Sunday, March 23, 2014

Six Things Men Do Wrong Scientifically Speaking recently garnered a lot of views with their article The 6 Things Men do to Get Laid That Science Says Turns Women Off. It was a humorous article, but it was both right and wrong in some ways.

The first issue is the man wants and hopes to have sex. The average woman on the prowl for a man isn’t opposed to sex, but she wants a relationship. Someone who really cares about her feelings, which means the man’s initial one-track thinking might be a problem. Let’s look at the way men can foul out in the mating game.
  Talking. Part of the reason for this is that men try to emulate tough guy movie character lines. Trust me, the same shoot ‘em up movies that guys love doesn’t appeal to women. Neither do those classic guaranteed pickup lines. The woman has heard them or read them before. The secret is every woman wants to feel special. Saying the same thing that you’ve previously used on someone else eliminates this feeling. It shows a lack of effort too.
    Remember the television skits with men drooling and mumbling something incoherent when a beautiful woman walks by. It isn’t too different in real life. If a man can disassociate himself from scoring, then he can sound intelligent or at least not creepy.
2.       Acting interested is a turn off. I disagree strongly. Many relationships that could have been never happened because the woman was unaware the man was interested. Dating site science tried to prove this by having women judge men’s profile pictures. The majority* liked the one where the man was looking away.

     C’mon science, give me a break. They are dating profile photos, which mean ALL the men are interested. They didn’t join to earn some dating badge. The looking away photo may be the better photo because the man isn’t trying too hard and might appear more relaxed. Let’s face it, when you try to smile too much for the camera it just looks goofy. This really isn’t science. It is dating website surveys. The female majority, who weren’t busy dating spent time agonizing over photos, were the same one who answered the surveys. These are going to be picky women, no matter what you look like or if you’re staring at the camera or off into the distance.
3.       Dancing. Yep, you read that right. Dancing sends women running for the hills. Let me clarify this, dancing as if you’re having a seizure turns off women. Most men can’t fast dance and look desirable at the same time. Unlike women, they didn’t practice dance moves with their friends, took dance classes, or dance in front of mirror.  Almost any man can learn to slow dance. One comedian joked that slow dancing was hugging with music. Dancing with a woman can be the thing that wins her over. Remember romantic movies have at least one dancing sequence in them.

4.       Complimenting her looks is supposedly dangerous territory. It depends on how you do it. Even if a woman is wearing a low cut shirt and you admire her rack, you’ve thrown yourself out of the game. Number one reason is because you discounted her as a person by focusing on one aspect of her body. This compliment is worthy of a drunken frat boy and you’ll be treated as such. Remember the rule of three. Three compliments per date. Too many doesn’t sound real.

    A good compliment may not always sound like a compliment at first. If she’s talking about her job or a recent accomplishment, you can remark about how you admire someone with her ability or how hard she must have worked. At the end of your time together, thanking her for a great time is a compliment.

5.       Being nice. The Cracked author’s definition of being nice is more like being false and pretending to like everything the girl does. Women don’t always want someone who likes everything they do. That’s why they have girlfriends. Even the girlfriends disagree sometimes. By being what you think is nice, you’re being bland. Bland is the kiss of death. This makes you unmemorable.

6.       Having the wrong name puts women off. It does, but not always for the reasons people think. Some names are gender ambiguous. It is hard to consider a man named Stacy, Peyton or Taylor when that happens to be her BFF’s name too.

Other names are lacking in sexual charisma for this generation. Oscar, Arnold, Stanley, and Bertram may have been tough names a couple centuries ago, but they aren’t now.

Then there is the curse of having the same name as an ex, her brother, or her father. It’s hard to not to lump you in with the other man who has your name too.

This might be the reason many men choose to make up nicknames.

In the end, besides rusty pickup lines and bad dancing, most sober woman can recognize a booty call. If that’s all you got, then she’s not buying.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Who's Your Potential Date?

There are a lot of people entering the dating arena. The big question is where are these suddenly single people coming from? People in their forties and fifties are divorcing in record numbers.  A recent story on NPR highlighted the newest dating group, the fifty and up. The group most likely to divorce isn’t your younger couple, but people in their forties and fifties.  Many marriages that last twenty years or more are dissolving.

Part of the reason is people are expecting to live into their eighties. With that in mind, many aren’t inclined to spend the next thirty years in a mediocre marriage. Most willingly admit that the children were the only thing that held them together.  A few decades ago, only one in ten couples who divorced were in their forties or older.  Now, it is one in four.

Part of the reason is that women are no longer tied to men financially. A woman who makes a good salary is more likely to leave than a housewife. Women seek the majority of divorces too.  The children and settling down may have seemed like the woman’s initial dream, but many feel shortchanged by the time they hit forty and are considering new dreams. Unfortunately, the husband may not encourage the dreams because he’s happy with the status quo.

You have your first wave of possible dates. The droves of people seeking to restart their lives and those shocked into singleness by a spouse who left. It is best to date people at least six months after their divorce to prevent emotional fallout. It could be that you symbolize the missing spouse or the longed for dream. Either way it isn’t good.

