The Thing About Hitting on Girls: Reader Response

Earlier this week, I received an email response to an article I wrote last week called “The Thing About Hitting on Girls” from Danielle Binler, a graduate student at Columbia. I found it particularly well thought-out and illuminating, and so definitely worthy of sharing (with her permission, of course) with those involved in the original conversation. Here it is, then, for your consumption.

Thought Catalog–

Upon reading your bewilderment concerning Hitting On girls, I became even more bewildered myself regarding this act, and am now forced to reconsider every interaction I’ve ever had with a member of the opposite sex.

I don’t identify with the feminists, prudish-looking rich girls, or the untouchable-looking pretty girls (is bubbly but bookish and knows how to throw a football a category?), but I always maintained that NO girl EVER wants to be Hit On (because “Hitting On is generally defined as an uncomfortable, awkward, and predatory thing).” It seems paradoxical at first, but really its not so much that society wants boys to “Hit On girls, but only if they are going to be successful,” so much as society just wants boys to talk to girls in ways that make the boy and girl equals instead of predator and prey.

Witticisms and one-liners, when relevant and delivered naturally (as opposed to the canned, obviously premeditated-and-practiced-in-your-mirror-while-trimming-your-mustache kind of way), will not seem forward, sleazy, or like you were huffing after-shave, and thus will be less likely to induce “Ugh, this total douchebag was hitting on me all night” reactions from girls. I’ve heard some people refer to it as “conversation,” and “playful banter,” or even “flirting.” And it tends to be really fucking fun! (Because it isn’t Hitting On).

It is more the scheming and contriving that makes Hitting On actual Hitting On. When things are flowing well, and unfortunately in your case, unintentionally, that is when you get into “I wish he would just grow some balls and ask me out” territory.

So, do men view any and all interactions with a person of the opposite sex as assessments of whether or not you want to fuck each other? I don’t talk to members of the opposite sex only because I am attracted to them or want to sleep with them. In fact, I’ve become quite the unseemly man magnet (see above, bubbly, perhaps I should add naïve to that roster).

But I had always assumed that boys and girls go with the ‘program,’ (eye contact, hair twirling, finding excuses to touch each other and tease each other) not so much to assess fuckability, but for amusement. I have way too much fun flirting with a boy to risk actual alone-time with him, which has infinite opportunities to descend into awkwardness, especially if fucking is a possibility because he is attractive.

And that is probably why you even started unintentionally talking to that chick in the first place. Getting to the point where you could fuck a girl usually starts with a fun conversation, but if you don’t really care about conversation at all, and just want to get straight to the fucking, the girl can usually sense it and you become aware that you are failing, really hard, at Hitting On her. So, congratulations, you don’t only view women as sex objects! You enjoy conversations! You are a good human, or, at least not a terrible one.

Also, I’m going to need to know what your one-liner was so I can make a list of which remarks are Hitting On and which aren’t, due to un-intentionality, not for me of course, for my friend, because she is really, really clueless sometimes.[1]

Indeed, Danielle. I think the main difference between our points of view is how each of us defines Hitting On; I think Hitting On includes all situations in which a single dude who’s looking for action and/or dating/ a relationship ‘chats up’ an available female in an ‘appropriate’ context[2], while you think that Hitting On is defined as douchebaggy one-liners dropped by douchebags that only want to get laid. Anyways, I don’t want to do too much of the discussing; this has all been put up to foster discussion on TC, because a lot of people seemed to have opinions about the original article. So – discuss. TC mark

image – KoS


More From Thought Catalog

  • Alex Nikolov


    Also, kinda disturbed by the idea that to eventually end up having sex, you must first 'charm' or 'amuse' a woman until she is satisfied and only then do they expect you to 'ask them out'. 'Cos, you know, girls effectively float passively trough life being 'asked' out and never taking the initiative, and men are nothing more than hyper-intelligent peacocks of conversation.

    • fairlyalarmed

      HAHA “hyper-intelligent”?

    • Margaret Thatcher

      I don’t know about other women (and I know this article is super old), but any time I’ve ever made the first move with a guy, it’s gone really poorly. And it wasn’t even because I was hitting on guys who were super rich, super attractive, or homosexual. They were single, straight guys in my range of attractiveness, but once I made a move, it’s like they just weren’t interested. It was almost like they decided there was no challenge, ergo it wasn’t worth it. Relationships and flings seem to go a lot better when I let the man initiate, and then respond as I see appropriate. Is it sexist? Of course. But you gotta do what works.

