Knowing the signs

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One of the things that stands in the way of dating success is not knowing the signs.

No doubt there are whole books devoted to this. But the important thing is to start to become aware of the signs that a woman is attracted to you (or not). If you don’t spot them then you may try too hard with women who aren’t interested and miss opportunities with women who are.

The first error that many of us men fall into is to start looking for signs when we are already attracted to a woman. The problem with this is that we are prone to see what we wish to see rather than what is really there. This is very well illustrated in Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night,’ when Malvolio is led to believe that Olivia is in love with him. He interprets everything she says and every glance as confirming what he wishes to believe, leading him in the end to a most unpleasant rude awakening. Try not to be in imagination.

Practice understanding signs when nothing much hangs on it.

I have to admit that I became much better at understanding signs after I was happily married, when the use of knowing the signs is to be able tactfully to deflect unwanted attentions!

Eye contact is very powerful. If a woman holds your gaze then be careful not to hold hers unless you want her to think you’re attracted to her. Be careful, because holding someone’s gaze can also be perceived as a threat. Try to tune into what is actually happening. This cannot be taught by formula.

Smiling can be deceiving. A woman might smile at you because she’s attracted to you. Equally she might smile just to be friendly, or even out of nervousness. Smiles can be used for attraction or defence. Again, observation from a neutral place rather than one of desire is useful training. Try to watch the interactions of others and see where they go wrong and what they get right.

Touching: if a woman while talking to you touches your arm, this is far less ambiguous – it probably means she’s attracted to you. If this happens and you are attracted to the woman you are doing well. But you can still easily mess up at this stage. Play it cool. If you’re interested, continue the conversation and maybe arrange a date – but don’t be too eager.

In general, watch body language as if you were a scientist. Any tips you get from books, don’t take as absolute – watch and learn.

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This is the very definition and beauty of true art

This is the very definition and beauty of true art. (Re-blogged from One Thousand Single Days.)

These people had a real connection. This is what you are looking for when you are searching for a soulmate. Forever, or for a moment.

 

Love and sex – 2

True love versus the quick fling:

The waking share one world in common, but each sleeper turns away to a world of his own. – Heraclitus (6th century BC)

Do we separate mind, heart and body when we have sex?

The best sex is when mind, heart and body are all involved together. Without the involvement of the heart, sex is merely mechanical pleasure.

A ‘sleeper’ in Heraclitus’s meaning is not necessarily one who is physically asleep, but one who is asleep to the reality of now, not here in body and mind, away with the fairies, in imagination of things not present.

Being truly present to your beloved is to enjoy a union far more pleasurable than the mere friction of body parts. At the same time, being present is the only way fully to enjoy the physical pleasures of sex.

How home cooking can cure premature ejaculation

Really?

Read on and I shall explain all.

So, your loved one has cooked you a delicious meal. We shall assume two things here.

One is that your loved one has indeed cooked you a delicious meal, even if she isn’t normally a good cook. Maybe she bought one of those upmarket pre-prepared meals and hid the packaging or maybe she tried something tasty and simple and really paid attention to buying the freshest ingredients and got the oven timings just right. Or maybe she just is an inspired cook. For the purpose of this discussion it doesn’t matter.

The other thing we shall assume is that you do the same for her as often as you can. Fair’s fair after all. If cooking is going to be mixed up with sex we might as well get that established right at the beginning.

You sit down to eat. You admire the presentation and smell the food. You know this is going to be good.

You take the first bite. It’s delicious. You can taste all the flavours and how they compliment each other. The sensations are wonderful. You compliment her on her cooking and a conversation starts. Meanwhile you continue eating until it’s all gone. Chomp chomp chomp, nom nom nom.

What happened between the first bite and the end of the meal?

Now fine, you have that sense of satisfaction that your stomach that was once empty is now full, and you also sort of enjoyed the other mouthfuls too. But how many of the bites did you taste with the full awareness of the first one? Did you really do justice to the effort she made?

