Sunday, December 31, 2006

Your First Date

The Game Begins in Earnest The dance of love begins in earnest as you contemplate a date with your new PLP , but now the game is more dangerous. Starting with your first date, he or she looks at you through the eyes of an Olympic judge. Everything you say and do can give you points or ruin your chances at the gold medal, your Quarry's heart. Love is even more hazardous than the Olympics because, if you fumble on the first date, you don't get a chance to compete again next time. Olympic skaters study for years to achieve their dream, but when they are performing, their moves appear instinctive and seemingly effortless. That's how you should appear as you build your relationship—casual and relaxed. Let me give you the scientifically proved right dating moves to win in the game of love. Study them, but when you are with your Quarry, let them become second nature so you can perform with star-quality smoothness.
''How Soon Should I Make My Move?'' Whenever one of my actress friends tells me she got the part, I can always tell from the degree of delight in her voice how she got it. In the theater there is a custom called typecasting. It means getting cast in a movie or play just because you look the part. The traditional procedure for getting a role is going to an audition. If the producers like you, they invite you to a callback for a second audition. For big shows, there can be a third or fourth callback before getting hired. Actors and actresses like to feel directors cast them because of their theatrical talent, not just because they looked the part. When it comes to love, people feel the same way. . . especially women. Question: How soon after meeting your Quarry should you pop the question, "Will you go out with me?" Answer: Not until your Quarry feels he or she has earned your interest. Gentlemen, let the attractive woman tell you of her extraordinary business acumen before you suggest lunch to talk about collaboration (i.e., ask her for a date). Ladies, let him tell you how much dead wood he's slashed while hacking and slashing his way through the corporate jungle before you invite him to lunch to meet your uncle who might hire him (i.e., finagle a date). Let your Quarry feel he or she earned your interest or attentions through her brilliance, his fascinating personality, her talents, his wonderful uniqueness. Then she'll value your company all the more. Because she got it the old-fashioned way. . . she earned it. Let your new acquaintance pass the audition before you offer him the role of the romantic lead for the evening. Gentlemen, there is another reason you should not ask her out immediately. Before she invests an evening of her valuable time in you, she wants to know she's going to enjoy it. A woman needs more input. She needs to find out more about you. She's basing her "go/no go" decision not only on your looks but also on your personality, your intelligence, your wit, youreverything. Talk more. Reveal yourself. Give her more information so she can make an educated judgment about you before she must say yes or no. TECHNIQUE #15 (MORE IMPORTANT FOR HUNTERS): LET YOUR QUARRY PASS THE AUDITION FIRST Hunters, don't ask a woman out too soon, lest she think you're only interested in her looks. A woman values your interest all the more if she feels you appreciate her other qualities. Huntresses, you can move a bit faster. Men are less accustomed to being treated as sex objects. In fact, some might enjoy it! "Playing Hard to Get—Should I, or Shouldn't I?" How many times have you sat by the phone offering your firstborn to the monastery if only he would call? Onetime offer, God. Act now. Please. Then the phone rings. "Hello?" It's him! It's him! God is good. "Would you like to go out with me Saturday evening?" he asks in dulcet tones. You suppress a double back-flip. "Would I like to go out with you? Yeeeeeeees, I would love to go out with you!" But you decide against that wording. You resolve to be cool because you think perhaps you should play hard to get. You hem and haw a few seconds as though you're considering his suggestion, and then you say coolly, "Why, all right." Did you handle him right? Does playing hard to get pay off? The answer may surprise you. Let's go to the studies. Four highly respected social scientists, pioneers in the study of love, were firmly convinced, as were their colleagues and the general public, that men like a hard-to-get woman better. After all, everybody values that which they have to work for, right? However, not to leave any stone unturned, they conducted an in-depth study called "Playing Hard to Get: Understanding an Elusive Phenomenon." 25 Researchers polled a group of college men on whether they preferred a hard-to-get woman, and why. The responses were predictable: "Well, sure, if she's hard to get, it must mean she's more sought after. Yes, if a girl is popular, she can afford to be choosy. Well, my friends will envy me: there's a lot more prestige in going out with a hard-to-get dame." At this point, the researchers felt going through with a field experiment would be practically worthless. It was a foregone conclusion that hard to get meant better. But, being responsible scientists, they put this theory to the test. They hired a group ofyoung men and women who had signed up for a computer-dating program. The men were to call the women and ask them for a date. The researchers told the women that half the time, they should pause and think for three seconds before accepting the date, thus playing hard to get. The other half of the time, they should accept the date immediately, with enthusiasm, thus being easy to get. Afterward, researchers asked the men how they felt about the women. The results astounded them. In spite of what the men had said in the hypothetical situation, in reality they did not like the hard-to-get women any better. So much for that theory. The researchers tested and retested the hypothesis in five ways, and all five methods failed to change the result. Just as science destroyed the prevailing theories that the world is flat and that heavier stones fall faster than smaller ones, science has destroyed yet another myth: Playing hard to get with the man does not make him want you more. At least, not at first. But there was a wrinkle, as further experimentation showed. In another part of the study, men had the opportunity to choose from among five women for a date, thinking that other men were competing for her company. That worked. When the woman was hard to get for his rivals, but easy to get for him, he liked her more—a lot more.
