Men always ask us why women won’t sleep with nice guys. We will. It’s just that jerks have been able to perfect the first-impression package that catches our attention. And in our years as sex-advice columnists, it has become clear that you good guys can learn from the players. Just follow these steps to score like a jerk — without becoming one yourself.
Without this, you might as well forget the next eight steps, ’cause you ain’t getting laid. We don’t care what kind of Jedi mind trick it takes — a Raging Bull-style motivational speech in the bathroom mirror, or imagining her with a massive zit on her nose — you should force your body to act confident.
Don’t slouch; do nod and smile when she’s talking; and put your beer on the bar between sips, rather than clutching it like a life preserver. Because if you don’t believe in yourself as a sex machine, she never will.
But don’t be arrogant
If you lay it on too thick and make yourself the focus (or, worse, the hero) of every story you tell, you know what we’ll think? That you’re insecure and desperate, and have something to prove. We can spot a Napoleon complex within 60 seconds.
What we like instead is self-deprecation — a guy who can laugh at himself. Make fun of yourself in the past tense. Everyone loves to bond about what dorks we were in high school. It proves that you can laugh at yourself while subtly conveying that you’ve become way cooler. One boyfriend of Lo’s won her over by breaking out his hilariously hideous 1995 driver’s-license photo. But be careful not to overdo the self-deprecation, lest you fail the next step.
Don’t whine, complain
About anything — it’s seriously unsexy. If you can’t get a bartender’s attention, for example, don’t sigh loudly and complain about the service — laugh it off and ask her to give it a shot instead. And your problem at work? Don’t care! We’re drinking, here!
Stop being so considerate
Nice guys hate to offend, so they add “just kidding” after every sarcastic comment. It’s the equivalent of smiley emoticons. You don’t have to be so gushing and eager to please. Poke fun at her girly drink, her jukebox selections, her brick of a joke. You know, the way you made fun of the girls you really liked when you were in sixth grade.
But make it about something besides her appearance. She’s heard a thousand guys tell her she has great skin, so it no longer even registers as a compliment — she just assumes you’re trying to get in her pants. But if you are genuinely listening to her (You are, right? Hello?) and you manage to observe something about her inner person, it will get you far, because it’s rare.
You could be totally off base, but it doesn’t matter: People are always fascinated by a near stranger’s assessment of their character. It’s kind of like reading a horoscope. If she makes you laugh, tell her she’s funny. If she says something sweet, tell her she’s kind. If she tells a great story, ask if you can steal it. Years ago, a guy in a bar told Em she had great style, and she’s never forgotten it — it’s a million times better than “You look hot in that.”
After you’ve developed a rapport, find a lighthearted excuse for a little skin-to-skin contact — like a gentle shoulder punch when she makes you laugh, an elbow touch as you click on some shared delight, or a cozy duet at a karaoke bar. Or drag her onto the dance floor to something like Kings of Leon or upbeat Sinatra, so you can swing around together like a poor man’s Fred and Ginger. But don’t grope or gaze deeply into her eyes while putting your hand on her knee — she’ll think you read some cheesy book on how to hook up (written by a man).
Recruit a wingwoman
Wingmen are for beer ads. Wingwomen are for closing the deal. When a woman sees a guy with cool female friends, she assumes (a) he’s a laugh to be around; (b) he genuinely likes women, rather than just their body parts; (c) he’s not desperate; and (d) he’ll probably still respect her in the morning. Moreover, wingwomen — especially cute ones — create an air of friendly competition.
Your college gal pals make great wingwomen, because you’ve known them long enough for the relationship to be obviously platonic. Or, if one of your guy friends has a cool girlfriend, invite them both out: Most women in relationships are chronic match-makers. Confide in her that you need her help — she’ll be flattered. Then let her work her magic.
Buy her a drink
But let her buy the next round. It blurs the lines between pickup artist and pickupee. Let her do a little of the work so she’ll relax into being seduced. If you don’t, it’ll make her more judgmental (and more likely to give you the Heisman). If you insist that she not pay for anything, she’ll see you as an old-fashioned control freak who thinks that women who put out on the first date aren’t “girlfriend material.”
Make her laugh
If she’s cracking up, she’s too busy having a good time to wonder about your motives (not the case if you insist on supersmooth, seriously seductive pickup lines). Sharing a laugh makes her feel you two are “connecting.” In fact, it’s a far better indicator that she’ll go home with you than sharing a kiss. But please, no knock-knock jokes or movie quotes — you have to be witty and irreverent.
Funny stories are always good — Em’s fiancé cracked her up the first time they met by recounting how he got chased down by his neighbor’s pet monkey after making monkey faces at it. And a cloak of humor can disguise your intentions just enough: Ask her jokingly if she’d like to come up and see your etchings. After all, the truth is often spoken in jest.
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