Women Don't Lie,
Men Don't Listen
Archive 2004

This is the Archive of DocLove's weekly column featured daily on our homepage. Doc Love is a talk show host, entertainment speaker, and coaches men in his seminars. For the past 30 years he has asked thousands of women, "Why do you stay with one man versus another?" He is the author of the Master Series, available at www.doclove.com

DocLove will answer all of your romantic love questions from a man’s perspective. So, set your ego aside, learn to laugh at yourself, and e-mail him at doclove@doclove.com or call 800.404.2644 and he will give you a snappy answer to your silly love question – one loaded with truth. You do what he says, and Miss Right will rob banks for you. When he gets done with you, you will need more security than Julio Iglesias. However, to protect the guilty, he promises not to use your real name, or give it out. All questions will be answered, but only the ones of general interest printed. Please be specific and don’t ramble.

Other Relationship Issues, Books, Column Archives 2003a, 2003b, 2002a, 2002b, 2001, 2000

Are Some Women Too Good to be True? - not
Being Kind, Not Right - not
Beware of Creating Ms. Jekyl and Ms. Hyde
Can she be Trusted when She's Living in Another Country?
Can Taking it too Slow Get You into Trouble?
Can You get to Vanessa Williams in Four Minutes?
Did Jane Fonda (aka Hanoi Jane) Listen to the Angels when she Dumped Ted Turner?
Does Ben Affleck ever get into a Fight over His Date?
Does Bruce Willis ever Apologize when He's Wrong?
Does Donald Trump need a Prenup?
Does George Clooney Care What's on the Inside?
Does Hugh Grant have Trouble Picking up the Waitress?
Does Sean Penn Take Orders from His Wife?Does the Average Guy Ever Really Stand a Chance?
A Father's Value
How do You Get Her to Cool Her Jets?
If She's from the Other Side of the Tracks, can She be a "Keeper?"
Is There Ever a Good Time to Rip Off Your Buddy?
Never Try to Keep Someone Who Doesn't Want to Keep You
The Pitfalls of Group Dates
Should a Guy Ever be a Woman's Doormat?
Should a Teacher ever Date His Student
Should You Believe Her - or Your Eyes?
Should You Keep Your Ex as a Friend?
What does Tommy Lee have that You Don't?
What if She Won't Commit -- buy Won't Let Go?
What would Jack Nicholson do if He Found Out She was Married?
Would Charlie Sheen ever Practice on an Ugly Girl?
Would Denzel get Her Number if He Tended Bar?
Would Hef Care if Her IQ Didn't Break 100?
Would Johnny Depp Use Instant Messaging?
Would Marky Mark Mind if She Brought a Friend Along?
Would Spielberg let Kate Capshaw go Sailing with Her Ex?

Would Charlie Sheen ever Practice on an Ugly Girl?

Hey Doc,

First of all, thanks for all of your advice and wisdom. My best buddy Bobby turned me on to you, and I have to say that it seems to me your principles are right on the money.

But I have a question that I’ve not seen addressed, and I’m wondering if you can give me a little guidance here.

I happen to be mired in a dating slump right now. (It’s only temporary, of course, because I have your techniques on my side!) Anyway, I can’t seem to get the attention or numbers of any of the women I’m interested in. What I’d like to know is whether you think it’s okay to lower my standards temporarily to get some dating practice and such – you know, work on my moves.

Doc, I have a good heart and would never hurt a girl on purpose, but there is an unattractive girl – I’ll call her Chrissie – from my past that I’m thinking about getting in touch with. We were friends about eight months ago, but nothing romantic ever happened between us. Frankly, the idea crossed my mind because I’m so lonely and Chrissie had very high Interest Level in me way back when. Since I was basically indifferent to her, I was a total Challenge to her even before I studied your book. She always wanted me to go places and do things with her, and she always offered to pay. It would have been a sweet deal if only I’d been interested in her.

So what do you think in general about dating a woman knowing she is only “practice” for the next one, if you know already she will never be “Miss Right?”

Doc, thanks in advance for your help.

Riley - who needs to do something instead of nothing

Hi Riley,

Guy, first let me assure you that not getting the attention and home phone numbers of the babes you really want is the way it is for every guy most of the time – unless of course you play in the band. Like General Love says, “Dating can be like guerilla warfare in the Sahara Desert, and you gotta be prepared for anything!” The point is this: when you do meet the right one, you have to be armed with my material – it should be so second nature, so internalized, that you’ll be able to conquer and keep this A-list lady when you find her. In other words, you have to be like a soldier going into battle.

To you Psych majors, 99% of the women you meet will be the wrong women. But what we’re doing with “The System” is getting you completely set up and ready to deal with the right one.

Working on your moves is an excellent idea, pal. You should always be doing that anyway. Your problem right now is that you’re walking into the Mercedes-Benz dealership, but you’ve only got money for a broken-down 10-year-old Chevy. Because my gut feeling is that you haven’t really taken my principles completely to heart yet. You haven’t practiced enough or put in the time. I’ve heard miracle stories from the guys who have, including incredible tales of marriages that have been saved. That’s the kind of power my techniques carry.

So, Chrissie offered to pay for you? Whoa, dude, this has to be the first time in the last 6,000 years that a woman ever offered to cover a guy! This is truly unbelievable! But she shouldn’t be paying. You – the man – are the one who should be paying.

But we have a major problem here, Riley. You already know this girl. Chrissie is old news, yesterday’s paper. It’s clear you don’t have any real interest in her. Like Sal “The Fish” Love says, “What’s the point of beating on a dead donkey?”

You say you need to do something. You complain that you have no action whatsoever, and that you’re stuck in a rut. It’s our job to shake you out of that rut. What you have to do, buddy, is figure out how you can meet the highest quantity of women. Then go and do it.

The very best way to do that is on the Internet. So what you’re going to do is study my book until it’s completely committed to memory, until you can pretty much recite it from cover to cover. Then, log on and if a girl who’d never make it in the pages of Cosmopolitan wants to meet you, you’re going to go and meet her anyway. (You’re practicing on some fresh new honeys, get it?) Hey -- maybe it’s just a bad photograph, and anyway, we have to make you a little bit more handsome. We have to get you feeling better about yourself. How do we pull that off? Like this: meeting all these new women is going to propel you into motion instead of keeping you in a state of inertia. It’s going to give you Confidence, and applying my rules will give you that swagger, that winner’s attitude you need so that more females will find you attractive.

So to answer your question, Riley, if you’re not interested in her, DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME, and don’t torture Chrissie for your own selfish ends. But if you’re with someone and it’s already a date, have as much fun with her as you can. Be Confident, and keep it light and funny. Do your very best imitation of Cary Grant. Like my cousin Fast Eddie Love says, “Practice your moves, baby. Never stop practicing your moves.”

Remember, guys: once you know you can learn nothing from a woman, it’s time to move on.

Would Hef Care if Her IQ Didn't Break 100?

Hey Doc,

I absolutely love your stuff. I can't begin to tell you how my dating life has changed thanks to you. I used to be a loser, and now I’m beating the women off with sticks. It’s a miracle how much my life has been transformed since I started reading your books and columns.

But I have a question that desperately needs your attention because I can't find the answer to it anywhere.

After applying your principles, I am meeting and dating extremely beautiful women. (Yes, it’s absolutely true and when I think about it, I’m astounded. Even my friends and family are amazed.) By the way, I live in Miami, where there are beautiful women everywhere you look. The more beautiful women I meet and date, the easier it seems to be to attract even more of them because they see me with Beautiful Women. They must ask themselves, “I wonder what he’s got?” And you must be asking yourself: Okay, so what’s this guy’s beef?

Well, here’s the problem. What I’m discovering is that the more physically attractive a woman is, the more boring and brainless she is. One is dumber than the next, Doc. I recently dated one who believed that New Jersey was a city. Another one thought Ernest Hemingway played for the Los Angeles Lakers. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

This makes it extraordinarily difficult to carry on a conversation, go on a long trip, or even think of entering into a real partnership with them. I hate to say this, but unless we are being intimate I can't stand to be around them. I try everything I can think of to stimulate intelligent give and take, but since they are brainless, they can’t talk about current events, goals, their jobs -- nothing.

I know you must still be thinking “What the heck is this guy kvetching about,” but believe me; it’s a real problem when you’re in the market for someone to get serious with.

Doc, should I forget about the “10s” and just date average-looking but intelligent girls? Or is it possible to find an Einstein on the catwalk?

Thanks for any ideas you might have.

Pat - who’s sick of gorgeous idiots

Hi Pat,

We should all have your problems, pal! But I’m glad that my techniques have gotten you dates with a succession of Christie Brinkley’s and Charlize Theron's. Because you make a very interesting point -- that being seen in the presence of a Beautiful Woman is a really important tool in the dating game. (Some guys even pay for the privilege – check the yellow pages under “Wing Women.” But if you can do it for free, more power to you.)

As my cousin Fast Eddie Love likes to say, “As a chick magnet, being seen with a Beautiful Woman on your arm is the next best thing to owning a 145-foot yacht!”

I know what the Feministas are thinking. They’re just dying for me to agree with you right now, Pat, but I’m not going to do that. (By the way, I can’t win with the Feministas. If I agreed with you that all Beautiful Women were stupid, they’d attack me for bashing women. If I said that the only smart women were unattractive, they’d be all over me too – for the same thing. So they’ve got me coming and going.) But let me tell you something. There are some Beautiful Women out there who are brilliant – you just haven’t met them yet, that’s all.

Still, if you want to do Beautiful Women, buddy, this is what you’re going to have to put up with. It stands to reason that most of them are going to spend more time on their looks than on their personalities or boning up on the relativity theories of Stephen Hawking. Why? Because they don’t have to. They’re attracting the attention of men without having to work for it.

Dating Beautiful Women is like walking through a romantic minefield. If they’re not getting hit on by every guy around, they’re emptying your wallet. Remember, as my cousin Rabbi Love says, “Every beautiful item comes with a heavy price tag.”

Nevertheless, Pat, I think it’s great that you’ve graduated to the league of Beautiful Women, but before you met me, maybe you wouldn’t have realized how stupid they can be, so that’s one more good thing that’s come out of following my principles. With “The System,” you’re always moving closer to REALITY – and that’s a good thing, especially when it comes to women.

The more important thing to remember here is that you only need one smart Beautiful Woman. Maybe you’ll have to go through 104 super-models to get to her, but you’ll have your fun along the way, right? When you hit number 105, guess what? She’s studying to be a lawyer! And then you’ve finally got somebody with some brains. (If you don’t believe me about babes who happen to be lawyers, check out some of the prosecutors and defense attorneys-turned-commentators on Court TV!)

The point is that you’ve just had a run of the wrong ones here. Believe me, fellas, there are lots of smart Beautiful Women out there. Maybe you’ve had a “dumb run” because you’re living in Miami, Pat. Too much sun can fry the brain. And it’s more conducive to breeding beach bunnies than nuclear physicists.

Remember, guys: finding beauty with brains just takes longer.

What would Jack Nicholson do if He Found Out She ws Married?

Hey Doc,

I’m a devoted student of the philosophy of your teachings. As a result of paying attention to your material, I’m able to analyze most situations with women as fast as lightning.

But a certain situation that I’ve run into lately has me a little perplexed: married women without wedding rings. For instance, I’m at the cleaners the other day and the cashier is this beautiful Latina girl (a dead ringer for Jennifer Lopez, actually) giving me classic high interest buying signals (laughing at my dumb jokes, making solid eye contact, blushing, and asking questions about my job). By the way, I’m not a regular patron at that business and had never seen her before. So after getting her name – Eva -- I ask her for the home phone number and attempt to close the deal. All of a sudden a disappointed look appears on her face and she says, “Oh, sorry, I can’t -- I’m married.”

Well, she wasn’t wearing a ring and there was no tan line on the designated finger. When I pointed this out with a laugh, she said that she lost her ring when it went down the kitchen drain.

Now Doc, had she been wearing a wedding ring I would’ve respected her union and chalked up the banter to nothing but friendly conversation. But due to the fact that she appeared otherwise unattached (i.e., no ring) and displayed buying signals, I made the move. Wouldn’t anyone in my position have done the same thing?

Is this girl just a liar with low Interest Level? Or married with 40% to 49% Interest Level in her hubby? I can’t quite figure it out. And Doc, it’s not the first time something like this has happened to me. Is this a phenomenon that’s growing or something?

I look forward to your usual brilliant insights.

Smith - who feels taken for a ride

Hi Smith,

First of all, when you’re dealing with a married woman who doesn’t wear a wedding ring, you have to think in terms of her Interest Level. If a woman were married – happily married – wouldn’t she want to keep all the wolves away from the door by wearing her wedding band? She wouldn’t want to get into confrontations with undesirable guys, right? She wouldn’t want to needlessly upset her husband by drawing all kinds of unwanted attention, would she?

Of course there’s always the possibility that this one may have lost her ring, but why wasn’t it replaced? Like I always tell you guys, you have to be like detectives on Love and Order to figure out what the heck’s really going on.

So Eva looks exactly like J Lo, huh? Well, there was your first mistake, dude! A J Lo look-alike is the last thing you need if you don’t want trouble – ask Ojani, Cris, P Diddy, and Ben! But seriously, when you got Eva’s name, you forgot to mention something – did she ask you for yours? And when she told you she was married, you should have asked, as my cousin Fast Eddie Love would have, “By any chance, you got a sister?”

There are only a few possibilities regarding what happened at the cleaners, pal:

1) Eva lied because she had low Interest Level -- in you. 2) She told the truth, but she had low Interest Level -- in you. (But when a woman gives you so many buying signals – when they overdo it like Eva did – something’s not right at home. When she told you her ring went swirling down the kitchen drain, you should have asked, “How long ago?” If she said “Yesterday!” it would have told you one thing. If she said “Fourteen years ago!” it would have told you something entirely different. And the answer would have said a lot about the state of her marriage. Which leads us to the next possibilities.) 3) She’s not getting any love and affection at home. 4) Her husband does give her lots of love and affection, but she just doesn’t dig the guy anymore. 5) For some reason she’s just trying to find out whether she’s still got market value – in other words, she needs to see if guys are still interested in her.

You can try until the cows come home to figure out all the reasons why Eva said what she did, but the bottom line is this: you did close the deal by going for the home phone number. Even though you didn’t get it, you did great, buddy.

Because most guys would have chickened out and not have gone for the home phone number. But you had guts, and that was fantastic. Most wimps would have hemmed and hawed, asked Eva if she had a boyfriend or mumbled something like “Can I take you out sometime between now and Armageddon?”

That said, married women losing their wedding bands is a phenomenon only in your life. But this babe flirted, she wasn’t wearing a ring, and you went ahead and asked for the home phone number – that’s all that counts. So you should congratulate yourself. You’re getting hung up on some other stuff here. Maybe this is all Eva’s problem. Maybe you don’t even want to get involved with someone like her – have you thought of that? As Sal “The Fish” Love would say, “You already gotta figure she’s doing some kind of heavy number on her hubby, right?”

Because guys, there’s another type of woman who still has high Interest Level in her husband but when she sees a man she likes, she will flirt with him. And these are the women who tend to dress like sex kittens even after they’re married, because they want other guys watching them. Not that they want to get intimate or romantic with another guy, but they need the strokes. It’s enough to make you think, what’s wrong with the guy she’s got? Why isn’t one enough?

So don’t go getting all bent out of shape here, Smith. You weren’t taken for a ride. You went in there and you spent a measly two minutes on Eva. You really get taken for a ride when you’ve been going with a babe for a year and a half and she empties your wallet. But this was no big deal – you were never even in that cleaners before. Next time you go in, forget about dating Eva. Say to her “Hey, you got a girlfriend for me?”

Remember, guys: don’t go blowing things out of proportion.

Would Spielberg let Kate Capshaw go Sailing with Her Ex?

Hey Doc,

Many thanks for the great work that went into “The System.” I have studied the book the last few months, and continue to review it and your columns on askmen.com. As a result, I’ve had increased Confidence and success. I am tall, good-looking, and well-educated. It’s usually easy for me to start a dating relationship, but I end up being a wimp.

Here’s why I’m writing. I’ve been dating a cool woman, Alicia, for a month now. She lives 100 miles away, but we’ve spent each of the last three weekends together. I’d say her Interest Level is between 70% and 90%. She calls me, pays for things, and is constantly complimenting me, telling me I’m great and so forth. She scores well on Flexibility and Giving (I’ve changed plans at the last minute a few times and she hasn’t complained, she’s lent me money, is a good tipper, etc.).

Integrity’s the potential problem. Several months before we started dating, Alicia was involved with a wandering sailor, who was apparently the first guy to satisfy her romantically. She made plans to go sailing with him in Australia in another month. She gained points for telling me about the guy, though I had to interpret some Womanese to get closer to the truth. I told her this past weekend that I want to be with someone who knows she wants to be with me, and that I have limited tolerance for this kind of thing, specifically because there was always another guy or two in the picture with my last girlfriend. She also said she is feeling confused, and not sure if she’s going to go through with her plans.

In a nutshell, I’m having a hard time deciding if I want to keep seeing Alicia for the next few weeks before she goes, or if I should just let her go now, telling her she can call me when she gets it straight that she wants to give a relationship with me an honest shot. I think that if I could keep practicing your techniques, a few weeks apart would be a good thing. On the other hand, I’m not sure I can keep my own Attitude, Confidence and Self-Control up with this other guy hanging in the background, in which case I should get out now. Alicia hasn’t badgered me with it, though after our talk this past weekend, I made it clear I didn’t want to hear any more about other men in her life. Today on the phone she ended up briefly talking about her arrangements when she leaves. I told her I didn’t want to talk about it any more, and the call, which had been light and bubbly, ended on a bumpy note.

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this one.

Scott - who wishes he’d laid down the law earlier

Hi Scott,

You said a mouthful in your first paragraph, pal. The wimp disease is the biggest problem in America today. Now you’re not going to hear this on the Oprah show, but let me enlighten you on something: women lose respect for guys, because as they date and he falls in love, the poor jerk goes along with everything she wants, trying to be a nice guy, until he turns out to be – instead of a man -- nothing but a needy, bend-over-backwards-to-please-her WIMP. This is why the American female falls out of love so often and why you guys need me to straighten you out.

That said, it’s a no-brainer that you shouldn’t be seeing this girl three weekends in a row. You’re giving her way too much time – too soon. You’re already on the way to burning yourself out here, guy. I realize that it’s hard to establish something with a hundred miles between you, but that’s exactly why I tell you guys not to date anybody over 30, 35 miles away. What distance does is kill the element of Challenge, because the only time you can see the girl is on weekends, or you have to make all those stupid phone calls to her during the week.

You say that Alicia’s Interest Level is somewhere between 70% to 90%? Well, which is it? There’s a big gap between 70 and 90, buddy. That’s simple arithmetic, if you made it out of the public school system in one piece. Like my cousin Fast Eddie Love says, “At 70% she’s touching your arm three or four times on a date, and at 90% she’s playing with your leg all night.” See the difference?