TECHNIQUE #16: I'M HARD TO GET (BUT, FOR YOU, BABY . . .) Considering playing hard to get? Don't . . . with him. When he asks you for a date, respond immediately and energetically, "Oh, I'd love to!" But then, later, subtly drop hints that you're hard to get for other men. Be very subtle. The Scientifically Proved Best First Date Many a Hunter, having beguiled his new Quarry into a first date, now wonders, "Where should I take her?" Many a Huntress, when asked where she would like to go, simply says, "Let's go out to dinner." This has always been my choice. Over dinner you can get to know your Potential Love Partner, and it gives him the opportunity to explore all the wondrous facets of your scintillating personality. But if your goal is to get your Quarry to fall in love with you (as the fact you're reading this book attests), dinner is not the best choice. There is compelling evidence showing your Quarry will be more attracted to you if you place him or her in an emotionally stirring or vulnerable situation. There is a strong link between emotional arousal and sexual attraction, as researchers proved. 26 They took female research assistants and male subjects to a scenic spot to conduct an experiment. The locale was a popular tourist attraction where the subjects could peek way down into a frighteningly deep cavernous gorge. Only two bridges crossed the gorge. One was the choice of tourists, a safe and solid bridge. And there was the other one. The other one was terrifying! It swayed from side to side, blew in the wind, and tipped precariously over the gorge. Only a few brave feet ever trod across this bridge. In the study, male subjects were assigned to walk across either one bridge or the other. Whichever bridge they traversed, all males were met on the other side by a female research assistant. After crossing the bridge, either the solid one or the tippy, precarious one, a female research assistant showed each subject a picture. He was told to write a brief story about it. Then the female research assistant thanked the subject and gave him her home phone number. She casually remarked that if he would like to "further discuss the experience," he could call her at home. What was this experiment all about? The researchers were looking to see which stories had more sexual imagery and which men took the female research assistants up on their invitation to call them at home. The men who had walked across the scary bridge wrote the sexiest stories, and men who crossed the scary bridge—you guessed it—were more apt to call the females at home to discuss the traumatic experience. The experiment showed that anxiety-producing situations create a more erotic turn-on. Why? Recall the drug we discussed earlier, phenylethylamine, or PEA . Fear produces that same substance which shoots through our veins in the early stages of infatuation. Give Your Quarry First-Date Butterflies Obviously it's neither possible nor practical to suggest an outing where you make your date cross a scary bridge. But science tells us, if your first experience together is stirring, your date will transfer the strong emotions to you. Hunters, you could take her horseback riding or surfing. If these physical activities are too strenuous, choose an emotionally exhausting experience—a moving play, a scary movie, or a great concert. For example, a beautiful ballet leaves me emotionally exhausted. Perhaps your Quarry is moved by music. Maybe she loves the opera. Maybe he's into watching dogfights. Sharing anxiety and talking about a stressful situation brings couples together. Many office romances start as the two face the same challenges. Movies, plays, and fairy tales are crawling with heroes and heroines defeating the big bad wolf together and then living happily after. To test the findings in another way, the same researchers brought male subjects into a laboratory. 27 They told some of the men they were about to get a series of painful electric shocks. They told others that the shocks would be mild, not at all painful. While each subject was waiting his turn, the researchers introduced him to a young woman (a research assistant) who supposedly was another subject in the experiment. After letting them have a brief conversation, the researchers asked the fellows to fill out a questionnaire evaluating the woman he had just met. Once again, the anxiety-filled fellows (those who thought they were about to receive a strong electrical shock) rated the young lady more favorably than their more relaxed brothers. This proved once again that someone is more likely to be attracted to another if he or she is emotionally aroused—even if the arousal does not come from that person.
