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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

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I'm all for taking charge and leading the date, but other than that I think it's really bad advice. It's doing things "by the book". That's what's expected of the guy. It's how it's "supposed" to be. Bring her flowers, lead her by the arm, get the door for her, pull out her chair and so on. Be polite and charming so you don't upset her.

 

It's fine to be a gentleman if that's you and you got the swagger. If you don't you'll just end up looking weak and insecure. Plus, she's going to be soo boored.

 

Try the opposite sometimes, just to see what happens:

 

Close the door in her face: "Ooops, didn't see you there!". Or: "Hey, are you eating here too or are you just following me?".

 

Play with her physically. Touch her shoulder, elbow, knee, neck... poke her ribs and push her around. Definitely kiss her.

 

See if you can get her to pay: "Thanks for the pizza. Take the check while I excuse myself for a minute.... What? It was a lovely date but my time is valuable. Besides, i'm broke".

 

Banter, banter banter.

 

Direct the conversation. If she's not talking about something interesting, change the subject or throw her off ("hey, you got really cute dimples when you smile!"). Make her work for your attention.

 

Don't be so serious. It's fine to show her you got a serious side as well, but mix it up.

Edited by Alfa

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[. . .] I think it's really bad advice. It's doing things "by the book". [. . .]

 

Close the door in her face: "Ooops, didn't see you there!"

 

There are an awful lot of women who wouldn't mind a bit if men went a little more "by the book" in romance.

 

But hey, I don't want to sound like I'm advocating that a man hide or misrepresent his genuine self. So if you're a douchebag, frat boy, neanderthal, etc., by all means have at it!

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I see what you did there. :glare: Either somebody follows what you say or they're a "douchebag, frat boy, neanderthal, etc.,"

 

Also, there are an awful lot of women who would mind a bit if men went a little more "by the book" in romance. ('specially if Kevin's the author of that book.  :whistle: )

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There are an awful lot of women who wouldn't mind a bit if men went a little more "by the book" in romance.

 

But hey, I don't want to sound like I'm advocating that a man hide or misrepresent his genuine self. So if you're a douchebag, frat boy, neanderthal, etc., by all means have at it!

Yet, i've done all of those things and more, but no one would ever call me those things. Granted, I do act like a douchebag sometimes. It's just that she'll laugh even more than I do about it.

 

The point is to have fun and mess with her. Be a little difficult, abrasive, stir the pot and do things most guys wouldn't. But most importantly, have fun.

 

I have never met a woman who actually falls for a guy who brings her romantic clichés and does all those things that are expected of him. It's not that I have anything at all against being a gentleman. Bring her flowers, hold the door, pay for dinner... (for the record, I always pay for the first date, because I want to and I think it's proper). I'm against doing those things because you're supposed to do them.

 

The standard "wussy" thing to do is to show up at her door with flowers in hand and take her to an expensive dinner the first date. It's like saying "thank you so much for going out with me, please like me!".

 

The standard "cool guy" thing is a quick "pit stop" at a café. I don't know if it's supposed to be smooth or what, but it's certainly booring.

 

Then if you somehow still manage to get into a relationship with her you do all those meaningless little "romantic" gestures.

 

It's not that I have anything against flowers, café's or romantic gestures. I just like them to have some meaning. If you're on the same page, that's what she is going to respond to as well.

 

Heck, one of the best dates i've had was at McDonalds. I bet she's going to remember that as well. Especially after I dragged her down in the ball pit with me.

 

That's why i'm suggesting trying the opposite of what you're supposed to. Benevolently, of course.

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And how has your advice been working out for you, Kevin?

 

(I want to ask that honestly, without snide intention. I do think your advice is horrendous, but I'm going to get to "why" in a long post later.)

Edited by secondhander

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I don't know what all  the handwringing and snark is about, overall that is a very solid list. 

 

Opening a door is a classical method of showing courtesy.  It's called manners and being a gentlemen.  You should also do it for the elderly or those who need the help, like the handicapped. 

 

While I wouldn't go so far as to say "Don't put hands on her in public" the fact people will go overboard with public displays of affection can be outright ridiculous.  TMI people.