Sure, Alicia scores well on Flexibility and Giving – because you’ve only had three dates! Britney Spears is great for three dates too, Scott. What’s the average time you two spend together on a date – four hours? Eight hours? And you’re already giving away the store? You’ve canonized her the second coming of Mother Theresa? Like most men, Scott, let’s rush into rejection!

Integrity’s not the potential problem here, dude. YOU’RE the potential problem -- for coming on too heavy. We’ll find out about Alicia’s Integrity later, but first we have to make sure she loves you after 60 days. Then we’ll get into her personality, her hang-ups, and all the rest of the garbage that comes with her.

The sailor satisfied Alicia because he was wandering -- don’t you get it? And why does she gain points by telling you that she’s going to break your heart? That she’s going to fly halfway around the world to be with another man? Have you considered a career in masochism?

In the end, you brought this situation on yourself, Scott. You had a chance to knock Popeye out of the box, but you came on too heavy. You killed off any last vestige of mystery you might have been.

When Alicia told you that she might not go through with her plans for Australia, I ran straight to my bookie and laid down a cool thousand bucks that she would go through with them. Instead of telling her to get back in touch when she makes up her mind, you could just disappear, have you thought of that? Don’t answer your phone. No e-mails, no e-messaging, nothing -- until she’s at your door, pounding on it and crying to be let in. (This is after she gets back from her romantic trip, of course. Hopefully, she won’t go, but we know will, all right.)

Remember, guys: when you do everything right, you don’t have to lay down the law.

Would Denzel get Her Number if He Tended Bar?

Hi Doc,

I’m a long-time follower of your teachings and a regular reader of your columns. I have a unique situation. I work in a high-visibility job as a bartender in a restaurant that is right on the beach in La Jolla, California. The place is literally crawling with Beautiful Women. Sounds good so far, right? My problem is that I’m having trouble figuring out a non-sleazeball approach to getting some numbers there.

Not to blow my own horn, but I’m a good-looking guy (I get regular female praise), take care of myself, and am completely capable of pulling Beautiful Women more often then I do. So my question is this: how in the short 10 to 30 seconds of interaction with these dangerously gorgeous girls do I ask for the home phone number? I know some of these girls dig me since I pick up on their various looks and body language.

But I don’t want to look like a typical shmuck bartender and don’t want to put these women in an uncomfortable position in front of other people. On the other hand, I know I’ve let some amazing prospects slip away because I wasn’t quite sure how to attack them. The way my job works is they come in for lunch or dinner, then while waiting to be seated often make their way up to the bar to order a drink or appetizer. The lobby/waiting area is also the bar area, so I can make eye contact, or if you think it’s appropriate, I could walk around into the lobby for a quick chat. (And no, my employers wouldn’t mind this since it’s a very laid-back atmosphere.)

I hope that this isn’t too specific for you to reply to, but I know that everyone who works at any job will sooner or later encounter possible dating prospects. I feel like a kid in a candy store who’s not allowed to buy anything. Thanks and keep up the good work!

Byron - who feels like his hands are cuffed

Hi Byron,

First of all, I don’t know why asking for the home phone number is a sleazeball move. In itself, there’s nothing wrong with asking for the home phone number. What you mean is that hustling on the job is sleazy. The thing you have to worry about, buddy, is an irate female customer complaining to your manager. “I come here to have a nice dinner and this guy’s hustling me! I don’t think it’s right!” If that happens, no matter how “laid back” your employers are, you’re on the unemployment line.

So you’re not going to ask for the home phone number, Byron. There are lots of other things you can do, but the main thing – the key to getting any woman – is to MAKE HER LAUGH. Like a comic working out his act at the Improv you’re going to try different lines on them until you find out which one works for you. One of the best around is “What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?” It gets the point across subtly and with a sense of humor. “You got a girlfriend for me?” is another good one.

The point is that you’re not going to go straight at it like a bull in a china shop, because that way you can’t get into hot water on the job. Like a butterfly flitting from flower to flower you’re going to get in and get out. You can’t appear as if you’re hustling these honeys, even though you -- and they -- know that you are.

You’re the man behind the bar, dude. You’re the guy who gets to put on a little show. If I were you, I’d have these girls cracking up all over the place.

But like Sal “The Fish” Love puts it, “There’s more than one way to pull off a job.” When you pick up on their cues, you can also say “We’re having a great band in here on Friday night, or on Wednesdays we feature the best mahi-mahi dinner in town. You and your girlfriend should come in – you’d really enjoy it.”

In other words, you’ve got to toss hints at these gals to come back again for some other reason -- when the only reason really is you. While you’re doing it, you have to pretend that your manager is standing right next to you. Because you have to be very careful who you’re talking to. You might put the move on one girl who takes it as a compliment, but then she goes and mentions it to another who calls the manager to complain. As my cousin Fast Eddie Love says, “Some girls don’t want you to make out!”

You claim that you don’t want to be a typical shmuck bartender and don’t want to make these women uncomfortable -- another two reasons why you’re not going to ask for the home phone number. You’re going to do everything but ask that question. (Of course if you ever did slip and ended up in front of a judge, you’d say “Me? I never asked for her home phone number, your honor! You have me confused with somebody else!”)

But I do have a little problem with your letter, Byron. I can’t figure out why at least some of these babes aren’t returning to see you later as it is. If any of these ladies had 85% to 90% Interest Level in you, they would have come back and had a drink with you on another night. They’d bring a girlfriend, commandeer a couple of stools and chat you up. When a woman’s Interest Level hits the 80s, they get real crazy and they’ll do almost anything. They’re not going to let you slip by if they like you.

With the volume you’re seeing and the fact that you’re good-looking, what I suspect is that you’re not saying the right things to these women. You’re doing something wrong. It’s your pitch and personality that’s falling flatter than a stale IHOP flapjack. What exactly are you saying to them? You have to give me the fine details of a case for me to help you crack it. You should have included your approach in your letter so I could tell you what to add or subtract so that you could improve on it. Like I always say, you guys have to be detectives on “Love And Order.”

To use your own words, you’re standing in the middle of the candy store -- but maybe you aren’t handling these sweets properly.

Remember, guys: unless you’re ready to quit next week, don’t ask for the home phone number

Would Johnny Depp Use Instant Messaging?

Hey Doc,

I’m a huge fan of your techniques and have already applied a great many of them to my advantage. But I do have a question. I know that you said in your book that talking on the telephone is a no-no in the dating game. But does the same rule apply to instant messaging?

I’ve been dating Cassandra off and on (at my discretion let me hasten to add) for more than a year now. She apparently has high Interest Level in me because she’s always asking me out on dates or to call her. I usually don’t because it’s a long-distance call and it costs too much money to waste chatting.

Now here’s my problem: instead of spending time on the telephone with Cassandra, we go on line with each other. And when we do, I can’t help talking and talking and talking. I actually feel more comfortable talking to her on line than in person, which might say something about our relationship.

But no matter how interesting the things I say might be, I seem to only get brief responses from Cassandra – “Yeah” and “Oh” and that sort of thing -- and I don’t hear from her again for up to a week.

I thought this form of communication could loosen both Cassandra and me up and create a stronger bond, but so far I don’t think it’s happening.

Am I wrong to instant-message Cassandra? Is instant messaging just another form of anti-Challenge?

Thanks in advance for your valuable insights. Maybe you can help me decide whether to take my relationship with Cassandra to another level or let it die.

Ben - who wants to know if he should be using fewer keystrokes

Hi Ben,

You say you’ve read my book, but when I looked over your letter it seemed obvious to me that you skipped a bunch of chapters!

Basically you’re asking whether talking on the telephone is equivalent to instant messaging. Now think about it, pal. When I tell you to disappear, when I tell you she loves mystery, when I tell you there should be NO CONTACT, do you think that applies only to the telephone? Disappear means DISAPPEAR! Create some sense of mystery! Create some Challenge!

You tell me that you’ve been dating Cassandra for more than a year. Let me ask you a question, Ben. What are you holding on for? Why don’t you just cut Cassandra loose? Why waste the girl’s time? It’s as plain as the assets on J-Lo that you don’t really dig this girl. Face the facts, dude. If you don’t even want to spare the scratch to phone this babe, then she can’t mean that much to you. (The last time I looked, the long distance carriers were practically killing each other over who could offer the lowest price to Norway! Maybe you should get a night job, Ben!)

Nevertheless, you say that you blab-blab-blab to Cassandra when you get on the computer. Like most guys, you pour your heart out, you spill your guts, you kill off any semblance of mystery. No wonder your romance is stuck in permanent neutral. You’re as far from being a Challenge as Ricki Lake is from dropping 55 pounds.

Cassandra’s responses when you instant message are “Yeah” and “Oh”? Now what do you figure that translates to in Womanese? Does it mean she has high Interest Level in you? I think not, Ben. If she asks you out on dates, it’s only because she’s lonelier than you are, that’s all. I don’t mind her “Yeah-ing” and “Oh-ing” so much (though it does indicate that she’s about as interested in you as George Clooney is in being married). What bothers me is that YOU keep coming back for another beating when she does her impersonation of a wall. Or as my cousin Fast Eddie Love would say, “Let’s bury this thing another 20 feet deeper!”

Guy, there are 10,000 so-called love doctors out there, and I’m the only one who understands – and says -- that CHALLENGE constitutes one-third of your troops in the War of Love. That’s the biggest trick – and weapon -- we have: CHALLENGE. Everybody knows you need Confidence and Self-Control. Be a gentleman, make ’em laugh, be neat and clean and well groomed – everybody knows that, too. But what I say that’s unique is GET OFF YOUR KNEES AND DON’T BEG, and the other fakers and phonies don’t. If you don’t believe me, go watch Oprah!

Your final question is whether or not instant messaging is one more example of anti-Challenge. Answer: Absolutely. Positively. 100%! Bingo! Bulls-eye!

Right now the ER is estimating that chances are only one in five that your romance with Cassandra is going to make it. But the more important point is this: you have to study. You just can’t read my book once and expect to get it. You have to apply yourself and do everything I tell you to do. My regimen is like the training to become an army ranger. You’re going to have to be disciplined. You’re going to have to get tough, or else you’ll revert to your old, pathetic, loser ways.

So Ben, I’d suggest that you take that keyboard of yours, open the window, and toss it out, and listen to it as it bangs and crunches and bounces down the steps.

Remember, guys: when I say disappear, that means DISAPPEAR!

What does Tommy Lee have that You Don't?

Hey Doc,

I’ve read your book several times and am a true believer in what you teach. Not that you need any help with weekly articles, but I thought a good subject might be an expansion of the concept of the “rock star” and the “guys in the band” that you include in your Dating Dictionary.

Why is it that these guys can dress sloppy, break all the rules, show no respect for anyone or anything and yet end up scoring the best-looking babes left and right? What is it about the “rock star” that creates such an instant high Interest Level in women? And are those women usually Flexible Givers, or are they just Mercenaries?

I would suppose that a large part of the whole mystique of this type of guy is the instant Challenge that famous people bring with them and the fact that Kitty Kats Kompete over them because they draw huge crowds. But I don’t want to second-guess the Doc since I’m just a student!

At any rate, we know their names: from Keith Richards and Tommy Lee to a second-rate freak like Dennis Rodman, these guys snag the hottest girls without even trying. Always have, always will.

Finally, Doc, I have to confess that I’ve been personally burned, which accounts for my interest in this phenomenon. Like an idiot – or should I say Wimpus Americanus – I courted Erica for a whole year, including escorting her to fancy restaurants and buying her expensive jewelry only to watch her take off like a giddy schoolgirl over some grungy loser in a crappy band here in Chicago where we live. In my mind I saw her as a classy woman, but in the end she was nothing but a groupie. Doc, it was a sobering experience, to say the least.

Anyway, any insight would be greatly appreciated. I’m sure there are other guys out here like me who want to know your thoughts on this. Thanks.

Martin - who wishes he had the magic himself

Hi Martin,

There’s a simple reason why the guys in the band score they way the do, and it’s because they play the guitar to 80,000 people. Women are suckers for that kind of power. The fact that a rock star can control a huge audience is the biggest aphrodisiac of all. On the other hand, that allure doesn’t guarantee a long-lasting relationship. And that’s what “The System” is about, not an instant score because you strum a Fender Telecaster in front of a ton of screaming fanatics.

You want to know what creates instantaneous high Interest Level in women? CELEBRITY, dude. When you have celebrity, you automatically have power. Like my cousin “Fast Eddie” Love says, “When she sees your mug on TV, it’s a huge turn-on, baby!” Not only that, but pussycat is thinking about all the other pussycats who are after you and that turns her on even more -- so you’re on the money there, Martin. You could even have low self-esteem and be as shy as a wallflower on the inside (think about all the stars who can’t function without junk and booze), but when it comes to tickling the guitar strings, you’re the greatest in the world.

Actually, the chippies who chase after the grunge guitar boys are going to be Flexible Givers at least temporarily, because at first they’re only too happy to be basking in the light of the star’s celebrity wattage. But if you had one of those star-effers over the long haul and she’s not a Flexible Giver at heart, eventually she’ll revert to whatever she was. Because what happens when you live with someone month after month, year after year is that the real you finally comes out.

Of course it’s always possible that these women are Mercenaries but on the whole these females are generally more interested in the reflected FAME. That’s the name of the game here. (Not that it’s so terrible lying poolside at the rock star’s $12 million mansion in Beverly Hills watching the smog hover over L.A.!)

You mention that these guys score without even trying and you’re on the mark there, too, buddy. You think Kid Rock has to wait a week to call a girl? He just says, “Climb in!” after the show and before he knows it she’s all over him in the back seat of the limo. It’s just that quick -- he has that kind of magnetism going for him. (Of course if I were a girl, I’d think the poor guy needed a hot bath and a barber!)

But Martin, you have to ask yourself what kind of girl this is. Is this a well-balanced, rational, self-reliant human being? Or nothing more than a hanger-on -- a leech who wants to get close to the star power without having to work for it herself?

Guys like Tommy Lee may get the Pamela Andersons and Heather Locklears, but they don’t keep them. And if they do, they’re only going to keep one of them, which means all the others are going to be out looking for other guys.

No matter what, you should have read Erica quicker. If you would have memorized my material, you would have cracked the real Erica a lot faster, and that’s the whole idea. My program is an efficiency program that allows YOU TO CUT TO THE TRUTH FAST. I don’t want you wasting valuable, irreplaceable time on a worthless groupie who appears to be classy on the outside. My techniques encourage you to talk to a girl -- really talk to her -- so that you can get to know what makes her tick. When certain important subjects come up, you’ll delve into them. You’ll ask, “Gee, what kind of guys do you dig?” And if she answers “Well, I dig a filthy guy with long greasy hair who plays the guitar,” you’re out of there! Let’s dig up that information in the first couple of weeks – not after 12 months!

You know how wrong it is to take them to fancy restaurants and buy them expensive jewelry if you’re acquainted with my principles, so I don’t have to go into that. Hey, the rock star doesn’t buy his women anything. And he doesn’t need to.

Most people think there are only two types of guy in the world: the Wimp and the Macho Boy. But there’s a third type, and he’s a lot like the actor Cary Grant. He’s got manners and class, but he’s not going one step out of his way to chase a woman. This is the guy you want to be. You want to be a positive challenge. Guys who are disrespectful to women are negative challenges, and I never want a man to be disrespectful, in spite of what the Feministas would like to have you believe about me.

Remember, guys: if you don’t memorize my book, you better be as good on the guitar as Santana, or forget women.

Should a Teacher ever Date His Student

Hey Doc,

I’ll try to be brief. I’m a teaching assistant in English literature at a large state university here in the East. There’s a girl in my class – I’ll call her Ariana -- who has a crush on me. She’s from Brazil, is highly intelligent, and a total knockout. Frankly, I can’t stop looking at her, but I try and keep it to a secretive minimum since she’s paying for an education and not to get hit on.

Anyway, I’m 26 and she’s about 19. Sometimes Ariana comes to my office for help with her homework, and I’ve noticed that she sometimes touches me and always seems a little nervous in my presence. Her eyes give a lot away, too. I know I’m not imagining things when I say she’s interested in me. I can hardly concentrate on what I’m doing when we’re sitting next to each other in this cramped little room. The whole thing makes me feel a bit like that teacher in the Police song “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” who had his young female student coming on to him.

Okay. So the semester is almost over and Ariana has asked for my e-mail address and told me that she wants to come to me for help next semester too. I told her I might not be here come August when the new semester starts since I might be teaching at another school three hours away, which alarmed her a bit. She said “You’re a traitor to your school,” which was quite comical, but I suspect she was trying to convey the message that she was disappointed at the prospect of not seeing me in the immediate future.

Somehow it doesn’t seem proper for me, her teacher, to ask Ariana for her phone number. I’m wondering if I should just forget about her and maybe be pleasantly surprised if she e-mails me. It just seems odd for me to be the initiator in this situation.

So what do you think, Doc? I’d hate to let a great opportunity slip away by playing it so straight. On the other hand, I’ve got this thorny ethical dilemma. Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. By the way, I’m a faithful reader of your column and think you give great advice.

Thomas - who doesn’t want to kick himself later

Hi Thomas,

The only reason you’ll be kicking yourself is if you don’t realize right now how much you have to lose here, since teaching is your job. Do you really want to cross a certain line with this young chippy and have your reputation -- as a sleaze that hits on his students -- precede you to your next position? In that case, you can kiss your sweet tenure goodbye! Next thing you know, you might not get hired anywhere. And forget the Police songs. You might have the coppers knocking on your door if you’re not careful.

Because let’s consider the worst-case scenario: let’s say Ariana has already been at two other colleges and four other professors have been fired when she blew the whistle on them for sexual harassment. Thomas, the fact is that you know absolutely nothing about this gorgeous specimen. How can you even be sure of her true age, especially when she’s from another country? Think about it.

On the other hand, there is a best-case scenario, and it’s that Ariana is deeply in love with you, and on account of you she wouldn’t go back to Brazil unless they put an Uzi to her head. The reality of your situation is somewhere in between these two extremes, and my job is to train you to figure out that reality, much like a police officer would be trained to collect evidence by a forensic scientist. What you have to do is examine all these clues and possibilities.

Still, the main thing to keep in mind is this: anything that jeopardizes your livelihood is just not worth it.

But if you determine that Ariana is a bona fide dating prospect -– and you obviously think she is -- you’ve still got two problems. First, she’s not a U.S. citizen and her family’s not here, which means her long-term presence, is questionable. Second, she’s a beautiful creature, and no doubt everyone’s been telling her that since she first dipped her toes in the Amazon. Sure, she’s paying for an education and not to get hit on, but like Sal “The Fish” Love says, “She can see the muscles straining in your neck every time you look in her direction!” You have to learn to relax when you’re around this girl.

Nevertheless, touching you and being nervous in your presence are two great, great signs of high Interest Level. Fantastic observation on your part, dude. (But when you say her eyes give a lot away, that’s just a little too general. Are they like flashlights throwing out beams of love at you and you alone? If you’re going to be a detective on Love and Order, you’ve got to be more specific. That’s what I always tell you guys.) Anyway, as long as she’s chasing you, you’ve got a real shot. So what you’re going to do is be her friend.

