Well, once again I'm left to ponder why my romantic overture to a girl came up empty. One at a time, each detail of the event will rise to the surface of my mind for thorough examination. Should I have asked her out in person when I had the chance? Was the email a mistake? Was I a complete goober for phrasing it "If yer keen, we should hang out sometime?" Is this all just pointless self-flagellation because she was never interested in the first place?
When I step back and think about it more rationally, though, this incessant fretting over minutiae feels more like a defense mechanism than an objective assessment of my performance. I think I'm just trying to protect myself from the far more likely possibility that she's "just not that into me." That potentiality is much more depressing than thinking I did something to put her off.
Of course, imagining that she (tacitly) declined my offer because I emailed instead of asking in person is also troubling. I certainly hope she didn't hold my shyness against me. It would be a mistake, I think, to dismiss someone (male or female) for being reserved or even socially awkward. To cite a couple of cliches that have been quoted so often we usually ignore them, you can't judge a book by its cover, and still waters run deep.
It bothers me to think that women may be more attracted to bold men. Several years ago, I came up with a theory that explains, at least to my satisfaction, why confidence isn't the best quality by which to judge a suitor. I call it "The Asshole Theory," and it goes like this: It's easy for assholes to be confident with women, because they aren't emotionally invested in the outcome. Assholes just wanna get laid by a chick, any chick; they're not looking for a relationship or a personal connection. If they get shot down, they just move on to the next target, because to them the objects of their desire are just that: objects.
This is why it pains me when the lady in the Match.com commercial says, "I live my life, and, if somebody comes along and talks to me, that's how it goes." It seems like a lot of women approach romance this way. Well I've got news for ya, ladies: We ain't livin' in the 50's anymore. You wanted equality, and, even though we're not there yet, we've certainly come a long way. But with more rights come more responsibilities. In other words, if you wanna date Nice Guys, yer gonna hafta make the first move sometimes.
[Excuse the colloquialisms. I often lapse into urban (Southern? Hard-boiled film noir detective?) vernacular when I get worked up.]
Speaking as a (hopefully) Nice Guy, I have to say that ever since I hit puberty I've been disappointed in how passive women seem. Feminism has let me down. I thought girls would be asking me out on a regular basis. Not because I had a high opinion of my own attractiveness. (I didn't and still don't.) I just thought that's how it would go. Most of my bosses have been women, yet when it comes to dating y'all seem stuck in the past.
But, again, when I stop to really think about it, I'm forced to admit that I've been hit on about as many times as I've hit on girls (or women). If you count the times I've been hit on without realizing it, they probably far outstrip the times I've made the first move. (But I don't count those. Sorry. If your intentions aren't clear, it doesn't count. This is another problem. Women usually wanna communicate by Morse code, but men generally only understand semaphore.) It leads me to believe that my lackluster lovelife is a product of my shyness rather than a failure of Feminism.
Then I see something like the catcall video, and I become horribly ashamed of my gender and wonder how women even get out of bed in the morning, much less routinely pass me on the corporate ladder. It makes me much more understanding of women's passivity and seemingly old-fashioned perspective on dating when I see how many fucking assholes and Neanderthals are out there. After I saw that video, I realized that I have an obligation, as a Nice Guy, to stick up for women who are being harassed. Women can't overcome the rape culture on their own. We men who don't want that in our society have to stand with them.
Which leads me to my conclusion, that I have to take a more active role in my own lovelife, as any shy person (male or female) should. At the end of the day, my ruminations on "the failures of Feminism" are probably just another example of a middle-class white guy bitching about not being the lord of all he surveys anymore. It's not like I have to overcome major obstacles to find true love, like women still do. I just have to deal with the fact that things aren't as easy for guys as they used to be. The world is changing, and we all have to adapt.