I am typically not a proponent for rules… especially when they come from my father. Throughout the years, he has given me “advice” (his word… I always felt like they were more like “rules”) about how to deal with the opposing (ahem… I mean opposite) sex. I have made my fair share of mistakes while breaking these fatherly tips… and, much to my chagrin, I found that most of what my father taught me was absolutely correct. Here is a bit of his wisdom (condensed for your use) that I have gathered from age 4 until now.
1. Do not be readily available. An available woman is a desperate woman. Think of it this way… if he asks you if you are available later that evening and you say, “Yes!” you either a) had no plans (boooooring) or b) had plans and broke them to hang out with him (bad move, woman). Either way, you come off as lonely/uninteresting or desperate (by immediately making him a priority), respectively. Now, I’m not saying the three-day rule (asking you out three days in advance) needs to be instated. That is likely highly impractical in our time of instant gratification and the text message. However, he should have the respect to ask you for your time a minimum of 24 hours in advance. If he doesn’t, he either thought of you last minute (clearly you are not a priority to him) or he doesn’t respect your time and schedule enough to plan (just slightly) ahead. So, be busy. Book your week solid if you feel like it. If he asks you out, he’ll realize you’re worth the wait.
2. Do not pursue him. This notion may seem out-dated, but it’s not. It’s actually spot-on. One of my favorite quotes is from The Second Neurotic’s Notebook and was penned by Mignon McLaughlin: “Men enjoy being thought of as hunters, but are generally too lazy to hunt. Women, on the other hand, love to hunt, but would rather nobody knew it.” It’s true. A successful woman… one with a career, wonderful friends, a killer sense of humor, ridiculous intelligence, varied interests, and style to-die-for (much like you, kitten)… likely feels that she should also get to control the success and outcome of her romantic relationships. Not so. The interesting part about romance (and, trust me, my inner feminist is punching me) is that the man must, when it comes to the game of love, take the lead. The second you attempt to chase him, you become unattractive. The explanation of this has yet to be found; it’s just something that is a fact. So, take a deep breath, quiet your controlling nature, and be patient. Maybe he isn’t too lazy to hunt… you just hadn’t given him the chance.
3. Set boundaries. Men, though wonderfully fascinating and oftentimes stupor inducing creatures, have the ability to behave much like a toddler. Just as a child will continue sneaking an extra cookie after dinner if nothing is done about it, men sneak the extra cookie in life. Now, you should certainly not be controlling. That is not only unattractive… it’s just wrong. People are individuals and should not be controlled… however, guidelines or boundaries as to the kind of treatment that you will or will not accept is necessary. It shows that you respect yourself. And, my love, I hope that you do respect yourself. The behavior of the male might not be malicious, it likely isn’t, but it may bother you. Let’s say that he cancels on you at the last minute. In his mind, he’s thinking, “We’ll just reschedule. No big deal.” In your mind, you may be thinking, “Does he have any idea that I spent the whole day thinking about this? I got an extra workout in, got a manicure, bought a new dress and some new lipgloss, and shaved my legs for nothing!” And then you respond, aloud (or via text) “Sure. No problem. See you soon!” No. Absolutely not. You also shouldn’t respond with all of your internal frustration. Just put your little foot down. State that you understand that life can get in the way, but that you don’t appreciate being cancelled on and you hope that it doesn’t happen again. If it happens again, you have your answer. If you’re worth it to him, it won’t happen… and you also have your answer.
4. Spend ample time apart. Though it is easy and, surely, tempting to spend every waking (and sleeping) moment together when you are in the first throes of an interlude with a man do. not. do. it. Seriously. The fastest way to kill a flame is by smothering it. Give your flame a little room to breathe. By having your own life, separate and apart from him, you will never run out of things to talk about. You will never become stale or predictable. You will also remain just as fabulous as you were before you met him (read Why Falling In Love is a Stupid Thing to Do as a warning). You will become sick of one another if you fall into a routine/rut too quickly. Try to spend at least twice the amount of time apart as you do together (if not more). Do this for quite some time. It’s part of the thrill of the chase. It goes back to the idea of letting him hunt. You don’t like being prey? Don’t think of it that way. Think of it as being a catch.
5. Be mysterious. Have you ever been talking to a man about your day and watched his eyes glaze over? Odds are high that you were sharing far too many details (what you ate, the dilemma you were in over choosing the leopard top over the silk button-down, what your friends said, etc.). It is not that what you are saying is unimportant to him. My father always explained to me that men are “point people” (a nice way of saying that they’re always thinking, “Get to the point.”). He does want to know about you… the important things. Leave the trivial things out. Talk about the little things with your girlfriends or your mother (or both). They actually enjoy hearing about those things (or at least have learned the ability to feign interest). Give him the big picture. He’ll likely start wondering what else you did that day. He’ll ask questions. Summation: everything comes down to the hunt. Let him find out about you. Don’t just offer information. If he wants to know, he’ll ask.
6. Men hate being pressured. I don’t know what is in the biological (hay)wiring of some women, but I wish it wasn’t there. Some women bring up children, marriage, love, commitment, plans six months in the future, or all of the above within the first few months (weeks! or days!) of getting to know someone. Watch the aforementioned someone run for the hills. Or at least stop calling. Or returning calls. This pressure is entirely unnecessary. It’s horrible (like poison) for your hopes of a potential relationship (or at least a healthy one). More importantly, it’s horrible for you. So much of that pressure that women put on men comes from the pressure that they put on themselves. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. The second the ride becomes unenjoyable you can recognize it (pressure free) and disembark. Look at relationships as experiences, not contracts. When the experience feels good, stick with it.
The bottom line is simple, though it may seem antiquated or barbaric: men are hunters. Today’s men might not be the most adept, skilled, or even able hunters… but that’s likely because we don’t let them do the hunting. Take the reins in regards to your own life… but consider allowing him to take the reins in your relationship… at least sometimes.