But Thomas, telling her you might not be here come August was a big mistake. Why in the world are you talking to this girl about the future? Like my cousin “Fast Eddie” Love says, “If you’re going to leave, tell her five minutes before you leave! Whatever you do, don’t tell her now!” Because if you tell her now, you can’t erase what you’ve planted in her mind. And the worst part is she might use it against you. YOU MEN OUT THERE HAVE TO LEARN TO KEEP YOUR MOUTHS SHUT!

You don’t have to initiate, pal, because Ariana’s coming at you. When she called you a traitor to your school that was Womanese for “I like you.” She’s been giving you buying signals. Now you have to hope that she’ll ask you for YOUR home phone number. You’re going to have to out-wait this honey.

So Thomas, you really don’t have a dilemma of any kind. Your goal is to make this girl fall in love with you. When she turns 23, then you can marry her, because she won’t be a baby anymore.

Just hold your horses before you do something really stupid. If Ariana doesn’t ask for your number and call you, she was just flirting.

Remember, guys: if you want to date your student, she’s got to come at you.

If Mira Sorvino can Rob the Cradle, Can't You?

Hey Doc,

I recently ran across your website and thought I would ask a simple question I hope you can answer.

I’m a 37-year-old guy who was introduced to a 25-year-old woman I’ll call Meryl. We began to date and hit if off quite nicely. When we started going out, I told her that I was 35 instead of my real age just to shave off a couple of years and bring our ages closer together. Big mistake. But she said at the time that she didn’t care about the age difference and we ended up dating for over a year.

Well, you can almost guess what happened. She found out my true age (from a health insurance form I was filling out and stupidly left on my kitchen table) and then immediately broke off our relationship. I found this completely bewildering, since I didn’t think anything of those two years. In fact, the breakup happened so fast that I didn’t have the chance to even state my case in the hope she would understand that I lied in order to date her.

What I don’t understand is that just one week prior to this disaster, we were making vacation plans and she was very excited about them. The following week – after finding out my true age – she tells me she isn’t happy anymore and wants out of the relationship. I was stunned! Can someone really change so quickly? Can someone swear that I was the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with and then break up a week later? I’m perplexed.

I am trying to move on, but I have to admit I’m still deeply disturbed by what happened with Meryl. I’d appreciate your insight into the situation.

Lewis - who can’t figure out how he blew it over something so small

Hi Lewis,

Jeez, if you weren’t such a fraud, I’d feel bad for you, dude. You went to all kinds of trouble for nothing. All you had to say when Meryl asked your age at the very beginning was, “One hundred and six. But when I’m around you, sweetheart, I feel all of 25!” And then you should have smiled at her suavely, just like Cary Grant, and let the whole issue drop into the no-fly zone. You would have saved yourself lots of anguish down the road.

Now think about it. This whole mess really should have been a non-issue. As Sal “The Fish” Love says, “If you dig her and she digs you, a 12-year age difference ain’t so bad.” The reality is that uncounted relationships have survived an age gap that makes yours with Meryl seem like a mere bag of shells. Remember Charlie and Oona Chaplin? He was doddering into his mid-fifties and she hadn’t hit 20 when they got together. By all accounts the marriage was blissfully happy until he kicked the bucket. Or how about Warren Beatty and Annette Bening? Or to reverse things, Ashton and Demi? Or Mira and her new 22-year-old husband-to-be?

But this is the part I don’t like. Here Meryl knows that you’re 10 years older than her, and she’s still going out with you. What does that say about her Integrity? That makes her a bit of a liar herself when she busted you on your age difference later, right?

But you went ahead and left the evidence of your little white lie lying on the kitchen table anyway. As General Love says, “Never leave ammunition out -- ever! Because you can bet it’s going to be used on you!” Her quick fade tells us that Meryl has a new boyfriend -- you just didn’t know it. She was just waiting for an excuse to get out and you gave it to her, pal. I always tell you guys that you have to be like detectives on Love and Order. This is grade-A evidence, my friend.

Nevertheless, there’s a bigger issue involved here. Over half the women I’ve interviewed in my career have said that what they DIDN’T want most of all in a man was a LIAR. What they’re looking for is TRUST. They want to bond with you, and for that they need someone who is TRUSTWORTHY. So when you tell a babe something, it has to match the facts.

And that’s basically why Meryl’s splitting now. Because when you told a lie, her Interest Level plummeted to somewhere between 40% to 49%. Like my cousin “Fast Eddie” Love puts it, “At that point a woman will stay with you, but she don’t dig you anymore!” She’s just waiting for the right turkey to happen along so she can deep-six you.

When you two were making vacation plans, Meryl’s Interest Level was 95%. Usually when guys screw up, it drops gradually -- to 93%, then 89%, then 76%, etc. But in your case, when you told a big, fat lie, you pushed it from 95% to 45% in a hurry, and you were out – out of love, that is.

So the answer to your question is sure, women can change quickly, and they do. If she has any values whatsoever and realizes that she’s going out with a fraud, she gets rid of him – fast!

Your problem, Lewis, is that you don’t understand the power of the English language. Women are looking for basic trust from the very beginning. And they’re going to match up every word with every action. Ask Hugh Grant to tell you about how that works! He told the gorgeous Ms. Hurley that he was “eating sushi” the night he got caught by the cops with his pants down!

To you Psych majors, if you can’t stand the heat, don’t stand on the Weber grill. This warning applies to anything personal about yourself. And that’s why I tell you guys to throw something back in her face like Jim Carrey would and make her laugh. Just don’t tell her your true age. Like I said, it should never been an issue to begin with. But unfortunately for you, you’ve got a big mouth – like most men.

Remember, guys: if you’re going to tell her a whopper, make sure she can never bust you on it.

Does Sean Penn Take Orders from His Wife?

Hey Doc,

I’ve been a student of “The System” for a couple of years now and the results are great! Not only do I get a better all-around reaction from females, but also my status among my peers and coworkers has risen as a result of living by your principles.

But Doc, here’s one problem I don’t know how to lick. How can I get other guys to follow your path? In particular, there’s one “nice guy” in my life who has always gotten the short end of the stick in his primary relationship. It kills me to see him take a pounding from his wife, but I don’t know how to get him to stand up for himself. The real sensitive issue here is that the guy in question happens to be my dad!

I grew up in a house where my mom pretty much wore (and still wears) the pants. My dad is the nicest guy in the world, works hard, and was always there to provide for all of us, but when Mom says jump, he asks “How high?” She gets her way with him all the time – and with everything from sending the poor shlump on tons of ridiculous errands to convincing him to buy old houses and fix them up for her (jobs that take years). Meanwhile she spends most of her life sitting on the couch watching TV and complaining.

Now I don’t want to bash my mother, but it’s obvious that she’s in control of their relationship and I’d just like to see my Dad respect himself more. Personally, I don’t let anybody inside or outside of my family push me around. I’m a successful artist (I play guitar for a happening rock band) so I’ve got no problem getting tons of girls (thanks to you, Doc!), BUT NOTHING’S RUBBING OFF ON THE OTHER GUYS IN MY FAMILY!!! Something tells me it wouldn’t be prudent to just toss “The System” at my dad, so I don’t know what to do.

Anyway, I just figured I’d throw this your way to hear your thoughts on it. I can’t remember that you’ve ever addressed this specific dilemma before. Thanks in advance.

Kobe - who’s ecstatic the apple fell so far from the tree

Hi Kobe,

Yes, pal; isn’t it amazing how teaching you to acquire confidence with women does apply to other aspects of your life? I’ve had many, many guys call me over the years and testify that using my dating techniques has carried over into their businesses and resulted in their becoming more successful businessmen. And do you know why? Because my principles are universal truths.

But now here’s the sad part, dude. You can’t force other guys to follow my path. As Brother Love says, “No amount of arm-twisting will make a man see the light!” He has to come to you, and he has to beg for help. So I don’t want you knocking on doors like the church folks and missionaries. I appreciate your appeal for help, but the truth is this: a guy has to be in a lot of pain before he sets his ego aside, I’m sorry to say.

Think about it. You’re going to all of a sudden get your dad to stand up to his wife after she’s used him as a doormat for 35 years? Come on, guy! He has to want to change. And your pops doesn’t want to change. He’s comfortable being a dog, and your mom likes being his master.

Now if the balance of power were 50-50 between the two of them, her Interest Level would be higher and you wouldn’t be witnessing the tragedy you are. And this is what women don’t understand. As my cousin “Fast Eddie” Love says, “After she beats and tortures and then grinds you into the ground, for some reason she doesn’t respect you and you’re not as sexy anymore.” GEE, I WONDER WHY?

Here’s what you do: take your mother aside one of these days and ask, “Mom, why did you have to send Dad back out for those saltines at two in the morning in the middle of a blizzard? We didn’t need them. We could have waited for the next time you went to the market. Do you think it’s loving to treat your husband, who’s been such a good father to me all these years, like a jackass?” You’d never see something like that happen on Oprah!

Kobe, your mom is in control because your father is a classic weakling – Wimpus Americanus -- and he never stood up to her when they dated, and that’s the problem here. (Incidentally, I just can’t believe that all your mom does is sit around watching TV and complaining! I’m shocked! Not in America! Not in the typical happy home!)

Let me tell you something. I could mail my books to 100 guys, and 50 of them wouldn’t even bother to open it, let alone read it. Even if they got the Dating Dictionary for free, they just wouldn’t come to grips with it. They’ll get dumped over and over by girls, they’ll be dominated by their women, they’ll go through second, third and fourth divorces, but even then they won’t want to change. They’re contented the way they are. Like I said, a guy has to really want to change. You wanted to change, and that’s what makes your story so great, man. That’s what keeps you on top of your game.

I know you feel badly for your father, but forget about saving the world, buddy. It’s enough to save yourself. Instead, when a guy’s dying for life-saving information, step in and help him out. Otherwise, keep your mouth shut, and just keep observing, reading, and studying like you’ve been doing.

Remember, guys: unless he wants to change, you can’t help him.

Does Hugh Grant have Trouble Picking up the Waitress?

Hey Doc,

It’s been two weeks since I discovered askmen.com and purchased your book. I’ve already read it from cover to cover three times, and I’m so thankful for every last drop of ink in it. I feel like the sun is starting to shine after 28 years of a dark, cold night where I was repeatedly shaken down by women in the Battle of the Sexes. If I’d found you when I was 20, I would have saved myself at least $30,000 that I threw away on women who weren’t worth a red cent.

Here’s my question to you. Of all the women in my life right now, my Interest Level is highest in the hair stylist I got to know yesterday during my haircut. Her name is Devon and she’s quite attractive and very friendly. After talking with her for just 45 minutes, I knew I wanted to get to know her more – a lot more.

What is the best course of action here? Should I ask for her home phone number immediately to gauge her Interest Level, or continue to get to know her first at future haircut appointments? (The danger here of course is that she might suddenly move to another salon or something, and then I’d lose contact with her altogether.)

I’ve been faced with similar circumstances in the past with waitresses and bartenders, and have always found the transition between the client-server relationship to the man-woman relationship to be a rocky one because there’s always the possibility that she’s being friendly only because it’s her job – and for a bigger tip. Then, too, you don’t want to put her into a bad position by pressuring her at her place of business in the event she has no real interest in you.

Thanks again, Doc, for any tips. You’re amazing.

Prince - who is waking up at last to the truth

Hi Prince,

You’re darned right about one thing – it is a Battle of the Sexes out there. What nobody ever talks about is the fact that there’s a power struggle inherent in romantic relationships. That point is never going to be addressed by the great female love doctors. Their advice will always be the same:

“Oh, just wear your heart on your sleeve!”

“Don’t forget to bring her lots of gifts!”

“Call her up every five minutes and tell her how great she is!”

“You’ve got to let her know how much you love her!”

Obviously we know that’s not the way to go. It doesn’t work, and it never will. What clinically sane women really want is not a pushover – Wimpus Americanus – but mystery, charm and Challenge. As General Love says, “You have to be able to hold your own in that war out there or you’re coming home in a body bag!” And by the way, although it’s too late to get your 30 grand back, discovering my principles saved your sanity!

The rule when meeting women is that you always ask for the home phone number straight off the bat. But there are certain times when you don’t. The client-server situation happens to be one of them. And assuming you like the haircut Devon gives, you should just keep visiting her and talking to her, and the idea is to make her laugh. After getting closer and closer through small talk and banter, you’re going to tell her “Know what my hobby is?” And when she asks what, you’ll say, “I’m trying to figure out what women like. For instance, tell me about the things that you wish you could change in your boyfriend.”

Now this is a set-up question. It’s a side shot, because in this type of scenario you never go directly in for the kill. She’ll answer something like, “You know, I’ve been going with John for three years now and he never lets me have any breathing space!”

Gradually you become buddy-buddy and she’s telling you about her private life, but she hasn’t gotten rid of John. Until John is gone, why would you ask for the home phone number?

(Incidentally, guys, when a stylist moves to another salon, she usually takes her clients with her or leaves a number where she can be reached. It’s not like you can’t get hold of her, so don’t worry.)

The point is that you want to get into her head romantically as soon as you can. Hopefully her boyfriend is in the 40 to 49 percentile of Interest Level -- in the sink in other words, circling into the drain. And there’s your opening.

But Prince, sorry to disappoint you but it’s not just a possibility, it’s 98% probable that Devon – or any other server for that matter -- is only being nice to you, the client, because it’s her job to do so. When I told my cousin Fast Eddie Love that the honey at the barbershop said I had great hair, he laughed. “They tell everybody that -- even Vin Diesel!”

So yes, you don’t want to pressure her directly. You want to subtly undermine her boyfriend, without her even knowing that you’re doing it. You’re trying to plant seeds in this babe’s head so she starts thinking, “Yeah, John is a big turkey! And this Prince guy is really interesting.”

Remember, guys: you always want to close on the spot unless you know you’re going to see her on a continuous basis.

Does Donald Trump need a Prenup?

Hey Doc,

I am writing to say THANKS for your hard work and your “System.” It is intriguing material that is DEAD ON. I can now evaluate my friends’ relationships and see EXACTLY what’s wrong or whether the woman even likes them at all. It’s amazing.

Doc, I have a great girlfriend, Lisa. Thanks to you I realized just how special someone like her is. I almost blew it because I thought there were women like her all over the place. I know much better now. She is a Giver, loves me very much, is very sweet, normal, kind, and will be a wonderful mother some day. She’s all the things a guy could and should ask for in a woman.

We are going to be married in the next year or so and I wanted to ask you what you thought of prenuptial agreements. The only reason I would want one is to protect a possible large sum of money that I have the potential to make. I have spent the last seven years of my life chasing a dream and working harder than most guys will ever work in their lives and it is finally paying off. To have someone take that away from me just because they were married to me and signed some papers doesn’t seem right. Of course if I have children with her, which I’m sure we will some day, I think it’s my duty to pay child support and take care of her (especially if she was a stay-at-home mom) for a REASONABLE amount.

It seems that in this country today wives are getting HUGE settlements for basically no reason. Or they will get child support of 20k a month. Things like this don’t make sense. No person NEEDS that sort of money to live on.

I don’t expect to ever need a prenup, but of course nobody ever does. What do you think I should do?

I appreciate your help and guidance and all the time you have put into your philosophy. It’s really stupendous stuff. Thanks a lot!

Tayshaun - who wants to know if he should protect himself just in case

Hi Tayshaun,

Your testament on Lisa is a very heavy thing. Congratulations. Because I pointed out to you in my Dating Dictionary what qualities a woman should have, you came to the realization of how special she is. You studied the information in my book, you internalized it, you saw certain wonderful characteristics in Lisa, and all of a sudden you asked yourself “How does Doc Love know my girlfriend?”

But I sure do, pal. Recognizing a great woman when you find her is a major point we rarely talk about. Without utilizing my rules as a guide, many guys don’t realize how great their girlfriends are, and on the other side of the coin, many guys put up with too much crap. But we never look at the other side of the coin -- because Oprah wouldn’t allow it.

Now I’ll be the first to tell you that someone swiping your money isn’t right. But remember, as Sal “The Fish” Love says, “When you get married, it’s not just you and her. It’s you and her and the government.” And the government, on account of its skittish political correctness, favors the woman in the vast majority of divorce cases. You should be concerned, Tayshaun, because the government is most likely going to be on her side when it comes time to dissolve your union. You have to worry that if all of a sudden her Interest Level goes south of 50%, you’re out – or worse, she’ll stay with you and bleed you to death.

It’s funny how when the woman’s Interest Level is 95% the word “reasonable” equals $0 alimony per month. But if her Interest Level goes down the tubes and she becomes “unreasonable,” she’s going to hit you up like one of Johnny Carson’s exes. You can just hear her now: “You think 20 grand a month is excessive? Honey, you haven’t bought many Pampers lately! Get yourself down to the pharmacy!” (Meanwhile, she’s dropping $400 a month getting her nails done!)

Let me tell you a little story. The other day I’m watching TV and I catch Donald Trump doing an interview. Standing next to him is his fiancé, a stunningly beautiful ex-model who’s slated to be wife number three, and the guy with the mic asks, “Mister Trump, what’s your biggest fear in life?” The Donald should have said something like “Losing my casinos in Atlantic City.” But instead he comes out with “I wonder if this girl I’m about to marry really likes me or not.”

It reminded me of John Stamos, just prior to splitting up from his gorgeous wife, telling the cameras how she’s a bona fide movie star and he’s just selling telephone minutes in TV land. As you students of mine know, TALKING ABOUT YOUR INSECURITIES LOWERS INTEREST LEVEL. Trump needs a pre-nup. He doesn’t even know if this girl “likes” him or not and he’s nervous enough to talk about it -- IN PUBLIC! If she did love him 100% and he knew it, that sentence would never have crossed his lips in front of the cameras and mics. (And don’t forget, here’s a guy who’s got a top-10 TV show, owns huge buildings with $10 million condos, casinos and all the rest of it, and he can’t hold onto a woman – in fact, he’s about to go down for the count for a third time.) Yeah, Trump needs a prenup all right – because he doesn’t have a clue.

But let’s get back to you – Joe Average. What about Joe Average? My philosophy is this. You go out with a woman and for the first two months you’re looking strictly at her Interest Level. You have to get it into the 90s and keep it there. For the next 22 months, you’re going to see her two or three times a week and you’re going to keep an eye on her Attitude, her scars, and all the negative baggage she brings into the relationship. When you’re wearing Doc Love’s glasses instead of your own, you’ll be able to spot all the bad stuff – and a lot sooner. But you’ll also see her good qualities. And if she’s a keeper, guess what? Your B is now going to be a B+. Because when they have a good Attitude, guys, they get prettier. (Not uglier, like Trump’s exes grow in his eyes when it all goes sour.) And that’s the point.

Now, buddy, you say you’re going to earn all this dough. And you’ve been with Lisa for two years, and she’s straight, she’s got Integrity, she’s a good person. Given that scenario, you’re insulting the girl with a prenup. You’re telling her that you don’t have enough trust in her to go into this without a written agreement, and that she doesn’t love you enough, so she has to sign this thing. If I were you, I’d pass on it.

On the other hand, if your upcoming marriage makes you jittery, there might be something going on that you have to look at -- closely. Either you’re insecure about it for reasons of your own, or she’s giving you a vibe that you can’t quite read, but you’re getting a funny feeling. Think about it.

