I’ve been a non-married woman for nearly a year now. Considering I never did the dating thing in my younger years, I have been presented with quite the learning curve. However, lucky for me, I am very observant and generally a decent people reader. I also have just as many, if not more, male friends than the average girl. What does all this mean? It means that I have been able to draw many conclusions about guys, sex and dating. And I am equally shocked that many of my female counterparts are unaware of said findings. By no means am I touting myself as perfect or having figured out all mysteries of dating or men (hellllo, I’m still single here), but many have remarked how easily I am able to find connections with the opposite sex, while others struggle to even get a friendly hello.
Here is my list thus far of lessons in the world of singledom and dating:
*K.I.S.S.-Keep It Simple Stupid. Ladies, we are worried about *all* the wrong things. I hope you aren’t painting those nails or putting on that perfume in hopes of attracting a young lad. They don’t care or even notice. Not your hair, not your jewelry, not even if you have shaved (I mean unless it is super unsightly…). Repeat after me: tits & ass, tits & ass, tits & ass. It sounds primeval, and I hate admitting it-particularly since I am, actually a true blue feminist, but it’s the ugly truth. Sure, the sparkling conversation and your beautiful personality is going to really have them head over heels eventually, but before they even can get a glimpse at that, this is what draws them in. *A noteworthy positive: tits & ass doesn’t equal waistline. Yes, each man may have a preference for curvier versus thinner, but overall they do not, in fact, notice the 5, 10 (or more!) pounds we worry about. So chill. Let your hair go unwashed. Take the extra money from your manicure and put it toward a latte. Maybe even leave the Spanx at home. Men are simple creatures, so keep it simple.
*Topics to Avoid. Unless organically and unavoidably woven into the conversation, do not bring up the following: marriage, children, your ex, your cats (dogs are more acceptable), weight loss, how long it’s been since you have had sex, any negative comments regarding yourself, your crush form 7th grade, medical conditions, sports unless you genuinely know something about the subject, anything super heavy (read: death, divorce, depression, addictions or other traumatizing events), your first sexual experience or anything else overtly and aggressively sexual.
*Kosher Topics. I have found these subjects not only to be safe, but also substantial in the get-to-know you phase: college, family, books/TV/movies, traveling, hobbies, tattoos, your work, political ideologies, religion, aspirations, pop culture, cars, music/concerts. This may sound a little too basic to some for me to even write about, but believe me- I have observed far too much of the above avoidable and far too little of the Kosher.
*Dumb is Never Cute. Will acting dumb get some men laugh and buy you a drink? Sure. Are there some instances where a little naivete can go a long way? Duh. But as a general rule of thumb, any guy who finds the dumb act cute, is not a guy you want to talk to, let alone date. Chances are they either equally as dumb (and it’s not an act), or they are purposefully preying on the weak and unintelligent.
*Dating versus Hook Ups. Know the difference. It will save you a lot of stress and heartache when there isn’t a follow up text/call. Hook up on the 1st date or encounter and don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from them again. If you do, great! If you don’t, it’s expected and, above all, nothing personal. If this bothers you, avoid the hook up scene. Easy peasy.
*Texing is The New Call. I have a friend in her late thirties who is continually appalled at the lack of phone calls compared to texts from men these days. She simply will not go out with a guy who doesn’t call. While I admit, any man who calls instead of texting gets major points for bravery and initiative, at the same time, I’m over it. The world has changed and this is one thing not worth fighting.
*Confidence is Key. What drink should I order? Does my hair look too frizzy? Do these pants make me look fat? Stop. In the words of Sweet Brown: Ain’t nobody got time for that. Guys don’t want to know and don’t care. Again, they are simple creatures and they gravitate toward the path of least resistance. A woman who at least acts like they know what they want comes off as very attractive. No man wants to spend the majority of their relationship, or even brief encounter, waiting for you to choose a drink or convince you that you actually look good –and beware of any who do as it’s likely their very specific strategy to prey on the poorly self esteemed. Give it a chance–I guarantee that the night you go out with unwashed hair and an outfit you threw on will garner more attention than the night where you spent three hours sprucing yourself up. Not because you look better one way or the other, but more so because in the first scenario, you will give off the vibe that you genuinely just don’t care. Guys can feel that vibe and will eat that shit up with a spoon.
