Category Archives: Reflections

How To Start A Relationship?

I have written about Sheila in the past, and while we always were friends, there was a period of time that we stopped communicating. Why? Well, she stopped answering my texts, and I stopped trying. I didn’t know why she stopped talking to me on a regular basis, and while in my head, I was trying not to take it personally, my heart was not going to be a compliant follower. I felt rejected, and seeing pictures of her doing different things with other people, kind of bothered me. Nonetheless, I felt it best to let things go. We might instant message one another from time to time, but nothing more. I didn’t want to be disappointed when things didn’t work out.

Then, one day, poof! She’s back.

I go jogging with a group of people most Saturdays and one Saturday, Sheila showed up.

At first I was a little angry.

Why here?

I had just gotten to the point where I was ready to forget her, and move on, then . . . There she is again.

A few weeks later, we went out. It wasn’t a date, but we were getting together to watch a soccer match on television. I was reticent, but I felt I had to try again. Then we went out again, and again. They weren’t dates. We were just going to a concert, then another one. Then we went out for drinks. I was hanging out with Sheila 2-3 times a week, and it was great!!

None of these were dates, but it felt nice to be around her again.

Then we went to a Halloween party, and this happened. . .

“I know there was a time that we weren’t talking, and I’m sorry about that,” said Sheila. The comment dropped as though we were talking about the weather or the next soccer match.

“But, I don’t want that to happen again,” she said, “I was trying to figure a lot of things out, and I didn’t handle things very well, but I completely adore having you as a friend. I know I want you in my life.”

I looked her in the eyes, and I knew she meant it. But I didn’t know it what it meant. . .

Was I getting the ‘let’s just be friends talk’?

If that was the case, I was prepared to handle it. Sure I might be disappointed, but I was determined to get over it and not jam up a friendship.

“Look, I can handle almost anything, but we have to communicate,” I said, “you’ve got to talk to me. I want you in my life, and if it’s not going to work out the way I may want it to, then I just need to get the hell over it.”

Sheila glanced up and to the left, then looked back at me. “Yes, but I think it’s vice-versa. I mean maybe you should let go and not worry about where it’s going. Whatever THIS is, we’ll figure it out. . .

“Whatever THIS is, we’ll figure it out.”

She smiled. I smiled.

I felt safer in this relationship – whatever it was going to be.

We were talking, really talking about how we were feeling.

 

I felt some resolution, kind of. I mean we’re friends, but . . .

Is this how a real relationship begins? Is this how a romance begins?

A Personal Note (A Blog Rather Than an Article)

When I wrote AlphaDog, my dating guide for men, I wanted to make money from my desire to help guys. I had no idea what I would learn.

Book sales started off slow. I had no platform and I was unknown. But I had a boyfriend, who I met while researching for the book. We got along famously and were joined at the hip, almost. And, I had lots of ideas.

I became a contributor to Dating Thoughts. Slowly, sales started to rise. Then I became a writer for the men’s online magazine, TheRugged.com and sales jumped 500% over the previous year.

Then reality struck.

My doctor had told me I had anxiety and that I should go to the World Trade Center health clinic. In September 2001, I lived a little over a mile from Ground Zero in New York City. Just before 9 a.m. on that Tuesday morning, I woke up to what felt like an earthquake. It was the plane crashing into the first tower. Outside, with a crowd of onlookers, I watched in horror as the towers fell, and I saw droves of people covered in dust crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge. I then went to a nearby hospital and volunteered in triage until 5 in the morning, helping shocked people get home and answering the phone calls of people searching for loved ones and colleagues.

To add to this all, because I had no air conditioner, the dust from Ground Zero contaminated my apartment. I became sick with acute bronchitis and lost my job.

This past November, my book sales dropped to the lowest level all year, and I didn’t know why. I cared, but not enough. In fact, I almost gave up on this whole dating advice thing.

Why would something that in the past gave me joy become a burden?

After months of examinations and therapy, I finally realized that I had been living for the previous 10 years with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from 9-11. How I managed to put out a book in a year escapes me, except for the fact that one thing had motivated me: wanting to help people.

It even says it in my astrological charts – something I disdained until a few months ago. I am motivated by the ability to help people. Sadly, in the past people used this quality against me, but I’ve since grown wiser.

