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Reading the Signs  

hotdreamer1000 60M
9102 posts
11/24/2015 5:09 am

Last Read:
12/7/2015 5:54 am

Reading the Signs


Babyjeans wrote a blog recently about how men don't always get the hint. She would prefer not to have to spell it out to them that she is interested. So if she accidentally bumps against them while they are out walking, she means, "I would like you to hold me." It allows a relationship to progress naturally, without either party having to be frightened of looking stupid in the face of rejection.

And I agree, if you can read the signs. But her blog prompted me to philosophise on the nature of understanding between the sexes, (or for that matter any prospective partners, gay, transsexual, or whatever ) over this.

Yes, most men, at least most men with a little experience, will get the hints. Although as I recall from younger dating days, it is very easy to misread them. I remember a girl I really fancied in my twenties, who years later - once it was finally clear that we would only ever be "just friends," - told me that when we first met she was constantly hinting for me to make a move, but she had given up 'cos I never did and she assumed I wanted to be just friends. I said, astonished "really? I just thought you were being really friendly, but didn't want anything more!!" Her hints were just not quite explicit enough for me, at that time. Maybe I had had too many experiences as a younger man of being rather cruelly rebuffed to want to take that chance with a girl whose friendship I valued. It can be remarkably easy to misunderstand the signs, miss them altogether, or think they are there when they are not.

One of the many reasons for this is because there are a lot of women, particularly younger women - from whom men may be learning their initial experience - who rather enjoy testing what a man's response to "signals" might be. Not all people's motives are well-meaning or straightforward, and young men learn very early that some girls / women are looking for a way of getting a moral upper hand in their dealings with boys / men.

So for example, the accidental-bump-whilst-walking does not always mean "I want you to put your arm round me." It can mean, "I want you to try and put your arm round me so that I can say "what the hell are you doing?"

Or it can mean, "I like the idea of you being attracted to me, and I want to prove to myself that you are, but I don't actually want anything serious to happen." Obviously men do this too, both consciously (bastards! ) and unwittingly. I may not realise the full effect when I smile a flirty smile at a woman I like. Her pleased response gives me a good feeling, but if I have no intention of following this up by asking her out, she might not necessarily go away feeling good because I liked her - she might feel bad because she wanted to be asked out and I didn't go that far. Equally, she might be nervous at returning my smile because she is worried I might think that means more than she intends. This all gets very difficult for a lot of people! I imagine this must be even worse for gay people, especially if they are not both "out" because even though it shouldn't, there may be the added fear that misreading signs from a straight person may cause offense.

Both men and women start playing this game with each other while they are growing up and don't know any better, and what is learned then can be responsible for a lot of misunderstandings later in life. Up to a point I now know from experience how to tell the difference between what is a deliberate hint, (often from a self assured, experienced woman, ) and a test, which more usually comes from someone either less experienced or more insecure or manipulative.

As soon as you bring the question of whether you are looking for a casual fling or a long term relationship into this question, it becomes even more complicated. Maybe that is why sites like this one and Tinder have become more popular, because they go some way towards the overt admission by both parties that sex is on the agenda. The trouble is of course that we are all human beings and we want to be flexible, make our own decisions and judge each person and situation as it seems to us at the time. Not all the people you interact with even here are potential sex partners. Some might be good friends, some might be keen for a quickie, but there is always the chance you might find a real sexy soul mate. How are they to know, unless you can find some way to tell them?

Men particularly can be wary of making too bold a move without having had a pretty good hint to start with, because if they do, they know they might be expected to deliver more than they intended. So, in the same way that a woman might be reluctant to say "come back to my place," unless she is contemplating having sex, so a man is often wary of asking for a date because he thinks that if it leads to sex he may then be expected to commence a relationship. Whereas, if a woman has given him a really strong hint, and done some of the chasing, he may think he is less obliged to deliver anything more, unless he decides he wants to. If he thinks he has met the woman of his dreams, he may well pursue her whatever she does, but if it is more a case of "lets get to know each other and see what happens" then a man who actually cares what people may think of him is very likely to wait for a few firm signals before he takes it any further. That was, no one can accuse him of simply being a womanising heartbreaker if it all ends after a brief fling.

