Saturday, August 26, 2006

More Mysteries Revealed: WHAT WOMEN WANT

Male friends repeatedly complain to me that they have no idea what the women in their lives want. Since all women are different as to specific likes & dislikes, I can only speak to the core issues. (I know these core issues to be true because I hear them over & over again from the women in my life.) So here’s a list, in no particular order, which all men should take under advisement!

COMMUNICATION: Since men basically abhor all confrontation, you tend to lack in the communication arena. I’m not talking about the day to day b.s. of life. Most of you will tell us about who did what to whom on the job. The communication that we’re after is from the heart, your FEELINGS. (Oh, I know that’s a dirty word!) We want to know how you feel about US primarily & all things that pertain to US & the RELATIONSHIP. (We must truly be insecure beings since we need REASSUARANCE.) Get used to it! That’s never going to change. We don’t need an emotional monologue, but an occasional “I love you” or if you’re not at that point in the relationship, a “You make me happy” will do wonders.

LISTEN: Men seem to hear in a type of short hand. (I have written about this topic before & suggested that women use KEY WORDS when talking with men. See: http://karenheckler.blogspot.com/2005/10/manitus-state-of-male-psyche.html) Yes, I know we can prattle on but I’m doing my part to have women correct that issue when in dialogue of importance. However, practice the art of listening. Pretend that we’re talking about your favorite sport & at least focus on the gist of the conversation. It will save you from making costly mistakes. And while I’m on the topic, be ATTENTIVE. Look interested. Please don’t check your watch, scrutinize the newspaper or the TV screen or let your eyes wander.

APPRECIATION: (aka Consideration) You’re great on this front at the start of le affaire, but once you feel comfortable the gratefulness “muscle” seems to weaken or atrophy altogether. (And I know that women can be guilty of this too.) Words of praise, please & thank you & the occasional service will do wonders. Most men still have to be asked to do something for the women in their lives. Take the initiative & perform a service that is non-sexual. Take the garbage out. Bring the dishes to the sink. Rub our necks. This is true even if you don’t live together. (Just think of the points you’ll rack up if you offer to take a date’s garbage out when you leave for the night!)

MAKE US A PRIORITY: After a man grows accustomed to a woman, it is not uncommon that his focus shifts back to his hobbies, business or male bonding. (Often men think that they’re doing the business thing for the woman so they can have a better life, when really we want more of you not $$$.) We don’t begrudge you your interests or your friends. Just don’t make us the last thing on your list. We want to be considered your “good time” too.


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Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Day After The Date

It’s the day after the big first date. This column is predicated on the fact that you want to see this woman again. What you do today is key. Depending on how enthusiastic you are for this lady should determine your actions. I understand that everything I say here involves some level of vulnerability. (Yes, vulnerability is frightening. But it’s also enticing.) Calling or taking some sort of action the next day shows that you are a man of your word.

Do NOT tell a woman what you think she wants to hear. Remember my credo: honesty in dating. Tell her what you are comfortable saying & nothing more, (even if she fishes). Say nothing that seems too serious, even if it was love at first sight. In this day of stalkers & wackos, seeming too engaged too quickly can make her bolt. (I’ve been with someone for over 13 mos. He courted me for the previous month, flirting, visiting, being a friend. However, the night after he made his move, he told me he missed me in the follow-up phone call. It scared the crap out of me since I wasn’t on the same page. Had he not previously built a foundation, I would have run for the hills.)

If you are mildly interested: Make a friendly call the next evening. Keep it brief. Thank her for the previous date. Tell her you’ll call again soon.

If you are interested: Make a call the next afternoon. Be warm. This would be an excellent time to schedule the next date.

If you are fascinated: Say it with flowers. Find a good florist who knows the “language” of flowers. Hopefully you got a sense of her style. Most women still flip for a dozen roses. (My favorites are “black” or sterling roses.) A live orchid plant is very chic & also has a zen quality. There are some wildly creative florists out there that can also produce something that will take her breath away.

