The Alpha Male- Part 1 of 2: Does it Exist, and What Does it Even Mean?

When I first set off on my journey to improve my dating life and to understand the underlying principles of social dynamics, one concept that always seemed to come up in whatever forum, blog, article, book or video that I consumed was the concept of the “Alpha Male” and how this idealized paragon of pure testosterone and brass-balled masculinity was supposed to act. No matter who was authoring the piece or post, the general concepts were always the same; in order to be an “Alpha,” you had to both look and act the part. Appearance wise, you had to be on par with an elite level professional athlete or male model, that at least, goes without saying. Behaviorally speaking, definitions tended to vary, but the vast majority of them talk about being aggressive, domineering, almost Machiavellian in outlook, borderline narcissistic, taking things for yourself, and overall, acting like what people is most non-romantic and non-sexual interactions would call an asshole. After all, the popular narrative in online forums goes, all women love “bad boys,” the ones who don’t call, don’t text, don’t care. “Nice guys” who do not act like this are automatically relegated to the friend zone at best, and outright ignored at worst. Therefore, if you learn how to be an overbearing, loud, obnoxious prick, you too can get the girl of your dreams (or many girls at once, whatever you like), and you’ll never have to worry about being lonely or unwanted ever again. In addition to being the dominant paradigm on men’s dating forums and men’s advice articles, this is also the narrative that many of the PUA-related products will try to sell you on. Become the Alpha, the Bad Boy, and any “HB10” will be yours with the snap of your fingers.

It’s an attractive and seductive piece of marketing:  Just learn a few techniques, behaviors, dress a certain way, and you’ll be sleeping with supermodels and partying with celebrities in no time at all. The only problem is: The real world doesn’t work that way. As a disclaimer, I’m not saying that working on yourself, your dress sense, your attitude, and your behavior is a waste of time or a bad idea, quite the contrary. I always encourage my clients to become the best version of themselves that they can be, they’re not going to attract their ideal women if they don’t! The two main issues I have with this paradigm are:

  1. The idea that there is only one, extremely narrow and exclusive view on what an “Alpha” is, and
  2. You will get loads of girls by learning to take on the asshole or bad boy attitude.

 

So, What Exactly is an “Alpha?”

As stated above, the general consensus is that an alpha is typically someone who is:

-Aggressive

-Always getting his way

-Never “giving up value” to anyone in his group

– The most authoritative speaker

– The one who always makes the final decisions

– The one who is constantly ‘taking the lead”

While there is nothing wrong with aspiring to be the type of man described here, it would help us to at least consider the following situations:

  • Is the broke, out of work musician with the bad boy persona who sleeps with many women more “alpha” than the seven-figure a year corporate executive who is completely devoted to one woman and his kids?
  • If that same corporate executive loses his job and income, is he still alpha?
  • A professional football player lets his wife decide where to go out to eat, and then while at the restaurant, he holds his wife’s purse for her and pulls out her chair. Is this man somehow less alpha because he’s apparently “pussywhipped?”
  • If an overweight, balding, out of shape guy happens to be a powerful CEO who manages and leads 500 people, is he more alpha than a “hot” guy who works a menial job for minimum wage?
  • Is the dude who looks like Comic Shop Guy from The Simpsons an alpha because he’s the highest ranking and most respected member of his social group that consists mostly of other nerds, several of whom are women he’s attracted to?

You can see that the waters can become quite a bit murky when you steer away from broad stereotypes and zoom in the proverbial microscope to start to see the real personal individual differences and idiosyncrasies that maneuver most real people away from simple broad brush labeling. The major problem here is, once again, that human beings tend to submit to binary, black and white thinking when it comes to “alpha-ness.” You are either a raging ball of pure (traditional) masculinity, pushing people out of the way, talking down to others, acting like an asshole, while taking any woman you want (up to and including the girlfriend or wife of another man), or you are otherwise a complete “beta” who is destined to be crushed under the heel of the almighty alphas, and you will never know the scent of a woman for the rest of your born days. Unfortunately, when you read online forums and commentaries, as well as listening to people offline in the “real world,” many men actually do take this view seriously.

For me, I don’t see this way of thinking being borne out in the real world. Just taking a look around a large city such as New York on a typical day, I see plenty of examples of men of all types , whether they fit the traditional “alpha” mold or not, who are often out with their girlfriends and wives. Not only that, but from my own personal observations (I love to people watch), not looking, acting or carrying yourself like the popular definition of “alpha” has little bearing on the level of attractiveness of their partners. The fact is, you can’t chalk everything up to a simple formula, because there is no formula. The hot chick in the sexy dress who you’d think would be going after the professional athlete at first glance, might actually find that cute physicist to be just her type. The pretty, yet quiet librarian might find the loud, assertive executive to really turn her on. Women are not a one-size-fits-all single-minded entity who all want exactly the same things. If they did, you wouldn’t be seeing women out with different types of men, literally every guy who had a girlfriend would have the exact same characteristics.

So, does this mean that Alpha’s don’t exist? Well, I wouldn’t be so quick to say that. I definitely think that they do exist, but the actual definition of this is much broader than people tend to think. For me, an alpha is someone who is anyone who is secure in themselves, knows what they want, and takes steps to maximize their lives, in whatever fields, interests, hobbies or jobs that give them the most pleasure. it doesn’t matter if your goal is to dominate in the corporate setting, excel on the playing field, write the next great American novel, produce the next hit platinum album, or become teacher of the year. An alpha is someone who strives for excellence in what they do. It has nothing to do with being domineering, stepping on others, treating people poorly, or any of that. Furthermore, when you are acting like a true alpha by living your purpose and doing your thing, it tends to lead you towards meeting the right kinds of women, anyway.

Do Alphas exist? Yes, but it is up to you to decide what it is and what that looks like.

Part 2 is coming soon, where I’ll discuss the common myths around “alphas” and how the misunderstandings surrounding the term spread, and what we can do to overcome them. 

 

-M

Dating Self Development Principle #1- You Attract What You Are

Every now and then, I’ll have a client or potential client approach me and say, “OK. I’m looking for a girl who is fit, in shape, eats right, is adventurous, is caring, giving, driven, smart, and entrepreneurial.” I’ll also have women mention the type of guys they’re looking for: “He must be tall, in good shape, have a full head of hair, work out every day, make six figures or more, be sweet and caring yet a badass (and know exactly when to be which), and be funny all the time.”

It’s only natural that this is the ideal that many men and women aspire to when choosing their partners. Looking at society through a wider lens with TV, movies, advertisements, our parents, our friends, and anyone or anything else regularly bringing up the topic of romance, we are constantly being exposed to the notion that people with these traits are the most desirable. Even when we take away the factors of the media and TV, there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting a partner like this. For women, I totally get why wealthy, tall, assertive, washboard ab-sporting guys are seen as the most attractive. For men, it’s completely natural to want a woman who looks good, takes care of herself, and who is kind.  The issues arise when we fail to fully consider the other side of the equation- what it is we actually bring to the table.

I gave the example in an earlier post of how a guy who’s out of shape, lazy, unmotivated, broke, and who sits on the couch all day scarfing down Doritos while watching TV cannot realistically expect to attract a fitness model or someone who looks like they stepped out of a Victoria’s Secret catalog. Likewise, a woman who does not take care of herself, lacks ambition, dresses poorly, is rude, lacks conversational skills, and holes herself up inside her apartment all day cannot expect a Hollywood A-lister, a CEO or a professional athlete to just show up at her door. Why, though? “I thought you said it wasn’t all about looks!” you might respond. “Shouldn’t it be all about who you are on the inside? Your personality? What about values? If we have the same values, shouldn’t that entitle me to a fair shot at a top of the line guy/girl?”

The major issue here stems from the fact that a great many of us engage in a very binary, black-and-white thought pattern when it comes to the whole looks vs. personality debate. We have whole groups of online commenters, even whole online communities, devoted to the idea that looks and physical traits are everything in determining attraction, and that literally nothing else matters. On the other extreme, you have groups and communities based around the idea that looks don’t matter at all, and that an ugly, broke, humorless guy can “score” with a super hot model if he just knows the right things to say and has the right “lines,” or that an unfashionable, unkempt, uninteresting, unmotivated woman can attract a high-powered CEO or an NBA all-star. Neither of these extremes is the be all, end all, however. The truth, as is usually the case with dichotomies, lies somewhere in the middle.

Like it or not, the dating landscape of 2018 is indeed a marketplace, with the basic laws of supply and demand overseeing its workings like the proverbial Big Brother. People approach dating in this age with an attitude of “What’s the best deal I can get?” Both men and women are looking to match up with partners of equal value, not solely based on looks, but even more importantly, in terms of mutual shared values, interests, and personality traits. The out of shape unmotivated guy may complain that it’s his look that’s the reason why the fitness model with 1,000  steamy Instagram photos didn’t return his message. While that may certainly be part of the story, is it the whole story, though? Think about the vastly different lifestyles these two people live. The fitness model is constantly working out, taking care of herself, eating right and watching literally every morsel of food she is putting in her body. Her entire ability to generate income is closely tied to how she looks, so you can believe that most of her waking activities are going to be centered around maintaining her body in an optimal state. The couch surfing guy? While he may be a superstar in his office, his non-work activities, values and interests are likely  nowhere near in the same ballpark as that of the fitness model. It’s clear that he does not value his body and appearance the same way she does. If he did, he would be taking better care of it than he currently does. Ironically, the extra attention he pays to it will help him to cultivate a better physical appearance for him. In addition, his commitment to staying in shape will now compliment the model’s commitment to fitness and lifestyle, which will greatly increase the probability that she will find him attractive, and that these two will get ultimately get along. So, can we really say that the incompatibility is a looks thing, or is that just a symptom of an even more underlying  core value difference between the two of them? Ditto for the high-powered male CEO and the depressed, unkempt female recluse.