So, I thought it would be good to share my story.

If you’ve noticed, I’ve been the primary writer for DT for a while. (Funny, because before joining DT, I was trying to buy the domain.) The other writers got busy with other priorities. But since I have a book, I stuck around and eked out articles.

Book sales in a way had been a measuring stick for my mental health. Sales started to slump just when I started WTC therapy. I cried a lot, more than I had in my entire life. I was depressed. I didn’t even want to go out. I believe it’s divine intervention, or the universe at work, that caused the spring of emotions to coincide with the drop in book sales. But now that I’m healing and no longer sob at the thought of the towers crashing down, I’m ready to take on the role of wing girl once again.

This is really about my relationship with you. And it’s not too unlike a relationship with a date. I’ve learned that I need to engage more with you. I’ve always wanted people to write in and ask questions. So, now I’m inviting you.

In addition, I’m giving a Valentine’s gift:

  • Free downloads of the Kindle version of AlphaDog. If you have a Kindle or the Kindle app on a smartphone or tablet, starting at midnight PST on Tuesday, February 14 through Friday, February 17, downloads of the Kindle version of AlphaDog will be available for free. Share the love!

In tragedies there can be beauty. There is more to the story, but I would have to write a memoir.

In case you were wondering, that hip-bound boyfriend became just a friend. I’m happily single.

A Year of Hope – Part 3

(Continued from Part 2.)

For an entire week I neglected my motorcycle. The spark plugs are hard to get to, much like those incognito feelings that haunt us and make us feel lost. It’s because of these plugs my bike wouldn’t start.

I waited to see what James would do. How was his ignition working? Would his motor turn to put his words into motion?

We are ridiculously flawed. It doesn’t matter how together we look on the outside. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Our delectable second date at Blue Ribbon Brooklyn was followed by dinner the next night in the same neighborhood at a popular Italian place called Al di La.

Before we went in, James left me at Al di La’s wine bar while he jogged down the street to give an extra $10 to our waiter from the night before. Talk about extra mile.

He returned from his stalwart act.

“Was he there?” I asked.

“He was. He was surprised.”

Naturally. At this point something happened to my heart like a scab had been picked from it, loosening the skin underneath.

Our seating arrangement was unlike the first two dates where we sat adjacent to one another. By this time, however, it didn’t matter how we sat. We were so comfortable with each other that a little food stuck mid-bite was no embarrassment.

He reached his hand midway across the table where mine came to meet his.

“When can you fly out? Are you ready?” he asked.

“Friday, possibly Thursday. My bag is already packed.”

It wasn’t.

Our dinner ended on glasses of tawny port and discourse on the Republican primary.

We drove home.

“Sushi tomorrow?” He wanted to see me as much as possible before leaving town.

I wanted to trust James with all my heart. But I couldn’t. There were still old heart wounds with scabs still on them. Every invitation brought up in me a fear that he would not follow through.

But the next day he surprised me again showing up in the middle of the day while I worked from home. I had become sick with a cold. He didn’t seem to care, except that he didn’t kiss me that day. Then in the evening, he came over again and picked up take out from a nearby sushi restaurant. Four visits in three days.

He was a knight. Or he was over-infatuated.

 

The following weekend I got my bike running. Those damned spark plugs. To get to them, the fuel lines and gauge get disconnected, the seat and tank removed, and plugs unscrewed. Sure enough, the middle two spark plugs were fouled with wet, black oil. The valve seals were leaking oil into the middle two cylinders.

Troubleshooting an engine that doesn’t start requires a step-by-step analysis. Is the battery charged? Is there fuel in the tank? Does the starter turn? Are there sparks? The Saturday before, my bike reached the fourth question. The answer was no. This was unlike the new relationship on the horizon.

Every day we didn’t see each other, we texted, emailed, or called each other.

I wondered during his travels if he drank a lot. What kind of people he met. If women tried to pick him up. If he tried to pick up women. They were questions that arise with new relationships that are only answered by time, situations, and trust.

One week after our second date, he calls. “What do you think of Mendocino?”

“Sounds great.” I had never been there.

“Will you check out what’s going on there?”

Two hours researching built excitement about ocean cave kayaking, horseback riding on a 10-mile deserted beach, wine tastings, and Mendocino’s crab and wine event. Airbnb advertised the Elk Inn, a perfect oceanside B&B and spa not found on Expedia. I forgot about all the work I had to do that week.

