Every month, I always enjoy reading Jake's column in Glamour magazine. Since 1956, it's been penned by a slew of anonymous, single men who've helped countless women navigate the dating world by writing honestly and openly about the game of love from a man's perspective.
One of the more recent Jakes has written a book, Always Hit On The Wingman: And 9 Other Secret Rules For Getting The Love Life You Want. He compiled 10 of the most important dating lessons he and the other Jakes before him relayed to women that still hold true.
Usually, when I read these types of books, I think the advice would only work in a perfect world. But, when reading Jake's book, I found myself dog-earring almost every other page as a reminder to remember the points he was making. It's become one of those books that I want to send a copy to all of my girlfriends - single, in a relationship, engaged and married - because they could all learn a thing or two from the Jakes' collective wisdom.
Here are the 6 lessons I learned from Always Hit On The Wingman that truly made it a worthwhile read:
1. Men shouldn't be responsible for your happiness. My friends and I have all been guilty of saying, "If I just had a boyfriend, I'd be so happy." The problem with this statement is that we actually believe it, and yet we should know better, that only we can make ourselves truly happy. We can't put that huge responsibility on someone else, and what guy would want that burden right off the bat?
As Jake put it when he ran into his ex (who is now his wife) after they broke up: "I soon realized she wasn't the same person I'd broken up with. 'I thought you were responsible for making me happy,' she told me, 'and responsible for when I wasn't. That wasn't fair.' I'd never seen her so strong, and suddenly I wanted nothing more than to be with her, to love her, and to make her happy."
Bottom line: Find a way to make yourself happy without a man, and the right guy won't be able to resist how attractive you are - he'll know he'll be a complement to your life, rather than your whole life.
2. Men do not think about our bodies the way we do. I've never met a woman who hasn't had one major complaint about her body, face, hair, broad shoulders, small pinkie toe... We all judges ourselves too harshly, and oftentimes, it's a habit we just can't shake. But, it's something that guys can't stand!
Jake writes: "Please don't make us feel bad for liking your body... it's offensive when you essentially tell us not to be attracted to you." That's a perspective I've never considered before, and he's right. Who am I to diss the same body that he can't keep his hands off of? If he doesn't see the flaws, it's actually pretty stupid of me to blatantly point them out.
All of the Jakes have agreed that men would "much rather caress you than assess you." I think we will all feel much better if we keep this in mind the next time we get dressed up for date night or get totally naked in front of a guy.
3. Stop trying to be one of the guys. I went on a date once with a guy I'd met online, who asked me if I liked football. I told him I watch the big games now and then, but I usually fill my Sundays with activities I enjoy way more, like shopping. He sighed with relief, explaining that he was tired of meeting girls or reading in their dating profiles that they were obsessed with football. "They're obviously just saying it because they think that's what guys like," he explained. "It's so fake." Of course, there are some girls who genuinely enjoy football - but the point is, don't fake it if you really don't.
I'm wondering now, did my date read an advanced copy of Always Hit On The Wingman? Jake has an entire chapter devoted to this idea of stopping with the fake front and being yourself. You can appreciate what a guy's interests are, but don't pretend you "love" them. Guys can see right through that, and it's annoying. Jake sums it up when he writes: "Girls who are into sports or cars or booze are cool. Girls who aren't are also cool. Girls who aren't but pretend that they are: not cool."
4. Keep dating other people longer than you think you should. Honestly, I've been practicing this on my own for the past two years, but I've always felt guilty about seeing more than one person at a time (although I'm open and honest about it). Jake helped me realize that this isn't selfish of me - it's actually incredibly smart. Not one guy I've dated recently has made me want to put all of my eggs in his basket, so to speak. So, why would I shut out the other millions of men in this city when the one I'm currently seeing hasn't shown me yet that he's capable of giving me everything I'm looking for?
If anything, this strategy keeps us ladies from jumping full-throttle into a relationship, only to be disappointed two months later... or maybe even three years later when the guy doesn't commit. "Should there be any doubt that your guy is full-on committed to his relationship with you, then you should really, seriously, follow Rule #7 and keep your options open," Jake writes. "Keep dating because it's a way of telling yourself, and him, I deserve to be happy, and I will make sure that I get what I deserve."
5. Even soulmates need their space. Once you're in a loving, committed relationship, Jake stresses that keeping the mystery, individuality and spontaneity alive is key to a happy, long-term union. This means going out to girls' nights with your friends, not spending every single waking second together, closing the bathroom door (as Jake says), and having your own space within your relationship makes you more attractive and, once again, happy. That effort shouldn't stop just because you found the guy you've been looking for.
"Space is power," as Jake says. "The power to realize you don't need to do everything with him. The power to control your life instead of being part of a codependent pair; to choose to do things together rather than not knowing how to do them alone... Part of it is that absence, mystery, separateness - whatever you want to call it, creates the possibility of fantasy and a little healthy objectification."
6. Finally, dating and relationships should be FUN! "I hate men!" My friends and I usually say this after every bad date, every unanswered text, every douchebag move. I've had many moments where I just want to throw up my hands and say, I'm just not dating anymore. But Always Hit On The Wingman reminded me that I'm dating because the process itself should be fun - and the relationship I end up in should be, for the most part, amazingly fun. To begrudge the experience, or to stay in a relationship that isn't making me happy, is to miss the entire point.
Jake writes that you can see dating as "something to fight your way through, or you can trust that each of these encounters has the capacity to be truly exciting and interesting and fun for what it is... Love does rock. And we should savor it every step of the way. Enjoy the ride."
Well said, Jake. Well said.
Written by Faye Brennan for YourTango.com.
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