The underlying thing that we have to remember when looking to attract a specific type of mate is that you need to be able to match your potential mate in terms of the qualities and values that they bring to the table. If you look at yourself in the mirror, and you cannot realistically say that you can do this, then you need to figure out what it is that you need to modify in your life, in terms of habits, physical appearance, lifestyle, fashion, or whatever else, and make the necessary changes which will help you to better attract that type of mate. If you’re a rude, lazy, out of shape, and negative, then I hate to have to tell you,  then that is exactly what you will attract into your life in terms of the opposite sex. If you’re poor, get a better job. If you’re overweight and hate it, develop a solid workout plan and stick to it. If you’re negative and rude, work on changing your outlook on life and treat people with more respect. Attracting the best people into your life is as much a matter of general self-development as it is about knowing where to look and what to say to them. Make the necessary changes. You don’t have to change who you are at the core. Just present yourself in the best way possible. After all, you attract what you are.

 

Later,

 

M

Are you Settling? 5 Signs You May Need a Relationship Re-Think

Oftentimes, when we meet a super hot girl or an amazing guy, we feel the instant chemistry, the animal attraction that inexplicably draws us to them, and in that moment, nothing else matters. Our biology is doing the talking, and we are all too keen to listen. How many times have you started a short or long-term relationship with someone because you felt an intense attraction to them, only to find out later, after being with them for a while, that they just can’t meet your needs in one or more crucial areas? How many times have you decided to stay in these relationships, even after realizing that you are not happy, because you don’t want to be alone or because you’re afraid of putting yourself out there again and starting from square one? Have you ever left a marriage or multi-year relationship, and were so eager to be in a relationship again, that you jumped right in with the first person who showed you interest? Its unfortunate, but with many people we meet, we can’t (or in many cases, simply won’t) realize early on that this person is just not right for us. Sometimes the red flags in relationships are very subtle and difficult to see at first, and they only creep up many months or even years into a relationship. Whatever the case, if you feel that you are noticing the following 5 signs, it might be time for you to give some serious thought as to how, or if, you want to move forward with your partner. Let’s take a look:

Sign #1- You Are Prone to Getting Into a Relationship With the First Person Who Comes Along

I find this to be especially true of people who recently got out of a marriage or long multi-year relationship, although it is not exclusive to them. These people are so eager to get back in the game and find someone new, that they become quick to settle in to a new romance with the first person who shows them interest. Whether this person comes along as a result of a dating app, a Meetup group, school or work, the fact that this person is available, interested, and reasonably good-looking is enough to warrant making a move towards boyfriend/girlfriend status. While this person may check many of the more surface level boxes that you have, you need to be cautious and wary of jumping right in. Be sure to take some time to actually get to know this person, what their likes and dislikes are, how their values match up to yours, and how you can realistically see yourself fitting into this person’s life months or years down the road. Take some time before declaring that you two are an item.

One reason why this is so common is that for many people, we tend to focus all our energies on this first person who seems right for us that we ignore other potential candidates who might be even more of a good match for us. To avoid being needy and attaching too much outcome to one particular person, it is a sound dating strategy to instead date multiple people at once, at least for a while, until you can determine with confidence who best fits your vision of an ideal relationship. By doing this, you won’t be putting so much stock into one person too early on, and if you find that things don’t work out with the one you originally thought was best, you still have other options who could end up being just as good or better for you than who you originally had in mind. So make full use of those dating apps, your social circle, and even talking to random people you meet out and about. Use all avenues that you have available. Be comfortable with keeping your options open, and it won’t feel like such a let down when once candidate you like doesn’t actually work out.

 

Sign #2- You Accept Too Many Deal Breakers

Back in one of my first posts on the blog, I wrote about how you can go about finding your ideal partner. One way to do that was to make a list with several columns, with one of those columns being “must haves” and another being “must not haves.”  For each of those columns, you should put no more than 5 items there, so that your top-choice mates do not become overly difficult to find. It is imperative that when searching for a partner who will excite, stimulate, and ultimately satisfy us, that we do not compromise on any of the items that we put down in those two columns. For example, if you’re searching for a quality girlfriend, and you put down, “she must be a non-smoker,” then you need to absolutely plant your flag and not compromise on that. Too often, however, I see guys who will end up saying to themselves, “OK, well, she’s got 4 out of 5 must haves, but she smokes. Even though that sucks, she’s still got the other 4, so I guess that’s good enough for me.” Not surprisingly, several months later, I find out that the guy in question broke up with his girlfriend, because the last must have that wasn’t there became too much of an issue, and he reached the point where he could no longer accept it. The point to remember here is that even though we might think that skimping on one of our deal breakers won’t be such a big deal (and at first it might not be, which makes it all the more insidious), in time it will come back to play a negative role in the relationship. So if you’ve made the commitment to draw a line in the sand about your deal breakers, don’t decide to go back on them if they’re that important to you. Even if you are getting the feeling that not enough people have all 5 of them, you need to ask: Would you rather be alone for a while longer, to would you rather get into another relationship where you know that eventually you will be unhappy and miserable?

Sign #3- You’re Not Actually Attracted to Them Physically

Despite the messages we often receive from the media that tell us that looks and other surface level features shouldn’t be important, and that it’s “what’s on the inside that counts,” make no mistake: Physical attraction matters. After all, this is a romantic relationship you’re entering into, not another platonic friendship. To be in a romantic relationship implies, *ahem*, getting “physical” with your partner every now and then (more often than that, preferably). If your primal sexual desires are not being ignited within the presence of your partner, then you are going to need to face the genuine reality that this WILL be a serious issue in your relationship going forward.

I think a lot of people’s hang ups on physical attraction (at least in the United States) stem from the more puritanical roots of many cultural characteristics of our society. Many of the more traditional minded among us still view openly talking about the concept of sex, the sex act itself, and biological attraction as being crass, vulgar, inappropriate, and something that should only be discussed privately among partners. Some of us will even judge people who do talk about such topics in an open forum as being “not far above animals” (Yes, I actually heard this once). Partly because of these stigmas, and also due to how some people were raised, they learned very quickly to downplay their sexual preferences and desires as secondary or even tertiary traits that they look for in a partner, to the point that some now won’t even consider these as important, partly out of a fear of being labeled “shallow.” Many of these people have since gone on to form relationships with people whom they have a lot in common with, but whom they do not find sexually attractive. Despite having plenty in common emotionally and personality-wise with their partners, deep inside they are still quite frustrated that they cannot feel the desire to get intimate with their partners, and some have even gone years without sex, yet they stay because they do not want to be labeled as “superficial” if they decide to end their relationship and seek someone who they do want to share intimacy with. If you are finding this to be the case in your relationship, then I strongly suggest taking a closer look and determining whether staying in your current situation is worth it. There is nothing wrong with wanting and expecting to be turned on physically by your girlfriend or boyfriend. If you are not feeling that desire, you might need to do both yourself and your partner a favor and look elsewhere.

Sign #4- You Change Yourself to Fit Their Interests and Whims

Story time: I once had a male client, I’ll call him Charlie, who told me that when he started seeing his current girlfriend, he was as happy as could be.  His girlfriend, who I’ll refer to here as Annette, was enthusiastic, full of energy, funny, attentive, had frequent sex, and always made time for him and their relationship. However, after a while, once they moved in together, things changed. Annette started criticizing Charlie over his hobbies and interests. She would come in the room while he was watching basketball, grab the remote and turn off the TV, often without saying a word. She would complain when he wanted to go out and do something fun on the weekends, while she wanted to stay in. Charlie would silently get upset and frustrated when he would listen to her belittle and verbally cut down waiters and taxi drivers for making minor errors. He was increasingly becoming more and more unhappy in the relationship, yet he decided to stay, because, in his own words, “I thought I loved her. I still thought she was hot. I thought…. I hoped, that it was all a phase she was going through and that she’d eventually snap out of it. It only continued to get worse.”

A big part of the reason why things got worse is that Charlie became so desperate to hold on to Annette and continue to gain her approval, that he actually changed aspects of his core makeup as a person so that he could fit the kind of archetype he imagined Annette wanted. He stopped watching basketball, one of his favorite pastimes, and started joining  Annette to watch reality TV shows.

“I watched all her shows with her. Deep down, I couldn’t stand all of them, but I did it because I thought it would help bring me closer to Annette. I spent my weekends going to art museums and taking walks in the park, because that’s what she liked. I wanted to tell her that for just one weekend, let’s go for a hike, or to a Nets game. Let’s leave the city and go somewhere new, but I didn’t do it, because I knew she’d never go for it. I just didn’t get it….We started off so great, we had such good chemistry in our first couple of months, I was trying to do everything to rekindle that. “

The problem here is that we have a case of someone who fell so hard for someone else, that in the effort to keep that memory of the initial good times alive, Charlie decided he had to make changes to his own lifestyle and interests to better suit what he thought Annette wanted. Keep in mind, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make changes, overhaul your lifestyle, and become a better person. In fact I encourage this in most of my clients. However, a key distinction needs to be drawn here- If you want to change yourself and your lifestyle, you need to be fully 100% on board with it, and the ultimate decision to do so needs to come from within you, not because you are feeling pressure form someone else to change. Furthermore, the benefits you want to get from it need to benefit you first and foremost. If you are making the changes because you want to make them for yourself, go for it. If you are doing so because someone else is unduly pressuring you into doing it, you don’t actually want to do it, and you feel like you need to do it to appease them, then perhaps that’s not the best way to go about it. Example: becoming a vegan because you want to experience the health benefits vs. becoming a vegan because your partner is telling/bullying/forcing you to do so.

