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OpEd: Want to go out with a guy? Just ask

"The Rules" of dating, like every rule, are made to be broken. So women should stop waiting for guys to make the first move.
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Gord Woodward, January 30, 2014 11:35:55 AM

You know what’s as rare as a leap year? A girl asking a guy out on a date.

And since we know from the calendar that February 2014 will only have 28 days, it’s a pretty safe bet we won’t see either event for a good long while.

Why is that, exactly? Well, we can easily look up the Gregorian calendar to get a full explanation of a year that is bissextile (the technical term for leap year, not a description of clothing that keeps its sexual options open). But even Google would struggle to account for the outmoded romantic tradition of the man always doing the asking and the woman doing the answering (though it is, we admit, excellent training for marriage).

We have come to see wooing as part of the male job description in the natural order of things. The perception undoubtedly stems from the stereotype of man as The Hunter — the one who, like a cat, loves the thrill of the chase (and also lies around the house for 18 hours a day).

But like many stereotypes, this one is well past its expiry date. It’s time for the dating world to evolve past societal “norms” that stem from centuries ago. Women should take the initiative with men and ask us out, without waiting for Sadie Hawkins Day or a once-every-four-years Feb. 29, the only times at which tradition suggests it is acceptable to do so.
You should also feel free to ask us to move in with you (maybe wait till after the first date for that one), or to marry you (ditto), or whatever else your heart desires.

The reaction from most men, we promise, will be worth the emotional risk. For when it comes to the opposite sex, we guys are kinda like amoeba, and not just because we are mindless blobby creatures preoccupied with reproduction. Like those organisms, we drift aimlessly until some outside force — be it a scientist in a lab or the interesting lady we saw at Starbucks — stirs a chemical reaction within us.

So if you take the initiative, we’re likely to take it from there.

Yes, you risk rejection. Yes, it may feel a little awkward. And yes, you may feel uneasy at bucking a societal attitude that doesn’t see this role-reversal as “proper” (a term meaning “it’s my personal belief system and therefore everyone else must agree”). But you may also feel empowered.

And don’t be surprised to receive gratitude from men relieved to escape the pressure of being expected to always start the conversation. For that reason alone you may have your pick of guys to pursue. Just remember, though, that quantity doesn’t always guarantee quality; when it comes to asking men out, the odds are good but many of the goods are odd.

Ask enough times, however, and you’re bound to find the one you’re looking for, no matter how rare he may be. Hey, stranger things have happened.

So what are you waiting for? Make 2014 the year you make that leap.

Image: Thinkstock

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Gord Woodward

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