Happy Election Day, Americans. (At least I hope it ends happily for me, which, living where I live, is an iffy proposition. We few, we happy few…. But I soldier on, pen in hand, mighty as the sword, or at least a plastic butter knife…)
I have some thoughts percolating about “fat bigotry” in light of the recent Marie Claire ~scandal~, but until I get them organized, I thought a post about male IOIs might be a good pasttime. I suppose this will end up being a discussion appealing mainly to the ladies here, since persons of one sex find their sex’s IOIs extremely obvious. For example, I can always tell when a woman is trying to attract a man’s attention, but quite often the man may as well be wearing a bag over his head. (Then the man goes home and complains that no women like him.)
These are the IOIs I usually recognize from men:
- Prolonged eye contact
- Attempts to isolate
- Attempts to monopolize time/attention
- Standing too close
- Overly earnest compliments about my appearance
- Overly earnest questions about myself
- Upper arm touching
- Seeking me out
Feel free to add/subtract/correct me if I’m wrong. I think a lot of confusion arises for a woman when she feels she is receiving IOIs but they don’t translate into dates. Then she is stuck with the dilemma of whether the man is just being friendly* – does he treat all women this way? – or whether there is something wrong with her that he won’t make a move. For a woman, context is key, so if she doesn’t feel she is getting a clear read on the situation, she will spend
too much a lot of time, usually with girlfriends, analyzing each situation for clues to the man’s mental state. This is why He’s Just Not That Into You was such a watershed moment for a lot of women. It gave women the freedom not to waste time and emotional energy analyzing men’s motives. It’s a great relief to have a more or less bright line test for men’s interest: if he asks for a date, he’s interested; if he doesn’t ask, he’s not interested (or at least not sufficiently interested). Not that asking for a date means that he thinks he is developing feelings – he could just be trying to get sex – but it’s a much more concrete move, at least.
* How to know a man is not attracted to you at all and considers you well beneath his standards of attractiveness for even association: he will act like you do not exist. This means never making eye contact, never saying hello, never making small talk. This is why reasonably attractive men who are also genuinely kind and friendly have so many women nursing crushes on them. Even the smallest amount of attention is manna from heaven.