The question speaks for itself – How would you feel if a man approached you out of the blue, asking for your number? Would it startle you? Do you stay silent, then walk away, pretending it never happened and whisper “OMG AWKWARD” to yourself? If you do, it’s okay to admit it because we probably feel the same way too. I mean, the fact that a guy is gutsy enough to ask you for his number in public, while you’re out buying a smoothie? Yes, we’re definitely NOT jealous at all!
But let’s dig deep here. How would you really feel? Of course, you’re bound to feel minor outbursts of flattery, but if you do reject him, why do it? Is it because he’s a complete stranger and you’re worried that he’s a creep. Or perhaps he’s not good looking enough? Or he’s just not the kind of guy you’d expect to appear out of nowhere and to ask you for his number? Or do you have seven vengeful exes like Ramona and you don’t want want to repeat the scenes in Scott Pilgrim?
People aren’t just as approachable as they once were. It’s not the swinging 60s like in the Austin Powers films where women wore glitzy shift dresses and engaged in euphoric sex with the help of mind-altering drugs. No. We’re in the 21st century, where men get increasingly whinier by the day and women are actually taking charge of their sexuality and everything else in their lives. Great for the women, but not so much for the guys. But to balance it out in a very ‘bewildering’ manner, we have men with creepy fetishes. We’re all entitled to like what we want, and I’m happy for you, but as long as it doesn’t involve animals, children, blood, or anything out of the ordinary, then you can keep that yourself.
It’s hard to not think twice about people who approach you anymore. It has transcended beyond the subject of romance to the concept of safety. Malaysians are at a stage in life where we think twice about helping an old woman. I remember reading this post on my Facebook feed where they’re using children to do their dirty deeds by leading concerned citizens into dark alleys to rob and beat them. I’m sorry, but if incidents like these weren’t as rampant, I’d gladly give a guy my number. Also, I think it would help if you looked like Ryan Gosling. Or the pre-Prince-of-Persia version of Jake Gyllenhaal.
Why yes, pre-Prince-of-Persia-Jake-Gyllenhaal. You can call me anytime of the day.
You Can Have My Number If…
I spoke to a few of my friends to share their reactions about being approached by male strangers in public. Malaysian (or Asian women, in general) are especially hesitant about passing on our numbers.
“I will say ‘Sorry, but I won’t provide my mobile number to strangers. Mama always says Stranger Danger'” Jiar Yi
“I guess I would give it to him if I found him to be attractive and decent looking” Emily
“I’d be slightly flattered but also slightly awkward” Gabriena
So, with three of my local mates making it clear they would not give out their number to a stranger, Rächel , a very close friend of mine from Netherlands, felt otherwise. She said: “If a guy asked me for my number I have to be sure that we both click. If not, than I would not give it. I believe if a guy really wants to keep contact with you he will find away. I would never ask for his number unless I am sure that he likes me too”.
There is in fact different perspectives in subject matter, and it appears that culture has a lot to do with it. Is that to say that Westerners are loose and Asians are uptight? No, and shame on you for thinking that. That’s practically racist!
Asians are not necessarily ‘uptight’. We’re just more reserved and we’re always a little skeptical about the people we meet, especially strangers. Let us also remember that most of the Asian territories are never safe. I can’t say the same for Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, though. I wouldn’t really be able to tell how I’d react in that situation.
A male friend of mine from the States is one handsome chap. He told me that back home, if he saw a girl that he found to be attractive, he’d smile at her and approach her to have a chat to see if anything sparks. Being in Malaysia on the other hand, was disappointing. When he smiled at a passing woman, and all she did was nod her head down and just sped off as fast as her legs could carry her.
If I were in her shoes, I’d probably not know what to do. What if I smile back, and I have spinach stuck in my teeth, and then he has second thoughts. What will I do? And worst of all, what if he smiles, and I smile back casually, only to find that he was smiling at the girl behind me. Oh, all these cons!
In a nutshell, I’m not telling women who they should give their number to, or where should they be to give their number to. The only thing you can do is be smart about who you share your number with. If you’re skeptical about passing your number, give him your email instead. Get him to write you an email, introducing himself and what plans you’d like to make. After all, if he seems creepy, there’s always the ‘block’ button.
So, what do you think about a complete stranger approaching you for your number?