I don't mean to imply that people are endlessly manipulative - some are, but probably most are not. An awful lot of this is going on subconsciously in peoples minds. But it takes a lot of confidence and self assurance to be sure of what any signs may mean, and it can be difficult to carry that off without seeming arrogant or cocky. Plus of course, everyone is different, so they will have different ideas as to what their own particular signs may be intended to mean. And sometimes, they may be unconsciously giving off unintended signs! So, in the early stages of creating an exciting buzz between two people, we really shouldn't expect everyone to instantly respond in the way we are expecting!

iwalkstilts 45M  
2862 posts
11/24/2015 6:23 am

Very good points.
I think we all get better at reading the signs as we get more experienced.


hotdreamer1000 60M
11653 posts
11/24/2015 7:47 am

    Quoting iwalkstilts:
    Very good points.
    I think we all get better at reading the signs as we get more experienced.
Hi iwalkstilts (interesting username by the way, I like it. ) Yes, we'd like to hope! I find the age of the woman giving the signals is often a real help in interpreting what is meant, and on the sadly all too rare occasions when I find myself being given signals by a much younger woman, I always smile to myself and think "I wish I had understood better when I was young!"

On the other hand, I suppose it provides at least some compensation for being so much older!


hotdreamer1000 60M
11653 posts
11/24/2015 7:50 am

    Quoting Darling_Annette:
    An interesting thoughtful post, thanks for taking the time to write it.

    As I've got older and more confident, i find I give clearer signals now and that's a good thing, both for me and whoever I'm signalling to. i don't like the fog of misunderstanding or misinterpretation and if someone is going to accept me, or reject me, I'd rather we are both clear up front, as it's easier that way really.

Hi again Annette, and thanks for your appreciation.

As I said to iwalkstilts, the age of the person giving the signals is often a great help in interpreting them, don't you think!? Partly for the reasons you mention here - that many people become more confident as they get older (not everyone I know, ) and that helps them give clearer signals!


BiggLala 48F  
28374 posts
11/24/2015 9:52 am

"...so a man is often wary of asking for a date because he thinks that if it leads to sex he may then be expected to commence a relationship..."
Why is this? I'm honestly asking this question.

I do agree that both genders learned to 'play this game' early in their lives, which is a shame. However, I disagree on your point that sites like this make things 'easier'. Just my experience and opinion, but I think this site still has the same issues and/or presents another set of issues entirely when it comes to 'the game'. I agree with Annette in that I don't like the fog that misunderstandings and misinterpretations can bring.

Interesting and thought-provoking post.

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lustasaurus 43F  
1750 posts
11/24/2015 10:17 am

I always cringe a little when these things are drawn along gender lines. It's especially outmoded, as you point out, as different relationship configurations become more mainstream.

I spent most of my adult life being incredibly confused about how people interacted with me. Guys hanging around, being friendly - I thought it was because they wanted to be friends. Sometimes they'd get erratic or even hostile for no apparent reason. I've hit professional roadblocks. For example, my work would get passed over for funding due to mysterious spite.

Many years later, when I acknowledged that it might be possible for people to find me attractive, I realized that these patterns were part of a game that I was too oblivious to play, and I'd missed/ignored all of the hints. Perhaps I ignored the attention deliberately: My personal/professional life was intermixed, and I wanted to believe that the attention I received was for my acumen or for my curves. It's damaging to believe otherwise.

That's why I'm always raving about face value. Why don't people just say what's on their minds?


hotdreamer1000 60M
11653 posts
11/25/2015 3:42 am

    Quoting babyjeans2015:
    hey, thanks for that thoughtful response to my blog.

    It kinda made me realize I have been giving him mixed signals all the way because with him, it has always been different from the other men on this site - they are after just one thing . When it is just going to be a sexual partnership (long term or not), the decision is so much easier: sexual chemistry says it all for me. And there is a clear checklist, as you already know from my blog.

    With him, sex was never on my agenda, because he would have got crossed out on 2 counts at least in that checklist. To me, getting physically close to him is like moving him from the friend zone to another zone, and that move will not be based on sexual chemistry but something more emotional. Hence, I have always been unsure about what to do with him. Knowing the nature of the site and his marital status, such a move is never a wise one for me. Hence the confusion on my part and subsequently the mixed signals sent to him.

    I still dunno what to do about the situation.

    Anyway, I think he could not read my signals because verbally I kept calling him by bgf and my big brother. I said it so often mainly to remind myself how I should see him. Deep down, the feelings have been shifting for quite some time. So, maybe I have been saying it for self-deception....
Interesting.....and that is all very self-perceptive, considering you think you were being self-deceptive!

Good luck working things out with him. It sounds like it could be a good idea to be telling him pretty much what you have been thinking, and let him decide how he feels about that.


hotdreamer1000 60M
11653 posts
11/25/2015 4:08 am

    Quoting BiggLala:
    "...so a man is often wary of asking for a date because he thinks that if it leads to sex he may then be expected to commence a relationship..."
    Why is this? I'm honestly asking this question.

