Friday, June 09, 2006

What Women Say They Want from Men, Part 1

This is another multi-part series, the purpose of which is to help you understand some very critical issues in getting along with women instead of competing with them, and will include some revealing comments by some women about what they want from a man, as well as some examples of things that women think they want that they respond to quite negatively when they actually get them.

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to this weekend. I don’t normally look forward to weekends because I try to live every day as if it were my last, so my weekdays are very full and rewarding, but the weather is supposed to be outstanding, and I have a stockpile of charcoal in my garage that is begging to be reduced and a beef rib roll crying out “cut me into steaks and sear me over hot coals!”

Obviously, this has triggered a testosterone rush of the first order, and I never fight the urge to be a manly man who does manly things. We’re pretty simple, right guys? It just really doesn’t take a whole lot to make us happy.

But what about our women?

That’s the kicker, isn’t it? They have all that networking going on all the time, all that drama, all those nasty little rituals to go through. And trying to get a straight answer out of one of them is like pulling dragon’s teeth, isn’t it?

Are you ready for some good news? Women really aren’t as complex as they appear, and they really aren’t difficult to understand at all, IF you learn a little about them and learn their language…

What’s that? Sounds like something a travel agent told you once? Maybe, but while women really aren’t from another planet, they have evolved to do some things differently than us. Some of these differences work to their advantage, some to their disadvantage, but the same thing can be said of us.

Most women don’t do well with spatial issues like reading maps or knowing how things will fit together, while most men are fairly adept at it. Most men are very bad at detecting and interpreting hints, while women could effectively converse all day long without ever directly addressing anything.

This can affect us in our relationships in one of two ways. We can identify and understand these differences, and use them to our mutual advantage, or we can fail to understand them, and get sucked into a competition over whose way is better and who is going to be in control of things.

Let’s take buying a car, for example. Most men know more about the mechanical workings of a car than most women, are more excited by and interested in automotive performance, cost and difficulty of upkeep, etc. Most women are naturally much more sensitive to non-verbal communication, hints, innuendo, etc., than most men could ever hope to be.

I’m not even going to go into all the ways in which buying a vehicle can cause a couple to start a series of bitter fights; we’ve all been through the friction of the male trying to take too much responsibility in the process, being too aggressive or controlling on the issues of selection of vehicle and dealer, etc. But think about the possibilities that a little understanding and cooperation could afford!

If a man understands more about the ownership issues of vehicles, what he knows can be invaluable to a woman who doesn’t necessarily care what brand the vehicle is as long as it has a certain look, or certain features that she needs or wants to enjoy. But, for that value to be realized, he must LISTEN to her to find out what is important. When she says, “I liked the pink car the best,” it’s highly unlikely that she is saying that the fact that the car was pink was a deciding factor. She’s waiting for him to ask what it was about the pink car that she liked so she can tell him about the comfortable seats, the accessibility of controls without taking her eyes off the road, or whatever it was that she won’t get into until he shows that he’s interested in hearing it by asking about it.

A woman’s natural sensitivity to unspoken communications can make her invaluable during the negotiations over the purchase. Men are much easier to lie to or lead on than women because we don’t notice the nuances that declare deceit that nearly every woman alive readily sees without even watching for them. But again, he must LISTEN to her when she spots something amiss during the sales presentation or the purchase negotiation in order for them to derive any benefit.

That’s just the beginning of the revelations you’re going to have over the next few days, so brace yourself.

To give you something to ponder, here’s what one of the test group said she wanted in a man:

“I want a man to listen to me and take me seriously when I’m trying to be serious, to laugh with me when I’m happy, and let me get problems sorted out and fixed without distracting me when I’m not happy.”

Sound familiar? As I said, women are NOT that hard to understand, and they’re really not that different from us in a lot of ways. They just DO things differently from us that makes them appear too complex to understand, when in fact, our problem is that we simply don’t know enough about them, their “culture” (what it’s like to live as a woman) and their language. We’re going to work together to fix that.

I’m no travel agent, but no woman who knows me will tell you they wish I knew more about women; a lot of them come to me to help them understand themself! They send me e-mail asking questions, they call me on the phone, and they even by my book, which is written for men, and the comments from those who have concur: it’s “spot on” accurate.

It should be. It’s the result of working closely with a large group of women to learn how to listen and speak “girly-ese,” to learn what it’s like to live and experience life as a woman, to learn what makes them do the things they do the way they do them, and to learn what they think turns them on and off and how that differs in some cases from what REALLY turns them on and off.