Many who are back in the dating pool shy away from widows or widowers. The prospect of dating someone who was devoted to a deceased spouse is daunting.  Often the left spouse uses dating as part of the grieving process, talking constantly about the deceased partner. This makes you little more than an unpaid therapist. It is almost like there are three people on the date. The other side of the coin is the angry widower who is eager to tell you that his marriage was teetering on the brink of divorce before his wife’s cancer diagnosis. Neither scenario is good, but worse is the man eager to replace his deceased mate. This comes from liking the benefits marriage provided. Don’t mistake this sudden rush to the altar for true love.

Then there is the single man or woman who never married. They’re the lone pair of shoes after a super markdown. Their excuse might be they were too busy building up their career to take out time for a relationship. Consider that almost all Fortune 500 members are married or divorced. The biggest giants of industry managed to fit in some time for romance. It could be that suddenly they’re desirous of a relationship unaware of what is involved. Think of the media version of a relationship, which consists of doing glamorous, sexy things all the time and looking good while doing them.

It could be they failed to commit, but enjoyed the idea of companionship.  This will show up after a couple of dates if you make it to the dating stage.  One comedian joked that he started, flirted, argued, made up, and ended relationships via text without ever meeting the woman in person.

While it is a funny punch line, it is too often true.  The idea of having someone special or having someone at the other end of the text is enough for a surprising many. It is rather like the line of having a girlfriend in Canada. You can claim a significant other all you want if there is no chance of anyone meeting them. The prospect of meeting someone in person is frightening.  Some hint they’re ready for a relationship, but never take that next step, the in the flesh. This is their issue, not yours.

In the end, you have hurting, often bitter people who were surprised by a divorce they didn’t initiate. You have hopeful people who did initiate the divorce in hopes of having that glamorous life style they see exemplified via advertising. You have your grief stricken widow or widower who will be rusty in the dating game. Then there is the confirmed bachelor who insists he or she is ready to settle down now. Any of them could be a great date, it just depends on where they are on life’s journey.  Some are ready to date while others will never be ready to fully commit so keep this is mind.

Be realistic about your dates and do not give them qualities they do not have just to settle into a mediocre relationship. Another reason people are divorcing in records numbers in their middle years is that they refuse to settle for what isn’t working. They found themselves in such a relationship by marrying due to hormones, availability, and convenience. To meet someone who really clicks with you, you have to take chances and play the numbers game.

Meeting your perfect match at weddings, groceries, airports or the veterinarian is highly improbable.  Dating is often like a research project. Many are willing to settle on their first reasonable date, thinking they found “the one.” Don’t make that mistake.  People choose to withhold information while dating, which could be good or bad, but that’s another column.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Cute Meet is an Urban Myth

Do you like sweet, often sappy romantic movies filled with cute meets? What’s a cute meet, you may ask?  It’s an unlikely meeting under ordinary circumstances.  You’re running for a plane when you bump into him, scattering luggage. After he helps you gather the contents of your bag, you apologize and rush for the plane. Surprise! The two of you are on the same flight. He convinces your seatmate to switch seats.  The flight passes quickly as you discover how much you have in common, and then it segues into a movie-worthy romance and a beach wedding.

There are other settings where the cute meet happens, from the grocery store to standing in line at the local Starbucks where you get each other’s coffee by mistakes. This cute meet ends up being retold endlessly to jealous friends. It’s the start of a great romance.  

It’s nice in theory. Women are warned to constantly be dressed in their best clothes and full makeup because they might meet the perfect man while pumping gas or in the line at the post office.  I am guilty of doing this without any results. At first, I wondered what I was doing wrong. One online dating advisor told women to have coffee date cards with only their first name and a cell phone number for a disposable phone, just in case the number might need to be ditched if the guy turned out to be weird.

At the time, I wondered if I would want to go out with someone who required a ‘fake’ phone number. Withholding my last name because I was afraid of being stalked in the future seemed like a lot of work. So far, it didn’t sound like that great of a plan. Still, I persevered, smiling shyly at possible available men in the post office or at the bank as I waited in line. A few of them did carry on conversations with me, but none resulted in dates.

What was I doing wrong? It was winter and they were wearing gloves. I rationalized that they could have been wearing a hidden wedding ring since I was desperate to believe in the cute meet. The cute meet is an urban myth perpetuated by popular media via movies, songs, television shows and even commercials. It is one we like so we get more of it. Even people who talk about meeting a great guy at the grocery store may fudge a bit about how they met or how great the guy is.

It reminds me of the Sandra Bullock movie All About Steve, where she is set up on a blind date by her parents with a local weatherman. Her character obsesses on Steve, the Weather Guy, even to the point of following him around to initiate chance meetings. She has no real life, which allows her all this free time to plan these chance encounters. Steve isn’t as wonderful a guy as she thinks he is and her behavior is plain weird.

Are you going to hang out in public places in hopes of contriving a casual collision? I hope not, it never ends up like the movies.  This sells because people want to believe in the cute meet. Unfortunately, the cute meet desire may keep you from seeking out realistic ways of meeting people.

What are realistic ways?  Realistic ways are being part of clubs that meet on a regular basis, allowing your friends to fix you up, and engaging in online dating. It is certainly better than hanging out in the wine department of your local grocery hoping someone with possibilities might appear.