What a woman thinks when a man doesn’t respond to her signal of attraction.

13 Sep

Matt Savage wrote a recent post on men missing signals of attraction from women.  He related a story where he was talking to an attractive young woman at a bar, and he mentioned that he liked the show True Blood.  The girl responded that she LOVED the show but, alas, had no television and did not like watching the show on her tiny computer screen.  The conversation continued and eventually petered out.

Savage then says that it took him three days to figure out that the girl had given him a huge opening to invite her back to his apartment or at least set up a future date.  Oops.

Men (in general, not Savage) like to complain about women not being straightforward and men having the onerous task of deciphering all of the cryptic messages that women send.  I guess in a man’s “perfect” world, courtship would go something like this:

MAN:  Yo, you’re hot.  Wanna do it?

WOMAN:  Okay.  By the way, it’s only easy for you to get me, ergo I am not a slut.

MAN:  *beats chest proudly*

The reason women tend to be roundabout in the ways they advertise interest, though, is that they want men to pursue them.  If a woman has to spell it out for the man, then she doesn’t feel like she is being pursued; she feels like she is the pursuer.  She will also feel like her feminine charms alone are not enough to incite action by the man, which is humiliating.  Worse, if you do end up going on a date, she will doubt your attraction to her, so expect more shit tests.  In addition, by being very straightforward, she will risk being labeled desperate and try-hard by other women and possibly other men, too.  (Everyone knows a boy-crazy girl who throws herself at every available man she meets.  No woman respects a desperate peer.)

As a result, the only option a woman has is to drop hints and hope the man responds.  If a woman suggests that you should do something together or hang out sometime, you’ve hit the motherlode.  She will not suggest hanging out to a man she has no interest in.  If she says something sounds like fun, that’s also an invitation to invite her to join in.  If she asks when the next time you’re doing X activity is, she wants you to invite her to go along.  If she asks if you need help with something, that’s also an opportunity.  If she eagerly expresses interest in something you’ve just expressed interest in (as in Savage’s anecdote above), you can make a move with confidence.

Given all of the above, when a man doesn’t act on a woman’s hints, the woman usually concludes that the man is not interested in her and has a list of 99 things he’d rather be doing.  Men complain that women want them to shoulder all of the risk, but for a woman, showing interest and dropping hints IS a risk.  Take the following scenario:

MAN:  Some friends and I are helping our buddy move this weekend.

WOMAN WHO IS INTERESTED:  Really?  That sounds like fun.  What day and time?  Do you need help?

Here is what a man with a clue would say:

MAN WITH A CLUE:  Really, you want to help?  That would be awesome.  Let me have your number so I can text you the address and time.



Here is what a man without a clue would say:

CLUELESS WONDER:  Nah, we got it.  Basically we’re just gonna be throwing some stuff in a truck and then go shoot some hoops.



Or, if she’s read He’s Just Not That Into You a bunch of times:

IRRITATED WOMAN’S INTERNAL DIALOGUE:  He doesn’t know fabulous when he sees it!  Has he looked into the mirror lately?  YOU ARE NOT ALL THAT, NIMROD.  You should be more grateful.

The signs are there if you look for them.  Just understand that the less you read them, the more frustrated a woman is going to become with you.


100 Responses to “What a woman thinks when a man doesn’t respond to her signal of attraction.”

  1. Toz September 13, 2010 at 11:39 am #

    hahahaha. This post brought back some memories. I used to be such a clueless beta back when I was single. Only now do I realize I had a TON of openings (especially in church context), but was too clueless to take them. The interesting thing is, almost every girl, when asked about this, typically denies any interest by saying she’s being “nice”. Now I know better.

  2. Bhetti September 13, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    I think this approach also has merits in terms of screening the man. You’re evaluating his social cajones, but also how interested in he might be in your company in a non-sexual way which is important for long-term prospects. Notice that if he thought of her in more friendly terms, he’d want her around for company.

    But it has its demerits. The more vague we are, the more we screen out good guys who can’t quite play the game.

  3. Jenny September 13, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    ROTFLOL I have been in this situation a billion times! And – get this – years later I found out that one guy who never got a clue had been all upset that I didn’t like him! What did he want me to do? Wear a sign?

  4. Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life September 13, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    Any time a girl offers an opportunity to isolate herself with you, she’s interested.

  5. frankie September 13, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

    what about when the guy does invite the girl, but then the girl wants to bring a girlfriend as well?

  6. y81 September 13, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

    The best bet is to tell a mutual friend that you like him, and have the friend pass along the message. This is an example of what I have noted before, that romantic relationships are much easier to establish with the support of an established social network.

  7. Aunt Haley September 13, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    Yes, but what happens after you’ve graduated from junior high?

    …More seriously, I think this approach is more effective when it’s male to female. The idea of me, as an adult woman, telling a friend to tell a guy that I like him so he will ask me out, is mortifying.

