Sunday, June 25, 2006

This One is For the Gents

So Father's Day and the fact that a number of my female friends have re-entered the dating pool has got me thinking. My lady friends have been talking about their dates, both good and bad, so I thought perhaps I'd pass on the wisdom we've gleaned from these encounters (similar to an entry I wrote for the ladies a while back), in the hopes that you might learn from our experiences.

1) Be able to make a plan.
(i.e. plan the date)

Nothing is sexier than a guy who can make, and subsequently execute, a plan for an evening out. Even women who like to plan things often like the reins taken out of their hands and are glad to just go along for the ride. In fact, I don't think I've ever met a girl who didn't find it incredibly sexy for a guy to plan the outing as opposed to one of those "I don't know, what do you want to do" conversations.

For math oriented men, let me explain it this way:
Planning = Effort. Effort = Good. Man + Effort = Happy Girl because girls like effort.

This doesn't mean you have to be super anal retentive or completely change your personality-- keep in mind we're talking about planning a few discrete evenings here, not plotting the Norman Conquest. In essence, I'm saying take five extra minutes before you call to have some activites in mind, a few restaurants to chose from, and the day and time you'd like to get together.

To be really successful might require a little recon on your part -- checking out some places so you know if they're good, if you'll be able to get a table or have to wait, or if you'll be able to hear each other can also contribute to your overall good time.

2) It really is the little things.

Sure, there are girls who are impressed by nothing but your car, bank account balance, job, etc. (and if those are the girls you like, then nothing I have to say is for you) but for the rest, it's all about the details. This one is a little bit harder to describe, but all I can say is that girls like little things that prove that you are considerate and making an effort (because as I've already mentioned, girls really like effort).

Case in point, I once went to a dance (yes, way back in high school) with a friend of mine who was old-school polite- he held the door, opened the car door, and best of all did this thing where he would put his hand on the small of your back to kind of steer you in the right direction when walking. It was
incredibly charming, but sadly I've never dated a boy with a similar technique, although most of the girls I know are equally charmed by this sort of behavior despite being self-described feminists.

For another friend of mine, her boyfriend would leave her encouraging notes in her study cubicle in the library. And for another friend, her bf would often get her a book or DVD that he knew she would like when he went to the half-price store. We're not talking spending a lot of money, or doing something earth shattering, but girls are constantly excited by small examples of random consideration and politeness.

I'm also not saying that any one technique mentioned above is the right thing for you. It should definitely be an individual expression, it's just that I've noticed its the couples that engage in little politenesses for each other that tend to stay together.

3) Don't f-up the holidays.

Granted, this one is for much further down the ol' relationship road, but there are 4 days of the year your girl owns you:

1) her b-day
2) Valentine's day
3) Christmas/Hanukah
4) New Year's Eve/Day

and maybe someday add...
5) Your Anniversary

Accept it. The other 361 days you can be a jerk, but on these 4 you need to have a plan (see 1). It's just 4 days for the love of god. If you can't remember her birthday get a datebook, a blackbury, or pay a homeless person to hunt you down and remind you. Do whatever it takes, but get with the program.

And, yes, for three of those four holidays you also have to get a present. Some guys have the knack for getting good gifts, some don't. If you don't, finding out what she'd like by just asking her is always a good idea, especially for her birthday and Christmas. You can also consult with a friend of hers if you are extra-enterprising. For Valentine's day you may be able to get away with flowers, especially if you have them sent to her at work.

Please note, flowers can be a bit tricky though. Some girls like flowers (pretty, thoughtful), some don't (stinky, death). Known which type of girl your girl is. If your girl is a flower girl, she probably also has a favorite flower, which can make your job even easier. Personally, I like blue hydrangeas best (which can be hard to find, so a guy who gets these earns bonus points), but if you purchase carnations, you are dead to me. If you don't know her favorite flower, a nice mixed bouqet is always a good choice. Favor simplicty over super ornate, and don't be overly cheap (e.g. no carnations).
Please gents, take note that this has only been written in the spirit of giving you a few pointers that will help you impress the ladies no matter your income level. I certainly don't mean to imply that all guys out there are jerks, but by the same token even some nice guys might want to know these 3 points.

Then again in the world population, there are 1.03 women for every man. Meaning for those of you who wish to remain a skeeze ball, there's a mail order bride of your shallow dreams out there somewhere.

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