 

The table selection is probably the only one that I would defer on.  As a rule my wife or I will take over depending on who actually cares about it - In restaurants she does but in a movie theatre I do, for example. 

 

A guy dominating the conversation is boorish.  A good lady should be treated that way and made to be special by making her the highlight.    It's the classic story of the English woman being courted by two gentlemen people!

 

Ignore your date?  Yea - This is a no brainer.  You don't ignore a lady.  That's just idiocy. 

Edited by Spiral Architect

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Opening a door is a classical method of showing courtesy.  It's called manners and being a gentlemen.  You should also do it for the elderly or those who need the help, like the handicapped.

 

Yes, it can be courteous. But we're talking about a different thing, here. When I walk through a door, if someone is behind me I will hold the door open for them. If I am behind them, they may hold the door open for me. It doesn't matter whom it is, or what gender they are (or what age, or anything else). It's just a small, courteous thing.

 

But what Kevin is talking about specifically concerns dating and courtship conventions. He thinks that the man must always open the door for the woman, and not vice versa. And if a man doesn't do that, he fails in some degree to be a "leading man" or a "professional" or a gentleman, or whatever. 

 

What he seems to not properly consider is how things like a man insisting on opening a door for a woman communicates at least two very negative things. One, it communicates to the woman that you view her as being on a different level than you are as a man; often it comes across as though she's on an inferior level (i.e., "You're to be taken care of, as though you are unable take care of yourself even with little things like opening a door."). Of course, what the man is trying to communicate is that he views her on a higher level, as though she's a treasure and should be treated as such, so "let me put my coat over the puddle so you can walk over it," or "Let me pick you up, and drive you, and pull out the chair, and pay for your mean," because she's the "treasure." 

 

But you know, it still comes across as belittling, and if it's not belittling to her, then it's belittling to you. And that's the second negative thing: By trying to put her on a higher level and treat her like a treasure (some stranger whom you hardly know, keep in mind), you actually make yourself less attractive as a person, and for good reason. You become the silly little peasant bowing down to the princess, trying to win her favor. Well, she may (and rightly so) let you pay for her meal, and if she's of weak character she may even enjoy the princess treatment for a night, or at least aspects of it. "Hey, pretty girls get dumb guys to pay for their meals, maybe I can get that to happen for me too sometimes." But it grows tiresome, and you will turn her on about as much as a coat lying in the mud.

 

And in truth, it IS belittling, even if you think you're trying to treat her like a precious treasure. Because she's not in a different category than a regular human. She's a regular human. And she can actually open that door for herself, thank-you-very-much.

 

But even if you do encounter that rare woman who insists on traditional courtship conventions, I ask you honestly, how can you live with yourself by entertaining them? By being a little bit sub-human, and a little bit of a clown, in order to treat her as a little bit superior-human?

 

This does not mean you should treat her, or any person, rudely. Be a nice person. It's a good thing to do. But I view a woman as distinctly a woman, but also still a human just like me, on the same level. If she want's to be a princess, and expects me to be a pauper, and refuses to get out of the car until I run around and open it for her, then I hope she enjoys sitting inside my car and watching me eat in the restaurant through the window. I'm looking for a human, who views herself as an equal person to me. If we develop a deep romantic love after begin together for a long time and growing in love together, then I'll treat her like a princess sometimes in my own special ways. But that's something different, and something specific to people's specific relationships, and happens after you've been together for a while and grown in love with each other. 

 

A guy dominating the conversation is boorish.

 

Yeah, but that's true of anybody. A woman dominating the conversation is boorish. Conversation is about give and take, and enjoying the exchange. That goes for any two people talking to each other for any occasion. But on Kevin's dates, he is not really having a real conversation, and not really enjoying himself in a natural way, and not really connecting with the people he spends time with (if that person is a woman and he's on a "date"), it seems, because he's too preoccupied trying to make sure he gets to the door first before she does, make sure he says "let's sit over here" before she can get a chance, or opportunity, to suggest a table, and too preoccupied trying to eat at just the right, slow speed, while looking up at her and letting her talk mostly, keeping himself from talking "too much." 

