Friends, Friendly and Friend-Zones.

Or “getting the job you want”.

The topic of friend-zones, or when a person (usually male) believes that they can build their way up from friendship into a relationship with another person (usually female) is always a bit of a hot topic. The core of the matter is that no matter how much people say it’s not a clever idea, so many others will still try it once, twice, a thousand times. And sometimes it will work. Sometimes a friendship really does develop into a long-lasting, meaningful or at least sexual relationship. Which feeds the millions where it doesn’t.

So, in an effort to shine some light on the actual interactions taking place, allow me to use an analogy: your life is a company. You are not usually the CEO of your company, but most people are pretty high up in management. Therefore most people you have relationships with, from acquaintances to husbands and wives, will end up being below you: your employees. We generally have a good handle of this and whenever someone tries to move into our lives we will evaluate  how good they are for the job before letting them in at one level or another, or cutting them out.

However, the same works in reverse. You are an employee in the life of everyone you have a relationship with. Which we’re not so good at working with. Everyone you still interact with, from your best friend to your coworker to your ex to your sister are all employing you in their lives and they have placed you in a certain job. Oftentimes we get no choice in this job, especially in work, friendships and family. There is very little that can be done to change your role short of quitting the job: cutting ties.

This is all well and good when it comes to forced socialization such as work and family or spontaneous relationships like friendships. But it’s dreadful when it comes to planned relationships. Which is why it’s a terrible option for trying to establish a romantic connection.

You see, on the “jobs” scale for non-relatives, we have several positions:

ENTRY LEVEL:

Colleague.

Acquaintance.

Helpful person.

NOVICE LEVEL.

Friend.

Close friend.

No-strings.

SOME EXPERIENCE OR QUALIFICATIONS.

Best friend.

Friend with benefits.

Multiple partner.

SOME EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS.

Long term relationship.

A LOT OF EXPERIENCE AND SOME QUALIFICATIONS OR VICE VERSA OR MORE.

Live-in partner.

Marriage partner.

Each step up requires an increase in “salary” provided by the other person. The salary? Their time, money, trust, attention and exclusivity. And you might notice that there is a massive jump from a helpful person to a friend or a multiple partner to a long term relationship. There are some very large gaps between these job positions in terms of how much the other person invests in you.

Which is why so many people stay in the friend-zone. You see, when you try and worm your way into someone’s heart by being helpful or friendly, you are putting in your resume for a job you don’t want. Then, when you get that job there is a lot of work you have to do to catch up. It would have been wiser to alter your resume to try and sound like a good prospect for a higher rank, at the very least a best friend or a no-strings, which has a smaller jump into romantic relationship territory.

Imagine there are 10 job positions in a company. X= job.

XXXXXXXXXX

You qualify for 4 of them, but would accept 2 and in particular want 1. R=rejection, N=no, M=maybe, Y=yes.

60% RRRRRR, 20% NN, 10% M, 10% Y

If you go to the interviews for the 6 you don’t qualify for you’ll be insta-rejected. R= rejection.

100% RRRRRR

If you go to the 2 you qualify for but don’t want, you could end up in them, which means you weren’t rejected, but you didn’t get what you want. NA= no, accepted; NR= no, rejected.

50% NA, 50% NR

If you go for the 2 you qualify for and would accept you’re placing a bet: either you get the one you really wanted, you get the one you’re comfortable with or you get rejected. M= maybe, Y = yes.

50% M, 50% Y

If you go for the 1 you really want, you either get it or get rejected. R= rejected, Y= yes.

50% R, 50% Y

When you go for friendship, you’re choosing to enter the company of them in a role you don’t really want, but where you know you won’t be rejected outright.  Thing is, not being rejected doesn’t mean being accepted. And not being rejected isn’t a foolproof way to climb to the job position you want. Maybe they will let you. But it’s far more likely that the position you really wanted, that Y, has been taken before you get there, that you would never qualify for it or that there is no internal promotion in their company.

There is no surefire way to make your decision. After all, it’s your time and investment, but avoid these mistakes:

1: Applying for a job you don’t want, but know you’ll get, and hope for promotion.

