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When did men stop trying to woo women?
When did men stop trying to woo women?

By Poorna Shetty

As a little girl weaned on a diet of Cary Grant, Charlton Heston and a father who wrote poetry to win the heart of her mother, it wasn’t unreasonable to assume this is how the world worked. Men wooed in the manner of amorous birds, seeking to impress a member of the opposite sex with displays of attentiveness,thoughtfulness and good behaviour. After many years on the singles circuit it became apparent that this clearly wasn’t the case anymore; cue many nights spent waiting for the phone to ring, mixed messages and boozy chat-up lines in bars.

While I’m willing to agree with Contributing GQ Editor Kevin Braddock that the old rules no longer apply – hence the blurred boundaries of social behaviour – the emergence of ‘flirt schools for women’ seem to undermine the rules of courtship altogether. Following an article in The Guardian that charts a female journalist being taught how to flirt (essentially it boils down to eyeing up men in a bar), it sums up everything that’s wrong with the current state of affairs: when did men stop trying to woo women?

A close male friend of men says that because women have become more empowered, both parties have to bring something to the table, not just the man. Clearly then the rules of courtship need to be redefined, just as the 2008 publication of Debrett’s Guide For The Modern Gentleman attempted to address and define the new status of the 21st century gentleman.

So what’s the solution then? Men, says Kevin, are hesitant to use the old rules for fear of being batted off by the woman, who might think they’re being creepy. Women, I feel, want to retain their sense of empowerment but still need to feel as if they are actively wanted by the gentleman. As I see my friends go through the turmoil of trying to figure out whether a guy likes them, deciphering every last word of text right down to the punctuation, the word that springs to mind is ‘confused.’

Rather than Debrett’s, woman are bombarded with self-help rule books such as He’s Just Not That Into You and The Rules, which seem to peddle mind games rather than codes of behaviour. Flirt school, as I see it, seems to say: I’m doing something wrong, and that’s why men aren’t approaching me.

What we need is a compromise: Gentlewomen, when he’s being vague about contacting you, he might be looking for signs of encouragement so that he doesn’t lose face. Gentlemen, remember that Peter Pan dies alone, so take a leaf from the old school and treat the woman like a lady.

Photo: source

first posted February 11, 2010

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I can promise you that men have not stopped trying to woo women. The Cary Grant movies were not shot in singles bars. Waiting endlessly by a phone that never rings has little to do with chivalry and much to do with the woman’s social skills. Self doubt has crept into society for a number of reasons, which although important, cannot be properly discussed in this small space. Both men and women have self esteem issues which were simply not written into the old movies. The idea of a ‘flirt school’ or any of the other inane television shows about dating, scoring a man or tactics of luring are frankly ridiculous and written for sheer entertainment and have little to do with real life. Since cave man’s time, men have wooed women. For heaven sake, Turkey’s do. Fear not. Anyone fretting about being swept off their feet, need to be patient, compassionate and respectful, not only of others but of themselves.

  • Jay Remer
  • 11 Feb, 2010
  • 3:53 pm

Oh thank you for this. No, gentlemen have not died out yet. Still, I observed girls (and even women) who shruged off boys/men trying to approach in such a disrespectful way that, if I was a man, I\’d have honestly stopped any sort of gentlemenship whatsoever. I\’m afraid moaning goes both ways here: if you don\’t behave like a lady (at least part-time), don\’t expect to be treated like one. Unfortunately, with Gender Mainstreaming on the loose, women have almost been forbidden to simply be women and/or have to apologize for being women. In the same way, boys/men today don\’t behave like Cary Grant in the movies -ah, let\’s face it, hardly any man in history ever really did- because they have been instructed not to. There is a large number of women especially in Europe who feel a man condescends to them by holding the door. Not slamming equal rights here, but jeez!

  • Jane
  • 17 Mar, 2010
  • 1:36 am

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