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A list of things that supposedly make men more attractive to women, but don’t necessarily

June 12, 2015

Last week, I had a pop at bustin’ some rumours, as I see them, about What Women Don’t Want. Now I’ll do the conventional thing that I should have started with and talk about What Women Want. But not the film. Hearing people’s thoughts as they occur I feel would be surprisingly unenlightening. There was distinct lack of people who for no reason at all thought: “I want a sandwich.” Anyway.

1) Confidence. Are you one of those people who say you can never be too confident? Well in that case, sorry, but you’re probably a bit overconfident. Confidence is sold to men like it’s the ultimate sexual enhancement drug, but watch out for PR-learnt chatter; confidence is what you make of it, not someone else. Confidence is a way of feeling about yourself and your chances based on the way you actually are, not a set of behaviours exhibited by completely different people which you MUST COPY AT ALL COSTS.

Other people (especially guru-bozos online) shouldn’t be telling you you’re not confident enough, because they can’t know that, only you do. Sometimes, a person like that actually makes you feel less confident. You think “Am I not confident enough?” and start worrying and doubting yourself. Which, if you think about it, is ridiculous. What those people are really saying is that you’re not strutting, or dropping chat-up lines, or pouncing, or stalking and refusing to take no for an answer. These things are a sign of overconfidence or desperation, and oft the two go together because overconfidence guarantees you nothing and can lead to desperation. What do you make of men who say weird things with the obvious aim of trying to get into someone’s pants? Whatever you think, that’s what women generally think, and it goes down about as well as if someone did it to you.

2) Talking dirty. I think vulgarity is normal for everyone, but I also think it’s a compulsion. Anyone can get into it, the more you do it the easier it gets and the more natural it feels, certain groups of people live and die by it, everyone has a little bit in them and some take it too far. When all the women or half the total people in the room are starting to look uncomfortable, that might be a good time to stop responding to vulgar comments, or turn down your own vulgarity dial a bit. Generally though, everyone can take a bit and expect it at parties. For more warnings from Bearded Auntie Adrian on vulgarity, clicky here.

3) Persistence. This is a tricky one. People who won’t take no for an answer are portrayed in films as these pillars of alpha-male-hood. In reality, this usually makes you a creep. Most people aren’t as charismatic as a Mills and Boon character played by an stunningly attractive actor with a carefully refined script, designed and guided by a director using several takes to get it right, a bunch of professional sound recorders, lighting bods, flattering camera angles and digital enhancement. At some point you’ll accidentally spit, or sniff or hitch up your trousers. If someone isn’t that keen on you, this isn’t going to make them swoon, but if they do like you it won’t put them off, either. You might as well blow off the whole charade and try and be normal. Normal people understand the word “no”. The problem with the “if you want something, take it” balls is that some of those “things” that you want have their own ideas and might just walk off. In which case, don’t follow. For gawd’s sake, do not follow.

4) Making an extensive effort. Get dressed up and splash on the aftershave if you enjoy it, but making a laboured attempt to be something you’re not doesn’t go unnoticed, usually because you lose all sense of subtlety while you’re at it. I’ve seen it happen, where someone leans over someone else, leering, trying to be flirtatious without the first clue what that actually entails. Speak as a person would to another person, and you may find your person is liked for it. Speak as another person who isn’t like you, and I guarantee they will be a worse person, because they’ll be a caricature of what a man is “supposed” to be.

5) Making the first move. Because men think they have to make the first move, they’re more likely to pounce. There now, doesn’t that term conjure up images of a gentle, respectful show of attention? Not everyone reads body language so well. If you think you see a spark it might be a roaring great fire or just an electrical fault. If it is a little spark, you can suffocate it my being forcefully sexual. If there isn’t one, then even if there’s any chance there might be soon, you’re standing on the source, stopping it from firing up.

Personally, I would wait a bit and ask for a date rather than go straight for the jugular (so to speak). Not everyone does things my way, I know. Well, if what you want is sex, you could try asking for that. You might well get a no, but at least it is honest and you’re giving someone a chance to say no, rather than pretending you want something else and then effectively tricking them and trapping them into giving a yes they didn’t really want to give. Also, by this method you might track down the person in the room who wants to as much as you do, in which case you save yourself a lot of time otherwise wasted on jumping through hoops, second guessing people or intimidating them.

6) Charm / smarm. Chat up lines don’t only come out of a horrible book from Poundland. so you can’t avoid dropping one of those bombs by simply not reading them. They come from the depths of awkward people trying to flirt and be charming because they think they should. They also come from vulgarity culture and can be painfully misjudged. There are a lot of ways of establishing your interest – being willing to stand around and talk or listen to someone is a good way. Why anyone should think this is misleading or a waste of time, I don’t know. Maybe it’s friend zone paranoia.

