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@Lee–sure, I agree with you if you’re talking about invading another guy’s space and, so to speak, stealing his woman or his prospect. Grounds for a fight in ancient as well as modern times. But “approaching” in some context isn’t new–the whole medieval concept of courtly love, for example, ranges from a sly glance to an illicit approach–these often in the context of seeking legitimate love/romance/adventure outside of the realm of the more functional or economic marriages–certainly true at the high levels of society in many, many regions–but likely among common people as well. There have long been ways of meeting women outside of the sanctioned boundaries–that’s what we’re doing here. Even in ancient Egypt you have reams of documents talking about illicit affairs, etc (the tomb-builders’ city, Deir el Medina, was rife with these stories–often sordid as hell–there’s a great one where a scribe writes a letter complaining to the vizier because the foreman was screwing around with his wife–this in 1300 BC 🙂 So people DID chat people up throughout antiquity.. BUT it was often (as today) couched as an impropriety–against your group, against the Church, against the will of your kin, whatever. But it certainly happened. It’s just not accurate to say that men never approached women until they broke the confines of the Victorian era. Were they nervous? Sure–to varying degrees. Rejection can be emasculating, of course–I think THAT’s a much more legitimate reason why a lot of guys are loath to put themselves out there.

And I’m sure in all societies, as today, most of the males didn’t do it for various reasons–but I don’t buy that it’s from the socio-evolutionary threat of being attacked by males of another tribe. I see that all the time in the “PUA community” and it doens’t make any sense.

If your social group encouraged meeting women at your (and their) pleasure, you would be much more inclined to do so. I do think that rejection would still hurt, of course.