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Women who make THE FIRST MOVE

Women who make THE FIRST MOVE

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Jodie Turner-Smith and husband, fellow actor Joshua Jackson

Society has dos and don’ts for just about everything, and relationships are no exception. It’s an unwritten rule that women should be pursued, chased and sought after by men not the other way around. We have been socialised to believe that ma- king the first move is a man’s job. But these days, the way people view gender roles are changing, more and more women are sliding into the DMs (direct messages), shooting their shots, and even getting down on one knee to propose, all in a bid to capture the hearts of the men they desire and break free of their perpetual singledom.

In June, Insider.com published a list of female celebrities who flipped the script and proposed to their partners. The list includes American model and actress Jodie Turner-Smith, who married fellow actor Joshua Jackson in 2019 after proposing to him on the beach, Belgian fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, who proposed to her American husband, businessman Barry Diller, in 2001, and popular television judge Judy Sheindlin, who asked husband Jerry for his hand in marriage.

‘I did propose to him. I said to him, ‘Where is this relationship going?’ Sheindlin shared in a 2013 interview. ‘And he tried to weasel out of it, with his, ‘Why do we have to get married?’ Whatever. He finally capitulated. I told him to pick a date.’

Business professional Annissa Johnson sees no problem with this out-of-the-box move, admitting that she too has gone after what she wanted, when she wanted it.

The 46-year-old was just 22 when she approached her now husband.

She accompanied a friend to a model casting call and while there, she noticed a man who ‘literally took my breath away’ walking in. ‘I told my friend that he was so handsome and that I was going over to speak with him. She was so afraid that he would embarrass or reject me, but I didn’t care,’ Johnson recalls.

‘I said, what’s the most he can do?

Say he doesn’t want to talk? I was single and I felt that I was sexy enough to hook a guy like him. I saw what I wanted and nothing was going to stop me. He was tall, dark and handsome and very sexy. I felt like if I didn’t step to him then, how else would he know I existed?’

Johnson’s straightforward strategy paid off. ‘I approached him and we talked for a bit. I told him we were heading to the mall after and invited him to come along. He did and it was a wonderful evening.’

Johnson tells us that they quickly became good

friends and after a year or so, they agreed to date. ‘We had so many fun memories as friends, I think the relationship just naturally grew into something more.’ Today, Johnson, a wife and mother of two, still has no regrets. ‘We’ve been together for 24 years and married for 18. Our love continues to grow stronger each day. Yes, the challenges come, but we work through them.’

Jon Birger, author of Make Your Move: The New Science of Dating and Why Women Are in Charge, says the ball is always in the woman’s court when she initiates and pursues.

And they have more success, he asserts, than those who wait for someone to find them. ‘It’s okay to ask someone out on a first date. It’s okay to propose, too. Not only is it okay, but it’s actually advantageous. A woman who’s willing to approach someone has the option to approach her first choice,” he explains. ‘But if she waits to be pursued, that person may never even find out that she likes them.” To women who are afraid or simply don’t believe that a woman should pursue a mate, Johnson has an important question to ask: ‘Would you wait to be given your dream job or do you put everything into getting it? Why not step out and be bold?

And just maybe the love of your life would be waiting for you to say hello.’

Johnson’s love story resonates with Shaeeda Sween as she was the one who initiated communication with her fiance, Bilal Hazziez, and got the ball rolling with their online relationship.

Bilal Hazziez

Sween, star of TLC’s popular reality series 90 Day Fiancé, told HER that she took the chance to DM the 42-year-old real estate investor/ agent after some encouragement from a friend.

‘She’s the type that normally makes the first move in her relationship. As a woman, I thought that was unorthodox. I was the type who normally doesn’t go in a brother’s DMs, but I realised I was doing the same thing for 35 years and getting the same results that I wasn’t happy with.

Men were normally the ones sending me messages, and guess what, none of those relationships blossomed into anything; they all fell apart. So, I mustered the courage to do the contrary.

I asked Bilal if he was seeing anyone and the rest is history,’ says Sween, who recalls that Hazziez was “send ing subliminal signs’ that he was interested by ‘hearting my pictures on Instagram, commenting on my story posts regularly and complimenting me’.

Born and raised in Tunapuna, the fashionista and fitness enthusiast who’s the first Trinbagonian to appear on the popular dating show, encourages women to be proactive and take more control of their love lives. ‘If you feel like you’re doing the same thing and getting the same results and having no progress when it comes to dating, then that means you have to change your strategy.’

Sween concludes that, ‘A woman knows when a man is feeling her, if you’re feeling him, too, use your discretion and shoot your shot. I’m not saying to act all thirsty, but as an adult, it’s either a yes or no. Be respectful and mature about it. A grown man will understand, only a boy will laugh. Don’t let pride and ego get in the way of possibly finding the right person. Try doing things differently, if you really want to get different results.’

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