Empowered Pursuit


    Not surprisingly, last week's dating advice has sparked a series of dating-related questions. Keep them coming!

    Dear Miriam,

    I'm a single female in my mid 20s. I'd consider myself pretty empowered and definitely have feminist tendencies. I'm embarking on dating again after a series of relationships, and I find myself wondering how to proceed. When is it appropriate for a female to follow up after a first date? More specifically, in a situation where it's ambiguous whether it was a date or just "hanging out," is there any weight to be given to lying low and being pursued instead of pursuing?

    Empowered Pursuit

    Dear Empowered,

    First of all, congratulations on getting back into dating! It's not easy after being in a relationship for a while, and it's great that you're looking thoughtfully at the various considerations in front of you.

    The question of whether you were on a date or just hanging out is potentially a tricky one depending on how you know the person in question. In general, if the guy pays, if there's any physical contact, if he compliments you or if you spend even a moment just staring at each other and smiling without things getting awkward, it's probably a date. If none of those things happen, that doesn't mean you can't have a future date with this person, but it means he probably wasn't thinking of this particular interaction in those terms.

    As for what role you have as a woman in moving things forward, again, it depends on the context. If you're already friends or know each other to some degree, then it could be really helpful for you to let him know you want to get together again so he knows you might be thinking of things as progressing beyond friendship. Just don't say "hang out" if you want it to be a date!

    But, if you've just met and it's clear that there are romantic overtones, I'd suggest letting him make the next move. It's possible that I've watched too many episodes of The Millionaire Matchmaker, but I've started to believe that the pursuing in heterosexual couples is best left to the guy. I don't buy into Patti's thing about men feeling emasculated if they're pursued, but I do think that women tend to get unnecessarily wrapped up in their own fantasies about what a relationship might turn into, which leads to over-analyzing, exhaustive email editing and other stereotypical yet unfortunately often real symptoms of women really wanting a relationship to work out and quashing a guy's interest before things even get started.

    If a guy is interested in a girl, he'll make sure he sees that girl again. If you are absolutely positive that a guy is interested, but he's not following up, then you have to decide if you want to be with someone who lacks basic assertiveness, or you might want to question whether you did something to indicate a lack of interest. Also, as the smart, attractive, empowered woman that I'm sure you are, you could decide that you only want to be with someone who will be wowed by whatever you do, in which case, send him an email, a text or a hot air balloon and hope he sees you for how wonderful you are.

    Be well,