    I do agree that both genders learned to 'play this game' early in their lives, which is a shame. However, I disagree on your point that sites like this make things 'easier'. Just my experience and opinion, but I think this site still has the same issues and/or presents another set of issues entirely when it comes to 'the game'. I agree with Annette in that I don't like the fog that misunderstandings and misinterpretations can bring.

    Interesting and thought-provoking post.
Thanks Lala. In answer to your question......errr....well, I'll try! (Just my opinion / gut feeling though you know - I am in no way qualified other than by my own experience.

But I think it is because so many of us are still brought up in traditional ways. Even though we know that most people often have sex for fun, outside marriage / long term relationships, there is an underlying feeling, (out in the real world ) that somehow "men want something for nothing, and women should not give themselves away." Generally speaking, in the everyday world, there is still a presumption that men want casual sex, while women want relationships. Even on this site, you can read that into a lot of people's profiles. Women here may be looking for sex, but a lot of them state that they want more than a casual fling, they want cuddles or conversation, and some continued regular contact to go with it. (Why not incidentally - I want that too, don't misunderstand me, I am not saying this is wrong, I'm just commenting on the overall misunderstanding! )

Also, still today, many girls are brought up (albeit perhaps unintentionally, ) to think that sex is somehow a way to trap a man into wanting a relationship. If you give sex too easily, guys won't take you seriously etc etc.

And guys themselves still buy into this - they call easy girls "sluts" in a very unpleasant way. They are turned on by the idea of an easy lay, but deep down inside they have a irrational hatred of that kind of woman. Whether it is because they fear competition from other men, or they fear what it says about their own motivation I am not sure, but when it comes to women they want to get close to, they still think "nice girls don't do that." They wouldn't want an easy girl for their girlfriend. Meltdown if their sister sleeps around. That's why so many women get nasty emails from guys here that they politely turn down. Sub-consciously these guys are thinking "If she's here then she's a slut, but she still won't sleep with me - there must be something seriously wrong with me." So they lash out, making it the woman's fault for being a horrible slut .

Even if you move on from that kind of old fashioned sexist thinking, most guys will have experienced the disapproval which can run through a group of friends after a guy has had some kind of relationship with a woman and then broken it off, especially if he made all the moves to start with. "He's a heartbreaker,"..... "He's charming, but he's a player," "He's got commitment issues".........."He led her on, then as soon as he had got what he wanted he dumped her." If he can say "but she came on to me," (even if only he himself is listening, ) maybe he feels less responsible.

Most of this is not rational, or even expedient, but I do think it is what happens. And if people understand that better, it might help. A little!


hotdreamer1000 60M
11653 posts
11/25/2015 4:20 am

    Quoting rainbowsox:
    Oh my God... Oh my God... Oh my God.... We had this same EXACT conversation at the old "house" one night. H' and I let our GF's have "it" big time as they complained about guys not reading their signs!

    It really came down to their insecurities, they were all too afraid to express their interest, for fear of rejection. So they would try and send some convoluted telepathic hint they were interested. And of course, when the guy did not return interest, they felt rejected.... confirming their fears all along! We tried to tell them, that method will ALWAYS lead to rejection, so why not just try the direct approach and at least improve your odds?!!!!!

    Perhaps, some of it is old fashioned more's still attached to us. Where it is just not proper for a young lady to express her interest in a fella (see, I even used old time language!).

    One of the things we brought up with our friends, was that "we" have, what "they" want. It is kind of like fishing for salmon in your bathtub.... it's kind of easy to get what you want. Not that having a vagina automatically will get you a date, but it does not hurt either!!!

    Soooo, you want another reason why being a Lesbian is just so awesome?! No signs were sent. We just cut through the static and let each other know straight away that we were attracted to one another. And, we never play little mind games with each other, we just say what is on our mind.... see, now you have another reason to join our "team"!

    Lastly, from the office of irony, or kismet, or whatever. I was going to "try" and write a similar post to this. As yesterday, I was apparently sending out a "signal" to a guy.... and so he decided to try and kiss me! How shocked do you think he was to find out his chances of scoring with me, were about the same as the odds of me becoming the Queen of England?!!! Maybe, we need a college class on this, how to send, AND receive, the "signals"!!!!

