For years, I thought that awkward tiptoeing around was how everybody did it. Everyone was dithering and clueless when it came to asking people out.
American sitcoms made it look easy, but they represented a fantasy. No one was actually like that.
Then I went back to England for the first time in years. I was shocked – genuinely taken aback – by how forward the guys were. They simply asked.
Now, if you’re an American, (or indeed any other nationality,) you probably find the idea of British blokes being forward laughable. Brits, surely, are the quintessential examples of awkwardness?
Well, compared to New Zealanders, they’re smooth-talking Casanovas.
I thought maybe I was mistaken. Maybe it was just the guys I fancied.
Lots of people I’ve talked to think the same.
I was talking to an American guy at uni. He was confused that a certain Kiwi girl thought he liked her, even though he hadn’t made any moves in her direction.
“If I wanted to go on a date with her, I’d ask,” he said.
I did my best to explain that she probably wasn’t used to guys just asking, and not because she was undesirable.
Out of all the boyfriends I’ve had growing up in New Zealand, for example, only two came straight out and asked me. (The rest were a result of me asking them out, or of the awkward tiptoeing around I mentioned before.) In fact, the only guys who have overtly and confidently flirted with me have been either British, Indian or American.
Oh, wait, there was that one guy – a complete stranger – who stood at the end of my driveway and – without preamble – asked for my number when I walked past him. I was confused as to why a complete stranger would want my number, and when I refused to give it to him, he called me a bitch. He was Kiwi.
Now I’m not of the old-fashioned mindset that it should be up to the guy to ask the girl out. Kiwi girls are almost as bad at asking, despite them supposedly being the most promiscuous females on the planet. According to one rather unscientific survey done by Durex a few years ago, Kiwi women rack up considerably more bedpost notches on average than Kiwi men. Then, more recently, there was that pathetic MRA-produced article about how Kiwi women are ‘the worst’.
In general, Kiwis suck at asking people out, but why is that?
Is it because they’re too shy? Because they fear the embarrassment of rejection? Because they think they’re not good enough?
I think it’s an extension of the good old Tall Poppy Syndrome that Kiwis are famous for. As a result, Kiwis are so afraid of appearing arrogant that they can’t allow themselves to assume that anyone fancies them.
Don’t get me wrong: being humble is a positive thing. It’s definitely more attractive than the opposite. But do you really have to dither quite so much?