Why Women Rarely make the First Move with Love.


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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.

author: Arun Eden-Lewis

Image: Thought Catalog/Unsplash

Editor: Khara-Jade Warren


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Kathryn Hall Mar 13, 2019 9:24pm

I boycotted Gillette, too. I’m interested in men. Real men. Not a feminist correct men. My son will be a confident, real man. Men and women ARE different and we have different roles. Just as we should be. Great article. I’m sharing your words??

    Kathryn Hall Mar 13, 2019 9:37pm

    Where can I edit my typos?? ??

amy Feb 23, 2019 12:06am

Arunji, I really like the gilette commercial and I don’t find that it labels normal behaviour toxic. Maybe I will look at it again. I agree with all the rest though. There are definitely biological and social reasons for the way we behave and it should not be demonised, just done with respectful boundaries. I always enjoy if a man pays me attention in a respectful not lerd way, even though I am married I usually reward it with a smile of thanks even if that also has to come with a disclaimer of non availability, I try to be gracious.

    Arun Eden-Lewis Mar 10, 2019 12:41am

    Hi Amy, it’s sometimes difficult for people to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, but imagine for a moment a Tampax commercial promoting the idea of toxic femininity: gold-digging, mind games and bitchiness, false rape allegations, inability to read maps, emotional instability, encouraging babies to smile! How would that make you and women in general feel?

    Believe me, I would be writing an article denouncing that commercial just the same.

marion.solaki Feb 22, 2019 2:59pm

Nice piece but ….. if only it was that simple …..

    Arun Eden-Lewis Feb 23, 2019 6:01pm

    Hi Marion, no one said equality would be easy. Blessings

Zeri Wieder Feb 16, 2019 9:44am

Hi Arun,

Did you know that, around the time when erectile dysfunction starting gaining prominence as a diagnosable disorder, and medications such as viagra started taking off, they did studies to try and find out why this might be the case? By and large, they found that there were very few medical reasons for these men’s ED, which lead to seeing the majority of cases as stemming from a psycho-social cause, rather than a medical disorder.
Because of this, they looked into current social trends, and found that the timeline matched well with the feminist, women’s movement of the day.
There is a theory that came from all of this. It is that a vast majority of men are not attracted to women with a sense of personal agency, but rather are attracted to women they feel they are able to dominate. This is basically an argument for hegemonic masculinity.
Food for thought.


    Arun Eden-Lewis Feb 16, 2019 10:29am

    Hi Zeri,

    I can see why this is “a theory” rather than genuine science.

    Who are “they” that did the study? Who funded it? Where are the results?

    Hegemonic masculinity l suppose is nuclear level toxic masculinity, “a practice that legitimises powerful men’s dominant position in society and justifies the subordination of the common male and woman.”

    I can’t see anyone legitimising hegemonic masculinity in our culture, but the feminism in recent years has moved from seeking equality with men to tearing down and emasculating men.

    I would suggest this is more of the psychological battle that some men with ED are losing.

    Most modern men are not interested in dominating women, but by that same token neither are they interested in being dominated by women. Equality in its true sense is what men are comfortable with, let’s promote that instead.

    The emasculation of men seems to be self defeating for women if your theory is correct, men are struggling to get a boner and sperm counts are plummeting. This is the kind of man modern women want?

    Theories aside, what is self evident is that the battle of the sexes is destroying the harmony between men and women. A healthy society depends on the basic building block of a healthy dynamic between men and women. I wonder if there is another culture on the planet where the relationship between the sexes is so dysfunctional?

    My mission is to help end this war of the sexes and discredit the postmodern feminist agenda fuelling animosity between us instead of harmony.

      Zeri Wieder Feb 17, 2019 10:40am

      Hi Arun,

      When we talk about psychological or sociological phenomena, all we really have are theories. Hard science doesn’t really exist, as such. This is one reason for us moving away from seeing these things from a medical model, and instead from an environmental, psycho-social model.

      Hegemonic masculinity can be seen as another form of toxic masculinity. They are two terms with the same definition, really. I might argue that your writing seems to legitimise hegemonic masculinity…

      Now, I’m not sure what you mean by “modern men” or “modern women,” but I imagine what many women are asking for is a man who is not a misogynist.
      And the study I referenced pointed to the exact opposite, in fact; that most “modern men” ARE interested in dominating women (whether this is a conscious thing or not). To say that the emasculation of men is the cause of these issues I brought up around ED, and that feminism is to blame, is too simple an explanation. From a psychodynamic perspective, it would be more useful to wonder about the internal struggle – in regard to their feeling emasculated – taking place for so many “modern men.” You see, we happen to know that masculinity is more of a social construct than anything else. So the emasculation of men is not a tactic that “feminism,” or more accurately feminist theory, can employ. The feeling of emasculation is a subjective phenomenon – in this case occurring from a seeming attack against manhood. How is this any different from what you are asking of women?