  8. Aunt Haley September 13, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

    If it involves baked goods, doubly so.

  9. Aunt Haley September 13, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

    Most likely the girl is still evaluating her level of interest in you. The friend is probably there as a safety.

  10. Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life September 13, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    I am interested in pie.

  11. Aunt Haley September 13, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    I once made a pie for a guy to try to get some time with him. He wasn’t home when I came by, and I ended up having to eat the pie with his (unattractive to me) housemates. It was pretty sad. I was about as interesting as a block of wood to this guy.

  12. ASDF September 13, 2010 at 6:23 pm #

    When I think back to my younger days and all the opportunities I let slip through my fingers, I am filled with regret. But that’s life.

    Are you sure that you want every man to have the sort of social savvy you describe in your article? It might come back to bite you in the ass. Asking men be good at reading women and then expecting them to use that power only within the PG-rated confines of your Church is kind of unrealistic.

    And how do you think they will develop this power anyways? Unless they are a godly natural, any guy at your church who can read your signals and has the balls to ask you out on Sunday has been putting in his time sinning (or trying to) on Saturday night.

  13. Lover of Wisdom September 13, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

    I love pie! Chocolate cake is also a good substitute.

  14. y81 September 13, 2010 at 6:52 pm #

    Yeah, well, it would be wonderful if you got caught in a thunderstorm, ran into a doorway, met Cary Grant, he offered to share his umbrella, you walked down the street together, etc., but real life usually requires cheating. Anyway, I dated several girls, well past junior high, because they told a mutual friend that they liked me. Though that is not how I started dating my wife. Remember, most men aren’t paying much attention: they are focused on their jobs, or their fantasy league, or some other, unattainable girl, or something. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be perfectly good boyfriends and husbands.

  15. Aunt Haley September 13, 2010 at 7:51 pm #

    Well, I suppose I should be thankful, then, that no one has asked me out at church. I would hate to think of the peril they would cause to their souls if they had developed any balls.

  16. Aunt Haley September 13, 2010 at 7:52 pm #

    Someone’s got a sweet tooth.

  17. ASDF September 13, 2010 at 8:06 pm #

    Well if you’re this snarky to all your prospective suitors, I think we can rule out cowardice in favor of good sense.

  18. Will S. September 13, 2010 at 8:06 pm #

    I don’t entirely agree that a guy must needs be a “player” or even a “would-be” player, in order to be able to pick up IOIs, but I do agree that the Church has somehow, likely through older brothers not sharing enough with teenage and young adult brothers about female nature, created a lot of young men today who are socially clueless when it comes to interacting with young women. For whatever reason, it seems that each preceding generation of men has tended to leave it mostly up to the following generation to figure it all out for themselves, on their own. Certainly, I never had guidance in these matters from anyone in any church circles I’ve been in. And in fact, though I’m single, I think I’m probably one of the least likely to pedestalize women, amongst all the men in my current church circle; the married ones are either of an older generation that can’t think outside the Victorian hyper-chivalrous mindset box, and/or have been overly biased by having daughters; and the other younger ones are raised by such fathers. Which saddens me.

  19. Aunt Haley September 13, 2010 at 8:31 pm #

    I think a lot of Baby Boomers think that finding a spouse is something that just “happens,” because that is how a lot of Boomers paired off. Therefore, they have no guidance to give their children. (My parents met in college and married a year after graduating. Virtually all of their friends also met in college and married within a year or so of graduation. Back then, “liking” someone who was a part of the same denomination was sufficient grounds for marrying. Nowadays, educated singles usually evaluate potentials on a lot more criteria.)

  20. Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life September 13, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    I think nowdays people want marriage to be something that marriage isn’t. Everyone seems to think marriage is 100% getting a spouse and 0% you becoming one.

    I love my wife to death, but I know a couple dozen women that I could have married that things would have turned out ok with. Turned out a little differently, but still good.

  21. Joseph B September 13, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    Haley continues on her crusade to get men to pick up on women’s indirect signalings.

    Good luck.

    Men’s social obtuseness is hard-coded. If you insist on limiting communications to your preferred style, you will inherently favor the few players who have cracked the female subcommunications code. I.e. you will be trying to punch above your weight.

    Here’s what I can say as a tradition-minded male about the various plays women have made for me over the years. Direct statements of interest and direct sexual pursuit are a turnoff. I don’t mind stringing a girl along for no strings attached flirtation. If she gets obsessive or weird I’ll back way off.

    Occasionally a persistence strategy has worked, though. It always involves first and foremost humble unstinting cheerful warm receptivity. Haley’s temper tantrums when her subcoms go unread are anathema to this. Secondly, it involves a good deal of not very indirect flattery. I’ve always had a huge ego, and I appreciate anyone with the good taste to appreciate my greatness. Thirdly, LIGHT initiation of touching on the arm or shoulder in a subliminal way is acceptable.

