In my efforts to help people understand the opposite sex, I’ll share an interesting conversation I had with my friend Dave.
Dave told me that women have always had an unfair advantage over men in matters of love and relationships. He said that from an early age, women’s magazines like Vogue and Cosmopolitan, with articles on “How to Land a Man” or “5 Tips to Make you a Great Kisser,” gave ladies early insight on how to manipulate a man. He made the point that no such magazine existed for him back then, and young men spent their free time watching basketball instead.
I could not believe my ears, and found the theory hilarious and so full of irony.
So I revealed to him the “secrets” these articles gave me to “manipulate” men, like: Wear black clothing in your problem areas to minimize bulges; brush with baking soda to whiten your teeth; stand straight with good posture to instantly look 10 lbs thinner; and stay away from horizontal stripes! I laughed as I explained what these tips actually were: Advice to get a boy’s attention. We read these articles hoping that applying lip liner before lipstick would entice you to stop playing basketball and come talk to us!
The conversation inspired me to create a list of dos and don’ts for both genders…a list for mature adults that might actually have an impact.
For her: Do...
- Break up with a dud or a narcissist. Or anyone you aren’t that into but continue dating anyway. Life is too short, and your self esteem is too important to stay with it because you’re afraid to be alone.
- Forget about your ex. It needed to end. Just ask your friends and family.
- Tell someone exactly what you want. Its ok to want a serious relationship…or to want to take things slow. It’s ok if having children is a priority or if a recent loss makes you scared to get hurt. If you speak up, others will open up.
- Date someone older. Think maturity, wisdom and charm.
- Date someone younger. He’ll find your confidence and independence sexy. Don’t talk yourself out of this opportunity.
- Support other women. Encourage, promote and have fun with each other. You might find that men are best saved for sex and slow dancing.
- Be a little selfish. Really, you can skip that “thing” you committed to next weekend with your sister if a really exciting invite pops up.
- Take your time and build a relationship. Instead of just landing one. Is a label your end game? Or marriage? If so, you’re missing the best part. Have fun tonight and the rest will grow organically.
- Download a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft. It means freedom and not worrying about parking.
For Her: Don't...
- Criticize his children or his ex. There are two sides to every break-up story. I’ve found that the complaints of the ex almost always end up being at least somewhat true.
- Make assumptions. Like that you don’t have a chance because you think his ex is prettier, smarter or skinnier. And don’t obsess about his ex.
- Care as much as you do about the next contact, text or call. Women tend to overthink. Men don’t even realize what time it is.
- Beat yourself up if you had one glass of wine too many and said or did something stupid.
- Stick around if you are feeling uncomfortable. That’s what Uber, exit doors and bathroom windows are for. Just leave. No apologies needed.
- Freak out if your dating prospect also dated your sister’s best friend’s neighbor 10 years ago. Different people, different time. You are allowed to date him too.
For Him: Do...
- Buy the nicest car you can afford. It doesn’t need to be a luxury vehicle, just make sure it’s clean: No smelly hockey or gym bags, please.
- Maintain your haircut and teeth. Ask your stylist to buzz the hair in your ears too.
- Ask a woman something you want to know about her. Or ask her opinion on something. Anything. Just ask.
- Use her name in sentences. “Maureen, have you ever been here?” “Maureen, I had such an interesting day." It sounds so simple, but trust me, it works!
- Make sure the bartender knows her order. Or help get their attention if she needs something.Tip well and treat the server well. We are watching.
- Tell her how nice she looks; or how pretty her hands are, or her eyes, or blouse. We’ve put time and energy into our appearance and knowing you like what you see is greatly appreciated.
For Him: Don't...
- Use bathroom mirror selfies on dating apps or sites. The selfies at the gym are a lot to get over, too. You must have a friend or female relative willing to help you with photos!
- Ignore her in a group of strangers without introducing her. This only makes you look bad.
- Wait until the last minute to make plans. Making and planning a date seven days in advance sets you apart from the pack.
- Wait a week to contact her and expect her to still be interested.
The communication gap and misunderstanding between men and women continue to complicate our relationships. We all want to dance, but how do you find a partner, and who takes the lead? What are you most curious to understand about the opposite sex? Send me your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.