I know that most of my readers are women; yet I would like to offer some solid dating advice just for men.
So ladies, feel free to forward a copy of this column to any single male friends, relatives, or work colleagues who are having trouble finding or keeping relationships with the opposite sex (or perhaps even the same sex).
I will try and make this advice as simple as possible, as I know that most men don’t want to wade through flowery psychobabble about expressing one’s emotions. (Which is why 95 percent of dating/relationship books are targeted towards women.)
With online dating services so prevalent these days, along with matchmaking services and singles events like speed dating, it is not difficult for guys to find women to go out with …; once.
However, many men can’t figure out why women won’t go out with them on a second or third date. So guys, let me pass on the most common reasons (that women told my counselors and me at the Boston-based dating service LunchDates for 23 years) why they did not want to see you again.
1) You talked too much about yourself — It is common in the animal kingdom for the male of the species to show off his “plumage” in an attempt to lure females back to his “lair.” Especially when attracted to a date, many men love to talk incessantly about themselves, their jobs, and their possessions, and the result more often than not is to turn off women. (Think of a blathering Michael Scott on “The Office.”) At LunchDates, it was always both amusing yet sad when a man would call his counselor raving about what a great date he just had, then minutes later the woman would call complaining about what a jerk she had just met.
2) Conversely you showed very little interest in learning about who she is — Women these days have their own careers, accomplishments, and hobbies. This is not the Old West when women would coyly flutter their eyelashes and tell Marshal Dillon how wonderful he is because of his broad shoulders. To impress women today, show an interest in them, ask questions about their jobs, outside interests, etc. Then once you discover a mutual interest, you can bring the conversation back to yourself. A great first date for both parties consists of a back and forth patter that is actually rhythmic. Looking back, many happy couples report that on their first date “We completed each other’s sentences.” That repartee is an integral part of what couples term as “chemistry,” along with pure physical attraction.
3) You didn’t come across as balanced — “He just seemed so obsessed with ____ (fill in the blank).” For the most part women want to meet and date men who have multiple interests, including the arts, travel, politics, cooking, wine, pets, or whatever. It is OK to talk about what a fervent Red Sox fan you are, as long as you also display a knowledge of events that occur far beyond Yawkey Way. Of course the same holds true if all you talk about is your job or your passion for sci-fi movies.
4) You were too negative — Actually this is one very common complaint men and women make about each other. Not that you have to turn into “Peter Pollyanna,” but if you spend most of your date complaining about the restaurant’s service or food, your boss, the weather, the economy, Fox News, and especially your exes, the odds of you ever getting a second date are miniscule.
5) You were boring — This is a very common complaint from women. You don’t have to stand on your head and juggle the salt and pepper shakers while whistling the theme from “Hawaii Five-O.” BUT a lunch or dinner date is not like a business meeting. Try and display a little wit, and even if you are nervous, try and relax and just be yourself. (Unless you really are boring.) If you are nervous, go ahead and admit it right away. You might be pleasantly surprised at her response. “I want a man who is comfortable in his own skin,” is an expression I heard from many women.
6) You displayed poor table manners — While this might sound obvious, I was always amazed at how often we heard complaints like “he kept talking with his mouth full,” “he never used his napkin,” “he was belching throughout dinner,” or “he must have been raised in a barn.”
7) You were cheap — This is one area in which women do not want equality. At least not yet. No matter how successful a career woman might be, I guarantee that with most women a “let’s split the check” comment will more often than not result in your date being the last one with the “splittee.” Always offer to pay, and don’t be surprised if she smiles and then says “fine, I’ll take you out the next time.”
8) You drank too much — I know, maybe you had a cocktail before your date to calm your nerves. But then you ordered a drink before dinner and then had one or two more with your meal. “By the end of our date he was slurring his words” was a very common complaint from women.
And guys please note that none of these reasons deal with your appearance. As long as you dress decently and don’t show up on your date looking sloppy and totally unkempt, the odds are that most women will not complain about what you look like.
Many women in happy relationships report “I did not feel an attraction at first, but the more I got to know him, his personality grew on me, and after a while I felt very attracted to him.”
It’s too bad that one rarely hears a man make a similar statement.