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SINGLE LIFE

Women as Suitors: Reverse Role Is an Idea After One's Own Heart, Respondents Say

June 16, 1989|SUSAN CHRISTIAN | Susan Christian is a regular contributor to Orange County Life.

Last week, Single Life offered an assortment of opinions on Dutch-treat dating. The second part of this equal-rights issue is: Should women feel at liberty to ask men out?

This time around, the answers were much more uniform--"yes," "sure," "certainly," and "why not?"

Tammy Carter Guiso most assuredly approves of females taking the initiative in requesting a date. And she didn't stop there; Guiso even proposed marriage to her object of pursuit.

Her assertiveness worked. On June 3, she and Brad Guiso were married.

"I encourage women to act on those impulses. Who knows what the result will be?" Guiso wrote in a letter to Single Life.

"I always used to ask guys out; I think it's fine," Guiso said in an interview. "Guys have told me they feel flattered when women ask them out."

In her husband's case, Guiso, 23, telephoned Brad one night and invited him over to help her study. That was the beginning.

Then about a year later, she popped the question. "We'd sort of talked about getting married, but nothing had been said formally. I just decided it was time," recalled the Irvine resident, who is the assistant director of marketing for the American Cancer Society.

Her fiance-to-be reacted with shock--"and he doesn't get shocked easily," she said.

"I thought, 'Am I hearing what I think I'm hearing?' " he said. "But I thought it was great. I graciously accepted."

Untimid Tammy rolled right ahead in her disregard for tradition. "We went over to my parents' house and Tammy asked my folks if she could marry me," said Brad, 28, an accountant with a real estate company.

"I liked it when women asked me out," he added. "It was a relief knowing I get to decide this time whether I want to go out rather than being on the other side where you're wondering: 'Is this person going to say yes or no?' Women should do it more often, so that they understand the position from the flip side."

"I think it's nice when women do the asking," said Kirk Morgan, 29, a sales manager in Laguna Beach. "People are too busy to wait for the old-fashioned boy-ask-girl thing; they have to take the opportunity when they can.

"I know I'm too busy--I go on business trips for two weeks at a time, and when I get back I feel like I've lost touch with everyone. So I like it when a woman calls me."

If the woman strikes up the date, Morgan tentatively figured, she should fund it: "I'm such a traditionalist when it comes to paying. But I suppose that with the luxury of asking goes the burden of debt"--and, also, the burden of a possible "thanks, but no thanks."

"I'd decline if it wasn't the right person," Morgan said. "Women turn down men all the time. It's a two-way street."

"I have zero problem with women asking me out," said the unequivocal Joseph Poirier, 60, a real estate broker in Garden Grove. "It happens to me once or twice a month. If I'm not interested, I usually deflect the rejection by saying that I'm in an established relationship."

Michelle Molinari, 20, wrote that she has asked out two men in her short life. One date proved disastrous, the other a huge success.

"My girlfriends thought it was utterly shameless for me to ask a guy to my senior prom," Molinari said in her letter. "I may have ended up footing the bill while my friends got a freebie, but you get back what you put in.

"Although the failure rate seems as high as 50%, I wouldn't hesitate to ask a man out again."

The other 50% of that statistic, Molinari said in an interview, occurred when she was 16.

"I called a boy in my French class and asked him to a concert," remembered the Anaheim resident, who works as a nanny. "It was very hard, mustering the courage. I had written down a whole script of what I was going to say. I told him I didn't have a car, but that if he was willing to drive I'd pay for the tickets."

Mr. French Class, Molinari said, turned out to be a "real pistol." "He treated me like a guy because I'm the one who asked him out. He said things like, 'You don't expect me to open the car door for you, do you?' "

That lousy experience did not deter Molinari from trying again two years later.

Molinari's prom date was the last boy her Mormon parents and friends would have picked for her. "He had a Mohawk (haircut); Mormon girls don't date guys who look like that," she said, laughing. "My parents probably thought it was another one of Michelle's pranks. I mean, your prom picture is something you show to your grandchildren."

But Molinari detected a heart of gold below that unorthodox hairdo. And by evening's end, so did her friends. "They couldn't believe the attention he paid to me; he'd put his arm around me and pull out my chair for me. All my friends had these jock dates who were totally into themselves."

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