A friend of mine recently tweeted about her disdain for women who pursue men they’re interested in. She argued that if women behave like kings, they sacrifice their positions as queens. Her statements sparked our 50,000th debate over the roles of men and women in relationships and whether or not it is appropriate for women to pursue men.

First, let me begin by saying that I would never endorse a woman chasing a man. In my opinion, to chase someone is to pursue someone or something that is deliberately moving away from you or attempting to avoid capture. For example, a cat chases a mouse that is running for its life because it does not want to be eaten. By the same token, I don’t endorse a man chasing a woman either. No, a woman should not just melt into the arms of any and every man who shows interest in her (for all of you who enjoy a good round of playing “hard to get”), but no man should chase a woman who has blatantly shown or expressed her disinterest. That’s called harassment, either way you look at it.

However, to pursue someone or something is to go after what you want with the understanding that while it might not be in your possession at the moment, it is attainable and it will not necessarily just fall into your lap if you choose to do nothing. With that said, I see nothing wrong with a woman pursuing a man in whom she is interested, in the same way that I see nothing wrong with a man doing the same thing for a woman. So ladies, if there is a brother you’ve been eyeing for a while and he hasn’t approached you, I am not against you making the first move: sparking a conversation, leaving him your number, and even asking him out to lunch–depending on your degree of boldness. That’s called initiative.

It is one thing for a woman to say that making the first move is not her style; it is another thing to critique or minimize a person’s womanhood according to individual, or even societal, standards.

Who says that a woman who expresses her interest in a man is not behaving as a queen should? In fact, we do it all the time in more indirect, socially accepted as feminine, and not always as efficient ways. It’s called flirting. The notion that a queen is a figurehead who just sits on her loins while people fall at her feet and do her bidding is in many ways both limiting and unrealistic.

To be a woman is to handle business, in all of its forms, to not be afraid to express your heart and mind while commanding dignity, awe, and respect at the same time. A queen is a ruler and a conqueror just as much as a king, and obtaining and maintaining her queendom takes effort. A true king is the man who recognizes this and who is willing to rule with her, as she rules with him. It’s not emasculation. It’s collaboration.

Some people may feel that it is not necessary for a woman to make the first move because a man who is truly interested in a woman will always do so. While in many cases, that may be true, and no one is discounting the importance of patience and faith, what about the man who simply hasn’t noticed you? What if no matter how amazing you are or how fly you look every day, you’re one of 300 other women in a lecture hall and he always sits on the opposite side of the room and uses a different exit? Do you leave your meeting up to fate because it’s the “queenly” thing to do? What if he has noticed you and the boss lady fly look that you think you give off actually comes across as snobbish to him and he decides that he does not want to approach you? Better yet, what if he has noticed you, and he is interested, but he is too shy to initiate contact? As shocking as it may seem, there is such a thing as a shy guy, and it does not mean that he is any less of a man.

While queens who wait for kings to appear on their doorsteps may indeed eventually get “chose,” pursuing your interests opens up the possibilities that women may actually get to do the choosing when it comes to getting the partners we truly want. However, if he has clearly expressed his disinterest, keep it moving, because remember—chasing is never acceptable.

If you happen to find the perfect man who materializes in front of you, always gets all of the cues and makes all of the moves, and you’re happy, that’s great. However, whether we’re in a relationship or not, we women have to understand that men are not mind readers, and like everything else in life, the best way to ensure that you get what you want is to pursue it.

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