By Dan Coulter
This is in an auxiliary list of what dads and and other male mentors need to include in “the talk” we have with boys nearing or going through puberty. It doesn't include the birds and bees stuff. This is extra information that can help younger guys hear the magic word “yes” when they start asking girls out. I included some of these tips in an article I wrote for boys a couple of years ago called, “Decoding Girlworld,” but hearing these messages from men can make them even more effective.
1 RELATE TO THE PERSON, NOT THE PACKAGE.
Yes, the package is the first thing we notice. We're all suckers for pretty girls when we're young. But you need to consider more that that. Oops, I can sense you tuning out. Can't really blame you. We're hard-wired by nature to be attracted to girls with the facial features and body proportions associated with beauty. But the better you get to know a person, the more you'll relate to who she is and the less you'll relate to what she looks like. If she's interesting to you and interested in you, this will tend to make you more attractive to each other. If you're smart, you won't let unrealistic media images of beauty mess up your chances of dating someone really great who doesn't look like a supermodel.
2 IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE APPROACHING GIRLS, MAKE THEM WANT TO APPROACH YOU
If you make yourself interesting by excelling at something and by displaying good manners, you make it more likely that girls will seek out ways to start conversations with you. Maybe you can be the guy who routinely knows the answers in a class you like, or you can make a great class presentation, or win the science fair. You may need to prepare by taking a social skills class, so you're comfortable having a conversation when you get approached.
3 IMPRESS GIRLS BY LISTENING
It's fine to talk to a girl about your interests or special skills, but don't brag about what you know or what you can do. And make sure you spend just as much time listening to the girl as you do talking. Listening shows you care about her interests and her ideas. Girls like that.
4 MAKE FRIENDS FIRST
The safest way to find out if you and a girl want to date each other is to become friends before you ask her out. This takes off a lot of uncertainty and pressure, and could save you a boatload of rejection. If you seek out girls who like some of the things you like, you'll have something to talk about together. The more you talk and spend time together, the more likely you are to become friends.
5 WHEN ASKING A GIRL FOR A FIRST DATE, BE SPECIFIC
Asking a girl out is a complicated social interaction that can be embarrassing if she says, “No.” But you can protect yourself if you know the “asking for a date protocol.” Don't make the mistake of asking a girl you want to date if she'd like to hang out with you sometime. If you do, you're putting her on the spot to accept or reject you as a person. If you ask her to a specific event on a specific date and she doesn't want to go, but also doesn't want to embarrass you, she can say she's busy. If she really is busy, but wants to go out with you, she can always suggest another day and time. If you ask a girl out two or three times and she turns you down each time without suggesting an alternative, it's safe to assume she's not interested in dating you. You can take this face-saving hint, stop asking her out, and turn your attention to someone else.
6 TREAT GIRLS AS EQUALS
Because they are. Don't be trapped in a past where men dismissed women as incapable of succeeding in jobs traditionally held by men, such as being a mathematician. While all of us have our relative strengths and weaknesses, you can't gauge a person's capabilities based on gender. In 1941, two people collaborated to invent and patent a radio technique for “spread spectrum communications and frequency hopping,” which laid the foundation for today's cellphone networks and satellite communications. One of the inventors was composer George Antheil. The other was a mathematician who was better known for her other job: movie star and pin-up girl. Inventor Hedy Lamarr, called “the most beautiful woman in Europe,” was contemptuous of men who thought woman were intellectual inferiors. She once said, “Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.” Showing a girl you that respect her as an equal is a good foundation to build on if you want her to consider dating you.
7 ASK BEFORE YOU TOUCH
It's hard for some guys to figure out what a girl expects from them on a date, especially when it comes to touching. The safest thing to do is to ask before you touch a girl. Can I hold your hand? Can I put my arm around you? You can always explain that you have difficulty reading social cues and you want to make sure she's comfortable with you. As the relationship evolves, she may tell you that you don't have to ask to touch her in certain ways. But always make sure she's okay with the ways you want to touch her.
8 THERE'S NO HURRY TO GO ALL THE WAY
To watch TV and movies, you'd think that lots of teenagers are doing the dance with no pants. In fact, a lower percentage of teens are having sex now than the teens in your parents' generation. Sex is complicated. You want to wait until you're mature enough to understand the consequences before you consider starting. Boys with social challenges can learn to make responsible decisions about when and how to start, but it usually takes them a few years longer than other guys. That's fine. Waiting ensures that if you want to enjoy the exciting intimacies our society constantly talks about, you can do it safely, when you and the right partner are ready.
9 NICE GUYS TEND TO FINISH FIRST
The fiction that girls like “bad boys” is just that. Some girls like guys who are unconventional or rebellious, but no girl who is thinking straight wants to date a guy who acts like a jerk towards women. Your odds of getting a date (or a girlfriend) go up dramatically by being a nice guy, treating a girl with respect, and making her feel special.
As a man, you can add suggestions for boys from your own experience. And don't think you're not qualified because you don't have girls and women totally figured out. None of us have a map to that destination. But we know enough to put up roadsigns that can help boys find their own way. And that's important, because if you can navigate the route, the trip is the best.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Dan Coulter is the author of the DVD, “The Puberty DVD for Boys with Asperger Syndrome (and Autism Spectrum Disorder – Level 1). You can find more articles and information on his website: coultervideo.com.
Copyright 2014 Dan Coulter Used by Permission All Rights Reserved