Men vs. women: who takes charge?

By Kayla Brown

In our generation, it seems that dating must be played like a game of poker. In order to win, you must keep your cards close to your chest, play wisely and maintain a poker face. This is a modern-day defense mechanism that some use to prevent themselves from being emotionally hurt.

We are able to purchase books on topics such as overcoming rejection, how to tell your friend that you’re in love with the friend’s significant other, and what to wear on your first date.

I’ve always imagined dating as being fun, and not requiring a big commitment, unlike a relationship. In my opinion, dating, or “talking,” should be about taking risks and learning as things progress. Sadly, dating is now starting to be portrayed as something to be afraid of, and something that you have to think twice about before doing.

I’ve begun to realize that people are fearful of rejection, fearful of being hurt, to the point where they’d rather not date. Others would prefer to have multiple partners, or they might really like someone but act the completely opposite way. These are just a couple of barriers that people use to protect themselves from getting hurt.

Making yourself vulnerable to another person might not be easy, especially with those of our generation saying that they don’t want to look “thirsty” or “pressed” over the one they like. Before our generation, looking “thirsty” would’ve been considered showing someone that you’re really interested in them, and that you’re willing to do what it takes to make them yours. However, in our generation it’s supposedly a bad thing to show someone how we truly feel, because we don’t want to seem overly excited about them. Last I checked, going after the one you want and showing interest is a good thing.

Now, here’s where it gets tricky: should the guy express interest first, or should the girl? Naturally, both males and females would say the guy. Why? Because in every romance movie, the guy is chasing after the girl, and that’s all we ever see. We are taught that men should be the pursuers, and that women should wait until they’re approached. We are taught that if a man really wants a woman, then he will go after her.

Honestly, for the longest time, I thought the same thing, until my male best friend shared with me that he enjoys it when women pursue him. He explained to me that he doesn’t mind going after a female, but he finds a woman more attractive when she’s the one to pursue. He simply admitted that when a woman takes charge, she’s showing courage and determination, because she knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. In fact, he also admitted that being pursued makes him feel wanted and desired. This was my first time hearing a guy admit this, so I was in total shock. As odd as this might sound, I never knew that men cared about being wanted. I just imagined that men were OK with being the pursuers.

After that conversation, I began to see dating from a broader perspective, a more balanced perspective. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with a woman taking charge and making it known that she’s interested. It’s just how you go about showing the interest that really matters. I’m not saying that it’s OK to go pursue any and every person that you find attractive. I’m saying that if you find someone attractive, and you can see yourself dating that person, then why not pursue? In doing so, you might discover that the feeling is mutual. Think about it, the worst thing that could happen is being rejected. If that were to happen, you could at least say that you took a risk.

Therefore, my answer to the question on whether men or women should take charge would have to simply be, “Both.” I believe that it’s vital to realize that doing so would make dating more approachable and balanced. This way, a woman wouldn’t expect a man to be the first to take charge, and wait for him to ask her out on a date. Instead, women would feel more comfortable with being the pursuers. In the end, if you like someone, take a risk, and take charge, regardless of your gender. After all, if you never try, then you’ll never know.