You know what I’m not into at the moment? I’m just not that into He’s Just Not That Into You theory.
Now before you go waving in my face your well-worn copy of this tome most consider a ‘must read’ when you’re on the dating scene and telling me how it saved you from a dating fate worse than death, let me just say that I think this theory has done a lot to keep the sisterhood grounded. From its harsh-but-fair origins, it’s morphed into a kind way to make your friends see reason when faced with a less than favourable romantic situation.
It actually gives comfort in the face of abject rejection. It’s a calming mantra that’s repeated with the fervour of a Buddhist chant. He hasn’t called for days? Ah well, he’s just not that into me and I am perfectly OK with that because I am super hot and worthy of a man who appreciates my super hotness. Ommmmmm.
But I think the pendulum has swung too far the other way. Rather then empowering women, it’s making us passive aggressive and high maintenance.
He’s Just Not That Into You theory has raised, too high, our collective expectations about how a suitor should behave when we’re dating them; way above what I believe was the original intent of the book.
I do believe that if a man is interested, he will make an effort. And I think if you’re always the one who’s calling, if you’re always the one who’s initiating plans, if he takes a week to get back to you, if he tells you he’s seeing other people or doesn’t want to introduce you to his friends then, sista, give it a rest. He’s Just Not That Into You.
But I also believe in the early stages of courtship men are just as scared as we are sometimes and just as eager for a sign they’re on the right track. So I think we need to be a bit more persistent, perhaps, than He’s Just Not That Into You would lead us to believe.
I also think men are faced with an increasingly scary female population that’s obsessed with He’s Just Not That Into You theory and has adjusted upwards its expectations of what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ behaviour.
We holla to anyone who’ll listen about how we’re Destiny’s Child-style independent women yet we refuse to ask out a bloke because “he should make all the effort”. We lambast the patriarchy and then get shitty if our date doesn’t offer to buy the first drink or the first meal as if that’s an indication of the depth of his feeling for us.
We use He’s Just Not That Into You as armour, refusing to remove it until he surrenders first and declares undying love. We assume the worst until we’re wooed into submission. It’s like we’ve gone back to Neanderthal times when it comes to our emotions. We play the role of the emotionally passive woman, waiting to be knocked over the head by our caveman. Then, and only then, when he’s dragged us into his cave, given us proof positive that, actually, he is just that into us, can we high five each other and allow ourselves to think that maybe this is a relationship worth becoming emotionally invested in. What a passive and pessimistic way of living.
I think by following He’s Just Not That Into You by the letter, we’re doing ourselves and our suitors a disservice. I think we, as women, need to occasionally make an effort. I’m not advocating stalking or ignoring the warning signs or seriously believing that maybe he just didn’t get that last text so we should send another or being a doormat to a man who doesn’t care enough about us to be worth the time and effort.
I’m talking about not being afraid to give them a nudge to let them know we’re into it. I’m talking about considering the possibility sometimes people get busy and so you shouldn’t discount a bloke because he didn’t call at the exact time he said he will. I believe you can do all of this while maintaining your emotional dignity, your mystery and, crucially, not scaring them off.
Ultimately, I think we need to listen to our instinct about a situation rather than relying on a list of rules we have to tick off before we make a decision about whether he’s into us or not and, subsequently, how we behave.
Forget He’s Just Not That Into You theory and rejoice in some old fashioned What Does Your Gut Say theory! The theory where we apply a little common sense to our romantic interactions. I suspect this is what He’s Just Not That Into You initially wanted us to do before it morphed into what it is today.
What I do like about the theory is that it encourages women to truly believe in their hotness and awesomeness and encourages them to focus on living full and happy lives irrespective of whether they’re in a relationship. This is to be applauded.
Let’s maybe not get quite so obsessed with the details of it, though.
Photo credit: aaron vazquez