I recently stumbled upon an amusing Glamour.com article offering some advice to women about how to attract a man and get him to approach them. In it, women are advised to smile a lot, radiate positive energy, and avoid hanging out in groups, for, as the article goes on to explain, “men are terrified to approach a big group of girls.”
We knew this from the outset of the article, anyway, where it asserted that “men are total wusses when it comes to approaching women.” But the ultimate pearl of wisdom gleaned from the author, shocking in its progressive daring, came from the advice that women should be “easy to approach, but hard to obtain!” Not that this deviates one iota from what women have been told all along since, well, I or anyone else can remember. Such attitudes regurgitated over and over reflect the common mores of culture where it comes to courting. But in a world where equality between the sexes is now rigidly upheld as right and good, such convenient female centrism about dating and mating only manages to come across as the sort of odd double standard ordinarily churned out from the intellectual Bermuda Triangle that is modern female entitlement. Serenely self-satisfied women indifferently wait and men do the work—and take the risks—in approaching first. It’s an idea many of us have accepted as “natural.”
“But that’s how it has always been,” one young lady caught up in this discussion with me apologetically protests. “Someone has to be the pursuer and if we waited for women all the time, well, I think there’d be a hell of a lot less people on the planet.” I can’t say she’s necessarily wrong that men are naturally driven to pursue things in different ways than women, and it’s true that many men seem to enjoy the thrill of the hunt where it comes to sexual pursuits, but is this to say women don’t have strong sex drives of their own? Is it to say they don’t necessarily care about finding relationships as much as men? Only a fool who knew nothing about women would assume so.
It would be safe, however, to assume that women have become accustomed to waiting for men to find them and approach them first. This could be a natural inclination for females during the mating game, something passed along in our genetic lineage over hundreds of thousands of years under the cool, prevailing logic that careless mating for a male doesn’t involve much risk, but careless mating for the female can be genetically disastrous. Thus, the classic hypothesis emerges that where the male is eager, the female is not so sure.
While the phrase “coy” was a term applied to the mating styles of female avians and women long before Darwin, it has widely been attributed to the observations put forth in Darwinian theories of sexual selection. In his book Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin built much of his understanding of animal mating and selection upon the concept of female mate choice. Viable females considered suitors based upon their impressive plumage and finery or accepted mating with the victor in male-male mating combat for access to them. Thus, eager males and coy females were easily imported constructions that we humans anthropomorphized in our own man/woman dichotomy.
Women who otherwise want to be seen as equals to men in every way insist on the double-standard of not having to pursue relationships.
But with his book The Selfish Gene, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, inspired by the work of social biologist Robert Trivers, began to describe “coy” as only one of several female mating strategies. Indeed, he saw a stable state in the gene pool between males and females in their mate acquisition strategies: not all resembled the coy female pattern. This carried clear implication to human mating, as well: women don’t only have to be mysteriously reserved, nor are they always. They can exercise the agency of choice in their mating selections by being “fast,” too, or some permutation in between. And so it gradually came to be recognized that a spectrum of behaviors existed in animal mating, and subsequently, ours too.
Despite new findings and theories in the bio-evolutionary synthesis that challenge old preconceptions, despite the established social equality between male and female in Western society, despite the demonstrable ability of advanced reasoning in decision making that is a strong suit for human beings—both male and female—the fixed image of the coy female still lingers in the arena of modern courtship. Women who otherwise want to be seen as equals to men in every way insist on the double-standard of not having to pursue relationships, but to lay back and choose one among many who approach, to hold out and see which lucky contestant will eventually earn her approval, her attention, and, if they are fortunate enough, “win” her love. The coquettish female isn’t going away, it seems. Indeed, she seems to be growing stronger in number as the invisible skein of fashionable contempt for men is ever more tightly and subtly tangled around the throat of sexual politics in modern culture.
Part of this inclination toward sexual coyness in women is biological, no doubt (again, the female should probably be cautious about the males she engages with), but another part is most assuredly reinforced by cultural memes, too. From the rigidity of the Victorian age to the golden years of American civilization, women have been encouraged to remain in glamorous, seemingly indifferent passivity to male interest. Even in the so-called “post-feminst” age, the tendency for this behavior is strongly supported, as evidenced by commentary like the one described at the beginning of this article. So deep and pervasive is this idea that even women who identify as submissive in their personalities have (perhaps unthinkingly) co-opted it into their search methods for men they desire, which involves taking up a position of passive visibility combined with a large serving of silent hope and little more beyond that.
