The following is an excerpt from GIRL: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You, by Karen Rayne, Ph.D., published by Magination Press, an imprint of the American Psychological Association. GIRL is an inclusive guide for all self-identified girls to gender and identity, dating and romance, and healthy sexuality. Karen Rayne is a nationally recognized educator, trainer, author, and expert in sexuality education.
Who's Supposed to Ask Who Out?
Because the cultural concept of a date is old fashioned, it’s hard to say who’s supposed to ask who out. We could fall back on the old-fashioned rules, which say that the boy is supposed to ask the girl out, end of conversation. But that doesn’t make a lot of sense if you like a boy and you want to ask him out. And, it doesn’t make any sense if you’re interested in women and/or if you’re trans and not out and/or if you’re gender non-binary and/or many, many other problems with the boy-asks-girl rule. A strict understanding of gender roles just doesn’t hold water anymore, which adds to the confusion around the entire dating paradigm in the first place. If you can’t figure out who’s supposed to ask who out, of course dating as a cultural practice is going to fall away. So, here’s the answer: A person who likes another person is supposed to be the one to reach out. Not necessarily to ask the other person on a date, but to express interest, to gauge the other person’s interest, and to suggest that they spend some time together.
How Do You Ask Someone?
You ask someone by being emotionally vulnerable, clearly communicating your interest, and being honest about your interest in them. You use the communication skills you have at hand to invite the person you’re interested in to be emotionally vulnerable, to clearly communicate their interest, or lack thereof, in you, and to be honest with you.
Another way to think about this process is that you are inviting someone into a space of exploring a healthy relationship, whether that intended relationship be a short hookup, a longer relationship, or an exploration of the options. Here are some details on how to go about that invitation...