 

That just sounds like an awful time, particularly for his date. And there exists in all that ridiculous courtship-keeping ritual zero opportunity for an actual, real connection between two people without any pretense. And that's one of the main problems with Kevin's philosophy. In all his trying to be a "leading man," he has forgotten how to be a "real person." Not to mention that his philosophy at it's core wallows in sexism in the worst of ways.

 

I am curious what Kevin's actual love life is like, and how his "leading man" philosophy goes over for him. I'm not trying to be mean or nasty, I'm just honestly curious. I have no doubt that he may find, or maybe has already found, a woman who loves him for all his "leading man" goofiness. There are all types. But for me, the women I like are the ones who know they can open a door for themselves, and don't even flinch when you let them. (Because I don't even think about it either. It's whoever gets to the door first, obviously.)

 

Taking this back to objectivism, I'd have to ask Kevin how his dating principles fit into the objectivist ethic. In other words, answer the "why" questions for me. You think that it's wrong for a guy to let a woman on a date open the door for you? Why? You think it's wrong for her to have input on where she might want to sit? Why? You think it's wrong to touch a woman in public? Why? You are presenting value statements (it is good to do this; it is bad to do this), but I'd like to know where those values derive their value. Explain the connection, in your view, of the principles you believe in to the objective value foundation that they rest upon.

 

I want to say more, but I don't have time at the moment. There is a much, much better way to understand and approach human relationships (including romantic relationships), where you can maintain your status as "real person" with proper self esteem, engaging in real connections with other real people. There is a way to avoid the oh-so-very-unattractive persona of being a relationship-fraudster; who tries to put on a facade or caricature of what he thinks he ought to be in order to impress someone; who (out of an extreme lack of self-esteem) treats himself as though he is either a higher being than the woman he wants to impress (thus acting like a ass), or as a lower being than the woman he wants to impress (thus acting like a needy weakling).

 

I really, sincerely want to help you, Kevin, from the personal and social pitfalls that you unknowingly, warmly embrace, and to help other people who are confused and think that your advice is good advice. It isn't.

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And that's one of the main problems with Kevin's philosophy. In all his trying to be a "leading man," he has forgotten how to be a "real person."

 

My critics cannot fathom that a man could embody the kind of principles I discuss and be authentic. The type of man I write about is so unreal to them, in their eyes, it has to be an act.

 

Everything I talk about pertains to a man reaching and connecting with a woman on a sexual level — a concept which seemingly is lost on the great majority of men today.

 

The rest of secondhander's essay is all the usual boneheaded misunderstandings and evasions, albeit expressed somewhat more respectfully than usual.

Edited by Kevin Delaney

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My critics cannot fathom that a man could embody the kind of principles I discuss and be authentic. The type of man I write about is so unreal to them, in their eyes, it has to be an act.

Everything I talk about pertains to a man reaching and connecting with a woman on a sexual level — a concept which seemingly is lost on the great majority of men today.

The rest of secondhander's essay is all the usual boneheaded misunderstandings and evasions, albeit expressed somewhat more respectfully than usual.

Same old, same old. Assuming the conclusions ("principles") which were criticized instead of addressing the criticisms, insulting others, and not backing up your claims.

Why do you keep posting this stuff on OO.com when you don't get the agreement you're looking for and you don't try to get others to see your view?

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My critics cannot fathom that a man could embody the kind of principles I discuss and be authentic. The type of man I write about is so unreal to them, in their eyes, it has to be an act.

Why don't you just explain how well it *works* though? Secondhander asked this. Just because someone is a critic and asks you a question doesn't mean the question is snide even.

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Yes, it can be courteous. But we're talking about a different thing, here. When I walk through a door, if someone is behind me I will hold the door open for them. If I am behind them, they may hold the door open for me. It doesn't matter whom it is, or what gender they are (or what age, or anything else). It's just a small, courteous thing.

 

But what Kevin is talking about specifically concerns dating and courtship conventions. He thinks that the man must always open the door for the woman, and not vice versa. And if a man doesn't do that, he fails in some degree to be a "leading man" or a "professional" or a gentleman, or whatever. 