Remember, guys: if you go by my rules, you know she’ll stay forever, and because she’ll stay forever, you won’t need that silly prenup.

Does George Clooney Care What's on the Inside?

Hey Doc,

I’m an avid reader of your materials. Your fundamentals have allowed me to court a number of different girls that I would never have had a chance with before. Now I feel like a dating superman. I can’t believe how well women respond to this stuff! It’s amazing! Thank you!

About six months ago, I met Shelby, the girl of my dreams (well, she is on the inside, at least). For months I kept our relationship at the “friendship” level. Finally I decided to give a romantic relationship with Shelby a try. She has an Interest Level in me of at least 90%, a great Attitude, we have a mountain of things in common, and she is a total Giver (she could be the “Giver” poster girl!).

But here’s the problem. Her looks. There are many guys who would find Shelby attractive, but I’m not totally knocked out by her. She is not my dream girl on the outside. Sure, I could just move on and try and find a woman who does have everything I want, but the chances of finding a hot-looking one who is unstructured, has 90% Interest Level in me, shares my faith, all of my interests, and who is a Giver seem pretty darned slim.

In all those areas my Interest Level in Shelby is at least 95%. In the looks department, though, my Interest Level in her is only in the 60s. I love this girl dearly, but it’s difficult when we go out. It always seems some Beautiful Woman is catching my eye and then I feel very sad that I am with someone who does not turn my head in that way.

So the question of the hour is this. What is truly more important – looks, or your “big three” (Giver, Interest Level, unstructured)? Should I just forget about the fact that she is not my ideal of perfection and stay with her because of her other qualities, or should I move on and try to find someone who I find very physically attractive?

The answer may seem obvious to some, but I am lost! Help!

Wallace - who wishes she were Julia Roberts

Hi Wallace,

Here’s your problem in a nutshell. You want a B+ and you got a C+. That bothers you. So what do you do? Do you throw all those good qualities out the window because Shelby’s not perfect? Or do you challenge yourself and say, “Why do I really need somebody better looking?” Shelby’s attractive, right? She might not be an A, but she’s attractive enough when she gets slicked up. So what’s the problem?

Let me draw you a little illustration here, guy. Let’s pretend you’re on a sea cruise and the ship goes down and you and Shelby, the only survivors, swim to shore, which happens to be a desert island. You’d sure as heck want to be with her then, and within six months she’d be the most beautiful girl in the world because, of course, there aren’t any other girls around.

But when you go to the beach, or the pool, or you go downtown and see those dream babes coming out of the stores and offices, your mouth drops open and the drool drips out. The problem is that you know nothing about what’s inside that “10.” You don’t know whether she’s had more guys than J-Lo, Madonna, and Julia Roberts combined, how many abortions she’s had, how much cocaine she’s done in her life. You don’t know how insecure she is or whether her father was a jerk (and, sorry to say, she’s going to treat you the same way as he treated her).

There are a couple of things going on here, dude. One, the old story of the grass always being greener elsewhere. Two, the fantasies and demands of the male ego. Look in the mirror. Are you all grown up? Or are you a good-looking 36-year-old who looks 28 and who’s never grown up because he’s never had to carry on a conversation? You’d better appreciate what Shelby has on the inside, because if she has everything you say she has, she’s a definite keeper. And remember – you know nothing about all those other Scarlett Johanssons, and most of them are TROUBLE. Bet on it.

There is something that bothers me in your letter, though. You had to talk yourself into digging Shelby, pal. Some guys have this problem. I tell you guys in my Dating Dictionary to only fall in love with somebody who loves you, but you’re not loving this girl back and that’s why you didn’t go out with her for months. And that’s a good reason to get rid of her. “The System” says you go right after a girl once she’s gone over you. If that opportunity slips by, it’s over and everything’s changed. There’s a different karma involved once the moment has passed. That’s why you have to close when she falls in love with you. To you Psych majors: CLOSE, CLOSE, CLOSE.

I mentioned your problem to my cousin Fast Eddie Love, and he said that if you’re not satisfied with Shelby’s looks, “Just give her a nip and a tuck – if you’re rich!” And of course that’s another way to look at it. Because you’re absolutely right, Wallace: finding all Shelby’s sterling qualities in a woman who looks like Nicole Kidman would be like hitting the moon with the rock from a slingshot.

Let me tell you something, buddy: if you were dating that Beautiful Woman, you would get to know her true personality, and by then if she wasn’t a Giver and Flexible and unstructured, she wouldn’t look so pretty anymore. She’d turn downright ugly. The Victoria’s Secret model would go from an A to an F -- because you know the real her.

Remember, guys: if she doesn’t pass the Physical Attraction Test, don’t try to force yourself to like her.

Does Bruce Willis ever Apologize when He's Wrong?

Hey Doc,

I’ve used your techniques for some time now and I have found that they work in many forms of life’s relationships, not just in dating and love. Please keep spreading the word.

I met my wife-to-be, Keira, through an Internet dating service. She had a degree of interest in me that was through the roof. We dated, became a couple, and she rented a place near mine about 70 miles away from her friends and family, transferred her children to another school and changed her job to be near me. We’ve made a date to get married within the next six months. She says I love you five or six times to my once, is giving and affectionate in public as well as when we’re at her place or mine, initiates romance, wants to take me out on dates, etc.

So why am I writing to you? Doc, I’ve been a jerk! There I was, practicing your laws, giving Keira affection and respect, all the while remaining a Challenge. But I’ve slipped and a few serious arguments have ensued. In a nutshell, I got lazy and took things for granted. I operate a business out of my home and so I don’t need to dress for the office. I have not taken enough care over my appearance and have spent more time working on my boat than the house, according to Keira. She complained that she works hard at her job and looking after both our places and that she’s dog-tired while all I do is sit on my butt.

While brushing up on your dating laws, I’ve begun to realize that Keira’s Interest Level might have declined beyond recovery. I would like to think this is not the case, but as you yourself say, sometimes the woman doesn’t even realize herself when it’s gone.

The question I have for you is this. Keira and I need to talk and resolve some issues. Is it okay for me to be a man and admit to her that I have been neglecting things, and that I’ve been wrong and she’s been right? I don’t mean pour my heart out and get all sloppy, but rather tell her that I realize I have not taken the time to do the things that are important. Does it compromise me to apologize, Doc? I’m afraid of doing the wrong thing at a critical time. Help!

Bryant - who hopes it isn’t too late

Hi Bryant,

A hard fact of romantic life is that when a woman’s Interest Level is 90%, there are no arguments over anything. And that’s why you’re starting to have those ugly spats with Keira -- because that precious index of love is on the wane. You can almost hear the countdown: “80, 70, 60, 55, 52….”

And Interest Level doesn’t decline daily, it dips over weeks and months, and what happens eventually when your head is in the sand is that you turn around it’s gone altogether -- finis. The very best piece of wisdom in the Bible is this: “Pride cometh before the fall.” Bryant, you’ve got a great lady who’s all over you and does everything right, so what the heck are you thinking? You’re about to walk away from the values that captured her heart. Now what sense does that make?

When you mention your crappy appearance that Keira has so much trouble with, what exactly do you mean? That you don’t shave? That you have a belly that looks like you swallowed a whole watermelon? That you don’t stay in the shower for at least 12 minutes? That you don’t have five minutes to iron a shirt? Is your place a pigsty? What are you talking about here? How many hours do you spend on this yacht of yours? You’re giving me generalities. Give me some specifics. How many times have I told you guys that you have to be a love detective on Love and Order? How many times have I said that you have to present me with hard evidence in order to properly work a case?

And by the way, man, how many hours a day are you slumped with your beer and Fritos in front of the TV set? Remember, as Sal “The Fish” Love says, “It’s okay to be a couch potato, as long as the woman isn’t around to see it!”

You say that you fear Keira’s Interest Level is lower than Governor McGreevey’s political career. To you Psych majors, this means her romantic interest in you has traveled just south of the Mason-Dixon Line. It went from 51% to 49%, and as the Reality Factor says, once it hits the dreaded 49%, she’ll stay with you for a while, but it’s over and it’s never coming back.

Bryant, don’t delude yourself into thinking that Keira isn’t aware of her own dwindling Interest Level. Like my cousin Fast Eddie Love puts it, “That’s the point when women start having headaches.” Better start watching out for those. (Again, you Psych majors, women with high Interest Level never need Excedrin.)

Finally, you don’t need to “talk” and “resolve things,” dude. You have it only half right. You need to resolve things, but you don’t need to talk. I don’t know whether or not you’re aware of this -- and I don’t want all you Feministas going crazy on me for saying it -- but you’re wasting your time “talking it out” with a woman when you get into hot water. What you have to do is show her through your actions how the “new” you is here to stay and that he won’t fade like a sputtering light bulb like he did the last time.

So what you’re going to do here, Bryant, is tighten up your ship, let Keira fall back in love with you, and hopefully, if her Interest Level is 51% or higher, we’ll bring it all the way back up into the 90s. But you’re not going to wag your tongue.

In the future when you make a mistake, don’t apologize verbally long after the fact. The only time you ever apologize to a woman is at the moment when you screw up. After that, it’s too late. But if she does bring up your mistakes later, then it’s okay to own up to them.

My advice to you is this, and it’s what I tell all men: KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. SHOW HER WHAT YOU MEAN THROUGH YOUR ACTIONS. And if your place is a dump, if your car is a mess, and you’re a walking Big Mac (by the way, guys, you should be hitting the gym three times a week whether or not you like women!), make the house spic and span, buy yourself a good vacuum cleaner, and make sure you look sharp.

Remember, guys: if you don’t get sloppy, you won’t have to worry about going down on your knees and apologizing later.

Does Ben Affleck ever get into a Fight over His Date?

Hey Doc,

I wanted to relate to you an anecdote that shows how important it is to demonstrate Self-Control, which is one of your main teachings. Then I’ll tell you my dilemma.

There’s a popular morning radio show in my town that interviews celebrities on a regular basis. The new traffic woman on this show is a total knockout and is engaged to a regular guy she knew before getting this high-profile job. There have been at least three occasions in the last month when a rock or movie star has hit on, flirted with or shown extreme interest in her. The male radio hosts get a kick out of this and call up her fiancé to tell him all about it. Just today they did it again and his response was, “That’s reaffirming to me. At least the guests on your show have good taste.” More revealingly, his girlfriend’s response was, “Thank you, I love you so much!” On the air! No wonder this guy has the girl.

Time and time again, I see guys acting like prison guards and overreacting

when other guys attempt to “hustle” their women. I thought this example might be a great reinforcement to your new and loyal readers that the best way to handle the situation is to just act cool and, perhaps, even ignore it altogether.

But now here’s my situation. Recently I faced my first test with the beautiful young lady I’m dating. Walking through a bar, a guy looked at Ashlee while I was with her and said, “Cheers to you, gorgeous!” In the past I would have made a hostile remark to this guy or tried to punch him out. Instead, I whispered in her ear, “Now there’s a guy with some great taste.”

The problem is that she squealed “Thanks!” to this jerk and kept looking over at him while we were having our drinks. I even had the feeling she might have liked to go over and talk to him, maybe to hear more compliments about herself. What do you think, Doc? How should I have handled this situation? Does this mean she was really interested in the guy, or was she just fooling around? Should I keep going out with her or dump her?

Jackson - who believes you need to be heard by ALL men

Hi Jackson,

First of all, these radio hosts who work the traffic reporter’s boyfriend over on a regular basis are real jerks. Like most DJs, they’re nothing but classless lowlifes. It would have been amusing if they’d done it once, but they’re pounding away at this guy for no reason except their own jealousy. And they’re jealous because they’ve got the hots for this knockout but they won’t admit it and they can’t win her over. Their egos are so big that they can’t figure out why a regular guy and not them should have a “10” in love with them. So the regular guy’s is getting the last laugh here.

When you say it’s no wonder he has the girl, you’re exactly right – it’s no wonder at all. Because the traffic gal’s boyfriend couldn’t have said or done anything better than he did. It was a remarkable display of Self-Control on his part. Even if the celebrity or host deserved it, losing it could only have diminished him in the eyes of his girlfriend. Good for him. He’s got firm hold of Doc Love’s principles. Macho Boy on the other hand would have snarled “I’m gonna come right down there and wrap that microphone cord around your neck!”

By the way, Jackson, the reason the Macho Boys act like prison guards is because, like Neanderthal men, they haven’t figured out that their women can think for themselves. Plus the fact that they have no Self-Control whatsoever.

What you did with your Ashlee was great, but it would have been even better not to say anything and wait to see what her reaction to the compliment was first. If she was obviously with you, and she was, when she thanked this player in the bar for noticing her, it was Womanese for “Hey -- I like the new guy!” In fact, once she told him “Thanks,” you were out. And here’s another thing: her Interest Level in you wasn’t all that high to begin with. Pal, you were actually taking out and spending your hard-earned dough on a girl who had no Interest Level in you -- or one that was well short of the 50-yard line.

When you had the feeling Ashlee wanted to talk to this other dude, you should have suggested just that to her. “He looks like a nice fellow – why don’t you go over there and rap with him?” Or you should have gotten up and asked another girl to dance if the bar had a dance floor – right in front of Ashlee. Because as General Love says, “Once it’s over, it’s war!”

Ashlee didn’t give a hoot for “compliments” from this other guy. She had instant Interest Level in him. That’s why she was batting her eyes in his direction. If you had visited the men’s room, she would have had her phone number deposited in the guy’s hand within seconds. Actually, to answer your next question, she was BOTH interested in him AND fooling around. So the next time you go to a bar with Ashlee, be careful that you don’t drink too much beer.

You handled the situation fine, Jackson, except that you sat back and like all the other turkeys she’s dated took a beating from Ashlee – and you didn’t even know it was happening at the time. That’s the difference between you and Ben Affleck. He wouldn’t have taken the punishment. Before Ashlee knew it, Ben would have been on to the next girl. And that’s why you’re writing to me, buddy. Somewhere in your head you can feel the bumps and bruises from the assault.

But you don’t have to worry about dumping Ashlee. She was dumping you when she responded to your barroom rival.

Remember, guys: if you really listen, she’ll tell you when it’s over.

Did Jane Fonda (aka Hanoi Jane) Listen to the Angels when she Dumped Ted Turner?

Hey Doc,

Last week, my girlfriend of one year decided to break up with me. After a romantic date, Sarah woke up the next morning and said, “In a moment of clarity, the angels have told me that it is best we work out our own paths separately.” Well, I was floored and asked for an explanation. She said that our spirituality is not the same and this would be a permanent barrier to intimacy. I’m still in shock. We rarely argued and got along well as a team, so well that we had one of those really electric relationships where people often thought we were on our honeymoon when we were out together.

Sarah is what many people refer to as “New Age,” even though she was raised as a Jew. (I’m Catholic, by the way.) Her mom and sister are heavily into the New Age stuff too. In fact, they’ve appeared on the John Edward psychic TV show. Sarah consults the angels for guidance, asks life-changing questions of crystals, and believes that we are all continually moving toward a perfect state and that we can only do this through reincarnation and the search for truth. She believes that when we are sick, no matter what the disease, we are the ones who cause it and that the dead people in her life, such as her dad and felonious ex-boyfriend, contact her in life and in sleep. (By the way, I know it sounds crazy, but Sarah is a public school math teacher, and is very well liked by my family and everyone she meets.)

We were both matched perfectly, except for one thing -- I am not necessarily a cynical person, but my spirituality is much more grounded in the concrete, and not quite so flamboyant or demonstrative as hers. We have a similar morality, and I have encouraged her beliefs and supported her and even have done a few meditations and bought her crystals, but apparently she thought that I was not “spiritual enough,” meaning that I don’t believe in the stuff as much as she does. She says that she still loves me deeply and misses me and to break up with me was the hardest decision she has ever had to make.

Doc, I’m heartbroken. I want to be with Sarah, and I don’t understand how she could give up an otherwise beautiful relationship. I have consulted my friends and they don’t help much. They all agree that she is a great girl but “crazy,” “delusional,” “lost” or “quirky” for believing in the New Age crap.

Should I just move on and forget about her? Should I try and ride it out? I truly accept Sarah as she is and would not change her one bit. Why would she listen to the cosmos and not her heart?

Will - who feels lost in the stars

Hi Will,

I got news for you, pal. You were out of this thing a long time before Sarah broke the news. Women don’t drop you when their Interest Level hits 49%. They hang around for a little while to torture you some more. This girl decided you were out long before you heard all her spiritual hocus-pocus.

By the way, Will, if this young sister of Shirley MacLaine is so open and good and into the angels, why didn’t she tell you that her Interest Level was heading south? If her whole gig is being up on this elevated, spiritual, and open plane, why didn’t she actually come out and say, “You know what you’re doing? You’re making me Mama. You’re spending way too much time with me. You’re not a Challenge. We need a break.” Where was all her honesty then? Why couldn’t she cut you a break? Before you go and commit hari-kari over Sarah, that’s something to think about.

When Sarah revealed to you the secrets of the spirits, you should have gotten right down on your knees, made the sign of the cross, looked to the heavens and said, “Thank you, Lord, for pointing out the fact that I’m with a loony tune -- before we decided to spend the rest of our lives together in holy matrimony and had kids! THANK YOU, LORD!”

Because you should be ecstatic that you found out earlier rather than later, dude. And that’s what I’m trying to teach you guys about dating: if you use the proper screening techniques, there won’t be any surprises. Too many guys get surprised AFTER they’re married. If you don’t believe me, just interview your buddies at work!

Will, women just don’t drop guys. There had to be at least some turn-off signals prior to when Sarah dropped her big, holy bomb. But like most men, with their brainwashed minds and their super-huge egos, you refused to pick up on them. “Well, she’s just in one of her moods,” you guys say. Meanwhile her Interest Level is going 88…86…77…46...etc.

When Sarah was blabbing to you about all her wacky beliefs, you should have realized how heavily she was into the stuff. It’s okay if she talks about Uranus transiting Aquarius five minutes a week, but this girl is totally gone over this malarkey. But she made the decision to get rid of you not because she was floating around in the celestial ether, but because you’d turned her off in another area. It’s like when Jane Fonda saw the light and dumped Ted Turner. He’s an atheist and she finds Christ -- that’s the reason she gave for getting rid of him. The real reason is that he lowered her Interest Level.

So Sarah has contact with her dad and ex? Gee, Will, what’s it like to sleep with two other guys? Isn’t it a little crowded in that bed? Know what you should have done when she laid that garbage on you? You should have lied to her and gotten out of there. As my cousin Fast Eddie Love would say, “I’m witch chu, pal!” (And Sarah’s a public school math teacher? There’s another good reason why all schools should be private!)

You two were perfectly matched, huh? Isn’t it interesting that when a woman’s Interest Level is 100% she decides to walk? The Reality Factor says she walks when it’s 39%. This is the hardest decision she’s ever had to make? She lied like a rug -- it’s a real easy decision when her Interest Level is in the 40s. On top of it all you say that you’re heartbroken? Well, I’m heartbroken that you believed anything she said!