2: Applying for a job you want, but know you won’t get and wasting your time.

3: Applying for too many jobs and coming across as strange and desperate.

4: Applying for various options when you would only really be happy with one.

5: Accepting a demotion and continuing the relationship.

If you don’t avoid these and you end up stuck in a job you didn’t want watching some other person getting the job you wanted, then you have nobody to blame but yourself.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

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Men Bond Over Experience, Women Over Familiarity.

Just another quick one.

I’ve recently observed two types of relationship complaints becoming more common and, having observed silently for a while and then discussed this, decided to write up my answer.

Men’s complaint: “Women want to talk too much and expect me to place weight on silly things like birthdays, colours and her most distant friends’ names.”

Women’s counterpart: “Men just don’t want to talk, don’t take my personal life seriously and don’t seem to mind when I forget important things about them.”

Women’s complaint: “He just wants to go everywhere. I love spending time with him, but is it really a big deal if we don’t go hiking together this weekend?”

Men’s counterpart: “She doesn’t want to do anything with me. How am I supposed to get to know her if she just wants to sit around watching TV? She’s starting to seem boring.”

Those two complaints stem from a fundamental misunderstanding that is summed up in the title: Men bond over experiences. Women bond over familiarity.

Basically, men get closer to people they do things with. This is why so many men go head over heels for a girl who is into their favourite hobbies, why they want to take their girlfriend everywhere and why they want a good girl to meet their friends and family. They like her and want to see how she acts in public and how well she enjoys what he enjoys. This will reveal key elements of her character to him and help him determine how good of a partner she makes. And all this time together will make his love for her grow.

On the other hand, women get closer to people they know things about. This is why so many women place great importance on dates and names, why they like to gossip for long periods of time and why they try and distinguish themselves by cooking a man’s favourite dinner. They like him and want to learn more about him and test his memory of her. This will reveal key elements of his character to her and help her determine how good of a partner he makes. And all this time unveiling the mystery will make her love for him grow.

These patterns are there for a reason. They serve our biological purposes: the man vets the woman for how well-rounded she is as a potential lover and mother, the woman background checks the man for how successful he is in his tribe. And they are very complementary. By remaining mysterious a man can convince a woman to spend more time with him. By spending time with a man a woman can open him up and inspect his character.

But we need to pay attention to them as well, especially when we’re looking at long term relationships.

Girls: I know you might not be massively into his hobbies and you might think that a night in is as good as going bowling. But by indulging his hobby you are telling him that he matters, whilst simultaneously getting to pick his brain. And if he doesn’t want to take you anywhere near his friends or hobbies, that’s a red flag: he doesn’t think you’re worth getting to know.

Guys: I know you might think all these bits of trivia are simple gossip and that it’s OK to forget a date or two. But by remembering a few select things about her you can keep her happy that she’s made an impression and you have a better chance of bringing her somewhere nice if you keep a bit of mystery and let her talk about herself and her friends a while. And if she doesn’t remember your birthday or other trivia about you, that’s a red flag: she doesn’t think you’re worth getting to know.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

10 Pieces of BAD Dating Advice Girls Get.

The modern world is full of dating advice. And a lot of it is actually terrible. We hear about the bad dating advice men get more often lately, as it’s pretty obvious when something doesn’t work 100 times, it isn’t working. But when a teenage boy gets told that buying roses gets you sex and it doesn’t work, or that a healthy relationship means one person must dominate by force and he sees this isn’t the case he can start over more easily. With teenage girls it’s a little more complicated. One or two very bad decisions could shape a teenage girl’s dating life for a very long time, short of her changing town. And we hardly ever hear anything said against some legitimately terrible advice girls get.

So here are my top ten bad pieces of dating advice teenage girls are given that isn’t really challenged, why they are wrong, along with a few comments and suggestions straight from the horse’s mouth as I’m inviting Jon to contribute his own experience and knowledge as a heterosexual man.

