This is the 21st century. Women can be CEOs and can even run for president. I’m wondering if women can ask out men and it work out. By work out, I mean that this initiative creates a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship with the potential for marriage. And I don’t see the cougar thing as fitting those parameters; I don’t mean a BYU cougar either. As I shared in my previously posted tome My Current Flux of My Fluctuating View of Dating, the purpose of dating for a Latter-day Saint (Mormon) is to lead to marriage and create a strong family life. Also, there are no ‘soul mates.’ Partner selection is a matter of free will.
Mormon Women Expect the Man to be the Man
I’m not afraid of extending invitations. I’d invite someone else’s dog to spend time with me if I thought something enjoyable could come of it. I wasn’t always this way. Being comfortable with this kind of thing comes from years of purposefully stepping outside of my comfort zone. I try to expand my comfort zone so I can feel like I’m progressing and because I don’t want fear to disable me from enjoying the best things in life. Sometimes I do things BECAUSE they scare me. After a while, the fear dissipates.
So, I have few inhibitions to extending invitations, why don’t I ask out men all the time?
Mormon women expect the man to be the man. By being “the man” I mean someone who demonstrates ability to be a leader in the home and out. A manly man in a Mormon woman’s mind is capable of providing mentally, emotionally, physically and financially. He’s a protector. He’s a caregiver. He moves forward with faith. And he isn’t lazy. He’s willing to outreach to others within his spiritual community and his greater community so they can progress and have better lives.
With that said, he doesn’t dominate his romantic relationship. A manly Mormon man creates an equal partnership. He’s not controlling. This offends God (Doc & Cov 121:34-37).
To me, when a healthy adult Mormon man asks for dates, it suggests several possibles in my mind:
1. He may have his priorities in order by making dating a top priority. As I previously mentioned, Mormons believe the family to be centered in Christ, the creation of which is one of our greatest purposes on earth. Seeking to create and care for his own family is the best way he can spend his time. Other aspects of life are also important, but a manly man makes this a high priority.
2. He may be looking to invest, rather than simply “hanging out” or “coasting.” As a related note, it’s really hurtful and frustrating when someone pursues me without the purpose of investing, most especially if they’re someone in whom I can invest. I’m willing to get burned and burned again, but only for the chance that it could work out. I’m not willing to get burned to be someone else’s entertainment. But, usually men who aren’t willing to invest are not asking for repeated, sequential dates.
3. He may be a manly man.
Chivalry Isn’t Dead, the Mormons Keep it Alive
Some claim feminism killed chivalry, but at least the Mormons keep it alive. Acting as a gentleman, at least in my mind, suggests a man is a manly man in the way I’ve described. When a man opens my door or helps me carry heavy things or takes me to dinner, it doesn’t suddenly make me a mindless subordinate. He’s showing me respect. Some claim chivalry is a false guise men use to get sex. Well, since Mormons believe that God’s Law of Chastity means that sex is sacred and reserved for the bonds of marriage, this doesn’t really apply to Mormon men. Plus, it’s my observation that Mormon men broadly extend chivalry to the women around them, regardless of romantic interest.
Am I powerless in an age of empowered women?
Much of this persuades me that I shouldn’t be asking for dates with men. If he’s a manly man, he’d be asking me. Should I wait around for someone to ask me out? What do I do? With so many wonderful women in the Washington, D.C. Latter-day Saint (Mormon) community if I sat back waiting, I’d probably always be waiting. What’s a girl to do?
Here’s my line of reasoning. There are no soul mates, partner selection is a matter of free will, so I need to do something along the lines of creating opportunity for a manly man to be interested in me. If I frequently see, talk with and flirt with some one I consider is a manly man and he doesn’t ask me out, he’s not interested in me.
With that said, sometimes I extend invitations to men I don’t see frequently. Because just perhaps he would be interested in me and he just hasn’t had the opportunity to know it. I’m not opposed to creating opportunity.
In short, if a manly man is interested, he’ll do something about it. What if he doesn’t have enough information to know that he would be interested? The more opportunities created to explore possibilities, the more likely couples will be created with eternal potential.
My View on Extending Invitations
I sometimes extend low pressure, casual invitations. These are usually in the form of when I’m attending an event with 2 tickets, such as a lecture. I extend invitations for something like meeting me at lunch when I’m in their part of town for work, school or otherwise. I rarely extend the kind of invitation that leads me to pay for something in their presence. This gets really confusing for me. I’m willing to pay for tickets in advance, but since I extended the invitation, I shouldn’t expect someone to pay for me, but does it make him feel like less of a gentleman if a woman is paying for his meal? Should he offer and then I decline? Should he insist? Should I insist? Should I graciously accept his offer? I just try to avoid the whole thing by planning activities that don’t require on site payment.
It’s a great idea to create opportunities for men and women to become better acquainted. The large mingling parties that happen in this area in the LDS community unfortunately don’t create this kind of opportunity to become acquainted. I have the same, “What do you do?” conversation over and over and the man usually has wondering eyes scanning the room to see with whom he’d rather be talking. The grass is very green on the other side of conversations at those parties. Creating one-one-one scenarios is really the best chance to become better acquainted.
