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Even, the ones who can charm your mother while simultaneously rewiring a plug, have become a rare and – here’s what’s in it for you – a sought-after breed.
Consider this your macho wake-up call, a proverbial punch to the gut. It’s time to man up.
1 Master the art of chivalry
If being a gentleman makes you think of throwing down your cape so that she can step over a puddle, we understand. It is a somewhat dated stereotype that often leaves women suspicious: the modern, ambitious, PS3-playing dude who suddenly turns into a door-opening, chair-pulling gent when the lights are dimmed. There has to be an agenda, right? Chivalry, while not a trendy term, speaks of courtesy – that you’re capable of thinking of someone other than yourself – and good manners that aren’t turned on and off to impress.
Walk the walk. Five key moves show that you’re respectful (an important manly trait). One: pick up the tab on the first date. If she offers to split the bill, she doesn’t mean it. Insist on paying, mentioning oh, so smoothly that she can get coffee next time. Two: open doors it’s a never-fail impression maker – and offer to carry heavy things, not just for the object of your affection. It works if she’s just in the vicinity of your thoughtfulness. Three: use table manners, even if all you can manage is refilling her drink and chewing with your mouth closed. Four: always offer your coat on a chilly night. (Yes, we know we should bring our own, but we don’t. Besides, there’s something amazing about cuddling up in your big man jacket.) Five: never pressure a woman for sex, especially on the first date.
2 Acquire a skill
Having interests – other than watching TV and being passionate about something is super sexy. Find something you love and learn more about it so that you have something interesting to say and share. But don’t let your hobby dominate everything you do or talk about.
When you’re considering pastimes, there are things women just expect you to know more about, like her car. (These strictly exclude advice on how to solve family feuds, even if you’re right; and giving weight-loss or wardrobe advice.) You’re also expected to solve most tech-related queries. Bear in mind that she’ll be highly frustrated at the time, so condescending advice won’t go down so well. This may require you to read a manual. Do it. Your friends never need to know.
3 Be mysterious
Honesty is a serious masculine turn-on: a trustworthy partner who will honour and protect you flips some kind of prehistoric mating switch. But that doesn’t mean you have to be an open book. Holding some things back will make her feel like she’s constantly discovering more about you. Being inscrutable doesn’t give your mind license to leave the room: keeping a little something to yourself while being attentive and focused – making her feel like she’s the only women in the room – is an intoxicating combination.
Don’t be clingy. Manly men aren’t jealous; they’re self-assured and unthreatened. And they also know when to stop – from oversharing to drinking to dominating a conversation. Being able to gauge a situation lets you retain your enigma and keep
4 Pick me up, effortlessly
Real men don’t hand women their business cards, or try to impress with a recycled pick-up line. While a witty one-liner might make her snort her drink out her nose, you’re not going to gain her respect, and manly admiration is what gets you laid. Confidence in who you are is sexy, so walk up to her and say hello. What’s the worst that could happen? If you’ve been confidently commanding your corner of the bar, she’s probably noticed you anyway. Besides, you’ll stand out among the pick-up sharks who’ve been circling her all night.
Learn how to give good, sincere compliments: in a 2011 survey of Women’s Health readers, complimenting her eyes and smile came out tops. And when it comes to physically sweeping her off her feet – the ultimate manly move – do it without a sound. Nothing kills the mood more than a grunt as you heft your lady into your arms.
5 Rethink your wardrobe
Lose the popped collars and the baggy pants (and the rhinestone belt buckle, cowboy), and get a versatile, masculine wardrobe. Avoid dressing identically to your friends – you want to stand out, look like you have your own personality, and aren’t part of a buy-one-get-one-free promotion. And one last note: shoes reveal whether or not you’re fashionable; so don’t ever neglect what’s on your feet.
When in doubt, wear blue. According to colour consultant Leatrice Eiseman, director of the Pantone Colour Institute and author of Colours For Your Every Mood, women are attracted to men wearing the colour blue. Guys who frequently wear blue, she says, are “stable, faithful, constant and always there”. Stay away from what Eiseman calls “squished caterpillar yellow-green”, which is said to repel both sexes equally. Instead, choose something that complements your eyes.
6 Smell good
A signature, masculine scent, even if it’s just a soapy one, should be a priority. But don’t drown out your pheromones. According to a study at Rice University in Texas, women can subconsciously tell when a man is sexually attracted to her by the smell of his sweat. With more sensitive smell receptors than men, women prefer certain scents only when they’re fresh, such as androstenol, which is emitted when sweat and oxygen intermingle, says Kate Fox, author of the 2010 study The Smell Report. Work up a manly sweat, but don’t go unwashed for too long. According to Fox, the pheromone that accompanies male body odour that’s been baking on the skin for a while androstenone is a female repellent.
Spray fragrance into your chest hair after a shower. It lingers longer and mingles with your body odours for a subtle, heady aroma when she’s close to you. “Woody, spicy notes tends to be more masculine choices,” says our fashion and grooming editor Azeez Jacobs. Being naturally well-groomed is a dating asset, but there are definite don’ts: don’t have more grooming products than she does. “You only need three essential grooming products – a cleanser, a moisturiser and shaving cream for everyday use,” explains Jacobs. Then, don’t frost your tips; and, if you use self-tan, do so with caution and don’t admit to it.
7 Take the lead
Finally, know the importance of seduction. Taking the lead and making a woman feel safe and looked after, is the first step. Women are attracted to the alpha male, someone self-assured and capable (as displayed when removing the scary spider from under her bed or meeting her parents for the first time).
Phone her. Yes, SMSes are a convenient way of checking in, but nothing impresses more than an actual phone call. This is not a long catch-up; just a check in. But it shows you’re a grown-up not overthinking it, playing hard to get or being cryptic with a text. Instant manpoints! And, when you send that SMS, remember this: men don’t punctuate everything with smiley faces. Now go forth and conquer!