Sign #5- You Are Always Longing for Others While You Are In a Relationship

It’s inevitable- even when we’re on fire and perfectly happy with our current relationship, every now and then, someone else is going to come along and make us simply go, “Damn!” While it’s perfectly acceptable to find other people hot while you’re in a serious relationship, the problems start to surface when you are constantly comparing these people more favorably to your own partner in your mind, and even worse, when you start seriously contemplating making legit moves towards getting with these people. If you find that this is happening even once, let alone multiple times throughout the course of your relationship, you need to seriously consider exiting, both for your sake and your partner’s. While its fine to check out and drink in other people’s beauty and charm from a distance, at the end of the day, your should ideally strive to see your partner as the most attractive and desirable option you have. If this is not the case, then you may need to keep searching until you find someone who does fit that description.

Conclusion

Dating is hard. Dating in the hopes of finding a quality partner to enter a serious long-term relationship with is even harder. With so many things that we’re looking for in a partner, how do we know which things to look for and which things to compromise on? How do we know when we’re truly settling, and when we’re just being unfair? Only you can answer that, and you will really need to look closely at what your key deal breakers are and are not. If you can keep yourself to 5 deal breakers, and be able to compromise on the rest, you will find that the issue of settling will largely take care of itself. Part of the issue happens when we do not prioritize and simply make a list of all 20-25 things that we want and label them all as “deal breakers.” Learn to understand what your core values are, and base your selection criteria around those key things. You should find that  the process makes a lot more sense.

-M

The “I’m too (Fill In The Blank) to Date” Series, Part 2- Age

Just a little over a century ago, in 1900, the average human life expectancy hovered just over the age of 40 for men, and around 45 for women. Back then, you could reasonably expect to get married right when you finished school, have a few kids, and look forward to around 20-25 solid years of marriage before you and your partner rode off into the proverbial sunset. Even though divorce did exist back then, since life was so short, most people didn’t have to worry about the possibility of “growing tired” of their partners, or falling out of love, since 1) Far fewer marriages in 1900 were based around love, but for more economic and status based reasons (some say this still happens a lot in our modern society, but that’s a subject for a different post), and 2) There simply wasn’t as much time for that to happen.

In 2018, our average life expectancy has nearly doubled, and the vast majority of our marriages are based around how strong our emotional, chemical and hormonal based feelings are when we’re around our partners. People getting married at the average age of 29 for men and 27 for women can expect to be married for an average of 48 years in Western countries, if they take the “till death do us part” of the marriage vows seriously. For many, this amount of time is too great to fathom, as it leaves loads of time for unexpected changes in both one’s overall personality and outlook on life, as well as one’s individual tastes. Add on the fact that, when you base your long-term relationships and marriages primarily on chemical attraction, you run the risk of having that change fairly quickly after marriage. When couples realize that they don’t want to be together anymore because they “don’t feel the sparks,” and they still have 40 or so years in which to live, it should come as no surprise that you will eventually see a massive, unprecedented trend of newly single people popping up in their late 30s, 40’s and 50’s, many of whom are looking to find romance again. If people are realizing that the partners they originally got hitched to are no good for them, and they want to get out of an unhappy marriage and start over, shouldn’t that be a good thing? Shouldn’t we be praising these people for their heightened self-awareness and the desire to ultimately be happier in life? What about the people who choose to be single until a more advanced age, because they want to make absolutely sure that they find the right partner? Shouldn’t they also be praised for their foresight and  unwavering commitment to finding someone who shares their values?

The reality is that in many respects, society is not prepared for this “new normal” of newly single middle-aged people. Despite our increased life expectancy and increased health span (50 today on average is significantly kinder to us than it was fifty years ago), we still view the ideal time to find a partner, get married for life, and settle down to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-30. With media images, advertisements, friends and family reinforcing the idea that finding love and romance is a game reserved only for the young, and that being single past a certain age makes one an “old maid,” “confirmed bachelor, or “X-year-old Virgin,” why should we be surprised that there is a bit of trepidation and hesitancy from older people who are looking to date? Is there really a maximum age for dating, beyond which just looks plain silly, sad, and pathetic? Should single or divorced people past a certain age simply settle for the idea that love and romance are just not for them, and learn to accept the notion of being alone forever?

In my personal view, there is no ceiling on age when it comes to romance. The biggest determiner as to whether or not you will be a successful dater in your later years is you, not any arbitrary societal expectations or “rules.” Take my own life, for example. As of July 10th, 2018, I am just under 3 years away from turning 40.  Talking to many of my old high school and college classmates who are still single recently, it’s interesting to hear how they are all handling the realization that they are about to undergo another crucial decade change fairly soon. When asking them how they felt about it, roughly half of them viewed the inevitable with a sense of dread and fear, worrying about the decreased energy,  fading sexual vitality, hair loss, fading looks, and fewer romantic prospects. The other half of my age cohort looks at this upcoming event either in a neutral tone, or even as a positive. Some of them look forward to age 40, where they expect to have more money, an advanced career, more free time to spend with their partners and friends, more vacations,  more opportunities to give back to others, and to do the kinds of things they have always wanted to do, both professionally and personally. Something that I’ve noticed with the latter category of my peers, is that those who seem more upbeat about turning 40 are generally happier people overall. They tend to be smiling more, friendlier, they are more willing to give of themselves, and generally are not bothered by the small, minor setbacks of life.  Not surprisingly, these are the people who are the most successful in the romantic arena, often having multiple dates per week, and some have entered in to successful long-term relationships. Contrast this with the other group of my peers, whose negative attitude about getting older seems to overlap with a more negative, cynical belief about life in general. These people tend not to trust others as much, are less likely to help out, and they do not have as favorable an outlook on the simple pleasures of day-to-day life as others do. Again, no much surprise here, these people’s romantic lives are a proverbial desert at this point in time. Perhaps there is something to this? Perhaps there is something to the idea that your attitude about getting older is related to your attitude and outlook about life in general, and that this will ultimately have an effect on your single-dom?  Maybe. I’m not a social scientist, and the only data I have is with my own circle of friends and acquaintances. Regardless, I think there is a strong correlation to your attitude about getting older and your ability to date successfully. If you believe your age will be a problem, then others are more likely to believe so, too.

Consider also, the idea that the older you are, the wiser you are, about dating as well as in general. When you hit 40 (or 45, or 50), you will most likely have a lifetime of past relationships (even marriages) that did not work out. Wise people will analyze those past relationships and learn from any mistakes made. If you do, and you can avoid repeated errors, you will be in much better place to have a fulfilling relationship with the right person.

What about dating someone with a significant age gap? If you are in your 40’s or 50’s, it may be harder to find suitable people your age to date, as many of them will be in marriages or otherwise not available to date. It may be that your best choice is to date someone outside of your age bracket, either younger, or older. Many people have a problem with others dating outside of their age bracket, but I encourage people to be a bit more open-minded. At the end of the day, what we ultimately need to look for are shared values, not necessarily similar quantifiable numbers (like age or height). If it turns out that the person you have the most shared values with is someone 10 or more years younger, than why would you want to throw something potentially great away because of time spent on the Earth? This works also for someone 10 years older, too. Find someone with the most similar values to yours, and your life will be more fulfilled, regardless of age.

I plan to release more posts related to dating and romance at an advanced age very soon.  As usual, I hope you have found these insights helpful.

Till next time.

-M

 

The Importance of Being Fashionable for Men

Fashion? Isn’t that something that chicks are into?”

It’s unfortunate, but the above quote pretty much sums up the traditional attitude that the American culture has had about fashion as it relates to men. On the surface, one can hardly blame men who have grown up in recent times. After all, we’re talking about a period where the popular culture and media narratives have continually presented the iconic American male outfit as a plain T-shirt and jeans. We’re talking about a business climate where the unmistakable trend over the past half century has been to dress more and more casually. I remember the last corporate job I worked for. Most of the men paid little to no attention to how they dressed. Stonewashed dad jeans, untucked collared shirts hanging down to the lower thighs, and gym sneakers adorned the offices and cubicles of this 45-year-old company, where the standard dress code used to be a full-on business suit , polished shoes, cuff links, and (gasp), even a tie not too long ago. With all the messages that both businesses and individuals send us men about fashion becoming more and more irrelevant, we might be able to forgive many for succumbing to the easier, effortless, more comfortable options.

However, the people sending those utilitarian messages are probably not thinking in the moment about how you appear to the opposite sex. They may have temporarily forgotten the statistic being bandied about on countless studies, the one that says that people will make snap judgments about your appearance in the first several seconds of meeting you, and that the information presented in those precious seconds will be almost entirely based around how you look. Once that critical first impression is made, it becomes anywhere from extremely difficult to hopelessly impossible to alter.  This means that before you even get a chance to charm everyone with your killer personality and clever wit, you are already possibly being placed in the “I don’t want to know you” category, unnecessarily sabotaging your chances of getting to know a really amazing woman.

