First of all, I’d like to say a happy Persian New Year to everyone out there. The vernal equinox marks the first day of spring as well as the beginning of the Persian calendar. It’s a time of renewal, rebirth and remembrance, and an excellent excuse to party, which I encourage all of you to do.
Now here’s a letter from a reader a propos last night’s teleseminar:
i listened in to your seminar last night… i had a question. last night the last third of your talk centered around how to help men feel confident enough to approach women. you suggested (and said several times) that women know what to do “naturally” in that scenario.
especially for smart women, i have to disagree: we don’t!
i’d be interested in your suggestions for sexy nerdy girls who either shoot down men who do approach by being too “smart” (over engaging in intellectual convo too soon with a dude) or ones like me who don’t know how to the “natural” thing and allow men to approach.
feel free to reprint in your email blast. am curious to hear your advice. (my advice to myself is to stop looking at the floor and make eye contact. but easier said than done.) –Samantha, New York City
Thanks for writing in, Sam.
When I say that women naturally know what to do, I mean that they are constantly sending unconscious nonverbal signals inviting men into their space. Some studies show that over 60% of the time, it’s the woman who’s initiating contact with the man through some kind of nonverbal behavior.
Straight out of Chapter 9 of The Tao of Dating for Women: psychologist Monica Moore observed over 200 women at a party and categorized their successful moves to initiate interaction (technically known as their nonverbal solicitation signals). The most common and most effective one was by a huge margin was ‘smiling at him broadly’. Second was throwing him a short, darting glance.
In this case, I’m going to say that it’s easier done than said. Really, how many muscles do you have to engage to smile or glance at a guy? How many molecules of ATP do you have to burn? I’d bet good money that writing about how hard it is takes a lot more effort than just doing it.
Everything you want is outside of your comfort zone. If something’s inside your comfort zone, you wouldn’t want it because you already have it (or it’s just not compelling to you). So, by definition, getting what you want involves making yourself a little uncomfortable. Once you make your peace with that, it gets a lot easier to do new stuff, because you kinda have no choice.
But there’s something else. Over the years, I couldn’t help but notice how those same reserved, brainy, so-called socially awkward girls turn into raging flirtmobiles after a couple of glasses of chardonnay (or Old Milwaukee). It’s already in there! You know how! Look — I’d be a fool to think I, a mere dude, could teach women how to be flirty. I can’t teach you anything you don’t already know.
That said, the other part of your question comes up a lot, namely “suggestions for sexy nerdy girls who either shoot down men who do approach by being too ‘smart’ (over engaging in intellectual convo too soon with a dude).”
Two principles are in operation here. First off, you should never, ever dumb yourself down for a guy if it’s important that you have an intellectual connection with your future male companion. If you’re brilliant, then you need to stay brilliant. The world needs your light, and you’re not doing any good by diminishing it.
The second principle is knowing what to talk about. As a guy who’s into so-called sexy nerdy girls, listening to a woman hold forth on a topic she’s passionate about is very appealing indeed. I like a woman with stories, opinions and brains.
But not necessarily a woman who is all opinions and brains.
The key here is balance. To me, holding forth on an intellectual topic is a yang, or masculine, function. It projects outwards, and what projects is yang. What receives is yin. In a woman with a predominantly yin essence, a little bit of yang — however it manifests — is quite appealing. It’s like the spice that enhances the flavor of the dish. Spice = yang; dish = yin.
The trouble arises when there is too much yang. This can manifest in many forms: cutting a guy off, being intellectually overbearing, dominating the conversation, interrupting too much, correcting people. It can also manifest as too many facts and questions. Flirtation is the yin of conversation and what makes the communication sexual — the ‘you Tarzan, me Jane’ aspect of it. Too many facts make the interaction antiseptic and asexual. So remember to sprinkle in liberal amounts of banter and teasing.
I’ll never forget an incident a few years ago right about this Persian New Year time. I was with a group of friends that included a woman I had just started dating (let’s call her Karen). Another woman in the group asked about Noruz and what it’s all about, so I started explaining the history of it all. Out of nowhere, Karen cuts me off and starts telling the story, completely silencing me in the process. I appreciated her enthusiasm about my cultural heritage, but I never called her again after that.
So what you want to do is keep in mind what’s the spice and what’s the dish — bring in a little yin every once in a while. That’s why I recommend listening as the #1 conversational technique for women. It’s actually pretty hard to just sit there, without interrupting, and listen to a guy till he’s finished with what he’s saying. So if you’re the rare woman who can do that while drawing the guy out by saying things like, “Wow, that’s really interesting — tell me more,” then guys will absolutely adore you.
If a guy can’t keep up with you — well, he’s probably not going to be a good long-term match for you anyway, so you don’t lose much by moving on. But if he can keep up and you’re the one ruining the interaction by bringing on too much yang, that’s something you can control.
The power really is within you,
I think it’s great that you take so much time to respond to this question, Dr. Alex. It’s a change of pace from the staid answers on Yahoo’s Relationship column!
Wow, I’ve been thinking recently that my problem with men turning off is that I’m coming on too passionately and know it all about certain topics. First they are interested and then I can see the light go off. You hit the nail on the head about bringing in too much yang. Next time I’m going to do a whole lot more listening. You verbalized today what I’ve been coming to realize recently. Thanks for the help!
This really helped me. I am gonna try this and see if I can do better in conversations.