You’re right when you say that your friends are clueless. (Especially when you try to explain “The System” to them – they’ll think you’re a real nutcase, just like you know and I know that Sarah’s a real nutcase.) If she’s all these things -- delusional, quirky, cracked – how can she be so great? Maybe she’s got a hot bod, but this girl’s more of a psycho than Madonna! (She talks to the angels, too.) Your problem is that you should have seen it all coming a lot sooner. Buying her crystals? Come on, guy! I’d join the Communist Party first.

I got another piece of news for you, Will. Sarah was listening to her heart. Her Interest Level dropped below 50% -- that’s why she left! It wasn’t because of the cosmos and the New Age movement. And that’s what you guys don’t get. “Oh, it’s not me, it’s some outside factor,” you rationalize. Uh-uh. It’s you.

Remember, guys: only the man – not some silly philosophy -- can lower Interest Level.

Can You get to Vanessa Williams in Four Minutes?

Hey Doc,

I’ve been wondering what your opinion is of “speed dating” or “speed matching.”

I’ve been to three such events sponsored by an online dating service (Match.com). You get a mere four minutes with each woman. I find lots of women I’m attracted to at these functions, perhaps up to a quarter or a third of the total attendees. (Incidentally, the average age is 40-plus; I’m 55.)

While I said YES on my ballot to lots of them, very few of the women I was

attracted to selected me on their ballot. I’m no James Brolin, but I’m not bad-looking either. I lead an active life, own my own business, I’m educated, and blah blah blah.

At the latest event, which was just last Sunday, there were 18 women. I said

YES on my ballot to seven of them, and MAYBE to four. NONE of the women at the top of my list selected me. I got a lousy ONE match – one of my MAYBES -- out of 18 candidates.

And as always, the least physically attractive women (who I did not select) seem to select me. The dating service’s method tells me who picked me, even if I didn’t pick them. (Now, you may say it’s important to look beyond the physical and I really try to do that, but I don’t care how nice and sweet and giving they are, if I’m not physically attracted to them, it isn’t going to work for me.)

This high level of rejection is starting to get to me, Doc. I think I’m a great catch for a woman. What the heck am I doing wrong in a mere four minutes that is resulting in low or no interest whatsoever?

I’m a great fan of yours and look forward to getting “The System,” which I recently ordered.

Steve - who keeps striking out on fastballs

Hi Steve,

I think so-called “speed dating” is a tough row to hoe and here’s why: you don’t meet enough people. You’re not getting enough numbers. Think about it. You have to shower and shave, which takes a half hour, you have to drive to the event, which is another hour, you have to go through the whole Match.com process, which takes a certain amount of time, then you have to drive back home. And after all of three or four hours you’ve invested, you’ve met a total of 18 women, only one of whom is interested in you. By any method of calculation, it’s not worth it.

By contrast, on the Internet you’ll “meet” hundreds of women just by looking through photographs, and you’ll bypass all the face-to-face rejection. In fact, if a woman checks out your picture and decides no, you don’t even know you’ve been rejected, right? It’s a much cleaner, easier, and efficient method. So that’s my opinion of speed dating.

On the other hand, the four-minute limitation of speed-dating is not without its merits. Why? Because women arrive at their initial Interest Level evaluation within four minutes of meeting you. So at least you’re not wasting a whole lot of time determining that. (Then again, you’re still only meeting 18 women.)

One match out of 18 in your case means that about six percent of women dig you. That’s why you have to meet at least a couple of hundred -- to increase your chances of getting that one good one. With speed matching, you’re simply not meeting them fast enough, nor are you getting the volume.

Now, on to the specifics of your case. You complain that the unattractive ones always pick you out of the love lineup. Jeez, Steve -- don’t you get it? The least attractive females go for everybody. As my cousin “Fast Eddie Love” would say, “The doggies will take a walk with anybody.”

But if she’s not physically attracted to you, Steve, it’s not working for her either, don’t forget. So this cuts both ways.

In your letter, your main concern is what you’re doing wrong. Well, like I always tell you guys, you have to be a love cop on “Love and Order.” You have to dissect the situation like the detectives do in the first half-hour of “Law and Order” when they’re trying to get the skinny on what’s going on. And that means you have to ask yourself the hard questions.

Steve, you have three possible problems. Let’s deal with them one by one.

1.) You’re not physically attractive to anybody. Do you stand up straight when you walk? Were you the best-dressed guy there? Do you have a beer belly hanging over your belt? Do you look like you’re in shape? Go and check yourself out in the mirror.

2.) You’re physically attractive to some, but what you’re saying isn’t going over. In other words, your pitch isn’t working. Here’s a suggestion. The next time you’re at a speed-dating event and a woman is sitting in front of you; you’re going to say, “Tell me what you like about yourself.” Or “Have you ever met a guy who was a Challenge?” Then you’ll play off that question. If she says yes to the latter question for instance, but that she thinks it’s nothing but game-playing, ask her why. (And you’re going to have a big smirk on your face when you’re saying this.) Then ask, “When do you think a guy should call you – 10 minutes after he gets your number? What if he waited a week – would that bother you?” You’ll find out then and there where she stands on Challenge and whether she’s a control freak. In other words, you’re going to interview this girl, and you’re going to control the interview by ramming “The System” down her throat. At the same time you’ll be showing this babe that you understand women. And you’re going to do it all in four minutes. So basically you have to change your whole sales pitch, dude.

3.) You’re not talking about the right things in the right manner and the right tone. Most women think you don’t have any personality. Steve, are you making these ladies laugh? Are you keeping it light and positive and showing a sense of humor? Lucky for you that “The System” is on its way to your place right now. It contains everything you’ll ever need to know about how to deal with women. Once you memorize my principles, your anemic one out of 18 rate is going to go up to three or four out of 18.

Remember, guys: if you’re not making out, there’s a reason for it.

Would Marky Mark Mind if She Brought a Friend Along?

Hey Doc,

Here is my saga, which I will call The Story of a Guy Who Just Doesn’t Get It. I am your basic “nice guy” and can’t seem to recover from the syndrome, even though I did buy The Dating Dictionary and am in the process of memorizing it.

One night recently I dressed up and went to a dance club with a don’t-give-a-damn-about-meeting-anyone attitude. I ran out of cigarettes and asked a lady I was standing near if I could have one of hers. She obliged and initiated a conversation with me.

I found out that Michelle had been divorced from a mentally abusive husband and that she was out having fun for the first time in a long time.

We danced, and afterwards she commented that we danced great together and that she should give me her phone number so we could do it again sometime. Using what I had learned in your book, I gauged her Interest Level as very high, maybe 90%.

I called her the next day, talked for two hours and found out that she was busy that week getting her son ready to go back to college, but that the following week she was available for a date. We agreed to have dinner.

I took her to a really nice place and we had a great time. She was touching me, commenting on my cologne and the fact that it was wowing her. We closed the place down and she invited herself for a date the next night. When we got back to her place, her daughter was there so we went out on her deck and talked. When she walked me to my car, I moved in to kiss her and she not only allowed it, but also kissed me again. By now I gauged her Interest Level at 90% plus.

Now, here is where I began to lose it. The next night she invited me to meet her at the same club where we initially met. I did (probably a screw-up), and she kind of put me through the jealousy test by bringing along a male friend. I believe I passed the test with flying colors by telling her that it was no problem that he was there, and when she said she would probably have to dance with him, I told her that it was her choice and I didn’t have a problem with it. She did dance with the guy, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on the vibe that was happening between us or the two of them.

Well, Michelle and I have seen each other since, and when we’re together she mentions future dates we might have. But suddenly she seems to be holding back when I go to kiss her. I have the feeling that I’m starting to lose my grip on the situation.

Doc, what did I do wrong here? Do you think this “friend” of hers is really a boyfriend? Why do you think she went cold on me?

Lebron - who’s still in the process of learning

Hi Lebron,

Well buddy, I can tell from your letter that you’ve made it all the way to page 3 of The Dating Dictionary. As my Uncle Jethro Love says, “You better get your butt back in the study hall. You got a long way to go, Cowboy!”

But you did start off on the right foot with Michelle. Your don’t-give-a-damn attitude was perfect. Every guy should have this fantastic attitude when it comes to life, and especially women. So you get an “A” for that one.

Now the next part is just as great. I always tell you guys that you have to ask for the home phone number – but in this case, Michelle offered it. For a change, the woman faced the possibility of rejection. For a change, the offer was incoming. That you didn’t have to beg her is a huge deal! Hallelujah!

But Lebron, you should have asked her why she wanted to give it to you. And you could have said no -- tested her a little bit. Checked whether you could have run her Interest Level up a couple more points. But no, like most lonely, horny guys you grabbed the bait and swallowed the hook. You should have told her no -- then of course told her you were kidding and taken the number.

Still, the good part is that her Interest Level was 90%. The bad part is that it was 90% for only about two hours! To you Psych majors, you have to get to two months to see whether you have anything solid!

Alas, here’s where it starts getting ugly. You called her the very next day? What did you do -- ask her to go to the jewelry store with you and buy the engagement ring? Guy – slow down! You talked for two hours on the phone? If you have to do that much yapping, it’s better when the two of you are sitting face to face in a small, cozy booth at a restaurant or your arms are wrapped around her while you show her how to use the pool cue.

When Michelle invited herself for a date the very next night, you should have told her you were busy. Hey, you guys are allowed to be busy too, you know. You don’t have to do everything she wants when she wants it. “I’d really like to, but I’m busy” -- that’s what you should have said. But no, Lebron, apparently you didn’t make it to “S” -- Self-Control -- in my book. You had to go rushing in like a baby who can’t control himself when he sees a piece of candy.

When Michelle kissed you at your car, that was great, too – you closed. Most guys don’t have the guts to close. But since this girl likes you so much, you might have even thought about not kissing her as a possibility. Hold back a little. Make yourself more of a CHALLENGE rather than a desperate pushover who acts like he just got out of Riker’s Island. (That’s the greatest thing about my principles – I give you guys options. There isn’t just one way to do this stuff.) So now her Interest Level is 90% plus – for eight hours! (Still two months to go!)

Unfortunately, now it gets really ugly. When you showed up at the club at her invitation, it was practically telegraphing to this girl that you don’t have any kind of life. When she brought her guy “friend” along, what you should have done was this: as soon as you set eyes on him, you should have not even acknowledged Michelle, but instead turned around and started hustling every girl in the joint -- and I don’t care if she looked like Rosie O’Donnell. And you should have gotten as many phone numbers as you could – and made sure Michelle was watching. And then you should have gone home.

But instead you told her that it was no problem that her guy-pal was there. Gosh, why didn’t you just hand her another stick so she could beat you to a pulp at the same time? Ayn Rand calls this syndrome “sanction of the victim.” Like most men, you don’t even know you’re doing it. Dude! WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE! Where the heck are your agates? Or are you a girly-man?

And when you said you didn’t have a problem with her dancing with the fellow, did Michelle also ask you if you minded her going to the hotel with him? Would that have bothered you? Would it have bothered you if she asked you to be the best man at their wedding? Or could you still keep your smiley face on?

I hate to break this to you, Lebron, but the vibe you were picking up was strictly between Michelle and her friend.

So, she talks about lovely future dates. A little Womanese, huh? Kind of like when the actress Minnie Driver says that “just because you’re not with someone doesn’t mean you don’t love him.” BULL-FLOP! (By the way, would it be okay if Michelle brought her other boyfriend along the next time you went to the movies?)

You’re not losing your grip on the situation, guy. Actually Michelle’s Interest Level went from 91% to 49%. That’s what really happened.

So what you did wrong was not getting The Dating Dictionary earlier. And I think the guy she brought on your date is actually more than a boyfriend. She went cold on you because she found someone a whole lot better.

Remember, guys: you just can’t read it -- you’ve got to memorize it, and then internalize it.

Can Taking it too Slow Get You into Trouble?

Hey Doc,

I’ve been studying “The System” for a while now, and am just starting to implement everything I’ve learned. I took a dating hiatus after breaking up with my girlfriend of four years, but your book really helped me move on and inspired me to improve myself in preparation for my next relationship.

About a month ago I met Diana at a friend’s birthday party. Our first two dates went great. I kept it light and positive and let her do all the talking. I also made sure to take her out on weekdays. By the third date, and even during the second, she commented on how she didn’t know a lot about me and asked why I was being so mysterious. I used humor to explain myself and that seemed to buy me more time, but it got me wondering how long is too long to avoid those probing questions women tend to ask, especially about the ex-girlfriend? Also, if you let her do all the talking for the first 60 days, won’t she think you’re lacking in personality or substance? Banter can only take you so far.

Now I have to admit that after the third date I made the mistake of talking to Diana a couple of times over the phone. She would call and want to talk for hours. Since the third date went so well, I felt compelled to give her some phone time. It was during these conversations that she started asking me how she could go about capturing my heart. I took this to mean she wanted to go steady, but it wasn’t even close to 60 days -- it wasn’t even 30 days yet.

I told her that I liked the way things were going and that with time she might get what she wanted. She asked if I was seeing anyone else and I said no, but she didn’t believe me. (In reality, I wasn’t dating anyone else and wanted to date her exclusively also, but I wanted to do the right thing and not move in too fast.) My question is, how long should a guy wait before agreeing to date exclusively? I know we should wait for the girl to ask, but what if they ask relatively early in the dating process?

Since then I’ve seen a few red flags from Diana, indicating Inflexibility and lack of trust. She’s also very judgmental and has a quick temper, which she warned me about but I’m just starting to see now. Most of this stems from the fact that she thinks I’m seeing other people. This makes me think that she may be a future nag and I’m actually thinking about ending things before I get too involved, despite my own high Interest Level in her. But I have to wonder if I brought out these traits in Diana by moving too slow.

I hope you can answer my questions since it looks like I’ll be asking for more home phone numbers soon.

Rock - who wants to get it right

Hi Rock,

Know what you should have said when Diana complained about your cool demeanor? “Specifically, honey, what would you like to know about me at this point? And by the way, I really take it as a compliment; you’re calling me a mystery. Because between you and me, I think guys talk too much.” Just like Bogie.

So you had to use humor to get off the hook, huh? Dude, get used to it -- you’re going to be pulling out the light repartee and parrying your wife’s interrogations after 30 years of marriage! And anytime a woman brings up your exes, here’s how you deal with it: “One had no Integrity, one was too structured, and one was a Taker. Does that answer your question?”

You don’t have to worry about being perceived as lacking in personality and substance if you keep your mouth shut, fella. Remember the old cliché “Silence is golden?” It happens to be true. And when you do open your trap, keep it light and funny and positive, like you tried to do at first. Because banter is going to take you everywhere, Rock. The key to women is BANTER. Just keep practicing.

The real problem here is Diana herself. I don’t mind a girl calling you and sniffing around for attention after three, four, or five months, but this babe’s doing it way too fast. She should be practicing a little Self-Control and saving the conversation for face-to-face dates. You felt compelled to give her phone time? Like Sal “The Fish” Love says, “Why lay a guilt trip on yourself?” Don’t ever feel forced to do anything when it comes to a female. Just go by the book -- the Dating Dictionary -- and the book says never talk for hours on the phone. When she asked how to go about capturing your heart, the perfect answer would have been “By not talking for hours on the phone!”

No, I don’t like the fact that this girl is already gone after just three dates. I’m happy that she has 95% Interest Level, but she should be controlling her tongue. She’s pushing it entirely too hard. So the good part is that she’s pushing too hard – and the bad part is that she’s pushing too hard. She’s not giving the relationship any room to breathe.

You did hit the bulls-eye once, though, pal, and that was when you told Diana, “With time you might get what you want.” Perfecto. You get an A+ for that one. Because you stayed a Challenge. You told her that she has to work to get you. Even if you said it half-jokingly, you got the point across and she should have listened. But when Diana asked if you were seeing someone else, you missed an opportunity for the perfect retort: “Well, not that many.” That’s what you should have said.

Notice how she’s pressuring the crap out of you during all this, buddy? Jeez. You have to be feeling more pressure than Michael Moore’s toilet seat.

How long should you guys wait before agreeing to date exclusively? After she asks you, that’s when. But you don’t want to do it after three or four dates -- you want things to unfold naturally, give it a couple of months at least. To you Psych majors, you have to get to know each other. In your case, Rock, you and Diana are still strangers. She’s just someone you met at a party, and she’s still basically a stranger. This girl has high Interest Level, but no Self-Control. And if she has no Self-Control, that means she has problems in other areas. It’s the fin of the shark.

If she asks that question too early in the dating process, stall her. Tell her “I’m shy,” or “I’ve been hurt.” They’re the excuses they always hand to us guys, right?

Finally, you mention that Diana has a quick temper and that she warned you about it. And you’re just mentioning it NOW? Man, I’d hate to have you around in case of emergency, Rock. You’d let the house burn down before you got around to dialing 911. This little item should have been brought out before you talked about anything else! Her hissy fits don’t stem from anything you did – she was a hothead before she met you, so don’t lay another guilt trip on yourself. She’ll be a hothead after you get rid of her, too. As Fast Eddie Love says, “What you see is what you get!” You didn’t bring these negative traits out of her, guy. They were all there before you ever set eyes on her.

The point is this: you can only move too fast with women. You can NEVER move too slowly.

Remember, guys: If you want to get it right, follow “The System.”

Being Kind, Not Right

There are a couple of things that I’ve noticed about being in a close relationship that keep coming up. One is that it demands a great deal of attention and nurturing to be successful.

The other is that everyone seems to have a huge investment in being right.

When you think about all of the time that you can spend arguing with your wife or kids about being right, it can be pretty absurd! What did all of this arguing get you? It gave you a bit of ego satisfaction for a short while but a more troubled relationship with your wife or child. Where does this intense investment in being right come from?

It may come from the fact that our lives are hard, we sometimes feel victimized, and that we have a great deal of insecurity about being wrong. Parental garbage from another era, perhaps.

What’s important is the realization that you will do great damage to your children if you have to be right all the time. What’s also important is to commit to kindness to your family at the expense of being right.

Being right and committing to kindness towards your family are two ideas that cannot easily share the same space. When you commit to kindness--rather than being right--you will find your number of conflicts significantly reduced.

Family life in general is not about something as black and white as being right. It is a blend of colors, and is all about negotiation and compromise. As you learned in secret #7, you may be coming home from a workplace where “right” and “wrong” are the determinants of your decisions and you’ve been trained to look for solutions. This kind of thinking doesn’t usually serve you well at home.

Here are some action steps to help you become less invested in being right:

  • Acknowledge that you enjoy being right (we all do) and that you are committed to improving on this issue
  • Have someone in the family help you to be more aware of when you’re wanting to be right (your wife can gently remind you when you are arguing with your child).
  • Commit to being more kind. The flip side of ego is pure kindness. It can be a nice concept to grab on to when you’re stuck in wanting to be right.
  • Ask your family if they notice that you often want to be right. They will be your best teachers if you’re willing to swallow your ego and learn.
  • Practice acts of kindness both in and out of your family. You can become so busy that you convince yourself you don’t have time to be kind to others. You do, and you can. The more kindness that you give, the more you’ll receive.
  • Pay close attention to what happens when you give up being right so often. You may notice your relationships improving and that people are treating you better. You may even notice a feeling of freedom that comes from giving up the hold you have on being right.

