PSA to The Modern Man: Just don’t hit on women wearing headphones

They do not want to speak to you

Today I, like many other people on my newsfeed, spotted a ridiculous article from The Modern/The Prehistoric Man. It gave out some advice to men everywhere on how to make a move on a woman wearing headphones.

Dan Bacon, self professed dating and relationship expert gives out his expert tips for disturbing a clearly disinterested and busy woman with your undesired compliments and advances whilst she is say at work, on a run or simply focused on something other than fulfilling her biological function to satisfy a man for example.

“Yes, that doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them” the enlightened piece advises, before going on to recommend some killer pick-up lines. A few of the best are: “Hey – I know it’s not normal for people to talk to someone with headphones in, but I was walking along and saw you and thought – wow, she’s hot, I have to come over and say hi. I’m Dan, what’s your name?”

And of course the old romantic: “I don’t normally talk to girls with headphones, but your big green headphones were just calling out to me.”

Headphones in, boys out

There are some glaring key points that come out of this article:

1) It believes that women are so flattered by compliments from any man who expresses any interest ever that they will just fall at your feet.
2) It implies we love to be chatted up by an “alpha male” who doesn’t let us talk because we like to be controlled when being flirted with.
3) It takes for granted the incorrect assumption that women are up for being approached anywhere regardless of the circumstances. At work, on a run, with friends, walking home alone – all are fair game for the confident heartthrobs that are The Modern Man readers.

Perhaps the most perturbing thing about the article is how it warns against allowing women to take control of the interaction. It seems obsessed with confident men, making the huge leap that the more confident a man is – after making you take your headphones out – the more likely you are to make him your new boyfriend. But really, shocking as it may seem, we’re not all damsels in distress who still long to live in the shadow of a more confident and dominant partner.

Under the section that talks about how open women are to being approached, Dan Bacon writes how: “Women know that is the man’s role to be confident enough to walk over and talk to a woman he finds attractive, so they have a chance to meet. If he doesn’t do that, a woman will rarely walk over and talk to him first”. The female function, according to The Modern Man, has been reduced simply to looking pretty enough to deserve the attention of males who deign to approach us. Call me crazy, but I don’t think I should ‘have to’ look my best for anyone but myself thanks, and my headphones are on to block out the losers who think I should.

boy bye

The emphasis on confidence in the article is troubling because it belies a persistence in making a woman talk to a man, even if she’s listening to music. Look, if a girl likes you, she will flirt with you, if not she won’t. Headphones are the universal symbol for “not in the mood to chat”. It should be pretty straightforward.

let me listen to Tay Tay in peace

Another point criticises un-masculine characteristics in a man such as nervousness, going on to say “Women are attracted to the strength in men (e.g. confidence, masculinity) and turned off by the weakness (e.g. nervousness, anxiety).” Not only is the article unfair to women, it expects too much of men too. It places harmful gender stereotypes in them, and ignores the fact that actually, some girls like shy guys.

The article’s ‘script’ for how the conversation should be expected to go is awful as well. It paints the women as passive, barely speaking and acting flattered, embarrassed, coquettish, and shy. Bullshit. No woman I know is going to react to being interrupted in her day-to-day existence in headphones (clearly uninterested in being chatted up by a stranger) in this way. It’s some sort of sexist fantasy where the woman is just so single and desperate to be swept off her feet that you just have to call her “hot” and she’s putty in your hands.

screw you sexism

My advice: just leave a woman in headphones alone. We are probably busy living a life that doesn’t revolve solely around men.