I usually only extend 1-3 invitations like this to the same man. If he’s a manly man and he is interested in me, he will try to make it less causal and start extending invitations to me. I have this limit because some men may like this kind of attention because it means they don’t have to work and they don’t have to extend themselves. These aren’t manly men. And I’ve learned by sad experience that if I continue inviting and he’s only accepting, it creates a scenario where I could author a chapter of He’s Just Not That Into You. I’ve decided that if he’s a manly man and he’s interested in me, he’ll do something about it. I only need to create the initial opportunity and then forget about it if he doesn’t respond after a few invitations.
Here’s an example of when I extended an invitation:
I had never previously talked to this guy, except on the phone prior to meeting up. I was in a Church meeting where he spoke briefly. He seemed smart, had a thoughtful and kind demeanor, said a few things that suggested he was spiritual and showed respect to the person he spoke about for whom I also had respect. I had never seen him before. I wondered if he was married and wasn’t wearing a ring. I emailed my friend who works in his office (I did a little asking around about him) and asked if he was married. Since he wasn’t, I got his contact info, called him and invited him to the Torpedo Factory with me in my neighborhood, Old Town Alexandria. In World War I, it was a war materials manufacturing factory. Now it’s a community sponsored art exhibition. It’s a collection of studios where artists create and display their work. It’s really interesting and it’s free. I joked with my roommates about setting myself up on my own blind date.:)
He turned out to be quite refreshing. He was really smart, personable and I didn’t have to carry the weight of the conversation. It was reciprocal. We’re also interested in similar things. I thought he was really cool. We’ve also been on a second date. I’m not really sure if the second date was my invitation or his, so I’m not sure how many remaining I have in my count of invitations that would come from me. It may be one, it may be two.
Here’s a pic of the Torpedo Factory from the waterfront.
And walking back we saw this incredible George Washington wig on King Street.
It was a lovely time. If anything, I enjoy being social. I also love exchanging ideas with people I think are intelligent because it positively influences my own views.
Why I think Men Need to Pursue
I think that men need to pursue because of their emotional make up. Generally speaking, I relate to my women friends like we’re the Redwoods with interconnected roots. We’re empathetic and can anticipate each others’ needs and meet them, sometimes without requesting it. I relate to my men friends like they’re islands. They only come off the island for a specific purpose and then they return. Sometimes I ask my men friends about another man in the ward and they don’t know anything about them, though they sit with them in class every Sunday. They only venture out if there is some need, which isn’t very often. I believe that as men pursue, they step out of their island. As they are rewarded by a positive reception, they are more willing to step off their island. If I continue to extend invitations, I’m inviting myself into their island and they’re never extending themselves. In other words, I believe men develop love as they pursue and are rewarded.
Though I’m not afraid to extend invitations, if I hope for the possibility that he could love me, I create the opportunity a few times for him to be interested in stepping off his island. If he’s interested, he’ll step out. If I continue to invite when he’s not extending himself, it creates a scenario where at first he likes the attention, but then I become an unwelcome visitor in his personal space. Ick.
I’m not opposed to creating opportunity for him to consider coming off the island, but only a few times.
To Mormon women, I recommend adding in a few initial casual invitations into their dating efforts. But flirting is really the best thing you could be doing.
I’m told that men don’t get hints. I don’t really understand this, but consider that even though you may feel like you’re shamelessly flirting, it’s possible it may be lost on him.
The Man’s Guide to Interpreting if a Woman is Flirting
If 2-3 of the following are happening to him at the same time, a man’s chances are good that he won’t be declined if he extends an invitation to the flirting woman. He should act quickly so he doesn’t miss his opportunity, while it still lasts. Often women conclude the man isn’t interested if she flirts with him and he doesn’t do anything about it.
Speaking to the man, you can tell if a woman is flirting with you:
1. If you are mingling at an occasion with lots of people and she’s interested in talking to you. It’s a good sign.
2. If she willingly and comfortably enters your personal space gradually and slightly. This is also known as leaning.
3. If she laughs at your jokes. I don’t know, maybe you’re actually that funny. Chances are, the attraction heightens your ability to make her laugh.
4. If multiple times throughout the conversation she touches you casually in some way, usually on the arm.
5. If she smiles at you with admiration. Hmmmm, how can I better describe this…thinking, thinking…if she looks at you for a moment longer before furthering the conversation with some kind of smile that she may even try to hold back, but she can’t.
6. If she offers any kind of compliment.
7. If she willingly listens to you go on and on about yourself. She’s really asking questions because she wants to turn the conversation into a reciprocal exchange. If there’s interest on her part, she’s trying to reach dialogue, not monologue. If you go on and on about yourself, you could make the woman feel neglected and alone in your presence. Don’t be that guy.
What do you think? Can women ask out men and it work out? Do you have any insights of your own from dating?
Tags: Mormons and dating, Mormons and marriage, Mormons and Sex