Listening to others, sometimes it sounds like people don’t think hard enough about what they’re saying, but I think we all think too hard. We forget that being able to chat is your best friend when establishing interest. In regular people (as opposed to clinical psychopaths), charm doesn’t come out of a tap that you turn on or off. Charm is organic and it comes from being relaxed, having an accurate sense of self, a vague sense of other people and a smattering of self-esteem. Relaxing is good start, the other stuff will follow later.

Another thing to remember about charm is that it isn’t a look, it’s not a façade. It’s an attitude, a real one. If you don’t respect people, you can’t be truly charming. You can sprinkle all the right words over someone and it might, might get you a night with someone if they’re a little naïve. But people know when they’ve been lied to or played, and if you’re caught out doing it you instantly lose all charm. And a person without any charm is a creep.

This is the biggest mistake people who go for constructed charm make; they overestimate their ability to tell when they have crossed that fine line between charming and creepy. The more you wrack up the fake charm, the more you’re method acting in that role, and the less of a sense of self you have while you’re pursuing someone you want. So, you lose any ability to see when you’ve taken it too far. You’re better off not trying to be charming; a meagre amount of naturally occurring charm, born out of respect and genuine interest, is easy to keep hold of and track of, so is a much safer bet than coming over all Bond, James Bond.

7) Trying to guess what she wants. This is faulty thinking from the off. Not everyone has an agenda, so trying to guess what someone wants assumes they already know, or have thought about it when they might not have. They might not have the first clue what they want. Sometimes, a person doesn’t want anything from you. They might, later, and are more likely to if you haven’t been pursuing them to an alarming degree. Wondering what she wants is the surest way to psych yourself out and make silly decisions, like risqué statements that you don’t know each other well enough for yet. It doesn’t take too long to establish if she’s the type to take that with good humour, or if you’ve made a good enough impression to pull that off without looking like you’ve been biding your time, waiting to strike. That freaks people out. You’re not a snake.

8) Only thinking about what you want. The above point doesn’t mean you should meditate at length about getting the sex, getting the number, getting the date. You’ll probably stop listening to her mid-conversation, or start talking in smarm uncontrollably. And once again, you’ll start making silly decisions as you try and rush things. There are some very flirty women out there who put everything they want down on the table for you to pick up or leave as you please. Everyone else isn’t sure about you, and has no reason to be however nice a person you are. Take your time, because you can be sure they’re taking theirs, which is very sensible of them. Pushing will just confirm that suspicion they may have had that you’re going to turn out to be another one of those arseholes. Patience you must have. Yesh.

9) Use of alcohol. Nothing says “I’m going to try and pressure you into sleeping with me later,” like insisting on buying someone a drink. If you get turned down once, don’t ask again and pretend like you just want to be nice, in the hope it will pay off later. That’s slimy.

I think we all know the deal; building a rapport takes time and alcohol speeds everyone up a bit. That’s great and everything, but that doesn’t mean you can jump stages. If you’ve used alcohol to relax yourself and someone else, it’s even more important that you go for the phone number and not the bedsheets. If you don’t get a response to that text, you’ll know she had the beer goggles on. Chances are that if she was only tipsy and you got on well, you’ll get a response because she’ll want to have another night out like that one. You’re a lot less likely to get a response if you drunkenly steered another blind drunk person into your bedroom. Firstly because that’s not really consent. And secondly because however much she may enter into the thing with great gusto, it’s still not going to be a great example of the extent of your collective sexual prowess.

10) “Treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen.” This is just stupid. Never trust advice which comes in rhyme form, because the advice will have been altered to fit the rhyme, making it inaccurate. The problem with “mean” is it’s open to too many interpretations. What’s actually meant is “don’t stalk the woman.” Acting “too keen” is misleading as well; it seems perfectly reasonable to be keen on someone to whom you have already indicated your interest. I should think she expects you to be keen. It would be odd for you not to be at all keen. Surely, without explaining, everyone knows the difference between a text reading “Hi how are you this morning? Fun night last night” and three texts with fifteen minute gaps between them reading “hello?” and “hey you ignoring me?” You don’t need me to tell you that paranoid and needy are not fun to have to deal with. For anybody.

The best thing you can do is assume other reasons for someone’s silence. If the next text a few days later falls down the drain, give up. It didn’t work out. You might get a text a week later reading “hey sorryyy ive been super busy” but don’t wait for it. If it’s first contact after the phone number has been received, do text and don’t call. You have to give people space to ignore you, if they want; they might be busy, they might be taken, and indeed they might not be interested. You can’t make people interested by badgering them and demanding their time and attention. Be cool…

I often find myself wondering what the motivation is for writing inaccurate self-help for dating lists. I suppose they must be popular, and more popular if they’re short and include stuff like “wear something manly”. Less understandable is the stuff we can’t buy, or change, like height or penis size. It’s like we enjoy thinking that certain of us have no chance at all, and for others of us the sexual world is their smörgåsbord.

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