Usually when I like a guy my natural instinct is to avoid him. Instead I might talk to his friend who I feel more comfortable with, or maybe I’ll surround myself by a large group of girlfriends, or perhaps I’ll hide in a dark corner. Because I know if I approach the guy it will be painfully obvious that I like him (e.g. talking too fast, laughing too much, compulsively crossing and uncrossing my arms, peeing my pants.) The other possible reaction I’ll have when talking with said guy is to act almost completely disinterested – partly out of fear of rejection but mostly because I’m trying to maintain at least some dignity.
I’m not trying to play hard to get (honestly, I detest such games) – I’m just insecure and awkward when it comes to the opposite sex. I know I should suck it up and grow up, but at the same time I guess I believe if a man likes me, he’ll come after me – even if I’m hidden in the shadows across the room. I’ve seen enough movies and read enough books (let alone real life examples) to know this is how it often works. If a man fancies a woman, he will go after her no matter the cost…
Obviously, I know Hollywood has tainted our idea of love and fairy tales don’t actually come true and yadda yadda – but at the same time, these stories exist for a reason. And besides, I know men who have done this. They spot a woman and go after her – despite whether or not she’s given him the time of day.
My mom tells me that when I like someone I need to make it known (translation: flirt with him), because sometimes they need a little help. Some encouragement, if you will. I respond by saying that when a man wants a woman (and I mean really wants her) neither heaven nor hell will stop him from going after her.
But then I read Pride and Prejudice.
Charlotte: In nine cases out of ten a woman had better show more affection than she feels. Bingley likes your sister undoubtedly; but he may never do more than like her, if she does not help him on.
Elizabeth: But she does help him on, as much as her nature will allow. If I can perceive her regard for him, he must be a simpleton, indeed, not to discover it too.
Charlotte: Remember, Eliza, that he does not know Jane’s disposition as you do.
Elizabeth: But if a woman is partial to a man, and does not endeavor to conceal it, he must find it out.
Is what Charlotte says true? Should a woman show “more affection than she feels” (or in my case: any affection at all) nine times out of ten? Or is it up to the man to discover how she feels, like Elizabeth says.
If you don’t know the story, the relationship between Bingley and Jane is later damaged because Jane doesn’t “help him on” enough (aka FLIRT.)
As for Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, they probably wouldn’t have ended up together if he didn’t hear about her possible affections: “It taught me to hope,” said he, “as I had scarcely ever allowed myself to hope before.”
At the end of the novel Elizabeth asks Mr. Darcy why, if he loved her, “did you look as if you did not care about me?” He responds, “Because you were grave and silent, and gave me no encouragement.”
So now I don’t know what I think.
I asked my roommates, Alexandra and Bethany, their opinions on the matter. Alexandra believes if a woman likes a man, she should put herself in his line of vision (initiating conversation, sitting next to him at meals, showing up at the same social events, etcetera etcetera.) Bethany, on the other hand, believes a man will notice a woman because of her character (and let’s be honest – her smoking bod), not because she puts herself in his path.
My older sister fell in love with a man before she was ever on his radar. Instead of letting the love of her life pass her by, she put herself out there – she made herself known to him (my mom must be so proud.) Now they are married and remain madly in love.
And yet, I can’t help but wonder – what about those of us who are like Jane, whose nature doesn’t really allow her flirt? Or Elizabeth, who remains grave and silent in the presence of the man she loves (“I was embarrassed,” she later explains to him.) Do we lose our chances with men because our affections remain hidden within us? Should we go ahead and invest in some cats?
I’m not usually one to open up a discussion on my blog, but I’m curious about this. Ladies – what do you do? Men, what are your thoughts? Marrieds – how did it work for you?