I’m jogging to Starbucks after my morning workout around 7:30 AM. I’m in tight compression pants and a long-sleeved Under Armour top that has thumb holes, which makes me feel like I’m training for The Hunger Games. The exact kind of motivation I need to jump-start my (previous) morning ritual of hitting the gym.
My gym is a good eight minute jog from my apartment, so instead of drive, I figure I should work in the extra cardio, take in the fresh air, and get my mind clear for the day. Working out is therapy for me — I can outline everything I need to achieve for the day, meditate on my goals and give thanks for what I’ve been given. And I can daydream about going on tour, developing TV shows and traveling the world to my iTunes soundtrack. (This particular morning, I am playing Taylor Swift’s 1989 on repeat — its been out approximately nine hours.)
As I get half a block from Starbucks, I stop the jog and start to walk. That’s when a black car pulls up beside me. A gentleman waves his hand at me. Oh, this guy needs directions. His mouth is moving while “just take me home!” in Taylor’s signature shout is being pulsed into my ears. Out come the earbuds.
“Hi! So do you live in the Beverly Hills area?”
“Yeah.” (I lie. I’m adjacent. And I’m not telling you where I live.) “But Beverly Hills is about three minutes west of here.” I point to where he needs to be.
“Oh yeah, I know that. I was just asking if you live over here.”
“No, I workout here, so I jog to the gym in the morning.”
“Gotcha, that’s cool. I just moved here, I mean to Beverly Hills, from Marina Del Rey.”
This guy looks harmless, but I’ve fully realized that this isn’t a directional intervention. He’s trying to figure out how to ask me out. It’s too early for this. I’m not caffeinated.
“That’s cool…” I keep silent. When you’re quiet, people are almost forced to fill the silence. I’m eager to hear how this is going to turn out.
“Do you jog a lot?”
“That’s great!” (He looks into his passenger seat for something — I’m assuming his phone or a business card.) “Do you mind if I get your information? I’m looking for a jogging buddy.”
Sooooooooooooo here’s the thing. I know women complain that men aren’t spontaneous enough. We say, “if you find us attractive, approach us! Ask us out! Take initiative!” I have said all of these things. But usually, it’s assumed that we want those things to happen after we’ve given you several social cues, like looking into your eyes from across the room or touching your arm or giving you a hard time. Or hell, kissing you in the middle of a dance floor. It doesn’t matter how, but the point is that we’re giving you the go-ahead to approach us. Sometimes (mostly in movies), a guy will approach a woman at a bar (think Ryan Gosling to Emma Stone in Crazy Sexy Love) and he charms his way into a date with her, and she initially acts uninterested, but then it all works out. Those instances are not completely inconceivable, but they’re the exception, not the rule.
Driving up next to me because you saw me jogging (from who knows where?) and asking to be my jogging partner is not idiotic — it’s unsettling. Why, you ask? Besides the obvious “who the hell are you and how long have you been watching me?” factor, jogging is such a weird thing to ask a woman to do within two minutes of speaking to her. I politely declined to give out my information, and told him jogging was a personal thing for me. And I’m not lying — it is. I like to listen to my music and keep to myself when I work out. I’ve been on hikes with several dudes, and those were fun and all, but it’s also semi-embarrassing going on a first date with a guy and you’re literally about to slide down the hard trail at Runyon and you’re out of breath and the guy is asking you questions about your family and your life pre-LA, and you’re sweating like a maniac. (I swear that some men use this as a gauntlet tactic to see if I can hang or not.) I enjoy the outdoors, I like working out, and I like adventure, but can’t you save this for date three or four? Once the basics are out-of-the-way?
I feel bad for men, because unfortunately, women have to worry about things like being kidnapped, raped and stalked. Not saying men don’t deal with these things, but statistics show women are more likely to be in danger of them. So approaching a woman you don’t know, in a car, on the side of the road, behind a building, and asking her to come close enough to the car “to get her info” is most definitely not how you should try to ask her out. (I know my mother is reading this, and no, Mom, I stood about eight feet away from his car. You’re welcome.)
Men, I want you to approach women and ask them out. But I want you to be smart about it. Don’t ask to be her jogging buddy. Don’t follow her in your car like a weirdo. And don’t ask her where she lives within a minute of seeing her.