Even in this modern era of non-committal, non-attachment arrangements, I still find my girlfriends yearning to find Mr. Right. They often say, “I wish I could find the 100 percent perfect guy,” but I wish they would take that statement to the logical next step: “In order to get the perfect guy, I must be the perfect girl myself.”

My friends at Holstee have a great line in their manifesto, “If you’re looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing the things you love.” I can’t stress this enough, in a farcical, teenage-magazine type of way — be the best you can be, so that when the right one comes along, he’ll stay. Be the best you can be, so that when the right one comes along, you can say, “I worked all my life to be the person I am today.” Meeting each other might have been luck, but staying together is more than that.

Before your happy ending, though, here’s why you might need to make the first move.

When a gentleman pursues a girl he has only seen once or twice, the only thing he can do is annoy her. He cannot convince her that he loves her, for the only thing he loves (and indeed, knows) about her is the impact she has made upon his senses. And I like to think that a modern lady prides herself on much more than that.

So, should a modern lady enjoy being pursued? I’m not so sure.

We no longer reside in an age in which male pursuit is obligatory. An anachronistic return to when “No,” meant “Try harder,” should send off warning signals to the modern woman. For not only do these men believe that women don’t really mean what they say, they also pursue them without any form of encouragement. In denying woman agency, they are chauvinistic at best and narcissistic at worst. I’m willing to bet that men who wish to perceive women as passive in the pursuit will likely want them to be passive in all aspects of life.

Making the first move is a way to signal that you want a more balanced relationship.

How should a modern woman make the first move? I think there is a difference between proactive attraction and sexual aggression. Rather than exploring a face-off between Audrey Hepburn and Anna Nicole Smith, I would like to suggest that the latter is actually emasculating. Men (even historical greats like Napoleon and Caesar) notoriously lack control over their libidos, which, incidentally, are at the mercy of their illustrious women. To abuse our sexual advantage over men is to throw off the relational balance. Men may like to feel sexually dominated at times, but it should not set the tone for a healthy relationship.

An ideal relationship should be mutual and reciprocal. Neither man should pursue woman, nor woman pursue man. Unlike sexual aggression, proactive attraction does not deny agency to men; it’s an invitation, and perhaps even a challenge. It is captured in the subtle smile that allows men to summon up that last breath of courage to initiate a chat, in the well-positioned remark that allows them to wonder about the way your mind works, or in the coffee meeting that allows them to ponder the possibilities for continued conversations over dinner.

Imagine a relationship as a balancing scale and each step as another token added to your side of the scale. If you begin by chucking a heavy weight on your side, the scale will tip, perhaps even collapse. But if small tokens collect and are reciprocated on the other side, heavier ones will no longer break the balance. Only after relationships move forward can grand gestures consolidate the balance that has already been solidified by reciprocity.

But here I am, getting ahead of myself.

Girls, the modern gentleman is not sitting at the bar, making passes at every good-looking woman. You want him to have better things to do with his time. He is more likely to be doing what he loves, like reading ancient philosophy, traveling the world, working on an entrepreneurial start-up — or even a woman, but certainly not women, in the plural.

Because of this, you might need to make the first move.

Second, biologically speaking, men are much slower to mature than women.

Because of this, you might need to make the first move.

Lastly, great men, just like great women, will have many admirers. If we lived in a polygamous society, all of us ladies might have a chance at the great men, but in a civilized, monogamous society, only one of us must best the rest. Girls, if you expect to find and keep the perfect gentleman, you must also be the perfect lady. In other words, you still have to catch him, even if he pursues you. If you’re not so lucky, he may be overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) by the advances of other women.

Because of this, you just might need to make the first move.

To all the modern ladies in the world: don’t worry (but don’t forget, either) about tradition or propriety. If you’ve already made yourself the best you can be, your confidence comes from a very real and genuine place. If you’ve picked the best, he’ll admire you for it. A modern lady should not be ashamed to feel very empowered, especially if it means that she finds and keeps the man of her dreams.