I got hit on by a woman and all it did was make me hate men. Well, not hate men, but it did shed light on some, uh, major areas of improvement in their flirting habits. Let me explain.

At age 29, I’m basically a geriatric TikTok user. Yet, somehow, I was the recipient of a flirty DM from a woman on TikTok. “How can I get on your to-do list?” she wrote. “Panic” and “trauma response” are the only terms that can properly describe what happened to me in that moment. As a straight, cis, feminine-presenting woman, I’ve been experiencing flirty advances from men since the dawn of time. Therefore, I’ve also experienced their wildly aggressive reactions to rejection. From Big Baby Energy to straight-up rage, saying “no thx” isn’t exactly my favorite pastime. (Is it anyone’s?) So, there I was with this flirty DM burning a hole in my pocket.

I’m also in a relationship, so either way, I knew I was going to have to reject this person. But having grown accustomed to being met with hostility and aggression from the rejected party, I was terrified about where this conversation would lead, so I responded with “?”. In seconds, she wrote back, “did I stutter?” I respected her boldness, but it didn’t exactly help my stress-induced spiral. I knew there was no more dancing around it.

“That’s very sweet, but I’m both straight and in a relationship,” I wrote. My hands were clamming up as I saw she was typing. “Oh! My b. All the best to you,” she responded. And that was…it. My jaw was on the floor. Rejection met with friendliness? What a concept. And, even better, the interaction ended there. I was shocked.

So then I did what any young millennial (yeah, that’s a brag) would do in this situation: I took to social media and posted a TikTok about the experience. Imagine my (continued!) surprise when the comments section erupted with messages from women who related and men who—you guessed it—couldn’t contain their rage.

Life changing experience. #ClutchPlayChallenge #fyp #relationships

From this, two epiphanies. First: In the year of our lord 2022, men still have some, um, personal work to do. And second: No one (and I mean, not even men with Jack Harlow-levels of confidence) understands how to hit on women better than women. Damn.

You might have seen the recent Psychology Today piece that dug into this more. According to Greg Matos, PsyD, ABPP, a board-certified couples and family psychologist, the number of, well, lonely, single men is on the rise due to their “relationship skills gap.” (Ouch.) It all comes down to poor communication skills and lack of emotional connection. (Ouch again.) Women’s standards are apparently getting higher too, which isn’t doing them any favors. (Not sorry, not even a little bit.) Matos cites that the majority of dating app users (over 62 percent) are men, and “with so many options, it’s not surprising that women are increasingly selective.”

Naturally, this study seriously resonated with, er, lots of people and quickly went viral, sparking reactions that validated this info through lived experiences. The way I see it, men are faced with a choice: Step up or step aside. Mature communication skills aren’t just nice-to-have anymore. They’re non-negotiable.

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