By Priscilla Butera and Carol Natukunda
If I like a guy,” says Hope Mbabazi, a university student, “I will do my best to find out what he likes and do exactly that, just to impress him. I would seduce him.”
For Flora, the magic starts with sending text messages to compliment her key target. “If it is to flatter him on his smartness, I will do it.
Then I will make sure I hang out where he does. If he is a broke guy, that is a walkover. I will foot the bill for his drinks and snacks,” she says.
Sometimes, Flora has to dress seductively to lure the “stubborn” ones, who “pretend not to see.”
Flora admits that she deliberately gets uncomfortably close to her prey. “If say we are out, he is sitting on a bench, I will come and sit on his lap. If he pretends to ignore, I force a kiss on his cheek.”
Another lady, a lawyer, admits: “If I like a guy, I will tell him. There is nothing that stops me. It is not odd. If men can hit on us, why can’t we do the same? Why should you die quietly if you like the guy and he is too slow or not moving an inch?”
Apparently, no man has turned down this lawyer. “Many times, they want to take it to another level, yet for me, the crash burns out as soon as it begins. Once, I was so into a married man.
He kept on throwing it in my face that he is married, with a child. I told him: ‘Look dude, I am a lawyer and I will help you sign your divorce papers!’ He almost freaked out,” she laughs.
She says her satisfaction is in knowing she can woo a man. “I do not know how I do it, and I am not ashamed of it,” she says.
However, Pretty Glo, an upcoming artiste, thinks it is not okay for a lady to hit on a guy, but quickly adds: “I have learnt never to die with passion. You can indirectly seduce him.”
Is there a formula?
Jolly Ruth Baganizi, an independent consultant on gender issues, says there is no formula of who should make the first move when it comes to matters of the heart.
However, she condemns women who do it to prove that they are on the same footing with men.
“It is like you are saying men too should start giving birth, which is impossible. A woman has to be a woman. Gender equality is not about becoming men or swapping sexes.
It is about access to the same resources and not marginalising one sex over another,” she says.
Baganizi says there is too much ambiguity when a woman makes such a move. “I think some women are suffering abuse in relationships because they attached themselves to men.
They have gone too far with the women’s rights movement. It saddens me to see women chasing men, it makes you look desperate,” she says.
Beatrice Nandawula, the head of the Makerere Youth and Guidance Centre agrees: “Are they doing it because they are really in love, or are they doing it to be like men who we love to refer to as players?”
Nandawula says hearts should always be able to “click.” “You both like each other and you know it, even before one of you takes a step.
But to force a man to like you or to do it out of fun is something else altogether.”
Nandawula, who is in her 40s, says pursuing a man could result into rape.
“When I was younger, I was pursued and it was refreshing and flattering. And if ultimately I gave in, it was really up to me. If you are asking a man out who is not into you, he might give in, force you into sex and get rid of you,” she says.
But it seems times are changing. Timothy Munaba considers a woman who hits on a guy very confident and “she knows what she wants.”
Charles, 32, says a girl asking him out would show that she is ready to settle down.
“Women today are money-minded, but if I have nothing and she is after me, why not?” he says. Charles tells of his friends who are very shy. “Some guys are very shy and might not ask you out despite liking you.
If you take action, you might be able to start something that would not have been otherwise. I kind of feel bad for women who believe you cannot ask a guy out. This is because you seem almost helpless, you just have to sit and wait for him to ask!”
For some men, however, it is kudos for the confidence and guts. “It is a load taken from us and it is totally okay,” says Brian, 27. He adds that it is stereotype a to say that if a woman asks a man out, she is easy or loose. “It works for us like it works for you,” he says.
However, some men do not buy that idea. “It goes back to chivalry. “Don’t we still open doors for women? If so, then we ask for the dates,” says one.
Relationship experts say although men should do the asking when it comes to dates, the women too need to show signs that they are interested.
“It is just nature. Men are hunters, and that is a fact,” says Victor Locoro, a psychologist at Kyambogo University Guidance and Counselling Department.
“Men like to go after what they want and even the shyest guy in the world wants to be the one who asks his lady out. But normally, by this time, you have seen the obvious signs that the girl likes you too.”
Rev. Peter Matovu, the director of Munnange Counselling Centre at Nkumba University, says it is important to weigh different aspects before asking one for a date. “You should be analytical. Does he or she have the values you want? So you must have known this person for a while before making the move.”
Experts also say a man might say yes to show he is a man and can take things in his stride. “Maybe he said yes to you, wishing he could pluck up the courage to ask out your gorgeous best friend, but in the meantime, you will do for him,” says Nandawula.
Nandawula believes that while men say they like it when a woman asks them out, she believes they will be less inclined to value the woman, regardless of her qualities.
“They may be flattered, but embedded in the masculine DNA and psyche is still the hunter seeking the prize.”
It is just the way it has to be. He pursues you and even if you turn him down, he keeps on trying, texting and calling you. Now, think about any guy you have ever asked out: if he is not doing that, he is not interested.