Kulani Nkuna and Michelle Loewenstein
4 minute read
13 Mar 2014
3:10 pm

He said/she said: The game of love

Kulani Nkuna and Michelle Loewenstein

Do men want women to be open about their feelings, or do they want a girl who lets them take the lead?

Picture courtesy: www.sxc.hu.

He said:

To borrow a phrase from Johnny Cash and June Carter, there is no time to dilly dally in life because “time’s a-was-ting”. A patriarchal world has determined, deterred and delayed happiness and unions between the sexes. Women’s reactions to men who are propositioning them for whatever reason are determined foremost by how the man will perceive them if they respond in a certain manner. In other words, if a woman enjoys the affections displayed by a man, it is important for her to conceal her mutual affection. So the dance ensues back and forth, mostly led by the lady, who throws hints here and there to alert her suitor of her interest while not fully disclosing her entire interest to the gentleman.

In today’s language, this is referred to as playing hard to get, and women seem to be under the impression that men like this foolishness. Because this has been determined as the appropriate behaviour for women towards men, many females adopt this approach in order to give the right impression (alleged). It’s 2014, though, not 1950, and in this age where connections are made via Internet dating, social media, blind dates and speed dating, there really is no need to waste time with misguided folly, which will all also determine power politics in the relationship should things reach that stage.

Both parties should be more forthright about their intentions towards each other, because sometimes men are not the shar-pest tools in the box, and we may take a woman’s feigned indifference as a lack of interest. While “the signs” may seem clear to women, they should bear in mind that men did not go to sign reading school. With anything less than verbal disclosure or a gesture – like a kiss – we may remain none the wiser about a woman’s interest. The assertion that guys will take a lady who is open and wears her heart on her sleeve as eager or desperate is rubbish best left in the past.


Thandeka Nxumalo is not interested in Tsakane Mkhize’s  advances in Auckland Park. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Thandeka Nxumalo is not interested in Tsakane Mkhize’s
advances in Auckland Park. Picture: Nigel Sibanda


She said:

I’ve never been one to buy into the idea of playing “the game”.

Perhaps it’s because it seems like a waste of time. Or maybe it’s because I just wasn’t born with the gene required to play it cool. I once shook a guy’s hand at the end of a date when he leaned in – enough said.

The problem is that no matter what men may say, they need a bit of game-playing to keep them interested. Men enjoy the chase.

They seem to be pre-programmed to want to be in charge. Something deep within them says, “you cavewoman, me caveman, I hit you on head and drag you to cave”.

I might be generalising here – there may be men out there who want nothing more than to be swept off their feet. However, in my experience, these evolved beings are few and far between.

The minute a man feels like a girl is pushing them in a certain direction, they back off. They want to feel like they have the power. The situation is further complicated by the fact that men need neon-flashing lights to know that a girl is interested. The line between emasculating him with your forward approach and appearing clingy, or simply letting him know that he’s not half bad, is so fine that it’s almost impossible to tread.

So what is the solution to this dilemma? Unfortunately for those of us who tend to open our mouths to change feet, some savoir fare is required. Despite what today’s metro men may say, they want to engage in a bit of back and forth before revealing their ultimate gameplan.

They need to be given just enough attention to keep them interested, counterbalanced by a healthy lack thereof from time to time. However, be warned: playing hard to get for too long may end with your caveman seeking out another cave-mate.

Does this all sound too daunting? Are modern males an impossible species to understand?

Hopefully the answer to this question is that when you find the right one, you’ll be more than willing to wait for him to figuratively whack you over the head and drag you home.