  • ZaneEatsWorld

    dude… meta.

  • Brandon Silverman

    “So, do men view any and all interactions with a person of the opposite sex as assessments of whether or not you want to fuck each other?”

    Unless we're at work, pretty much, yeah.

    I think men see every member of the opposite sex at “fuck potential” at first, until enough flaws and/or non-chemistry get in the way.

    “I don’t talk to members of the opposite sex only because I am attracted to them or want to sleep with them.”

    Neither do I, but it's still in my mind – “do I want to sleep with this girl or not?”

    I'm probably wrong, though.

    • Brandon

      “'So, do men view any and all interactions with a person of the opposite sex as assessments of whether or not you want to fuck each other?'

      Unless we're at work, pretty much, yeah.”

      What about like, this interaction? Do you want to fuck the person that wrote the email? What about like…. 90 year old females? What about grocery store clerks.

      • Brandon Silverman

        I did say “pretty much.” I'd have to restrict it to in-person meetings. Age appropriate, unless that's your thing, 90 y.o. females. The grocery store clerk – yes, I'd say in my interaction with her, I assessed if I wanted to fuck her. It's not reciprocal, most likely, although I'm sure some grocery store clerks get asked out while they're at work. Or your waitress, or bartender.

  • Michael Koh

    I stare at them until they ask me what I'm up to. JK

  • devin howard

    relevant, appropriate, and surprisingly insightful

  • Laureilly1990

    The accidental form is by far the most interesting form of Hitting On. I was at a bar the other day, with my boyfriend even, and I went up to get us drinks. Somehow, in the process, by neither party possessing any apparent Hitting On motives, I found myself chatting for a minute or two with some guy who was also getting a drink. Perhaps it was the paranoia of having a friend or my boyfriend see me and think that I was in a Hitting On scenario, but it felt almost identical to the actual Hitting On process, even though it was entirely not the intention. What really wigged me out about the whole situation was just thinking about how much Not Hitting On felt like Hitting On. I don't know, maybe he was just such a successful Hitter Onner that I didn't even realize that it was happening. Either way, good quick read. Keep 'em coming.


    I made a conscious decision to refrain from Hitting On people for a certain period of time and it worked- truly worked- until an attractive person started talking to me and the “what ifs” begin.

    There's a saying among prospectors: 'Go out looking for one thing, and that's all you'll ever find.' – Robert J Flaherty

    I think that's relevant but I'm not sure how.

  • Ray Ray

    Something about that image of the man and woman kissing really bothers me.

    • veganleather

      Right. It's the guy's stupid blonde goatee. It seems to drip with papaya. I vote for the abolishment of this image.

  • Brian McElmurry

    We all want sex. Men and women. Period.

    • Greg Petliski

      Then why is it so much easier for women to get laid when they choose to?

      • A. Rose

        In my experience, it's not.

      • Brian McElmurry

        Women definately have the advantage, and are more selective

      • Margaret Thatcher

        It’s because women are hardwired to want to have a long term relationship with a quality man, and men are hardwired to have a sex with a lot of different women. It’s a quality vs. quantity thing. (And yes, there are people who this doesn’t apply to, but we call them exceptions for a reason.) Basically, the reason that it’s hard for you to find a lot of girls to bed, is the same reason I am having a hard time finding one quality guy who wants to settle down and raise a family. But could you get married easily? Yes, if you put yourself out there, same as I could probably take a guy home every night if I wanted to.

  • Kathleen Gambo

    It’s PRIMAL! We’re hard-wired to always have the ‘do I want to bang and possibly procreate with you?’ thought whether it’s acknowledged on a conscious level or not (hard truth ladies).

    Fortunately we’ve evolved enough from apes where things like wit and intelligence play a heavy hand in the success of the Hit On process and the potential/eventual consummation between the Hit-onner & Hit-ee.