Ego work is always difficult. You’ll make some progress, and then take a step back. What’s important is that you’re able to keep your awareness of where you want to be, and to have a system to keep you on track.

Using friends or family as a means of accountability is an excellent way of keeping yourself on track. It is also risky emotionally, but it shows that you have the commitment necessary to be a father who succeeds in becoming more kind with your family.

When you become more kind with your family, the “miracle” will occur. The “miracle” is about being shown kindness in return when you show kindness to others. It has always been that way and always will be.

Pay very close attention to being kind rather than being right. It will give you and your family benefits that you never anticipated.

May your ego continue to shrink with each passing year.

A Father's Value

It happened when I least expected it. During an afternoon in which I had been lamenting my role as a “janitor” with my family, my seven-year-old daughter put things back into perspective for me. “You’re the best daddy in the world,” she whispered to me as she gave me a big hug.

I was thankful as she ran down the hall, for I was too overwhelmed to respond to her comment in a reasonable manner. My vision of myself as an unappreciated victim had been extinguished in a flash; in its place I felt a joy and sense of gratitude that was overpowering.

On further reflection I was reminded of a painful law involving family life: The more you believe you deserve appreciation, the less you’ll get. Seeking appreciation and gratitude from your kids won’t lead you anywhere but to resentment. But if you stay involved long enough, you’ll find moments like this one that are worth hanging on to.

It’s easy for fathers to feel unappreciated and to feel like they inhabit a place outside the emotional “core” of the family (mom and the kids). But the value of involved fathers to their families is becoming increasingly clear. Recent research has pointed out the absolute necessity of a father’s positive influence on his children.

The first bit of research is from a collection of agencies, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Center for Disease Control, and the National Principals Association. The translation of these studies show just how valuable fathers are to their kids. The statistics are remarkable:

Children from a fatherless home are:

5 times more likely to commit suicide

32 times more likely to run away

20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders

14 times more likely to commit rape

9 times more likely to drop out of school

10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances

9 times more likely to end up in a state operated institution

20 times more likely to end up in prison

Enough to convince you?

Perhaps even more interesting was the pooling of parenting research that the Wall Street Journal did in June of 2003. The research suggests that “interactions with a father are equally, if not more, important than interaction with a mother in a child’s positive development.” While we don’t want to turn this into a debate about who’s more important, the fact that this notion is now being talked about is a testament to the vital importance of fathers to their kids.

So the next time you’re questioning your value to your family and whether you’re more than just a handyman around the house, remember that these are just feelings from your past that have very little connection to the present moment. Your value to your kids is immense.

Know that they need you to be involved and that they need your approval. And then give it to them.

Should You Keep Your Ex as a Friend?

Hey Doc,

The girl I’m currently dating is totally a keeper. Sumino has all of the qualities we men are supposed to want and find in a woman. She treats me like I’m a king! And I’m totally in love with her.

So here’s my problem, Doc. Before I started dating Sumino I was constantly hanging out with my best friend, Courtney, usually once or twice a week. We would go out for coffee or just hang out at her house. (Courtney and I used to date when we met at my last job, incidentally, and after our romantic relationship was over, we stayed friends.) And if I had a chance to date Courtney again I wouldn’t, because I don’t see her as girlfriend material (she has many flaws).

Well, after six months of dating, Sumino and I had an intense confrontation. She told me that she didn’t want me to talk to or hang out with Courtney anymore. Sumino says that since Courtney is my ex-girlfriend, she has a problem with my seeing her. I told Sumino that Courtney and I dated in the distant past, that our romance was ancient history, and it didn’t mean anything to me. She countered with “It doesn’t matter. The fact is, she’s your ex,” and she wants me to completely disassociate myself from Courtney. The strange thing is that I consider Courtney to truly be my best friend.

So I’m torn in two directions, Doc. I leveled with Sumino about the fact that Courtney is indeed my closest friend. She got extremely angry. I was surprised at this wildly emotional reaction because I have never seen that side of her. Frankly, it was a little disturbing.

I can’t just let go of Courtney because she means a lot to me, but I don’t want to make my current girlfriend upset because I see a future with her. So what should I do, Doc? Do I stop hanging out with Courtney and give in to Sumino’s demands, or do I just let Sumino stew in her jealousy?

Please, Doc, help me with your insight.

Paul - who’s stuck in the middle

Hi Paul,

Well, I gotta hand it to you. You seem to be able to hold the attention of two women. That’s the good news. The bad news is that you don’t quite know what to do with either one of them. I’ll straighten you out here, but as the great bard Shakespeare once said, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

By the way, Paul, who dropped whom in your relationship with Courtney? Elementary. As the great relationship detective Sher“Love” Holmes would conclude, “Apparently you dropped her, because when a gal drops a guy, the last thing she wants is to stay friends with him!” Taking it a step further, you say you wouldn’t want to date Courtney, but the more interesting question here is, would she want to date you?

The answer is 50% yes. The other 50% is that odds are Sumino knows that you were intimate with this girl. And when a girl’s in love, she’s like a kitty kat -- territorial. She doesn’t want other pussycats around her man. Don’t forget that basic law of dating, Paul – kitty kats kompete.

You mention something else that’s very curious: Courtney has “lots of flaws.” Then why the hell is she playing Siegfried to your Roy? What flaws does she have that don’t work in a girlfriend but are acceptable in a pal? Paul, this is like saying “I don’t want Courtney because she’s a thief. I wouldn’t want to be in love with a thief, but I’ll certainly have a thief as my best friend!” Aren’t you contradicting yourself here? Or more dangerously - rationalizing? Come on, dude! What in the world are you talking about? You’ve got to get your head straight or the next thing you’ll be doing is playing golf with O.J.

Nevertheless, what you should have done was pinned Sumino down on what was wrong with seeing Courtney casually if the romance between the two of you is indeed dead. And you should have pressed for a straight answer. What you got instead was a generality, which did both of you a disservice. When you’re involved in a significant, big-time argument, you need to get at the truth in order to avoid the festering resentment that can undermine all relationships.

But let’s dig deeper. Your romance with Courtney “didn’t mean anything” -- to you. But what does it mean to Sumino? You should have convinced your current girlfriend that it meant nothing so far as she was concerned. In other words, you left out what was really important.

What Sumino would have said, if she were being completely honest, was that the situation is negative because Courtney wants back in with you. And if she’d said anything else, then you’d have to cut her loose. Because Sumino’s jealousy is the only thing that counts in this mess. Any other explanation would have been worthless – because she has no right to tell you whom you can and can’t run around with.

You keep repeating that Courtney is your best friend. How come you’re not hanging out with the guys? Don’t you have two or three drinking buddies like most guys do? What are you doing with a girl as a best friend? I’m not saying it’s not socially acceptable, but don’t you think you should have two or three guys in line ahead of her?

The point is that something is wrong with this picture. Paul, if you don’t have a few male pals to hang with, your girlfriend should be your closest friend (even though I generally deplore the word when it comes to dating relationships). If you’re thinking long-term with this babe, shouldn’t she be your bosom buddy instead of a flawed ex?

When it comes down to it, Sumino is furious with you because you’re telling her that your best friend is an ex-flame. Don’t you see how in a girl’s ears that would sound baffling at best? Or as they say in Tel Aviv, “IT AIN’T KOSHER!”

Finally, it bothers me that you’re speaking more highly of a discard than you are of your main squeeze, the one you say you really want to be with. Even if you don’t come straight out and say it, that’s what I’m reading between the lines here. Maybe you have to look in the mirror and face up to what’s really there.

But if you really want Sumino for the rest of your life, you have to capitulate to her demands and get rid of Courtney. But upon doing so, you have to say to her: “Darling, if you want me to, I’m going to get rid of her -- for you. But you owe me one -- a big one!” Let Sumino know that if any major issues arise between you in the future, you’re going to wave this IOU over her head like a flag. Because hopefully this is the first and last time she asks you to do something you really don’t want to do.

Remember, guys: don’t waste your time with a has-been.

What if She Won't Commit -- buy Won't Let Go?

Hey Doc,

I started dating Erin in August 2002. We had about five or six dates, but were otherwise seeing other people and things were moving very slowly. In December she asked me to go to New York for New Year’s Eve. We went, had a fantastic time, and then things took off more seriously. From that point, we both decided to date each other exclusively.

We had a fabulous time together. I fell in love with Erin and she fell in love with me. We went on a number of trips together and I treated her like gold. She was good to me in return, though I would have preferred she was more of a Giver. All in all, however, she is a fantastic woman and has the kind of values that I want in a life partner. However, I can see now that to some extent I was not much of a Challenge as time went on.

We are both conservative and would never live together before marriage, so moving in with Erin was never an issue -- it was always when and if we were going to get married. And marrying her was something I was mentally preparing to do, but I was just waiting for her signals to me to become more clear. About two months ago, I noticed subtle changes in her behavior. She did a few minor things that indicated she was losing interest, so I asked her if that was the case. She assured me this was not so, and being in a state of mind where I heard her say what I wanted to hear, I chose to believe her.

Well, one day out of nowhere she suggests that she needs “time apart.” Not being a total idiot, I said time apart wasn’t for me, and I defined my boundaries quite clearly and said if she was committed to me, then great, but if she wasn’t, we should stop seeing each other altogether and just end things like adults. She did not like me setting my boundaries so strictly because I suspect they were rather unsettling for her and not convenient for whatever it was she was trying to achieve.

Anyway, for the past six weeks I’ve been trying to distance myself from Erin (a painful and difficult experience). Over this same time period she has shown up at my house (unannounced!) to “visit my family” when she knew I was there, she has called me numerous times and has sent me a number of e-mails. Initially I was sucked into these antics, such as on one occasion on my deceased mother’s birthday when Erin’s sister was giving birth that same day. She called upset, so I took a pizza to her house to cheer her up. On another occasion, I accidentally bumped into her when I was out with a (female) friend for a drink. Every encounter with her is totally awkward and draining, and last week I reiterated to her that I wanted to stay away from her until she has some clarity about what she wants, and in the meantime I’m going to get on with my life.

Given that I genuinely love this woman and care for her deeply, what would you recommend that I do? I can’t allow her to treat me like a revolving door, but I don’t want to entirely shut her out if she is somehow trying to extend an olive branch without coming right out and saying it. As we all know, woman are best judged by their actions, and right now hers are rather inconsistent (which implies low interest). I know I can’t do anything to control her, but when she contacts me again (which she inevitably will, either in person, or by phone or e-mail) what is the best thing for me to do?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Les – who is “Mister Confused”

Hi Les,

Let’s clear something up right out of the chute. The decision to “date exclusively” wasn’t made by you and Erin together. She decided to date you exclusively. What have I told you guys in the past? We pick, but they choose. Big difference, and one you shouldn’t lose sight of. And why did she make that decision? Because you managed to drive her Interest Level up into the 90s. At least for a little while.

Les, when you use the word “gold,” I’m very suspicious that you’re acting like a stooge. I’m the best love cop on earth, and my evidence for saying that is that Erin’s Interest Level, by your own admission, began to drop. And as time goes on, being anti-Challenge will continue to lower Interest Level. (But I do want to compliment you on recognizing that Erin was not a Giver. You recognized that one-third of what she has to offer you wasn’t all that great, so you were down to two-thirds of a woman.) So let’s get this straight, pal – moving in with Erin was never an issue, not because you went to the same church, but because she had lowered Interest Level in you.

It’s worth looking at this phenomenon more closely. Interest Level doesn’t plummet suddenly from 95% to 35%. It sinks slowly, as the guy – you, in this case – says and does all the wrong things. And the guy thinks that he can get away with it because the girl is already locked in. And she is -- when her Interest Level is at 95%. But eventually it will drop to 93%...then 89%...and then 84%...and when it hits the magic number of 49%, that’s it, boy – you’re all washed up.

Now Les, I’ll give you $100 million if you can get a woman to say, when you ask her what she wants in a man, that she wants a guy who doesn’t lower her Interest Level by kissing her fanny. When Erin told you she needed time apart, you should have said nothing. You should have smiled and walked out. You don’t sit there and give her your game plan, you don’t tell her how you feel, you don’t tell her what you’re going to do – you leave. But you did all this stuff. And in her mind, it was another wimpy form of begging.

You went on to tell her that you should break up like adults. Les, exactly how do adults break up? As far as I know, there are no sweet, mature ways to do it. When Erin informed you that she needed her space that was it. Finito. The end. You’d hit the magic number: 49%. Of course she’ll play with you like a cat plays with a mouse at 40%-49%, give you a little false hope, but when it hits 39%, she’s in the arms of another guy. In other words, she’ll play with your head until she strikes paydirt with another jerk, another weakling.

But whoa, wait a second here -- you got tough and set some hard boundaries that really bothered your girl, huh? Sorry, Les, but she wasn’t really upset. It was just a little smokescreen she threw up that had nothing to do with anything. She was grabbing at something, anything, to indicate her low Interest Level. (The problem is, women never come out and say it. “He lowered my Interest Level due to his deportment,” is not something you’ll ever hear tumble out of a lady’s lovely bee-stung lips.)

So what happened to all those tight boundaries when Erin showed up at your home? Why didn’t you just duck out? Why didn’t you tell her you were going to the kitchen for a second, then walk straight out the back door and come back at midnight?

Because you wanted the torture. I just hope you haven’t answered any of her phone calls or e-mails. I have a feeling you did, though. Know why? Because you took that pizza with the works over to her when she didn’t even ask you to. A huge, huge mistake. Les -- you’re delivering pizza? Aren’t you a little embarrassed, at your age, to be a delivery boy for a girl who doesn’t want to possess you?

What you should have done when you bumped into Erin was start making time with your female friend. “I’ll give you a hundred bucks if you kiss me in front of her,” you should have offered your gal-pal. Know why these encounters are so draining? Because you’re not prepared for them. Like my cousin Fast Eddie Love says, “Keep it fun and keep it light. And never, ever let ’em know they got to you!” You have to be on top of your game at all times, buddy.

Unfortunately, Erin doesn’t give a hoot, Les. Until she’s crying on your doorstep for you to take her back, she’s got all the clarity she needs. How many times do I have to tell you guys -- the woman only cares about her feelings? In her mind that’s all that counts.

She’s extending an olive branch, you say? They’re Molotov cocktails she’s hurling at you, man! Can’t you tell the difference? (Hint: the Molotov cocktail’s the quart of gasoline with the burning rag hanging out of it, dummy!) Jeez, you’d have better luck negotiating with Fidel Castro! Inconsistent actions, you say? Wrong! She’s very consistent. She said she needed her freedom, and she’s not in your arms! Sounds totally consistent to me.

The best thing for you to do now, Les, is block Erin’s incoming e-mails. If she calls you on the phone and you accidentally pick up, say “How have you been, baby? Look, I’d like to talk to you, but my date’s in the bathroom. But I want you to know something. She doesn’t mean a thing to me. You know you’re the one. So keep in touch….” Click. Then go back to reading the Bible.

Remember, guys: when it’s over, leave first.

Is There Ever a Good Time to Rip Off Your Buddy?

Hey Doc,

I’m involved in a messy situation I hope you can guide me through.

I’ve known Erica and her ex-boyfriend, Jeff, for exactly the same amount of time (I met them when they were dating each other). About a month ago, they broke up. (Jeff initiated it.) Afterwards, Erica called and invited me out to shoot pool. I went, we had a good time, and we started hanging out together more often. I was attracted to her, but since Jeff is a friend of mine and her ex, I felt that I should “ask permission” before trying to pursue Erica. I did just that. He said “no,” so I backed off.

The next day Erica called and said Jeff had phoned her at 1:30 in the morning and asked whether there was anything between the two of us.

This bothered me. First of all, he should have taken my word that nothing was going on. Second, after their breakup, he never called Erica once, except to ask if there was something between us.

Well, she and I continued to hang out and have a good time. Then one day she called and informed me that we were “just friends,” even though I apparently wanted something more than a friendship. Who told you this? I asked her. She let out that Jeff had told her things that I never said. I smoothed things out, and she and I hung out again the next night.

The next morning Erica called and said “I don’t think we should hang out anymore.” After asking questions and getting nowhere, I finally said that if that was what she wanted, then I wouldn’t try to change her mind. She told me I would figure it out. This is what I’ve come to decide might be going on:

1. Jeff has said something else to her that damages my “credibility.”

2. She thinks I still have feelings for her.

3. She’s just plain angry about something.

4. She has feelings for me. (This is what some of my friends think.)

5. Erica and Jeff are back together. (This is what I really think.)

Doc, I don’t want to lose two friends, and I definitely don’t want to lose Erica as a friend and potential love interest. Help me, please.

Henry – who’s stuck somewhere in between

Hi Henry,

Your friend denied you permission to hit on his ex. What you should have addressed up front was how close you were to this guy, how long you’ve known him, and whether you could live without him as a friend, then proceeded -- with extreme caution -- from there. Most times it doesn’t work out with a woman, and you end up destroying a relationship with a buddy. So the moral of the story is never mess with the other guy’s ex, even if he tells you to go ahead and knock yourself out. It flies in the face of one of the most important things in life – loyalty. And even though the exes protest that it’s over forever and they’re just good friends now, there are still emotional ties. And that’s what you were messing with here. So unless you’re willing to write your guy friend off, you have to think long and hard about you’re about to do.

Now I’ll let you in on something, Henry. Jeff didn’t initiate this breakup -- Erica did. To you Psych majors, women do the dumping up 90% of the time in the dating game. And by the way, who told you that Jeff was the instigator of the breakup? Were you there to witness it? It amazes me how a man will suck up any slop that some pretty female throws at him when he’s gone over her. He’ll believe two and two equals seven if she tells him it does! As my cousin Fast Eddie Love says, “When it comes to women, men are complete idiots!” (Of course your friend’s a fool, too, for calling his ex at one-thirty in the morning. That’s called begging. He knows nothing -- maybe even less than you do, Henry.)

I notice that you got enough hang-out time in with Erica before you asked Jeff’s “permission” to date her. Why didn’t you do that straight out of the gate, dude? Because you were already making time with her, that’s why. You made sure you liked this girl before you called your buddy, and that’s why it took you so long. Don’t con yourself, and don’t try to con me. As Sal “The Fish” Love puts it, “A guy who tries to fool himself is the biggest fool of all!”

So what was the upshot of all your slick maneuvering, Henry? You got dumped. And you don’t know why. When women dump you, they always give you the second, third, and fourth reasons why they’re dumping you. The real reason is called low Interest Level. Next! So after getting the brush, what do you go and do? Work your way into hanging out with Erica again the next night! You’re the exact antithesis of Challenge! Why not try staying away from this girl for four or five days and give her a chance to miss you?

When she said you'd figure it out, she overrated you, Pal. I’ll do the figuring for you. Let’s look at your delusions one by one.

1. It doesn’t matter what Jeff said about you, because only YOU lowered Erica’s Interest Level.

2. Erica doesn’t think about your feelings, because she has none for you.

3. Erica’s angry, all right. She’s angry because she spent too much time with you.

4. Sure, Erica has feelings for you. And on the way home tonight, you’re going to be abducted by Bigfoot.

5. Yep, Erica and Jeff are back together. But you had to turn her off before she went back to him.

Dear Henry: You’ve been smoking too much loco weed. Lose two friends? As long as they’re making out, they don’t care about you. They’re so happy to be back together, you haven’t even made a blip on their radar screen.