    The exception on touching: in situations of faux-conflict with underlying sexual tension, I will accept half aggressive, half sexual touch initiation.

  22. Joseph B September 13, 2010 at 8:48 pm #

    Let me say that again:

    humble unstinting cheerful warm receptivity

    The advantage of this strategy is that it CAN be applied to all eligible men without one appearing to be a slut. In fact doing so makes serious bids by men all the more likely, since they will jealously want to corner that market of refreshing energy before someone else does.

  23. Augustine DeCarthage September 13, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

    Haley, thanks for the illuminating post. My take is here:


  24. Aunt Haley September 13, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    A couple dozen? Holy preselection, Batman!

  25. Will S. September 13, 2010 at 10:00 pm #

    Agreed. I think they’ve given little thought to the process (nor, for that matter, had their parents, and so on), because it worked for them, and they failed to realize just how much feminism and its social aftermath would affect the environment within which their descendents now find themselves, vis-a-vis relationship challenges.

    We are having to reinvent the wheel.

  26. Aunt Haley September 13, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    …provided they like her face and body, of course.

  27. Aunt Haley September 13, 2010 at 10:10 pm #

    Thanks, I’ll take a gander.

  28. JG September 13, 2010 at 10:22 pm #

    In my experience church is hardly the place for guys to develop balls. It was actually the reverse. Especially with all the ‘wait on God’ types who spout crap about their ‘kissing dating goodbye’. I waited on God and that got me nowhere.

    Irony was, all the idiots who told me stuff like that had lousy marriages that would make a eunuch appreciate his singleness.

    I don’t know your situation Haley, but let me say that I hope the church folks you’re around aren’t as clueless as the fools I listened to. And I hope that there are guys who are assertive and open to a relationship that are in or join your church.

  29. Aunt Haley September 13, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

    “God’s perfect timing” is one of the WORST dating cliches spouted in church circles. Not to dismiss the true perfection of God’s plans, but it’s become such a platitude.

    The biggest problem that single Christian women face isn’t the ball-lessness of single Christian men, but the scarcity of those men. You more or less have to go to a megachurch to find any significant number of single Christian men these days, especially if you want to find a man who is older than college-age.

  30. Cane Caldo September 13, 2010 at 11:43 pm #

    And in conclusion…Carthago delende est!

    I just wanted to say that. One gets so little opportunity.

  31. Risky Business September 14, 2010 at 1:16 am #

    On the other hand, AH, Men have been burned by responding to what they thought were IOI’s, only to have said girl respond to advances with the “Let’s Just Be Friends”. Then, those guys will subsequently ignore IOI’s unless they are absolutely positive the girl is interested. Or those IOI’s are later devalued as just a flirtatious personality, not genuine interest.

  32. Risky Business September 14, 2010 at 1:17 am #

    I would say, though, I would take a woman cooking something exclusively for me as a clear signal of interest and never capricious flirtation.

  33. Joseph B September 14, 2010 at 4:37 am #

    I was always quite nice and appreciative towards the girls who had this type of energy but didn’t quite meet my standards for physical beauty. Note that this is different from the excessive complaisance with an undertone of desperation that strikes one as more manipulative than genuine.

    As for your caveat… it applies across all possible attraction strategies.

    While we’re on this topic, ladies, never pad your bra. You’re setting yourself up for a world of hurt…

  34. Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life September 14, 2010 at 4:43 am #

    Oh I didn’t say I was dating them all. About half the girls in my circle of friends would have been fine wives for me. From what I can tell of those I vaguely follow on Facebook, those that married are fine wives to other men.

  35. JG September 14, 2010 at 6:23 am #

    Haley said:

    ““God’s perfect timing” is one of the WORST dating cliches spouted in church circles. Not to dismiss the true perfection of God’s plans, but it’s become such a platitude.”


    As far as church and the scarcity of men, I got tired of trying to be turned into a woman by the churches. They succeeded in their effeminate brainwashing schemes for much of my life but no more. My faith is intact and stronger than ever. And never have I had as much contempt for organized religion as I do now. I ‘kissed organized religion goodbye’ and have never been more healthy for doing so.

    That may not be the experience of other people, but it is my experience. Wrong thinking doesn’t mean immunity from wrong results just because one’s wrong thinking is from organized religion. At least my faith is intact, that’s more than I can say for a lot of guys who’ve had similar organized religion experiences to mine.

  36. ASDF September 14, 2010 at 7:47 am #

    You’re always putting your looks down. Why don’t you post a picture? Maybe you’re not as bad as you think. You can put a little black bar over your eyes if you’re worried about people finding out who you are.

  37. Aunt Haley September 14, 2010 at 8:09 am #

    Yeah, you have to watch out for the flirts. Generally speaking, though, the more alpha you are about asking out the girl, the more likely she is to accept.

  38. Aunt Haley September 14, 2010 at 8:12 am #

    ??? I was not putting my looks down, just adding a caveat that I thought was important.

