Up Front by Emma Hart

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

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  • Isaac Freeman,

    And, the above example aside, by the time you’re trying to get me to go out with you, you should have talked to me enough to have some kind of idea of what I’m like. Because what you want is to go out with me, right? Not “a woman”, me.

    This.

    Although... a little bit more than this. Without wishing to use the word "qua" in polite conversation, nobody actually knows the true essence of the person they're interested in. What they fancy is an unfinished mental model of the person you seem to be, based on what they know of you so far. If they're doing it right, they'll adjust that model as they get to know you.

    Someone who hardly knows you but already likes you isn't necessarily creepy. The Creepy happens when people would rather have their unfinished mental model, and can't or won't adjust it to be more like you.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 134 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Hello
    I was wondering if you’d like to have a cup of coffee with me?
    I’m asking you because I think you’re pretty and to be honest you look like someone I might be interested in having a more serious relationship with, damned if I know what it is about your looks that make me think that but maybe someday we could explore that topic in more detail.

    It is even possible that we could become very good friends and want to spend lots of time with each other, enough to consider becoming permanent partners in a long term loving relationship.

    However the chances of all that coming to pass are realistically low since there may be many differences between us that may make long term happiness unlikely or simply impossible.

    That said if I don’t ask we’ll never know and I figure that if we start with a simple coffee we can figure out if there are any immediate deal breakers.

    Equally it is simply possible that even if we don’t go on to have a long term relationship we could become friends and having more friends is a nice thing.

    So bearing all that in mind
    “would you like to have a coffee?”

    It is admittedly possible that I over-think things sometimes

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Isaac Freeman,

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

    For sure. That's a perpetually ongoing process. I just recently found something out about my partner of 18 years that I hadn't previously had an inkling of. But you can pick up the very broad strokes quite quickly. I love the process of then filling in the detail and discovering the unexpected.

    It is admittedly possible that I over-think things sometimes

    Given my reaction to a man saying "Do you want to grab a coffee?" is the same as it would be if it were a woman, I may under-think things sometimes.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Isaac Freeman, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    It is admittedly possible that I over-think things sometimes

    That depends on how many other people are behind you in the check-out queue.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 134 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    I used to be terrified of speaking to anyone I didn't know. Actual shaking-in-my-boots terrified. Thankfully the Internet helped me get over that little hump in the road towards becoming a functioning social human being-ville.

    It is funny though, as kids we're warned off speaking to strangers, and many of us carry that taboo with us into adulthood for entirely the wrong reasons.

    Tangental to this, I read Haley Campbell's " A N O P E N L E T T E R T O T H E G U Y W A I T I N G I N T H E C O R N E R O F T H I S C O M I C B O O K S H O P" yesterday and thought very much about exactly these issues. How hard is it to remember the golden rule of social interaction with strangers: it's enjoyable if it's not creepy?

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Because what you want is to go out with me, right? Not “a woman”, me. You’re attracted to the individual person I am. Same goes for every woman. We’re all unique fucking snowflakes, alright? You want any chance of her saying yes? Treat her as her, not as “a woman”. All women are terrified all the time to the same extent that all men are brutish bastards.

    It really boggles me some days just how much society manages to inculcate us with the idea that there is a group, "men", and a group, "women", and never the twain shall meet. It's not true by any measure, yet people perfectly capable of understanding this fact in a non-romantic context somehow lose all sight of it when sexual and/or romantic attraction and interaction enters the picture.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Isaac Freeman,

    eros and sore losers...

    The Creepy happens when people would rather have their unfinished mental model, and can't or won't adjust it to be more like you.

    ...the difference between
    Unrequited Love
    and Unrequired Lust

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    If I try asking a woman out for coffee and acting interested, there’s a high chance she’ll feel threatened and nervous.

    I have felt threatened by men hitting on me. I do love that that makes it sound like it happens all the time.

    I think the problem, for me, its that I am not at all attuned to realising that dudes are hitting on me. So for it to actually hit the mark, it has to be fairly overt. Which often comes across as over-bearing and pushy. And that bothers me. And a women hitting on me? I would likely not even notice. Mostly, I just assume that people are being nice and friendly. And that flirting – well, everyone is just like me, and they flirt naturally, right?