 

What he seems to not properly consider is how things like a man insisting on opening a door for a woman communicates at least two very negative things. One, it communicates to the woman that you view her as being on a different level than you are as a man; often it comes across as though she's on an inferior level (i.e., "You're to be taken care of, as though you are unable take care of yourself even with little things like opening a door."). Of course, what the man is trying to communicate is that he views her on a higher level, as though she's a treasure and should be treated as such, so "let me put my coat over the puddle so you can walk over it," or "Let me pick you up, and drive you, and pull out the chair, and pay for your mean," because she's the "treasure." 

 

But you know, it still comes across as belittling, and if it's not belittling to her, then it's belittling to you. And that's the second negative thing: By trying to put her on a higher level and treat her like a treasure (some stranger whom you hardly know, keep in mind), you actually make yourself less attractive as a person, and for good reason. You become the silly little peasant bowing down to the princess, trying to win her favor. Well, she may (and rightly so) let you pay for her meal, and if she's of weak character she may even enjoy the princess treatment for a night, or at least aspects of it. "Hey, pretty girls get dumb guys to pay for their meals, maybe I can get that to happen for me too sometimes." But it grows tiresome, and you will turn her on about as much as a coat lying in the mud.

 

And in truth, it IS belittling, even if you think you're trying to treat her like a precious treasure. Because she's not in a different category than a regular human. She's a regular human. And she can actually open that door for herself, thank-you-very-much.

 

But even if you do encounter that rare woman who insists on traditional courtship conventions, I ask you honestly, how can you live with yourself by entertaining them? By being a little bit sub-human, and a little bit of a clown, in order to treat her as a little bit superior-human?

 

This does not mean you should treat her, or any person, rudely. Be a nice person. It's a good thing to do. But I view a woman as distinctly a woman, but also still a human just like me, on the same level. If she want's to be a princess, and expects me to be a pauper, and refuses to get out of the car until I run around and open it for her, then I hope she enjoys sitting inside my car and watching me eat in the restaurant through the window. I'm looking for a human, who views herself as an equal person to me. If we develop a deep romantic love after begin together for a long time and growing in love together, then I'll treat her like a princess sometimes in my own special ways. But that's something different, and something specific to people's specific relationships, and happens after you've been together for a while and grown in love with each other. 

 

 

Yeah, but that's true of anybody. A woman dominating the conversation is boorish. Conversation is about give and take, and enjoying the exchange. That goes for any two people talking to each other for any occasion. But on Kevin's dates, he is not really having a real conversation, and not really enjoying himself in a natural way, and not really connecting with the people he spends time with (if that person is a woman and he's on a "date"), it seems, because he's too preoccupied trying to make sure he gets to the door first before she does, make sure he says "let's sit over here" before she can get a chance, or opportunity, to suggest a table, and too preoccupied trying to eat at just the right, slow speed, while looking up at her and letting her talk mostly, keeping himself from talking "too much." 

 

That just sounds like an awful time, particularly for his date. And there exists in all that ridiculous courtship-keeping ritual zero opportunity for an actual, real connection between two people without any pretense. And that's one of the main problems with Kevin's philosophy. In all his trying to be a "leading man," he has forgotten how to be a "real person." Not to mention that his philosophy at it's core wallows in sexism in the worst of ways.

 

I am curious what Kevin's actual love life is like, and how his "leading man" philosophy goes over for him. I'm not trying to be mean or nasty, I'm just honestly curious. I have no doubt that he may find, or maybe has already found, a woman who loves him for all his "leading man" goofiness. There are all types. But for me, the women I like are the ones who know they can open a door for themselves, and don't even flinch when you let them. (Because I don't even think about it either. It's whoever gets to the door first, obviously.)

 

Taking this back to objectivism, I'd have to ask Kevin how his dating principles fit into the objectivist ethic. In other words, answer the "why" questions for me. You think that it's wrong for a guy to let a woman on a date open the door for you? Why? You think it's wrong for her to have input on where she might want to sit? Why? You think it's wrong to touch a woman in public? Why? You are presenting value statements (it is good to do this; it is bad to do this), but I'd like to know where those values derive their value. Explain the connection, in your view, of the principles you believe in to the objective value foundation that they rest upon.

