Thursday, May 10, 2012

Magic Elbow Touch

Speaking of...

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.


  1. O.M.Gosh! I'd never before heard of the magical power of elbows. Were it only so simple. I think that while guys do need to move beyond the hanging out phase, most guys would appreciate an honest approach. I think some eager chicas have scared guys off, though, so it's a fine line between, Hey, I like you, let's get to know each other and the girl that is all Hey, I like you, I've named our 13 children.

  2. I LOVE the picture. This morning in the shower I was thinking, "I wonder who the inspiration is behind this pic?"

  3. I was the one who had to chase Cary. I definitely think a girl can be kind of "scary-aggressive," but I wouldn't be married if I hadn't made some moves on Cary. There's all sorts of fine lines in dating, but if you like a guy invite him to do something, sit next to him, flirt, make it known you're interested and if he then doesn't take any initiative move on!

    Of course I also, think setting rules for dating is dumb because with all the personalities in the world every situation is different. Some guys will be threatened by a girl asking them out, but i think if you're an independent, assertive girl... you should probably find a guy who's ok with that. And if you prefer a guy who does the asking/chasing... you're better off waiting for that type of guy. Good luck with the dating scene! and i love your stories, keep them coming!

  4. I agree with Carla...not one size fits all, there shouldn't be so many dating RULES, but there are dating principles...ok I could go on and on, but instead read that book I was telling you about.


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