Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: The Up Front Guides: Relationships for the Unisexual

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  • Robert Urquhart, in reply to BenWilson,

    I do often wonder that treating all women as being equally human, as I try to do, sends them the wrong signals. Many times I've ended up deeply involved in a conversation with a woman I don't have any physical attraction to, and then tuned in my social radar and thought "Oh fuck, she's hitting on me. Now what?". I end up looking like an arsehole anyway, when I then have to pull off an escape move.

    Or the opposite case which is more my experience - apparently negating any signals that I might be interested, leading to complete surprise (followed by discomfort) on their part when I eventually broach the matter. And by eventually I mean after having gotten to know someone over a period of weeks or months, not the course of an evening.

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2009 • 140 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Feargal Sharkey sounded kind of nerdy in this song. And I've always been something of a nerd.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4056 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    The whole "nice guys" vs "jerks" thing is not without some truth, but it's much more complicated than it's normally portrayed. For a start, in most of those discussions, "nice guy" isn't a shorthand for "decent human being": it means "doormat". Hence, there's a lot of space between that and "jerks".

    Secondly, actions that seem jerkish from one person could just seem playful, cheeky and confident from another. It's partly about tone and delivery, partly about the physical attractiveness of the deliverer, but mostly it's about context and the state of the existing relationship.

    For instance, a "nice guy" might say something like "I think you're really special, and I really like you, and would you like to go out with me please? Oh, any time. Wherever you like, it doesn't matter, you choose." And for some people that might seem theoretically to be flattering and respectful, but for others it just seems creepy and indecisive.

    At the other extreme, a "jerk" might say "Hey sweet cheeks, let's go get a drink at X. I'll pick you up at 8. You know you want to." And for some women, an approach like that with the right delivery from the right man would work like a charm. But in most cases (I think) it's more likely to come across as arrogant, sexist and controlling.

    Something in the middle might be "Hi there, I saw that this great new place X has just opened, and it seemed like your sort of place. How about we go for a drink there sometime?" The flattery isn't necessary, since it's sort of implied by the fact that you're asking them out. If done right, it should seem confident and positive without being controlling. It implies that you know enough about someone to share their tastes, and if you're right then it should be much more appealing than seeming to have no preferences, tastes or personality of your own. If she says "I'm not so keen about that place, how about Y?" then don't spoil it by insisting on your first choice: that's jerkish.

    So, the general idea is that one should be confident without arrogance, express interest without desperation, and if possible cheeky without being insulting. Well, that's the theory. It never works for me.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Why does the action of enquiring if the other person might be interested in a relationship of some kind get described in such violent terms?

    I'd tap that.
    I'd hit that.
    I'd tear that up.

    Testosterone, eh?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2326 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Tom Beard,

    So, the general idea is that one should be confident without arrogance, express interest without desperation, and if possible cheeky without being insulting. Well, that's the theory. It never works for me.

    I just fell off my chair as a result of random clumsiness. Not at all because I was laughing so hard I couldn't hold myself up.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4326 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Robert Urquhart,

    And by eventually I mean after having gotten to know someone over a period of weeks or months, not the course of an evening.

    Ah, this could indicate something quite different. Some women, myself included, have a "friend zone". Once you've been put in the Friend Zone, thinking of you in a romantic/sexual context requires a jarring mind-shift. Just getting your head around the idea, no matter how you feel about the individual, is discomforting. For me this is non-gender-specific. But. Not all people do this.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4326 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I just fell off my chair as a result of random clumsiness. Not at all because I was laughing so hard I couldn't hold myself up.

    Honest, officer! I'm actually really terrible at asking women out. The few times it's worked it's been when they've been dropping hints so heavily they might as well have held up a sign saying "Just ask me out, already!"

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Some women, myself included, have a "friend zone". Once you've been put in the Friend Zone, thinking of you in a romantic/sexual context requires a jarring mind-shift.

    That definitely happens, but the shift isn't always that dramatic, especially if there's already been some flirtation or sexual tension in the friendship from the start. Which in my case is often.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    I suspect I'm the nerd. So when I read all about Richard Feynman being taught how to "pick up girls" it was too late. I was married.

    So I can honestly ask all of youse girl things, does it work?

    But here it is in all it's glory: "Surely you're joking Mr Feyman." Page 64 "From Cornell to Brazil" is the quickly learnt incorrect method and Page 72 "You just ask them?" is the pick up bit.