If you think you’ve met your soul mate: (& aren’t you in touch with your emotions?! Do you have a brother?) Resist the urge to be too declarative. Take a cold shower. If you still feel the same, then do the above but make sure those flowers arrive early in the a.m. By all means see her again as soon as possible. (Don’t let her get away if she’s this amazing & available.) But suggest something light & casual, preferably in the day light, where you can talk. (In your condition we don’t want to mix in the intoxicants of candlelight & alcohol just yet.)


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Thursday, July 27, 2006

TO KISS OR NOT TO KISS

So the date is finished & you are at her front door or her car door (if she met you somewhere). Now how do you say good night?

If you are NOT interested in seeing her again, please do NOT tell her that you’ll call her. Shake her hand. Thank her for her time & get out of there. Again, you’ll be doing your fellow man a favor by not adding baggage for the next guy. You just don’t know what most women go through when a man says he’ll call & doesn’t. The lady replays the date over & over again in her mind & with anyone else who’ll listen. She’ll analyze every look & phrase. It’s torture & unless you really have a sadistic streak, please spare her.

If you are interested in this woman, my advice is to end the date now, before the hormones rage & you rush into something that you both may later regret. Nothing kills the possibility of a relationship faster than moving to the bedroom too quickly. While we all enjoy a good romp (& we all need it too) the awkwardness that follows premature intimacy is very hard to get around. I am no prude. & I have had my fair share of one-nighters. But I also know that in giving in to my passions, I’ve also thrown away some potentially great guys.

Men, I know you enjoy the conquest. And when the conquest is sated, the interest can wane. (Therefore, WOMEN, if you are reading this, realize that if you want to attract this beast, make him interested in more than your vagina, before you give it up.) I also think that deep down in the male psyche, you still want the good girl that doesn’t give it up so quickly.

Regardless of the reasoning, true closeness is learned & takes time. The discovery of another human being can be one of life’s greatest joys, (even if it ultimately doesn’t work out). Having fun with a person, (I’ll even use the old fashioned word… look it up if you don’t know its meaning… courting) sharing secrets & laughter builds a delicious ANTICIPATION. A slow journey to sexual intimacy has its own reward. It makes things so incredibly exciting. If you’ve never had this journey, trust me on this, it’s worth it.

Alright, let’s answer the question, TO KISS OR NOT TO KISS? (Please gentlemen, learn to kiss. Kissing is one of the most erotic pleasures. Perhaps I should do an entire column on it. But for now, no one wants a big sloppy mouthful of your saliva!) Once again, I think you have to take your cue from the woman. Read the body language. Has she stolen little touches? Has she looked into your eyes? How close is she standing to you now? The signals are there to be read. Depending on how strong they are, should tell you how deep to go. (But save the tonsil probing for another time.) If she only seems cordially amenable, a simple, friendly peck might be sufficient. But definitely add a hug to that gentle, quick kiss. Women love great huggers. Somewhere deep inside it reminds us that you’re stronger & there to be the protector. If you think that more is requested, than give that deeper kiss. But still keep it short. There is nothing sexier than that first tentative kiss that holds the promise of more. Touch her face & her hair. (Trust me on this, it doesn’t just look good in the movies, it feels good too.) If she kisses you back, then linger. Enjoy the taste of her lips. But then part & say good night! Leave wanting more! (You know I’m right.) She’ll think of you all night & into the next day. & she’ll be very enthusiastic for your next adventure.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Truth in Dating

When I say Truth in Dating I do NOT mean spill your guts & tell all your secrets. (It’s much too early in the game to let someone know your bathroom habits, or that you were never breast fed.) Getting to know each other should be a slow reveal, a delicious adventure where trust is earned & a life is learned.