TECHNIQUE #17: GIVE FIRST-DATE BUTTERFLIES When planning your first date, find out what pulls your Quarry's strings, then plan an arousing, emotional experience. You don't have to risk life and limb together, but a little early shared anxiety is a proved aphrodisiac. Then, of course, it's nice to have dinner afterward so you can discuss the traumatic experience.
Plant the Seeds of Similarity Later we'll explore how vital a sense of similarity is to making your Quarry fall in love with you. Now, on the first date, is the time to plant those seeds. This technique, although for both sexes, is more crucial for women because females get close through talking. Males bond through doing activities together. Many women forget this major difference. On their first date, they suggest a place where they can talk and get to know each other. That's getting close, female-style. If you are strategically planning to make him fall in love with you, there is a better way. Suggest an activity that will bring you close, malestyle. Huntresses, simply find out what activities interest him, and suggest you do that together. He gets the subliminal message, "This woman fits in with my lifestyle." You may be bored to tears at the basketball game, the boxing match, or the horse race, but if that's his passion—and you want to become his passion, too—it's your best ploy. TECHNIQUE #18 (MORE IMPORTANT FOR HUNTRESSES): FIRST-DATE BONDING To plant the seeds that you are similar, suggest his favorite interest or activity as a first date. Remember, to a man bonding is not sitting across a restaurant table looking deeply into your eyes while discussing feelings—it's doing things together.
First-Date Restaurant Smarts No matter what activity you choose for your first date, it's probably going to involve dinner—before, after, or as the main event. Many men dread the grueling chore of having to choose a restaurant. Should he impress you and depress his wallet, or take youto his favorite hamburger joint? Make it easy for him, and show him you're not a gold digger at the same time. If he asks for suggestions, come up with a great little place you think he might enjoy (read: charming but cheap). TECHNIQUE #19 (FOR HUNTRESSES): "I KNOW A GREAT LITTLE PLACE" The way to a man's heart is through his stomach—and his wallet. In every woman's little black book should be the name of a fabulous, charming, and inexpensive restaurant. Men, you, too, can choose a charming and inexpensive bistro, but be aware that a first-class dinner at an expensive restaurant is an aphrodisiac for many women. There is a strong argument for taking a lady to an upscale restaurant on the first date—and not to just impress her with your gold credit card. You come off better in a plush setting. Here's proof. Researchers showed pictures of men and women in various settings to the subjects. 28 They judged the same men and women to be more attractive when they were seated in a pleasant room with beautiful paintings and draperies, thus showing that people transfer their feelings about the ambience to whomever they are with. TECHNIQUE #20 (FOR HUNTERS): SPRING FOR A NICE RESTAURANT If you're dining out on your first date, take her to a restaurant with an atmosphere like you want to project: Elegant? Upbeat? Cool? Arty? Atmosphere is important because she'll transfer her feelings about the room to you. Gentlemen, there's also an argument for taking the lady to a plush party rather than a crowded bash. The title of a study called "Hot and Crowded: Influence of Population Density and Temperature on Interpersonal Affective Behavior" says it all. 29 Hunters, Some Spit and Polish for Your P's and Q's Men, I can hear you asking, "Are you really going to muddy the love waters with talk about manners?" Yes, Hunters, this mud's for you. Very important stuff to a woman. It's as good as a kiss to a woman when you stand as she enters the room, when you gently help her on with her coat, hold the door for her, or know just how much to tip the doorman when he gets the taxi. It is as arousing as a gentle caress when you suavely taste the wine at the restaurant or tell the waiter, "The lady will have the Duck à l'Orange," rather than blurting out, "She wants the