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According to "the rules," women sit by the phone waiting for men to call. Each woman then chooses a suitor to take her out on a date, or, eventually, to marry. The conventional wisdom is that "men court, then women choose."
Women who follow "the rules" and passively wait get the 20% of men that other women don't want often find that "the good ones are taken" by women who take an active role in courtship.
Instead, a woman should choose the man she wants to court her -"women choose, then men court." E.g., the French romantic comedy Amélie charmed audiences with a young woman pursuing a young man-by making him pursue her.
I was once asked to babysit a five-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy. The children didn't know me. We went out in their backyard. The girl threw dirty water from their wading pool on me. I told her to stop. She threw mud on me.
I got the message. I went to the far corner of the backyard and played alone in the sandbox. Within a minute the boy came over. We played with the trucks, loading and unloading sand and pebbles, making truck sounds, but not talking. After ten minutes the girl came over. She didn't want to play with trucks, but insisted that we play with her. We invented a game to play in the front yard, and played happily all afternoon.
Adult women act like the five-year-old girl. If an unfamiliar man approaches a woman, her reaction is, "I don't know you. Go away. Leave me alone." Even a man who has been with his girlfriend for years will sometimes have trouble making her open up in the way she does with her own grilfriends.
For example, a woman came to our running club. I asked her questions on the run out-"Where are you from" "Where do you work," etc. Her answers were monosyllabic. On the run back a woman asked her the same questions-and she happily chatted away, answering in long paragraphs.
Some women are friendly, easily talk to men, and right away make you feel that they genuinely like you. These women are all married to great, loving husbands, and for good reason. This suggests what the most important relationship skills are for women!
To get a shy woman to "open up" and become friendly, do something fun with other people. She'll watch at first, and then want to join in. E.g., on the run, if I'd happily chatted with a group of men and women (instead of trying to talk to her alone), she would've wanted to join our discussion.
If you play softball, don't interrupt a group of women talking, to ask one woman if she wants to practice catching pop-ups. Instead, hit pop-ups for another man to catch. Laugh and make it look fun. Sooner or later, you'll notice a woman quietly watching you, waiting for an invitation. Invite her to join in.
Flirt with Everyone
Flirting is making a person feel good. Make eye contact, smile, compliment, and then make the person feel special. You can also use mirroring strategy where you subtly imitate the person's movements and establish a common connection.
Don't limit your flirting to attractive, single persons of the opposite sex. Make everyone you meet feel good about themselves. Compliment old men, women pushing strollers in the park, the person behind you in the supermarket line, and your in-laws.
When you meet an attractive, single person of the opposite sex, you'll feel more confident. The rest of the time you'll make friends.
Don't wait until you're in love to start loving in your life. Don't wait until you're in love to practice being attentive, to practice giving.—Barbara De Angelis, Coming Alive With Love (1985)
Begin with waiters and waitresses. If you say the wrong thing, leave a big tip.
Go out with a same-sex friend (e.g., a man goes out with a male friend). This makes it easier to flirt with two persons of the opposite sex (e.g., two women). After an interaction, discuss with your friend what you did right and wrong.
At a restaurant, catch the eye of a toddler. Then hide behind your menu. The kid will grin and excitedly play peek-a-boo with you.
Human brains are wired to play peek-a-boo. We love attention. Peek-a-boo is how we attract another person's attention.
Spy thrillers are full of peek-a-boo games. We love it when a mild-mannered character removes his disguise and reveals himself as James Bond.
Play peek-a-boo to meet singles. Make eye contact from a distance, and then look away. Hide behind something or someone. Repeat the eye contact-then-hide cycle for several minutes.
Women play peek-a-boo more subtly than men. If you're a man, don't get discouraged if your object of desire seems to have only the slightest interest in you. If you're a woman, don't be too subtle. E.g., making eye contact via your compact's mirror won't register with most guys.
If you see two women or a group of women, or two men or a group of men, you can't approach and start talking to one individual. Instead, write a note on your business card. Tip your server $20 to give your card to your object of desire. Your note should tell him or her to meet you in another room, out of sight of his or her companions, in five minutes.
Nobody understands a damn word Deepak Chopra says, but it's who he's being that's just kind of mesmerizing.—Joel Roberts, KABC talk show host
7% of what an audience remembers about a talk show guest is his or her words. 93% of what they remember is what lawyers call demeanor. Psychologists call it affect. Actors call it attitude.
