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KellyAssauer
07-15-2012, 06:03 PM
Lately, Iíve been interviewing a woman I know about her fascinating life experiences. The one thing from all these talks that I just do not understand are the incidences that she describes when it comes to men.

Specifically, as a college student, she says that she was constantly being approached by men. Walking back to the dorm, eating lunch in the cafeteria, in class, at parties, in science labs... man after man would come up to her and ask her out, ask her name, proposition her... and this is before she was old enough to go to clubs. She says that the constant bombardment became annoying, and related a story where she had two hours to kill between classes and tried to study and have a sandwich in a local pub by herself but couldnít get anything done because of the six or seven men that interrupted her over the coarse of an hour...

She says, that the come-onís were as tame as ďHi, how are you?Ē to frighteningly direct and foul-worded propositions for sex...

What I can not wrap my head around is why?

What were they thinking?
Whatís the motivation here?
What is it exactly... that motivates a guy to walk up to a girl and interrupt her day?
Whatís the goal? the reason?

So, if you were ever a single guy and approached a strange woman, I want to know why you did it. What was your intent, or motivation?

-Kells-

Cath
07-15-2012, 06:12 PM
Before we even open the discussion here, can I ask you to keep it clean folks. I have a feeling this could become contentious and I will close it if so.

Maryn
07-15-2012, 06:49 PM
There's this man who works near a place lots of women park. He does way more than a friendly greeting, although I am not among the 'lucky' bunch who get an outright proposition.

We were talking about him at the dinner table and Kid Two (a single adult male) and his dad agreed that he's one of those guys who's not discriminating when it comes to women, because he wants a relationship that's only sexual--and he's not all that fussy about with whom. He may hit on a dozen women, a hundred, five hundred, but if he keeps at it, eventually someone will say yes, and it will all seem worth it to him.

Never mind that 499 women think he's disgusting.

Maryn, who now scowls at him and he says nothing

Bufty
07-15-2012, 07:02 PM
From the wording in the original post I can't help wondering if the woman referred to somehow contributed -perhaps unknowingly - to drawing the attention she received.

And as a single guy, any women I approached anywhere would not have been subjected to anything other than civilised behaviour.

Some folk are just plain ignorant and rude. Don't lump us guys all together, please.

The guy who could answer your question is probably either serving time somewhere or waiting on a dark corner with an unbuttoned coat. I doubt he is lingering here and browsing threads

Kenn
07-15-2012, 07:43 PM
It was probably something in her body language that was seen as a come-on, even if she was doing it unconsciously. Perhaps it was the way she looked at them (flirting with her eyes) or some other type of habit/gesture. I doubt there are many woman around who are so beautiful they'd get such a huge amount of men propositioning them (rather the reverse can happen, in fact, as many men are intimidated by beauty).

PS Maryn, scowling is not good body language;) More seriously, I've come across people like the one you describe who are most certainly not sex maniacs. Their actions have often been interpreted that way, but I think they just do it for attention (the two examples that spring to mind are both married and an extra-marital affair would be out of the question).

Parametric
07-15-2012, 07:46 PM
The original question was about what men think when they approach women. Not why it's the woman's own fault that she can't study in peace.


So, if you were ever a single guy and approached a strange woman, I want to know why you did it. What was your intent, or motivation?

Kenn
07-15-2012, 08:10 PM
The original question was about what men think when they approach women. Not why it's the woman's own fault that she can't study in peace.
The question was about the motivation and intent. The motivating factor is possibly what I described and the intent...well you'll have to use your imagination;) Nobody is saying it is the woman's 'fault'.

Cath
07-15-2012, 08:11 PM
The original question was about what men think when they approach women. Not why it's the woman's own fault that she can't study in peace.

Exactly so, and that's why I'm letting the question stand. Please move the discussion away from what the woman may or may not be doing, wearing, or look like and focus on what might prompt a man to interrupt.

Kenn, to pick up your point - what behavior or actions might prompt you to think a woman didn't mind being interrupted. Remember, we're not asking what she looks like - rather what body language says to you 'please talk to me'? Is there anything specific you can share?