A lot of this is bad advice that is also given to some teenage boys and most of it is also applicable to anyone in a long term relationship, so don’t shy away just because you aren’t straight or you’re a guy: there could still be something to learn. Just bear in mind that this is more geared towards people in long term relationships with a man.

1. Be cool and distant.

The bad advice: Try and look like much of life doesn’t matter to you, like you have so much more going off than the here and now.

Common phrases: “Keep cool.” “Try and be mysterious.” “Make him chase you a little bit.” “Don’t reveal too much too soon.”

Why it sounds right: Because many girls like the air of mystery in a guy. When he’s distracted it looks like he has a busy, fascinating life. It adds something extra when men are often a little simple (not in a bad way).

Why it doesn’t work: Because girls are already pretty mysterious to guys. We do communicate a little differently and we can change more quickly than a man can. When we’re fully present we’re already perplexing and enticing enough. Adding more distraction and layers is just confusing and possibly worrying.

From the horse’s mouth: “It can work if the person has a genuinely active, interesting life. If you don’t, it will appear forced and you will appear uninteresting. Further, more with younger males, if a female has that much more to do and he is that uninteresting, she should jog on and do that instead so he can stop wasting his time.”

What to do instead: Be friendly and open, start conversation but let him talk at least as much as you do, mention your hobbies and interests in passing and try and keep the talking flowing. Let him know you won’t bite his head off.

2. Be one of the guys.

The bad advice: Just hang out with him and his friends, have a good time, copy what they do, cultivate stereotypically masculine hobbies, drink heavily, swear a bit more than usual, show him that you’re a “cool” girl.

Common phrases: “Learn about what he likes.” “Hang out with his friends.” “Tone down your girliness.”

Why it sounds right: Because a lot of guys say that’s what they want.

Why it doesn’t work: Because what they mean they want and what we hear are two completely different things. A man wants a woman who lets him enjoy male company and his own hobbies, and who doesn’t hold him back when he wants to do something crazy or adventurous. But that doesn’t mean you should put on a butch act. He’s a straight man, he wants you to make the instinctive part of his brain think “woman”. Don’t try and force yourself to be a man.

From the horse’s mouth: “Very simple: if you are a woman, you are not a man. No amount of toning down girliness is going to change that. Also, women aping males is not only unattractive, it is a joke. There’s a lot more to being male than yelling in a weights room.”

What to do instead: Be as girly and as tomboyish as you’re comfortable with, but try and keep the edge of softness that says you’re a girl. You can still hang out with him and his friends when he’s fine with it, but a little makeup, abstaining from swearing (as best you can) and not getting drunk and rowdy is more likely to attract him.

3. He will love you for you.

The bad advice: The opposite (almost) of the above. Just relax, do whatever you like, say whatever you like, he just won’t care and if he does he should be dumped instantly.

Common phrases: “Your weight doesn’t matter, lose or gain, he should still love you!” “If a guy can’t handle you, then he doesn’t deserve you.” “You had the heroin habit when you started going out, if he doesn’t like it now, then too bad.”

Why it sounds right: Because it feels right. Many guys like a larger woman, one with a firey temperament or don’t mind one with bad habits.

Why it doesn’t work: Because it’s used to justify letting yourself go. Yes, you will go through bad patches, might have PMS and will age eventually. But you can’t just get fat and angry four months into a relationship and expect him to just live with it. How would you like someone pulling a 180 on you after they got you locked down? Besides that, if a guy loves you even when you change your body, your personality, your hobbies and everything else, then the only thing he loves about you is the only thing that hasn’t changed: that you’re a woman. If he only loves you for being a woman, then the relationship isn’t youXhim, it’s sexXhim.

From the horse’s mouth: “If there is no deception up front (hiding characteristics or exaggerating others) this advice is kind of true. However people change over time, as will you. Too often used as an excuse or as capitulation. If you are going to have a lot of kids and he is going to have a vasectomy before he has any, I don’t think love can rebalance that.”

What to do instead: Be upfront about any issues there may be in the future, so he doesn’t get unexpectedly surprised. Other than that, try and look after yourself and put some actual work into being, if not the woman he deserves, then at least the woman he started dating.

