“Hey, Chuck,” you ask. “I’d like to ask, how do I hit on the ladies?”
SPOILER WARNING: DON’T.
Let’s rewind a bit.
I went to the grocery store as I am wont to do on a Tuesday. I go to the store, frequently when I am hungry which means I come home with 37 bags of marshmallows, an entire butchered kangaroo, a half-keg of chocolate syrup, a backpack full of Ranch dressing, and a mysterious out-of-date jar of pickled wolf gonads. It’s common now I go to the store and I see some of the same faces — people who are on the same weekly circuit that I am, I guess.
Well, one of these is a young woman… I dunno, early 20s?
So, she’s looking at cold drinks, juices, that sort of thing.
And there’s a tall reedy dude there in a tight-white t-shirt and he’s helping — “helping?” — her choose something from the case, and at first I think he’s a boyfriend but it becomes apparent that he’s not when I realize he’s hitting on her. Asking for her name, sidling up close, kind of using that soft smooth jazz voice that some dudes use, like, “Oh, I’m totally non-threatening, listen to the velvet tones of my buttery vocal pipes.”
The drink case isn’t super-huge so I’m not standing right there next to the two of them, but what I hear him say next is roughly this:
“I know you don’t get to look in the mirror but I want you to know you’re beautiful.”
Oh, maybe I buried the lede here?
I don’t mean that euphemistically, like, “She’s blind to his attraction,” or, “She just doesn’t get it, man,” I mean, she’s actually blind. She’s got the tappy cane and everything. People help her in the store because, well, she’s blind. Employees help. Other shoppers help. It’s all very nice.
Until Doctor Douchebro comes along and hits on her.
And that’s what he’s doing. Hitting on her.
Hitting on a blind woman.
At a grocery store.
With his smarmy come-on line designed, clearly, to hit on blind women.
She was very nice. She dealt with him and politely shut him down (not that he deserved such tender handling, nor was she obligated to “be nice” to him, I’m just telling the story as I witnessed it) and she went her way and he went his. He didn’t stalk her or double-down on creep-town. It was a brief encounter and nothing particularly unsavory came from it.
Just the same —
Gents, don’t hit on women.
I know, now you’re saying, “BUT THAT’S HOW I GET MY PENIS TOUCHED,” and maybe you think that’s true. I realize there’s a certain mode of dating advice that suggests men must show confidence and be clear and forthright with their attraction. But “confidence” is a whole lot different than “aggression,” and hitting on someone is a whole lot more like the latter than the former. Note that verb: hitting — itself the language of violence, like you’re walking up and just bashing her about the head and neck with your sexual desire, like you’re clubbing a seal.
You can be confident. Hell, just going up and talking to a stranger is an act of confidence.
Which is what you should do to people to whom you are attracted.
Talk to them. Connect with them on a human level. They’re not a socket for your plug. You’re a person. They’re a person. Go form an emotional-social tether before you go clumsily trying to bed them. I’m not saying every encounter has to end in marriage. Hey, you wanna just hook-up and find other people who just wanna hook-up, well, dang, I hope you two crazy kids find a way to slap your parts together, whatever those parts might be. Just the same, the way we find those people is by connecting. And being human. And recognizing that they’re human too. And not just treating them like prey animals who owe you a pound of flesh for your hunting efforts.
“Hitting on them” is a thing you do when you see them as a target, a victim, a receptacle for your pleasure. It’s dismissive and unpleasant and often embarrassing for all parties.
Don’t be creepy. Don’t be an asshole.
Aggression is hitting on people.
Confidence is talking to them and knowing that’s enough.
YMMV, IMHO, etc. so forth.