Expectations are what you have when someone else convinces you to plan time out of your busy life.

The next morning he calls. “Are you ready? When can you fly out?”

“Friday. Maybe Thursday. I have to find a dog sitter.”

“How about if we go someplace warmer?”

What if this all fell through? What if I packed my bag, sent the dog to the sitter, and had no ticket?

Tuesday I pull my carry-on down from its storage place and speak to a potential dog sitter. In the evening, still no ticket.

Wednesday we meet the new sitter. Arrangements are set. James texts, “Can you leave Thursday?”

“Yes.” I had moved my schedule around. Wait, Thursday is tomorrow.

With all the effort to plan a trip with a guy I just met, the last thing I would allow is to be left with a packed bag and nowhere to go.

Before riding a motorcycle, I did other dangerous activities like skydiving and skiing double diamond trails. In spite of plenty of invitations, I hadn’t skied in over 20 years. So, I made it my plan B. It was too cold to ride a motorcycle, and the valve seals were leaking.

When you ride a motorcycle, it’s important to have emergency phone numbers and a tool kit at all times. Motorcycle riders are infamously known as organ donors, and their bikes are infamously known to crash or break down. Perhaps this was experience enough to be prepared at all costs.

Wednesday evening arrives. Still no ticket.

Thursday morning the phone rings. It’s him.

 

Bag packed, I looked back into my apartment and bid farewell to the dirty dishes and piles of paperwork.

On Friday, I arrived at my destination, took care of business, and settled down to watch smiling faces as they laughed with the delight of their day off.

The chairlift carried me into a snow-blurred sky.

I thought about James’ phone call. I had answered. He hung up.

A Year of Hope – Part 2

(Continued from Part 1.)

Mr. Flawless opened the passenger door of his seasoned German convertible coupe. It impressed me that he drove this little vehicle instead of some gas guzzling monster of conspicuous luxury. He dressed casually, again in cashmere but this time no collared shirt. Remembering our first date’s wardrobe mismatch, I had dressed up and donned a silver mink stole my mother bought at a yard sale and a black silk John Varvatos dress from a secondhand shop. He liked it.

We headed toward the middle of Brooklyn reaching a neighborhood densely populated with occupied storefronts, more than half of which were gated shut for the weekend. Neither of us knew where to go.

While I looked for restaurants on Yelp with a rating of at least 4 stars, he checked Zagat’s guide and came across an establishment saying, “Oh, this one has a 27.” I put my phone away. Even with 4 stars, places reviewed on Yelp can still be hit or miss depending on who you want to please. Settling on this dimly lit enclave in the middle of Park Slope, we parked and headed inside.

Blue Ribbon looked like a Saturday night. Fitting for a New Year’s Day evening. In spite of the crowd, James secured a table in a cozy corner with a long view of the rest of the dining room. One thing is certain. We both enjoy the energy of a crowded room.

 

The day before, my motorcycle wouldn’t start. Missing the beautiful unusually warm weekend before, I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to take a winter ride. Subways on the weekend are to be avoided. Taxi cabs on New Year’s Eve few. Instead my motorless bicycle got me around town. Perhaps the bicycle was a better ride after all, since riding a motorcycle requires 100% attention on the road.

On a bicycle, it’s okay for your mind to wander while riding on paths with no cars. It’s a great way to reflect, think about life, maybe even grow a little wiser.

I thought about James and his confession. According to some psychologists, about two out of 5 men have a tendency to get emotional about romance. Two out of 5 women are less emotional. I’m one of those two. Was I insensitive to ignore “I thought about you all day”? I stopped my bike and texted back. “I thought about you too.” A day later isn’t too late. Or is it?

The rest of my ride that night consisted of thinking about the guy at the New Year’s Eve dinner who asked me out, wondering why my motorcycle wouldn’t start, avoiding stumbling drunks, and feeling happy and sad at the same time. Happy because I can do the quirky silly things I like whenever I want.

Coming across an abandoned and stripped bicycle frame on the sidewalk, I wondered if James would have fun re-purposing forgotten objects with me. This thought made me feel lonely. I tried not to hope too much.