    Love,
    -E'
Great comment E, thanks. I think the accepted wisdom is that women send signals which are too subtle - men need something more obvious, like the old joke about "show up naked and with beer." If women were more obvious, maybe there would be less accidental misreading of signals, but sadly, there would also be more instances of "slut" name calling. (See my reply to BiggLala. )

Now what is this about me now having more reasons to "join your team?" Haven't I already said I sometimes think I am a lesbian trapped in a man's body? Lol.


hotdreamer1000 60M
11653 posts
11/25/2015 4:24 am

    Quoting babyjeans2015:
    My experience has been the exact opposite. The only time I came straight up to a guy to tell him I like him kinda out of the blue was at university and that did lead to a rejection because I left it till too late to tell him how I felt. Long story....

    Guys that have missed my signs....... I would say fewer than 5 and in other cases reciprocated in a favorable way.

    I think what we are looking at is a different question to the topic. The university guy case is an exception and it is going to be a long story, so let's count that one out. But generally, I think men may find a verbal expression of feelings from women a kind of request for commitment if they take it further. If it is just signs and they acting on it, they can avoid giving a verbal answer to a question on feelings.
You are right, and this is difficult. A verbal expression of feelings might well be seen as a request for commitment. Although you could say - "look, I am not necessarily looking for commitment, no way am I going to blame you if this turns out to be a one off, but right now I would really like to be in bed with you and see what happens." I think I would respond okay to that.

It would not help you personally with your desire to be chased by a man who makes all the moves of course. But then you could be asking yourself, where does that need in you come from??


hotdreamer1000 60M
11653 posts
11/25/2015 4:26 am

    Quoting lustasaurus:
    I always cringe a little when these things are drawn along gender lines. It's especially outmoded, as you point out, as different relationship configurations become more mainstream.

    I spent most of my adult life being incredibly confused about how people interacted with me. Guys hanging around, being friendly - I thought it was because they wanted to be friends. Sometimes they'd get erratic or even hostile for no apparent reason. I've hit professional roadblocks. For example, my work would get passed over for funding due to mysterious spite.

    Many years later, when I acknowledged that it might be possible for people to find me attractive, I realized that these patterns were part of a game that I was too oblivious to play, and I'd missed/ignored all of the hints. Perhaps I ignored the attention deliberately: My personal/professional life was intermixed, and I wanted to believe that the attention I received was for my acumen or for my curves. It's damaging to believe otherwise.

    That's why I'm always raving about face value. Why don't people just say what's on their minds?
Great to see you here - I have read your blog a couple of times and keep meaning to go back for more.....

I think most people do get better at saying what is on their minds as they get older - hence my comment about the age of the signaller helping me to read the signs - but if you are not a game player yourself, it takes a lot of learning to spot when other people are doing it to you. Usually I think the first sign, unless it is really obvious, is when you have a kind of feeling deep down that something is "off" about them somehow. For example, I have never reacted in the expected way to a woman who "plays hard to get." I always think, A ) that she doesn't like me very much, and B ) that there is something not quite right about her, so I don't get involved. I may have missed a few good ones like that, but looking back....no....anyone who even thinks about playing a game to make me react in a certain way is not really for me actually!

Mix all that into a work environment and yes, I feel for you, that must make life extremely difficult!

See you again I hope.


tigger678902 53F  
4549 posts
12/6/2015 11:23 am

I suck at subtle, I don't think guys ever understand my signals, never have, or maybe it just boils down to my basic impatience, For example, there was this guy who used to come to my work once a week, I flirted what I thought was outrageously with him for 6 months before I finally just asked him out for coffee, sure enough he was surprised, he had no idea I was flirting, just thought I was friendly. It went no where, we did get together one evening, went for a drive and chatted but nothing else, so perhaps his actual obliviousness to my signals was just his disinterest at work.

Good girls go to heaven,....Bad girls go EVERYWHERE!
I love to travel

Come visit my blog tigger678902


hotdreamer1000 60M
11653 posts
12/7/2015 5:54 am

    Quoting tigger678902:
    I suck at subtle, I don't think guys ever understand my signals, never have, or maybe it just boils down to my basic impatience, For example, there was this guy who used to come to my work once a week, I flirted what I thought was outrageously with him for 6 months before I finally just asked him out for coffee, sure enough he was surprised, he had no idea I was flirting, just thought I was friendly. It went no where, we did get together one evening, went for a drive and chatted but nothing else, so perhaps his actual obliviousness to my signals was just his disinterest at work.
Interesting. I think sometimes someone's lack of interest can lead to them missing signals, but equally, we men often do need something a touch more obvious than a woman thinks we do!


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