You may want to argue that you were distracted by the conversation. But it is quite possible to be fully aware of each bite as we put it in our mouths, to get that full taste sensation again every time, and still be aware of her talking. There is no rush, after all, and we can listen to her, perhaps with the piece of food resting on the fork, so that we can give her our full attention, and then at the next pause we can pop the morsel into our mouth and again really taste it.

It’s the same with beer. It’s been a hot day and someone serves us a cold beer. That first sip! Mmm! Amazing! But how much do we enjoy or even notice the rest of the sips?

We are not used to living fully. We rush at life and miss things, even when there is no rush.

How does this relate to sex?

We make the same mistake with sex that we make with eating and drinking. We stop paying attention to what is actually happening and get distracted, not by her talking, which would be fine, but to some dialogue in our heads, some imagination about sex other than what it actually happening now, or sometimes by some entirely unrelated thought. If we could stay present to our actual bodily sensations, and at the same time to her needs and what works for her, we should enjoy sex much more.

This, perhaps unexpectedly, is also the key to overcoming premature ejaculation. It is imagination about sex during sex, rather than sex itself, that causes premature ejaculation. It’s like ‘chomp chomp chomp, nom nom nom’ when eating, instead of tasting each mouthful.

This is a little hard to explain, but here goes. In order really to taste a morsel of food, we have to create a little mental distance between us and the food. We have to rule our desire rather than be ruled by it. We have to create a little separation. Something in us wants to start eating straight away but we hold back for a moment, in order to allow the time and space in which to appreciate the food.

Another analogy. We’d like a glass of wine. Something in us wants to start drinking straight away. But what does a real wine connoisseur do? He or she looks at the colour of the wine, swirls it around the glass, watches how the drops run down inside the glass (called ‘legs’ – in this situation you can get away with saying ‘nice legs’), smells it, maybe pauses a moment, and only then takes a sip. Why do they do this? Is it because they like to show off? Maybe, but serious wine lovers do this because it very much increases their enjoyment of the wine. They stop their instinctive self indulging in an unaware mechanical fashion and by doing this they get much longer, more intense pleasure.

And longer, more intense pleasure is of course what we want.

How do we apply this to sex? It’s a matter of mental discipline.

It’s not a method applied once at the beginning of sex but a method applied repeatedly during sex. It is the equivalent of tasting each bite of food or each sip of beer. What we need to do is to keep being aware of our beloved, of what her needs and wants are. If we start imagining ourselves as some kind of stud and begin to lose ourselves in imagination about what is happening or what is going to happen, then we’re lost very quickly. Nom nom nom (you can supply the equivalent sounds yourself). It’s just as bad if we start worrying that we’re not satisfying her. Anxiety kills sex. If we find this happening we can create a little separation, a little pause in which to come back into the present moment and be with her.

Eye-contact is one very powerful tool here.

It is strange, but to remain present to our beloved actually requires continuous effort. Notice how something wants to drag the mind away from the present moment. Real pleasure requires effort. Why not?

Why should appreciating wine require effort but sex be automatic?

So, whether drinking, eating (I was tempted to say, ‘forking’) or making love, create a little separation between you and your desire, and be present to what is happening.

This works.

Rush hour crush – 4

I think a lot of us live in dreamland.

Do we really want to meet the man or woman of our dreams or do we just want to fantasize about it?

Here are two examples from the ‘Rush hour crush’ section of the Metro newspaper today.

Example 1:

To the gentleman with the gym bag who catches the 08.32 from Penarth to Queen Street every morning. Let me see how many shades you have. Drink? – Brunette

Ooh la la! The reference to ‘shades’ is probably something to do with the recent publication of the ‘shades of grey’ novels, which I understand have lots of references to kinky sex. So if the guy with the gym bag is into that then it’s game on. But (even assuming he reads today’s Metro) how is he to know which brunette is offering? I can imagine a highly amusing farce made out of that (writers of TV comedy take note).