“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”

-Proverbs 13:12, English Standard Version

At the table, James and I talked and laughed through three courses of dishes paired with a full-bodied Super Tuscan. We had Malpec oysters and Cherrystone clams, roasted endive salad, and lamb shank with sautéed white beans. The wine worked well with all three plates.

Doubts I had about the potential of our relationship melted with every smile and touch. Though not completely.

We got so comfortable in our corner that our legs intertwined under the table.

We spent the rest of the evening at my place, impassioned.

Completely at ease with our spent bodies, we slumped back on the couch. “I want to go someplace warm next weekend. Will you come?” He was leaving for the west coast later that week he said for business. He would be gone for two weeks.

I looked at him wondering how long his infatuation would last. “Sure.” The thought of going someplace warm while New York temperatures dropped below freezing was enough of a lure to not care what happened to our potential.

This wasn’t the first time he mentioned taking me away. During the first date, he alluded to it telling me about his racked up frequent flier miles and “if things work out…”

Whether or not things work out, I try not to hope. Besides, I don’t know what expectations are.

To Be Continued.

A Year of Hope

My last boyfriend and I split up during the holidays of 2010. This past holiday season – and I’m not the only one who felt this – didn’t feel like the holidays at all. I bought 3 gifts for my 3 best girlfriends. No boyfriend, no gifts for family, not even for my dog.

I rode my bicycle after a party in the freezing air on Christmas early morning across the Brooklyn Bridge. There were a handful of pedestrians on the bridge at 3 a.m. and no other bicycles. No tourists! I stopped and took pictures of I-don’t-even-remember, but I do remember feeling happy. I’m single, 40, and happy.

A week later, similar circumstance. New Year’s early morning, just before 3. Several more walkers – or should I say, stumblers – and no other bicycles. One thing was different. I had met someone.

Actually, we met the Friday before Christmas at a party in the home of a warmly hospitable host. Only two degrees of separation. He and I talked about exploring areas of the city, namely Brooklyn, my home. I wasn’t even interested in him during that conversation. But he wanted me to show him Brooklyn, so I decided I would introduce him to my friends’ restaurant. How could I not bring them new business?

I forgot about him by the next day, Christmas Eve.

A few days later, he texted. Darn it, what was his name? Mike? He lol’ed and corrected me in jest. All I could remember was his perfectly formed hair, flawless skin, and clean manicure. Totally not my type. Not for a girl with grease under her fingernails, a six-month old haircut, and unkempt cuticles, not to mention skin blemishes. Still, business for my friends.

When our “date” was about to begin, I hadn’t changed my clothes from work. In fact, I got off my bicycle after a 5-mile commute, and greeted him with a “Hey”. My makeup had not been touched up. My hair was windblown. My clothes were damp with sweat. He looked like he just stepped out of a limo at a Newport, RI mansion. What did he see in me?

First, a drink at a local hangout. Superfine is run by the coolest women who keep the 20th century alive with weekend DJs, bluegrass bands, and occasional burlesque extravaganzas. The food is locally-sourced, except for the California citrus and Hatch, New Mexico green chilies. I ordered a margarita. Better to bear with this man wearing cashmere and an oxford shirt. Certainly is not the guitar slinger nor the geek I usually date.

The drink was followed by dinner at my friends’ place, AlMar, at the bar. Surprisingly, he was okay with sitting at the bar. Personally, it’s a preference when the only seating options are across from each other. Why, when the food is to be savored and enjoyed, should one be distracted by a dining partner’s presence when familiarity and comfort is at a minimum? How self-conscious can a person get with a new date at dinner? No wonder so many people prefer just drinks for a first date. But this wasn’t a date with a prospect in my eyes. Dinner was devoured.

The third place we went to, Jack the Horse Tavern, in my opinion has the best traditionally-mixed cocktails in Brooklyn. By this point, after he disdainfully refused my inquisitive financial contribution, it was with pleasure to bring him here. Not because he was paying, but because showing him great places was the least I could do to as a courtesy.

Fortunately, on this last Thursday of 2011, he surprised me once again.

Granted, by this time we each had had a cocktail and a half bottle of wine. In spite of the reduced judgment ability, his conversation locked my attention to the point where words flowed from my mouth without the need to edit. I can’t remember the last time I sat with someone with this conversation ease. We talked about our post-9-11 experiences, our families’ highlights (or dysfunctions), travel destinations, and things our fanciful drinks reminded us of. The more we talked, the easier it became to see our similarities and reconcile our differences.