A Los Angeles group has made dating like talk shows. In "speed dating," participants meet for seven minutes. Then a bell rings, and they move to the next numbered table. In ninety minutes, each participant gets seven speed dates. About 50% of participants get a real date afterwards.
"Speed dating" may sound harsh, but it's what everyone does. Communicating "the real you" in seven minutes or less isn't possible via verbal communication alone. Communicate via your clothes, body language, eyes, and voice.
Giving compliments costs you nothing, and wins friends.
Compliment the person's smile. Then smile. This will make the person smile. You'll look more attractive when you smile. Smiling will make the other person feel happy.
Compliment the person's eyes. This reminds you to make eye contact. Look into the person's eyes long enough to mentally note his or her eye color.
Compliment the person's name. This help you remember the person's name. Associate the person's name with an interesting fact, e.g., ask how his or her name is spelled (e.g., Rebecca vs. Rebekah), the ethnic origin, or the meaning of the name. Ask if the person is related to a celebrity with the same last name. Read a history of your area to learn the names of local heroes and historical figures.
Compare the person to a celebrity. But make sure the celebrity is physically attractive, and the right age. Don't tell a woman that she reminds you of Ally McBeal, or tell a man under sixty that he reminds you of Sean Connery.
Avoid compliments about things you're competing on. Avoid compliments that put yourself down. E.g., you lose a tennis game. Don't say, "Your serve is strong! I could never serve as well as you." This puts the person in a difficult position. If he insists that your serve is good, he's impolitely rejecting your compliment. If he accepts your compliment, he's impolitely agreeing that you'll never serve well.
The best, most difficult compliment is to compliment what embarrasses the person. E.g., if a well-dressed woman is driving a beat-up old car, say that she looks like a woman that blues musicians write songs about. Then improvise a blues song about her beautiful looks and her clunker car. The person feels embarrassment when you point out a fault. Then he or she feels good when you say that the fault is attractive.
Lastly, listen for extraordinary things people have done, then reflect this back to them. This is a listening skill, not a talking skill. Everyone thinks that their lives are ordinary. E.g., a man who flies jet fighters thinks of himself as an ordinary fighter pilot.
People are open to new relationships when they're at transition points. Transition points include:
- Starting college.
- Moving to a new city.
- Starting a new job.
- Moving to a new apartment.
- Buying a new car.
Transition points make people less critical of each other. E.g., a woman has graduated from college, found a good job, rented a cool apartment, and bought her first new car! In six months she'll be bored with the job, hate the cockroaches, and her car will leak oil. But now everything is new and wonderful. She feels that she's "on a roll." If a man walks into her life, she'll think he's another great part of her new life.
In contrast, a 34-year-old divorcée with two children, a house she's lived in for six years, a car she's driven for eight years, and a job she's had for ten years will be harder to date. Dating disrupts her routine. The annoyance of the disruption overrules the possible enjoyment of a new romance.
To meet new people, create a transition point in your life.
Making a Date
Ask for a date directly. Don't ask vague or indirect questions. Playing games invites the person to lie or play games.
Don't accept a vague or indirect answer. E.g., you're looking forward to an event. You ask a person out. The person says "maybe," meaning "no." You hear "maybe," meaning yes. Two weeks later, you figure out that "maybe" meant "no." But now it's too late to ask anyone else out. If a person says "maybe," or doesn't return your call or e-mail, assume that the person means "no." Ask someone else out.
If the person says "no," thank him or her for the clear answer.
- Telephone Numbers
- Ask for a telephone number or e-mail address.
- A man should offer his card, but shouldn't expect a woman to call. A man should never give a work or voicemail number. This suggests that he's married and trying to trick her.
- A woman concerned about her privacy or safety should rent a voicemail box, or give out her e-mail address.
- Business Cards
- A man's business card should communicate status. He should ask his supervisor to give him a more impressive job title. Or add a title given by a professional association. Or hire a graphic designer to create a beautiful card.
- A man should write his home telephone number on his business card when giving it to a woman. He should add his home address so she can drive by and see what his house looks like.
- E-mail Addresses and Personal Websites
- Use an e-mail address that identifies your gender and age, e.g., "Ernie1959." Build a personal website with information about yourself, your photo, etc. Put the URL in your e-mail signature. Your e-mail recipients can then read more about you.