Bufty
07-15-2012, 08:19 PM
Eye contact is usually the trigger. Or rather 'was' for me.

Civilised conversation and banter may have followed.

But as far as crass up-front suggestions of a sexual nature are concerned, they stem from pure bad upbringing, ill manners, disrespect for women, and ignorance - things from which I have never suffered.

As I said earlier seek elsewhere for those with sexual appetite enough to be brazenly offensive and crude because from the lengthy preamble to the question it seems to be aimed at a very undesirable sort of character.

I doubt the case cited in the OP is typical.

Kenn
07-15-2012, 08:30 PM
Kenn, to pick up your point - what behavior or actions might prompt you to think a woman didn't mind being interrupted. Remember, we're not asking what she looks like - rather what body language says to you 'please talk to me'? Is there anything specific you can share?
It could be something quite simple like catching someone's eye momentarily. The initial look can be seen as attraction and quickly looking away can be seen as shyness, thus the other person is initiated into making a move. Another example might be a nervous smile if she sees someone looking at her (again suggesting interest but also shyness). Of course, these signals might be entirely false and could be generated for an entirely different reason.

Amadan
07-15-2012, 08:36 PM
Bufty and Kenn are wrong. These guys don't approach women because those women are somehow sending signals that they are approachable. They're approaching any woman they think they might have a remote chance with.

Their motivation is as simple as it is obvious: sex.

It's a numbers game, the most blatant form of which is the guy in the club who asks every woman he dances with if she wants to go home with him. Sure, most will say no and some will slap him, but if he gets one woman to say yes, he wins.

So, these are guys who don't particularly care about being rejected or seen as offensive, because to them, women are like random prize drops in a video game... you hit on as many as you can because now and then you'll score.

Bufty
07-15-2012, 08:42 PM
I and Kenn are not wrong, and I agree with your assessment of the guys to whom you refer.

We answered the question as to what might prompt our approach to a stranger in a presumably convivial atmposphere.

It is the way the original question is presented that is dubious and clouding the question issue.

Because of the lengthy preamble the question is really addressed to sexual perverts and I hope there are none here.


Bufty and Kenn are wrong. These guys don't approach women because those women are somehow sending signals that they are approachable. They're approaching any woman they think they might have a remote chance with.

Their motivation is as simple as it is obvious: sex.

It's a numbers game, the most blatant form of which is the guy in the club who asks every woman he dances with if she wants to go home with him. Sure, most will say no and some will slap him, but if he gets one woman to say yes, he wins.

So, these are guys who don't particularly care about being rejected or seen as offensive, because to them, women are like random prize drops in a video game... you hit on as many as you can because now and then you'll score.

tangelo
07-15-2012, 08:47 PM
I'm married but I frequent a bar my buddy works at and while there a friend of mine (a girl patron) must be hit on every 10 minutes through the entire night. It's pretty entertaining to watch though. We get to rank the dude's who roll up on her. As the night progresses, the one liner's become these slimy drunken groans. Dude's just don't care at that point, they'll just stumble up and start pawing at her like a cro-magnon.

Men are just gross, it's hard wired in us though and I hate to say it, but you have to excuse the primordial urge, it's the only way we can keep the earth spinning. Unfortunately the urge comes with a brain switch which seems to flip off the moment there's a girl we gotta score.

The few of us left with some self control (and respect) offer our sincerest apologies for our brethren. They know not what they do. :)

Amadan
07-15-2012, 08:50 PM
You or I or any other decent person probably don't approach strange women unless we have a reasonable belief that she would be receptive, which would not be a woman minding her own business in a coffee shop.

The question was about a college student being randomly propositioned while on the way to class, eating, etc. It seems very unlikely to me that she was giving every man who passed by a come-hither smile which encouraged a reasonable belief that she was receptive to being propositioned while studying.

So if we're only meant to answer "What would motivate you to behave like this?" the answer is obviously, "Uh, I wouldn't." I was trying to answer the broader question: "Why do some men do this?"

Richard White
07-15-2012, 08:52 PM
As soon as the comment was "The come-on's were as simple as 'Hi, how are you'", I decided to avoid this thread.