He walked me home. I didn’t need to be drunk to kiss him.

The next day he sent a text. “Last night exceeded my expectations.” Expectations? What are those? I tried not to think about a possible future with this atypical date. It’s pretty easy to do that when you can think of all the reasons why it would not work out.

Early New Year’s morning I rode my bike with hope. The memory of this man would not go away. If anything, he gave me a glimpse into a different life. Fifteen hours later, I answered the phone to, “When should I pick you up?”

To Be Continued.

My Online Profile

Dating sites, except for Nerve.com, which is undergoing major changes, are not designed for edgy people. PerfectMatch, Match, eHarmony, and Chemistry are all about aspects of personality and character that only come out through romance. They don’t address the fundamentals of what it’s like to live together, except on a superficial level, such as how well a room is kept.

On one site, I got a lot of messages. I was proud of my profile. It was written in male-speak with no more than two lines per topic, titles, and concision. (I’m female.) And it painted a pretty accurate picture of myself down to my MBTI type. Met two guys from that site, both of whom are great guys. But I wasn’t attracted. (I like serious, logical guys who come across as arrogant but really aren’t.)

But tonight…

I accidentally texted the wrong person. Was trying to message my neighbor but the text went to a guy with the same name who was from this dating site. The guy got upset. Irrationally.

I knew from this guy’s profile that he used Evan Marc Katz’s method for online dating from the way his profile was written and the style of pictures. I also know this because of the timing this guy had in responding to my messages. It was textbook. But of course, I didn’t mention anything. It looks great and reads well, but I know this method. So, of course I was guarded.

Needless to say, I was totally turned off. Not only from this guy, but from online dating – again.

Anyway, I’ve been seeing someone I met at a birthday party, and things are going well, so checking out is no big loss. But as a writer and one having quite a few men hoping I will reciprocate interest, I decided to share exactly what was on my mind on my profile.

The following is what I wrote on it:

Not hanging out here much longer.

When you text someone, “Hope the [job] went well. Have a great week.” How should a person respond? Should she (he)? How would you respond? Well, someone who I never met face to face got upset because when that text arrived on my phone, the job was still going on. Didn’t know how to respond. By the time the job was over at 3:30 in the morning, do you think the first thing I wanted to do was respond? Nor did I remember to respond when I had to wake up to go to work in the morning.

Who hurt you?

In spite of whatever reason you can’t approach an attractive woman and start up a conversation, learn to do it. Just say, “Hi.” Because a virtual dating life is a joke.

Heal yourself.

Stop getting upset about trivial things and realize that people are guarded. There is too much hurt in the world, too much abuse. Men and women hurt each other because they are emotionally immature. And people are immature because they don’t heal themselves.

Nurture yourself.

Figure out how to break the patterns of your own resentment. Love exists. But the more you blame others for your own misery, the less likely you will find it. You have to love yourself before you are capable of loving someone else.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Can you put your name in place of the “love”?

Good luck.

So, maybe I should have texted back “Thanks”. But the guy seemed off, like he had some insecurities that were sure to come out at unforeseen moments, so I was unsure about responding. Then I just forgot about him.

People mistakenly text the wrong person all the time. As one who had done so, albeit to someone with more issues than Occupy Wall Street, the reaction is undeserved.

Until someone comes up with a better online dating forum, I’m offline and getting outside. Or maybe the thing with the birthday party guy will work out.

How Much Is Too Much?

 

I met Sheila a couple of weeks ago, and I have to admit, I am rather taken by her. She’s funny, fun to be around, smart, and attractive. What’s more, she’s new to town, ready and willing to try new things and go to places she’s not been before.

At this point, I can’t tell whether she sees me as just a friendly tour guide, or something more. I’m pretty cool about things, and either way, I’m happy, but I really want to know at some point. I figure pretty soon I might make some subtle advances and see if they’re returned, and that’s where the debate comes in. . .

My best female, friend, Brenda advises against this. Her philosophy seems to be to play the aloof card. In fact, with Sheila’s out of town on business and her birthday mere days away, I thought it might be nice to call and sing happy birthday on her answering machine. Is it a little goofy? Yes, but that’s me; that’s who I am. She seems to like me so far . . . right?