duck." Huntresses, men are not as susceptible to such subtleties. Unless a piece of spaghetti is dangling from your teeth or you spill your red wine all over his white dinner jacket, he'll probably overlook less than flawless manners. TECHNIQUE #21 (FOR HUNTERS): P'S AND Q's Hunters, pick up a copy of Amy Vanderbilt's or Miss Manners' guides. Read it with the same intensity as you'd read How to Satisfy a Woman Every Time and Make Her Beg for More, because when you follow the advice therein, you'll be satisfying two parts of her anatomy—her heart and her brain. Gentlemen, I suggest you go to your local library and ask for a copy of Amy Vanderbilts' Complete Book of Etiquette or Miss Manners' Guide for the Turn-of-the-Millennium. If reading such fare embarrasses you, take a plain brown paper bag with you to tote it home. When it becomes second nature for you to graciously take her arm when crossing the street and nonchalantly steer her clear of doggie doo on the sidewalk without chortling, she'll say to herself, "This guy's got great technique." Huntresses, Forgive His Foibles Conversely, Huntresses, if he's less than suave, don't bring it to his attention. Let the man have the pleasurable myth that he's above commonplace bloopers and embarrassing biological functions. If your date suffers the humiliation of audibly passing gas and should you wink, chuckle, hoot, or show any recognition of his biological blooper, he may return your cheap smile with a humiliated one of his own. But inside, you'll lose love points. If you're having dinner with your Quarry and he makes a faux pas, you should play the childhood game we cruelly called Helen Keller. Be blind to his overturned glass. Be deaf to his sneeze, cough, or hiccups. No matter how well-meaning your "gesundheit," "whoops," or knowing smile, nobody likes to be reminded of his own human failings. I have a friend, Gil, now a highly paid copywriter, who came from humble origins. He grew up in the Bronx, New York. His parents had emigrated from Russia, and the family always had to struggle, so he was especially proud of making so much money and being able to afford the best in life. Gil loved dating elegant women. When I met him, he thought he might be falling in love with Stephanie, a beautiful and, he thought, gracious lady. Stephanie impressed him because she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and was aware of all the finer things in life he aspired to.
TECHNIQUE #22: NEVER SAY BUTTERFINGERS Clever Huntresses overlook their Quarry's minor slips, spills, fumbles, blunders, and faux pas. They obviously ignore raspberries and all other signs of human frailty in their Quarry. Successful Huntresses (and Hunters) never say butterfingers. One evening Gil took her to one of the top restaurants in New York. The maitre d' seated them. Gil gave the waiter their cocktail order, and he and Stephanie settled in for an intimate evening of good conversation and wonderful cuisine. Gil took the pleated napkin off the table, placed it on his lap, and leaned in to tell Stephanie how beautiful she looked in the candlelight. He was met with a stony expression which only thawed out when the waiter arrived, removed the napkin from the table for Stephanie, and placed it on her lap. Gil said he had no problem with table manners and social graces. In fact, he welcomed learning about them. But Stephanie's making a show of his apparent ignorance of waiting for the waiter to remove the napkin and place it on his lap put a damper on the evening. (Incidentally, it is perfectly proper to wait or to take your own napkin off the table.) Gil tried to salvage the situation by lightly teasing Stephanie. He asked her, ''Hey, Steph, would you like the waiter to come dab your chin after each bite and ask, 'One more bite for Georgie, your waiter?''' Stephanie was not amused. The evening, and the relationship, took a definite downturn. Huntresses, no matter how lacking he is in P's and Q's, don't criticize the man you want to fall in love with you. Let the charming bumpkin blunder on through life blissfully ignorant, because even if your Quarry is sensitive to social graces, you can bet your silver spoon he's a lot more sensitive about his ego.