  39. Aunt Haley September 14, 2010 at 8:15 am #

    “Never pad your bra”? Theoretically, a Christian husband is the only person who would have to deal with a Christian woman’s padded bra, and the discovery of such isn’t exactly grounds for divorce….

  40. Jenny September 14, 2010 at 8:17 am #

    The worse thing about the whole “courtship” rhetoric popular among many Christians is that those of us who chose to leave it have been at a loss as to how to date normally. The guys now know that it’s okay to pursue girls, but they hold back because they never learned what’s the difference between that and being a creep. We girls now know that it’s okay to flirt and show some interest, but we hold back because we never learned what’s the difference between that and acting like a slut. So everyone’s single and miserable.

  41. Aunt Haley September 14, 2010 at 8:28 am #

    Church flirting can be a huge headache. It’s too easy for other people to jump to the wrong conclusions.

  42. Josh September 14, 2010 at 11:34 am #

    That was amazingly helpful. Thank you. The obvious things are the easiest to forget.

  43. ASDF September 14, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    It shines through in your writing.

    PS Padding your bra is a massive sin when the man doesn’t have the opportunity to find out before the wedding night. Why would one pad a bra, but to fool a man into thinking she had bigger tits than she did?

    Would you be upset to find out that your new husband had lied about his large income, and was in fact a pauper?

  44. Aunt Haley September 14, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    Thanks, Josh.

  45. Aunt Haley September 14, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    I’m glad you were able to break away from a church that was stifling you, but Christians weren’t meant to live in faith apart from fellowship with other believers, either. As iron sharpens iron….

    Joseph’s post was treading dangerously close to “if you have a great personality, men will fall all over themselves to get to you!” territory, which is utter B.S. minus the caveat. So many women in the church believe that their godliness and personality are enough to attract a high-value husband; I hate seeing that belief perpetuated.

    Also, are you really equating boobs with money? No bra is going to make a pancake chest rival Pamela Anderson’s.

  46. Joseph Dantes September 14, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    It’s not grounds for divorce Haley. But it’s certainly grounds for getting a second wife.

  47. Joseph Dantes September 14, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    Hah. If Western church girls worked half as much on their personalities as they should, I’d dislike them far less.

    They may change the words of the tune, and leave out the raunchiest steps, but they are still daughters of American imperial decline.

    American church girls would then still be by and large ugly, but that’s due to what they eat. But at least they’d be desirable company, and capable of attracting SOME sort of man.

    I do have respect and a degree of pity for the church women who through deep introspection and discipline manage not to take on much color of the culture. The problem is they lack a feminine culture and tradition to replace what they’ve rightly rejected. Most of the attempts I’ve seen to revive it are comical compared to the organic results in cultures that never rejected femininity.

    I like treading dangerously close to things. It’s exhilarating to see nothing but blue sky where the edge should be.

  48. dalrock September 14, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    Good stuff Haley! I also think your flirting skills are improving. Offering to help move is much better than “I’m hungry”. :)

    But I do agree with the commenter above that guys can get burned by false positives on IOIs, and become more cautious. In other cases the IOI is real but the chick turns out to not quite meet your previous expectations. There is some risk to a man’s pre-selection in being perceived as interested in a woman who turns out to be less than expected. But there are ways around that. If you work together for example, ask her to join you out for lunch. If she’s a loon or ball busting harpy, you have plausible deniability; hey, it was just two coworkers grabbing lunch. If she turns out to be the love of your life, pick up the tab and ask her out on a real date. Worked on Mrs Dalrock at least.

  49. ASDF September 14, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    You don’t think that something like this is misleading? Not that I think a woman would be able to carry this ruse out for a 2 year courtship.


    Don’t worry, the link is safe for work.

    I would say that wedding night disappointment would easily equal that of the wife finding out that her husband makes 50 or 60, rather than $100k per year.

  50. Jenny September 14, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    “The problem is they lack a feminine culture and tradition to replace what they’ve rightly rejected.”

    That’s harsh considering that “be feminine” is almost like a motto. It’s not that we Christian women lack a feminine culture…It’s that the one concocted stinks!

  51. cleared in hot September 14, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    Oh, the contemptible “stealth date” then… ;)

  52. Aunt Haley September 14, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    I also think your flirting skills are improving. Offering to help move is much better than “I’m hungry”. :)

    We must have different definitions of flirting, because I don’t consider it flirting to offer to help move – unless it was delivered in a coy tone. At least you think I’m improving…not that this blog is a flirtation clinic.

  53. dalrock September 14, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    What I’m suggesting is something different than the kind of stealth date Haley wrote about earlier. That case was a male friend trying to weasel his way into something more. This is a case where the woman is giving IOIs so the guy asks her out. I’m assuming the guy has a clue when it comes to chemistry. It is a one time trial date with plausible deniability. From there you either stay in friend/colleague zone or ask her out on a formal date.