 

I want to say more, but I don't have time at the moment. There is a much, much better way to understand and approach human relationships (including romantic relationships), where you can maintain your status as "real person" with proper self esteem, engaging in real connections with other real people. There is a way to avoid the oh-so-very-unattractive persona of being a relationship-fraudster; who tries to put on a facade or caricature of what he thinks he ought to be in order to impress someone; who (out of an extreme lack of self-esteem) treats himself as though he is either a higher being than the woman he wants to impress (thus acting like a ass), or as a lower being than the woman he wants to impress (thus acting like a needy weakling).

 

I really, sincerely want to help you, Kevin, from the personal and social pitfalls that you unknowingly, warmly embrace, and to help other people who are confused and think that your advice is good advice. It isn't.

 

I appreciate the thoughtout response and I get where you are going with this, but honestly I think your treating this like an either/or isutation when in truth it's both - You can be a gentlement without dropping conext  (If the date insists on grabbing the door you don't fail at being a male or you handle grabbing a cup of coffee differently  than an evening out with a dinner and a show). You certainly don't have to overcorrect into treating a lady as some divine a priori.  You can be a gentlement and still think and do so by being genuine.  

 

I'm starting to think there is a history here I have missed during my sabatical and this goes deeper with the OP then this single post. 

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This turned into a longish rant. Take note that when I say "you," I am not really referring to Kevin or anyone in particular; it's a generic "you."

 

You can be a gentleman without dropping context . 

 

Don't misunderstand, by no means am I saying you ought to be a jerk. It's good to be a courteous human being. That applies in most all situations, and applies when you're spending time with someone you are, or may be, attracted to. 

 

But to insist on opening the door for a woman because she is a woman and you're playing some role, or insist on picking where you sit at in a restaurant, or to insist on driving, or to insist on opening the car door ... or any other other special action that you would take on a "date" that you would not do for someone you are not on a date with (or aren't attracted to, like a guy if you're a guy and hetero), is not courteous. It's presumptive and rude, and built solely on subjective (and faulty for various reasons) social conventions. That's not to say all social conventions are bad. But some are.

 

These dating social conventions are bad, for the reasons I gave: They are presumptuous; they are implicitly sexist (not that all things some people label as "sexist" are actually sexist or bad, but we can talk about that later in more depth if you want); they treat women as a special case. Those misplaced conventions either cause you to relate to her as though she is a less-than-capable human being who shouldn't have a say in where she sits in the restaurant (unless she absolutely insists) because you're "the man," or they cause you to relate to her as though she is some treasure to be placed above yourself, therefore lowering your own self-value in relation to her; by doing that you make yourself out to be a very unattractive and needy person in a pitiful way. 

 

So at best, you come off needy and try-hard, trying to convince her to like you because of the driving and paying and opening doors and picking tables. At worst you are a pitiful, needy beggar who is also insulting with the special category in which you've placed her. You're not treating her like an equal human who happens to be a woman, you're treating her like a woman -- in the "you've got a special role in relation to me, a man, and I'll be in charge, and I'll be paying, and I'll be making all the important decisions, and all you have to do is sit there and be pretty and be taken care of. But don't forget that you're a prize and a princess, and maybe I'll claim you one day. See, doesn't that make it all better?"

 

And the truth is (I know this will come across as mean-spirited, and I don't mean it to be) that after you're done paying for her meal and not touching her and opening the door and driving her to and fro, after all that, she's coming to my house, where she can help me pick out the movie that neither of us are really going to watch because we've started making out on the couch, before taking it to my bedroom to have plenty of carnal knowledge. And then she goes home to sleep and reflect on the tremendous fun that we both had, all the while you're at home deciding on how many days you should wait before calling her again for a second date, that she will probably turn down anyway. And yet guys like that continue to think that their gentlemanly "leading-man" romancing ways are helping them to "connect to her on a sexual level." I'm here to help you: They're not.

 

At this point a lot of people will misunderstand me and think that I'm saying you need to be an asshole or jerk. No way, absolutely not. 

