ciphergoth: (Default)
[personal profile] ciphergoth
Reading this fascinating comment thread on Greta Christina's blog:
What counts as “the first move”?
Fair question. I would say “the first overt, unambiguous, verbal move.” I.e., asking someone out, or otherwise making a move that can’t be interpreted as anything other than a move, and that requires an overt response. (The point being that if you toss your hair at someone and they ignore you, you can save face and pretend you weren’t making a first move — but if you say, “Would you like to go out with me?”, that’s not possible, and you have to accept the possibility and indeed the likelihood of overt rejection.)
The stories told there seem somewhat American, even when they're from the pansexual, BDSM Bay Area. How does it work in our community, when a man and a woman hook up?

Date: 2011-10-06 08:21 am (UTC)
sfred: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sfred
Thinking of two occasions in the last few years when I've hooked up with a man (there have been more than two - I'm thinking of the ones where I can remember how the 'first move' went):
in one, there was conversation and lots of intense eye-contact and then I asked if "we do kissing" (and we did).
In another, there was lots of conversation (and a long history of friendship) and then I said I'd like to kiss him and asked if he'd like that too, and he thought about it for a couple of hours and then decided that yes, he would like that.
At least a couple of expressions of interest have happened online - with first moves going in both directions. I can think of a couple of men who I think made the first move towards me in person, but I can't remember exactly how the interaction went.

I have the impression that in our community, concern about the possibility of making people feel uncomfortable or coerced might mean that men are less likely to make first moves than in the mainstream? I could be wrong.

Date: 2011-10-06 09:11 am (UTC)
elfy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] elfy
I'm not sure what you mean with "our community", but I have to agree that I find the described stories all very "American", especially with the dating part.

All in all I had three serious relationships and at two of those I can only say I was the one to initiate the first contact - BUT it was never with a sexual intention. The first contact was followed by a loose friendship and at some point resulted into some sort of sexual activity, which usually was not verbally discussed before.
The third relationship was also a close friendship first, but we were introduced to each other, so I can't say I made the first move, nor did he.

All in all I have to admit I love the idea of being courted (if you can call it that), but at the same time I remember being very cautios when I was approached by a man and usually I did not respond well to being asked out by someone (male) I barely knew. This all is probably a result of abuse at early age, I'm not sure.

With women I'm way more direct and tend to make the first move to show (sexual) interest. Interestingly, I once was also "asked out" by a woman I barely knew and was nearly as freaked out as when men seemed to "want more".

Basically I'm only able to have/interested in romantic/sexual relationships with people I consider friends first.

Non-fluffy comment

Date: 2011-10-06 01:03 pm (UTC)
khalinche: (Default)
From: [personal profile] khalinche
Does no-one else find themselves remarking what a complete whinefest that thread is? All of those men seem to be lining up to complain about how they are always expected to make the first move, and it's terribly debilitating, and they've been rejected so many times, and OH THE PAIN of being a man who is socially awkward and not very good at being smooth with the ladies.

OK. OK. I can appreciate that there are men who are genuinely made unhappy by this. I also agree that it's stupid that in the social milieu these guys are in, it's not seen as acceptable for women to make passes at men. I'm an enthusiastic female maker-of-passes, and in some ways it's a useful triage, because people who are uncomfortable with bolshy, flirtatious women who make obvious passes at them are clearly not right for me! Perhaps this is also making me less sympathetic to the 'but no woman ever hits on a guy' complaint, because I'm living proof to the contrary.

My gut reaction to the 'it's so haaard' line, though, is 'what bollocks'. It is not the job of every woman who is interested in you to penetrate your personal layer of social awkwardness and alleviate you of the dreadful man-burden of having to express interest in a way which is not sleazy or uselessly subtle. Social skills can be learned, including 'how to hit on people' skills. Please note, I'm not trying to have a hate-on for socially awkward men: I've had long and beautiful relationships with men who were completely incompetent in the area of Being Smooth With The Ladies. But they weren't entitled gits about it; they didn't bewail how very hard their lives were because they were no good at hitting on people, and they didn't resent women for not trying harder.

The thing underlying my annoyance, I think, is that women who are sexually forward run greater risks in terms of social ostracism and even sexual violence than men who are awkward. Getting a reputation as a slut, in some social circles, especially when young, can really damage how people relate to you, whether it's them being judgmental and slut-shaming, or people thinking that your sexual availability includes being available to them, just because you've 'slept with everyone else'. This goes right through to predators targeting women with extensive (or even just existent) sexual histories because they know no-one will believe it was coercion, including in court. Being a sexually assertive woman has its price, too.

To answer your actual question: I think expressions of interest in poly/kinky social spaces look very different from the vanilla/monogamous world. I am used to dating people who are also poly, kinky and queer: courtship in those circumstances IME involves knowing each other through friends, flirting at a party, emailing or verbally conveying interest, including a ventured idea of what kind of relationship (play partners, friends-with-benefits, sweethearts), negotiation with other partners, sharing of Google calendars and then a date. Whereas I've recently started seeing someone monogamous and heterosexual, and enjoyed/was bemused by the way he actually hit on me in a very obvious kind of way during our date: taking my hand, touching me lightly to emphasise points he was making during conversation, making small compliments. It was like visiting a foreign, but familiar, country. ("Young man, I do believe you are macking on me!") And we didn't even share Google calendars or start detailed kink discussions until after we'd shagged.

Re: Non-fluffy comment

Date: 2011-10-06 02:26 pm (UTC)
juliet: (Default)
From: [personal profile] juliet
Yep, I got that reaction too; gave up reading after 20 or so comments because of the overwhelming POOR ME tone of all the responses; and very much in agreement with the rest of your thoughts on that.

I think the last couple of times I've hooked up at all with men (whether that's been a snog or what turned into an ongoing relationship) it's been me who made the first move. That's not universally been the case, though; some of both, I guess?

Date: 2011-10-06 03:34 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I'm not poly, I am kinky, but you wouldn't think it.

The last time I made a move it was pretty blatant. He was crashing on my sofa. He was wrapped in a duvet. I said goodnight, and bent to hug him. His skin was so soft and beautiful, and I lingered a little longer than I should.

Suddenly our eyes were fixed so intently on one another, and I asked "show me". He nodded, and I lifted back the covers to see his beautiful naked body spread before me. He was glorious, with only the slightest hint of shyness as he rearranged himself for me.

Something in the way he had let the covers slip off his shoulders let me know it was ok, later he confessed this had been purposeful. So much of it is about social cues.

If he said no I think I'd have been mortified, and hugely apologetic, yet I was betraying my husband in what I did. Somehow I don't feel bad about that, and I really should, but what happened felt very pure, not evil and wrong. It was incredibly charged, electric.

I really shouldn't think about him. It nearly ended my marriage to a very good man. My not-quite lover and I were so wrong for one another; but sometimes I still take the memory out, like a secret treasure, and feel the eroticism of those stolen moments, the look in his eyes, the velvet of his skin, the taste of his cock.

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