In Which I, A Female, Take Questions From Members Of The Male Gender

9 Jul
Melissa Lee (a.k.a. LilaMae)

by Melissa Lee (a.k.a. LilaMae)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few days, you are aware of something known as “elevatorgate“.  Since clearly every last human being on the planet has posted their comments on this issue, I have been seeing many, many comments from men asking [if I may paraphrase] “Well am I now not allowed to do this or that?” or other expressions implying they are now afraid of what is ok to say or do. I feel for these poor souls & would like to help if I can. I know it’s not a clear-cut issue and can be very puzzling.

So I decided to ask some of my skeptic male friends if they had any questions they would like to ask me as a woman about what’s cool & what’s not. So yes these are actual questions from actual men I know personally. Please don’t judge, I give them full credit for having the guts to ask what they might get chewed out for elsewhere.

Now, I’m not saying I’m any kind of feminist ambassador or anything. I’m just giving answers from my own personal perspective. I hope they are at least somewhat helpful..even with a lil dash of my signature snark. 😉

Remember, men, we don’t hate you.

(Oh, also remember, I speak frankly here. Very frankly. Be prepared. That’s all I can say.)

When and where is it appropriate to pursue women romantically?   

In a bank line. On Tuesdays. But only on Tuesdays. Between 7:30am and 10:15am. Happy dating.

Ok, seriously you can’t possibly expect a clear-cut answer on this, dear, I’m sorry. That’s just the nature of the human mating dance. It’s not our fault. Blame the millions of years of hominid evolution.

I will say this, stop searching for tactics that will work. It’s not about tactics. Forget tactics. You’re not at war. It’s much worse…you’re trying to date. Women will be confusing to you always (for reasons why, see above), yet billions have somehow managed to mate..go figure. For me personally, nothing turns me off faster than a man who is blatantly obvious in his contrived spiel to woo me. Are you trying to get a woman to like you, any woman? Or are you trying to get me to like you? I’d like to feel there’s something special about me that sets me apart from other women that you genuinely feel compatible with.

So again I’m sorry to break it to you but the art of the romantic pursuit is a nuanced process so complex and arbitrary it can’t possibly be explained in words. I’m going with the fortune cookie answer – Let your conscience be your guide in all things. It’s true, people.

If single women aren’t looking for potential mates, what the hell are they doing at functions with like-minded people?  Merely to expand their circle of friends?

Ok let’s start with off with why that anger isn’t going to help you in your romantics pursuits. Um, yes anger & resentment..not a good way to start things off…doesn’t get any woman’s panties wet I’ll tell you that.

And to answer your question, YES. You see, women don’t think about sex all the time or at least not nearly as much as men do. We are not hyper aware of potential sex partners all around us. Think of yourself at a baseball game. You’re focused on the game not what the dudes are wearing, I’m assuming. Well pretend any social event for a woman is a baseball game and the presence of potential sex partners as important as what those sexy steroid juice-head hunks are wearing like you give a shit, right?

I know it would be much easier if we just walked by you and sprayed our scent on your crotch and show you our engorged labias to indicate we are ready to mate but that’s never going to happen.

When a woman is interested in you, you’ll usually know it. And if you can’t tell, she’s either not into you or she’s perhaps one of those women that loves to play games in which case you don’t want that dummy anyway…we hate those bitches too. Don’t encourage them.

Can I look at your chest if you’re wearing a low-cut top?

This may surprise some but yes. I think I’d be a hypocrite if I said no. Just please be discreet about it. Don’t stare. Get a sense & look away, agreed? Can we make that the social contract?

It rarely happens but sometimes a dude is so obvious I want to whip out a ruler and politely ask, “I’m sorry, would you mind if I just measure your penis real quick? I just want to see what you’ve got packing.”

Can I speak to you on an elevator?

No. I would think that would be clear at this point. You may never ride an elevator with me. Men must forever take the stairs henceforth. I’m sorry but that’s how feminism works.

7/10/2011 Additions…

Is it ok to hit on a woman while she is at her job( think of jobs like retail, in the service industry, etc.)?

I would say no in most cases. It’s putting a woman in a position where she has no choice but to talk to you. How would you possibly know if she likes you if she’s paid to have to serve you. Well…you know what I mean. If you’re really interested in a girl and she’s at her job, politely wait until her shift ends and then follow her to her car later to ask for her number. And when the blinding sting of mace wears off, realize that I was being sarcastic.

