Artist Lilly McElroy has put together an interesting collection of photos. In “I Throw Myself At Men,” she’s throwing herself (literally) at a strange guy. Each photo captures her midair in midair, arms extended towards the man. The men’s reactions range from enthusiastic to surprised to petrified to confused. Check out the images (This is kind of my favorite cause it looks like the two of them are going to chest bump.)
Hasn’t she read The Rules? What would Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider say about this experiment?
On her site, she describes the project thusly:
For this project I went to a lot of bars and I literally threw myself at men who I didn’t know. I used my body as a projectile, hurling myself toward strong, vulnerable men who were waiting to catch me. Poised in a perpetual state of social awkwardness and in full possession of the ability to subvert stereotypical gender roles, the photographs pose questions concerning relationships, social connection, sex, gender, and the desire to form relationships quickly that are both intense and long lasting. The project initially started after I placed ads on Craigslist.org looking for men who would meet me blind date style in bars and allow me to throw myself at them. This project comes from a place where the desire to make a positive connection with another person is coupled with the knowledge that a connection might not be possible, that the person might not catch me.
If there are women out there who have trouble making the first move (when all the first move entails is banal chitchat) then these photographs should embolden you to go up and talk to a guy. Of course, if subtle conversation doesn’t work, try hurling yourself at him. Don’t bother with the intermediary step of touching him on his shoulder or arm. If you throw yourself at him, you’ll probably end up touching digits and joints anyway.
All joking aside, these pictures provoked a very real anxiety in me. When I like a guy a lot, I sometimes feel like I’m throwing myself at him even if I do nothing more than suggest a cup of coffee so deeply engrained are the societal messages (still!) about not doing anything at all and allowing him to do all the chasing. I get nervous that my intense “like” is all too apparent (and maybe it is) and I feel exposed. But like McElroy, I sometimes can’t help myself. I will throw myself time again with the hope that maybe this time my intensity and passion will be reciprocated. Even in the midst of anxiety, I trust in the words of a wise woman–”If he likes you, nothing you do will be wrong; if he doesn’t, everything you do will be wrong.” So I guess I will keep on figuratively hurling until I find someone to catch me.