would never occur to me to follow it up by giving a complete stranger a compliment or going further and inviting them for a drink.
If visual contact has been made between two people but neither one has the confidence to initiate a conversation, then it wont go any further.This can be regarded as another lost opportunity. Years ago, it was just not socially acceptable for a woman to make the first move because it wasn’t deemed appropriate.
But I think things have changed a great deal. Currently, there are far more women making the first move and more and more men are thrilled, not to say relieved, that they are doing so. Then there other women, like myself, who prefer to let men get on with doing the hard work.
Translation of ‘Por qué las mujeres no dan el primer paso?‘ published in El País.