Brenda’s response, “NOOOOOOOOOOOO, you can’t do that!!! You’ll immediately place yourself in the friend category . . . Bad idea!!!”

“Well maybe I should just call, then?”, dejected by the strong admonition.

“No don’t call her, “ she nodded, convinced that this, too, was a bad idea.

“What? Am I just supposed to ignore her birthday?”, I replied, shocked at the advice I was hearing.  Brenda didn’t really have an answer for that . . .

I mean, I like this woman. Are we in 4th grade again? What am I supposed to do? Pull her hair? Call her names? I thought we were past all of this stuff as adults, and while I understand that panting like a loyal dog is not a way to win her heart, ignoring her doesn’t seem like a good thing either.

I’m a “do what I say I’m gonna do” kind of guy. If I tell you I will call. I will call. I don’t wait until the last second. If I want to take you out, I won’t wait past Wednesday to set something up. I just don’t see any point in pretending like I don’t care, if I do.

I realize, this philosophy can be taken too far, and may make some women uncomfortable. I know where that point is. I’m not gushing over her. I make eye contact, and get good eye contact in return. I keep plans light, and flexible, but I’m consistently available when I say I will be. If she wants to make plans, and I’m busy, I offer up another time or an alternate plan that works better with my schedule.

At the end of the day however, my heart is on my sleeve, and I believe I’m being told, that’s not a good thing. I think need to get some more clarity on where the line is.

Which brings me to my dilemma, ladies – especially the single ladies: How much aloof, is too much aloof? Do you ever get to a point where you cut him off because he’s too aloof? On the other hand, how much is too much? What are the rules, or are there any rules?

Your input is valuable . . .

 

Incidentally, I texted Sheila on her birthday . . . at the risk of losing my anonymity, it read like this . . .

“May your day be filled with fun.

May your belly be filled with laughs.

And may your mouth be filled with cake.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

I hope you’re doing something fun!!!”

 

Was it too much?

Confidence and Charisma: Is it enough to win the woman of your dreams?

If only the woman you want to meet would give you a few minutes to get to know you. Then she would see that you’re worth her time. Confidence should be enough, right? Short answer: Hell, no. You might be a real confident ass. A lot of good that will do.

Then there’s charisma. You know that magnetic force that seems to inspire motivation (or envy) in the hearts of its beholders? Together with confidence, charisma can make an ass into a really annoying confident ass, or someone like Jim Jones.

But you’re not a confident ass (I hope), nor are you Jim Jones. You’re really just a decent guy who wants to find the woman of his dreams. For you, having confidence and charisma (C&C) is certainly a starting point. But where do you want to go with it?

Obviously, if you simply want to get laid, you can lure any woman naïve enough to fall for you using C&C. America might not be the economic land of opportunity it once was, but for sexual opportunity, it’s still mecca.

Though, the one-night stand is becoming passé as the world’s political climate forces people to think about what really matters. (Okay, not all people think this way. Though, followers eventually do what they do…[follow].) People see the value of long-term companionship and seek different ways to navigate the seas of singles. Women who are holding off for the right men are giving quintessential pickup artists the challenge of their careers.

In terms of the proverbial onion, confidence and charisma can certainly help buff your outer layer. It definitely doesn’t hurt to have it. But women really care about what’s beneath the shiny surface. So, if winning the woman of your dreams means having a relationship with her, C&C is certainly not enough.

Since what you guys want is different for each of you, I’ll break it down into two levels depending on how deep you want to go: the outer layer or into the inner layers.

The Outer Layer: Charm

Charisma is one of those character traits that is natural to only some, yet can be acquired by others with risky effort and practice. With it comes energy and boldness—and like a stream of electrons through a copper coil—produces magnetism and charm. Note that not all charismatic people are charming. Some people have great charisma yet are turn-offs. But with effective charisma, charm charms.

Jordan Harbinger, co-founder of The Art of Charm, can’t overstate charm’s importance:

“Charm is key when meeting anyone, because people, especially women, are programmed to look for the most social person—the leader—in any situation. Those of us that are charming have the charisma to rally people around us, even if we have virtually nothing in common with them. It’s this capacity to connect that gives those of us with charm the edge in attracting women.”

