A Response: How Not to Hit On Guys

In the most recent Misanthropologist post, Elizabeth recounted the tale of a romantic endeavor gone terribly wrong. Yes, I do consider his feeble attempts to strut his stuff a “romantic endeavor.” I envisioned this all happening at Rick’s Café Américain. A broken man hoping for love with a beautiful woman he stumbled across in a bar and pulling every trick out of the bag to impress her…but I digress.

Reading her story of this cocktail-hour disaster made me think of my own run-ins at bars and what rubbed me the wrong way. And being the opinionated bloke that I am, I’d like to offer you girls a laundry list of turn-offs that will cause me to pump the breaks and steer clear of you.

Here are a slew of them that I will take note of right away:

  • I’m a man and I do have manly needs. Of course I am willing to sleep with a girl on the first date, or, as a college kid, have sex the first time we “hook up.” Any man who says he wouldn’t is lying as a part of the sensitive guy routine or sucks in the sack and is hoping to hook you some other way. Would I consider a serious relationship with this girl after? Absolutely not. She stamped her booty call card the moment her lacy thong made it lower than her knees.
  • Table manners. Ladies, this is simple. Not small fork/dessert spoon manners. I’m talking about chewing with your mouth open. And having a napkin that resembles a baby’s bib at meal’s end. If you aren’t able to keep the food on the plate or in your mouth, then learn how to. There has to be cotillion classes for grown ups out there. Seriously. And for god’s sake, be aware of small things like food on your chin or bad breath. Excuse yourself to the ladies’ room before leaving the restaurant to give yourself a once over. Or if you’re at a bar, don’t order shots right away. Mixed drinks are perfect, or lighter beers. Keyword: lighter. Please don’t talk about how much you love that local brewery’s IPA. I don’t care.
  • My friend Jack recently explained during a “guys tell all” that he was turned off when girls didn’t wear their emotions on their sleeve. I would have to agree. No, this doesn’t mean we want you to cry at the dinner table or laugh uncontrollably in the movie theater. But be willing to laugh instead of telling us “you’re funny,” or if you like us, let us know. There are times when we aren’t able to read the signs, regardless of how big they are. And be outwardly appreciative of compliments. Believe me, nothing prods us more than the nagging doubt of thinking that you brushed whatever was said off.
  • Driving stick. No, I don’t have an answer as to why this is a turnoff for me, but it is. It scares me. Does this scream insecurities? Probably. The “strong, independent woman” gig is great and all but don’t girls want to be girls? Was Cyndi wrong? Is it time to quit taking everything pop stars sing about to heart? What happened to sitting in the passenger seat of my convertible with the top down and your hair blowing in the wind?
  • While I am definitely an ardent supporting of girls dolling themselves up, there is a fine correction-pen red line of looking good and looking like a prostitute. When you’re going to a bar with your girl friends, be sure to tone down the hooker look. You may think men want that snazzy glamourous I’m-a-twenty-something-sex-kitten type, and they often do, but for a one and done. If that’s what you’re after, go for it. If you want good conversation without his eyes below the chin, then take a step back and ask if you’d ever go to a work cocktail party dressed that way. If you wouldn’t, time for a change of clothes.

Now, many these turn-offs are admittedly superficial. But having been raised in the Midwest in a patriarchal family, I have traditional tendencies that have me wandering aimlessly in the seemingly wrong place at the wrong time. I often feel as if I was born in the wrong era, that I am more suited for the roaring twenties when hypocrisy was fashionable.

Are most of these out of date and out of touch with reality? Well, if my experiences with girls backhanding me after explaining why I didn’t call them is a hint, then apparently yes. The truth is, I do want you to be your own woman, to have your own passions and even you own vices. But, for me, it is frustrating that the recent trend has been to throw out the formerly established “rules” of dating. At the end of the day, I want to be the clear-cut man in the relationship. Is it too much to ask for you to not scrape the plate with your fork? Yes, this is something of a double standard, hence my previous mention of hypocrisy.

I’m not asking for you to read this as a “how to be a lady” handbook as I’m probably not a good voice for the general population of men. I’m sure many guys would disagree with me. But this is my honest-to-god insight into pet peeves that I have in young relationships. Take it or leave it, but know I’m not the only one.

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    • Eileen

      I can get behind most of these, but the driving one is pretty stupid. My dad taught me how to drive. His car had a manual transmission. If I hadn’t learned how to drive stick, I wouldn’t have learned how to drive. I’m really uncomfortable driving automatic because the control freak in me hates hearing the engine whirring and not being able to take it up a gear. If I go on a date with a man, and he’s driving stick-shift, and he sucks at it, I’m not going to say anything. And if it makes you feel better, I’ll gladly wear my stilettos while driving. But unless your problem is with women actually knowing how to drive, I don’t see why the standard/auto makes any difference whatsoever.

