Make the First Move

It’s a feminist gesture.

Photo by Sebastian Tiplea on Unsplash

I spent so many years feeling like I had to wait for me to make the first move. It reached the point where I couldn’t even remember what I myself desired. I stopped asking myself what I wanted, I stopped saying to myself “oh I like him.” Being desired was always more important. I would hook up with guys because they wanted to, and because Why Not?

I became passive in my own desire.

It is still the norm for the guy to make the first step. As a teenager, I felt like I would embarass myself if I made a move on a guy, because if he hadn’t made a move on me he must not like me. And he’d just wonder who was this ugly unattractive girl who was stupid enough to think she had a shot. Nothing felt more humiliating than overestimating my sexual appeal, because that felt like I was overestimating my entire value.

This is how I came to spend a year in open flirtation with a guy, without either of us doing anything about it. Because he was shy, and I thought he didn’t like me, and my self-esteem was freefalling as I told myself I would never be good enough for him.

This is why the first time I made the first move, I was 24. It was a disaster. I was in a community in Germany, where we had spent the week feeding each other dessert and flirting in the sauna (attempting to master the subtle art of flirting when you are already naked). Yet when I asked if he wanted to come to my room he bolted and later decreed that he had been interested in me, but was put off by the fact that I took the initiative to hit on him, because it made me “too masculine.”

This was when I realised that, ridiculously, women are still judged for making the first move. And for that reason, I decided to get over myself and start doing it.

The first reason it’s important is so that you can reconnect with your own desire. When it is up to you to make a move, when you allow yourself the possibility to do so, you realise when you are attracted to someone, what you like about them, whether you really like them or not. You escape from male gaze, it is no longer more important to be desired than to desire, both are equally impoirtant. And we send the message that we do have the right to desire, whoever we are.

Plus, we’re at a crossroads right now where society is finally beginning to talk about consent. Through our words and actions we are redefining flirting and ridding it of harassment. Everyone needs to play a role in writing this new script. Men shouldn’t bear the burden of finding the way forward alone, women shouldn’t only be guinea pigs but actors of the transition.

So let’s all make the first move, and let’s all think about how to do it better, with respect, without objectification.

Gender, sex and politics. Sign up for my free newsletter

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store