Times are a-changin’. Ever since #MeToo swept the consciousness of the developed world, men around the world are too scared to approach women, and rightly so.
For years, maybe even today, men have had an upper hand over women and have dictated everything, especially in the dating world. Men have also gotten away with many of their transgressions because of the inherent patriarchal mindset of society.
But the tables have turned now. The feminist movement which began all over the world in the early 20th century has taken the narrative and made it their own with the #MeToo movement. It was going to happen and it did in the form of this sucker punch to men.
Things have changed for the good. Women finally have the say they so longed for. Men are finally having to own up to their actions and be accountable for them. Finally, it feels like there is fairness and equal distribution of power across both the sexes.
But these changes have started posing new, unique challenges to the old societal tradition of ‘men approaching women’, which is fundamental to the dating world. If men are too scared to take the initiative and ask women out, who will? Going by the below analysis from Psychology Today, women hadn’t warmed up to the idea of asking guys out in 2011, and it hadn’t changed by much in 2017, with only 11% women in the US preferring to ask a guy for his phone number.
So, for heterosexual relationships to go on, we can deduce that men will still have to take charge of dating and courtship (except in the few cases where women ask guys out), however, not in a conventional way. But how exactly? In comes, Inbound Dating.
Inbound Dating is rooted in the principles of human psychology, business – especially marketing and sales, and avian behaviour. People don’t like being sold to; they like to do their own research, find out what’s best for them, make up their mind and then buy a product/service. (Hence, the term ‘Inbound Dating’, taken from the marketing methodology with a similar name viz. inbound marketing). Of course, they don’t mind being guided along the way as long as it’s called for. Likewise, in dating too, people like the choices they get, prefer deciding for themselves who they love and then taking it further.
Be it men or women, being approached to by a person of the opposite sex disrupts a natural process, one which enables a person to choose his/her choice of a sexual partner by exercising thought. Furthermore, if the approach is not ethical or there is no mutual attraction between the two people, it comes across as creepy or harassment and doesn’t end well.
So, Inbound Dating sounds like a cool concept involving a logical, natural progression of attraction to courtship, but what exactly is it?
If we draw from insights from the behavioural traits of peacocks, we will remember a thing or two about peacocking.
A peacock “peacocking”. Source: GIPHY
Basically, male peacocks use their elaborate tail features and their decorative plumage to flaunt themselves whenever a female peacock is in their immediate vicinity. They create a circular shape akin to a Chinese fan with their plumage to attract a mate, which is called peacocking. Usually, the male peacock with the most attractive plumage successfully ends up wooing the female peacock.
It’s important to remember that the tail feathers which form the plumage have no practical utility for the peacocks; the feathers actually hinder their physical activity. So, they are only there to increase their sexual attractiveness.
This particular trait in male peacocks was used by behavioural scientists to describe the flashy behaviour men display when someone of the opposite sex is nearby, terming it ‘peacocking’. However, there are a few fundamental differences between ‘peacocking’ and ‘Inbound Dating’.
Peacocking concerns with attracting attention, mostly by dressing in a unique way, to be able to more easily seduce women. The premise behind it is, once you have gained attention your chances of being memorable increases dramatically. Thus, peacocking relies mainly on physical attraction, or cosmetic attraction to be more precise, to enable a man to woo a woman and eventually date her.
Inbound Dating, on the other hand, concerns with not just physical and cosmetic attractiveness of a man, but with the overall personality of a man. This includes, but is not limited to::
a) Ethics & Character
b) Kindness & Compassion
c) Respectful & Supportive
d) Generous & Caring
e) Faithful & Protective
f) Romantic & Passionate
g) Emotional & Funny
h) Smartness & Intelligence
i) Boldness & Confidence
j) Ambitious & Talented
k) Well-spoken & Communicative
So, essentially Inbound Dating subsumes peacocking, and involves men attracting women that are interested in them through their talent, confidence, kindness, emotional quotient (EQ) or for that matter even dress-up.
This tends to work most of the times because one woman might like a particular quality in her man more than the other, whereas a different woman might prefer a different quality or a combination of qualities in her man. Regardless, women get to determine which men they are attracted to and like to go out with, and men ultimately making the move after sussing out the perceived interest from a woman (any man worth his salt can pick up subtle cues of interest from a woman).
Also, physical attraction or attraction based on dress ups has a very short lifespan in humans since a minor misstep can lay ruin to any physical attraction (unlike in birds, where the variables at play are far less, which makes physical attraction paramount to mating). So, Inbound Dating has a much greater chance of success and is meant for the long-term.
What about men that don’t have any of these qualities or women who can’t show their interest in a man?
It’s highly unlikely that a man would not have any quality in him. He can use that one quality or a combination of qualities to his advantage and do things where he could employ those qualities. If he goes through with it, it’s most likely love will find him, and he won’t even have to go after love. Of course, if he sees interest from a woman, he has to make the move as women are genetically conditioned not to make the first move.
For women who can’t show their interest in a man they like, things are a bit difficult. Like with all things in life where if you like something, you ask for it; similarly, in relationships, if you like a guy, you have to at least show that you are interested in him. Without you showing an iota of interest, it’s very unlikely most genuine guys would ask you out. It’s also very unlikely Inbound Dating would work for you. You might have to contend with jerks asking you out just to make out with you unfortunately, unless you are able to step up and ask a guy out.
How would it play out in real life? In an ideal world, something like this could happen:
a) You, as a guy, go to a small pub with your friends, with live music on
b) You gently request the band playing allow you to sing your favourite song, possibly with the vocalist of the band. If the band says no, you step away as a respectful gentleman.
c) You belt out really good tunes and get applause from the crowd at the end
d) You then get a few girls coming up to you after to tell you how good you were, with a girl particular interested and asking you a few questions
e) You introduce yourself to the group and tell the girl later it was lovely meeting her and her girlfriends. This is a good opportunity to suss out the level of girl’s interest and the intent behind it, as it could be friendly rather than flirty. Ascertaining the girl’s genuine interest and intent is important, as you don’t want to be a douchebag.
f) You then kindly ask her if she would be open to hanging out with you sometime or if you can take her out to a music concert sometime
g) Most likely, the girl will say yes!
In a less than ideal world, it might take a few weeks or even months until you find an opportunity to employ your quality/qualities doing something you are really passionate about, find a girl genuinely interested in you, muster the courage to ask a girl out upon her showing interest in you; but sooner or later, you will go out with a girl, and it would make the long wait worthwhile. And when all is said and done, I hope you will thank me for writing this.