How NOT to lose a guy in ten days (Part 1)

Once upon a time in the Land of Dating, a hopeful Single Woman encountered a seemingly perfect Single Man. The two hit it off instantly, began talking, texting, Facebooking, and Blackberry messaging non-stop, had a few dates, seemed to be cruising quite nicely along Casual Communication Avenue directly onto Dating Street, when all of a sudden…BOOM! Single Woman hit a speed bump which turned into a pothole which turned into full-fledged detour. With no warning, Single Man vanished, never to be heard from again – Facebook page deleted, phone disconnected, Twitter page left abandoned and Blackberry Messenger status frozen at “Contact is Busy.”

Okay, so maybe your situation wasn’t this dramatic, but we’ve ALL had that completely mind-boggling situation happen to us at one time or another, where a guy we were totally into seemed to be giving us all the right signals and moving full steam ahead…until all of a sudden, he wasn’t. Without so much as an explanation of his sudden fleeing the scene of the Crime of Passion (or lack thereof), we are left to wonder “What happened?” and “Was it me?” and “What did I do wrong?”

The early stages of dating can be such a delicate dance of getting to know each other and being open without being too available and showing sufficient interest without seeming TOO interested that it’s a miracle two people ever manage to graduate from Like to Love. And as much as we all like to tell ourselves, “It wasn’t me,” or “He’s just intimidated by my independence,” or “He just wasn’t ready for a relationship,” – the bottom line is, ladies, sometimes, it IS us. We’ve all seen the adorable Kate Hudson take on Matthew McConaughey in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” where Hudson’s Andi Anderson conducts the ultimate social experiment, for the purposes of her column, to see if she can intentionally drive away a guy in ten days or less. And while we laughed uproariously at Andi’s truly heinous methods, inside, we cringed a bit – knowing that, at one point or another, we had all fallen victim to these same mistakes. We have ALL made ourselves too available. We have ALL envisioned our future kids with a guy whose last name we don’t even know. (Don’t deny it, ladies.) We have ALL subtly molded aspects of our lives to fit a guy we barely know, just because he COULD be the one…and sometimes, simply because we are so weary of kissing frogs, we’re willing to dress one up as Prince Charming just so we can go to the ball. But how do we fix the problem? How do we NOT lose a guy in ten days?

For the purposes of MY column, I have conducted the ultimate social experiment on your behalf, interviewing dozens of men (and a few women) to get insight into what it is we’re doing wrong and how we can stop driving away love before it even has the chance to blossom. I talked to a wide array of men, most from Nashville (although one as far away as New York), married men, single men, gay men, straight men, and men of all races and ages. And now, ladies…I present to you…

The Top 10 Ways NOT to Lose a Guy in 10 Days:

10) Before you dress, Caress – This one might seem all kinds of obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many men included this on their list of deal breakers. Bad hygiene on anyone is offensive, distasteful and downright gross, but on a woman? Even more so. Guys are allowed to play basketball for hours and then embrace us with so much gusto we’re left looking like we just ran through a sprinkler, but when a woman does the same? Not cute. C’mon, we’re LADIES. We’re supposed to smell pretty and look pretty and not have any weird hairs in weird places or breath that would wilt the flowers he just gave us or dirt under our fingernails from where we stopped to smell the roses. Take a little extra time before you go out with him, even if you’re a tomboy. Pluck and wax and powder and spray and polish and lather, rinse and repeat. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Even without L’oreal, you’re still worth it, but WITH L’oreal, you give him the chance to see you for the true, polished, rare diamond that you are.

9) Take your technology OFF the table – I had one Nashville guy tell me that on a first date with a girl, while they were literally sitting at the dinner table, she was texting with her ex. I don’t care if “all your exes live in TEXT-as” or not, frantically tapping away at your iPhone while in the company of anyone, let alone a potential romantic interest, is just plain rude. It leaves the other person to sit there feeling awkward and uncomfortable while you try to T-9 word your way back into your ex’s heart. And updating your Facebook status can wait until AFTER dinner, unless you want your relationship status to stay permanently “single.” Technology is a good thing and connects us in ways we never thought possible, but when used at inappropriate times, it can kill a connection faster than you can click “send.” Needless to say, my Nashville guy never called the “texting the ex” girl back again, and never picked up her calls when she tried to reach out to him.

8) You don’t have to take your clothes off, to have a good time – Believe it or not, it seems that sending less-than-ladylike pictures to a new romantic prospect in the first few days of getting to know each other is an increasingly popular trend. Ladies – when you leave absolutely nothing to the imagination, you kill the attraction! Put your clothes back on and step away from the cell phone. As one guy put it: “If she’s sending you those types of photos when you’ve barely even met, it’s obvious everyone in town has those same photos!” Have enough self-respect to realize that if you have to catch a guy with that kind of bait, you should probably throw him back. Not to mention – whatever you send out into cyberspace STAYS there, so prepare to have that photo come back to haunt you long after the relationship has ended.

7) Don’t knock the ties that bind – A girl’s relationship with her family is often very telling of how she values herself and how she will ultimately value her relationship with a man. If you openly show irreverence, disrespect and/or contempt for your family, chances are, you will soon be singing the same tune about your potential mate. Now, obviously, some people were not fortunate enough to be born into great families and might have faced unimaginable hardships and challenges growing up, and two thumbs up to you for surviving and thriving – but does a guy really need to hear all that in the early stages of a relationship? It’s important to remember that there will be ample time for your history to be told once you’ve established a loving, committed relationship, but until then, leave the sob stories on the shelf – unless you want to send him running for the door.

6) If you want him to take you seriously, don’t take yourself TOO seriously – As the old adage goes, if you can’t learn to laugh at yourself, prepare to have others laugh at you. Lighten up! If you want to sail on the wings of love (cue cheesy theme song from “The Bachelor”), you have to learn to take yourself lightly! Smile. Laugh. Giggle. Be goofy. Be silly. There is absolutely nothing more beautiful or vibrant than a happy, lighthearted, fun-loving woman. He can’t fall in love with your smile if you never bother to show it! Sure, a first date and even a second and third date can be nerve-wracking and awkward and bring out insecurities eve
n in the best of us, but showing up to a date acting like the Grim Reaper is the proverbial Kiss of Death to a budding relationship. Laughter is the quickest way to connect two hearts, so if you want to take a relationship from ten days to ten years (and beyond) – turn that frown upside down! Because, after all – “All you need in the world is love and laughter. That’s all anybody needs. To have love in one hand and laughter in the other.” -August Wilson

Look for the continuation of my “Top 10 Ways NOT to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” in my next column, “How NOT to lose a guy in ten days (Part 2)” where I’ll reveal the Top 5 – coming SOON!
 

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