I collect vintage magazines such as Ladies Home Journal and Seventeen. While recently thumbing through an edition of the Journal from 1950, I stumbled upon an advice column for high school girls. One submission made me laugh out loud, but amazingly, the advice given was timely for today. This is what it said: “Some days the boy I like is extra sweet to me and the next day he just flips me a casual ‘hello’ that he would flip to any girl. I had a wienie roast the other night and I invited him. (I kid you not—it says that!) He sort of played up to me all night. I have tried to make him jealous, but he says he doesn’t care if I go with other boys. I often go to the drugstore where he works to see him, but he never calls me for a date.”
Here is the advice given: “And just when would the boy have time to call you when you are chasing him all the time? Too much attention, too many invitations, and the unhappy habit of hanging around the place a boy works are the fastest ways to convince him that he sees enough of you without having you around as a date-mate too. Give him a chance to miss you once in a while!” Times have certainly changed. No more waiting by the phone for that special boy to call. Nowadays, if a girl wants to talk to a boy, she sends him a quick IM or text message and waits for his response. A guy hardly thinks twice if a girl contacts him first. Just recently, my seventeen-year-old son was IMing back and forth with a girl he knows; and before they ended their conversation, she informed him that she doesn’t normally IM a guy first. It was her way of letting him know that if he was interested in talking to her, he better initiate the conversation. My son was blown away by this as he was accustomed to most girls IMing, texting, and calling him first. After he finished his conversation with her, he IMed his sister (who was on the upstairs computer) to tell her about it. He has given me permission to share the actual IM conversation he had with his sister:
ryan: so she ims me and we talk for a while
ryan: and then at end she said she was goin and wanted me to knwo she doesnt ususally im guys first
ryan: and i thought that was pretty cool
paige: so do you like her or what are you trying to tell me out of this?
ryan: naw im just sayin thats weird
ryan: and different
ryan: but kinda cool
Times have certainly changed. Fifty plus years later, the same fashion magazines, that were once doling out advice on how girls should avoid being overly aggressive and pushy with guys, are now advising girls to take charge and make the first move. I am certainly not saying that we need to retreat to past days where girls didn’t speak unless spoken to, but it would be nice to find a balance. I have encouraged my own fifteen-year-old daughter to impose a similar standard and not make a habit of always initiating conversations with guys she may be interested in. There is no harm in asking a guy about a homework assignment or initiating conversations with her “guy friends,” but when it comes to the guys who make her heart beat faster, let them do the pursuing. Trust me, if they are interested, they will do it.
The irony is that deep down inside, most girls want to be chased and pursued. They don’t realize that by initiating conversations by IM, texting, or calling, they let the guys off the hook when it comes to the pursuit. As a mother of a teenage boy, I have witnessed this phenomenon up close. My seventeen-year-old son has never really had to “pursue” a girl because he is accustomed to them pursuing him first. No wonder he was so taken aback, as was evident in the IM to his sister, by a girl who refuses to IM, text, or call him first. I’m sure it must be difficult when this young lady logs onto Instant Messenger and sees a sea of guys online that she would love to talk to and get to know. I’m sure she knows that these guys have plenty of girls who IM them the minute they get online. And I’m sure it must be tempting at times to relax her standard and just join the crowd. How does she stand a chance unless she makes the first move? What is her reward in waiting? How about this for a reward: Guys who are interested in getting to know her, pursue her. She is one of few girls my son has gone to the trouble to initiate conversation with and, get this, ask out on an official date. The girls who contact him first with invitations to do this and that don’t require pursuit. And they don’t require him to ask them out, pick them up, and pay their way.
It certainly makes you wonder if the advice given to the high school girl who wrote in to the 1950 Ladies Home Journal isn’t still relevant for today. It bears repeating: “Too much attention, too many invitations and the unhappy habit of hanging around the place a boy works are the fastest ways to convince him that he sees enough of you without having you around as a date-mate too. Give him a chance to miss you once in a while!” You are worth being pursued. You are worth being chased. You are worth being asked out on a real, live date. You are worth being treated like a lady. But first, you must act like a lady. If you set your standards high, you may not log as many IM, text, or phone conversations with guys as some of the other girls do, but you will narrow it down to the ones who think you’re worth pursuing. I realize that waiting for the guy you like to initiate conversation is a radical concept in a culture that tells girls to make the first move. Why follow the crowd when you can be “weird, and different, but kinda cool”?
Article taken from TeenVirtue 2: A Girls Guide to Relationships. Posted with permission from Broadman and Holman Publishing.
Written by: Vicki Courtney; copyright virtuousreality.com
Founder of Virtuous Reality Ministries and best-selling author of "Your Girl," "Your Boy," and the entire "TeenVirtue" and "Between" series.