  54. Aunt Haley September 14, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    Cup size is equivalent to $40K-$50K?!?!?

    Come on, now.

    There are also just…mechanics of boobs, for lack of a better term, that are a “tell” for realistic size and shape. If you’re really concerned that your loved one’s bazoombas may not be the glorious cantaloupes you think they are, ask a female friend what she thinks, especially if she’s known your lady for a while. I guarantee you’ll get an accurate assessment.

  55. Will S. September 14, 2010 at 5:01 pm #

    I don’t think it’s a good idea for a woman to pad her bra; why not just accept what God gave you, and present (so to speak) what can be seen in the outline, through ordinary clothing, rather than, ah, false advertising? It may not be lying, but it is misleading, and that isn’t right or fair, if you love somebody; it is less that it would be a big deal for a guy who likes a girl how ‘busty’ or not she is, than that she would portray herself falsely – just because of the dishonesty, rather than his wanting a certain size or something. I think women and men alike would do well to lose their insecurities over the size of their body parts, and just be themselves in that, like everything else. I mean, one can have control over one’s waistline, by diet and exercise, but as for the rest of the body, why not just be yourself and not worry?

  56. Aunt Haley September 14, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    By that logic, should she also not wear makeup, style her hair, or wax her brows or upper lip? Or shave her legs or armpits?

  57. ASDF September 14, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    Those things fall under the realm of taking care of one’s appearance. And it is hard to fake. I can tell by looking at a girl if she is the hairy type who needs to pluck, or if she has to cake on makeup to cover bad skin. I actually prefer little to no makeup, but that is beside the point.

    With falsies and a Christian marriage, the guy is signing on to marry you without seeing the goods, on the good faith that you have not misrepresented what is under your clothes.

  58. Will S. September 14, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

    What ASDF said; they’re not comparable. Make-up, if not over-applied, merely enhances (too much make-up looks awful), it doesn’t present a false image quite like falsies do. As far as shaving armpits and legs, that’s just grooming.

  59. Aunt Haley September 14, 2010 at 7:01 pm #

    Speaking as a woman, I think you guys are attributing WAY too much power to the bra.

  60. Will S. September 14, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

    How so? ASDF’s link above shows how much bra inserts (and the same is true for padded bras), can push up cleavage, and give a relatively flat-chested woman a bust she doesn’t otherwise have. And why shouldn’t a man, regardless of what shape and size of bust he finds most appealing, not be upset to find that the goods (so to speak), as advertised, were not what he actually purchased, come the wedding night? It’s the blatant dishonesty, not the smaller size, which would be most upsetting to most men.

    You can rationalize this act of deception all you like, but that’s indeed what it is you’re doing, whether or not you realize it. Women with very small breasts may not even need bras (if they’re small enough), but I know some who wear them anyway, just because they want to give the impression of having larger breasts than they have, not because they actually need the physical support.

    It is as foolish and dishonest as a person who has gone from being slim to being fat, posting an old photo of himself or herself before ballooning out, on a singles site, rather than a recent, honest picture. It is offensive, to us men. Count on it.

  61. Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life September 14, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

    Re: Push Up Bra’s

    Oh for goodness sake who doesn’t grab their fiances boobs at least once before getting married? If she swats your hands away, don’t cry about a sexless marriage.

  62. dalrock September 14, 2010 at 9:28 pm #

    I was thinking the same thing. Those things would never pass the honk test.

  63. Joseph Dantes September 14, 2010 at 9:30 pm #

    No, it’s that Western church women lack a feminine culture.

    Some of them get it intellectually, but that doesn’t mean the grace and gentleness go bone deep.

    With e.g. South American girls, East Asian girls, Eastern European girls, it DOES go bone deep.

    The closest you get in the US is the crazy traditionalists, who trend towards no makeup and waist length hair. God bless them. But I’m looking for a woman, not a reactionary.

  64. Joseph Dantes September 14, 2010 at 9:35 pm #

    More than 40-50k. Considering that income is only a small portion of male SMV.

    You come on now. Glorious boobage is my prerequisite for pounding. Your innocence is showing.

    After being swindled more than once, I learned to see through the swathes of lying elastic to the mammaries within. But your hypothetical virgin Christian husband would have no such experience.

    I know exactly how it feels to attempt to maintain a sense of attraction to a lying flat-chested girl whom you’ve banged out of a sense of duty, and how quickly the attempt is destined to fail.

  65. Joseph Dantes September 14, 2010 at 9:38 pm #

    Will, it’s definitely from wanting a certain size of something, and has nothing to do with evaluations of spousal honesty. Every woman wears makeup and otherwise makes improvements. That’s not the issue. The issue is the purple rage of finding teenie lumps where luscious woman should be.

  66. Aunt Haley September 14, 2010 at 10:04 pm #

    “Honk test.” Ha!

