I am sorry to hurt anyone’s gender sensitivities. (Actually, I am not all that sorry.) Men and women are different, maybe not very different; but they can be in ways that matter. Gender is socially constructed and all that good stuff, but as I often reiterate social constructions affect reality and the difference or the perceived difference between men and women affects how each is socially conditioned. All of this jargon is basically leading to that one question almost every heterosexual female has asked of herself and her friends: How obvious should a girl be (about boys)?
My field is in the humanities, and in the humanities, you learn two things about people: That they are predictable, and that they are not. There are aspects to human nature that simply come with the species, and there are aspects that are environmentally influenced. I think the world of dating, and one’s approach to dating is largely influenced by the environment a person grew up in. And why wouldn’t it be? You learn almost everything about how to treat other people from the people who raised you.
My mother – I love her to death – since I was a child, has told me that guys are passive. Growing up with three older brothers and being close with my Dad, I could see her point. She said that guys are generally the ones who will approach you if they are interested. Because guys would much rather not put in any effort if they didn’t have to; so they will only put in effort for girls they are really interested in. Girls, on the other hand, we are judged from head to toe as we step out into the world – so putting effort is a given almost every day of our lives.
In my adulthood, I don’t really know what to make of this. I have a younger sister who has just started her teens, and I am sure my mother tells her the same thing. But my sister and I live in a world that was different from the one that my mother grew up in. And recently, even though it’s difficult to get out of my particular default setting, I have taken the stance that who’s pursuing whom, does not really matter at the end of the day. Sometimes girls pursue because sometimes guys are shy. And many times it’s still the other way around. And I believe it, I really do. But time and again the question comes up: How obvious should a girl be?
Personally, I would like to live in a world where people – both men and women – just walked up to each other and said, “Hey, I like you. Do you like me? Lets get together some time. If not, I’m going to awkwardly avoid you for a month but then I’m sure I’ll get over it and we can just be friends. Or not. Whatever.”
Wouldn’t that be so much easier than whatever it is that most people do these days? Technology has simplified our lives but it has also complicated our lives. So much texting and analysis of texts, and social media stalking, and “hanging out” and requests to hang out. I feel like my generation is just forever in limbo when it comes to dating. Which I personally, find problematic. Life is abstract enough – do we really need to make it more so, by having abstract relationships?
But back to the question: How obvious should a girl be? However obvious she wants or needs to be. Seriously. Guys can be clueless, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. But sometimes you really have to spell it out for them. Granted, girls can be clueless too – I should know; I am one of them. Maybe there will always be a battle of the sexes when it comes to dating and maybe the question above needn’t be so gendered. Maybe the question simply is: How obvious should people be? And if you ask me, my answer is simple: Let’s cut out the bullshit and be pretty freaking obvious. Because people are generally clueless.
Now, all you and I have to do is turn those sweet words into action. Yeah, about that…