 

It's ironic, in fact, because it's the very reason that I'm not a jerk that helps the attraction process for me. Here's the big surprise: you're the jerk.

 

You're the jerk if you think that she must submit to a certain kind of relationship role as a woman, and that in order to be a woman of value in your estimation, she must do and not do certain things concerning sexual purity, or some other nonsense, in order to fit that role, lest you call her dirty names. You're the jerk if you think your role means that you have to make the important decisions and spend the money and drive and pick out the table (or whatever) and open the doors, etc. You're the jerk if you tell a never-ceasing string of lies to her and to yourself about your real intentions and feelings, because you're trying to say things that you think she wants to hear. And you're a jerk to yourself, too, if you belittle your own value as a person by lowering yourself to the role of a ever-ready-to-please-and-impress servant/beggar.

 

I'm not the jerk, ironically, because I approach a woman (or anyone for that matter) as though she and I are equal humans on equal terms (while acknowledging the biological and physiological differences of the sexes). I offer her non-judgmental acceptance. I offer her a real experience, not a contrived or concocted one.

 

It's so, so rare when a girl is approached or befriended by a guy who, while not afraid to admit his sexual drive as a man, talks to her like a human to a human, without the tryhard-to-impress while having low self-esteem conversation that they are used to getting. And it's rare for a woman to find a guy who is not threatened by the fact that she's a sexual being as well, and encourages it. And it's rare for her to find a guy who knows himself, and knows his own ethic, and will only be whom he is, and offers himself to anybody and everyone in a take-me-or-leave-me kind of way, without a shred of jealousy, bitterness, or contempt if she enjoys whom she wants to enjoy for whatever reason she wants.

 

And this, among other reasons, is why Kevin's (and a lot of typical) advice is bad.

Edited by secondhander

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My critics cannot fathom that a man could embody the kind of principles I discuss and be authentic. The type of man I write about is so unreal to them, in their eyes, it has to be an act.

 

Everything I talk about pertains to a man reaching and connecting with a woman on a sexual level — a concept which seemingly is lost on the great majority of men today.

 

The rest of secondhander's essay is all the usual boneheaded misunderstandings and evasions, albeit expressed somewhat more respectfully than usual.

 

No, it's not unfathomable or unreal. You're not really discussing principles either. What you've done here is assert that it's important to be a "professional" and then listed some do's and don't's. Taking into account your previous posts, what this ammounts to is the picture of a well mannered gentleman.

 

That's fine. It's just that you present it simplistically and assert certain rules. The problem is not being a gentleman, but adopting it on that basis. That's especially true for the guys who really need advice on dating. The last thing they need is a set of rules that help them stay in their comfort zone.

 

There's only one thing you've mentioned here that helps connecting with a woman on a sexual level. That's taking the lead and staying in control, like picking the table. If you're taking her out, also take responsibility for the date. It's your job to set up when, where and how.

 

However, you're not going to connect sexually by holding the door or making easygoing eye contact. And if you don't touch her the notion of sex is going to be rather awkward later on.

Edited by Alfa

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I think it's proper, to some extent, to treat her as a "special case". By that I mean awareness of her femininity and not treating her like your buddy. For example; show her you're on top of things, step up and take responsibility for the date and be in charge. It's not because she's somehow unable to handle things. Dating is just a special instance where she'll want to let go of that and just experience things. To do that she must be able to put a lot of trust in you.

 

Some of those gentlemanly conventions can certainly be used to be the leader and protector.

 

However, it's indeed very important to treat her as a person first och foremost. She's not going to be impressed if she feels treated like some foreign object, which you're trying to figure out to get the legs opened. And, people are different. You're not going to have the same kind of relationship with everyone. Find something that works for both of you, based on mutual value.

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Secondhander, thank you for two fantastic posts. You have perfectly summed up everything I feel about dating and relationships but have been unable to adequately express. Great work.

 

Thank you! This is not the only topic I'm interested in, I swear. :) But it is an important topic to me; one that I've given a lot of thought to, and these are principles and ideas that I have lived and know they're true (but of course I'm not fallible, and you may find details here or there where you think I'm wrong. Of course, in all things, use your rationality and investigate these matters for yourself).