    I am surprised that men are so easily fooled by push-up bras. Most women can tell who’s enhanced and who’s not very easily.

    Also, presumably by the time of proposal/marriage, a man has seen his lady in a number of different types of outfits. You can’t wear a push-up plunge for everything.

  67. Joseph Dantes September 14, 2010 at 11:28 pm #

    I’m not saying there was a lengthy courtship…

    Also, some girls are very determined and consistent fakers.

  68. Cane Caldo September 15, 2010 at 12:25 am #

    Like always, the level of attraction determines reactions. If the oblivious guy is sufficiently desired, it may just make her more brazen. That’s been my experience…my good ones, anyways. Plenty of bad ones where I was mentally dry-docked and her ship sailed.

  69. Matt Savage September 15, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    Toz, I think this is quite common especially amongst younger guys since they still don’t have the experience or knowledge to pick-up on the signals, even if they are quite blatant. I’ve definitely had a lot of missed opportunities in my past as well now that I look back, but luckily I’m (usually) more aware these days :)

  70. Matt Savage September 15, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    Bhetti, this is a good pointer for the ladies as a useful screening device, basically seeing if a guy passes his listening skills test along with his deciphering abilities:)

  71. Matt Savage September 15, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    Actually, I’ve seen this type of tactic done in college, most recently, a week ago, at college bar where a girl approached me and told me that her sister thought I was “cute.” Naturally, I introduced myself and got her number, so I suppose it worked. Though I think this type of thing might work better for girls; I can’t imagine going up to a woman and saying, “Hey, my bro over there thinks you have a great can!”

  72. Aunt Haley September 15, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    This may be splitting hairs, but there’s a difference between thinking someone is cute and “liking” someone. “Like” implies having had enough opportunity to observe someone and develop a crush; therefore, pride and reputation are at stake by revealing the crush to someone else. On the other hand, there is hardly any investment in thinking someone is cute. Therefore, telling your friend to tell a guy you think he’s cute doesn’t carry nearly the risk that telling your friend to tell him that you like him does.

  73. Matt Savage September 15, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    This is the difference between an Alpha male and Beta male, the Alpha goes for it regardless if the IOI was intentional or unintentional. If he ends up getting burned, then who cares. Recognizing signals also has a lot to do with taking risks, which is the next step in the process, something that Betas fear and will rationalize anything to avoid making a move.

  74. nothingbutthetruth September 16, 2010 at 6:50 am #

    Well, I agree with almost everything. Except that your statement that women have to take a risk is not true.

    A woman gives these hints in an ambiguous way so she can deny her interest if things go wrong.

    Risk is telling a woman: “Do you want to go out?” and receive an answer like “You’re not my type”. Lots of men have had this experience.

    Risk is not telling a man (by email): “Hi. I am sending this message to wish you a good day” and receive an answer like: “Thank you for your email. Good day to you, too. Take care. Kisses and hugs” (my usual rejection line for women who want me to ask them out and they are too chicken to say anything clear).

    And if things don’t go well, women will deny that they have any interest in you. They only wanted “to be nice”.

    Woman take no risk in the mating game. All the risk is given on a man.

  75. Double E September 19, 2010 at 4:43 am #

    I saw some discussion earlier about western women and signals. I’ve lived several years in Asia and just moved to Tokyo and have a bit of a different take on things now.

    Back in the States I was just learning game. You had to jump through all kinds of hoops to get a date. Here, strangely enough, it just flows. Someone above commented on how easy it was for the boomers– attraction was a step toward marriage. Here it seems the same way. I have no idea why dating just works better here and is more natural, but it is.

    Although I’m a Christian, I have to say that Christianity has zero bearing on a good marriage. Many Japanese women are atheists but would make a great wife.

    I think that the culture in the States is so messed up that men and women don’t even know how to meet each other anymore. I think that the de-emphasis on marriage is a killer there.

    Haley, I really like this blog, but I’ve rarely if ever heard you say a decent thing about any man. It is always some man’s blunder. You have a Christian veneer but I see little difference between the judgmentalism there and that of a 10 in a club on a Saturday night.

  76. Lavazza September 19, 2010 at 7:43 am #

    Aren’t women supposed to be the better readers of people?

    A woman should be able to see which guy only needs a hint and which guy needs a clear offer more or less.

    A wise woman would identify the quality guy who does respond to hints and snatch him before the competition.

  77. Joseph Dantes September 19, 2010 at 8:16 am #

    EE, much of the ease you’re experiencing is because you are a high status hypergamic target overseas whereas you aren’t back home.

    However, you’re right about one thing. It is FAR easier to take a virgin girl who isn’t poisoned by decadence, and teach her your ways, including Christianity, than it is to remove the decadence from a daughter of American imperial decline.

    It goes back to Jesus’ parable of the fields. If the soil is exhausted and rocky, you’ll toil your whole life for a meager harvest, whatever is originally planted when you acquire the plot.

