Us men are all about the hunt; meeting women and getting the biggest bang for our efforts. And who could blame us… isn’t that what bachelor life is all about? But you know what your ‘Game’ is likely missing? A happy ending (and not the type your thinking). We’re talking about finding a woman who satisfies all your needs from the intellectual on down to your sexual. Ken Page, the author of Deeper Dating: How to Drop The Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy, says that he has a natural method of seduction than will not only win the girl, but also your happiness. This all sounded pretty good to us, so we invited him over for a man-to-man.
Urbasm: Most dating experts have “techniques” to attract women. You challenge these in your book by saying that looks, games, and playing hard to get are actually anti-productive. What should guys be concentrating on instead?
Ken Page: If you look at a lot of the top best selling books and a lot of the dating advice for men—it is all about seduction. The thing is; if the seduction is done naturally or organically, that is a great thing. Seduction that is forced as a technique or gimmick usually backfires. If you are a guy looking to score a lot, those seduction skills might help you. If your goal is to find a real serious relationship; drop that stuff. If you are one of those guys who is kind of in a mixed zone. In other words, I’m looking for the real thing, but I am going to have fun while I wait.
Urbasm: Yeah, that sounds like most of us guys.
KP: Yeah. Well, make up your mind.
KP: Make up your mind. If it someone you know is only going to be a sexual fling—fine. But if it is someone you feel you might be interested in, stop playing both sides of the fence ASAP. This means your profiles, first interaction; you’ve got to separate your goal of scoring from your goal of finding a real relationship. Because as much as you might think it is the same thing, it is two completely different tracks.
Urbasm: Got it.
KP: For the guys looking only for sex, I can understand that. I’ve spent years enjoying doing that myself. But I would say now in retrospect— I see those as lost years. That stuff is a hamster wheel. So, let’s get onto the guys who are looking for a serious relationship. The first thing I would tell them is the key is what they’re looking for and how they are going to act. You’re going to act like what we call in New York, a “mensch”. This is a stand-up guy, which means you’re respectful; it means if you say something, you follow through. You don’t blow her off, you don’t drop the ball. You really show up in a solid way. The other thing is… (silence) you act like a decent person. There was a study done; a really big international cross-cultural study of the single characteristic that people most look for in a mate—the number one characteristic was the same everywhere. It wasn’t looks, it wasn’t confidence, wit or intelligence; it was kindness and understanding. So, who the hell teaches us that?
Urbasm: (laughs) Nobody.
KP: How many articles have you read about finding the gal through that? But that is why we’re off track. That stuff works. Kindness, quite simply is the greatest aphrodisiac there is for a woman who is looking for an available guy. The other piece is the woman you choose. And here is the really important thing for guys to realize—putting it really simply: we all have two basic circuitries of attraction. We can be attracted to someone because they are not really available, almost available, almost treat us right, or almost love us—and those attractions are intense. It is a very human thing. Those attractions can feel like real love, they can drive us nuts and take up years of our lives.
KP: I know. I’ve spent a lot of time there too. Those are what I call ‘Attractions of Deprivation’, and they function the same way that a Los Vegas slot machine functions. They are one of the most powerful behavior forces that exists. You are going to get the gold, but you don’t know when and you can’t control why. But every now and then you get some, and there is nothing that sculpts addictive behavior more than that. Most of us have been there, and they feel like love, but they are Attractions of Deprivation and we usually don’t end up getting the cheese.
And then there is another kind of circuitry of attraction this is what I call ‘Attraction of Inspiration’. It is like what happens if you are dating and dating and messing around, and then all of a sudden you really fall in love. You say this is the kind of person I want to build my life with. It’s when you’re attracted to someone because of who they are in the world and because of how they treat you. In other words, you actually grow your attraction because of their availability, as opposed to growing your attraction based on their unavailability. This usually starts out less intense and the sexual attraction and romantic attraction grows along with a really good feeling inside about who you are and who the other person is. But it grows differently and it grows slower.
People looking for a real relationship really need to understand the difference between the two. And to make a conscious choice. If you were to only focus on your attractions of inspiration, you would spend so much less time worrying about seduction and find love starting to happen.
Urbasm: What about the “core gifts” that you talk about? You’ve said they can be a man’s magnet for finding love. What is the easiest way for a man to be introduced to this skill set?
KP: Here is the thing. This is not your typical guy skill set, because it involves feelings. It is harder for most guys to do that. They are the places that life affects you the most deeply. Anyone can find out their core gifts by asking themselves two questions: What hurts me the most and what makes me feel good? And that is going to tell you a lot. This will teach you more about who you are.
We get hurt the most in the places where our gifts lie. So by seeing the things that hurt you the most in your relationships, you’ll begin to get a sense of what those gifts are. The other one is the things that make you feel great and connected with your partner the most. You will notice there are patterns that make you feel happy and full. You’ve got to know those, because that is the language of your gifts. That is what really makes healthy love start to spring alive. Those are the two greatest ways.
But there is a third way too: Your friends. The greatest resource that anyone has that is looking for a real relationship is their friends. A friend that really gets you and shares your values. Those friends can tell you how your screwing up again and again.
Urbasm: Sometimes we need that.
KP: You’ve just not been able to hear them because you haven’t wanted to. Our friends are the mirror that catches your blind-spot. If you want to speed up your search for love ten-fold, do nothing else but listen to a friend or two. But it has to be a friend that is not competitive and jealous. It’s got to be a friend who loves you and wants the best. Sometimes you want a friend who’s going to say, “If you screw this up I’m going to kill you,” versus “Oh forget her and move on to the next.”
