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(This is an article I wrote for my romantic advice blog for men — The Leading Man.) When I was a teenager, my driver's ed teacher taught me how to properly jump-start a car. Most people do it wrong, he explained. They connect both cable clips to the dead battery. Watch a professional do it. The pro connects the red (positive) cable to the battery, the other to an unpainted piece of metal under the hood. The way the majority of people do it does often result in a successfully started engine. But it can also create sparks, which might cause the battery to explode. The odds of this happening are relatively small, but a pro doesn't take chances. Professionals do it the right way. Part of being a professional lies in knowing what not to do. When you understand romance, you notice all sorts of things that guys do which indicate that they have not attained a high degree of mastery in this area. They make mistakes — some huge, many sloppy and small. I was in a restaurant the other day, and saw a guy come in with a young woman. Over the course of ten minutes, I witnessed: 1. She opened the door when they entered. 2. As they stood inside waiting for the hostess to come over to them, he put his hand on the back of her neck and began rubbing it. 3. When the hostess said, "You can sit wherever you like," the guy turned to his girl and asked, "Where do you want to sit?" 4. Once at the table, he talked excessively. He complained. He swore. 5. When their food arrived, he mostly looked down at his plate and concentrated on feeding his face, barely making eye contact with the woman. One might argue that these are minor issues. They are. But romance is very much about "little things" — details that demonstrate that a man is aware, that he is sophisticated and mature, and that he knows what he's doing. Romance isn't friendship. It's not enough for a woman to think you're a cool guy with an interesting personality. It's not enough for her merely to like you; she has to admire you, and experience you emotionally as her protector. A high-quality woman wants to sense that you are a cut above the masses of men. She needs to feel that you're special and different. At best, every error that a guy makes in romance represents a missed opportunity — a moment when he could have made a positive impression, but didn't. There's no better way to come across as "different" in a woman's eyes than to study romance, internalize its principles, and put yourself across at all times in a professional manner! P.S.: 1. A professional man opens the door for a woman. 2. A professional man does not put his hands on a woman in public. 3. A professional man selects the table in a restaurant. 4. A professional man doesn't talk too much; he keeps his conversation polite and positive. 5. A professional man makes relaxed, easygoing eye contact with a woman, casting her in the spotlight of his awareness. He makes her feel seen, heard, acknowledged and important. © 2013 Kevin Delaney
On the next episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I will answer questions on the good in American culture, romance between an atheist and a believer, the limits of humor, and more. This episode of internet radio airs on Sunday morning, 30 December 2012, at 8 PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET in our live studio. If you miss that live broadcast, you can listen to the podcast later. This week's questions are: Question 1: The Good in American Culture: How is American culture better today better than people think? I've heard lots of depressing claims about the abysmal state of American culture lately, particularly since Obama won the election. You've disputed that, arguing that America is better in its fundamentals that many people think. What are some of those overlooked but positive American values? How can they be leveraged for cultural and political change? Question 2: Romance Between an Atheist and a Believer: Can a romance between an atheist and a religious believer work? What are the major obstacles? Should the atheist attend church or church socials with his spouse? Should they have a religious wedding ceremony? Should they send their children to religious schools? Do the particular beliefs – or strength of beliefs – of the religious person matter? Question 3: The Limits of Humor: When does humor work against my values? Sometimes I wonder whether my jokes work against what I value. (For example, what's the most selfish sea creature? An Objectifish!) How do I draw the line? After that, we'll tackle some impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions." To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat. Again, if you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio podcast from the episode posted in the archive: Radio Archive: 30 December 2012. Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives. Be sure to follow Philosopy in Action via our blog, RSS feeds, and Facebook too. P.S. I've started a new thread because the old thread had "webcast" in the title, but I'm now purely on radio.
Here's a clip from a Webinar I hosted in conjunction with my blog The Leading Man, in which I talk about two tweets I wrote on the nature of masculinity, and the role that egoism plays in what it means to "be a man" in romance: http://youtu.be/vCaCwzuJIGw (If you're unable to play the video, you can listen to the audio by clicking here.) Download the full Webinar here.