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The Omega Male

June 17, 2003 - 10:46 p.m.

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Last Five Entries:
The Party's Over
July 11, 2004
The Next Day
My Nervous Breakdown
True Confessions: My Life as a Female Impersonator
March 15, 2004
Bite Me
February 29, 2004



I hate being a pursuer.

I have absolutely zero aggressive qualities in the romantic milieu. It's not a matter of shyness; I once was more aggressive, but I lost that through combination of change in perspective and painful experience. And it's not a character point which I particularly want to change. I don't want to be aggressive at all.

This is a particular problem for a heterosexual man. Because in the common dating script, men are supposed to take the aggressive roles. Women attract men; men chase women. If I don't chase, then I don't date, because women won't chase me- that's not their role.

(Of course, there is a quite reasonable alternative explanation, which is that I'm not worth chasing. It's certainly believable. However, the prevalence and power of the traditional dating script that assigns aggressive roles to men and passive roles to women is a fairly well-documented sociological phenomenon.)

So why am I complaining about this? Well, as I have written before, I'm using these online personal ads. One of the things that I like about the online personal ads is that I feel that a woman who posts an ad has given permission to anyone reading the ad to at least send her an inital note to contact her (though that permission is subject to the parameters that she sets forth as to the kind of man from whom she'd like to hear). So I don't have the same problem contacting a woman through a personal ad as I do approaching a woman in another context, not knowing whether she wants to be approached at all.

So that's a good start as far as the personal ads go, but it breaks down. And here is the case-in-point. I have been corresponding with four women, two quite regularly. The string of correspondence with one of them has been going on since May 25, and the other since June 1.

Let's take the one that's been going on for three weeks now. She and I seem to have a lot of things in common. Right down to the fact that we have the same writing style in our e-mails to each other. (A formal conversational style, medium sentences that often have two phrases, the occasional parenthetical aside- for starters.) Our e-mails to each other have been getting longer and longer, and they remain fairly upbeat. I've been spending a half hour to an hour writing each of my e-mails to her (and I'm a fast writer), and her e-mails to me have been about the same length as mine to her, so we're both sinking a lot of time into this e-mail correspondence. If any correspondence is promising, this has to be it.

So here's the problem. At what point do I say, Let's go out on a date? I can't suggest it, unless I feel like I've been given permission to suggest it. She has indicated that she is looking for either "just dating" or "friends." So my first problem is, how is she regarding me through my correspondence with her? Do I look like dating prospect, or a friend prospect? To me, there is no starting out on a friendship that might build into something more. There are two problems with that.

First, if I'm in a friendship with a woman, I'm going to respect the boundaries of the friendship and never move into that something more. I view friendship a little differently than the television Friends. Second, "why don't we start out as friends" is what women tell me as a code for "I'm not interested in you," before finding a real boyfriend prospect a month later who gets to skip past the friendship stage.

I'd love to have an option in which I just wait for her to suggest that we go out on a date. Of course, that's not an option, because women aren't pursuers. Men are supposed to be the pursuers.

(Of course, I'm sure there are a few women out there who buck the trend and are pursuers. Those women pursue guys who are better prospects than I.)

I don't know if there are any signs in any of her e-mails to suggest her intentions. Either I don't know how to detect them (and I am historically awful at interpreting "signals"), or she simply doesn't intend to do anything more than write e-mail to me.

I've whittled myself down to two options. One is that I continue the e-mail exchange forever. However, I didn't post a personal ad (and pay the montly fee for it) to find e-mail pals. Option number two is to go ahead and write, Let's go on a date, and just suck it up when she writes back questioning why I thought that she was interested in having me as more than an e-mail friend.

In my ideal world, men wouldn't have to be aggressors, and women would be allowed to be aggressors. In that world, I would only have these problems half of the time.

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