    But find rich fertile earth, and even if it’s never been tilled, and is populated by an odd assortment of native weeds, the root networks will easily give way to your hand, and your labor will bring ample return.

    Or, in a shorter version, it’s much easier to convert a never-exposed East Asian virgin lover to Christianity than it is to claw or charm the decadence out of a woman who’s been steeped in it since birth, whatever her faith.

  78. Aunt Haley September 19, 2010 at 12:15 pm #

    Double E–
    Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog.

    I’m trying to write honestly on this blog. Being a Christian doesn’t mean that nature and biology suddenly go by the wayside. Most women, no matter how attractive (or not), will have similar feelings about a man’s actions. Describe horribly beta behavior to a hot girl and a fat beast girl, and they will have very similar opinions about the man’s attractiveness. It’s really what we do about those feelings that matters: we can show compassion and tolerance, or we can be jerks instead.

  79. Badger Nation September 19, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

    “He related a story where he was talking to an attractive young woman at a bar, and he mentioned that he liked the show True Blood. The girl responded that she LOVED the show but, alas, had no television and did not like watching the show on her tiny computer screen. The conversation continued and eventually petered out.

    Savage then says that it took him three days to figure out that the girl had given him a huge opening to invite her back to his apartment or at least set up a future date. Oops.”

    Pardon my French, but – seriously, WTF? This is supposed to be the female initiation procedure? Women are so concerned about their anti-slut defense they don’t feel comfortable with the slightest overt expression of interest? If this is the world of courtship we’re living in, it’s a game I just flat don’t want to play.

    I think what’s more likely is that Savage wants to read an invitation into the conversation he had. More power to him, though – sometimes you gotta make your own opportunities. If she had said this to a non-attractive male and he’d invited her over, you can be sure she would have talked behind his back about what a creepy stalker he was.

    Meanwhile, people like Megan McGriddle mock men as “girly” who actually try to study and decipher this overly-subtle nonsense.

    “The signs are there if you look for them. Just understand that the less you read them, the more frustrated a woman is going to become with you. ”

    But sometimes that’s good. Roissy et al have a good point practicing never letting a girl really feel like she’s in control. Calculated indifference builds mystery and thus attraction, and much “woman power” is soft power, it stops working when the man decides it does.

  80. Badger Nation September 19, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    “Aren’t women supposed to be the better readers of people?

    A woman should be able to see which guy only needs a hint and which guy needs a clear offer more or less.

    A wise woman would identify the quality guy who does respond to hints and snatch him before the competition.”

    I think there’s a more prosaic explanation for all this. Before PUAs launched into it, women were the peddlers of evolutionary psychology as to why even in modern equal society, men should do the pursuing, asking and paying. But I think that’s the hamster talking.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s pretty simple: naked self-interest. Pursuing and risking rejection quite simply sucks, and so women fall back on long-dead chivalry and evopsych to rationalize why they shouldn’t take that kind of risk. This quickly becomes entitlement and self-flatter, and unfortunately they tell themselves some pretty lies in the process – like “he should be so interested he can’t help himself but pursue me!” when in reality single guys on the prowl are pragmatic and won’t pursue someone who has made herself too unavailable.

    (FWIW, my two best relationships have been with women who initially pursued me. Once they expressed their interest, I decided to respond in kind and led the way from there.)

  81. Aunt Haley September 19, 2010 at 11:11 pm #

    If she had said this to a non-attractive male and he’d invited her over, you can be sure she would have talked behind his back about what a creepy stalker he was.

    Badger, a woman would not have said something like this to a man she had zero attraction to. If a woman has zero attraction to a man, she is not going to jump on opportunities to emphasize similar interests; rather, she is going to try to distance herself from him as much as possible.

  82. Double E September 20, 2010 at 5:06 am #

    @ Joseph Dantes:

    I suppose you have a point there… just a rather new experience having any value to marriageable women. The women in the States who were interested were either the 30-something high-powered career women or women with a sordid past.

    Interestingly enough– here in Tokyo these are not poor village girls looking for someone to lift their family out of poverty nor are they looking for an American passport.

    I read on a blog once that a lot of guys like me– professional degrees, good salary, decent looking are still worthless and invisible to western women. I really don’t know where I took that left turn into obscurity but it happened.

    I’m really shell-shocked about the whole thing. Well, I suppose it doesn’t really matter now… I’ve wanted to be a married man for some time now and the goal seems very attainable here.

  83. Joseph Dantes September 20, 2010 at 8:08 am #

    EE – go forth and conquer.

    Make sure you date around and get one that really meets your list. After you get over the novelty of being the chooser, the first one you catch won’t be the one you’ll ultimately want to keep.

    She’ll probably be amenable to church, but a church date before tying the knot wouldn’t be a bad idea.

