Back in the day, and by day I mean pre 1960's and the sexual revelotion, back at least into regency times and maybe Biblical times, men used to ask women out or pursue women to some degree. They stopped for the most part before I was born and we had dances in high school where girls asked guys and for the other dances people often went in groups or as friends. Lots of hanging out as friends as college - and maybe you all can weigh in and tell me if this is just a Christian school phenomenon or life in general. I couldn't say.
But what I can say is back in the day when men were pursuing women with intention, it typically went that the men asked and the women said yes or no. Veto power if you will.
Of course, women couldn't live like this, so we did things to encourage the men or dissuade them. And those that could take social cues were appropriately encouraged or dissuaded and those who were too dull were cast aside anyway.
We call this flirting. Some have said it's a langauge. The girl touches his arm. He knows then that it's ok to lean closer and does. She turns her head, he pulls back - like a series of signals. Others have called it a dance with a series of orchestrated moves. I think it's more instinctual than that. A woman touches a man's arm and if he's attracted to her he's compelled involuntarily to move closer. She turns aside and he feels the cold breeze and pulls back. He can't help it.
Some women were exceptionally good at this. Otherworldly good. The myth of the Siren didn't come out of nowhere and you can't tell me that Helen of Troy simply had a pretty face. She knew how to use it.
My concern is that now there's a backlash against women taking the lead in relationships. Girls don't want to have to ask boys out. I've heard lots of friends say they're looking for a real man. A leader. Somebody that can plan dinner and a movie and maybe brave rejection to ask a girl for her phone number. But unless we learn these lost arts again, the balance of power is sunk. And women looking for an alpha male are at the mercy of the man's decision, or whim, or women who know how to speak this language and dance this dance and like to collect men for themselves.
I'm not sure what to make of this yet, but I'm thinking about it and the implications for my girls. I'm not saying I'm sending my kids to charm school, but so long as I'm teaching them philosophy and history and science and math and apologetics and logic, I'm not sure I shouldn't teach them a few lost arts as well.
How To Be Both by Ali Smith
2 days ago