Ok, there is a chance that the target of these entertaining texts will actually read them. And that might just break the ice (or facilitate a very polite refusal) in the event that the two of them ever actually talk to each other. But please, Brunette, consider adding a bit more of a description. Why not wear an unusual brightly coloured shoulder bag or a distinguishing hair ornament? If you weren’t wearing anything eye-catching on the day you could still have said that’s what you’ll be wearing next time. You’ll have to be the one to break the ice unless you do that.

And for the avoidance of doubt, as the lawyers say, the gentleman wasn’t me and I’m not into shades of grey.

Example 2:

To the man with the white dog on the train from Clapham Junction on Saturday, I wish I’d written your number down before you got off at Feltham. Coffee sometime? – Smiley Brunette

Of course this is better. The description of the man is more precise, because fewer men have white dogs than have gym bags. And Smiley Brunette is a little more specific than Brunette.

On the other hand the description could have been improved by stating the time of the train at Clapham Junction. But maybe this isn’t so important, because the text suggests that they actually spoke. I deduce this because she writes “I wish I’d written your number down…” rather than “I wish I’d spoken to you.” So almost full marks here.

Next time, ask for an email or mobile number, or if really shy, at least a Facebook name. “Hey, are you on Facebook?” is a risk-free question. Actually, asking someone if they’d like to meet for coffee sometime is also risk-free. If they’re not interested (or married – check the left hand) they can always find a polite way of declining.

Lessons?

1. If you see someone you fancy, make some harmless remark (the weather, overcrowding on the tube, ‘nice gym bag, where did you get it?,’ ‘what kind of dog is that?,’ whatever) and see if a conversation develops;

2. If a conversation develops in a positive way, ask for a Facebook name/ email/ mobile phone number;

3. If you only think of these things when it’s too late and you text in to the newspaper, you need to be specific enough that the intended recipient has half a chance of knowing who you are. But I can’t help thinking that the ‘Rush hour crush’ column is the repository of lost dreams.

Why don’t we act on our desires? I’ll talk about fear of rejection another time, but it’s all imagination, really. The sky will not fall in.

How not to be a creep

Here’s one young woman’s guide to not being a creep.

It boils down to this: (1) don’t be in imagination; (2) do things in the right order.

Don’t make a lunge when you’ve had no signals whatever that it is the right time to do this. Be aware of signals that are actually coming from her. And not signals you’ve merely convinced yourself are coming from her.

The more we are thinking about what we want, the more detached from reality we become. We have a hope in our heads, “she likes me/ she wants me to kiss her,” and then we look for signs that fit with what we want to believe (I referred previously to the classic portrayal of this in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night). We become victims of imagination.

The antidote to this is always to be considerate and to concern yourself with what she wants. That doesn’t mean being a wimp but it does entail keeping a clear head.

Combatting our own imagination is very difficult. When in doubt, don’t make the pass. Wait for her to make it obvious that she wants you to. You still have to be the one to lead, in most cases, because that’s what men do and that’s what most women want you to do. But make haste slowly. In any case, anticipation works in your favour.

Practical example: if you think she wants physical contact, start by touching her forearm or wrist very lightly (but not so quickly that it looks like an accident). Make eye-contact. See how she reacts. Then withdraw. This builds anticipation if she is ready, and does no harm if she isn’t.

If she sits so close to you that the side of her bottom is firmly pressed against yours it is probably safe to give her waist a little squeeze. Done correctly, this simply comes across as an affectionate gesture rather than a pass, so if more is not wanted (and you’ll know by whether she relaxes towards you or pulls away a little) no embarrassment is caused to either party. If this is received without recoil it is a sign that you can leave your arm round her waist for longer.

Key points: Do lead, but at the same time she must feel in control. Do not rush. Be sensitive to signals, not what you want to believe but what is. Do it in small stages: anticipation works in your favour. It is better to quit while you are ahead than to push it too far.