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This turned into a longish rant. Take note that when I say "you," I am not really referring to Kevin or anyone in particular; it's a generic "you."

 

 

Don't misunderstand, by no means am I saying you ought to be a jerk. It's good to be a courteous human being. That applies in most all situations, and applies when you're spending time with someone you are, or may be, attracted to. 

 

But to insist on opening the door for a woman because she is a woman and you're playing some role, or insist on picking where you sit at in a restaurant, or to insist on driving, or to insist on opening the car door ... or any other other special action that you would take on a "date" that you would not do for someone you are not on a date with (or aren't attracted to, like a guy if you're a guy and hetero), is not courteous. It's presumptive and rude, and built solely on subjective (and faulty for various reasons) social conventions. That's not to say all social conventions are bad. But some are.

 

These dating social conventions are bad, for the reasons I gave: They are presumptuous; they are implicitly sexist (not that all things some people label as "sexist" are actually sexist or bad, but we can talk about that later in more depth if you want); they treat women as a special case. Those misplaced conventions either cause you to relate to her as though she is a less-than-capable human being who shouldn't have a say in where she sits in the restaurant (unless she absolutely insists) because you're "the man," or they cause you to relate to her as though she is some treasure to be placed above yourself, therefore lowering your own self-value in relation to her; by doing that you make yourself out to be a very unattractive and needy person in a pitiful way. 

 

Let's not go too far here. Kevin's advice is bad for most of the reasons given in this thread and others, but absolutely there are special actions that you should take on a date that you wouldn't take for one of your guy friends or just some random stranger.  You  treat your date as special because he or she is special, to you.  She isn't special because she's a woman, she's special for all the reasons that led you to ask her out.  Now how you express that is more open; you could go along with social conventions like holding the door and paying for her meal (assuming you set up the date), or not.  If she finds those sexist, that's fine, the point isn't to follow some rulebook, but just to communicate that she is special to you, not because she's a woman but just because you like who she is.  Treat your date like a 'special case' because she is.  That means going beyond just courtesy stuff that you'd do for a stranger, because she means more to you than a stranger does.  I'm speaking from the male perspective, but this goes for both sides of the date.

 

Now, some of the stuff recommended above can be used to convey to your date that she's special, and others I just don't see.  Picking the table, for instance, seems like a pure dominance move.  In the broader sense, taking the time and the initiative to plan out a date and set it up beforehand is a nice thing to do for your date (man or woman), but picking the table first?  I just don't see that, or the "no touching in public" thing.  Wow.  Now, not ignoring your date during the meal, having a two-sided conversation, and opening the door for her (if she doesn't mind that) all seem like sound advice; not because of some leading man framework, but because of both common courtesy and the fact that you should go beyond common courtesy on a date.

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However, you're not going to connect sexually by holding the door or making easygoing eye contact.

 

You and I truly come from opposite ends of the universe.

Relaxed, easygoing eye contact of the kind I describe is one of the most essential elements of connecting sexually with a woman. Unless one or both partners are visually impaired to the point of blindness, I can't conceive of establishing a sex connection of any meaning, depth or significance without it.

 

A man opening a door for a woman is an act of chivalry, just like his selecting a table inside a restaurant. Both demonstrate masculine competence and leadership, and allow a woman to feel cherished and cared for.

 

And if you don't touch her the notion of sex is going to be rather awkward later on.

 

You're a typical male. Eye contact is irrelevant, but you must put your hands on her!

I'm trying to help men understand the process of romance as a woman experiences it. First connect with her mentally and emotionally, then allow the physical aspects of the relationship to evolve naturally out of that.

 

My motto is: Relax, slow down, and stop being so typical!

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You  treat your date as special because he or she is special, to you.  She isn't special because she's a woman, she's special for all the reasons that led you to ask her out.

 

Isn't at least one of the reasons which lead you to ask her out the fact that she is a woman?

 

[T]he point isn't to follow some rulebook, but just to communicate that she is special to you, not because she's a woman but just because you like who she is.

 

"I love you as a human being, darling. Your womanness has nothing to do with it."

 

Welcome to the sexless society.

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