I would imagine it is tough these days being a gentleman in the Western world. Everything is turned topsy-turvy from what you were often taught as a kid and everywhere you look there seems to be more and more instances of your fellow gender acting poorly. And while you are not siding with or standing beside these examples of rotten behavior, it is hard to not to get splashed with the muck due to your proximity in gender and race. I would imagine it is hard to know how to act sometimes.
I have seen a trend out there of ‘self-help’ books written by Caucasian men targeting women, telling them how to date and act in heterosexual relationships to ‘hold onto and please their partners.’ And while I think having a gentleman’s perspective is always essential, some of the suggestions are, let’s just say… interesting.
It is my understanding that gentlemen don’t tend to read self-help books, so I’m proposing something different. What about a ‘how-to’ book from a woman on dating? After all, the more you know and the more tools you have to enter a task or activity, the more success you are probably going to see. Let’s see what you think of some of my suggestions and ideas.
Now, referencing those other self-help books, I’m making my suggestions a little different. Most of them spend pages doing two things… 1) telling sad stories about women who have come to them wondering why things weren’t working and how each author swooped in and saved the day for them. 2) Insistence that the women reading the self-help books needed to follow the whole program, hook, line and sinker to be successful, every suggestion.
My issues are that I find each of the stories a little two cookie-cutter and cut and dry to feel authentic, and no program or suggestion is going to work for every person or in its entirety. We are unique humans with unique needs and goals. There are some similarities, but every situation is going to be slightly different.
Here is one example: One book insisted that since men are visual creatures, which I acknowledge, women should all wear dresses, have long hair they put up in pony tails so the men could see the back of their necks and wear heels (yes, I’m looking at you Bob). Now, that might be attractive and every woman wants to look nice and be seen as pleasant to the eye, but really? What would it be like if I told you gentleman that women only want to see you in a three-piece suit, or flannel shirts, jeans and cowboy boots? I’d be willing to bet many of you would say, “No way!”, I’m going to be me! Guess what, women say the same thing. This felt like this guy’s prescription for his own fantasy life, aka possible Stepford wife style…
So, you are not going to get those kinds of suggestions from me. My suggestions will be practical and easy to use or implement, but I will leave it up to you to decide what works or doesn’t work for you in your individual situation. I would make one suggestion and that is to at least ask your partner what she thinks about some of my ideas before you dismiss them entirely.
Oh, and who am I to be handing out ideas and suggestions? I’m a former marriage and family therapist with one long-term marriage under my belt that has since dissolved. Yes, I’m like everyone else, I’ve failed too. However, in failing I now know what I want. I’d be willing to bet, you do too… I’ve reentered the dating scene and it can be as brutal for women as it is for the kind, caring men.
So, I will be publishing a series of these articles and seeing whether there is an interest. The idea being that everyone benefits from a suggestion or two and maybe this will help you feel better about asking a woman out, feel more secure in your relationships, see more smiles from your loved one and hold onto that relationship longer. Let’s get started with suggestion number one…
Do you like to play any sports? Pickup basketball, golf, soccer, handball and so on? What if you played the games and after winning one, you believed you had won all of them from now on? Every time you watched your team play on tv, if they had won once, they won from then on. It would be kind of boring, wouldn’t it? Do you think you might then move onto something else or another team, just to have a challenge?
Dating is kind of like that, isn’t it? It is a challenge to see if you can catch someone’s eye and find out what you both have in common. It is an attempt to find a connection, to win the prize, to make her laugh, to see a smile. And though it is scary and at times heart-rending, it can also be exciting. It can be fun when you succeed and find someone who makes you feel good about yourself and the things you do and say. There is an element of ‘the chase’ in dating.
The problem is once the ‘prize’ has been obtained, namely the lovely lady is by your side, it appears many men assume they have ‘won’ that game and it is time to move on to something else. I’m not necessarily talking about another relationship, although there are men that do that. Those were referenced in the first couple of paragraphs, I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to you. The ones who truly care about their ladies, but for some reason get the idea that once she has been won or at least agreed to be around for awhile, it is time to focus on careers, sports, friends, etc.
I’m not saying there isn’t a time and place for focus on career. That is extremely important. Nor am I saying you have to give up sports or exercise or time with friends and hobbies. I’m saying that time with your S.O. could be looked at in the same way as striving for perfection in other areas of your life. We want to have time to relax and wind down, no question, but the people in our lives deserve as much focus and willful concentration as any sports, game or activity that you are hoping to excel in.
So, in looking forward, what if you continued some of the same ideas and methods you used during your dating days in your everyday life with your S.O.? What if you worked a little everyday on trying to ‘win’ her again? A note here or a text there. A single flower if she’s a flower gal. A call out of the blue or showing up at the end of her workday unexpectedly to take her out to eat. Helping with a household chore that she usually handles. Do you remember doing something that made her face light up? Be a detective and find out what that was and either try it again or do something similar.
You have the ability to make those around you feel good about themselves in many ways. You get to show them appreciation for what they are trying to do and the hard work they are trying to accomplish. You have the opportunity to ‘win’ at being supportive and caring to those you love. Try it and let me know what happens…
If you like these ideas, share them…
If you have suggestions please comment below…
2 thoughts on “How to… No Gentlemen, this isn’t ‘man-hating’, this is an idea or suggestion.”
All great comments and ideas, Liz. I like this concept of “win her daily” to kick off your blog/advice resource, and I’ll try to use that idea in my own marriage. Another thing to consider is the concept of altruism, i.e. making the other person happy. I know a lot of relationships are about give-and-take, just as a lot of marriages suffer from selfish acts and/or not worrying about our S.O.’s needs/desires. Food for thought.
That is an excellent suggestion Justin. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Altruism will go on my list!
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