*Don’t Waste Your Time. This is one I struggle with myself. I have a hard time saying no, especially to men. I often say to myself ‘I’ll give anyone a chance!’ and then find myself on dates where it’s really just a grand waste of time-for both parties. That said, if there are startling red flags or striking differences in core beliefs, values, or interests, right off the bat, really, don’t bother. Also, I find that people (especially women), often only look at the basic compatibility components like political parties, religion, desire to settle down, or educational backgrounds. What about TV? Reading? Being outdoors? Being social? We make excuses for these other things. (“Oh every guy is obsessed with sports”; “I only read because I am a nerd”; “I could learn to like camping”). Unless you genuinely don’t know if you like camping and want to give it a whirl, don’t bother. Personally, I know I will always prefer Camp Marriott to the woods. Something like this isn’t a deal breaker, but if the guy I’m talking to discloses that they go camping every. single. weekend in the summer months, chances are, we’re going to have issues from the get-go.
*Don’t Sell Yourself Short. You have no idea what that guy over there finds attractive, so it could be you! Don’t bother looking at a guy as if they are in your league or not. Just go for it. On the other hand, don’t be too down on yourself if you are rebuffed. Even if you think a guy is totally beneath you, there could be something about you that just says no to them. Maybe you remind them too much of their ex? Maybe they aren’t looking for anyone tonight? You have no idea one way or the other. As one of my grad school professors once said “never say no for the other person.”
*Bros Before Hoes. Not to pull out the old school reference, but don’t make any night all about finding a man. Keep your nights light and fluffy and about fun times with friends-don’t get too wrapped up in being on the prowl. Not only will this keep disappointment at bay, and guarantee a fun night regardless of the dating outcome, but also adds to that carefree vibe you want to give off.
*It’s in the Eyes. Eye contact can be more powerful than we give it credit for. Patti Stanger of Millionaire Matchmaker fame says 5 is the golden number (in terms of seconds, that is). 5 seconds of eye contact and a small smile. If you see a guy you really like, do this twice, and then it’s up to them to them to approach you. If there is no approach, we move right along.
Trix Are For Kids Emotions are for Women. Not. This one is a personal observance that, quite frankly, has been driving me crazy. Apparently men have just as much of an emotional side as chicks. This is not to say that I think men shouldn’t show emotions, because I honestly, I do not believe in feeding into gender stereotypes. And perhaps this is because I am not your average girl, but I find it startling (and admittedly a tad annoying) the overt amount of emotions that men can throw around. I was not nearly prepared for the amount of emotions some of the men I have dated have exuded. Perhaps it is the kind of guys I choose. Perhaps it is my geographic location. Perhaps I have a magic va-jayjay, as some of my friends jokingly suggest. All I know is that if I have one more 1st, or 2nd date where a guy talks about long term plans, like vacations, or use the words exclusive, ‘when you meet…’, move in, or my personal favorite, ‘when your divorce is final...’-I’m going to lose it. Toughen up guys. And for the record, I give the same advice to my girl friends.
*Don’t Try to Be One of the Guys. Don’t try to be overly girly either. Truth is-don’t try to be anything. Just be yourself. I’m serious. Offer no apologies for who you are. Once again, the confidence you exude will attract them in droves.
At the end of the day it all goes back to the basic lesson from the popular book-turned-movie He’s Just Not That Into You. Have the wherewithal and confidence to know you are worth it. Worth being pursued, dated, treated well and gotten to know. Don’t chase, don’t put on an act and don’t act desperate. If a man wants to see you, talk to you, get to know you, he will. And it won’t be because you just lost 5lbs on your new juice fast or because you just had your highlights done. The more you love yourself, love life, love the moment you are in, the more irresistible you become. After all, who wouldn’t want to be around someone so sparkling as you?!