The fact is, you never know when you are going to run into the woman of your dreams. You might think it’s going to be at the next big cocktail party you’re being invited to, but it could just as easily be when you’re going to the grocery store or the convenience store for a quick snack, and you didn’t think you needed to wear anything special, so you just put on your coffee stained  t-shirt, sweatpants and flip-flops, hoping to get “in and out” without anyone noticing. But, if an attractive woman is there, then she will notice, and she will be harshly judging you based on your lackluster fashion choices for those 15 minutes. So why take the chance of throwing away what could be an awesome first impression? Why not focus on maximizing your style no matter what situation you are in? Today, we’re going to look at why it pays to tend to your fashion at all times, and the amazing benefits it gives both you and the women you interact with.

How Dressing Your Best Affects Your own Self Belief and Self Image

The quickest and most noticeable benefit of paying attention to your fashion is the huge confidence boost it gives you. Studies have shown time and time again, that if you dress a certain way, then subconsciously, you will start to act a certain way. This means if you dress in a fancy suit every day, then you’re going to start acting, and ultimately believing that you can play the part of a successful captain of industry. Conversely, if you put no effort in, and dress like you just got out of bed, your confidence and mindset will begin to conform to those stereotypes associated with that type of person as well. Such is the power that clothes bring to us. Once our confidence and our sense of competence increases from wearing the right clothes, it will produce a ripple effect that will spread out and touch every area of our lives. Our interactions with others will become more positive, and we will of course, be considered much more favorably by women, who on average, rank a good sense of style highly on their list of desirable male traits, even more than having lots of money, depending on which source you believe. This will then create a positive feedback loop, where being looked on more favorably by women will create more confidence, which will create more attraction, which will create more confidence, etc.

How Dressing Your Best Affects the Women Around You

Human beings are visual creatures. Research has shown that people respond and react to visual cues between 3 and 5 times stronger than auditory cues. This means that how you are presenting yourself visually will make a huge impression on any woman you meet, much more so than what you say (at least during those first few critical moments when meeting them). When a woman sees that a man has put effort into his appearance and his dress, it signals to her several things. Firstly, it shows her that he is a man who pays attention to detail. It also shows that he values his overall well-being and his own personal brand, and that he values himself highly enough to warrant putting in the effort to look his best. This creates a doubly positive impression where she is both impressed with how he appears on the outside, as well as with his confidence and self assuredness on the inside. Women also associate well dressed men with authority, competence, and high social status, all qualities that are extremely attractive.  Finally, dressing well signals to a woman that the man she is seeing has his life in order and is well-adjusted. Both consciously as unconsciously, a woman will see a sharp dressed man as much less likely to be a crazy psychopath than one who looks like an unshaven, unkempt homeless person. Makes sense.

So, Now What?

So what exactly does “dressing well” mean? Does it mean that we have to wear a suit everywhere we go, even if it’s just a quick 15 minute trip to 7-Eleven? Of course not. Wearing a suit is powerful and sexy, but there is a time and a place for it. When it comes to dressing well at all times and for all situations, it helps to remember what not to wear as much as what to wear. You can wear t-shirts, jeans, shorts, polo shirts, etc when you are not in a formal setting, as long as the clothes fit properly and are not oversized, and that the colors and styles match your natural tones. We will talk more about specific fashion tips in future installments, as well as the all important fashion don’ts. For now, I hope this has been helpful in remembering just why fashion and style should be an important consideration in your dating life.

Cheers!

-M

 

The “Im Too (Fill in the Blank) to Date” Series, Part 1: Height

Today’s post is for the gents. In this first entry into my new series on limiting beliefs, I’m going to be talking about the number one limiting belief that is affecting single men who I know and talk to, as well as male clients who I work with.

How many times have you heard or read the following:

“You’re a really great guy, but you’re just not tall enough for me.”

“If ur a short dude, swipe left, don’t waste ur time or mine!”

“I need my man to be 5-6″ taller than me while I’m wearing heels.”

“What do you call a guy who’s under 5’10?…. A friend!”

Of course, this is not just something that is happening to you. Female preference for taller men is a well studied and understood phenomenon. If you pay attention to the research that’s out there, you’ll be overwhelmed with findings and statistics telling you how advantageous and righteous it is to be tall in our modern society, and how it basically sucks ass to be short. Scientific results abound online, ranging from the claim that taller men earn on average $1,000 more per year for every additional inch over 5’9″,  to the idea that taller people experience more life satisfaction and are happier on average. And of course, taller men are seen as more attractive and are more likely to get married, have children, and have access to more sexual partners throughout their lives than shorter men. What exactly counts as short, you ask? That of course, partially depends on the individual woman in question. I have heard stories of men as tall as 6’2 getting rejected for being “too short” (despite the fact that a man who is 6’2 is taller than 95% of the male population, according to CDC statistics). However, for the purposes of this article, we will define “short” as being “shorter than average” or in the lower 50% of the general male population. In the United States and most other English-speaking nations, this bar currently hovers somewhere around 5’9″- 5’10”.

If you are below this height, there is a good chance that you have experienced some of the comments that I quoted above (and possibly more confidence-busting ones as well). When you are constantly bombarded by messages from the media and society that tall=good and short=bad, and when you see all the online dating profiles from women telling short guys to stay away, and when you meet women offline who tell you that they think you’d be a great catch you were only a few inches taller, it is easy to get deflated and feel like you want to swear off women and dating forever. Nobody likes having to put limits on something that they can or cannot do.  That’s bad enough. However, when it feels like society is forcing arbitrary limits on who you can or can’t date or find attractive, then that is a much, much worse feeling.

Look, you know you’re a great guy. You know that you have a lot of good qualities to offer a woman, and that you’ve got a lot of upside. But it just seems as though being short is a curse, your one fatal flaw, your proverbial Achilles heel.  Despite all your efforts, it’s your height, the one quality that you have absolutely no control over, that seems to be dominating your dating destiny. How can you hope to get around this? As a short guy, are you simply SOL, doomed to loneliness and a lack of romance for the rest of your days? With all the smack that’s being talked about short guys, it may certainly appear so. In actuality though, there’s plenty you can do as a short guy to attract quality women into your life, women who many of the tall guys will envy you for. How is this possible? I’m going to give you several key mindset shifts and practical strategies that will help you push past this most extreme limiting belief, and additionally, I’m also going to go over some key points that you should not do while searching for quality women to date. For the sake of balance, I will alternate between the “shoulds” and “should nots” for short guys on their quest for finding great women. Let’s Dive In!

 

You Should: Display Confidence and Good Posture/Body Language

With all of the aforementioned statistics and negative findings about short men in our society, it can be extremely difficult to remain confident and cool in a world that seems to shame you at every turn. However, successful short men have learned to silence the inner and outer chatter that is going on around them, and they have learned to focus solely on their goals and what it is they want. They are not going to let some old belief, no matter how popular and entrenched it is, dominate and control their destiny. Of course, this goes far beyond just telling someone to “be confident.” That simply doesn’t work, especially if you have been on the receiving end of jokes, comments and rejection lines your whole life. So what exactly can we do? The first thing you need to remember is to never, EVER, whine or complain about your height around women. Don’t accuse them of heightism or being “elitist,” and never give them any reason to believe that you are uncomfortable with your height. This will only serve to make you look weak and insecure. If you need to complain about your height, do it with your guy friends, or a therapist or a coach.

What you should do is learn to develop non-verbal habits and behaviors that demonstrate your confident powerful self. How do we do this? A good place to start is with your body language. Make sure that you are walking straight, with your head up, shoulders back, and chest out.  When you speak, make sure that you are looking people in the eye. When you’re sitting down, relax yourself and take up more space. When you speak, make sure that you are speaking assuredly, with conviction, and using less filler language (like, ummm, uhhh, etc.) Use a steady voice that minimizes rising intonation. These body language behaviors indicate a man who is confident, self-assured and powerful. All good things, indeed.

You Shouldn’t: Bring up Your Height in Conversation or be Self-Deprecating About your Height

This was mentioned briefly before, but if you are out with a woman, or even if you’re meeting a woman for the first time,  focus on having a good time with her and finding out more about this potentially really awesome person beside you. Don’t think about your height, whether or not she approves of it, or how you think you’re too short for her. This line of thinking can end up messing with your confident body language and voice tone that we mentioned in the last section, and that may end up throwing you off. If your height does get brought up in the conversation, address it with confidence and conviction, even with a bit of witty banter. Don’t succumb to being apologetic or trying to convince her that you are “good enough” for her despite your height. Again, this shows that you and your confidence are totally dependent on her opinion of you and what she thinks of your traits. You want to be able to remain calm and cool because in reality, you don’t care what she thinks about your physical traits, you know that you’re awesome!

I’ll give you a personal story. I’m 6’1″, so I don’t get a lot of objections about my height from women, but one time, I went out with a girl who was slightly shorter than me at 6’0.” After having about 30 minutes of good, solid conversation over drinks, she starts telling me how she normally only dates guys who are 6’3″ and above, and she likes to wear heels on her dates. She tells me that I’m a bit shorter than what she usually likes. Now, a lot of short guys would most likely fold after that, their body language would wilt away as they would commence by trying to qualify themselves to her, and to convince her to give them a chance, etc. In this situation, I looked at her in the eye confidently, and without wavering in my voice, and gave her a simple, honest, yet effective response. “That’s cool. I think you’re the perfect height for me.” I never heard any other objection from her regarding height that night, or any other night in the subsequent 3 months that we dated. Remember to always remain confident and have a strong self belief, even (especially) if your height is brought up.