Remember, guys: women don’t lie, and men don’t listen.

How do You Get Her to Cool Her Jets?

Hey Doc,

My problem is a little unusual. I’m looking to you for some good advice.

I was dating Samantha for about seven months before she had to go out of state to attend the best university business program in the country. (She’d already been accepted before she even met me.) She said that if she’d met me beforehand, she would have accepted another offer she got that was closer to home, but as it is she’s going to be gone for a little over a year. We’ve been doing the long distance dating thing for about four months now and she’s always talking about how she wants to marry me. As far as calling and e-mailing me, she is completely consistent. I fly to see her and she flies to see me once a month. Once she finishes the program, our goal is to go to graduate school in the same city. In other words, things are going fine between us, but I have two concerns about our relationship.

1. Samantha constantly asks me when we are going to get engaged. She says it in a joking way, but I know that she’s serious. My question is, how should I respond? I’m completely in love with this girl and want to marry her, but what is the correct response to keep her Interest Level up? (Sometimes I joke that we should go to Las Vegas tomorrow. Other times I’ll give her a more serious answer and say that we’re headed in that direction. But I’m not sure that it would be the best idea to tie the knot so soon.)

2. Samantha cries at least twice a week when we’re on the phone about how she wants me to pretty much drop everything right now and come and live with her. She tells me that I won’t have to pay for anything, and that I can just live in her apartment. This week she took it a step further and gave me a sort of indirect ultimatum by telling me that she didn’t know how she was going to deal with living apart from me for a whole year. “You need to move down here right now,” she said. I found myself a little panic-stricken at the idea.

Doc, how should I respond to this pressure? Our plans for the future sound fine to me as they are – Samantha finishes her program and the two of us go to grad school together. I tell her to relax about what’s going on, but she insists that she misses me entirely too much to even concentrate on her work. I really hope you can help me here, Doc, before I do something stupid.

Keith – who doesn’t know what he should do with her

Hi Keith,

Let me start off by saying congratulations, man. I have to take my hat off to you -- you’ve got Samantha exactly where you want her. Your goal should be to keep her right there.

One very positive point we shouldn’t lose sight of right up front is that Samantha said that had she met you before getting her out-of-state offer, she would have made a different choice and stayed closer to home. Do women with low Interest Level talk like that? No way – only women on the other end of the Interest Level spectrum do. So this is about the strongest indication you can have of her high Interest Level – assuming she’s telling the truth.

The right thing to do is let Samantha know that the two of you will get engaged after she comes back from school. This girl is straining at the leash like a hungry Doberman -- she’s completely gone over you and can’t wait to get back to you. And since you’re deeply in love with her, it makes sense to take that step. It’s okay to give in to your girl here, buddy. (But make sure that she understands that she still has to be a nice girl when she’s away at school, otherwise there will be no engagement. Remember old Pavlov’s dog.)

Don’t worry about keeping her Interest Level up, pal. You’ve already pumped it into the stratosphere like a helium balloon – she’s going crazy for you right now! You’re actually underrating her Interest Level, Keith. If this girl were any more nuts over you, she’d have to be committed. But don’t you go getting bent out of shape or going gaga over the situation. Hey, you’re not tying the knot just yet -- you’re only buying time by telling your babe you’ll get engaged when she gets back.

The reason Samantha’s begging you to move in with her right now is not because she’s a rigid or structured or hardheaded female, which is where most ugly ultimatums usually come from. She’s doing this because her Interest Level is hitting the high nineties. Let’s face it, man; she’s ready to pay for everything. (Gee, I’m impressed, Keith. She’s gotta be the first woman in the history of mankind to make that statement!) And so you reacted, at least on the inside – you didn’t practice Self-Control. Hopefully, you didn’t say anything to her at that moment. It’s okay to feel panic-stricken, but it’s not good to express it verbally to the one you love. As General Love puts it, “Never show weakness at the critical moment!”

But don’t lose any sleep over all this “pressure.” Samantha’s bluffing. She’s not going anywhere without you, Keith, as long as you keep playing your cards right.

Reassure her that since you’ve already got four months of being apart out of the way, you’ve only got eight more to go. You’re talking, you’re e-mailing, and you’re seeing her every fourth week. Tell her to keep her pants on! When she whines that she can’t concentrate without you being there, tell her what my cousin Fast Eddie Love would tell her: “Honey, you’re only a human being, and I understand.”

Forget about doing anything stupid, Keith – don’t do anything different, period. Just keep doing what you’re doing, because you’re doing just about everything right. Relax – you’ve got no problems. Just remind Samantha that if she’s a good, patient girl for the next eight months, you’ll reward her with that diamond. That will keep her content.

Remember, guys: it’s only okay to come on heavy after she does.

Does the Average Guy Ever Really Stand a Chance?

Hey Doc,

Although I know you usually only comment on people with specific dating questions, I was wondering what your take was on the television show Average Joe. My opinion is, after watching two outings, that the women’s behavior reflects a lot of your teachings.

On the show, a bunch of “average guys” (i.e., guys who aren’t great-looking and have little experience with Beautiful Women), get to compete for the attentions and affections of an extremely hot-looking babe. The twist comes at the end, where after several dates with the average guys, a couple of hunky stud-muffins enter the picture to complicate things.

How this relates to your “System” (which I purchased, and it helped a lot, thanks!) is that the average guys, besides being just average-looking, are not a Challenge at all. In fact, they constantly laid out their hearts and bared their souls to the Beautiful Women only to be repeatedly dumped at the conclusion of the contest.

At the end of both competitions, the beautiful girl surprisingly (but maybe not to those who read your articles) picked the good-looking guy over the average guy, despite only knowing them for a short time. The icing on the cake was that the good-looking guys were emotionally remote and looked like they could care less.

What’s really funny is all the comments on the net that crucify the women on the show for being so shallow. That may be true, but all us average Joes want them anyway, right?

What do you think, Doc? Do guys like us ever really have a chance with Beautiful Women? Is it even worth the struggle? Or should we stay with our own kind and not risk all that rejection?

Lenny - who still has his fantasies of scoring a “10”

Hi Lenny,

First of all, let me congratulate you on starting to learn my techniques. You’ll never go wrong practicing a set of proven principles. As my cousin “Fast Eddie” Love likes to say, “With a little spit and polish, you’re gonna be a master!” That is, as long as you stay with it. Dedication and practice are the keys.

But it’s obvious by your comments about Average Joe that you’re already sharpening your analytical faculties when it comes to the dating game and are on the right road. Nevertheless, I want to touch on some of the specifics of your letter to make sure you stay there.

Let’s start with this: Lenny, the average guys should be dumped at the end of the show. Besides being just average-looking, they’re not Challenges. So they have two things working against them. Why wouldn’t they be dumped? It’s common sense, right?

You mention that the hotties on Average Joe go for the hunks “despite” knowing them for only a short time. Here your premise is dead wrong, pal. It’s BECAUSE the girls only knew them for a brief period of time that they picked them. Look at it from the girl’s perspective: if she doesn’t know two guys all that well, and one’s good-looking and the other isn’t, what’s going to happen? Think about it. Let’s reverse the process. If you’re given a choice between two women, and one’s nothing much in the looks category and one’s a ringer for Elizabeth Hurley, who are you going to pick? Maybe the gorgeous babe has a lousy personality and the other doesn’t, but how are you going to know that in a short amount of time?

Next, you report that the good-looking guys appear as if they could care less. Well, this is what you average guys should be doing! The ploy worked, didn’t it? Nobody is attracted to desperation (ie., baring of souls, wearing of hearts on sleeves, blubbering about weaknesses, etc.). The name of the game, at least at first, is pretending you don’t care. Being secure and mysterious. In other words, being a CHALLENGE. That’s what you have to do in the beginning, whether she’s an average woman or the second coming of Kim Basinger. Do it, and watch what happens. It never fails, buddy.

There’s another reason why the women on Average Joe went with the guys who are the best-looking. Why? Because it is short-term. I’d like to come back six months later and check whether those babes are still dating the hunks. Did they pick the handsome dudes because they think it’s the right thing to do since they’re on TV? You can bet the house those romances aren’t going very far.

Do average guys ever really have a chance with the Beautiful Woman you ask? Ah, now that’s the million-dollar question. And a million-dollar question demands a million-dollar answer. As Sal “The Fish” Love puts it, “The first thing you have to do if you want a chance with a Beautiful Woman is get yourself a 120-foot yacht. A big, humongous, 120-foot yacht!”

Of course, that would be doing things the hard way. And you don’t have to do it the hard way, Lenny. It’s not going to be a struggle if you memorize what I teach you. I make it easy to deal with Beautiful Women as well as wallflowers -- all women. The years of torment you’ve endured at the hands of the opposite sex will be over once you stick completely to my guidelines.

To you Psych majors, what you’re looking for anyway is Attitude. As long as you’re attracted to a woman, and she’s a Giver and she’s Flexible, she’s going to be the one for you. And over time she will grow prettier and end up being the Beautiful Woman you’ve always wanted because of her inner qualities – qualities that a lot of the plastic women don’t have. In an age of phonies, my plan leads you to the genuine article. And that, not some silicone fake, is who you want for the long haul.

Lenny, a fundamental fact of life is that you’re always risking rejection. When you get into the bathtub you can slip and break your neck. When you climb into your car you can be killed in a smashup. You can be asleep in your bed and an airplane engine can come crashing through the roof and land on your head. (Don’t laugh – it’s happened.) Life is one huge risk. Every time you breathe you’re taking the risk of rejection and pain. There’s no way around it except to stop living. So get out there and have some fun.

As I’ve said in my books, practice on the average-looking girls with the huge fannies and slowly make your way up to the razor-thin beauties. By the time you get there, you’ll be irresistible. The way you’re going to get a “10” is to memorize all my principles.

Remember, guys: if you want somebody beautiful, you have to practice on somebody average.

The Pitfalls of Group Dates

Hi Doc,

I met this girl, Susan, in my art class at UCSB. We hit it off and traded phone numbers. Two days later she called me and asked me if I wanted to join her and her friends that night for beer and pizza. Even though it was short notice, I said yes and went that night.

When I got to the restaurant she enthusiastically hugged me and introduced me to all her friends, there were six of them – three guys and three girls. We all got along and had a fun time. We finally all walked out together and Susan hugged me again and kissed me on the cheek. I didn’t even make a move on her at all. She came at me first.

A few days passed and then today she called and left a message asking me if I want to join her and her friends again, this time for a volleyball game at the beach this coming weekend. I’m actually a great volleyball player and I know it would be fun and that it probably would be a good opportunity to impress Susan with my athletic skills.

So, Doc, I’m thinking that this girl must have high interest in me because she’s doing all the calling and she’s asked me out twice now. But I also have doubts that maybe since she wants me to hang out with her and her friends again, that that means that she only wants to be friends with me. Would it be better to ask her out for a one-on-one at this point to test her Interest Level or would it be rude not to accept her invitation? What do you think.

Lindsey – who’s just not sure


All right, here’s the lowdown. There were two mistakes that you made when you accepted that first date with your Suzie Q. Number one; you accepted a date on short notice. I know that it’s compelling and also flattering when a woman who you like, calls you and asks you out. The average guy only needs one finger (or fewer) to count all the times in his entire life that a woman has ever taken the initiative to ask him out. So when it does happen it’s kind of a shock and there’s a tendency to throw Challenge out the window. But one of the bedrock principles of “The System” is self- control.

You should have told this gal, Lindsey, that you already had a prior commitment that night, even though you didn’t. Why? Because when you accept a date on short notice, it diminishes your mystery quotient in her eyes. It makes you appear too available and too eager and so her romantic Interest Level in you is impacted negatively. To you Psych majors, you gotta learn to play hard to get.

Guys, when a woman who you’ve just met calls and asks you out on short notice, she isn’t even aware of the fact that she’d actually like you more if you didn’t accept the date. She’s unconscious of the fact that in reality she’s setting up a little test for you to see how much of a Challenge you are. Granted, usually, when a woman calls a guy after having just met him she has to have pretty darn high Interest Level in him to begin with.

So, the argument could be made; So what if her Interest Level lowers by a point or too when it’s probably very high to begin with? Well, probably is the operative word here. In the beginning all dates are too new to rate. We don’t know where we stand until we cross that ‘60 Days’ goal line. So it’s always best to too keep the odds in your favor as much as possible.

You see, Lindsey, girls turn guys down all day long, day in and day out but a guy turning a girl down? How often does that happen? (About as often as Osama Bin Laden takes a bath.) But when it does happen, it has a powerful impact. If she has high Interest Level in the guy to begin with, it’s always higher after he (temporarily) rejects her.

The second mistake that you made, Lindsey, is that you went out on your first date with this girl with HER posse. Doing that dis-empowers you in more ways than one. She knows everyone and you don’t know anyone. It’s unfamiliar territory with too many unknowns. You’re at a disadvantage. Plus you don’t know who in the group might have an agenda that’s in opposition to you making a love connection with your date. And … you don’t even know if it’s really a date or not. It’s all very confusing and problematic.

You did one thing right, Lindsey, when you let her come at you with the hug and the kiss on the cheek. But remember a kiss on the cheek is very ambiguous. A kiss on the cheek can mean anything from “We’re gonna be buddies and nothing more” to…”I’m hoping you’ll jump my bones and here’s a hint.” After she kissed you on the cheek, Lindsey, you should have pulled her back in to your arms and given her a real kiss right on her lovely lips. If you had done that, then you wouldn’t be wondering right now whether she wants to just be friends or not.

My recommendation to you now, Lindsey, is to take a pass on the group volleyball happening. Politely thank her for the invitation and tell her that you’re busy. That wouldn’t be rude of you to do. You’d only be being rude if made the date with her and then broke it - like thousands of women do to men every day.

Then wait a couple days and call her back and ask her out on a one-on-one date. If she insists on only going out with you in a group situation, then throw her phone number away (unless you’re hard up for friends) But hopefully she’ll enthusiastically accept the more intimate date with you and then you can move forward from there.

Remember, guys: never let her think that you’re too available.

If She's from the Other Side of the Tracks, can She be a "Keeper?"

Hey Doc,

I recently came across your website and got acquainted with some of the information on it. I have to say it made for very interesting reading, but I’ve not seen anything like my situation discussed.

I’m currently involved in a new relationship and I was hoping that you could provide some insight. About two months ago I started dating my current girlfriend, Gloria. I come from a preppy background (I’m a graduate of an Ivy League university) and Gloria is from a somewhat lower-class background. Her parents were immigrants and her family are all blue-collar workers. This is the only truly noticeable difference between us. Despite it, Gloria is wonderful to me and I couldn’t be happier with her. She does lots of things for me -- including cook! How rare is that? Anyway, things have been going really well for us.

But Doc, Gloria’s had a very rough life. Her stepfather physically abused her for 10 years, she’s been homeless, old boyfriends have treated her like crap, etc. She projects a hardened, bad-ass image in public, and only reveals her soft, caring interior to me. To me, that’s a sign that she really does care for me. She’s been very expressive of her feelings, telling me that I’m wonderful almost every day. I’ve been expressive of my feelings towards her too, but with some guarded caution.

So the "I love you’s" have not been exchanged yet. I’m pretty much spending every night at her place (except for two to three days a week when I’m out of town). I do a lot for her around the house, compliment her, spend quality time snuggling, hugging, and so forth. Doc, I’m ready to exchange an "I love you," because that’s how I feel about her.

But…something has been holding me back from going all the way, and I think it’s because of that class difference I mentioned. I worry that somehow the difference in her background will come out and have a negative effect on our relationship somewhere down the road when we’re deeply involved.

So I guess my question is this: considering the discrepancies in our backgrounds and the progress we’ve made in the last two months, where do I go from here? Can a difference in backgrounds ever be overcome? I know your feelings on the "I love you" issue, i.e. -- who should say it first, and I somewhat agree. But in this instance, we’re not talking about the typical girl, if there is such a thing. I really do love this girl, Doc. Despite the fact that it’s only been two months, we’ve spent lots of great time together and she has treated me better than any girl I’ve ever been with.

Your opinion and time is appreciated. Again, loved the website and I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Kirk – who wants to know if he’s being over-cautious

Hi Kirk,

Your problem isn’t saying "I love you," or the fact that Gloria comes from the so-called "wrong side of the tracks" -- your problem is that you’re seeing entirely too much of her.

Now, on the other hand, if you’d been going out with Gloria for six months, everything you’re doing now would be just about fine. But what you should be doing after six months, you’re already doing after only two months. You’re getting way ahead of yourself. So the way I see it, you’re already "anti-Challenge" by a good four months. You’re giving too much of yourself away to this girl. What’s the hurry, Kirk? You should be spoon-feeding yourself with Gloria instead of gorging yourself on her. Know what happens when you eat an entire gallon of Ben and Jerry’s cherry vanilla ice cream in one sitting? You get sick to your stomach.

It doesn’t bother me that Gloria’s got a "hard edge" in public; as long as you’re not Arnold Schwarzenegger running for the governorship of California or in the field of public relations, you’re going to be okay with her. If, as you say, she takes off her armor for you, and she’s a flexible giver – and from what you tell me she sounds like one -- then you can live with her tough public persona. Besides, when you tell me she’s "hard," you’re giving me a generality -- and generalities don’t work when it comes to the principles of "The System." These techniques demand specifics, clues, which lead to hard evidence. Let’s not condemn Gloria before we have something really solid to go on.

Now of course that "negative effect down the road" you’re afraid of is certainly a possibility. But you wouldn’t have to fear it so much if you slowed down and took your time with Gloria. If you date her for a year and a half and she’s perfectly well-behaved with all your friends and at social affairs, then what’s the problem? "The System" says you have to get the first nine dates in – that’s your beachhead, and then you go out with her for another year and a half. After seventeen or eighteen months, she’ll be asking you to buy her an engagement ring. As far as the "I love you’s" go, you utter that phrase to a woman for the first time when she asks "Will you marry me?" Then you can finally say "I love you." And that will be the first time you say it.

Kirk, as my cousin "Fast Eddie" Love would advise, you have to yank on the reins and yell out "WHOA…!" You’re going way too fast, buddy, for such a short time together.

Remember, guys: anybody can be nice for two months.

Never Try to Keep Someone Who Doesn't Want to Keep You

Hey Doc,

I really hope you can help me, because I’m hurting.

Janet and I have been together for three years and friends for 20. She’s 52 and I’m 51. We’ve always had passion between us. But she’s in menopause and has a daughter who never liked that she was with me. In the past year I’ve had some financial problems, and Janet and I broke up once, then got back together, but she says that I sucked her back in. Fights occasionally broke out over nothing. She would begin raging and always blamed me because eventually I reacted to her raging and did some of my own. But I never started the raging.

In July she broke up with me a second time. Her daughter (33 years old, with children) came to town and spent some alone time with Janet. I gaveher space to do this. This was when she cut me off. Her sister told me that Janet said that she felt like she was in prison with me. (This, Doc, from a lover who called me five to seven times per day, every day, and asked me to see her all the time -- and now says she felt “obligated” to make those calls!)

