Making the First Move

He's got problems. You haven't.Q Dear Miss Abigail:

I really like this guy and I want him to ask me out. I think he like me because he flirts with me in our class. Is there anything I can do?


A Dear Jane:

Take charge, young lady. It’s time to once again follow Ellen Peck’s girl-positive advice from the fabulous How to Get a Teen-Age Boy and What To Do With Him When You Get Him. Apparently, if you don’t make it easy for them it’ll never happen. Those silly boys.

1969: Make That First Move Yourself!

It will . . . be easier to become more outgoing if you stop worrying about whether people (boys) are going to respond or not. Forget any possible consequences of rebuff ~ or gossip ~ and make that first move yourself!

You smile first. You wave first. You talk first. If you stand around like a statue waiting for him to make the first move, you could collect a lot of dust! You should be down off your pedestal making contacts and saying ‘Hi’s.’ And it’s up to you, not him. The worst advice ever is ‘Be ladylike. Don’t be forward. Wait for him to speak to you. He will when he’s ready.’

Ridiculous. We need to get rid of the ‘ladylike’ myth if it means standing around like a stone. Get rid of the idea that making the first move with a boy is unfeminine. It’s very feminine. It ought to be fairly obvious that women, as a sex, at all ages, all over this planet, have one similar job: to make things easy for men. Women type men’s letters, cook their meals, keep their houses, plan their parties, iron their shirts, and in general make their life pleasant. Why, then, leave the strain of starting a conversation to a guy? It just doesn’t make sense. Especially since you are more ready than he is to talk and know more about how to talk. . . .

You could be rebuffed. Sure, this does happen. Once in many, many times, though. Recently, I talked with about a dozen popular girls from a Baltimore high school. They recalled dozens of times that had taken the initiative in getting to know guys. Only two girls recalled ever having their efforts put down. Both times, they thought (and I agree) it was a case of the boys beingso insecure that they couldn’t believe what was happening and lacked confidence that they could handle it. So, they responded negatively. Their loss.

When and if this happens, of course, cover with this one-liner: ‘Oh, really?’

Deliver those two words with a chin-up, so-what smile and walk away. This little phrase is magic. It answers any comment ~ no matter what the comment was ~ and leaves the boy trying to figure out just what you meant and how he should interpret it. In other words: you walked away with the upper hand.

Keep in mind that it’s the guy who’s ill at ease with girls who may put you off, sometimes without meaning to. The ‘Oh, really?’ is especially perfect for him. It hasn’t completely closed the door (as a rude remark would have) and so, in case this guy grows up later, you might end up getting to know him yet.

Even if ~ and just for the heck of it, let’s imagine the very worst ghost in anybody’s closet ~ a guy says ‘Hey, get lost. Leave me alone.’ Deliver your ‘Oh, really?’ line and walk off to some friends and say, ‘Hey, what a grouch I just ran across!’

Which he is. He’s got problems. You haven’t.

Source: Peck, Ellen. How to Get a Teen-Age Boy and What To Do With Him When You Get Him. New York: Bernard Geis Associates, 1969.
~ pp. 66-67, 68-69 ~