You Should: Maximize Your Style

When you meet a woman for the first time, you want her to think about and remember you in a positive light. You don’t want her to walk away only thinking, “He’s too short.” One way to effectively do this is to focus on your fashion and looking your best. In particular, you want to wear clothes that make you look taller and de-emphasize your lack of height. Avoid clothing that has lots of horizontal stripes, as well as clothes with too many contrasting colors. You want to make sure you look more “streamlined” with a more consistent color scheme. Darker colors tend to work better here as well. Make sure your clothes are well fitted, as looser clothes exaggerate your shorter frame.  If you find your size difficult to find in stores, you may need to fork over a few extra dollars to go to a tailor get them altered. It’s worth the money.

You Shouldn’t: Tell your Date Not to Wear Heels 

This next one comes as a complaint from many women whom I’ve spoken to over the years, either as dates, friends, or clients. These women, some of whom have a strong preference for tall guys, but have since decided to broaden their horizons by dating shorter, have complained that the biggest thing that really turned them off about short guys is when they would express their discomfort with the height difference. This discomfort can manifest in many ways, but the most common was by making a visible fuss over the fact that their date decided to wear heels that evening. Guys, keep in mind, short dudes are not the only ones who feel insecure about their bodies. Women (particularly taller women) often also have their own height related issues that cause them insecurity as well. Many women feel that in order to feel beautiful, they need to be “petite” and small, and taller women often feel insecure as they feel that society may see them as less “feminine.” You might not realize it, but by telling your date to not wear certain clothing items, you are in effect, pointing out that potential insecurity and dragging it front and center into the conversation. Not to mention: Who are you to dictate to your date what not to wear? If an altered height difference due to footwear is going to bother you that much, then it might be in your best interest to no longer date this girl. If it doesn’t bother you, then you have no reason to bring it up in the first place. Either way, avoid telling your date what to wear!

You Should: Maximize your Physique

In a perfect world, working out to maintain and improve our physique should be a normal part of every man’s life. However, the importance of doing this for shorter men is critical, due in no small part to the social stigmas of being short. Having a great body is a real difference maker when it comes to attracting women. Make sure that you are doing something physical for your body at least 30 minutes every day. If you can’t get to the gym for a full-blown session, then at least be sure to try to do some bodyweight exercises at your home to keep your body working. Eating right is also essential. For some quick body fat loss, try cutting down your sugar by 1/2 and your fat intake by 1/3. Understand your body’s metabolic rate. That will determine your ideal calorie intake. make sure that you don’t go over that amount of calories if you are trying to lose weight.  ‘Calories in, calories out” isn’t just a saying. It also happens to be true. If you are skinny and trying to gain muscle, you can go over that intake, but make sure you are accompanying those extra calories with consistent exercise and gym work. Otherwise, you’ll gain size, but not the type of size you might be hoping for!

You Shouldn’t: Rely only on Online Dating for your Success

Personally, I’m a big proponent of the idea that all guys, regardless of height, should not rely so heavily on online dating as the medium for meeting women. There are certain character and social skill building elements that only come from meeting women face-to-face, away from the 2-D screens of our smartphones. Plus, offline meetings give the women you are seeing a much better look into your character, your overall vibe, your confidence, and your charisma/charm, all of which are far more difficult to quantify online.

However, short guys have two additional problems with online dating. Firstly, the fact that on many sites and apps, women can screen guys for certain traits, height being one of them. That means that if a woman is only searching for men 6’0 and above, and you happen to be 5’11, well then, it really doesn’t matter how much of a compatible match you would be for her, she’s never going to even see you in her search, yet alone get a chance to reject you because you’re an inch too short. Secondly, let’s say that, through your own search parameters, you find her anyway, and send her a message. When she sees your profile and that big note on the side of the screen that reads, ‘Height: 5’11″‘ in words and numbers so big and bold that they might as well be flashing neon signs at a nightclub, there’s a very strong chance that she won’t bother reading the rest, especially if she’s a woman who has many other guys who do meet her aesthetic preferences filling up her inbox with messages inviting her out.

The underlying issue with this is that when women are online, they are engaged in “shopping mode.” This is not just a girl thing, either. Guys do this as well. This is because the whole online dating setup as it currently stands is designed to treat the whole process like a window shopping experience,  or a “meat market.” People look through many options, and they throw out a whole bunch of potentials before choosing the one they like best. There is very little emotional reasoning taking place here, as the experience has been reduced to an almost binary, all or nothing, bare bones selection process.

Selecting potential mates in real life works similarly to this, but it’s not precisely the same. Offline, when a woman isn’t necessarily engaged in “shopping mode,” there is a much higher probability that she will be open to seeing what you have to offer in terms of your other, non-aesthetic, but still essential qualities. This works to the short man’s advantage, as you are in an environment that doesn’t have to place you physical traits front and center in a woman’s mind.  When you’re a short guy, it is best to put yourself in environments that will maximize your chances for success and play to your strengths. Think of it as almost like the 80/20 rule applied to dating. You want to be meeting women in ways which will maximize your success while minimizing your work rate (and potential loss of sanity).

One last quick thing to note here is that if you are dating online,  never lie about your height. How many dates have you gone on where the woman was expecting someone 5’9, and you showed up 5’6, and the girl didn’t take notice? Probably not too many, I reckon. Don’t start the relationship off on the wrong foot by blatantly being dishonest. If she can’t accept your actual height online, then she’s not the right girl for you.

You Should, Above All Else: Display Strength

With all that’s been said in countless studies and anecdotes about height over the years, it’s easy to think that possessing superior height is the direct cause of people enjoying success and prosperity in life. In actuality, though, height is only correlated with these things. As you might remember from any science based class you took in high school, correlation does not equal causation. When it comes down to it, in a vast majority of cases, height itself is not what turns people on or off. It’s what that height is associated with that is the real turn on. It’s an ancestral, primal instinct, but back in our ancient past, having  greater height was seen as an indicator of many things, including: better hunting results, better ability to provide, and an increased level of physical, mental and emotional security among the tribe and family unit. It’s this feeling of security, the ability to acquire resources and provide that is really prized here, not the fact that your head is slightly higher off the ground than most other people’s.

Although our societal structure has changed significantly over the millennia, our biology has not. This has resulted in many of our ancestral preferences being retained in an age where many of them no longer actually matter. Thankfully though, there are countless other ways in which we can display strength, ability, authority and dominance, which do not directly involve our height. We can show strength through our brains by being world-class scientists, engineers, businessmen, and entrepreneurs. We can display power through our social skills by being able to influence people with incredible charisma. We can invoke that feeling of security in people by being an authority on a subject that matters to people. We can provide physical security, regardless of height, by studying things like mixed martial arts, firearm defense, and other close-quarter combat tactics. Being skilled and proficient at any of these things is sexy, and the ability to show genuine strength is the sexiest attribute of all, no matter if you’re 5’3″ or 6’5″. Strive to maximize your potential in all of the physical, social, and psychological attributes that you have control over, and you will find the issue of height becoming less and less of a thing in your personal experience.

-M

How Women can Maximize Their Online Dating Experience

This is going to be somewhat of a follow-up to my last post, where we talked about why Online Dating is tough for guys, and what they could do to overcome the systemic and personal challenges they face in the current landscape.

However, it needs to be said that men do not have a monopoly on the problems and challenges of Online Dating. I have also had female clients and friends who have expressed a great deal of dissatisfaction with the experience, although the specific issues themselves tend to be a bit different. The general difference stems from the fact that with men, there is a lack of both quality and  quantity in terms of women who are responding to their initial messages and winks, whereas with women, there tends to be less of an issue with quantity, but a whole host of issues with the quality of guys who are messaging them. Having hundreds of guys message you who all suck can be viewed as just as big of a problem as having nobody respond at all. After all, it can be argued that when nobody responds,  at least you save yourself precious minutes of having to read through a pile of boring messages and disgusting pics of Mr. Winky. With that in mind, I’m going to focus this post on the ladies, and how they can improve their profiles in order to maximize their experiences online, and attract quality guys. Let’s dive in!

Issue #1- Get rid of the Laundry Lists!

I remember back when I was online dating. I would browse a woman’s profile, look a her pictures, and look at her bio to see if she was more than just a physically attractive human being. On many days, it almost seemed as though I didn’t really learn anything new about my potential match, because her whole profile was filled up with a list of requirements of how tall her man needs to be, how educated he needs to be, what his hobbies and interests should be, and whether or not he should like animals. When I began coaching male clients, I was hardly surprised to hear that many men were frustrated because they experienced the exact same thing. “I find her attractive, but I just don’t have much to go on,” my clients would tell me.

Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with having standards and expressing them online. That’s your right. However, when your requirements take up 80% or more of your bio, and you don’t make the effort to explain a bit more about you and what  you bring to the table, you might end up scaring off quality men who are actually interested in learning more about you. They may see you as overly demanding, and worse, they may expect you will treat them that way in a relationship. Men of quality want someone who is going to treat them well and be an equal partner, not someone who is going to make them feel like they are constantly not measuring up to an arbitrary checklist. Not only that, but by not giving more info in your bio, you may ultimately attract more of the creeps, as they ultimately won’t care about your personality and whether or not you are a good match anyway.