    • Elle

      So if a girl has sex on the first date, she’s automatically not dating material? Thanks for the tip. I promise to abstain from now on, don’t want to give the wrong impression and make guys think I’m a dirty whore for having sex.

      And I like how YOU have no problem sleeping with someone on the first date though. Because you totally have, like, morals and shit.

      • Anna

        THIS. Thank you for calling that. The convenient caveat of “It’s JUST my OPINION, don’t criticize it, because, you know, it’s not a FACT, just my OPINION” does not disguise the inherent misogyny and slut-shaming in this piece. Ugh.

      • sheherbano

        preach it, sister.

    • cicatricella

      Oh please. The only serious boyfriend I’ve had who I *didn’t* fuck on the first date was my first. I’m getting married this summer to someone who I didn’t have a first date with until *after* we had sex.

      And any guy who is ‘intimidated’ by my ability to drive stick is a guy I am really really not interested in dating.

      • venus in furs

        WORD!

    • Veronica

      Mother of God. I almost expected to see a “No swearing” rule. Dear Glossy, please don’t go down the Cosmopolitan route with regular columns about What Men Want Women To Do.

      I better put my stick shift car on craigslist right away! I exist to be attractive to men (but not TOO attractive, that’s scary!!!) and I would hate to appear to be anything other than a receptacle for the author’s needs and desires.

    • Verna

      Why are you letting this guy write for you?

    • Abby

      I don’t mean to go on a pseudo-feminist rant here, but point one… is it always up to the guy whether a one night stand becomes a relationship? Like, if we play our cards right we might just win a second date with you ;). Most girls know how the one night stand works nowadays, and maybe if they’re sleeping with you on the first date, they aren’t that interested either.

      Okay, okay, okay, I get what you are saying with most of these… Plenty of guys are after girls who fit their traditional idea of what a girl should be… But you don’t want your girl to drive stick? Embarrassing…

      • A

        AMEN! Usually, if I sleep with a guy the first time I’ve met him it’s because I’ve already figured out that there is only one thing I want from him. What’s annoying is that these men typically feel that they have to do the polite thing and ask for my number. If I wanted them to have my number, I would’ve left it with them when I left the bar, alone.

    • Meredith

      Ok, so to be fair, the author did say several times how this was his opinion, not necessarily the opinion of guys everywhere, possibly outdated, and that he did, indeed, have a double standard. Just because you disagree doesn’t mean that you can attack what he said very clearly several times was his opinion. If you don’t like his advice, don’t take it. As the author said, lots of guys don’t agree with him. Simple as that.

      • Ayenne

        So then he should have titled it “How Not to Hit On Michael Woodsmall” instead of acting like this is advice from all males in general.

        Also, “Woodsmall”?? That explains why he’s intimidated by women who can drive a stick.

    • porkchop

      you guys are just bitter because you’re not the virtual call girl that can make all his middle class fantasies come true. Everyone deserves love!

    • venus in furs

      I am not single, but if I were I wouldn’t date a man who couldn’t drive stick (or who wasn’t willing to let me to teach him), who wouldn’t eat messy ribs with me, or who was critical of anything on or under my skin. Lucky for me, I met a man who can drive stick, eats messy ribs, and who digs me as I am. We had sex many times before our first date; we’ve been married 10 years.

      What else you got?

      • Anike

        Love what you wrote, and agree.

    • Sarah

      I have to say, I am most floored by the beer comment:

      “Mixed drinks are perfect, or lighter beers. Keyword: lighter. Please don’t talk about how much you love that local brewery’s IPA. I don’t care.”

      Why don’t you like women who like good beer? I see this as going two ways. One, your stupid and like what the Buds, Millers, and Busch brands are selling you during football season. Or two, you are afraid that she is going to get fat off beer and thus should be relegated to shitty light beers.

      Assuming it’s mainly choice two – same goes for guys – let’s just all drink water.

      And, PS – I’m sick of seeing fat guys on sitcoms w/gorgeous wives. I want to see the reverse. But we all know that’ll never happen.

      • Puzzlecat

        “And, PS – I’m sick of seeing fat guys on sitcoms w/gorgeous wives. I want to see the reverse. But we all know that’ll never happen.”

        THANK YOU!!! Now I know I’m not the only one who has a massive issue with this!

      • venus in furs

        Fat guy/Gorgeous wife = Hollywood Cliche #217. See also: Hollywood Cliche #105 – Black dude gets killed first in a horror movie and #17 – Woman falls down while running away from monster/bad guy.

    • Sydney

      Actually, being a girl, I totally appreciate what you have to say. I always find it strange when I look over at some couple having dinner and watching some girl slop food all over. I mean, c’mon. I would expect the same of any guy I was dating, so why not the reverse. I’m still hung up on the stick shift thing though… haha, but hey, what can I say – to each their own :)

      But yeah, thanks. I think it’s nice to know what guys think about things like this. :)

    • Lynn C

      My problem is with the fact that this article did not answer the question implied in its own title. Nowhere does this describe anyone doing anything active to hit on a guy. Nowhere are there comments about how to approach a guy, open up a conversation, or really even get noticed, aside from the clothing comments.