    If you find a spare few hours, read the book about other anecdotes eg picking locks in Los Alamos, door stealing, how to trick ants, the hole in the fence, buying a train ticket so the world does not know where you are going, coded letters to his dying wife.....

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1479 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich Lock,

    I'd tap that.

    Surely a reference to a beer keg rather than a dojo mat?

    I'd hit that.

    Cause it's not the kind of ball you take your eye off?

    I'd tear that up.

    Can't spin that one...either reading of "tear" is bad.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Urquhart, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Ah, this could indicate something quite different. Some women, myself included, have a "friend zone". Once you've been put in the Friend Zone, thinking of you in a romantic/sexual context requires a jarring mind-shift. Just getting your head around the idea, no matter how you feel about the individual, is discomforting

    Oh yes I'm very familiar with the concept of the Friend Zone :-/ Like the nice guys/jerks theory it has its proponents and its detractors.

    I also have a friend zone of sorts - generally a woman has to be in it before I start being interested in her as -more- than a friend*/"equally human". You can see how the two are at cross purposes...

    *beyond instinctual biological stuff ... and that's a tangent into whether wanting to sleep with someone is "more than a friend" territory, which seem to be the socially dominant assumption. I think it's on a different axis myself.

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2009 • 140 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Wait, what? We're brutish bastards, now? Thank fuck, 'cos I could never get my head around being a rapist.

    </irony_or_some_such>

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1768 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to BenWilson,

    Can't spin that one...either reading of "tear" is bad.

    They're all bad, but that one is certainly the worst. I've heard them all used unironically, although not as pick-up lines.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2326 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Do you also go for penguins?

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1768 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Some women, myself included, have a "friend zone".

    How odd. My only sexual relationships have been with women who were friends first.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    My only sexual relationships have been with women who were friends first.

    I have both male and female friends for whom this is true. Or at least, their only successful relationships. For me it's the complete opposite. The current theory is that it might be a defense mechanism from having been the only woman in a group of close friends.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4326 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Reid, in reply to BenWilson,

    Makes me think that at least half of the meme that the other sex are alien arseholes is simply rejection at work.

    Some don't get the rejection. Clearly there are different interpretations for the signals we send out - some people fit the meme much better than others...

    South Africa • Since Nov 2006 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I'm now not sure I even know what I mean by it.

    Apart from the whole violence part of the phrase, it is also interesting because it dehumanizes from the very inception of the relationship.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Matthew Reid,

    Some don't get the rejection.

    Ugh. UGH. I have a sudden urge to cut all my hair off so I don't play with it by mistake.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4326 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Pick-up line that was used on me, by a friend: "Let's have an affair."

    It worked. Still working, really, given that we got married. To each other.

    nobody actually knows the true essence of the person they're interested in

    For sure. That's a perpetually ongoing process.

    We only found out that we both rather liked Star Trek some months *after* we got married.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1296 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    My only sexual relationships have been with women who were friends first.

    Yep, that’s how I am, too, except with blokes. I have to get to know someone fairly well before I can know whether I’m interested romantically. Doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes feel a spark right away, but I need more than that to be really interested.

    ETA:

    We’re all unique fucking snowflakes, alright?

    This. On a t-shirt, please. :-)

    I've always hated the idea that there's a script you have to follow, that the right words, the right gestures, in the right order, at the right time, get you there. Ugh. As if other people are like ATM machines.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3410 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    Serendipitous association to topic at hand is found in today’s Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

    http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2454#comic

    Charlie Brown is such a “nice guy”. Let the evolution of our common language take fast with this grand idea. Bravo Emma Hart, bravo. Encore.

    Since Nov 2006 • 345 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Emma Hart,

    You played with your hair a lot. A woman playing with her hair is a common sign of flirtation. You can even do a google search on it. When a woman plays with her hair, she is preening. I've never had a date where a woman played with her hair as much as you did. In addition, it didn't look like you were playing with your hair out of nervousness.

    Um. Dude. I play with my hair when I am bored. That's how you can tell I am bored, because I end up with crazy ringlets on one side of my head.

    What a douche.

    I don't understand why you apparently don't want to go out with me again. We have numerous things in common. I assume that you find me physically attractive. If you didn't find me physically attractive, then it would have been irrational for you to go out with me in the first place.

    I don't know, maybe you could do a google search on it?

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Deborah,

    We only found out that we both rather liked Star Trek some months *after* we got married.

    lol, it's just as well you're both fans!

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3410 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Ross Mason,

    O cool! And thanks Ross Mason!
    That's been on my get/read list for yonks-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

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