In The Foundation of Male Dominance, I discussed the somewhat less than impressive tendency of many men to leap forward and virtually beg the women they desired for a scrap of consideration. I pointed out how this is not very dominant at all, in fact, and how it tends to often fall flat for women who do have ambitions to actually respect the men they would serve. Be that as it may, many men are employing these techniques with little to no success, only to feel a growing pang of frustration with the wall of silence and indifference they receive, and any “success” that comes from approaching the woman in this way often won’t lead anywhere good in the end, either, as some men eventually come to realize. But as a woman, you are well aware that there’s always more men with big hearts and hopes (and libidos) who will follow suit. You get a bit overwhelmed with the attention and the process of creating the polite psychic barriers to deal with the fawning trains of would-be suitors. Where it comes to the online world, you may find your inbox too much to keep up with as it overflows with requests and queries, ranging from the lazy one-liner, to the poetic novella-sized inquiry, to a crude and ugly-mouthed proposition.
But for all this attention you get as a woman, it’s important not to lose sight of what you desire to achieve: to find a strong dominant male you can actually respect. As a female, your instincts certainly do serve you well. It’s probably true that many of the ones who have approached you aren’t worth considering much. For one reason or another (you may not always know or be able to verbalize exactly why) their queries seem too contrived, too eager, too devoid of a certain something that makes you care, or just too random and out of the blue to so much as make a blip on your radar. You need context and meaning to involve your mind and in a world of cheap and easy digital communication, with its dating sites and lightening-fast messaging systems, it’s very easy to…well, not care much at all about what comes your way when it’s in such instant and high volume.
By reducing yourself to a mere object that is acted upon, you lose the greater agency of choice in suitors—the power to steer your fate toward those men who intrigue you most.
And so the situation with men can sometimes seem like a revolving door of incompatibility and gradual letdown. All the while, there are men you may see on the fringes, men who truly catch your eye, even if fleetingly so. They may not last long in your mind once they pass the field of your vision. Like colorful birds, they may be a quick burst of radiance and curious energies that you dismiss as beyond grasp. They may also be like lovely polestars in the heavens, beings who are somewhat haunting and mesmerizing, or simply tickle something in your psyche. They may be unattainable in your mind because you don’t have the confidence to approach them and so fear rejection. Or perhaps you’re the type of luminous woman who can have almost any man she wants, but never, as a rule, deigns to make the first move, because you’ve never had to. Wherever on the scale you may lie, the decision to put yourself in plain sight is a common tactic you use in your seduction. It boils down, essentially, to a coy game of sit and wait: those who prostrate upon your altar are rewarded with your attention, however momentarily—those who do not might as well not exist at all.
This strategy may work quite fine in one sense: catching men in the net is easy when they whirl like schools of silver sprats over your vibrant beauty and charm. Where this strategy might not shine so well, however, is in its inherent passivity, the spirit of which will often balk at making any difficult climb to have what’s desired beyond the lazy reach. By reducing yourself to a mere object that is acted upon, you lose the greater agency of choice in suitors—the power to steer your fate toward those men who intrigue you most. While “it is the woman who chooses the man who will choose her,” as French playwright Paul Geraldy once claimed, the fact remains that you are still playing with the cards dealt you by chance, and while all chance can’t be removed from life, any extra agency we may find along the way in steering it better to our fulfillment should, rightfully, be nurtured. Particularly where it relates to finding a dyed-in-the-wool dominant man you respect and deeply want, how could this not be so? For these men who stir you a little or a lot may never come your way of their own accord, no matter how well placed you are in their view.
Is she willing to have the courage of her convictions—to step outside of her shell and risk the adventure in finding the heady mixture she truly desires? Or will she play it safe with an indefinite game of sit pretty and wait?
Now this is not to say that all submissive females have such a subversive and self-worshiping blind side (though it should be noted many females who claim to desire submission often do). Certainly, most women who find genuine interest in female submission are not chronically infected with the diva complex I describe above, but traces of this tendency often do find their way subtly into a woman’s conscience and sub-conscience, given our cultural history and especially the realities of sexual politics today. The tendency to unthinkingly recycle these old courtship concepts as “the norm” is quite strong in most women still, and only routed out when fully realized—permitting there’s desire to route them out in the first place. But therein lies the first question a submissive woman should ask herself when searching for a dominant male: is she ready to leave the baggage of all this egotistical and inefficient thinking aside? Is she willing to have the courage of her convictions—to step outside of her shell and risk the adventure in finding the heady mixture she truly desires? Or will she play it safe with an indefinite game of sit pretty and wait?