First-Date Duds Do clothes make the man? Do clothes make the woman? Of course not. But they dramatically influence a Potential Love Partner's perception of you. Remember, their perception is all they have to go on when you meet. When I first researched the ideal love-hunting outfit, I thought (as perhaps you do now) that clothes are more important on the woman. Not so. Men's instinctive ability to "mentally undress" a woman makes a girl wonder if it was worth spending last month's paycheck on that great Versace ensemble. How curious it is that a woman will ruminate for hours on what to wear on a date, whereas a man grabs the first threads his groping hand hits in the darkened closet. Unless the studies lie, it should be the exact opposite. Men's hunting gear is far more important to make the kill than a woman's is. "I Haven't Got a Thing to Wear" (Women, Don't Worry about It. Men, Worry about It.) Let's turn to science to get the bottom line on clothes. In a University of Syracuse study, both men and women were shown pictures of members of the opposite sex. 30 Some of the men and women in the photos wore chic upscale clothes, and others wore less expensive outfits that ranged from cheap to downright cheesy. The results? The women were asked six hypothetical questions all the way from "Whom would you choose to marry?" to a rather surprising scientific probing, "Whom would you choose for a onenight stand?" How the male was dressed was extremely important to the women. Many women have an uncanny ability to spot a pair of Gucci shoes on a man a quarter of a mile away across a crowded ballroom. The better dressed a man was, the higher his marks were in all six categories—including onenight nookie. Evolutionary theorists tell us that, even when considering a quickie, a woman subconsciously listens to her genes. When a man is well dressed, it signifies his ability to provide for her offspring. Even when she's wondering "Should I or shouldn't I tonight?" how well you could care for her and her unborn children is in the back of her mind. Don't blame the woman. She's just instinctively doing what Mother Nature decrees.
TECHNIQUE #23 (FOR HUNTERS): DRESS AFFLUENTLY In spite of millions of years of sexual evolution, men and women still approach romance differently. Even when seeking a casual liaison (i.e., a one-night stand), do not go out dressed like an unmade bed. Dress as though you were auditioning to be her husband. Even though you know you look dynamite in your bunhugging Levi's, with many women you'll do much better at a pickup bar in a three-piece suit, even though you're the only man there so well dressed. That does not mean, gentlemen, that you can't dress casually, but forget your cheap and comfy grungies. She might find you cool in your old L. L. Bean tartan chambray shirt, but your comfiest K mart plaid polyester (which looks the same to you) won't fly high with her. Ah, if only if it could be so simple for women. What fun to go shopping for an elegant outfit that you know will knock his socks off on the first date. Unfortunately, Huntresses, your designer suit will be probably be lost on him unless he's a gold digger. You can't believe he won't be wiped out by your new Oscar de la Renta suit? Believe it. The same researchers proved how relatively unimportant a woman's clothes are. Men were shown photographs of women prejudged to be very attractive, moderately attractive, and unattractive. The men expressed interest in having relations with the highly attractive and moderately attractive women no matter how badly they were dressed. No matter how well the unattractive women were dressed, however, overall it was a no-go. Save your expensive clothes to impress your girlfriends or your prospective employer. With men, how you carry yourself, your hair, your nails, your makeup, your grooming, your friendliness—that's what scores. TECHNIQUE #24 (FOR HUNTRESSES): DRESS ALLURINGLY Women, the next time you say, "I haven't got a thing to wear," don't worry about it. Any outfit will do as long as it's flattering. He's going to mentally undress you anyway. A smile, good makeup, and receptive body language is far and away your most enticing ensemble. Hunters, Huntresses, we have now gotten our feet wet by immersing them in the all-important firsts: first glance, first approach, first moves, first conversation, and first date. Let us now proceed into deeper, more subliminal waters. Before we start our journey, however, I ask only one thing of you. Please suspend any preconceived notions of what you should and should not do in a relationship. Much of what you have heard is probably excellent advice for keeping a relationship warm for many years, but that is not our stated mission here. Our ambition is more cunning: It is to get someone to fall in love with you. For that, we need some of the extremely subtle techniques that follow.

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