If you can't say Hello to someone without it being considered "hitting on someone", then there is NO right answer. That's like being asked, "So, have you stopped beating your wife, yes or no." There is no safe way to answer that question.

Bufty
07-15-2012, 08:53 PM
If I were a regular patron in a bar and hit on every ten minutes I would find another seat or another bar.


I'm married but I frequent a bar my buddy works at and while there a friend of mine (a girl patron) must be hit on every 10 minutes through the entire night. It's pretty entertaining to watch though. We get to rank the dude's who roll up on her. As the night progresses, the one liner's become these slimy drunken groans. Dude's just don't care at that point, they'll just stumble up and start pawing at her like a cro-magnon.

Men are just gross, it's hard wired in us though and I hate to say it, but you have to excuse the primordial urge, it's the only way we can keep the earth spinning. Unfortunately the urge comes with a brain switch which seems to flip off the moment there's a girl we gotta score.

The few of us left with some self control (and respect) offer our sincerest apologies for our brethren. They know not what they do. :)

Al Stevens
07-15-2012, 08:57 PM
You can't separate her appearance from the reasons so many men approach her. With those kinds of numbers (assuming she wasn't exaggerating), she must be physically attractive.

We can speak only for ourselves. The last time I approached an attractive woman that way, we wound up married. That wasn't my objective, but that was the outcome. It's a mating ritual, as old as the species. Nature taking its course.

What was I thinking? "There's a pretty girl. I like pretty girls. I'd like to meet her." Only one way to meet her. Approach her.

(She's still attractive, we're still married, and I still interrupt whatever she's doing.)

tangelo
07-15-2012, 08:58 PM
As soon as the comment was "The come-on's were as simple as 'Hi, how are you'", I decided to avoid this thread.

If you can't say Hello to someone without it being considered "hitting on someone", then there is NO right answer.

Not sure I totally agree with this, only because you forgot to fill out the rest of the story after he asks that benign question. Sure, a guy starts with, "hi how are you." But 9 out of 10 times, the woman knows what's coming next (unfortunately) which ends up in some pushy dialogue she'd rather not be involved with.

So you can't blame women for being skeptical of any guy who walks up to her and starts off with even the most sincere opening line. Again, it's a hard-wired thing. I'm NOT suggesting all guys are like this, I'm suggesting most women have their guard up because most men are like this.

tangelo
07-15-2012, 08:59 PM
If I were a regular patron in a bar and hit on every ten minutes I would find another seat or another bar.

No one said she didn't like the attention. And she was safe with her friends around.

mccardey
07-15-2012, 08:59 PM
I can see this thread ending very badly, so before it does: my first instinct was to wonder whether this was an older woman? Because surely, oh please God, we've moved past the point where a woman eating a sandwich at lunch time is signalling sexual availability?


As soon as the comment was "The come-on's were as simple as 'Hi, how are you'", I decided to avoid this thread.

If you can't say Hello to someone without it being considered "hitting on someone", then there is NO right answer. That's like being asked, "So, have you stopped beating your wife, yes or no." There is no safe way to answer that question.

Yes, but Richard, I assume that Kelly's asking about approaches that led to hit-ons or harrassment. A hi how are you? that is benign wouldn't bother anyone. So - bit of a strawman, I think...

Bufty
07-15-2012, 09:00 PM
10, 9, 8, 7,....

Amadan
07-15-2012, 09:01 PM
At the risk of derailing, can this notion that a particular culturally-specific type of behavior is "hard-wired" into us please die?

Feeling sexual attraction is hard-wired into us. Being sloppy indiscriminate boors is not. That's something you learn.

tangelo
07-15-2012, 09:03 PM
Being sloppy indiscriminate boors is not. That's something you learn.

Never suggested otherwise.

Bufty
07-15-2012, 09:04 PM
If that applies to the subject in the original post...even though it was annoying....


No one said she didn't like the attention. And she was safe with her friends around.

tangelo
07-15-2012, 09:05 PM
If that applies to the subject in the original post...

Easy now, that was the girl I was talking about in my original story, not the OP.

Bufty
07-15-2012, 09:07 PM
Even so....

6,5,4...