4. Put yourself first.

The bad advice: You are number one and nobody can ever forget that, everything has to be run by you, checked and vetted before anything can be done, you are the 51% shareholder in this relationship.

Common phrases: “Look after yourself.” “Look out for number one.” “You are the protagonist of your own life.”

Why it sounds right: Because it is, in fact, very important to take good care of yourself and to not get into a relationship where you are putting in 100% and getting out 5%.

Why it doesn’t work: Because it’s used as an excuse to be lazy, again. Furthermore, most women actually feel endorphin and oxytocin releases when we do something nice out of love, which means that putting him first from time to time will actually make you happier and more bonded to him than being selfish and lazy.

From the horse’s mouth: “If you are incapable of love, then by all means put yourself first. If you believe you are capable of love there will be times where you may have to put someone else ahead of you. A relationship is not a zero sum game of one side trying to extract as much as possible from the other.”

What to do instead: Put the relationship first in all matters that concern him. Sure, your haircut might not matter to him, so you don’t need to ask him every time you change it. But if you’re selling your car and planning on using his, look out for the both of you, not just your own interests. What will make you both happier and more harmonious in the future?

5. Let him have it, he deserves it.

The bad advice: If he’s upset you, you need to make sure to let all of it out and argue the problem away. Getting a little physical could help you too.

Common phrases: “Let him have it.” “He shouldn’t have angered you.” “It’s natural to argue when you’re angry.” “It isn’t domestic violence when you hit him.”

Why it sounds right: Because it feels good to let your anger out on someone who’s angered you.

Why it doesn’t work: Because you’re not fighting or competing, you’re in a relationship. If every time he angers you you are flying at him like a honey badger, he won’t get a chance to explain his side, make things right or love you. You just end up hating each other, fighting becomes a habit and eventually it will destroy most relationships.

From the horse’s mouth: “Men are normally physically stronger than women. You are trading on him not fighting back with any amount of his strength. Good luck with that. I hope you never encounter a male who treats you as the avenging warrior you clearly think you are. Also as a side note: getting angry does not give you super powers and it is not going to fix any damage done.”

What to do instead: Vent with a friend, anonymous blog or diary. Don’t go into gossip, but just explain that you’re angry and why. Maybe go jogging or punch a pillow a little to let off steam. Once you’re calm, explain the problem to him and have an adult discussion about it. Once the discussion is over, whatever the conclusion was, let it go and try and get back to normal.

6. Have sex by _ date.

The bad advice: There is a time limit on when you have to have sex by, otherwise the whole relationship is doomed.

Common phrases: “Have sex on the third date.” “If you haven’t had sex after twelve dates then you’re doomed.” “Sex before the fifth date is too early.”

Why it sounds right: Because we assume that men only want sex.

Why it doesn’t work: Because men want sex, but they also want other things. If you put a timer on your affections, whatever ones they are, from a kiss to marriage, then you’re adding pressure to the relationship. It’s probably wise to not have sex too early, to dissuade players. But it isn’t wise to assume that sex has an expiry date.

From the horse’s mouth: “LOL.”

From the horse’s mouth after recomposing himself: “What is this obsession with simple, idiotic relationship rules? Maybe I am an old romantic, who believes things should happen when they feel right, not when some magazine or dating expert has decided is the best time.”

What to do instead: Wait until you feel cool and calm before having sex. Heat-of-the-moment sex is far more regrettable and more likely to attract a man whose only intention is to have sex with you. But don’t force yourself to have sex at an exact date. Cool off, however long it takes, then make your decision. Most men won’t pass this test: either they will get bored (they only wanted sex) or you will stop liking them (you only wanted sex). Either way, this isn’t a bad thing, it’s all about building positive relationships without sex being a pressure point.

7. If he loves you he will _.

The bad advice: A man who loves you will do certain things for you and if your man doesn’t, then he’s using you.

Common phrases: “Real men propose on one knee with a diamond.” “If he loves you he will wait it out.” “A man who loves a woman will not forget her birthday.”

Why it sounds right: Because some men display their love this way and it looks charming and their partner won’t stop talking about it.