When I say truth, I mean be truthful on the date(s) & in your conversations. I know a man’s inclination is to detest & dodge all confrontation & tell a woman what he thinks she wants to hear. (And I mean this, even if you intend never to see her again.) Also this means do NOT exaggerate your achievements, skills, prowess, abilities, career position, etc. If, down the road, you begin to build a relationship, the foundation has been fabrications that you’ll have to substantiate or backpedal from.

Let’s say you’re on that first date & you’re ardor has cooled. It happens, this is the first time you’ve been alone. Do NOT tell her that you’re going to call her, if you have no intention of doing so. Look at it as doing a favor for your fellow man. You’re date will be less bitter & suspicious of the next guy.

If the date is going poorly & you want to exit (and this is why I have previously suggested you keep a first date brief & moving) do it graciously & honestly. Don’t have some contrived plan, like a phone call (from one of your buds that you called from the men’s room) informing you that your grandma is in the hospital. That will only make a woman’s nurturing instincts kick in & give date interruptus & perhaps the hope that you’ll pick up where you left off another time. If you tell a woman that it’s not working for you, you dissipate any expectations. This is a test drive if you will. There’s no commitment or expectation. So don’t build an idea or thought of 1 if nothing is going to happen after this trial run. There won’t be a huge let down, you don’t know each other. & I promise you they’ll be no scene or emotional outburst. (And if there is 1 you can just walk away, after paying the tab.) If you do decide to end the date early or not see her again, be sure that you still see her home safely, unless she insists to the contrary. Be a gentleman at all times. That way your conscience is clear & you’ll be thought of as a decent guy. Who knows she may recommend you to one of her friends.


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Thursday, July 13, 2006

The First Date -- The Arrival

Hopefully you’ve taken my previous advice & planned the date & the time. The following should be axiomatic however, just as a reminder, BE ON TIME. BE DRESSED APPROPRIATELY for the planned events. Unless you wear a full beard, shave! If you are driving, make sure your car is clean. It’s no fun to get into someone’s car & have them shove all their work materials on the floor or toss them in the back seat before you can get in. It sends a message that you’re a thoughtless slob. Also make sure the car smells good. You don’t want her wondering if that odor is you.


Be on your best behavior. All women have fathers &/or brothers. We know that you scratch your butt, belch, drink out of the milk container, etc. However this is not the time to be initiated into your particular rights of manhood. I know that our current culture is very casual. But don’t be casual about courtesy, respect & decency.

An immediate turn-on for any woman is flowers. A dozen roses would be overkill. However a simple bouquet or even a single long stemmed blossom says that you are thoughtful. I wouldn’t bring candy, since you don’t know if she’s on a diet. Bringing a bottle of wine can be iffy. It might say that you plan to come back to her house after the date, which would be presumptive upon arrival. If you do decide that this is a token you’d like to bring, then take the “curse” off by stating something to the effect that you know this is a great bottle of wine & you thought of her when you were buying yourself some. Or you can say you hope that she’ll share it with good friends.

If she has a pet, be cordial to her animal. You’ll score big points with an animal lover if you don’t appear put off by hair, drool or an animal’s general suspicion of you as the intruder. As pet owner myself, nothing turns me off faster than people who are obviously uncomfortable around my creatures.

Compliment her attire, her hair, jewelry, shoes, something… anything! She probably knocked herself out to look good for you, even if you’re just going to the park to skate. So notice. The same goes for her home. If she invites you in before you leave, (or afterwards) make an appreciative noise about the setting, even if it is not to your tastes. Unlike most guys, a woman’s home is a reflection of her style & grace. I don’t expect you to snoop or pick up objects to ascertain their provenance, but asking about a particular item, will also show attentiveness & score needed points.

Keep the date moving. You set the tempo. Gently set the agenda & keep us on it. Now I don’t mean like a drill sergeant, but if you have reservations, gently remind her of that, so that you don’t lose your table, court time, etc.