I find that women seem to have the opposite problem from guys on this issue: Guys tend to talk mostly about themselves, and try to build themselves up in an impressive way in hopes of making themselves sound more “alpha” than they actually are while almost never describing who or what they are looking for in a partner. Women, on the other hand, tend to make it all about their partner and what they expect from them, while not saying nearly enough about themselves and what makes them an attractive prospect. Again, you want to aim for 70/30 in your profile, 70% about you, and 30% about what you’re looking for. If you can strike that balance, you should be well on your way to getting more top shelf guys to check you out.

Issue #2- Not Saying Enough

One reason why you are attracting the wrong guys to your profile is because you simply aren’t saying much of anything in it. I can’t tell you how many profiles I’ve looked at, from my own personal online dating experience, to the matches I look at for helping my male clients get dates, and so many of them barely have any bio to speak of. I recently went online to check out a match my male client had asked me about, and I was amazed. This woman’s profile was literally 5 pictures of herself, and then the one line of bio which read, “I’m a cat person.” Now, assuming this woman was actually serious about finding a relationship, this is not the way to go about things if you are trying to inspire high status men to write to you. Again, just like in point #1, you have to give people a little something to work with. What about your personality? Hobbies? Interests? Work? What inspires you? What makes you tick? Be descriptive and explain, because truth be told, the types of men who you are really trying to meet will care about these things. So think about what it is that you feel you would want your ideal man to know about you, and put it down in your profile. You don’t have to reveal everything about you (in fact, you probably shouldn’t, you should leave at least a little bit of mystery to figure out later), but there has to be something intriguing there if you want to start off your courtship on the right foot.

There’s no hard and fast rule about how many words you should write, but try to keep it to a paragraph or so. That strikes the right balance between being too long and too short.

Issue #3- You Actually Write Too Much

Yes, the opposite problem is also true for the ladies. Many of them will write what seems like  an entire book about themselves, down to the last-minute detail, explaining what their favorite ice cream flavor is, and what color quilt she’s going to pick out for her next apartment. Again, balance is necessary here. Writing the Great American Novel as your dating site bio may look good to you, but for guys, many of whom have a short attention span, they are not going to want to have to scroll down through all of that information. Once they see that your wall of text is going to go on for another 5 scrolls of the mouse, they will quickly move on to the next profile. Yes, it may be unfair and ridiculous that a guy can’t be bothered to read a few extra paragraphs, but your goal here is to get guys to write to you, not to debate about the pros and cons of overly descriptive writing. Again, you should try to have your bio description be around a paragraph in length. Too much more than that, and you risk losing their attention, too little, and you run into what we talked about in Issue #2.

Issue #4- Your Photos Lack Variety

This issue is very similar to the guys. Many times when I look at a woman’s profile, I see that a great deal of their photo lineups consist of the same type of picture, usually 4 or 5 examples of close up face shots, and maybe one posed shot that’s taken far away, and that’s it. Just like with the guys, you want to be able to tell a story with your pictures. The guys who you are looking to date want you to show them what you’re about, not just be told. Try including a wide variety of photos, and try to limit the selfies and face shots to one, maybe two maximum. Include examples of you engaging in activities that you enjoy, hanging out with friends (don’t make this one your main photo though, guys want to be sure that it’s you they’re seeing up front), and just generally showing them that you’re an interesting person with a fun, enjoyable lifestyle. Even if you’re not exactly a thrill seeker, you should still try to focus on including photos that show men who you are, and what you enjoy doing.  Bottom Line: You should always be striving for more than just a long string of close up shots and selfies!

Issue #5- Why So Serious?

One common issue that I have noticed with women’s profiles is that in their bio and photos, they come across as almost too serious in their tone and prose. Again, this goes back to the issue of sounding demanding and rigid with the requirements lists. Good men don’t necessarily want to write to or engage with a woman whom he sees as a potential job interviewer, someone who looks and sounds like they can’t have any fun. Dating is supposed to be fun, even (especially) when you are looking for the one! Try being a bit more lighthearted and carefree in your written prose, share an interesting story, crack a joke or two, show these guys that you are a cool person, who knows how to be both relaxed and chill, as well as serious and driven when you need to be. Multi-dimensionality will definitely serve you well!

Issue #6- You Attract What You Are

To be fair, what I am about to write works both ways, for men and women. However, I want to bring this point up here, as I am seeing an increasing number of women guilty of this in their profiles, and to be honest, there was just too much other stuff to talk about in my previous guys’ online dating post, anyway!

The one thing that we need to remember at the end of the day is that, by and large, with a few notable exceptions, people tend to partner up with other people who are similar to themselves. This is true physically, mentally, emotionally, politically and philosophically. Humans beings tend to forge their most successful relationships among people who are closest to themselves. You might say this is an evolutionary trait that has been held over from our old tribal days. Regardless, the point is that, if you claim to want certain traits or characteristics in a partner, your chances of actually getting someone with those traits increases exponentially if you yourself can display those traits.

To use an example: Imagine a guy who wants to date a girl who looks like Adriana Lima. It would serve him well if he is equally attractive, fit, and made good money. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying that Adriana would probably not want to date a guy who sat on his couch all day, wearing a tattered old tank top with beer and salsa stains on it, while watching pro-wrestling on Channel 9. Conversely, a woman who is lazy, unmotivated, out of shape and has no ambition or goals in her life probably is not going to enter into a true, serious, loving relationship with a handsome,self-made billionaire. You have to look at what the person you want is offering to the world, and then match it up to what you are realistically offering. If you can say to yourself honestly that you two offer something equal in value, then you’ve got a good chance. If not, you probably will not be dating this person seriously, at least until you can improve your overall lifestyle.  You want to be on as equal a footing as you can be in the dating marketplace if you want to attract the quality that you want. So ladies (and gentlemen), if you want the highest quality partner you can get, you need to make a commitment to being the highest quality person that you can be.

Enjoy your Dates!

-M

 

 

Why Online Dating is So Tough for Men

Let’s say you’re a guy who’s outgrown the bar and club scene. You’re tired of the same old shallow socializing with women in venues with music and noise so loud you can’t tell if she’s saying “hello” or “help!”  upon your approach. You’ve now decided that you want to really get serious about this whole relationship thing, so you go online to one (or several) of the more well-known online dating apps, post a few pictures that you think look good, write a bio that you think is clever, witty and will make her laugh, and then with one press of a button, your profile is up and ready to be viewed! You browse through the profiles of women who strike your fancy, send out a couple of well- crafted initial messages, and after rinsing and repeating a few times with different women, you sit back and wait for the responses to come in. “I’ve done everything right,” you say to yourself. “I’ve got good pictures, a good bio, and my messages are genuine and are actually using words instead of provocative pictures of my privates. How could they not respond?”

The next day, you go to check your messages, and to your absolute horror, you find that your inbox is empty! “Hmm. Is there a mistake?” you say to yourself. “There must be some kind of glitch in the system.” Nevertheless, when you pull up your archived messages page, it shows that the women did in fact view your messages, they simply didn’t bother responding. “This is impossible! Everything was perfect!” You then proceed to silently curse under your breath. Rinse and repeat for the next several days, and after a week, you’re about ready to put your fist through the screen, crying out at the unfairness of it all, wishing you were back in the noisy, sweaty club talking with the women who couldn’t hear you.

Does the above description sound like you?  I don’t know if this will make you feel any better, but the trials and tribulations outlined above are in fact quite common for guys in  the current online dating landscape of 2018. But why does it happen? And what, if anything, can we do about it? There are actually quite a few reasons why online dating is so tough for guys nowadays. Some of the issues are systemic, and unfortunately not likely to change anytime soon, and others are absolutely, undoubtedly, 100% your fault.  The good news about the latter category is that you can actually do something about those. I’m going to give you an overview of the major difficulties with current online dating best practices, why they are this way, and what the solutions are that you can use to increase your chance of success in the ever-growing online dating market. Let’s take a look!

Problem #1- Your pics suck, bro

Like it or not, online dating at its core is a very visual (and by extension, some would say, shallow) experience. The fact of the matter is that when a girl logs in to view your profile, she just doesn’t have much information to go off of. She has a total of anywhere from 5-7 pictures, a couple of paragraphs of bio at best, and that’s basically it. You’re not going to be able to show off your killer vocal tonality, body language, and non-verbal communication (which are all crucial for attraction, by the way) as well online as you can offline. This means the way you visually present yourself online in the form of a series of two-dimensional, static photographs is absolutely paramount. It is quite literally the single most important aspect to consider when deploying your online dating strategy. If your photos are grainy, or if you’re dressed like a bum, or if your grooming is bad, then you cannot realistically expect to inspire a majority of women to want to write to you. You have to have your visual game on point. How do we do this?

