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Go Get Him! Study Shows Women Who Make The First Move Have Better Dating Success

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I'm sitting at the bar enjoying sushi and my second $9 cocktail when one of my friends taps the shoulder of the guy sitting next to me.


“Hi!" she says to him. “What's your name?"

He tells her.

“Have you met my friend, Tee?" she replies, as she turns her back to us to continue conversing with the group behind us, as if she has just accomplished a major task.

It's an awkward introduction. He's confused and annoyed – mainly, I presume, because dude is already engrossed in a conversation with a young woman on the other side of him. So I'm initially horrified because all my friend has done is inadvertently let him know that I'm possibly:

1) a relationship reject

2) incapable of meeting men on my own

3) a homewrecker

Then I grow angry because I'm none of the above, and she's placed me in a humiliating position all because I'm not flirting and mingling to her satisfaction. I'm left seething in my seat, mumbling under my breath that if I wanted to meet dude, I would've introduced my damn self.

Okay, I'm lying about that last part.

I'm not that forward when it comes to meeting men. I'm ingrained with that you-don't-chase-men wisdom and that includes not approaching them to express initial interest. I'm taught to always allow the man to come to me.

But according to an informal survey conducted by dating site OkCupid, that way of thinking is so antiquated and doesn't exactly yield desirable results: “Women who reach out first have a better chance of success." In fact, those women who initiate contact are 2.5 times more likely to get favorable responses than men who make the first move, and those replies will spark more conversations with men we actually want to talk to.

“When women are proactive, there's a big win," OKCupid chief product officer Jimena Almendares tells ABC News. “This is data that is showing that if they actually speak up, they have so much to gain."

Admittedly, this makes sense. Like many women, I'm generally more selective about whom I entertain or allow in my personal space even in a public setting, so if I actually step to a guy, I must be really intrigued and simultaneously imagining a name change, mortgage, and a set of twins, too.

Still my initial thought was in a world where we can now swipe left and right to a relationship, making the first move seems more acceptable and reasonable. But how does the information translate to real life? Will a man find this behavior too aggressive? Emasculating? Desperate?

On a segment on Good Morning America, writer, author, relationship expert, and BFF-in-my-head Demetria Lucas D'Oyley reminds us that times have changed and first moves on our parts no longer indicate thirst, so there's no reason why we can't update our rules, apply them to real life, and take complete charge of our dating lives.

“It's 2016," Lucas-D'Oyley says. “We've been doing things the wrong way for a really long time."

I reflect on my dating drought history just to refute OkCupid's findings and Lucas-D'Oyley's statement and support my Grandma's wise words: “You don't chase no man." But I find that I have no grand success story to share. I'm usually one of those women who's posted up outside of the spotlight enjoying happy hour fare, afterward crossing her arms, avoiding eye contact, delivering a mean blank stare, and daring a soul to interrupt her chill evening.

But that's less about me being standoffish and more about me using past experiences to gauge my present – I've had undesirable men follow and stick to me like old honey just from exchanging pleasantries. They come out the woodwork to sniff me out like The Walking Dead extras, and spend the remainder of my evening plotting an escape route.

And since I'm an introvert who cringes at the idea of introductions anyway, it's also more about me preserving my mental energy and small talk for someone who actually piques my curiosity. But even then, I would've never stepped to him. I'd unfurrow my brow, relax my tight lips, and hope he gets the hint that it's okay for him to strike up a convo.

Perhaps in that aspect we have gotten it all wrong.

For one, finding a potential significant other has kind of grown into a convoluted mind game where we're sending all these nonverbal cues – like sitting at a bar all prim and proper sipping our pricy cocktails while puckering our lips and batting our lashes – to make a man notice us. But sometimes those signals are a foreign language that gets lost in translation or intercepted by the wrong party.

Besides, that man-is-the-hunter while the woman-is-the-prey belief is not just outdated, it's just plain sexist and barbaric. Maybe the onus shouldn't be solely on him in a two-to-tango world, and maybe he shouldn't bear all the pressure of potential rejection since, after all, he's more likely to get shut down much faster than we are. We're human. We're equal. We're grown. And as empowered women who are go-getters in nearly every other aspect of our lives, why are we remaining so passive about a life choice in which we're likely to become long term, active participants?

Posed that way, I agree that we should exercise some sort of initial control when it comes to our personal lives, but in moderation with common sense and class. As Lucas-D'Oyley says, approaching a man with “Yo Papi, what's good?" ain't it. Neither is feeling him up like the Steve Harvey show blind dates do or stepping to him when he's already taken as my friend did.

And most importantly, as Lucas-D'Oyley clarifies, making the first move doesn't mean make all the moves. The point is only to express interest and break the ice.

Aha! So Grandma was right! Okay to an extent. So while I'm willing to say, “Hi" or compliment his nice shirt like Lucas-D'Oyley advises, I'm still not chasing him.

And then I'm still going to expect him to offer me that $9 drink because, well, I'll still need him to put in some work.

Have you made or would you ever make the first move?

Featured image by Getty Images

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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