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Report from the "battlefield"

I must digress from my step by step plan to relate my experiences out in the single world on a Saturday night. Let me preface my picks & pans by reminding you that I am easy to talk to. I love to engage in conversation with new people, particularly men. I get NO THRILL out of rejecting someone or hurting their feelings, nor am I looking to pump up my ego with how many numbers I can score. I left those games a long time ago.

My first stop with my friend Judy was an art gallery opening. There was wine (too hot out for me to drink red) cheese, music & the art we came to see. An eclectic group was there mingling & enjoying.

The first man to make a run at me did so at the buffet. He was eating, with food in his mouth & just sort of grunted. Unless a woman goes for the Neanderthal type, this sort of opening line is not going to work. Later, as we both found ourselves studying the same section of wall, he had the audacity to ask me why I had ignored him. (Maybe because I don’t speak your primitive language?)

After the gallery, Judy & I hit a nearby tavern / restaurant that caters to Euros (it’s a German place). The atmosphere in this place is always cordial, with 2 bars & an outside beer garden. The food is good & it is never so loud that you can’t hear another’s conversation.

I met a succession of men while seated at the upstairs bar. A lovely older gentleman sat beside me & offered to buy us both drinks. NOTE: This is a very good opener. He didn’t single out one or the other of us. For a small price he had the opportunity to dazzle both women & not hurt either of our feelings by exclusionary tactics. He wound up clicking more with Judy, but that just naturally occurred since they were closer in age & background.

However, before that happened, 2 other guys came over to engage us in conversation. In no time they tried to stand between us, invading our space. Even in a crowded bar, there is a comfort zone of space. Once that was done, they each got very close to our faces. While Judy was polite, I turned away, offering only clipped responses. But “my” guy did not read the body language & proceeded to drape himself over me. At that point the NYer in me went into attack mode. I jumped off the chair, wrenching my shoulders away from his touch, loudly proclaiming, “Back Off!” And then a lovely thing happened. A watchful man came over & defended our honor. He told the pair to leave us alone & that we were clearly not interested. Then modest guy that he was, he didn’t hang around for kudos, returning to his corner of the bar. He was an unsung hero & therefore piqued my interest. I had to know his name & all about him. I love real men that show respect for women & therefore for the next hour, I had a wonderful time talking to him. He did many things right, that I’ve outlined in previous articles including writing down information about an author I might be interested in.

Since I do believe in leaving them wanting more, after an hour, I decided to make my exit. I thanked him for his gallantry & extended my hand to shake his. He took my hand in both of his & asked me to see him again. Believe me, he will!

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Planning the First Date

So she’s said yes & you’ve set a time to get together. (& set a time, not some nebulous, quasi, leave it up to the day – surprise. & this should go without saying, but BE ON TIME!)

Now comes the date pre-production. I can’t say this strongly enough…. MEN, HAVE A PLAN OF ACTION! Know where you are going & what you are doing ahead of time. Tell the woman this is what you would like to do so that we know what to expect & how to dress.

Nothing is more infuriating than having a man show up (a new one, no less) with a, “What do you want to do,” scenario. This sends a message that you didn’t care enough to think about the date, ahead of time. It signals that you are lazy & not really all that interested. For all our efforts in the Equality movement, most gals still want a man that’s strong & takes charge. (Only truly manipulative, ball-busters want to run your life. We want partners, not puppets.)

Hopefully you have followed my advice & elicited some information about your date’s likes & dislikes. (If she’s scared of or allergic to animals, the zoo is out.) Taking what she’s told you into consideration, plan something LIGHT & FUN. (This is too early for romance, even though we’ve all seen movies where the guy sweeps a woman off her feet. Get too romantic, too quickly & she’ll be running from fear.) I DO NOT recommend a movie, even if you’re both the world’s biggest movie buffs. (This obviously goes for plays & concerts too. There’s plenty of time for that later.) I say this because you learn nothing about each other sitting side by side in the dark. This is a mindless date that doesn’t engage much conversation or learning. (Sporting events are different. They encourage bonding because you root for the team & you can talk during it.)