    From what I understand Christianity can cause a significant break with the family for a woman in Japan. Or at least, a feeling of alienation that they are not believers. You might find some very high quality already-Christian women there, because of the unpopularity of the church. It is a difficult missions field.

    God bless,

  84. Aunt Haley September 20, 2010 at 10:37 am #

    I read on a blog once that a lot of guys like me– professional degrees, good salary, decent looking are still worthless and invisible to western women. I really don’t know where I took that left turn into obscurity but it happened.

    Speaking as a woman – if a decent salary and decent looks are all you have to offer a woman, it’s going to be hard to attract her and keep her attracted to you. Personality matters a lot to women. Guys with good jobs who aren’t ugly are, relatively speaking, a dime a dozen. What makes you stand out from other guys just like you?

    I agree with Joseph that probably what has happened to you in Japan is that you have gained the mystique of being a (presumably white) foreigner, something you didn’t have in the United States. Women love having someone new in town to shake up the blahs, especially if he is nice-looking, has a good job, and hails from the most powerful, richest country in the world.

  85. Joseph Dantes September 20, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

    Plus the average white guy is an alpha masculine sex god by Japanese male standards. It’s all in the testosterone.

  86. Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life September 20, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    It is truely odd how they went from a warrior nation into the guys that marry pillows.

  87. Double E September 21, 2010 at 7:36 am #

    Way off–no mystique about being an American in an economy as rich as this one. So my value comes from something else. Way off about the guys being effeminate. The sanshouku danshi would be just as worthy here of a spot on Jerry Springer as in the States.

    The culture here hasn’t yet gone decadent like that of the States but give it another 15years.

  88. frank September 21, 2010 at 9:49 am #

    I remember lots of this crap when I was younger. My problem was that I couldn’t tell the difference between these signals and women just being friendly to everyone. Now that I’m learning game I can see signals a mile a way, but I had to read silly ebooks written by and for nerds in order to accomplish this. So ladies, if you like the results you are getting with this tactic then keep it up. Or you could be an adult and try communicating effectively.

  89. Aunt Haley September 21, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    If women tried to “communicate effectively,” men would probably just complain that they were “acting unfeminine.”

  90. Joseph Dantes September 21, 2010 at 11:11 am #


    I suspect the fact that you don’t find any American mystique advantage in Japan, and that you don’t think Japanese men are effeminate, and that you didn’t get much action back in the US, are all related…

  91. Joseph Dantes September 21, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    Men don’t pick up these ridiculous tiny minor-attraction feelers women put out. They’re more tests of sexual experience than genuine opportunities for the average man.

    However, the average man DOES pick up on the starry-eyed head over heels type signals. And that’s not delivered via direct verbalization either. And it’s very feminine.

    So Haley’s wrong here. It is women’s fault men don’t get the message, and the solution is a simple turn of the volume knob.

    All this timid blather about not wanting to appear forward is BS; once the love hormones start flowing observably women throw caution to the wind, and society excuses it without blinking because it’s so commonplace.

  92. logicwontgetmelaid September 21, 2010 at 5:00 pm #


  93. Höllenhund September 25, 2010 at 12:40 am #

    Suffering total defeat in war tends to have such an effect on nations.

  94. nobodythatmatters December 9, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    I guess I’m the only guy here who would like to think of the courtship ritual as more than a “series of tests”

    Human language was developed as a means of communication because its more efficient than non verbal communication. This is why as children we are scolded for resorting to tantrums and grabbing instead of “using our words” to describe what we want. Approach anxiety and the concept of “being judged” are not gender exclusive, both sexes experience them. The idea that one party should be EXPECTED to decipher a non verbal code from the other is simply demeaning and childish.

    Ladies, the road to men “not responding to your signals of attraction.” is simple, STOP USING THEM!

  95. Jenny December 9, 2010 at 7:01 pm #

    nobodythatmatters: I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, in my experience, guys are turned off by bluntness.

  96. nobodythatmatters December 9, 2010 at 7:27 pm #


    In your defense yes, some men feel emasculated when they are not “chasing” just as some women, that being said, on more than on occasion I have been the “friendly consort” to female friends of mine who “don’t understand why he came up to me and we spoke for a while but he never asked for my number!”

    There are always extreme’s and exceptions to every generality.

  97. source May 30, 2012 at 11:59 am #

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  98. festinalentissimo March 19, 2018 at 4:00 pm #

    Somewhat not directly related to the original post, but close enough …
    I have a highly unusual situation and hope readers may have some insight.
    A young, attractive, professional woman, 1/2 my age (I am over 60), has been aggressively and successfully pursuing me; I am very troubled that I have succumbed, despite having been married for over 30 years.
    There is no logical explanation, nor any apparent ulterior motive on her part. Whilst this is a dream scenario by any standard, it has been both emotionally and physically destablizing. On the other hand she fulfills undreamed of and never experienced emotions.
    Insights are welcome and appreciated!


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