Why it doesn’t work: This had two problems. Firstly it assumes that there is only one way to love. A man who just wants sex with you loves you as well, it’s just not the way you want to be loved. So a man could love you deeply and fail to do anything to show it. Secondly, it’s good to have standards. But don’t let your standards be someone else’s. If you don’t want a diamond engagement ring, then why should the man who loves you give you one? If anything, that shows he doesn’t really know you.

From the horse’s mouth: “Clearly written by women who have no idea or interest in what’s going off in men’s heads.”

What to do instead: Set your own standards for how you like to be loved and tell him about them. If you like daffodils and not roses, tell him “Daffodils are my favourite flower.” If he forgets, mention it again, after all, he may not have much of a memory for flowers. Don’t hold him to some arbitrary standard. And if you’re just not compatible, it wasn’t that he didn’t love you, it was that he didn’t love you the way you wanted him to love you. He probably did and still does love you in his own way, so be gentle with him.

8. Your sexual prime is after 30.

The bad advice: You are far hotter, sexier and more voracious at some point after the age of thirty, so that’s when you want to start having your fun before getting married.

Common phrases: “Life begins at 30!” “35 is your sexual peak.” “You don’t want to be married before 35.” “40 is the new 30!”

Why it sounds right: Because many women of that age are saying it. Also, a childless woman at thirty can experience a boost in libido.

Why it doesn’t work: Because nature disagrees. The peak of your sexual appetite might be around thirty or thirty five, but your best fertility window is actually from your late teens to your mid twenties. 16-25 is when you are most likely to reproduce successfully. Which means that, to most men, you are more attractive then. Yes, even men in their thirties, forties and fifties. So holding off serious relationships until you are forty could seriously harm your ability to settle down with the sort of man you like. And that sexual appetite boost? Completely wasted if you have nobody to share it with.

From the horse’s mouth: “Being trendy and stylish doesn’t concern biology. However much noise is made, the biological reality is still a reality.”

What to do instead: Try and find a stable partner in your early twenties, when your teenage hormones are cooling off and you’re still pretty and fertile. Having children when nature intended doesn’t hurt either, just make sure you get that stable relationship first.

9. If you feel _ he should _.

The bad advice: He should work hard to calm your moods and adapt his behaviours around your feelings.

Common phrases: “If you feel insecure, he should stop seeing those friends.” “If you feel sad, he should get you something nice.” “If you feel angry, he should explain himself to you.”

Why it sounds right: Because we’re used to having our feelings matter, especially in childhood, and we’re used to friends who can easily spot and work with our changes in mood.

Why it doesn’t work: Because if every time you mood changed, he had to react, your life would be chaos. Try keeping a diary of every time you feel something. Every half hour for a day, write down what you feel. Can you really expect someone who isn’t telepathic and who has known you for a few weeks or a year to be able to guess what you’re feeling every minute of the day and guess what he needs to do about it?

From the horse’s mouth: “Unfortunately males do not have a telepathic link to your brain stem. To assume they will act a certain way to a certain thing is ludicrous. If we can acknowledge even a well trained dog can miss a cue, or react differently occasionally, why are we assuming a human with all their intelligence and all their skills will react in a way a separate person wants?”

What to do instead: Your feelings are part of you. They aren’t a physical mark on your body that everyone can see and that everyone knows how to deal with. You need to try and work with your feelings on your own and only bring them up with him once you’re 100% sure that there is a problem that he can help with. When it comes to venting, choose a close friend, a diary or an anonymous blog instead. It works better and doesn’t interfere with your relationship.

10. You are a prize.

The bad advice: You are something amazing, special and unique and he needs to know that he is replaceable, that he needs to be number one to win your heart.

Common phrases: “He needs to earn you every day.” “He’s lucky to have you.” “He doesn’t deserve you.”

Why it sounds right: Because we like ourselves and like to think of ourselves as important.