While eating can be part of any date, I don’t think it should be the whole date, unless you agree in advance that it’s all you have time for. There is nothing terribly imaginative about going out for a meal. But if that’s what you decide to do, again consult with the woman as to food likes & dislikes. Make a reservation, particularly on busy weekend nights. Standing around, hungry, waiting for a table for an hour typically makes a woman cranky.

And if you’re the kind of man that likes to go DUTCH, make sure this is understood in advance. (And she may even suggest that to keep things light & equitable.) While many women today have their own money, we don’t want this sprung on us. The rule of thumb is the person doing the asking generally pays. For me, if a man wants to go Dutch, right off the bat, I’m NOT interested. If a guy can’t invest a bit of his time & money on me then he’s cheap. (& I’m not talking hundreds of dollars – stick within a budget that is comfortable for you) & cheap men are so in all categories of life.

Now with this advice in mind, GET IMAGINATIVE. Think of something to do that would be a pleasant diversion for you both. In a major city there are a plethora of things to do besides dining. Read your local Calendar or Arts section of the paper. Find out what local events are happening. Take her for a hike, roller skate or bike if she’s reasonably athletic. Pack a picnic. Row a boat. Drink wine while watching the sunset. Laugh together. But don’t plan anything that will take over 6 hours. I think small doses of each other is the best way to start. Remember leave her wanting more, not wondering how to escape.

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I know that it is beastly hot in most parts of the country & probably one of the last thoughts on your mind is Christmas Gifts or old St. Nick. (In our country, St. Nick has deep roots in Dutch tradition & New York history.) However, we got to July in a wink of an eye. Before we know it we’ll be holiday shopping. Therefore, look no further for a great Christmas gift basket idea than Gourmet Gift Baskets.com. They craft unique, high-quality Christmas gift baskets that are fantastic gifts for both personal and corporate gift giving. Our stunning holiday Christmas gift basket sets are the perfect gift for clients, colleagues, office parties, housewarmings or for any other occasion! (But not for your girlfriend unless you make up something including romantic items & jewelry!) Each and every Christmas basket is filled with the finest products offered in the gourmet industry. Gourmet Gift Baskets.com will not only tailor a basket for your needs, but offers custom wrap for holiday gift baskets to fit any holiday or theme. (How about for the 4th of July?!) Their further guarantee is: “If you don’t see it on our website, then we will make it for you.” Call Gourmet Gift Baskets.com & explain what Christmas gift basket idea you have and they’ll find the items you are looking for! That is unparalleled service in my book!


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Here is some more advice from GEICO, a trusted name in insurance. Their advice could save you money & a lot of hassle in the long run. 1) Keep your vehicle locked at all times, even while driving. 2) Never leave your keys in the car. 3) If possible, park in busy, well-lit areas. Leave your car in park or in gear with the wheels turned toward the curb or some other obstruction, so thieves won't be able to tow it easily. 4) Never leave valuables or anything that might look enticing, inside your vehicle where they can be seen. (I’ve had a smashed window for an old gym bag with old shoes inside.) (5) Install an anti-theft system in your vehicle if it doesn't have one. There are many options, inclusive of a steering wheel lock & Ignition cut-off systems that prevent a car from being started. There are more expensive options like passive alarms that activate automatically when the key is removed from the ignition. There is also police - trackable signal systems such as Lo-Jac. Most insurers offer discounts for these types of systems. 6) Beware of the "bump-and-rob" technique. Carjackers bump your car from the rear, then steal it when you get out to look for damage. 7) Do not leave registration or title in the car. (My car title is locked in a safe at home. But I am all too guilty of leaving the registration in the glove box.) (8) Look around. Be aware of your surroundings, especially in garages, parking lots and gas stations. 9) Know where you're going. 10) If confronted by a carjacker, do not resist. (The car is replaceable, you’re not!)