I’ve talked before about the benefits of making friends with women rather than just pursuing them, and I was reminded of it last night with some helpful feminine insight.
I was sucking down Malbec with Tre Tre and his female friend from out of town — she’s a lovely, outgoing woman with plenty of dating experience. The topic that arose was whether a woman will make eye contact with a strange guy from across the bar if she finds him good-looking. It’s the kind of dramatic foreplay we’ve seen in countless movies and TV shows.
In the overworked minds of men, we’re often looking for such a sign as a green light to approach her. The industry term is an IOI, or indicator of interest. Some gurus will tell you that a man needs exactly three IOIs, divided by her height, multiplied by your hair color and subtracting the number of letters in her middle name, to determine if she likes you. Of course, I flunked high school math.
I’ve taught guys the importance of making and keeping eye contact with women — body language matters, remember? And I’d advise it for women, too. But I’m sure there have been times where I didn’t approach a girl because she looked away as soon as she caught me looking at her. Not because I lost interest, but because I incorrectly presumed there was none on her end.
Tre Tre’s friend, who is single and as confident a woman as you’ll want — actor Matt Dillon once hit on her in a bar, only she turned him down — pointed out that she usually isn’t making eye contact with guys she wants to meet. Because she’d be taking a risk by doing so. It’s a subtle risk, but to the female ego, it’s no small one.
“If I make eye contact with the guy and he looks away, I think he’s rejecting me,” she said.
As she mentioned it, Tre Tre and I both recalled that of all the women we’ve met in our years, few of them had made much eye contact before our approach. Often, they were just girls who were near us — though it was often intentional — and we started talking to them by making a comment or overhearing what they were saying. In fact, I can think of girls who I thought were looking at me with interest, only it turned out they weren’t.
(The big exception to this is on a dance floor, where there is a lot more staring down and I do think her eye contact means a lot before the approach.)
This game is meant to be challenging — and a little weird. If women would make more eye contact with us, they’d probably have a lot more of us calling them. But the same could be said about women approaching guys. Men are expected to take the risks in seduction, and we cannot look for any flags to wave us in.
This isn’t all bad, though. Because if you damn the consequences and simply act, you’ll be exactly the kind of guy she’s looking for.