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The Warm-Up: Preparing to Date Like a Man
Why Men Are the Master Daters
You've tried The Rules, you've tried listening to your married friends, and you've even tried listening to your mother. But you're still eating Chinese takeout with your good Friends Monica, Rachel, Ross and Chandler. So how is dating like a man going to change your social life?
Let's start by going back to our cave-dwelling ancestors. According to David Buss, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, men's reproductive drives cause them to value a woman's youth and physical appearance, and to seek out a variety of sex partners.
Women, in contrast, place a higher premium on a mate's ambition, industriousness and social status to help ensure the survival of the species. Like it or not, these basic biological needs still influence the way men and women date today.
In addition, boys learn from day one how to bond with other children through sports. Sports teach boys how to be competitive and work as a team. Above all, sports encourage them to get out of the house and have fun.
Although many girls growing up today are involved in team sports and have parents who teach them that education, career and self-exploration are also priorities, they are still getting the societal message that love relationships are paramount in their lives.
This fact was confirmed in a recent study conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Karen D. Rudolph, assistant professor of psychology, found that the majority of stress for girls between the ages of eight and eighteen was caused byrelationship problems, including fights with their siblings and friends. (Boys were more likely to be stressed about doing poorly in school, getting sick, moving to a new town or getting into trouble.)Now, I'm not saying that relationships aren't important; men want them, too. But guys also know that having a full life means reaching out beyond your small circle of friends, family and community.
One of the advantages of getting out into the world is discovering what you like and what you don't like. You might also find that nine times out of ten, you're not who you think you are.
Remember the disco queen from the seventies, Donna Summer? She grew up in a large family headed by a preacher father who wanted Donna to stay close to home and sing gospel for his church. But Donna knew in her heart that although she was deeply religious and loved her family, she needed to perform on a larger stage.
She tried the stay-at-home role with her first husband, and felt trapped and miserable. So Donna finally decided to pursue her dream of becoming a pop singer. Sure, there were bad times and bad relationships along the way, but she is now happily remarried with several children and wonderful memories of a career in the spotlight.
Like young birds that need to test their wings, women have got to get out into the world before they start a nest of their own. Remember: Men don't settle down until they find themselves. Women don't settle down until they find a man. Find yourself first, then settle.
I told you in the previous section why it's important to find yourself before you find a man. To do this, you must get out in the world and experience as much as possible. At the same time, however, there are exercises that you must do by yourself and for yourself. I call this doing the inner work.
Doing the inner work is an essential part of dating like a man. Men tend to know exactly they want from a career and from a woman. When I asked a young man named Brian how he saw himself in ten years, he described his house, car, wife and breed of dog in full detail. He had already started saving up to buy that snazzy white Corvette.
Women need to train themselves to focus more clearly on their future goals. Every athlete must train before he or she competes. Doing the inner work is training your mind instead of your body. As your personal dating coach, I will show you why doing the inner work will help you identify what your goals are (your needs) and how you can have those needs met.
First, take out a legal pad, a pencil and a timer or stopwatch. Draw a line down the middle of the paper. On one side write "Wants" and on the other side write "Needs."
Set your timer for ten minutes (I don't want you to agonize over this exercise). Start with the "Wants" list. Write down the characteristics that you want in a mate. If you're done quickly, number them in order of importance, with #1 being the most important.
Be as specific as possible. If you want a man to be tall, do you mean over six feet, or taller than you? Do not censor yourself. Let your heart take control of your mind. Don't worry if your list seems foolish or trivial. If it matters to you, write it down. Remember, if you don't write it down, you won't get what you want. Also, this is your wish list, not your mother's or your girlfriend's or your Aunt Julie's.
Here's a sample list that my client Laura made.
7.Have a cause in life
9.Kind to animals
10.Kind to kids (will accept my child)
11.Kind to less fortunate people
13.Likes nature walks, shows and aquariums
15.Respectful (doesn't curse)
16.Likes to travel