But if you think you’ve found the love of your life and you just can’t let this one go without trying to make a connection, ok fine. Who am I to step in the way of true love? Just remember what I like to call the four “F”s –

1. be friendly
2. be fast
3. be self-effacing
4. get the fuck out of there

If a woman is friendly with me, does that mean she is interested a relationship?

No. No. And no. You are in creepy guy territory. Beware.

Guys get this wrong ALL the time. You have to stop this way of thinking right now. Women will be friendly and smile and show what you in your horny primate brain think is romantic interest, but she is just being polite. That is how women are. We are – surprise – wired differently! Vive la différence, right? Well that means you have to take the good with the confusing. Women evolved to use both sides of our brain simultaneously, that’s going to make us a little more complicated than “You man, me woman, we go to bed.”

Look, let’s be brutally honest here. We have within the skeptics community a slightly higher percentage of socially awkward people. Many are clearly on the autism spectrum. Well, some of you may have to face the cold brutal fact that you may not be ready for dating. If you can’t pick up on the subtleties – which, really are the an essential part of human relationships – you are not going to be successful in any romantic endeavor. If you think you may be completely lost because of your social difficulties, you may not wish to look to women necessarily first for pointers, but to men who do have an easy time with women and seem to “get it”. I think these men could help by taking on a greater role in helping those who are struggling to get it.

By the way if you’re a dude who is intensely frustrated & angry about women, obey what nature has been trying to tell you in the first place and kindly remove yourself from propagating the gene pool.


More Q&A will be posted as the questions come in. I’m still waiting to hear back from some of my male friends. Feel free to ask a question in the comments section.

11 Responses to “In Which I, A Female, Take Questions From Members Of The Male Gender”

  1. A.Y. Siu at 11:13 am #

    When and where is it appropriate to pursue women romantically?

    I like your answer about there not being a stock answer or strategy/tactic, but I do think there are some general guidelines that should be obvious, but the fact that men are actually asking you means they aren’t obvious.

    Inappropriate times/places

    On the bus, especially if the woman is reading a book and/or has headphones in and sunglasses on
    At the gym while she’s working out
    In an elevator, where she’s kind of trapped in there

    Possibly appropriate times/places

    A singles mixer
    A bar
    The supermarket (well, kind of depends)

    But really I’m confused about this whole “pursue women romantically” bit anyway. While it can sometimes be flattering to be hit on, most women do not want their daily lives interrupted by random male strangers trying to “pursue [them] romantically” in some random public place. Make someone’s acquaintance and go out on a date… or there are also a lot of great relationships that blossom out of strong friendships.

  2. SW at 11:17 am #

    Here’s a question, but from a lady: When should we drop the fact that we’re in a relationship (and our partners aren’t present)? As you mentioned above, I don’t go to these events thinking about meeting hot dudes. I think about having conversations and meeting like-minded people. But some dudes stop talking to you once they find out you’re taken, or they try to lure you away from your partner…some get reactive when you casually mention your partner, but if you wait until it comes up, like if they ask you out, then they’re miffed because you “led them on.”

    WTF? I just want to have a freaking conversation, and it may be easy to say “screw those jerks,” but the reality is that it makes me less likely to attend skeptics and other events. Many guys don’t act like this, but you never know who it’s going to be. Whether I’m single or taken, I end up spending too much time worrying about having to reject someone rather than focusing on the conversation. Which was the whole point of going, right?

    • Melissa Lee at 12:56 pm #

      Oh I totally hear you, SW. I can’t STAND the idea of rejecting men.

      I’ve found you have to get creative when it comes to these situations. You could try this. I have. Try asking the following in the nicest way possible. “I’m sorry this may sound strange but would you mind if I conducted a little social experiment? If I said I had a boyfriend right now would you stop talking to me?”
      The response you get will help you gauge that person immediately. It has for me.;)

      • SW at 6:37 pm #

        That’s. Awesome.

        I shall have to try that one!

  3. The Secular Buddhist at 5:22 pm #

    Excellent post, thanks for offering to clarify the Mystery That Is Womankind, since we men do tend to be loutish, knuckle-dragging creatures who can barely form human speech.

    No, really. I’m not kidding. In these matters, we’re utterly clueless.

    We’ve had the experience, very recently, where two completely different situations arose in the same social environment (Convergence):

    * Flirtation of a very direct nature, done safely between friends.
    * A grossly inappropriate physical grabbing of a woman, with no notice or invitation whatsoever.

