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When I was 20 years old, still naive concerning women and the world, I met a special woman just before Valentine’s Day—someone who broke all the rules.
Back then, I was working as a darkroom technician in a London hospital; I wore a white technician’s coat, shirt, and tie, causing members of the public to mistakenly address me as “Doctor.”
One afternoon, a medical secretary walked past me wearing a customary comedy red nose for charity, along with a cute red-lipped smile. “Doctor,” she winked at me, ironically, and walked on by.
As she passed me in her white bosom-busting blouse, I turned to see her sashay down the hospital corridor; her big hips, bound in a tight grey pin-striped skirt, seemed to bounce off the magnolia walls as she balanced beautifully in black heels, her curly red hair prancing in time with her every step like a wild herd of chestnut horses.
The next morning I came into work to find an envelope tacked to my office door. Inside was a card—the message read, “Happy Valentine’s Day, from a red-nosed stranger! 1402.” My heart damn near jumped out of my chest.
The number was an internal hospital connection. I went into my office, picked up the phone, and dialed.
“Hello, Doctor Montegue’s office, how can I help you?” The voice was a mix of morning dew and mist.
“Yes, good morning, my name’s Arun. I just received a card, I’d like to speak to a red-nosed stranger.”
A moment’s silence.
“It’s 9.03: what took you so long?”
Can you imagine the courage it takes for a woman to do something like that—to put herself out there in a position to either fly high on the wings of love or fall flat on her face, humiliated?
Most young men learn this kind of courage early in life.
A man is a phoenix of love, made to live and die—then, from the ashes of his bruised ego and broken heart, he finds another way to rise.
A man must develop a robust self confidence, a thick skin, and a healthy ego to approach a pretty woman and ask her out. What if she says no? What if she tells him to get lost? Or just laughs in his face? Most men have experienced it all.
About 10 years ago, I was dating a single mother. After 18 months her 11-year-old daughter began asking me when I was going to marry her mommy.
A man doesn’t mess around with a single mother, so we talked about marriage, about making a little brother or sister for her daughter, and decided it was what we both wanted.
Let me tell you, when a man is preparing a marriage proposal he is consumed by passion and purpose; I had to buy the ring, rehearse my lines, book a table at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, and arrange for Blue Valentine to be played by the house band after I’d popped the question.
Finally, the evening arrived. It was Valentine’s Day, 2008.
My date had a thing for 1950s fashion; she looked incredible in her cocktail dress, Marilyn Monroe hairstyle, and makeup. She was the most gorgeous woman in the club.
We finished dinner, and the moment came to pop the question. My heart was damn near pounding out of my chest. I made a romantic speech about our love, our connection, our future, then took out a diamond ring from my jacket pocket and said the magic words, “Baby, will you marry me?”
She looked shocked, like she couldn’t quite believe what was happening. Then came her incredulous reply, “But you don’t even know me.”
I was stunned; my pounding heart abruptly stopped and dropped like a stone. She sat there like a screen goddess waiting for me to plead my case and convince her to marry me.
That was never going to happen.
So we sat facing each other in silence; it became a battle of wills as we each waited for the other to blink first. The waiter was waiting for my signal to inform the band of our happy engagement. I called him over. “Cheque please.”
He looked more shocked than she did.
On the drive home, my date kept apologising, kept saying she had no idea what had come over her. She kept asking me to ask her again to marry her, and promised she would just say yes.
But it was too late, my heart was lying cold at the bottom of a dark ocean. That was without doubt among the toughest sh*t tests I have ever endured.
In the weeks that followed, I assured her that I would never ask her to marry me again. If she wanted to get married, she would have to do the asking. Unable to put herself in such an emotionally vulnerable position, her proposal never came and our relationship soon came to an unceremonious end.
Eventually, I recovered my heart from its watery grave, put the pieces back together, and learned to love and trust again. A man must cultivate a resilient self-love and learn from his failures a fortitude of spirit and inner belief. Under no circumstance should he allow anyone to take that away from him.
After decades of growing equality between the sexes, you might think that women are increasingly taking the initiative in love and asking men out. But a survey by Doctor of Psychology, Michael Mills PhD has shown that only six percent of women are prepared to initiate the dating game.
Most women are simply not willing to take the emotional risk of being rejected by a man.
Their preferred strategy is to give nonverbal proceptive signals; hair flicking, smiling, furtive glances, and drawing attention to attractive parts of their body, and then they let the guy do the asking.
This gives women an emotionally secure position, and the power of permission. Occasionally, that power is abused, and a man, having flown too close to the sun on wings of love is burned, and falls from the sky. It’s probably been this way since the beginning of time.
But times are changing. When a guy sees an attractive girl, his first instinct is to go and talk to her, to initiate a conversation. He may not act on his instinct straight away but if he has that inner belief, and a healthy ego, he will eventually make his move.
Unfortunately, this benign masculine behaviour is now being systematically denounced as toxic masculinity. Take the recent Gillette commercial for example; a man sees a pretty woman and is about to go and introduce himself. He doesn’t cat-call or wolf-whistle; he just makes a instinctive decision to approach her.
But before he can say a word, his path is physically blocked by a supposedly woke black guy telling the white guy his behaviour is, “not cool.” A terrible trope repeated again in the commercial when a white guy is encouraging a girl he likes to smile. This unacceptable social behaviour is again shut down by a gallant black guy playing the part of white knight.
Tired of this divisive messaging and insidious social engineering, all my male friends (as well as many female ones) have boycotted Gillette products.
Men are bombarded with this don’t talk to women, don’t touch women, don’t compliment women on their looks, don’t try to encourage women to smile narrative from every corner of the media and society in general. Normal human behaviour has now been labelled as toxic masculinity, betraying a shocking ignorance of human nature.
It is little wonder many single women are left wondering, where have all the good men gone?
They are out there, but they are confused by and resentful of a society that regards their courtship instincts as toxic. With the waters so muddied by this corrosive feminist ideology, it’s increasingly difficult for men and women to understand each other and truly connect.
A deluge of dating apps and the hookup culture have created an illusion that it’s raining men, when in truth many single women are wandering a lonely man desert.
Ladies, it’s time to man up. Or at the very least live up to your empowered woman moniker.
Stop swiping right and put down the smartphone that seems to make us dumber by the day, get out there, and take a chance on real life. There is nothing quite like looking a man in the eye, smiling, and initiating an engaging conversation.
You are a man’s equal after all, why wait passively to be asked out for a coffee, a glass of wine, or dinner? Take responsibility for your happiness, be brave in your vulnerability, take a chance, and ask your crush out.
It is time to question, not only what equality can do for you, but perhaps more importantly, what you can do for equality.
The world is full of lonely people afraid to make the first move. Seize the day.