      I actually would agree that equality would be a wonderful thing, although it does not seem to be the case that this is what men are comfortable with. Systemic misogyny is not always so explicit. There are a number of implicit functions it employs. Such as a man telling women how to behave, what they should do in order to make things right, what equality looks like, etc.

      I would agree that the relationship between the sexes is very dysfunctional. I might argue, however, as to whether there has ever been harmony between men and women. But I would agree that we live in a very unhealthy society.

      Feminist psychology theory – a major facet of “postmodern feminism” – may have actually been the first of the psychological theories to begin seeing the sexes as equal. Up until it came along, we spoke of psychological phenomena as occurrences springing up only in relation to a masculine world. The only thing we were concerned with in regard to women was the disorder of hysteria. So feminist theory has actually made leaps and bounds for the world of psychology.
      I say this only because I wonder how much of what you think the “postmodern feminist agenda” is, is based on actual feminist literature, rather than your self-concept of some ephemeral agenda (one that happens to be female-centric…) with the sole purpose of tearing down and emasculating men.

      I don’t believe there is a feminist agenda fueling animosity between men and women. I think there are theorists – some calling themselves feminist – asking that things start to change (which they are). And I think there are those who find themselves very frightened of such things. And fear often takes the form of aggression.


        Arun Eden-Lewis Feb 18, 2019 12:56am


        Your assertion that the article legitimizes toxic/hegemonic masculinity really leaves the discussion at a dead end. What is the counter argument, oh no it doesn’t?

        It’s just a ridiculous assertion. Anyone who has not been infected by corrosive feminism can see I am promoting true equality by encouraging women to take responsibility in the dating game, nothing more.

        Your comments confirm you are way beyond reasoning with; masculinity is a social construct? No hard science to prove your assertions, yet continuing to quote “the study” that men ARE in fact interested in dominating women rather than equality.

        Yours in a brick wall of postmodern feminist psycho-babble with, conveniently, “no hard science that exists,” in your own words. Let’s just leave it at that and agree to disagree.

Christine Brown Feb 15, 2019 10:23pm

It sounds very simple from a man’s standpoint…that women should walk the equality talk – in this case, be open and able to approach men for the sole purpose of merely engaging in conversation whatever the agenda may be. I think unless you’ve been in the shoes of a woman, you can’t really understand the environment that we women have to navigate in our everyday life. I’m not a young woman though I look at least 20 years younger (I’m told by everyone who knows my age but the point…) sometimes when I try to be friendly for the purpose of not just being a wall flower, or just merely for the purpose of making conversation by approaching a man that I have no romantic ideas about, it seems some of them think we are somehow making a move or there is a chance for a connection other than purely human connection. In short, sometimes, women just talk to random men (or strangers) if you will, just because you’re a human and it’s just conversation, nothing else. But guys tend to assume there is an interest of some sort just because….and that I think can be why women are sometimes hesitant.

    Arun Eden-Lewis Feb 15, 2019 11:49pm

    Hi Christine,

    It sounds like you are faced with the exact problem men are faced with. I guess if a man doesn’t want to engage in conversation with you then you have to gracefully accept that, just like if the situation were reversed.

    You are absolutely correct, l’m advocating women should walk the equality talk, and face rejection, disappointment but also successes, just like the guys. Otherwise what do we really mean by equality?

Joe Cyr Feb 14, 2019 1:24pm

Hi Arun,

I’m an apprentice in the Elephant Academy and I have to say that your writing caliber is right on point with what I hope to learn here. Your writing voice is easy for me to enjoy.

I also appreciate your topics that are right in line with my passion for inspiring men to be authentic and embrace their true potential.

Your use of prose and the specific words you wove into those first few paragraphs really drew me in. I also commend you for bringing up polarizing topics like the Gillette ad, toxic masculinity (I disagree with the use of that adjective to describe masculinity), and the positive and negative sides of feminism. As a married man, I am so glad that I don’t have to endure these difficult dating hurdles. I wasn’t too fond of putting myself out there when I was young, but I feel that it would be far more difficult to do it in these times.