Why it doesn’t work: Because you wouldn’t be dating him if he wasn’t also amazing, special and unique. It’s like ordering a plain pizza when you prefer a four cheeses pizza and have the money to buy one. If you could do better, you wouldn’t be with him. And developing the attitude that you’re somehow ten times as special as he is will just make you feel like he’s a loser, however great he is. Even worse if you display it.

From the horse’s mouth: “No, you’re not a prize. No one is, unless they are a supermodel millionaire scientist who has fallen head over heels in love with everything about you as you currently are and everything you ever will be. The prize is the compatibility. If you are compatible with someone you have much more worth as a potential partner than someone who is not compatible. You’re not better than them just because they like you. On the flip side, do not undervalue yourself. If you’re having to ‘low balls’ or ‘slum’ it, you’re probably looking in the wrong crowd.”

What to do instead: Just because you love yourself doesn’t mean putting yourself first and him last. He is the best you can do, so show him the love and respect that he deserves. After all, isn’t that what you want from him?

What other bad pieces of dating advice did you get, or have you heard given to girls? What other incorrect facts are being spread around? Be sure to mention your personal peeves when it comes to dating advice!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

What Difference Could Feminine Dress Make To Your Life?

Those who know me are well aware that I am not by nature a girly-girl or even anywhere near one. I like gutting animals, lifting weights and seeing my muscles grow, digging up the garden and watching fairly crude animes whilst drinking Gordon’s or Bailey’s.

I am also fortunate enough to be with a man who appreciates those aspects of me and even enjoys my tomboyish qualities. However, he also appreciates the feminine side to me, what with him being heterosexual and all. And one aspect of femininity that I don’t exactly mind and that he had appreciated in small doses was feminine dress.

So, to surprise him a little and see how it went, I applied some small changes to being more feminine. Nothing heavy. At least I didn’t feel like it was. Based on the differences I’ve observed, apparently it’s quite a lot!

Whilst it isn’t exactly the best approach, I tried starting with an idea of what I would and wouldn’t do. Not could and couldn’t. After all, I could do all my gardening in a sundress. It just happens I’m too messy and clumsy to not expose myself indecently whilst doing so and I love my dresses too much to get them muddy. So I could, but for those reasons I wouldn’t. I worked out I was willing to make small changes here and there, but not flip directly into 1950s housewife mode. In part to collect my data carefully, in part because I wasn’t sure I could keep up with full makeup, perma-heels, all dresses and jewellery. The concept of going from jeans or casual dresses to that was, well, scary.

However, with an outline established: try a little bit at a time and don’t go further if I’m not comfortable, but don’t avoid anything on principle either, I tackled my wardrobe first.

It wasn’t a massive overhaul. Most of the clothes I had suited me. I simply took some of my tattier t-shirts and relegated them to garden and gym clothes, donated anything that didn’t suit me in terms of colour and then replenished my wardrobe on the cheap. So now my wardrobe is almost entirely purples, greys, creams, blues, greens and denim, with two very orange pieces. It is also almost entirely in good shape, feminine and form-fitting, rather than baggy, masculine and tattered.

The next step was makeup. This was a little daunting because, other than when I’m teaching students from countries with different definitions of professionalism or when I’m going out, I didn’t really think makeup was worth the time. My hands are often a bit shaky and my experience was low, which probably added to the time factor. So, instead, I got a nice palette of shadows in water colours that suit me and some eyeliner, and red lipgloss and lipsticks. Just a dab of concealer, a dusting of eyeshadow, a line over and/or under the eye and a bit of colour into the lips. When I was feeling brave and/or steady I would curl and tint my eyelashes, because they’re quite straight and thin naturally. The key here wasn’t just to use a subtle touch of makeup, but to prioritize the sort of makeup that covered my most obvious flaws and drew attention to my nicest features.

Next, I chose to tackle jewellery and perfume. Two almost alien concepts to me. When Jon told me he was looking for an engagement ring I told him he may as well get a wedding one to cover both events, because diamonds are flashy and overpriced and two rings would be too much jewellery for me. I only ever went beyond deodorant when I was going out for the night. Any other time and there was no way I would wear jewellery or perfume. So I organized my jewellery drawer and dug out my old perfumes, as well as got a plain eau de toilette that suited my natural scent. I made a point of wearing at least one item of jewellery and a few sprays of perfume in my hair every day. And I try and mix up the jewellery rather than just get in the habit of wearing the same one over and over.