- Excuses to Ask Personal Info
- Take advantage of excuses to ask people about themselves. E.g., in a business class it's appropriate to "network" with classmates: "And where does your husband work? Oh, you're not married?"
- How to Call
- If a woman gives a man her telephone number, he should call her the next day.
- He shouldn't wait two days. If he hesitates, she'll feel hurt and rejected.
Dress for Sex
Dress to communicate your gender. Masculine clothes have heavier fabrics. Colors are darker. Masculine clothes emphasize broad shoulders (e.g., epaulets), flat stomach (e.g., men's shirts tuck into their pants), slim waist and hips, and muscled legs.
Boring, conservative clothes are masculine. Creative, attention-grabbing clothes are feminine. To attract women, wear normal clothes. Grey with a designer label is good.
A beard hides your face. Religious patriarchs and department store Santa Clauses are playing a role and want you to see the mask, not the individual behind the mask. In contrast, businessmen and politicians don't wear beards because hiding their faces makes them appear less trustworthy.
Women's clothes draw attention to their breasts, waist, and hips. Depending on whether adolescence or maturity is in fashion, women's clothes either emphasize a flat stomach and thin legs, or make strong, sweeping curves to suggest fertility. Feminine clothes have lighter fabrics and brighter colors.
Play peek-a-boo to get men's attention. Intentionally tear your jeans or sweaters, show a little cleavage, or wear a slit skirt. Sexy materials - leather, latex, spandex-play peek-a-boo by suggesting skin without showing skin.
Wear an accelerator and a brake. A pink t-shirt displaying "Playmate of the Year" in glittering letters is like a car with an accelerator but no brake. Men won't hear "no." Instead, wear a conservative skirt with sexy boots, or vice versa.
Women shouldn't wear "trend of the minute" clothes. You'll impress the people who read women's fashion magazines-other women. Instead, wear "timeless" styles. Natural colors, patterns, and fabrics are timeless. Things not found in nature aren't.
Dream Houses, Dream Relationships
Clothes are about flirting. Houses are about relationships. When you imagine your dream home, you also imagine your dream relationship. Creating your dream home may lead to your dream relationship. Conversely, living in a place that makes you unhappy will prevent you from forming happy relationships.
The most common home problem is commitment to the past, a.k.a. clutter. Clutter defines the old you. Donate your ex-self to Goodwill. Create space in your home for something new.
E.g., a woman's home was dominated by her ex-husband's piano. She couldn't start relationships. When she got rid of the piano she immediately found a relationship. If you're a man, communicate that you're relationship material:
- Display pictures of your family-especially of you playing with your nieces and nephews.
- Green, healthy plants communicate that you're capable of taking care of something.
- To make your living room communicate your personality, start by getting rid of the television. This will also give you time for a new relationship-Americans average four hours of television a day.
- A bed against a wall communicates that you intend to stay single. Create walking space on both sides of the bed.
- Women like clean bathrooms. Their sense of smell is better than men's. If you're incapable of keeping your house clean, just clean the bathroom. John Gray's next book will be Mars and Venus in the Bathroom.
- Pizza, chips, and beer communicate "bachelor." Fresh fruits show that you buy groceries more than once a month. Diet soft drinks, exotic coffees and teas, and low-fat ice cream show that you understand women.
In House as a Mirror of Self: Exploring the Deeper Meaning of Home, by Clare Cooper Marcus and James Yandell (1995), the chapter "Becoming Partners: Power Struggles in Making a Home Together" shows how homes cause or solve relationship problems.
- Nelson, Randy J. An Introduction to Behavioral Endocrinology, Second Edition (Sinauer Associates, 2000, ISBN 0878936165, p. 296.
- Lott, Deborah A. "The New Flirting Game" Psychology Today, January/February 1999, p. 117.
- De Angelis, Barbara. "Being the Perfect Lover In and Out of Bed," Coming Alive With Love (1985).
- "Korean Club Scene: How Guys and Gals Use Cupids for Hire," The Wall Street Journal, 01/09/2002
- Ford, Arielle. The Complete Book Publicity Workshop, The Ford Group, 1250 Prospect Street, Suite Ocean 5, La Jolla, CA 92037; http://www.fordsisters.com/bookpublicity.html
- To The Best of Our Knowledge, Wisconsin Public Radio, December 27, 2000.