Occasionally, I hear women wonder why some (most?) guys don't seem to pick up on the hints and signals they emit. Speaking as a guy, here are some possible reasons why this is the case. I don't necessarily do these, but I can at least relate to them in some situations.

  • If a guy acts on the subtle signals that women try to emit, then sooner or later he'll probably get himself into an awkward situation where he basically makes an ass out of himself, and/or winds up upsetting some women (more on that in a second), and/or gets in trouble somehow because he misinterprets them.
  • If a guy is around long enough, sooner or later he runs into some woman who actually gets offended if he asks her out. I don't understand the female psychological process behind this, but there it is. If a guy is just unlucky and this happens several times in a row, he might finally decide to wait until he has some obvious indication that a woman likes him before he does anything.
  • Some guys, for whatever reason, suffer from just friends syndrome. That is, the unlucky guy has many female friends, but that's all he is to them. That's actually not so bad, but this syndrome seems to be contagious, with subsequent women following suit. These are the guys who get the calls at 11PM or 2AM on some Friday night from a crying female friend who wants him to come over and comfort her after she gets dumped, or when her dog dies, or whatever. Been there, done this one. I think some guys must emit some kind of friend pheromones or something.
  • Sometimes women do bizarre things. For example, they figure out that a guy is attracted to them, and even though they are attracted as well, they do something bizarre like avoiding the guy. After taking enough of this kind of crap, the guy in question tends to change his game plan. This one I have experience with.
  • Many times women are way too subtle. They don't have to be obvious, but being a little too subtle tends to cause problems. Why? Because the guy can't tell whether the woman is just being friendly, or if she's attracted to him. He also can't tell if she has a boyfriend, is married, or is otherwise committed. This is about ten times worse if the setting is in a situation where the woman is being paid to be friendly, such as if she's a waitress, checker at a store, or any other kind of service position.
  • Sexual harassment hysteria has bred an entire generation of young men who have no idea what is permissible and what isn't. These guys know what is acceptable and what is not in a sane society, but American society isn't sane. Is it good or bad to open a door for a woman? (I've gotten bitched out for that.) I've gotten bitched out for telling someone happy birthday! (And no, it was simply a "Hey, happy birthday!" Not a "Happy birthday. Your room or mine?" or anything dumb like that.)
  • Guys have been accused of stalking (which is another example of media-driven hysteria) for doing simple things like sending a girl flowers, or showing up at the business she works at (e.g. a restauraunt or a coffee shop). Guys who are more sensitive (women want sensitive guys, right? :) to this kind of thing tend to avoid situations where their actions can be misinterpreted like this, and play it safe. (Thus they never get anywhere, and also don't appear to pick up on female signals.)
  • If a woman (who doesn't have some glaring physical, personality, or mental disorder) asks a guy out, the guy can say either yes or no. If he says no, life putters on as usual. If a guy (who doesn't have some glaring physical, personality, or mental disorder) asks a girl out, the previous may happen, or her boyfriend (who he didn't know existed) comes over and beats him up, or she sues him, or she gets her girlfriends together to lambaste him. The latter is something which would most likely happen in an environment such as high school, but still, it's traumatizing enough to seriously screw up some guys. In any case, it doesn't make much sense, but there it is.

Now eventually, guys grow up just as woman do. They get a life, get a clue, and stop giving a damn what other people may or may not think. A lot of it has to do with environment.

So ladies, if you're trying to attract some guy who just doesn't get it, consider increasing the obviousness of your actions little by little until he gets it, or just break down and ask him out.