In Sunday's Dating, Marriage and Family class, we were talking about Elder Oaks' Dating Versus Hanging Out from 2006. I was (am) a pretty big fan of this talk, but I was not a fan of the way the lesson turned. Unfortunately for me, I was at church by myself and had to make all my snarky comments to the guys behind me or to myself.
Elder Oaks gives a list of why the hanging out "trend" has increased while dating has decreased. In class, we started reading then got to this:
The leveling effect of the women’s movement has contributed to discourage dating. As women’s options have increased and some women have become more aggressive, some men have become reluctant to take traditional male initiatives...
While I stand firm in favor of traditional dating roles, and dislike very much asking guys out on dates (read about that here), I couldn't help but be a little affronted with the way my class spun this. Within seconds, the girls were being told that in order to not be aggressive, we should sit back and patiently wait for the guys to rise to the occasion, and ask us out. If we wanted them to ask us out, then we needed to show that we are interested by flirting and by touching their elbow.
(The touching of the elbow has been popular advice since I arrived at BYU in 2004. I've heard it on numerous occasions. I might have even employed the tactic out of general naivety. But now I'm older and wiser, and I'm calling bull on this beloved method of flirting.)
By listening to the comments, if I didn't know any better, I would have learned that girls are supposed to be coy, conniving, and stealthy in trying to catch a man, but under no circumstances are we allowed to be direct or honest in case that could be misinterpreted into being aggressive. Our teacher talked about how she chased her husband until he caught her. Instead of asking him out, she contrived a way so that she was left at a ward activity with no way to get home, unless he offered to give her a ride. He did. It worked out. They are happily married.
But if guys are such blockheads, and incapable of picking up subtle hints (as they were telling us) then what is plainer than a girl asking a guy out. If she likes him and wants to get to know him.... why can't she ask him out? Why are we encouraging these strange games?
And if touching the elbow is the universal sign for "I LIKE YOU!" then, why can't we just say it?
Instead of elbow touching, I'm just going to graduate to more risque moves such as knee touching! If that doesn't get my point across, I don't know what will.