    Also…I’m not good at talking to strangers. (Anyone who has ever met me is snorting right now, but it’s _true_, I swear.) So a dude approaching me on the street – or a woman for that matter – I’m automatically looking for an ulterior motive. Because s/ he couldn’t possibly just think I’m cute.

    ETA: Also, I've dealt with enough street harassment, of both the "hey baby", and the "hey, fat bitch" variety, I'm wary of anyone talking to me on the street.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    I think the problem, for me, its that I am not at all attuned to realising that dudes are hitting on me. So for it to actually hit the mark, it has to be fairly overt.

    I'm guessing that statistically someone apart from the person I married must have hit on me at some point in my life. I've just never managed to pick up on it. Then again, I didn't really read it with the aforesaid spouse until he uttered the words "So would you like to actually* go out?" This stuff is hard.

    *("Instead of trolling the rest of our floor like we've been doing for the last three days.")

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    I think the problem, for me, its that I am not at all attuned to realising that dudes are hitting on me. So for it to actually hit the mark, it has to be fairly overt. Which often comes across as over-bearing and pushy.

    I don't tend to pick up on "being hit on" as anything more than social flirting, unless someone is being really, really creepy. And that has happened to me, quite a bit. I once described the point at which I'd realised a guy might be keen on me (unfortunately a story I can't tell, because it's hilarious) to a friend. Said friend and my partner had a long discussion about whether I can actually be this stupid. I am.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    I’ve just never managed to pick up on it.

    I hardly ever do. It usually takes getting really drunk and vomiting on someone's shoes (true story). As Emma says, it's the Kiwi Way.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Said friend and my partner had a long discussion about whether I can actually be this stupid. I am.

    Yes. If I may remind you of another story that can't be told here, you've witnessed just how stupid I can be.

    Which is why I can feel threatened. Because for me to realise I'm being hit on...well, it has to be kind of aggressive.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I don’t tend to pick up on “being hit on” as anything more than social flirting, unless someone is being really, really creepy.

    On second thought, I'd say this is exactly. The idea of "being hit on" as anything more than part of a wide continuum of social interactions - which can go from a casual chat to trying to talk someone into bed - is part of that whole thing where we try to separate out romance and sex from everything else, and Men And Women in the context of that as different from people being people (and interacting with other people.) No reason it *should* be obvious.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • 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.

    I'm not dense. I notice that guys treat physically unattractive women differently, dismissively. I've also noticed, to a lesser extent, that the same thing happens to physically unattractive men.

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

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    No reason it *should* be obvious.

    No, but it *can* be obvious.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Isaac Freeman,

    Attachment

    Remember The Diagram.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 134 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    “being hit on”

    It's an interesting phrase that isn't it? 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?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    "Emma, you have most amazing eyes I have ever seen."

    there was no way I was going to start a relationship with someone I didn't physically desire

    But...tell me.....that wouldn't include Lyall Lovett? Would it.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    “being hit on”

    "Scored" scores highly on that list I suspect.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Look
    I understand too little too late
    I realize there are things you say and do
    You can never take back
    But what would you be if you didn't even try
    You have to try
    So after a lot of thought
    I'd like to reconsider
    Please
    If it's not too late
    Make it a cheeseburger

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    It’s an interesting phrase that isn’t it?

    Aw, see, now you've got my brain ticking. I put it in "scare quotes" because it's a phrase I'm not happy with and only use sarcastically. I'm now not sure I even know what I mean by it. Something like this.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Ross Mason,

    "Emma, you have most amazing eyes I have ever seen."

    Actual conversation:

    “Your daughter has amazing eyes.”

    “Aren’t they gorgeous? They’re just like yours.”

    NOT hitting on me.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Touche.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    It's an interesting phrase that isn't it? 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 have thought the meaning of hit was more about a target, rather than a blow. The one that always stymied me - in Melbourne it's called "cracking on". It also has a noun form, you can refer to "the crack on". "Hit on" doesn't seem to have that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    "Oh fuck, she's hitting on me. Now what?"

    one faces that problem all the time :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

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