Urbasm: A good first impression is always important, so what should a guy focus on before a first date to insure his greatest success?
KP: You should be thinking about doing something fun; something interesting. You should make a commitment to yourself not to get too high or drunk. To be there on time. To be a stand up guy, and of course to look good. But I think a really important thing is to plan a date that is really fun. Talk to the person you are going on that date with and shoot some ideas back and forth.
Urbasm: What about the women who get upset with the the guys who can’t make up their own minds?
KP: I think that is a delicate balance, because you don’t want to do the thing where you ‘take over’. Because that can be really insulting. You also don’t want to leave it vague and undecided. A great thing to do is offer some ideas and then ask for some of her ideas. People meet all the time for first dates in a café or coffee shop, because it is an Internet date. Don’t schedule a 20-minute date. Allow yourself more time than that. Don’t do this 20-minute date thing; it is a bad idea. Allow yourself a good 45-minutes with room to stretch if you’re enjoying it. Take some time to get to know the person. I’m big on not meeting in a noisy bar. I think walks are always an awesome thing to do if you really like the person.
Urbasm: We’ve heard that helps men open up.
KP: It absolutely does. When you’re walking it is easier to talk then when you are right in front of somebody—face to face. And here is another thing. On your first date, don’t just notice what you are thinking about the other person; notice what you are feeling. A lot of times you might look at someone and think, that person is really not my type. They don’t match my profile. But if you drop down in your feelings you might think, “That person is kind of sexy,” or “I feel really good with this person.” What is the quality of the connection? These are are skills that everyone should know, and almost nobody is ever taught.
Urbasm: That’s for sure.
KP: It is true. If you think of an attraction spectrum. Let’s say zero is the people you have no sexual attraction at all. The tens are the people you are so attracted to you almost feel sick, insecure and wobbly kneed. A lot of guy are looking for the nine’s and ten’s especially online. I mean, why wouldn’t you want someone who is a nine or ten. But it is actually not better, because sexual attraction grows and shrinks based on the connection. I want to encourage guys to give the people who are a seven, six or even a five a chance. Don’t shut those people out. Have a date or two, because you might find that who they are starts turning you on. The attractions grows and there are reams of research proving this point. It is not all about initial attraction if you are really looking for happiness.
Urbasm: When doing online dating, they have it set up so that you are basically looking at pictures. That makes it harder for someone to see into the deeper stuff. What is the kind of profile photo that will give a guy the most success?
KP: Here’s what you should do. Look for a picture that doesn’t just make you look attractive, but you say that is the real me. It could be a place that you were just in a really good mood, and are showing who you are inside, and they really help to attract people who are looking for someone like you.
Urbasm: Then how should a guy navigate through the photos of women online?
KP: Because we have so little information, we make our observations based on what number they are on the spectrum. Of course you are going to be more interested in the nine’s, but my suggestion is that if a five person seems interesting, call them up. What do you have to lose?
Urbasm: In your opinion, where are the best places for a guy to meet women these days?
KP: I am going to break it down based on my highest rating down to my lowest. Okay, highest in in places with people who share your values and interests. I know you’d rather hang out in your t-shirts in your living room and search online; I get that one-thousand percent, but you are going to do a lot better the other way. So mix it up. Of course you can do the online thing, but do some of the real stuff too. If you are using a geosocial app, like Tinder, turn it on when you are at the museum, or doing volunteer work or at a lecture and not just when you’re at the bar. I would say that drinking at a bar is one of the worst ways. Not that people haven’t met anf fallen in love getting drunk together in a bar, but it doesn’t happen that often and it is probably the worst way.
Urbasm: What would you say to the guys who strive to be seduction experts? Will they ever find true happiness?
KP: I think to some degree it is a function of age. They just need to experience a lot. But some guys are interested in something more serious from the beginning. But what I would say to them all is don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can both play the game of being the Playboy and follow the path of finding healthy love. Because you’re going to mix them up. Make a choice.
Urbasm: What is your best explanation for why a guy should wait to have sex on a first date?
KP: I say that sex too early is like Miracle Grow for our fear of intimacy—and here’s why. The chances are great that after that sex, one of you is going to start getting too needy and one is going to want to leave. It is bad; it is not a good idea. Intimacy is intimacy and if either of you have your romantic impulses triggered, you’re going to want that connection to start matching the physical intimacy, and it is way too early for that. And if you are afraid of intimacy and there was too much closeness in the sex, you are not going to want to go back.
Urbasm: And we’ve saved the best for last. What are the three things that every guy should know, according to Ken Page?
KP: To be a man is not one size fits all. There is only one size that fits, and that is the person you really are. That is the only size of man that is ever going to fit you. Another thing is that I really believe that American men are on the cutting edge of emotional and spiritual growth. Men are starting to care more about intimacy; they are balancing empowerment in the workplace as well as emotional awareness. I think more men are moving to the cutting edge of growth, and they don’t really recognize it—but they should. Third, watch for letting your picture of what it means to be a man cripple your experience of what it means to be a person—and those are my three!
Urbasm: Thank you Ken, it has been a pleasure speaking with you today.
KP: Thank you.
Ken Page, LCSW, is a nationally syndicated columnist, psychotherapist, lecturer and author of the critically-acclaimed bestselling book, Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy. He is also the author of Psychology Today’s extremely popular blog Finding Love. He has led hundreds of workshops for thousands of people of all ages, backgrounds and sexual orientations. He and his work have been featured in O, the Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, Time Out New York, Cosmopolitan Magazine, The Discovery Channel and Psychology Today Magazine. He is the founder of Deeper Dating, an acclaimed event for single people committed to deeper values.
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