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This is semi-hypothetical because I haven’t had this exact experience, but the question does come from something in real life.

Ladies: Let’s say you meet a guy, knowing that he’s on the lookout for his future life partner. Right out of the gate, he tells you he’s looking for a “Proverbs-31” woman, which he acknowledges is a lot to ask for, but he’s met two of them, so he knows they’re out there.

What would you think of that, and how would you react?

(Still not sure what to think and not wanting to influence anyone who might actually post a comment and answer this question, I will decline to post my two-cents for now.)

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Although this is posted under my name, the starting idea was actually Bethany’s, and I wanted to make sure y’all knew that.

Thanks to this blog, we have now explored (in no particular order) the secrets of men, a cautionary tale of online dating, and misguided tips to woo a woman. The next logical step might be examining tips on how to woo a gentleman, but this is “Notes From the Sisterhood of Perpetual Singleness”—not Cosmo, Seventeen, or even How to Get a Date Worth Keeping (a book by Henry Cloud that we will be sure to discuss at a later date). You will not find kissing tips, win-your-ex-back tips, or meet-a-hottie-at-the-beach-this-summer! tips here. If we were at all qualified to offer such advice, we probably wouldn’t be writing this blog.

BUT we do know ourselves. Sort of. So instead, we (by which I mean Bethany) thought we’d assemble our own responses to some of the topics we have previously explored. As always, make use of the comments feature if you want to dispute or add to anything we say.

To sum up, an alternate post title might be, Advice We’d Rather See Men Follow Than Some of the Other Cra Stuff You Find on the Internet.

Emily’s Dating Tips
After thinking about it, I decided to do a more personalized version of “how to woo a woman,” because the original article is mostly bad advice with some good elements sprinkled in, and it’s hilarious and an easy target and I’m just kind of cruel that way. For reference, the old post is linked above, and the original article is here.

1. Be Reliable, but not Boring.
It’s already become well-documented, especially in an uncertain social and economic climate, that women’s preferences are gradually moving away from the metrosexual with the flashy job, toward more traditionally masculine men with tried-and-true careers that may be less glamorous (we’re talking plumbers and carpenters here, maybe even blacksmiths).

Why is this? Reliability, stability, and, on some level, trustworthiness. It’s the same with personality, lifestyle, and character. Despite the appeal of whirlwind romances and a gypsy lifestyle, I’m sure most ladies will agree with me that a man who knows what he’s about, what he stands for, and what he wants out of life is very attractive. But because life needs variety, he should also put a little effort into being spontaneous once in a while.

Actually, I just reminded myself of the 1967 movie Barefoot in the Park, starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. The young newlyweds nearly break up because she finds him too much of a dull, rational, stick-in-the-mud, and he thinks she’s overemotional and irresponsible. When Redford’s character leaves her and gets rip-roaringly drunk, Fonda’s character realizes that she doesn’t like him to be irresponsible, unpredictable, and ridiculous—she loves him just as he is.

All together now: AAAAAAAWWWWWWWWW

But see, if he hadn’t broken with the status quo for a little while, she might never have come to that realization!

2. Make her feel special.
There is a fantastic blog floating around the Internet somewhere that I fully intend to find again, about the Nice Guy Syndrome. Because lots of nice guys complain that women like jerks, or “bad boys,” or whatever. One of the reasons it seems that way is because “bad boys” make a girl feel special—they’ll treat everyone like crap, except her. Of course, eventually they’ll treat her like crap, too, which is why a sensible woman with half a brain and an ounce of self-confidence won’t actually want such a man. But the change in behavior, however brief, leaves a girl in no doubt of his interest in her—he treats her differently (i.e., better). Nice guys are nice to everyone, and if he’s equally nice to a girl he’s interested in, that doesn’t help her feel special, or even aware that he’s interested. So nice guys have to be a little more creative, while still adhering to #1 by staying true to themselves and what they believe.

(OK, so maybe nice guys do have it tough.)

3. Take the lead, with respect. Follow the original U.S. Constitution: Write the bill, but give her veto power.

Or, in the words of you non-politics-nerds: Make plans, but let her have final say—be decisive, take charge, but be flexible.

4. Be sincere.
If you’re going to compliment her, mean it. If you really like her, or if you think the relationship is not right or going nowhere, be up-front about it. If you’ve got some crap going on in your life, don’t pretend things couldn’t be better, unless you’re actually that optimistic. If there’s something going on that you’re very happy or excited about, don’t feel that you have to be cool about it. You don’t have to spill your guts about every nuance of life, but be honest, and whatever you do or say, mean it!

5. Be Confident, not Cocky.
I have no idea why this is so difficult for people to understand, and yet I see it repeated all the time. No, men, we women do not actually like jerks. We like men who are confident in themselves, but treat people well. Astonishingly, the two are not mutually exclusive.

6. Be independent & have your own life. Also, don’t expect her to share all your interests.

I have found that 1) contrary to what many men believe, most women don’t want to share every single interest in common, and 2) even if some of them do, men can be just as bad.

Guess what, guys. I don’t expect y’all to like musicals, politics, and dorky, interactive history museums targeted toward 6th-graders as much as I do. I don’t expect my nonexistent boyfriend to join my all-female version of MST3K when my friends and I get together and watch old-school Beverly Hills 90210. I don’t expect him to be particularly thrilled by Tim Burton’s latest film. Likewise, I shouldn’t have to smile and nod my way through a sports game, or to pretend that I really do want to learn how to play pool, or join in with a session of video games with the boys. Occasionally, yes, of course, we all must make sacrifices. But this list just took a very personal turn, and for that I apologize. Still, individual differences and interests are healthy. There. That was my whole point.