  • Pay attention to your dress sense. Make sure your clothes actually fit you, first and foremost.  Many people these days tend to wear clothes at least one size too big, sometimes even more. Find out your actual size, and then wear clothes that conform to that. Wear neat, well ironed clothes with no wrinkles. Try to mix up formal clothes with casual outfits in your photo lineup. A woman wants to see how you adapt your fashion to all different situations in life. A good rule of thumb to use is to pick 3 outfits, 2 casual, 1 formal (or you can reverse if you’d like, but just be sure to show variety.) Make sure your shoe game is on point. The first thing a woman will notice after she sees your face will be to look down at your shoes, believe it or not. Make sure she doesn’t look away in disgust.
  • Pay attention to hygiene. Brush your teeth, make sure your hair (if you have it) is neatly combed and styled. Trim your facial hair, and remove unsightly hair from various orifices that may be visible.
  • Show women that you have an interesting life. This one is critical! Even if you’re a reasonably good-looking guy, if all you do is show her posed shots of you and nothing else, she may get the impression that you’re 2-dimensional, and not very interesting. Mix things up by taking some posed shots (a quality head shot should be used as your primary photo), along with other photos that show her what you’re all about. You want to tell a story with your picture set. For example, if you’re an avid rock climber, show her a picture of you scaling up the highest cliff you can find. If you love traveling, show her a quality pic from your last trip to Costa Rica. It’s also a good idea to capture at least one photo of you in a group. This is important because it shows her that you’re a social guy and that people actually like you. Finally, a picture or two with a cute animal definitely helps. If you’ve got all these points covered, you should be good to go.

One other thing that definitely helps, if you can afford it, is to hire a professional photographer to take your posed shots for you. Professional photographers have a great understanding of camera angles, lighting, shadow and so many other things that us non-photographer types don’t really think about. They can definitely help you to put forth your best-looking self. If you’re able to fork over $300-$500 for a shoot, it’s worth the money!

Problem #2- Your bio uses a lot of words, but says absolutely nothing!

Having great photos will take care of the initial attraction part, but if you’re serious about meeting the high-quality women that will be the best fit for you, then you’re going to need a kick-ass bio and profile that showcases exactly who you are. Different dating sites and apps have different lengths for bios and written profiles (Swipe apps like Bumble and Tinder want you to keep it to under 300 words, which can be tough, but do-able). Regardless of the length requirements, there are a few things that you must do in order to showcase your best self:

  • Avoid a long, laborious list of adjectives. “I’m a guy who’s smart, funny, witty, a world traveler, a good cook, and I love to laugh! I’m just a nice guy looking for a nice girl!” BORING! Remember, with an online dating bio, you need to show her who you are, don’t just tell her. Instead, try saying something like: “Imagine the old world charm of wooden temples, fresh fish straight from the market, and compact motorbikes buzzing down the picturesque side streets of an ancient Japanese city. Yes, I love the purple orange sunset of the Kyoto sky, which is why I venture back there three times a year. But it’s not always about perfectly on-time trains and orderly lines on the bus though… so if we find we want to see each other some more after our first date, remind me to tell you about the time I almost got my arm broken in Judo club!” By showing her this, you are saying a lot more than just a mere description of traits. You are showing her that you are well-traveled, interested in the world, have the finances to be able to do so, and that you are physically fit enough to do a rough sport like Judo. It is a much more descriptive look into your inner world, and it says so much more than just a list.
  • Put your accomplishments on display. Studies show that women are attracted to attributes like bravery, courage, and the ability to take risks. If you have demonstrated any of these things in your life, make sure you talk about them. For example, if you took the risk of dropping out of the corporate sector to start your business which is now making 7 figures, mention it!
  • Don’t make it all about you. Most guys make the mistake of talking about themselves for the whole of their written profile. Try to cut it down to around 60-70% about you. The rest should be saved for talking about what you are actually looking for in a date. An ideal situation would be to: 1) Lead in with an interesting story about your life, 2) Show her what you do for a living, 3) Describe several key hobbies or interests, and 4) Let her know what type of woman you’re looking for.

Problem #3- Your Opening Message is Uninspiring

One time, just for laughs, I asked one of my close single female friends to show me her Tinder feed. I was curious to see how the world of swipe-app dating operated from the other side of the equation.  When I looked at her match feed, there were messages from no less than seventy (yes, that’s 70) guys. I asked her how long she had been on Tinder, and her answer was,”3 days.” Yikes! Over 70 matches and conversations initiated within just 3 days! Most guys I know weren’t anywhere close to that rate of return. If that wasn’t surprising enough, what shocked me even more was the complete lack of un-originality in their opening messages. There was not one single example of creative thought mixed in with the sea of “Hey,” ‘What’s up?” “Ur hot! Number plz?” and the occasional “Good day, M’Lady.”

Here’s a bit of a depressing statistic. According to a post from Business Insider (link below), women only respond to 4% of guys who message them online. That means the other 96% go completely ignored. Looking at my friend’s Tinder feed, with their piss poor presentation, I could see why that whole group was relegated to the 96%. If you want to be in the rarefied air of the 4% that gets responded to, you absolutely cannot get by on phoning in your messages, especially your opening ones. Unless you are literally a Hollywood A-Lister or a superstar pro athlete, “Hey” just isn’t going to cut it. So what can you do? Here are some tips:

  • Don’t just copy/paste your messages. Yeah, I know, you’re busy. You’ve got a lot of stuff to do, and you can’t afford to spend all this time specifically crafting a tailored message to each attractive girl you see online. But seriously, how’s the copy/paste job working out for you so far? Is it inspiring women to write you back? If the answer is “no,” then you might need to sacrifice the idea of writing to more women for the sake of getting a better rate of response from the women whom you do write to. Women I have spoken to tell me time and time again how much they appreciate a guy taking the time actually read their profile and comment on something that was explicitly stated in their description. “It feels like he’s actually interested in me, and not just getting my number or an instant date,” a female friend recently shared with me.
  • When all else fails, use a GIF. Remember, online dating is a visual medium, and that goes with messages too. A cute GIF or picture to go along with your message works wonders with the response rate. Of course, this works better on sites like Tinder where they already have a massive amount of dating themed GIFs to choose from.
  • Ask a question. When opening up your dialogue, don’t just make a statement and then drop off. Entice her to follow up with you by asking a question. This will serve as an easy jumping off point for her to reply to you, and asking questions also shows that you are interested in what she has to say, which is definitely a good thing.

Problem #4- Competition!

Now we’re getting into the more systemic issues with online dating. Some of what’s said from here on out can sound pretty depressing, but don’t fret, there are ways to get around these seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

We’re going to start off by tackling one of the biggest complaints that guys have about the online dating landscape. The fact that, no matter which sites they visit, and which city or location they’re in, there just seems to be so much……testosterone everywhere.  Depending on which source you believe, most of the popular online dating apps average anywhere from 55 men for every 45 women, to as high as 60/40 on the more swipe oriented apps in certain cities.  On top of that, there is also a surplus of younger men and older women on most sites, so if you’re a guy in his late 30’s to early 40’s who’s hell bent on dating women under 35, the competition is going to be especially fierce for you. On the surface, it appears as though women have plenty of options in terms of men to choose from. However, just because the numbers may not be on your side, doesn’t mean that the science isn’t. Remember, if your profile is within the parameters of that top 4% we talked about earlier, then it doesn’t matter about the extra guys who, statistically, will highly likely fall into the other 96% who don’t get messaged. If you’re a top guy, you’re going to be on top despite the additional numbers, so keep striving to make your pics and profile the best it can be.

Problem #5- Algorithms haven’t been perfected yet

Although algorithms have certainly improved since the beginnings of sites like eHarmony back in the early naughties, there are still a lot of kinks to be worked out in 2018. For starters, most algorithms match people on traits that are easy to quantify, like religious beliefs and a fondness for sports or cooking. What’s not easy to quantify is the chance that a spark will happen between the two of you. Despite all our technological and communications marvels, an old-fashioned face to face meeting between two people is still the most reliable way to determine raw chemistry. So if you feel like you have a good lead from a particular woman online, don’t waste your time or hers by becoming her text buddy. Ask her out, and see if sparks will fly!

Problem #6- Certain Sites and Apps “rank” you according to your Perceived Attractiveness

This was a real shocker to me when I first read about this. Apparently, several sites have, either in the past or today, maintained a database containing algorithms that will “rank” you according to how attractive users find you. This means that if enough users swipe right or message you, your value goes up according to the site’s parameters. You then have a better chance of being matched with other users of the opposite sex who are also highly ranked. Conversely, if too many people ignore you or swipe left, then your value will go down, and you will be matched with “more suitable” candidates from the lower rankings. Ever wonder why, when you initially signed up for that cool new swipe app, you saw plenty of gorgeous people, only to discover that a week later, all you see are people who look like they were beaten with an ugly stick? Well, now you know why. Sorry, buddy=(

If this happens to you, it would certainly behoove you to go get those professional photos taken, improve your dress, and maybe, just maybe, even step away from online dating for a bit and go all-in on improving your overall physique. Once you get these done, delete your app or profile entirely, and create a new profile from scratch, so that the site’s parameters are re-set to default.

Hopefully these problems and tips have provided you with some value and ideas as to how to tackle the oftentimes frustrating world of modern online dating.

Also, ladies, don’t worry, I’m going to be providing you with some tips on how to maximize your results online in the coming week. Stay tuned!

-M

Links for your perusal:

http://www.businessinsider.com/likelihood-of-getting-a-response-in-online-dating-men-vs-women-2013-7

https://priceonomics.com/online-dating-and-the-death-of-the-mixed/

 

 

How to Date Successfully After Divorce Part 1- Mindset

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been married 2 years or 20, having to go back out onto the dating market after splitting from a partner you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with is incredibly difficult. Whether it’s dealing with the stigma of being divorced, having to figure out all of the “new and improved” dating sites and apps that may not have existed before your marriage, or simply narrowing down your updated checklist on a future mate, having to get back out there and start the process again from scratch can certainly be a cause for worry and concern at the very least.  Regardless of how old you are or what your current status in life is, there are things we can do and behaviors we can adopt to help us navigate the exciting and oftentimes scary world of modern dating post divorce. Let’s find out how.

