First Impressions Image Academy founder and director Deborah Leong says more and more women are finding it easier to approach men
Women will fight tooth and nail for equal rights, however, asking a guy out on a date is unheard of for most. Audrey Vijaindren wonders whther it's time women stepped up to the plate in the dating scene UNLESS you're Julia Roberts or Jennifer Aniston, you're bound to get rejected by a man at some point in your life.
Well, even Aniston was.
However, many women never have to deal with the anxiety of approaching a man, or the disappointment of being turned down, simply because they expect men to make the first move. But that is slowly changing.
First Impressions Image Academy founder and director Deborah Leong believes that more and more women are realising that it's acceptable to approach a man.
"In the past, women have avoided making the first move for fear that they may be looked as being cheap or easy. But that perception is slowly changing. Women are equal to men in all aspects, so why not in this?"
Leong says there is a vast difference in mindset between Malaysian women from rural areas and those from big cities.
"Most women in the Klang Valley are open-minded and accept that it is normal to make the first move. We are in a different era, gender roles are slowly changing."
She says the media and entertainment industry may be giving women a distorted view of the cat and mouse dating game.
"Shows like Sex and the City may give a false impression. Many times, the art of getting to know a man is made to look like it is a pursuit of physical intimacy.
"But this is not always the case, so people need to look at the intention behind the approach."
Having said that, Leong advises women to hold on to their values and not sell themselves cheap.
She believes women who are afraid to make the first move may be losing out.
"When you ask a man out for a date, the chances are 50-50. But if you don't even try, you've already lost before starting. It all boils down to confidence.
"Your mindset and mentality is important when striking up a conversation, whether with a taxi driver or potential mate."
The concept of approaching a man may be alien to most women but there are certain signals which can get the message across.
"Remember that you are in control of your signals, be it body language, eye contact or tone of voice.
"A woman who is hesitant to use words, can use actions to convey her intentions, like folding her arms, leaning forward or exposing certain 'parts of arousal'."
Serena Ng (not her real name), 33, is a successful engineer with above-average looks, but she still finds it demeaning for a woman to walk up to a stranger.
"I'm all for feminism and 'woman power' but I still can't bring myself to approach a guy. I suppose it's a combination of lack of self-confidence and pride."
To solve her dilemma, Ng uses body language instead.
"I must admit that when a guy catches my gaze, I drop subtle hints, like alluring eye contact, flipping my hair or pretending to walk past him to go to the bathroom. Usually, that gets the guy to come over to me.
"If that doesn't work, I leave my number on a napkin with the waiter or subtly drop it on his table."
Ng says sometimes it's not about striking up a conversation with the guy as much as having the power to get any guy she wants.
Are all men capable of reading signals?
"There are those who are clueless. Sad to say, their radar is insensitive.
"If you are sending signals and he still does not get it, he may be not interested.
"Either way, you should stop wasting your time and move on," says Leong.
After you've summoned enough courage to make the first move, she says, it's important to not appear desperate.
"If you've felt some chemistry, picked up on the triggers that could create interest and been able to introduce yourself, then let the conversation flow easily. Don't scare the guy away by elaborating on how many kids you want.
"Also, if he promises to call, don't desperately wait for the phone to ring. Remind yourself that if he doesn't call, it's his loss."
Navin Kumar, 26, believes it's high time Malaysian women made the first move.
"I don't think the scenario has changed much, men are still expected to make the first move when it comes to approaching the opposite sex.
"But I would really like to see that change. Most of my friends in their 20s and 30s also feel the same.
"Of course, we may brag about the fact that a girl found us interesting, but there's no malice intended.
"Personally, I would not think a proactive woman is cheap. In today's world, people are open-minded enough to accept the fact that a girl can walk up to a guy she finds interesting."
Navin, who is an engineer, says he was asked out for a drink by a female colleague once. They are now close friends.
"I can understand that some women are still hesitant, probably because they are still tied down by traditional views.
"But unlike women, men are not so guarded or hesitant when approached."