    In the first case, there was a pre-existing relationship of trust, friendship, and (at least on my part) attraction. Flirting, however direct it may have been, was in the context of social interaction and play. There is, as you’ve elegantly described this, an inherent understanding of the boundaries of that dance. Anything moving past that into the realm of investigating the possibilities of More, whether proceeding to relationships or even simply consenting adult activities, has a different tone entirely, but remain in the maturity of social interactions of adults.

    In the second, there was no relationship whatsoever, just a drunk guy seeing an attractive woman, and grabbing her. Grossly inappropriate, and led to his removal from that social setting. This also seems to be a thread that was common with Rebecca’s encounter, in that it was from out of nowhere with a stranger.

    Okay, we’re good on that, seems pretty clear. The tricky part is when there is a misperceived social relationship of some kind, or the little social relationship is a Close Encounter of the Creepy Kind. That’s what’s kinda confusing to me, at least — if you take what seems to be a similar situation, but there are two different subjects, you get completely different outcomes. The Creep factor is not just a matter of one’s behavior; it may align quite well from one guy to the next, but one is welcome, the other is not. The not welcome is the Creepy Guy.

    How can we tell which bucket we fall into, because it seems to vary greatly based on individual tastes?

  4. Melissa Lee at 5:51 pm #

    Ted, you are anything but a loutish, knuckle-dragging creature.

    Hmmm how to tell which bucket you fall into as a dude? That’s hard to say. I’m not sure how to answer that one. Unfortunately there is some truth to the saying that “It’s not sexual harassment if the harasser’s attractive.” In other words, it’s not fair.

    I’d also like to note the role our dear friend, alcohol, played in both scenarios. Interesting, isn’t it? Oh alcohol, what situation can’t you fuck up or enhance enjoyment of?

    I will say this – just having the self-awareness to ask that question puts you at a level above most men in this world. And it is also what makes you NOT “the creepy guy”. 😉 [and my putting a winky face here – as you will know – is just a friendly gesture between friends and not a sexual come on, as some might like to interpret.]

    • The Secular Buddhist at 10:27 pm #

      *chuckle* i’m too old to take a wink from a pretty woman as anything else.

      But — I have been the creepy guy. The possessive guy. The angry guy. The selfish guy. For most of my life. And only just struggling out of it, so there’s not a great deal of confidence in knowing when the line of appropriate is behind, rather than in front were it should be. So the concept “it’s not creepy if you like them” thing may always be problematic for many of us.

      As for the alcohol, yeah… definite behavior modification going on!

      • SW at 6:47 pm #

        I’ve gotten into this conversation a lot with my guy friends. I think there are two brands of creepy–one is “this person is a mess” (ex. the dude who grabbed a lady in a bar–we would all identify him to be creepy, dudes and ladies alike), and the other is almost entirely dependent on the lady’s attraction factor. That would be hard for guys to figure out bc for me, even objectively attractive guys fall into this category if I’m not attracted to them.

        That doesn’t make it easier, but I think the answer is to express interest, then drop it and don’t persist if she seems hesistant/not interested in more than friends or says she isn’t. Or even directly asking “are you interested in me” would sure make it easier. But I think Melissa’s comment “get the hell out of there” is spot on. I had one guy bug me for months after I expressly said I didn’t want to date him. No rarely turns into yes.

  5. The Man Version at 9:19 pm #


    Hi Melissa! I remember you telling me about this post at TAM and thought I’d take a look. I am very impressed. This whole elevator thing has been one long practice session in putting myself into women’s shoes. Metaphorically speaking. As far as you know.

    There is one tangential issue about maleness in the 21st century that you haven’t addressed, so I am addressing it myself on my blog. Our advances in technology have stripped us of the mix tape and all its unappreciated benefits on gender relations.

    I have posted part one.

    If we all keep communicating, maybe we can overcome this current inability men have to cheaply deliver 45 minutes of Phil Collins songs to the woman of their dreams.

    – Christian

  6. Roger at 9:18 pm #

    Your 4 F’s are similar to the 5 F’s we learnt at school (not in class though!)

    1. Find them
    2. Feel them
    3. Finger Them
    4. Fuck them
    5. Forget them



  1. Apple has ruined men forever « The Man Version -

    […] and current leader of the Minnesota Skeptics. I think they’re in Wisconsin. She told me about her response to the ridiculous “Elevatorgate” scandal centered around Rebecca […]

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