  • Greg Petliski

    “I have way too much fun flirting with a boy to risk actual alone-time with him…”

    Therein perhaps lies my problem. I absolutely hate “flirting” in the sense that you speak of it the third paragraph. Conversation is one thing; flirting implies teasing and comments of a more provocative, sexual nature. And that's something I as a gentlemen cannot do. Don't get me wrong. I love to fuck. Wildly, intimately, passionately. But those qualities are reserved for the bedroom, not the bar. I can't talk to a girl at a bar and make witty, sexually charged comments because that's just not right. Same as going to a club and grinding on chicks. Yet, it seems as though thats exactly what women want! You talk about the balls to ask you out; maybe we'd have more if it didn't feel like we're climbing Mt. Everest every time we try to talk to you.

    • Kathleen Gambo

      Haha so what's the alternative? Give a stealth bop to her head, toss her over your shoulder and be on your way? You gotta flirt to fuck Gregory!

      • Greg Petliski

        I honestly don't know what an alternative might be. But courtship as it is in our society is, well, scary as shit to me. I'm sure it is for a lot of people. Only difference is I guess that they can move past it and still communicate with people, bullshit, smalltalk, flirt, what have you. It doesnt seem to be so easy for me. I think my areas of interest, earth sciences, mountains, hitchhiking, are not exactly the most approachable subjects when you're trying to talk to girls.

        But its like, you grow up thinking “respect women, hold the door, ask them to dance” when in reality they're attracted to the guy who rubs up on them at the club. I don't think nice guys finish last, but we're certainly not the guy most women want to fuck. We're the one's you want to marry. I guess it's the same sort of compartmentalization that leads some men view their wives or girlfriends in a different light than the “slut” they would merely hook up with.

      • Kathleen Gambo

        This is the 21st century guy! Men don't request invitations to high tea or have chaperoned walks through the park. 'Courtship' shouldn't be scary as shit, it should be organic… a good conversation, a friendship. And what chicks are you hanging with that can't appreciate talking about an awesome hike or a crazy hitchhiking experience gone awry?

        Lucky for you, dear Gregory, you've got it all wrong. Women are about as attracted to the sweaty guido grinding on us at the club as you are to the suspiciously tan broad with a tribal tramp stamp. Remind me again when it was a bad thing for you to be the kind of guy girls want to marry– awkwardness and all? Stick around if you are one of them because the general consensus is they don't exist.

      • Greg Petliski

        I've tried being myself, that doesn't work too well. I like the things I like and thats it. I don't enjoy art of any kind, except for music, my knowledge of which is so limited that all I can talk about is the bands I know. This leaves me with very little to discuss with others. You would think mountains and hitchhiking would be off the wall and interesting, and they are to an extent. But when that's all you have to talk about, it gets old rather quick.

        The only remedy I can think of is to completely change my personality to fit it what it is the majority of women seek in a partner. People might think this is crazy, but why would anyone want to be with someone as socially awkward, boring, unfunny, and stiff as I? I wouldn't want to be with that person! How can I feasibly expect anyone else to? I liken it to my writing abilities; I am excellent at writing research papers, and absolutely abysmal when it comes to any sort of creative writing. Now who finds research papers more interesting to talk to than poetry?

      • Brian McElmurry

        You know, everyone eats dinner, laughs, enjoys simple things. Dating isn't much different. You just need a job and some money, an apartment, a car would help, minimal social skills. And basically hang with a person, do things, and that's dating. Make your move. And don't talk about poetry. Even if you like it. I'm sure people enjoy your company.

      • Margaret Thatcher

        If it makes you feel any better, there are women out there who fall for the gentlemanly type and are disgusted by the rubbing dudes at the clubs. When I go to a club, it’s to drink and be with my girls. I don’t go to a club to get laid!

  • Jess

    if you are worrying about all this shit when you're talking to someone of the opposite sex, you're not going home with them regardless of whether you want to or not.


  • munto

    I actually think there are different sub-groups–defined by age, culture, region, religion, whatever–with very different opinions, practices and taboos. Some girls do habitually label any guy who explicitly expresses interest in them as a “creep” (unless they reciprocate)–which can seem a little unfair, I guess. on the other hand, this is usually limited to very young people still figuring themselves / others out. Also, there are a loooot of douchebag / asshole guys out there. I find it impossible to stay seriously interested in someone I can't have a good conversation with, so it's hard for me to identify with the sort of people who tend to complain about this..

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