7. Don’t follow how-to dating lists.
Yes, I just erased all my previous advice with that last nugget of wisdom. But everyone is different, and you can’t prejudge people, generalize them, or put them in boxes. Read on, my friends: Not only is Bethany’s list far superior, but it will only prove my point. (Except where I agree with everything she says except for 5. And probably 8. Anyway…)

Bethany’s Dating Tips

1. Speak well of people.
Especially your ex-girlfriend and that boss who was kind of a jerk. Or don’t talk about them at all, at least early in an acquaintance. It really turns me off and makes me think badly of a person when, in our first couple of conversations, I hear how awfully people have treated him (Lizzy Bennet, take notes!). I’m all for being honest and not sugar-coating life, but some things really don’t need to be shared until friendships have deepened. Reserve and discretion are good here, as is charity. Even if people have made mistakes or behaved very badly in the past, it’s no reason to knock them to every person you meet. You know, unless he is an axe murderer and that person is planning a date with him the next day. I do find it great when guys can talk about their ex’s in cordial (not still-love-struck) terms. It is a good feeling to know that this is a person capable of valuing the good qualities of someone who, for whatever reason, is not with him anymore.

2. Ask me questions!
This is probably my neuroses talking, but I really hate boring people (as in – I hate feeling that I am boring people. I actually like “boring people” quite a lot). And the best way for me to feel I’m not boring people is if they ask me questions. Probably even non-neurotic people would agree that it makes you feel special and appreciated when people take a sincere interest in your life and opinions. Of course, this can go too far and one can end up feeling interrogated, but sincere interest, good questions, and listening can be a big plus and, of course, really make the whole conversation thing go a lot better. I guess what I’m saying is, please don’t force me to inflict my life and views on you. Invite me to inflict my life and views on you! Thanks.

3. Be affectionate to your mom and sisters.

I find that—absolutely loveable. (And yes, I am Emily Dickenson, apparently.)

4. Have a poker night.
Or something. I love it when guys spend some of their time doing just-guys things. It’s pleasant and masculine and healthy, I think. This feeds in to the larger issue of having a full and good life even when one doesn’t have a girlfriend or boyfriend. It is a good feeling that the person who is interested in me is not totally dependent on me for entertainment or support – independence is both attractive and mildly relieving.

5. Steal someone’s baby.

Wait, wait! Don’t run off and do that till I explain! What I mean to say is, there are few things more endearing and attractive than a man caring for a child. However, a man with a child of his own is probably in some sort of relationship. So, to have the effect of cute man with child, he’d be forced into theft. Or borrowing a nephew or something.

6. Be kind and friendly to everyone.
Don’t just be nice to your friends and the girl you have a crush on. Now, I know guys can take this to extremes and seem to be flirting with pretty much any girl around (note – this is not a good plan – very confusing and not nice), but it leaves a good impression on me when a man can treat men and women with thoughtfulness and respect, when he will behave kindly and friendly-ly when he ends up sitting next to the not-so-pretty sister at the end of the dinner table farthest from the object of his admiration. Again, as relationships grow closer people will certainly communicate their likes and dislikes of people (since people usually don’t like everyone), but treating people well is good. I suppose what I’m saying here is: I really appreciate men who treat all women well, and the object of their affection extra-especially well. And with something that goes beyond kindness to something more intimate.

7. Tease me, but know where the line is.
Good teasing can be so satisfying because it requires both wit and knowledge of the person you’re teasing. I love it when a friend or lover (ha ha, just kidding about that second bit) makes a joke which shows he or she really know your quirks or habits or even pet peeves. On the other hand, too much teasing, or teasing with underlying meanness, can be tiresome and even hurtful. This is a two-way street though, requiring sensitivity on the part of the jokester and the ability to say “enough is enough” from the recipient. And patience from both of them – especially in the muddle-y business of getting to know someone, these things take time.

8. Wear plaid.
Just kidding, just kidding. No, actually not. That is all.

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Today, I was at the grocery store, and I thought of Bethany’s post about looking for love to go with the organic leeks and beef boullion cubes. I was kind of smiling to myself in the produce section when I thought of it, and then I walked by a tall, reasonably attractive gentleman.

That’s … really as far as the story goes.

But what I found most amusing was that the expression on his face was a lot like how I felt—kind of in a hurry, and not particularly happy to be there. Because, honestly, despite its promise of romance, adventure, and intrigue, I hate having to go to the grocery store. Some chores are better than others, and while I enjoy cooking with the fruits (and vegetables, and meats, and … well, you get the idea) of my visit, I don’t like actually having to go. So I’m usually in and out as fast as humanly possible, and I don’t think much about the people there.

Now I’m wondering, *gasp* Have I missed the opportunity of a lifetime??? Honestly, as amusing as his facial expression was, there was a certain forbidden vibe about that guy. Not exactly Beauty-and-the-Beast-never-enter-the-west-wing forbidden, but, you know, mildly standoffish and unapproachable. And since I have an expressive face anyway, it would not surprise me to learn that I was wearing that same look of “Grrrr … Don’t talk to me, I just want to finish my task and be done with it!!!”

And that kind of thing doesn’t lend itself to friendly chatter. So maybe I should be more aware of my facial expressions and my general appearance in terms of approachability. You know what they say about being happy—you never know who’s falling in love with your smile!

</sickening cheesiness>

On that note, what could you work on to be more approachable, for the sake of being a friendly person, or for your future relationship, or as a Christian witness, etc.?

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