In addition to charisma, charm requires confidence and strong body position in order to lead women astray as they hope the experience will be as magical as the charm. (If you need help with the rest of the night, I recommend the advice and books of Lou Paget. Besides, she just rocks as a person.)

So, how do you get charm to work for you? You could be cocky and funny a la David DeAngelo, or use NLP (neuro-linguistic programing) like Mystery. There are countless resources available on charm and seduction techniques for that seedy, self-serving, and short-term desire to exercise your loins. These kinds of techniques can certainly help you get laid. Will she be the woman is of your dreams? Probably not. But that depends on your dreams.

The Inner Layers: Character

Now, if you really want to reach out for the woman of your dreams, think about why she’s in your dreams. Some reasons: 1. You’ve actually met her but you don’t know her well enough to realize she’s the one. (As far as looks go, sometimes it just takes a new haircut and makeup, maybe some exercise, for her to become a bombshell.) 2. You don’t show women what they want to see—depth of character—keeping them from wanting to get to know you better.

Though generally women are charmed by a man’s ability to make an indelible impression, smart women (the ones you really want) also look for clues that reveal that depth of character. “What you see is what you get” is the dumbest statement a guy can make to a smart, eligible bachelorette. “Wow, are you that shallow?” she might think.

Granted, confidence and charisma is great for presentation. But, honestly, it’s not imperative for a man to have it. Women really want to know what’s beneath the surface. This is accomplished without C&C inside situations such as study sessions during college or working together on the job. If you’re not fortunate of being “stuck” getting to know your potential partner, C&C could certainly help increase your chance to show your inner layers.

So, how do you show depth of character? First, you have to have it. If you’re the kind of guy that says one thing and does another, then integrity is lacking. This isn’t difficult to attain, nor does it hurt to attain it (except pride). It’s a matter of deciding to start being a man of your word and doing it. Integrity, related to honesty, is one of those character traits that can lead to a plethora of other positive character traits—like confidence, amiability, ambition, cooperation, etc.—that give you depth of character. It’s the trait that leads men to become powerful in business and sports. But if you want your dating life to be powerful, you must also have integrity for it, assuming that is what your dream woman also possesses.

Character is charming

By now I hope you can see why women like men who are confident. (A lot of women actually are turned off by charisma.) Naturally, the stronger your positive character traits are, the more likely you will attract women to you. In fact, Harbinger advocates a more self-actualized take on charm, one that stems from knowing one’s own strengths and weaknesses. His coaching services focus on exactly that, adding meaningful value to his pickup techniques.

Can you have charm without charisma? Absolutely. Just because you’re not a magnet doesn’t mean you can’t have charm. Charm will shine through character.

So, you can take the fast track to charm and risk falling into a pattern of short and unfulfilling relationships or you can allow women to see past your outer layer and really get the woman who will no longer be in your dreams.

Have a dating or relationship question? Ask Wing Girl Kim.

Email: ask@winggirladvice.com

When a Matchmaker is a Good Idea

There’s nothing like Valentine’s Day to remind us of how alone we single people are. But after experiencing failed relationships, better to be alone than bear with more heartbreak, right? The eternal optimist such as myself might prefer the risk anyway.

Rather than delve quickly and deeply into a new relationship, I’ve decided to take things slow. Well, not really. What I mean is, I’m not dating for the sake of dating anymore.

At the age of 39 with a growing business, I don’t have much time to date. My book is selling and people are responding positively to my “pick-up” methods. I mean, people like what I’m teaching. They’re not really pickup strategies. They’re really ways to discern personality attributes when meeting strangers, acquaintances, and potential dates. Do I use them in seeking a partner? Of course! But I still want help, because I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. (And I really don’t ask for much…I don’t think.)

After two marriage proposals, a few engagements, and other relationships I don’t regret, I’ve finally decided it’s time to settle down. I’ve heard that finding a spouse within a year can be done with plenty of proactivity. Unfortunately, I’m lacking the time needed to utilize these tested spouse-finding strategies. So, I decided to inquire matchmakers.

A lot of matchmakers have teams of people looking for the characteristics their clients are looking for. It’s like exponentially increasing the odds of finding the one. My requirements are pretty simple: a natural leader with a spiritual side. The question I had to ask is who would understand what I’m looking for. Finding the right matchmaker to work with can be challenging.

