If a woman is wearing headphones, she probably doesn’t want to talk to you. She’s either listening to music or a podcast and is happily minding her own business.
The piece, which appears on The Modern Man, begins by telling men they shouldn’t be put off from approaching women just because they’re wearing headphones. How very modern.
“If a woman wearing headphones is single and hoping to meet a boyfriend (or even a new lover), she will usually be happy to take off her headphones to give you an opportunity to create a spark with her,” it says.
It goes on to give men a list of top tips on talking to a headphone-clad woman, including standing in front of her, having an “easy-going smile” and “wave[ing] your hand in her direct line of vision”.
Unsurprisingly, the piece has been less than popular on social media, with many people pointing out that if a woman is wearing headphones it probably means she doesn’t want to chat.
After instructing men how to annoy catch the attention of a woman wearing headphones, the article gives readers this example of how to strike up a conversation:
“Hey – I know it’s not normal for people to talk to someone with headphones in, but I was walking along and saw you and thought – wow, she’s hot, I have to come over and say hi. I’m Dan, what’s your name?”
But on Twitter the advice went down like a lead balloon, with some people calling it “sexist”.
Caitlin Roper, a campaigner for women’s rights group Collective Shout, says the article gives men advice that may intimidate women who are alone.
“In the PUA (pick up artist) community women are regarded as sexual conquests and men taught to use trickery and even manipulation in order to ‘get’ women. It’s problematic to begin with,” she tells The Huffington Post UK.
“The entire premise of the article is misguided- it may as well be renamed as ‘how to talk to a woman who obviously has no interest in speaking to you’.
“Many women have experienced some form of street harassment or abusive treatment, others are acutely aware of the possibility of such treatment from men when they leave their homes.
“Women often take various precautions to avoid unwanted attention from men in the public space, and one of these is wearing headphones simply to prevent men from approaching them.”
Roper adds that the “last thing we need” is to “equip men with more ways to push women’s boundaries, rather we need to equip them with the knowledge that women do not owe strange men their time and attention, they do not exist to boost men’s egos”.
“Advances from strange men are not as charming as one might think,” she says.
“If you spot a woman wearing headphones, leave her alone.”
Hopefully the backlash will deter any lonely hearts from approaching women in headphones in the street.
But if you find yourself a victim of this goddamn awful advice, you may want to read this piece on “How To Talk To A Man Who Tries To Talk To You While You’re Wearing Headphones”.