Let’s Talk About The Chase
I had my first boyfriend when I was 14. He was also my first date, my first kiss and my first slow dance–a whole bundle of firsts rolled up into one slightly awkward but adorable 17-year-old. I was a freshman, he was a junior, and I developed a crush from afar while watching him sing and dance every evening at musical practices.
So I did what you do when you’re 14 and you want the boy you’re crushing to know–I had my best friend pass him a note during choir practice.
“Hey John, do you know Sienna Davis? She sits in the alto section–brown hair, brown eyes. Freshman. She likes you. Like, like likes you.”
Soon after, John starting paying attention to me. He came and sat by me at basketball games. Followed me one night after musical practice. Stopped by my locker to shoot the shit. Caught me at a drinking fountain one day. That’s when he asked if he could call me sometime and, by the way, what was my phone number. Through it all, I remained somewhat shy, reserved and slightly awkward myself–this was my first major crush and I had no idea what the hell I was doing.
We ended up dating for three months, until his track coach told him to dump me and focus on sports. So he did. I ended up crushing on him for the next four years–but that’s a different story. Right now, I want to talk about The Chase. Because I was pretty good at letting a boy chase when I was 14, but, somewhere along the way I started to suck at it. However, I’m more convinced than ever that it’s a necessary part of dating and regardless of what men will tell you (e.g. “we hate the chase”), it triggers something in them that fuels attraction and appeals to their inner caveman.
“Me want woman. Woman not easy to get. So me chase woman.” (Grunt, chase, conquer, more grunting, and so forth.)
When I was 14, I was clueless about boys, and passing a note through a friend to say “I like you” was being as forward as I would have ever dreamed. So I let the boy make the rest of the moves. I didn’t have any particular moves of my own to make, so it felt natural to let him initiate.
Today, ain’t nobody got time for The Chase–at least, that’s what I think the general consensus should be for those of us over 40. If I like someone, I want to say so–no beating around the bush, no waiting for him to text or call or stop by my locker to shoot the shit. Let’s go, already. I have deadlines at work, a house to clean, a kid to pick up, bills to pay and a car that needs an oil change. If you need to chase me in order to feel like a man, make it snappy.
I’m being facetious, but you know what I mean–there comes a point for many of us where we just don’t want to waste time with what feels like a game.
Guess what, ladies? I don’t think it’s a game. Men are wired to chase–I believe this 100%. And I’m just really beginning to accept this, so if it sounds like I’m stating the obvious,it’s because I’ve been a particularly slow learner on this issue here in my mid-life.
Based on an informal poll I did recently with a select group of men, the chase is a big deal, and many men admitted to me that, yes, it fuels desire and triggers an instinct to “hunt, capture and conquer.” I’m borrowing those words from a dude and I don’t particularly like them, but I get what he’s saying. As another man put it, “We want to go after what we can’t have . . . if she’s a challenge, I’m attracted all the more.” If a woman is too available and easy to get – and especially if she makes that obvious in the early stages of courting – it can be like throwing a wet blanket on a smoldering fire: It kills the spark. While many man claimed to “hate the chase,” I’m not buying it. Maybe they hate the rejection if the chase proves unsuccessful? But the chase itself – please. I’ve come to believe it’s as instinctual as gnawing on a big old turkey leg ( you know, like they have at state fairs).
“Me want lots of meat. A woman I can’t have–preferably with big boobs. Lots of sex. And football. (Big grunt.)”
I’ve been guilty of being the girl who is too obvious; I’ve moved way beyond passing notes in class. Call me blunt, honest, straightforward–maybe impatient–but I’ve made the mistake too many times of saying how I feel before I should. And 3 out of 4 times, do you know where that’s gotten me?
Smack dab in the friend zone.
After my latest research (and past 18 months of actively playing the field), I’ve decided to take my heart off my sleeve, keep my feelings close to the vest, and become a mysterious gazelle, gliding gracefully through the Serengeti, perhaps throwing a glance to the carnivorous animals lurking in the bushes, but never, ever slowing down . . . not because I want to play games, but because I’m simply done trying to figure this all the hell out. A bit dramatic with the word imagery there, but you get the point, right?
I have an amazing life and exciting future that I intend to fully embrace with or without a man, regardless of who’s chasing or not chasing. And that, ladies, is where I think we all need to be–smack dab in the “embracing life and not giving a fuck about a man” zone. That is not meant to sound bitter or angry–to the contrary, I love men and appreciate a great guy as much as any woman does. But realistically, I suck at both chasing and being chased. So where does that leave me?
Galavanting alone through an open field in the Serengeti, I suppose. And I’m good with that. In fact, after 30+ years of relationships, marriage and commitment, I’m damn happy about it.
I’m at the point now where if I man wants me, he will have to be the blunt, honest and straightforward one–times ten. Or maybe hit me over the head with his big old turkey drumstick. If I’m not too busy appreciating the incredible life I’m living, that might get my attention.