I gave her a week to cool off, then went to see her again. She ripped my head off. Filled with anger, she told me it was over. I asked her later if we could get together for some “closure” talk, and she said no. So I left. Two weeks later she called me, and I asked to meet with her. We did. She said she was raw and needed to be alone. I investigated to see if there was another man, and there isn’t. She cried with me, held me, caressed me, said she loved me deeply, and didn’t know what to do about it. But she “needs to do this” – be alone -- for a while. I asked her what I could do for her and she said “Leave me alone.”

Since then (it’s been two months) we’ve talked a few times. She says she loves me but is keeping busy. I asked her if she’s happy with her decision and she said no. I asked her if she still loved me, and she said yes. I asked if she missed me, and she said yes. So I said, why don’t we see each other every two weeks? She said no, just leave me alone for a while.

This left me entirely confused.

We were so in love and wanted to marry. I have been in pain over this for two months and don't know what to do. How can I become a Challenge when she won’t even call me?

I do want Janet back because I can see she is crazed by her hormones and her family is steering her away from her heart. But she has to feel her own heart and not live through her family. Does she love me or doesn’t she? Will she come back?

Doc, what do you think is going on, and what is the best recourse?


Steve – who’s living under a black cloud

Hi Steve,

Let me ask you a question. Why is it that you and Janet were friends for 20 years? When you’re friends for 20 years, usually you’re friends forever, right? How is it that after two decades of friendship this woman decided suddenly that she was romantically interested in you? Steve, if you’d always had passion between you, you wouldn’t have been “just friends” for all that time. You’re contradicting yourself, pal! You don’t even know what it is you’ve got here! No offense, but you don’t have a clue! You’re the kind of guy who pulls into a service station, announces that he needs a lube job, and the mechanic points out, “Uh, sir -- your transmission is in the road!”

Steve, I hate to have to be the one to tell you this, but you and Janet didn’t always have “passion.” Passion was in your mind -- and your mind alone. As usual, the shortsighted male projected his Interest Level onto the woman. Don’t blame it on her hormones!

Now, you say Janet’s daughter never liked you. Why didn’t she like you, Steve? Remember, Janet raised her. She had a great amount of influence over this kid who hates your guts. There must have been some reason for it, don’t you think? To boot, the Reality Factor says that women with children, even if they’re grown, are “package deals.” If the kid hates you, it kills the deal right off the bat -- unfortunately, most of you guys don’t realize it! Even if Janet’s Interest Level was 100%, you’d still be dead in the water, because her kid detests you.

You tell me that Janet accuses you of “sucking” her back into a relationship with you. In Womanese, it means that you pressured her back into seeing you. You got on your knees and whimpered like a puppy when she told you to back off and behave yourself.

You go on to reveal that fights occasionally broke out over “nothing.” Steve, I got news for you -- fights are always over something. And what they’re usually over is low Interest Level. Because when a woman has high Interest Level, she wants to do what you want to do, she agrees with you on everything, and there’s nothing to fight over. When Interest Level is high enough, she’ll even give up watching Oprah!

Finally, you ask me what’s going on and what your course of action should be. I’m afraid it’s more bad news. The chance of Janet ever having 90% Interest Level in you is more remote than your chance of hitting the moon with a rock.

Steve -- how many times does this lady have to drop you before you decide that maybe, just maybe, she has low Interest Level? You say you gave her a week to cool off. Dude, you should have given her a lifetime! It’s not a matter of having to cool off -- it’s a matter of HER NOT LIKING YOU. I know this is complex. I know this is real tough to understand, and I know that all the counselors and shrinks are going to tell you there’s something more to it, but the simple fact remains: she doesn’t like you.

To you Psych majors, women who like you – and I know this is going to sound strange – actually want to be with you!

Steve, this girl misses you like Ben misses J-Lo. Know why Ben dumped J-Lo? Ben got tired of her. He got tired of her telling him what to do. He got tired of her domination. I’m all for self-improvement, but not when it’s the result of overbearing pressure, especially from the one you love.

Remember, guys: don’t give her a second chance to tell you to get lost.

Should You Believe Her - or Your Eyes?

Hey Doc,

I recently became aware of your advice columns and have been very impressed with your principles.

I met Joanna recently at a bar. I approached her and asked if she and her friends would like to join my crew for drinks. They accepted, and we all had a blast together. We agreed to meet as a group a few nights later, and again had a great time. Joanna seemed an awesome find, down to earth, sweet, pretty, and fun to be around. Over the last few weeks I’ve seen her once or twice a week. Everything was going great. Well, now for the problem.

On our last date, which was at a party at one of her girlfriend’s apartments, we were out on the balcony kissing when this other guy, Steve, came over and broke up our little session. I didn’t think anything of it, but noticed later that he was trying to put the moves on Joanna. I was angry that he had the audacity to try something when he knew she was with me. Wisely, I played it cool. After we left Joanna was very affectionate with me. I thought that I had handled the situation well and received my reward for that effort.

I thought nothing more of Steve until she told me that she was going to be at a party he and his roommate were hosting. “Have fun -- I’ll be out with my friends,” I told her. At around one in the morning she called my cell phone and said she wanted to see me, so I offered to come and pick her up at the party. That’s when everything went haywire.

When I arrived, everyone was quite drunk and Joanna was nowhere to be seen. I was told she was in the bathroom. I checked, but didn’t find her. It wasn’t in the best form, but I went into one of the bedrooms, and sure enough, there was Joanna on the bed passed out with Steve all cuddled up with her. (They were completely dressed.) I tried to wake her, but to no avail. I was angry and left immediately.

The next day Joanna called and told me how sorry she was, and explained that she’d asked her friends to wake her up when I arrived. She also swore that when she went into the bedroom she was alone and that Steve must have come in after she was already asleep. She professed that she wasn’t at all interested in him and that she wanted to make it up to me. I told her that I could care less what she does when I am not around, but if I am involved, then she would have to show me some respect. I also told her that if it ever happened again that she shouldn't even bother calling me. She told me it wouldn’t.

Now here’s my dilemma. Her girlfriend’s birthday party is coming up and they’ve rented a room at one of the hotels here in Las Vegas. She asked me to go, so I asked if Steve was going to be there too. She said he would, so I told her I wouldn’t be coming considering what had just happened. Now I’m wondering if I should have told her that I would go, but it’s too late to change my mind. My question is, how do you think I’ve handled this so far and what can I do to aid my cause against Steve? Furthermore, my gut tells me that Joanna has been telling some half-truths and lies of omission in reference to this guy. But on the other hand, why would she ask me to come pick her up if she was interested in him? What steps do I need to take to make her more interested in me than Steve or any other guys?

Allen – who’s not sure what to believe

Hi Allen,

You might be reading my columns, but you’re certainly not paying attention to my advice. As I’ve told you guys again and again, group dates are a no-no. Being in a group was fine when you first met Joanna; in fact, bringing your two crews together was a cool move. But once you’ve made contact with the girl, staying in a crowd of people is nothing but a waste of time. The idea is to separate the one you’re interested in from the herd, like a good hunter. As Caesar counseled, “Divide and conquer!” Hey -- are you interested in Joanna or her friends?

Now, regarding your rivalry with Steve, as my cousin Fast Eddie Love would say, “You should take it as a compliment that he tried to rip you off.” But the other guy doesn’t really matter, pal. It’s all in how you handle the girl -- and yourself -- that counts, and you haven’t done such a hot job of either. Let’s take a look at what you did wrong.

So -- you offered to come and pick Joanna up from Steve’s little soiree? I don’t claim to have psychic powers, but from that little move I think I can guess your last name: L--U--Z--Z--E--R. (Hint: It sounds just like LOSER.) My God, Allen -- you’re supposed to be a stud. You’re supposed to be a lover. You’re supposed to be a devil-may-care-type of guy that every girl in town wants, and here you’re doing the perfect imitation of a taxicab! You think a female can actually respect, much less have a high Interest Level in you, when you act like a wimp? Get off your knees, for God’s sake, and be a man!

But unfortunately we know it gets worse. Of course Steve and your girl were all dressed up when you walked in on them. They were dressed because they were through doing what they’d been doing. That way it wouldn’t look as if they were doing what they were doing! Get it, dummy? So upon making this shocking discovery, what do you do? You go back for another poke in the eye.

Afterwards Joanna wants to make up with you. Isn’t that wonderful? Allen – she was sleeping in bed in another guy’s arms! How is she supposed to make that up to you? Maybe by handing over the Kimberly Mine? By the fact that you told her you could care less what she does when you aren’t around, you achieved the exact opposite of what you were out to do --- you showed her you do care, because it was important enough for you to bring up! Who do you think you’re talking to, an idiot? Don’t ever talk down to a woman. They’re smarter than we are, don’t forget.

Guy, respect is earned. But you’re too busy begging Joanna on your knees to let you chauffeur her all over town to earn yours. Let’s face it -- you’re even willing to pick her up when she’s in the arms of another man in bed! (Oh, but that was all an accident!)

And at the end of this debacle, you tell her that it can never happen again. Wow, I’m impressed – you’re a regular Mister Tough Guy! Allen, your only dilemma is this: you’re 10 years too late laying down the law. Forget Vegas. The party’s over.

Remember, guys: your eyes never lie.

Should a Guy Ever be a Woman's Doormat?

Hey Doc,

I met Stacy through the Internet personals. In her second e-mail she gave me her phone number. We talked and made a date to meet at a club. She was two hours late, but I didn’t think anything of it because she called me every half hour to assure me that she was on her way and that she was stuck in traffic. When we got together she gave me all her attention. It was one of the best dates I’ve ever had.

We agreed on another date, this time dinner and a movie, but when the day came and I called to confirm, she never answered her phone. I called a few times that day and left messages and she never got back to me. Finally I stopped calling her. I was feeling angry and decided never to call her again. Two days later she e-mailed me an apology, then called and asked if the date was still open. Her excuse was that she’d gotten a call from her friends and she really wanted to go out with them. When she remembered our date, she realized she couldn’t call me because she’d left her phone at home. Of course I thought it was horse manure, but since she’d called me back and her Interest Level seemed like 75%, and since I enjoyed our first date, I said yes.

Then she did it a second time. The day we were supposed to get together, she didn’t answer her phone and I didn’t hear from her. She called me later and asked me to go out. I said yes. We met and again had lots of fun – a great time, really. We have a lot in common and shared many thoughts and experiences. Naturally we agreed on a third date.

The third time she stood me up, I felt like garbage. I sent her an e-mail telling her that I liked her a lot, but if she’s not going to make it to a date then I at least deserve a call, and that since we’re only dating I would understand. She called later and told me she agreed. She explained that at the moment she’s not really looking for a commitment and only wants to be friends, but that maybe in the future that would change. She invited me to go out with her and her friends. I went, and again she stayed with me the whole time, cuddling and kissing and getting more intimate than ever before.

My dilemma is that I like Stacy a lot because she is beautiful and because of her attentiveness when we’re together. Doc, do you think she could be testing me, or just teasing me? Do you think she might be interested in me but expects me to put in more effort? If so, how do I go about it?

Doc -- help me to understand what’s going on.

Woody – who can’t seem to rationalize his problem

Hi Woody,

Your very first mistake was not telling Stacy, when she was late for your first date, that something had come up and you couldn’t wait for her any longer, but that you’d make the date some other time. To you Psych majors, don’t ever forget -- SHE HAS TO RESPECT YOU. Don’t teach her that it’s okay to jerk you around from the get-go.

But you went on to a second date anyway. Now, listen to what you’re saying here. Stacy’s telling you that being with her friends -- who she’s seen two or three times a week for the last 22 years -- cannot possibly be postponed! Well, we wouldn’t want to break that pattern, now would we? Golly gee, that would be an absolute no-no! But seriously, pal, it’s a no-brainer. If her friends are more important than you, the precise translation of Stacy’s Womanese runs something like this: “You can find my Interest Level in you at the bottom of the ocean!”

The fact that your girlfriend forgot her cell phone and therefore couldn’t call you reminds me that I’ve probably met her on the lecture circuit. Didn’t she write a famous relationship book called A Thousand Excuses To Pull Out When Dumping A Date? Maybe you should have checked it out before you wined and dined her and saved yourself the trouble.

Next, you tell me that Stacy’s Interest Level is 75%. Jeez -- you attribute that level of interest to a girl who had you running a marathon with a sackful of rocks on your back? Woody, did you happen to get a look at the beating you’re taking? I’d hate to hear your idea of a lower Interest Level – you’d be doing hard time in a labor camp! Can you really be that lonely, pal?

When you said yes to the next date, you were really asking for trouble. At that point do you know what Stacy was thinking? This guy is a real loser! Of course, her next thought was, Hm…but he’s got three major credit cards in his wallet begging to be used at a four-star restaurant!

(Fellows, why not keep these early dates to a pizza and beer for 25 bucks? The point is not to try and buy these girls. Your objective should be to find out why she’s really here, and expensive dates only cloud the issue. Even Paris Hilton digs some of the guys in the Arkansas backwoods, and they’re not exactly rolling in the green stuff.)

But just when I thought I’d heard it all, it turns out you’re not through making totally incredible statements. You have lots in common? Guy, you two have NOTHING in common. Your Interest Level in Stacy is 100%, and hers in you is zero. As in nada. Therefore, you have absolutely nothing in common. There’s no other way to say it.

So – it took a third busted date for you to finally stand up and fight back, eh? A little late, I’m sorry to say. You were run over by a bloodthirsty tribe of Zulu warriors before it dawned on you that you were being slaughtered. (And they’re friendly Indians at Little Big Horn!)

Sure, Stacy’s beautiful. Only the world’s most dangerous creature, the Beautiful Woman, can get away with murder. But she’s neither testing you nor teasing you. The odds of this girl being truly interested in you are about the same as all politicians agreeing to tell nothing but the truth starting tomorrow.

Woody, since you have such pronounced masochistic tendencies, what I think you should do is buy Stacy a whip, then get on your knees and tell her all about how your mother didn’t hug you when you were a kid. As the great Love Doctor Sigmund Freud once wrote: “For some guys, love is torture!”

Remember, guys: as my cousin Fast Eddie Love always says, “Don’t be a doormat!”

Can she be Trusted when She's Living in Another Country?

Hey Doc,

I started studying your ideas more than six months ago and it’s helped me a lot. I met Reva in June. We’ve been dating since then and I have always abided by most of your rules and kept myself a Challenge. Things were going pretty well until two weeks ago.

Here’s my problem. Reva recently got a hot new job that will require that she move to Baltimore. Since we live in a Third World country, this is a bit of a problem. But the new job is a very nice opportunity, and I agree that she can’t let it pass because it’s an opportunity she’ll never get in our country. I have to stay at my university until I graduate in 2005, so I can’t move with her. I feel so good about Reva that I was mentally preparing myself to let her go by herself to America and try to keep the relationship going by telephone while she decides to either move back here or I finish my studies and move to be with her. In the meantime, I figured, we’d travel back and forth to see each other.

Last weekend my girl revealed to me that there was someone else in Baltimore. She went out with this guy when she was there for two weeks last summer. After a few talks about this situation, Reva admitted to me that they were intimate once. All this happened before we met, so it doesn’t count, and I can’t really make an issue of it.

But Doc, Reva tells me that this guy is the only person she knows in Baltimore and she wants to spend time with him because he can show her around places she doesn’t know, etc., and blah blah blah. (Like your principles taught me, this is Womanese for “she is insecure.”) I told her that I appreciated her sincerity, but that I don’t want her seeing the guy if she wants to stick with me. We argued, and later she told me that she would do everything possible not to see him. On the other hand, it would be nearly impossible not to see him since he works at the same place where she’ll be employed. But I maintain that it is entirely possible not to have to date him despite that fact.

The way I see it, there are three options for Reva:

1. Stay with me in our country

2. Refuse that particular opportunity and look for another job in the United States.

3. (The one I like best.) Stay loyal to me, forget the other guy, and do as we planned until I’m through with school.

What do you think I should do, Doc?

Anthony – who doesn’t know whether he should let her go

Hi Anthony,

Things were going well with Reva until two weeks ago? I’m sorry to have to enlighten you, but you’ve had a problem all along and just now noticed it. And you should have picked up on it a lot sooner, especially if you read my articles. I’ve said it again and again: men see things too late. Her Interest Level is going south faster than George W. Bush’s popularity, and you guys are oblivious!

Reva’s planned move to the United States is not just a bit of a problem, guy – it’s a massive problem. As my cousin, Sal “The Fish” Love, would say, “If you saw the Grand Canyon, you’d probably call it a gopher hole!” It goes back to the notion that women don’t lie, and men don’t interpret properly.

According to you, your girl’s prospective job is a “nice opportunity.” Now there’s your biggest mistake -– you not only went along with the idea, you pushed it. If Reva was shooting a bazooka at you, you’re the kind of guy who would hand her more ammo! (Your kindly intentions to keep the relationship going no matter what is, of course, based on the assumption that Reva’s Interest Level is at least 51%. Because if it’s 49% or less, you’re on the wrong road, Bruce Lee!)

Next, you tell me that Reva was “intimate” once with this fellow in Baltimore, but you “can’t make an issue of it.” While you shouldn’t make an issue of it to her, you have to ask yourself, if she was intimate with him once, why is she not making more of an effort to keep away from him? Why is she not sparing you the heartache? Think about what this is saying to you, Anthony! Duh!

So -- this other guy is going to be Reva’s Baltimore cicerone (in Italy that’s what they call a tour guide cum gigolo!)? Notice how she rationalizes her behavior here. She’s telling you in essence that she’s got high Interest Level -- in him! Know why she’s being so hard on you? Because of her low Interest Level in you. This guy’s the only guy she knows in Baltimore? I think I’m about to cry! Tell her to tough it out! But my guess is that it’s already too late to win this horse race. When a woman says it’s “nearly impossible” not to see another guy, it means -- as Fast Eddie Love would say – “The odds are 8 to 2 she’s going to see him!”

Again, Anthony, you only got half of the situation right. I keep reminding you Psych majors: you’ve got to be a love cop on “Love and Order.” You can’t afford to miss the clues that are staring you right in the face! And once you’ve got them, you have to learn, like Sherlock Holmes, to interpret correctly. But don’t take it personally – it’s an acquired skill.

Now, let’s examine your three options. Actually, there are only two. Know why? Reva’s not even thinking of staying in your country with you, pal. She’s thinking about Baltimore, and her new life there -- without you! And when she thinks about it, there’s a great, big smile on her face because of that Interest Level problem I talked about. Regarding the second option – that she should find another job in the U.S. – well, the odds are better that she’ll get eaten by a bear in one of our national parks. The third option is an illusion, a pipedream, because of the other guy. What you should have done was added a fourth: “Reva, raise your Interest Level into the nineties, and we’ll take it from there!” Because unless her Interest Level is in the stratosphere, you’re in trouble. My job is to raise her Interest Level in you, and, more importantly, to keep it there forever so she never wants to call a divorce lawyer.

Remember guys, if she wants to move away, it’s time to play – with some other girls.

© 2004 DocLove Dot Com .

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