Men Who Make Other Men Go “Ugh”

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There she is. You see her. You’re smitten.

It’s an issue as old as time.

As a man, how do you act when you encounter a woman you’d like to get to know romantically? Possibly, first you briefly forget your own name. After, when you’ve recovered your balance enough perhaps to be able to form a coherent sentence or two, how do you start the conversation?:

A sneak peek into
A sneak peek into “Distances.” Click to enlarge.

Maybe you do summon up the courage to approach her. Here goes. This is it.

The instant you make eye contact with her and open your mouth, given you’re in her presence you’re able to gauge her reactions. Her facial expression would be an immediate giveaway. And does she seem happy to talk with you?

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a heart with an arrow through it.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a heart with an arrow through it.

Or does she only half-smile as if thinking, “Oh, God, not another one?” What about her body language? Does she look at her phone repeatedly and strike you as if she can’t wait for you to get lost?

Vitally, in face to face meetings you’d also know your surroundings. If it’s in a location intended for mixing socially, such as a bar, a pub, a club, or a student “orientation” day like that Distances excerpt, or some such, she would probably not consider you approaching her to be wildly out of line. She might not be interested in you in the slightest, but she probably wouldn’t be infuriated when you offered up some awkward observation to try to break the ice.

However, social media is not face to face, of course. It’s actually dangerous in that it can provide an inaccurate and an even false sense of intimacy and chumminess. Importantly, because they can “reach out” to most any woman now, some men also seem to think most women on every social media platform are always thrilled if strangers send them the likes of “Hey, wow!” compliments about, for example, how fantastic they look:

Screen capture of the London Evening Standard.
Screen capture of the London Evening Standard.

Apparently, that man liked her photograph a heckuva lot:

I appreciate that this is probably horrendously politically incorrect but that is a stunning picture!!!!

You definitely win the prize for the best Linked in picture I have even seen.

True, that may not have been outright insulting. But still? Seriously?

Even in person, a sense of place, and an understanding of context, seems always to elude some. The world has always been full of male social klutzes (most men do feel like one at times), but because social media is so all-encompassing and can convey “closeness” where there actually isn’t any, some men appear to be losing the ability to grasp basic, interpersonal boundaries. Proprieties and essential decorum actually still do exist out there in written communications as assuredly as they do in person.

Not being a woman having to put up with the likes of “come ons” such as his on social media, I won’t judge her response. I know there has (naturally) been a massive Twitter and social media “debate” about it. Yes, some women might not have minded what he’d written, but clearly some women – she certainly did – would take offense.

The bottom line is, as a man, you need to know where being “social” is appropriate vs. where it is merely behaving like a jerk. If you fire off an irrelevant, silly “pick up” message through a professional networking site to a woman *you DON’T know* … and open it with dopey praise for her photograph? Well, don’t be surprised if you need to duck when her response comes hurtling back at you – and rightfully so. Remember, she’s a stranger and, for goodness sake, it’s not a dating site.

Have a good Thursday, wherever you are in the world. 🙂

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