Second post from my lenten pledge -- first based on a suggested topic, but I've taken on this challenge.
When dealing with "suitors" (in the days before I was an old, married lady), I've always had a pretty strong bullshit detector and with the first sign of false intentions I was out of there! So we'll start with that:
- Be honest and be yourself, as much as you actually know yourself. Don't try to be what you think she wants in a man, because if that works in the beginning, it won't work for long. Unless you are looking for a ditzy, shallow girl, then go ahead and tell her anything you want. A substantial woman will appreciate you for your flaws as much as for your good points.
- Engage in two way conversations; asking questions to find out about her interests, her life and who she really is and balance it out with information on you -- not just listing off like a CV, but follow the conversation and see if it takes you where you both want to go. Really listen to what she has to say and remember for future reference and perhaps some opportunities for nice surprises.
- Be a gentlemen. Now I've said 'be yourself' and that may not really be who you think you are, but there's nothing wrong with being considerate and caring. If you think it may not be you, try it out, you may find you like it. If not, you may be limiting the type of woman that is really for you. I've always considered myself liberated and open my own doors, pay for my share of dinner, etc. but there's nothing like having someone do things for you for a change.
- Appreciate the real lady in her. Maybe she's not the type that's always in full make up, high heels, etc. but inside we are all a bit of sugar and spice and a bit of romance and appreciation can go very far.
- Get to know her friends and family -- not in a plotting kind of way, but in a I'm interested in you and want to know more way. You'll get insight into her and it will also give you more information on whether this is a person that you may want to go further with.
- Find an opportunity to give a small but relevant gift. Is it around the holidays or her birthday (often awkward as you don't know what's expected early on in a relationship) or is there another occasion that would merit a gift (i.e. promotion, house warming, etc.)? Present her with a thoughtful gift -- get ideas from all the listening you've been doing about what she's interested in. (My husband and I still joke about the first time we spoke and he bought me a pack of honey roasted nuts.)
Most of all, be sure that this is someone that you really do want to woo. You can see from the points above that it takes time and effort and you shouldn't lower your expections. Women have girlfriends to talk to and ladies magazines to read about this sort of thing, but men usually have to deal with their this sort of emotional stuff on their own. I'm sure that a lot of you men out there settle for second best just to have someone in your life. (I'm talking about something different than a one night stand, and if you are one of those dogs just looking to get a woman in bed than I hope you find a woman just like yourself or I know a website where you can get yourself a useful little doll.)
If you know what you are looking for in the woman in your life, it'll be easier to find her -- and woo her.
Good luck lads, and I'd love to hear how it goes for you. Post your comments and ideas here!