I hope to find the level of courage you display as I start to write on a platform this big. I have an article approved for publishing soon, and seeing yours inspires me to not be so nervous about what’s to come. It’s nice to see that you are receiving such positive feedback from other readers. I know that’s not always the case as I’ve seen in some of your other articles.

Thank you for your inspiration,


    Arun Eden-Lewis Feb 15, 2019 11:45am

    Hi Joseph,

    I’m pleased you’re enjoying my articles on the dynamics between men and women. I believe the healthy dynamic between the sexes in the very foundation of a healthy society, so my motivation is to highlight the damaging patterns that have become normalised and mainstream in our culture and offer some solutions.

    There is a lot of following and not too much independent thinking out there; the truth sticks out like a sore thumb! So stick out your thumb.

    Be brave and write about the things that inspire you, and don’t worry too much about negative comments, if you research well and write well the negative comments reveal themselves as foolish.

    Best of luck with your first article, I look forward to reading it!

John Noonan Feb 13, 2019 7:02am

This is written very well as usual Arun thank you. I enjoyed the idea that the social norms are blocking people from connecting and living their lives. I too believe the smart phone is a way to hide from social interaction.
I believe that the bottom line is this, we need to seek connections with people. Women and men should feel comfortable approaching one another, and the rise of feminine power should empower women to go after what they want.
All in all I think we should all seek to be spiritually whole, when we are whole none of the social norms come into play and we are calm and confident enough to be inspired by one another’s ideas and physical forms. We are then freed to do anything we please as we have no fear of the results. We are simply enough and enjoying the moment in life as it is now.

    Arun Eden-Lewis Feb 13, 2019 8:42am

    Hi Johnny,
    Thanks for your comments. Yes it’s my hope also that men and women can feel comfortable again approaching each other and we can move beyond the distrust between the sexes.

    To do that we must expose and reject the divisive ideology permeating through our culture that tells us men are oppressors and women are oppressed. It is breeding so much resentment between us.

Amy Taylor Feb 12, 2019 8:28pm

Arun, this is beautifully engaging.

It’s an interesting space we are moving into in terms of healthy masculine, and feminine. Your writing reminds me that within each of us are masculine and feminine qualities, and how it is important to honour them both. Perhaps when two people connect, there may be a dance between these qualities (or not). As a woman I remind myself to connect when I feel drawn to, and trust that things will flow (or not) from there if they are meant to. Perhaps not asking men out, but being curious to connect and engage and then simply see how that feels. In this way I figure we can become more comfortable with connecting and strengthening our trust within ourselves to be discerning…

Thanks for getting me thinking! Have a great day =)

    Arun Eden-Lewis Feb 13, 2019 2:59am

    Hi Amy, thank you for your comments. Yes a dance between the healthy masculine and feminine is where l hope we are heading.

    In that endeavour we must resist the us against them narrative that is fed to us so often through the media.

    More articles to come on the wage gap, why men objectify women, and much more! Watch this space.

Renee Dubeau Feb 12, 2019 10:07am

What if women are less inclined to talk to strangers due to personal safety concerns? When a man approaches a woman, his greatest fear is the humiliation of rejection. When a woman approaches a man, her greatest fear is that he is a serial killer. It’s a different world for women.

    Arun Eden-Lewis Feb 12, 2019 2:28pm

    A woman’s greatest fear is that a man is a serial killer? Sounds quite extreme to me.

    Women meet strangers from dating sites all the time.

    The article is not suggesting women should just approach strangers in the street, it is suggesting women should ask out men more often in general, perhaps men in their social circle, men they know through family, friends or work.

    Be safe, tell friends where you’re going on a date and who you are going with. This is basics surely.

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Arun Eden-Lewis

Arun Eden-Lewis, known as Arunji to his friends has been teaching Yoga, Qigong and Tai Chi since 2001. His particular passion is bringing the authentic philosophies of these ancient practices into modern everyday life by helping his students develop accessible self practices that can be explored with integrity in their own time, even if it’s just five minutes.

Arun is also a qualified swimming coach, personal trainer and Natural Therapist. He hosts Yoga & Qigong retreats as well as Fit & Fat retreats, classes, workshops and seminars all over the world. His mission is to take the mystery out of the mystical, allowing anyone with the passion and commitment to find freedom, in body, mind, and spirit.