My thoughts.

At the start, my thoughts were that it wouldn’t make much difference. Jon would appreciate it, what with him being used to me in girly-tomboy mode. It would take me a little longer to get up and dressed and ready. But that would be it.

However I was quite wrong. Firstly, it really doesn’t take much longer. Get up, deodorize, brush hair and teeth, throw anything on VS get up, deodorize, brush hair and teeth, pick out a top and a bottom that look nice, spray perfume and add a single piece of jewellery. Picking the jewellery to go with the outfit was probably the most time consuming aspect.

I was also wrong in that I thought Jon would notice and the world would keep turning as usual. Maybe I was being arrogant about how attractive I naturally am or maybe I was being dismissive of the alterations made, but things are definitely different when you make the effort to be feminine.

General response.

The first thing that surprised me was that with women nothing changed. Stereotype dictates that when you do your hair differently or wear a little makeup, women and gay men rave over it and straight men blink, peer and ask if you are wearing a different coloured top. But nothing could be further from the truth. Straight men notice. Men who know you in person will at least pass comment on it. Depending on the guy it could be:

“Is that top new?”

“That colour suits you.”

“Hair’s different.”

“Did you forget to fall through a hedge this morning?”

But they do notice. And, in terms of men in general, you do get more second looks. It’s almost as though your comfier clothes and makeuplessness is a signal that you aren’t part of their social group, but that little bit of style and makeup changes everything. You go from visible but uninteresting to interesting.

The most noticeable change was actually in younger men that I have more professional dealings with. Students, cashiers I stop and chat to, volunteers at charity shops, etc. It seems that that touch of social proof hidden in the makeup, perfume and a necklace elevates your status a lot more in their eyes than in anyone else’s, possibly due to their inexperience dealing with women relative to anyone else. They seem distracted, speak more awkwardly and lose track of conversation more when talking to a woman who is a little bit more feminized.

But other women? No difference at all. I’m not sure if I should be surprised or unsurprised in hindsight. On one hand, it is common knowledge that women can spot a changed hairstyle, new scent or piece of jewellery from miles away. On the other hand, straight women are probably more focused on their own appearance and lives than what their friends and relatives are wearing. And the average woman on the streets has no idea I don’t always dress this way and no interest in finding out. Of course women are less likely to pay attention to a girl just because she has a bit of makeup on. They have more important things to think about.

Jon’s reaction.

Pretty much positive. Being around me most of the day, every day, he was very aware when I started wearing a little perfume, sorted out my wardrobe or put on a piece of jewellery.

But that he wasn’t “tricked” doesn’t mean he didn’t like it! Wearing lighter, danglier, shinier clothes catches the eye and he liked seeing a bit of movement or sparkle when I walked past or cuddled up to him. His hands would move to the jewellery or the hem of my shirt more often when I was dressed more feminine than when I wasn’t. That allure of slight extra femininity made him respond in a way that suggests he is more attracted to and protective of me when I am softened a little.

Warmth and approachability isn’t just for single girls!

Jon’s thoughts.

“I definitely noticed.”

He felt there wasn’t much more to add.

Conclusion.

So feminine dress does make a huge difference… to the men in your life.

It doesn’t really interfere with your getting up time that much. And if you can lay out your jewellery somewhere so you aren’t fiddling with boxes then it may be a lot faster.

It doesn’t really change your perception of yourself. I look in the mirror and think “well that’s girly”, but it doesn’t bother or excite me to know I’m girlier. It’s just a fact.

It doesn’t really have an effect on other women. Either they know you and might comment, or don’t know you and don’t know you’re dressed up.

But the guys? They notice. Some of it on a primal level, some of it on a conscious level. And they seem to enjoy it, or at least the guy you’re with enjoys it.

So it’s up to you to decide whether that bit of extra attention, slightly broader dating pool or additional flirting with your partner is worth the bit of effort.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!