Calling all the single ladies: When was the last time you asked a guy out? If you’re like 90% of the unattached women in America, the answer is “over a year ago,” according to a recent survey spearheaded by match.com. Only a mere 10% confessed to sidling up to a guy they were interested in during the past 12 months.
While the findings suggest the single and looking are happy to stay that way (only 13% of respondents were actively looking for a relationship, and nearly two thirds were unsure they wanted to marry—ever), the women’s widespread reluctance was still a bit surprising. So why aren’t women asking men out? We asked a sample of singletons.
Fear, for one. “I’m generally terrified of rejection so I tend not to make the first move without my good friend, beer,” says Julieanne, 27.
Maybe we’ve unwittingly entered a new Jane Austen era, in which we’re happy to bat our eyes but won’t actually approach. At least that’s the case for one online dater: “Yes, I did ask a guy out—in a very passive aggressive way,” says Bonnie, 35. “I kept looking at him on JDate, and I eventually emailed him … but didn’t ask him out … emailing was enough of an invite.” For her, the coy come-on worked: She married the object of her online stalking.
Holly, 34, believes instigating can actually backfire. “I used to ask guys out in my younger years,” she says. “I had a nothing-to-lose kind of mentality, but I have since joined a lot of womankind in actually believing that, for men, it’s all about the chase. I think they think that things worth having don’t come easy.”
All hope isn’t lost, however, if you’re the type who believes in making a move. Nicole, 31, recently spent an entire dinner debating the subject—with a co-ed crowd: “I was with two girls (both married) and two guys (one single and one married) discussing this very thing,” she says. Both the married ladies were women who’d put the moves on their men. “The guys in attendance both said that they loved that the girls had gone for it,” says Nicole. “That it showed passion and strength—total security.”
If you’re still feeling a little unsure consider this: if only one in ten women is making a move, your odds are pretty damn good.