Cath
07-15-2012, 09:48 PM
Bufty and Kenn are wrong. These guys don't approach women because those women are somehow sending signals that they are approachable. They're approaching any woman they think they might have a remote chance with.

Their motivation is as simple as it is obvious: sex.

Adaman, I don't think Bufty or Kenn were wrong to answer as they did - my specific question is what behavior would cause a man to think a woman was approachable, and that's the question they answered.

Sex may be the underlying issue, yes, but what specifically says 'I can be interrupted now' and not 'leave me alone'?


You can't separate her appearance from the reasons so many men approach her. With those kinds of numbers (assuming she wasn't exaggerating), she must be physically attractive.

I'm disappointed. I asked that you keep this separate and reply to a very specific question. The OPs question was not why do so many men approach this woman, but why do they do so at all. Attractiveness may explain the volume but not the action.


WARNING: this is a hot button issue for me personally. I was attacked by a guy who tried to pull me off my bike after I nodded and said good morning. I clearly wasn't interested or available, and I'm not a physical beauty in any sense of the word, but he did it anyway. I'm interested in your answers, but if this turns into any variation of 'but it's the woman's fault' I'm just closing it.

Pyekett
07-15-2012, 09:50 PM
What was I thinking? "There's a pretty girl. I like pretty girls. I'd like to meet her." Only one way to meet her. Approach her.

I want to tread very carefully here.

Generalizations and absolutes are never accurate. Heh. That being said, I think blokes tend to be less self-reflective about their motivations in the moment than many women may expect them to be.

There isn't a lot of meta going on at that stage for most men, from what I know. Pretty much what Al wrote.

I don't generally approach anyone in public. I like my privacy even in the midst of plenty, and I have a flat-out fervent appreciation of each and every one of you who doesn't approach me in public. (Thank you, all of you. I know it is a sacrifice, but it is noted.) I like to leave women alone, unless we are in a situation where everyone expects to be interacting in a more ritualized way: communal dining, cooking class, what have you.

Added: Since approaching by cold call isn't my style, I'm not sure what cues most men are working on. I think it's likely that the choice is made without a lot of reflection in many cases, and that it likely has more to do with characteristics of the guy than with characteristics of the woman's behavior.

Kenn
07-15-2012, 09:53 PM
Bufty and Kenn are wrong. These guys don't approach women because those women are somehow sending signals that they are approachable. They're approaching any woman they think they might have a remote chance with.
If that were true, then it would signify a widespread problem rather than an individual one. In other words, if all the approaches were accounted for by men chancing their luck with very little chance of success, wouldn't there be huge numbers of people feeling pestered?

Pyekett
07-15-2012, 09:54 PM
In other words, if all the approaches were accounted for by men chancing their luck with very little chance of success, wouldn't there be huge numbers of people feeling pestered?

With all due respect, I bet the women here will tell us that there are.

mccardey
07-15-2012, 10:01 PM
If that were true, then it would signify a widespread problem rather than an individual one. In other words, if all the approaches were accounted for by men chancing their luck with very little chance of success, wouldn't there be huge numbers of people feeling pestered?

Yeah, in my day we called them Women.

WildScribe
07-15-2012, 10:03 PM
With all due respect, I bet the women here will tell us that there are.

Oh, yes. I've been approached while eating, reading, napping on the beach, and more. I was not sending come hither stares, twirling my hair, or making eye contact all around the room.

My insight on the OP's question comes from talking to my little brother. He's awkward, unsure how to meet girls, and spends a a lot of time at work, so his solution is to just say hi to any girl he finds attractive, regardless of the social situation, as long as he can work up the courage. I've explained that when I am reading a book, etc., that I don't WANT a conversation, but his reaction is simply that "If she doesn't a conversation, she won't talk to me."

Sorry ladies, I've tried to break him of it.

thothguard51
07-15-2012, 10:04 PM
Let's see if I can a rational opinion based on my years of experience as a male...

1...I never approach women in public that I do not know. Why? I am too busy with whatever I am doing, as I assume they are. This is not say I don't notice women in public. I am not dead...