Go Into Your Dates with Minimal Expectations

Before we can even get started on actually going out on dates, it is extremely helpful for us to get into the proper mindset. One of the biggest issues people have with romantic relationships is that once we tend to find someone whom we fancy, we tend to place unrealistic expectations on them, whether it be romantically, emotionally and even sexually. In our minds, we want to have that perfect storybook relationship immediately after meeting our date. We expect everything to be perfect, with no arguments or disagreements. We expect our partners to always shower us with adoration and praise, even when we mess up.

In reality, it’s hardly ever like that. You need to remember that no one is perfect, and no relationship is perfect. Not every date you go on is going to be the Absolute Greatest Experience Ever™, so if you have expectations that every date is going to be an overwhelmingly positive experience, you will undoubtedly end up disappointed at least some of the time. So how can we make the most out of our dates, even though a good chunk of them might not be that great?

The key is to not enter your dates with a mindset of, “What can I get from this person?” but instead, “What can I learn from this experience?” Look at your first dates with new people almost as a fact finding mission; a way to find out more about an interesting person. By looking at your dates this way, you can take some valuable lessons away from every date that you go on. You might also learn something interesting about other people, as well as yourself, along the way. Take stock of the good and bad experiences that you have on your dates, and use what you’ve learned from your interactions on future dates, so you don’t keep making the same mistakes. When you go on dates without placing so many expectations on the other person or the date itself, you will naturally find that you are calmer and more relaxed. As a result of that, you will find that your date will go more smoothly, which is ultimately good for both of you.

Don’t Let the Stigma of Divorce Define You

The period when you first decide that you want to date again will be the most vulnerable emotional time for you. You will most likely be feeling a mix of emotions, ranging from sheer excitement about meeting new people, to utter despair, wondering if the fact that your marriage failed means that somehow you are now unloveable or “damaged goods.” You may be laying awake at night panicking over the idea of potential partners on online dating apps passing you by or “swiping left” when they see the word “Divorced” next to your relationship status, branded onto your profile like the proverbial Scarlet Letter.

It’s very easy to get lost in shame and guilt when thinking about your divorce. “If only I had been a better husband/wife, then I might still be married.” This kind of negative self talk will only serve to bring you further down emotionally, and will ultimately end up being counter productive in your search for a new partner. Instead, try to think of all the people who have been divorced who have successfully found love again, and realize that the fact that your marriage didn’t work out does not mean that you are condemned to a romantic death sentence. Divorce is more common and socially accepted than it was 50-100 years ago, when the very thought of splitting up from a spouse was seen as much more taboo than it is today. Most people who get divorced will go on to form new relationships and marriages, both with other divorcees, as well as with people who have never been married previously.

So if you’re worried about people overlooking you as a romantic prospect because of your relationship history, try to relax. Most people, if they are exposed to the true and authentic version of you, will be able to overlook that part of your past. If they can’t, then why would you want to be in a relationship with them in the first place? They’re doing you a favor by selecting themselves out of your dating pool, helping to clear the road for you to find someone who will be more accepting and open.

Know and Appreciate the Authentic You

When you’re ready to date again following a divorce, it’s easy to think that you need to change or act like somebody different on dates. After all, the last time you were being your true, authentic self in a romantic relationship, it failed miserably, right? So it only makes sense that you need to change things up and be somebody “better” than who you are, so that you don’t end up in the same predicament as before.

As tempting as it is to make yourself appear more sophisticated, sexy, spontaneous, extroverted, or wealthy than you really are, in the long run, this may end up harming you more than it helps. Remember, the authentic version of you is what attracted your previous spouse to you originally, as well as all the other long term relationships you’ve had in your life. The problem with your marriage not working out is most likely not a result of who you are at the core of your being (unless you are a violent, abusive or an otherwise all around negative person, in which case I would suggest professional help), but instead it’s usually a result of several different factors bubbling up to the surface after a long period of time going unaddressed. Sometimes it’s as simple as the two of you evolving in different directions, and you no longer relate to one another. Whatever the reason, it’s generally not a good idea to act like somebody different on your dates, even if you think the authentic you is not worthy of respect or love. By doing that, you run the risk of attracting people who are attracted only to the qualities you are displaying at that time, not the qualities that are genuinely you. Know who you are, appreciate it, love it, and own it, and you will be able to attract the right kind of people and keep the wrong ones at bay.

Have a Firm Idea of What It Is That You Want (And Don’t Want)

After going through a marriage (and most likely several long term relationships before that), we tend to be fairly confident about what we want in our next relationship,  both in terms of our partner’s physical qualities as well as their personality and character traits. As much as we’d like to think that we know what we want, it will definitely benefit us to re-evaluate what is truly important in our next relationship. This is because, firstly, we are not the exact same people today as we were when we first got married, and also, our marriage should have taught us that certain qualities we thought were positives are not actually so. Of course, there may be certain qualities that your ex had that you definitely want again in your next relationship, and others that may not have been important before, but have become important as we have grown and matured. It is imperative to make a list of all of the important traits that you would like to have in your new partner, and then set out to find people who display those qualities.

Having said that, you need to be careful that you don’t fall into the trap that many relationship seekers find themselves in, where you have a checklist that is so impossibly long that finding your ideal mate is a like trying finding a needle, not just in an average-sized haystack, but one that covers the entire state of Alaska. We need to balance any idealism we have about our potential mates with a healthy dose of realism about what’s actually out there. How can we hope to achieve that balance?

What I like to tell my clients is to take out a sheet of paper and write down all the positive qualities you can think of that your next partner should have. Then, on the other side of the paper, write down a list of all the negative qualities that you don’t want your next partner to have. Next, take out a new sheet of paper, and create four columns. The first column is titled “Must Haves.” This column should list those positive qualities from the first page that are the most important for you. In other words, this column contains your deal-breakers, things that your partner absolutely must have if your relationship is to move forward. It is also important that this first column contain no more than five (5) entries. Again, we don’t want to overload our column with too many deal breakers, as this will make it extremely hard to find a suitable person to date if we are being too restrictive. The second column is titled “Should Haves.” This column contains all of the other positive qualities from the first page which are not in our “Must Have” column. These “should haves” are qualities that would be nice for our partner to have, but we are willing to budge and make a compromise if they don’t have them. The third column is titled “Must Not Haves.” These are the negative things we listed from the first page that our future partners must not have. Again, try to limit this list to five (5) entries. The last column is the “Should Not Haves,” which will contain the remainder of the negative qualities that are not in the “Must Not Have” category. Once your chart is completed, you should have a much better idea of which qualities are important to you. Use your chart as a guide to help you in your search for finding your next ideal partner.

Open Yourself to New Possibilities

This is related to knowing what you want and don’t want, but just as it is important to know what our deal breakers and must haves are, it is also important to remain flexible and open with the traits we have put into our “should” and “should not haves.” If our date doesn’t have a certain quality that we put in our ‘Should Haves,” then we should try to not penalize them for it, and maybe take a chance and see how it goes. You might be surprised at how enjoyable a date it can be. For example, if a woman lists in her “Should Haves” column that her date should be at least 6′ tall, but her potential suitor is actually 5’11, then it might be a good idea to take that date, as she may be pleasantly surprised when he turns out to be a great match for her.

Keep Your Distance and Avoid Getting Too Attached Too Soon

After the pain and hardship of going through a divorce, it is easy to get swept away when someone new enters into our lives and shows us interest. We immediately want to shower them with attention and affection, and spend all of our moments trying to build on that potential new relationship. It’s also ridiculously exciting to feel the rush of adrenaline and hormones that come from being “in love,” especially if they’ve been lying dormant for many years in your marriage.

It is important to keep in mind that this surge of endorphins is only temporary. It’s not exactly “best for business” to be making key relationship decisions about your future together during the early stages of a new relationship. Getting too attached too soon can be trouble, especially if it gets to the point where you new partner is freaking out when you’ve only been dating for a couple of weeks, and here you are talking about having kids and moving in together. As tempting as it is to go “all in” on this person, you need to remember to give the relationship time. Take time to really get to know the person as a human being, and allow time for the initial hormonal rush to taper off, so that you can make an more informed decision as to whether this person is going to truly be someone you want to invest the time and effort into. Remember to think rationally, as difficult as it may be.

 

Finally- Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously!

Whether we’re dating casually or searching for a new life partner, we tend to get caught up in the seriousness of it all.  We want to make a great first impression, after all- our egos are on the line! If our date rejects us, it can literally be painful. We also want to make sure that everything is perfect, and that our dates are worth our time and energy. Therefore, we tend to go into “interview mode” – asking question after question, like an FBI agent interrogating a most-wanted suspect, with the implication that if he or she answers the wrong way- they’re out!

Dating is not a job interview. It is a fun, exciting way of getting to know new people and learning about what they’re about. If we find we gel well together, awesome! If not, no big deal. At least we got a chance to meet an interesting person and find out more about their life story. When we stop looking at dating as a chore and look at it from the perspective of being a relaxing way to interact with your fellow humans, it becomes a much more enjoyable experience.

This was part 1 in a series of post divorce dating focusing on mindset. In our next entry, I will be discussing how newly divorced people can dominate the new and exciting landscape of online dating apps. Stay Tuned!

-M