I came to GW from a military school, where the guy-to-girl ratio was about 8-to-1 and everyone was forced to wear khaki uniforms. When I walked into my first class at GW, my focus wasn’t on the fact that I was awake at an unmentionable hour of the morning. It was only about the girls. There were hundreds of them, they were everywhere and I was told that many of them were single.
Everyone finds themselves in this situation, so heading into my last year here, heed my advice: take advantage of the plethora of non-alcoholic places you can meet people on campus. I regret all the moments I spent in class listening to the professor and not meeting people. Carpe diem. You spend a significant amount of time either in class or engaged in a student organization – and never again will you be surrounded by so many young, attractive and available people. However, if you’re a man wondering why women aren’t more forward, consider what Rachel, a friend of mine had to say about flirting whilst sober.
“I am definitely not the type of person that hits on people that I’m attracted to. I get so uncomfortable and stumble over my words. I definitely become more comfortable when I’m inebriated, which is generally not the case in non-party environments.”
Certainly, sweet alcohol, the lubricant of love since the time of Ancient Egypt, helps every situation. But it’s so useful because it numbs you to fear or uncertainty.
Women are like wild animals – not only can they be unpredictable, they are as afraid of you as you are of them (if not more). You’re encroaching on each other’s territory, which is when people get defensive. But many women actually want to be approached first.
“I have to have sufficient reason to believe that he is interested before I’ll say or do anything,” Rachel said.
Ladies, I’d like to offer some tips to soften the situation, culled from my own meandering experience:
First, while it might seem stereotypical, guys can seem oblivious to your signals. We can be like small children: we’re hyperactive, don’t respond the way you think we should, and can be distracted by any hint of cleavage. So move away from a conversation he can have with his T.A. – make it original and funny. If it seems like an average conversation, step it up and find out what he’s really interested in – we all have something unique hidden right below the surface. Coming up with an original question or comment will let the guy know you took the time to think of something to say, and will convey your interest.
Second, don’t be surprised if the guy you’re hitting on is completely taken aback. My friend Michael says it can be confusing if a woman initiates flirting.
“It depends on what class it is. If it was an intro level class, I would just assume that it was an annoying freshman who was trying to meet everyone or wanted to run for SA. But if it was something else, I might be interested in talking to them. Either way, it would be unexpected,” he said.
For whatever reason, it’s rarer for a woman to be forward, so don’t be surprised when a man reacts strangely. Assuage his confusion with humor, or just act cool. He’ll appreciate your ability to diffuse an awkward situation.
Lastly, I think we can all agree that society has reached the point where finding out that someone you’re attracted to is unavailable is a decent enough excuse to end the conversation. There’s no point in torturing yourself by continuing to talk to someone you have no chance with, if that’s why you approached them in the first place. Of course, you can’t just walk away, but there are plenty of acceptable ways to convey your newfound disinterest. Make “Get Out Of Conversation Free” cards if you have to. Continuing to flirt with someone who has clearly stated they aren’t down with flirting back will land you in a circle of hell reserved for murderers and people who double-park. Plus, it’s creepy.
GW has a fairly decent supply of attractive people, and they can’t all be dating someone. The only way you’re going to find a partner is by being outgoing, and if you mess up a pick-up line, you only have to worry about that one person thinking you’re a little goofy. Chances are you’ll never have to talk to them again. You really have nothing to lose. Go forth and flirt.