As a submissive female, you may realize that you need to be overtaken and humbled, but that journey begins with humbling yourself enough to see the synthetic entitlements within your own culturally supported blind sides; it requires a lucid and awake mind capable of shrugging off the tropes we may unthinkingly buy into as males and females. And one of the biggest and most subversive tropes of all is the idea that females are always to be the benefactors of pursuit—the ones who choose the ones who choose them. Not only does this coy stratagem undermine the spirit of your own submissiveness, but it limits your available options to find and appeal to the men you truly desire.
It’s my heartfelt wish that all submissive women reading my words take this message with far more than a grain of salt. If anything I’ve described above matches, in any degree, your perceptions of courtship rights and wrongs, it’s my sincere suggestion that something needs to change in the way you search for fulfillment as a submissive female. It’s true that there are many men who are not suited to even the surface appeal of dominance, much less the roles of capable husbands or masters. Many of these men are the ones you’re probably quite familiar with, if you’ve been playing this game or witness to it. They are the types who veritably beg for your consideration and who you can easily “allow” to think they are in control, and since you find them appealing in some way, you may persist in upholding this grand illusion for however long you want. You may hope, perhaps, that somewhere along the way, the man you snagged will muster the strength of character to have what it takes to truly rule your heart and mind. More often than not, however, this will likely fail, for the foundation upon which you built such a relationship had a fatal flaw right from its inception: the principle of least interest was always in your favor and the one you allowed into your life was placed upon his throne by none other than you, not by his true virtues as a dominant man.
And so it is important you choose a man you cannot manipulate, a man you cannot lead about by the nose ringed with his own desire and eagerness to jump through hoops of your whim and design. For this reason, the men who flatter you with their ongoing and uninvited attention, the men who seem like puppies eagerly waiting for your cue to act and jump all too easily at what you toss their way should all be held suspect. By letting them in, you invite whatever deformities of character and understanding they may harbor while assuming a shaky mantle of service-oriented dominance. By lifting the bridge to your castle, so to speak, you invite only the ones you willfully desire into your world, eliminating both predator and pushover from the opportunity to disguise themselves on your front doorstep with uncertain outcomes. Doing this requires courage, of course…the sort of courage that may not feel entirely comfortable or “natural” for you, but keep in mind that fortune often favors the bold. If you embrace this boldness to step out of the seemingly safe, hermetically sealed pink bubble of the female ego and risk feeling the phantoms of rejection and failure, you may very well summon the power to find a man you can fully appreciate and respect.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” —Anais Nin
This will not only require you to be courageous: it will also necessitate seeing men without imperiously dismissing them, fostering the talent for a more “broadband” observation of the male sex—of its intelligence, depth, and masculine splendor. It will encourage you to examine the inner male apparition of your fantasies and by what method you may obtain him in real life.
By reaching outward and exploring the many wise and honorable men who exist in our world, you will hone a finer art of discernment and feel liberated to exercise agency in acting upon informed choice, not merely the opportunities afforded by random circumstance. It is your bid to seize the day, as it were. The choice is, of course, yours. You may delay, but time certainly will not. As a human being who lives only a finite number of possible years on our planet, it behooves you to optimize that time and experience the full scope of what your female nature craves. It doesn’t mean you should be foolhardy in this exploration, for certainly, the necessity of good choice and sound reasoning not only remains but is further mandated with a more aggressive exploration. While the work for you may increase, so will the odds of finding a good man—a man more right for you.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do … Explore. Dream. Discover.” —Mark Twain
And, as a dominant male who has seen and often requires females approach him in the beginning, I can tell you that many men on the other side of the equation will be pleased and impressed you took the initiative to present yourself before the object of your interest, that you were stirred enough in your inquisitiveness about them to speak the first word. It’s true that not all good men won’t come knocking on your door. A man of tact, dignity, and grace in getting the conversation going is marked as learned, tasteful, and even seductive—should you have the insight to recognize his gesture from the cacophony of other voices, that is. It’s also true that making the first gesture in communicating with a man is not a guarantee of success with him, by any means, but it is my sincere belief and experience that knowing what you want and taking up a more proactive role in finding it will assist you in reaching your preferred destiny with less headache and disillusionment accrued along the way.