When Will It Be Okay for Women to Make the First Move?


I’d only met him a couple of times, so when he picked a bit of fluff from my collarbone it was definitely flirty. Just like it was when he said he liked my top—the denim butterfly one that pushed my cleavage together until there was a black line down the center. So when I found out he had a girlfriend, I felt particularly disappointed.

The next night, another guy at another party walked up to me when I was pouring a drink and laughed. “Sorry, that wasn’t at you,” he said. “I was going to say something but bottled it.” And then we joked about how “Thirsty?” was an awful opener and brainstormed other introductions that would have been more appropriate. We were getting on well, so when he put his hand out and introduced himself and I realized he was the ex of a friend (and had also slept with three others), I was disappointed all over again.

On the third night out—I was being deadly serious when I said I was going to stop being boring—I was at a friend’s birthday party. All the guys there were really hot, with little hoop earrings and sparkly eyes. Unfortunately, they were all gay. And so for the third time, I left a party empty-handed.

I’m describing a recent three-day weekend, but every night out I’ve been on in the last few months has followed one of these three basic formulas. Like a choose-your-own-adventure story where the same thing comes and ruins the happy ending every time, there are simply not enough available straight men. 

I’m not sure where the problem derives from. In his book Date-onomics: How Dating Became A Lopsided Numbers Game, economist Jon Birger suggests part of the issue is that for every four college-educated women, there are three college-educated men—a problem only because people are unlikely to date across educational lines. I obviously don’t care whether the guy I get with has spent a few years in a musty room calling things “ad hominem” arguments and drinking too much. But if Birger’s basic premise is that there are more great women than there are great men, then I agree with that. You can tell by how much we scream when we’re together that our conversations are funnier. You can always rely on us to turn up to your birthday, et cetera. And when it comes to the men who are attractive, most of them aren’t even bothered about having sex. They never ask you out—instead, they just want to waste your time messaging you things like “without me?” when you tell them you’re getting in the shower.



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