      These are all passive. What not to wear while standing there hoping to be noticed? What do say and how to chew once you’ve already decided to be in each other’s company for a little while? No sex on the first date which we presumably got to since I was standing there not looking to slutty or chewing with my mouth open or driving stick?

      Oh wait, that’s right. I don’t have an active role in any of this anyway. I’ll just keep standing here in my relatively conservative outfit hoping someone adopts me like a f*cking puppy dog. What a load of BS.

    • G

      …I thought this column was a troll. If it’s serious…that even more funny. Guys and girls everywhere have the most bizarre expectations of each other. This column is the perfect example of that.

    • E

      The driving stick thing is just ridiculous. All the guys I know think it’s hot when girls can drive stick, but maybe that’s just because I’m from Vermont and men here actually like it when women do stuff, like drive, eat and drink real beer.

    • bodo

      this was shit, actually; and the stick thing… I’m from Europe, and driving sticks are standard here

    • Haley

      This was poorly written. Thanks for “offering us girls a laundry list of turnoffs,” but I’d rather clean my bathroom than take any of your advice. On another note, the fact that you started out saying you were an “opinionated bloke” and then later revealed you were from the Midwest confused me. Are you cribbing from some British roommate?

    • Ali

      I notice that there wasn’t this vehement backlash in the comments section of Elizabeth’s article…yeah to me that guy sounded like a douche too, but even he ended up with some lady who apparently was attracted to all that douchiness. And no one was calling her out for writing about what she doesn’t like in a guy. To each his own. Michael likes a girl as described above and there are plenty of girls who fit that description (minus the stick shift thing…weird dude). I don’t think he’s calling on all women to return to a pre-feminist era like the anger in a lot of these comments would seem to imply.

      • nolalola26

        He writes it like he’s giving advice for all women to woo all men, though. It doesn’t read like he’s saying “I know, this might just be me, but I really hate it when …”

    • Lindsay Hartman

      My problem here isn’t the specifics of the list. I don’t really care what gets this guy excited. To each their own. But if the idea is to do more than just pick up a one-night stand, than having a list at all hurts more than it helps. As a very happily married woman, I just feel like both men and women create these idiotic expectations of superficial character traits instead of looking for a person that they can love everything about, no matter what.
      I did it too. When I was dating, I couldn’t date someone who played video games, or drove a huge obnoxious truck, or didn’t enjoy reading. To me, those things all represented a bigger character issue that I couldn’t deal with. And when I met my husband, I realized that I didn’t care what kind of car he drove or if he hadn’t picked up a book since the day he graduated. I thought I had to have a guy taller than me, no matter what heel I was wearing. I’m 5’10 and my husband is 5’11. And it doesn’t matter.
      A relationship is built on more than a 2 page checklist of insignificant criteria. And anyone ruling out everyone who drives a stick or chews with their mouth open is destined to keep finding the wrong people. Because they are looking for the wrong things. My husband may waste a ton of money on gas, but he’s loving and caring and all I could want. And those are things I was really looking for.

    • katherine

      so… you “have your needs” but wouldn’t respect the woman who fulfills them. strange.

      • Veronika

        No, it makes perfect sense! He just really wants to be sexually frustrated in all of his relationships!

        I always kind of laugh when I hear guys say things like that…it’s like, have fun never being sexually fullfilled with all of your angelic, sexually restrained, low-libido girlfriends who didn’t sleep with you for months because they either really love Jesus, or didn’t really have the desire to.

    • nolalola26

      And all this from the same guy who wrote a post about how he doesn’t bathe, often forgets to buy face wash/shampoo, and rolls into work in clothes from the night before? Man you are a prize!

      • SashinNash

        Haha! Nice. Yeah – sign me up for that.

    • Bird

      Some of these are very, very specific and obviously apply to very few men. Driving stick? Seriously? I highly doubt more than 1% of men feel this way. That is so incredibly trivial. It says something to you about what type of woman she is because she drives a fuel efficient car that she got for $1400 cheaper than the model next to it? What about that says “strong, independent woman”? This one doesn’t even make sense. (BTW, I do not drive stick, so this is not a defensive comment.)

      Generally articles like this should be somewhat generic, as to give women an idea of what men “generally” like. I don’t see how telling us stupid, superficial, neurotic things about yourself is interesting or entertaining. I stumbled on this site and I am going to stumble away again. Thanks.

    • Leah

      Aw, I drive a stick! So sad to know I’ve lost my chance at love with this frat-boy blogging intern. Oh well, at least I know apparently he’d fuck me and never speak to me again if I gave him the chance. He’s a real catch ladies!

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