In the process of researching the various backgrounds and practices of matchmakers, I found that a lot of them offer a lot of socializing opportunities in addition to counseling, date coaching, and introductions. But one matchmaker in particular stood out – Janis Spindel.

Unlike Patti Stanger, the Millionaire Matchmaker – who works with a range of characters and sometimes uses her clients for entertainment value – Janis focuses seriously on finding men their soul mates. Her clients are men who are ready to get married and who she’s comfortable working with. On top of that, Janis is married to her husband of about 30 years and has two grown daughters – one of whom, Carly, has her own dating agenda.

Choosing to work with clients Janis likes earns my respect, because that means she wants her work to be quality. How can you not respect that? Besides, why would anyone want to work with someone whose lifestyle and character is different from his or her own? Wouldn’t you trust someone within your own circle of friends more than someone in an unknown network? I certainly wouldn’t want a matchmaker to set me up if she or he didn’t get me.

Since I couldn’t hire Janis myself (since she only works with men as her clients, not to mention being beyond my means), I decided to share our conversation with the world.

Click on the image to watch the video of our talk and see for yourself what a real matchmaker does.

Click to watch the interview with Janis Spindel

Short on time? Click here for 2 minutes of highlights.

Valentine’s Day. I actually don’t feel sad at all. Besides, it’s $10 burger and beer night at the Water Street Bar and Grill in Brooklyn. Maybe I’ll get a chance meeting with my soul mate…probably not. Hey, you never know.

The Social Network’s Irrational Man

Those of you who have read my writing before probably have read something about the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) and Jungian personality type theory. Seeing the movie The Social Network, I’m compelled once again.

We constantly hear about women and their emotions– how irrational they can be or how much women flip-flop. However, men can also be irrational.

A perfect example of a man with an emotional decision-making tendency is Eduardo Saverin’s character in The Social Network, portrayed by Andrew Garfield. In the beginning of the movie, Saverin is a close friend of Mark Zuckerberg. As co-founder of the fastest-growing online social network of the decade, Saverin has a mind for business. As a young college student, Saverin also has an emotional mind and makes a grave mistake. He gets upset, then rashly threatens the success of Zuckerberg’s creation.

Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, in contrast maintained his logical cool. (Let’s say logiccool.) Zuckerberg is a classic intuitive thinker. In spite of the opposition, Zuckerberg didn’t make rash decisions, but used logic to determine his next move.

Of course, the movie probably overly-dramatizes Saverin’s choices, but it does give an excellent example of what an emotional decision-making man might look like. Granted, Saverin is young when he nearly pulls the plug on Facebook. (We were all young, and we have all made rash decisions. Okay, maybe not all of us.) But if your heartstrings are attached enough– say, to something you’ve invested in– your decision-making tendency will be illuminated.

A study published in 2008 indicated that 40% of American men are emotional decision-makers. These men, like women who are “emotional” tend to make decisions based on feelings before using logic. So, why does society acknowledge male logic more than male irrationality? Possible obvious answer: male dominance in business, marketing, politics, religion, and…uhhh, society? Whatever the real answer, we often fail to acknowledge that many men make irrational decisions because of their emotions. Because of this, we tend to make assumptions and generalizations about the dynamics of relationships. Then, life goes in an unexpected manner; someone gets upset; and the drama perpetuates.

Of course, there are other factors involved when it comes to emotions, namely, hormones. When it comes to understanding what makes relationships work well, whether they be romantic or work-related, knowing personality differences can elucidate.

So, understand personality type theory. Stop the drama before it sucks energy from your soul. But how?

To get more logiccool, first you need to know your tendency. Are you the type of person to make decisions because of logical thought or do you act because you want revenge, feel hurt or angry, or are in love? It takes more than one question to really determine your tendency. Be assured, 99% of people lean one way or the other.

If your tendency is to go by emotions more often than logic, be aware of the tendency, and stop yourself before making decisions. Take extra time to think before acting. Pretty simple, eh? Well, in the heat of a moment, it might not be so easy. Though the more opportunities to practice taking time, the more likely you will attain that logiccool.

Wing Girl Kim is the author of the AlphaDog book.