2...I have approached women in bars and clubs, politely. I ask for a dance or if they mind if buy them a drink and chat. Bars and clubs are social gathering spots after all. I have been turned down and I have met some very nice people. One thing I don't do is go from woman to woman because they watch and if you do this, then you're considered a scum bag womanizer.

3...This is a true story. I got a phone call at work one day from the President of my company complaining that one of my workers harassed a women in an elevator.

I went and talked to her and she was very insulted that one of my workers would flirt with her in the elevator. I asked what he said or did and she told me he said hello. It was not what he said, she said, but how he said hello.

I then went and talked to him and he said he was already on the designated construction elevator and she got on a floor after him. He admitted to saying hello, but that was all he said.

The long and short, the worker in question was an older black man, a grandfather, and my head labor foreman. The woman in question was a black woman and an assistant to the Chief Operating Officer of a major law firm. Now you tell me, if some brash young black or white lawyer stepped into the elevator and said hello to her, would she have reacted the same way? The answer is no, she would not, it was a class issue.

4...There is also a cultural thing that many men and women do not see or understand. Here is another true story...

While doing renovations at world bank, I got another call from my boss because in the morning Washington Post, a reporter had taken a picture of my men holding hand made signs up with a number from 1-10. Yes, they were rating the women walking buy. Almost all were Hispanic and in this country legally.

I had a talk with the men and they saw nothing wrong with this as they do this all the time back home. I had to explain to them this is a form of sexual harassment and frowned upon in this country. They felt if they were white American men, their would be no problem. I doubt my talk got through to them, but needless to say, there was no more lunch breaks out front.

5...I have also been the subject of very aggressive women and they made me feel odd. Not because they were aggressive women, but because I had no interest in them. And just to be clear, I love aggressive women, so long as I have an interest in them. I think women feel the same way.

6...I think a lot depends on how we are brought up to start with, and the crowd we associate with later in life. There is also the cultural issues and how we look at people. Not all men are aggressive, nor are all women. General statements of either simply are not true...

Pyekett
07-15-2012, 10:06 PM
I've explained that when I am reading a book, etc., that I don't WANT a conversation, but his reaction is simply that "If she doesn't a conversation, she won't talk to me."

Okay.

I'm just going to bury my face in my hand, go out for a rye & soda, and stare at the wall. And mourn the dearth of subtlety.

Alone. Quietly.

Yeah. I'll make it through that hour, somehow.

Al Stevens
07-15-2012, 10:13 PM
I'm disappointed. I asked that you keep this separate and reply to a very specific question. The OPs question was not why do so many men approach this woman, but why do they do so at all. Attractiveness may explain the volume but not the action.It helps to explain both.

onesecondglance
07-15-2012, 10:13 PM
This is like a thread from another planet to me. I've never seen behaviour on the scale of what's described here. I've watched other men try to start conversation with girls they don't know - I've seen women do the same with men - but I've not seen the borderline harassment like people are talking about.

Someone's going to come along and tell me I've lived a sheltered life, and you know what? Right now I'm feeling pretty good about that.

Kaiser-Kun
07-15-2012, 10:16 PM
This kind of stuff makes me wish for a system like in Skyrim: if you're single and looking for a couple, wear the Amulet of Mara.

That's it. Anyone not wearing it should be assumed uninterested.

Pyekett
07-15-2012, 10:17 PM
I've watched other men try to start conversation with girls they don't know - I've seen women do the same with men - but I've not seen the borderline harassment like people are talking about.I think there is a lot of unpleasantness going on that our eyes just aren't trained to see.

Kaiser-Kun
07-15-2012, 10:23 PM
I think there's a very innacurate idea deeply engraved in the male population, by both the media, our culture, and several stereotypes, and that is that women want attention. Girl wearing a bikini? Must be looking to attract men. Miniskirt? The same. Sitting alone in a cafeteria? Likewise? At the bar? Ditto. Low cut? Yup.

Sadly, there are very few signs a person can give to show that s/he does not wish to be talked to. People tend to assume that everyone will appreciate their small talk.

Cath
07-15-2012, 10:28 PM
I don't think this thread is achieving very much, and the Original Poster hasn't returned to engage. I'm closing it. If anyone feels strongly that the discussion should continue, pm me with a good reason.