My job was to translate what I learned from them into “man-speak” and give it to you, straight and to the point, without cluttering it up with theory and opinions. I did that job well, according to those I’ve served, both as a counselor and in "How to Be Attractive to the Woman You Love" which you can get at
http://www.makingherhappy.com if you’d like to join the scant ranks of rare men who really do know what women want and how to enjoy giving it to them.

We’ll take this up again tomorrow, with more from women about what women want. Don’t miss it!

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Testing Part 4: Turnabout Is Fair Play, So LET'S TEST THEM!

Wrapping up the discussion on testing: Women test us constantly, so why don’t we test them? Not in retaliation, but to help determine if they are testing us and what they might be trying to communicate. Here are a few tips…

I was listening to an old set of self-improvement tapes last night, Roger Dawson’s “The Secrets of Power Negotiating,” (a classic if you’ve not heard of it, available at Nightengale Conant) and in a section on negotiating tactics, he was talking about overcoming objections and said the main tactic to overcoming objectives is to “always test for validity.” Here’s an example:

You’re negotiating a car deal, and the seller says he can’t possibly go a penny under $25,000 for the vehicle. You ask, “What if I could bring you cash instead of a cashier’s check?” If he says it won’t make any difference, he’s rigid on the price for some reason, and you need to dig deeper to find out what his issue is to see if there is any way to address it, but if he says, “Well, then I could possibly come down a little,” $25,000 is not a firm price and he does have some negotiating range.

The same tactic can be used when women test us, or when we suspect they might be testing, to either neutralize the test or establish that we are dealing with a legitimate issue and need to give it due attention. Let’s say your wife is saying she wants new furniture, and you don’t know if it’s a test, a whim, or a legitimate need. You can test the legitimacy of the issue by finding out how much she’s willing to do to have it: “Well, I [like this furniture/don’t care either way/might be interested in replacing this, too] IF our budget will allow it. If the budget won’t handle the extra expense, do you want this bad enough to do something extra to make up the difference?”

Now you’ve got her. If she says, “Well no, I guess not,” it wasn’t that important. “Well I thought you might be nice and get a part time job to do this for me,” definitely means it’s a test, and we’ll deal with that in a minute. “Yes, I would, because I really want this stuff out of here,” means it’s definitely important, and you should then consider saying, “Well, then I’ll see what I can do as well, but if I’m going to help buy it, I reserve the right to help pick it out, at least to the extent of declining on anything that isn’t comfortable for me to sit in. Agreed?”

It’s not required, but it’s a good idea to remain involved so you don’t end up with a houseful of furniture that you hate, and doing things like that together is part of what long-term committed relationships are about, isn’t it? Besides, women love it when you take the lead and make decisions – as long as you provide that needed and expected input channel for them– it’s ATTRACTIVE!

Now, what if you find out it’s a test? The test looks on the surface like it’s to see what she can get away with, but what it is really about is to see if you can say “no,” a check to see if you can define and exercise personal authority. This is a good time to switch back and forth between the responsible budget administrator and “the naughty negotiator.” Starting with something like, (straight face) “Well, I might consider being nice and helping with it, but if you want it that bad, you’re going to have to help, and you’re going to have to give me a pretty good reason to help, (sudden switch to naughty grin) so whatcha gonna do to be nice to me?”

Banter back and forth and make it plain that you’re not just going to roll over and give it up, even if she has recently done something nice, but make it fun for her to be told “no.” Bring sexual innuendo into it, like, “I don’t know, we’ve had a lot of fun on this couch, I hate to see it go,” or “We’ve not finished breaking this couch down…er…I mean in…It would be a shame to get rid of it before we’d got all the nookie….er….I mean useful life out of it…” However, do NOT get into anything that sounds like you’re willing to trade furniture for sex, because it can be taken as a very degrading remark that hints at prostitution. I’m appalled to even have to say that, but I did get an email about it once in the past, so for the sake of the very few who won’t realize it, I’m stating what’s obvious to most of us.

Use your imagination, but make sure you keep rocking back and forth between serious and naughty to keep her off balance, and keep dropping bits of sexual innuendo. You’re likely to end up having sex on the furniture before the discussion is over, just because the playful, naughty attitude and sexual tension may get to her that much, and then you can say, “See, we need to keep this couch!” and wink at her.

It’s easy to test for validity once you get used to the game and get skilled at playing. To see the rules in vivid detail, along with lots of examples of how to play the testing game, go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and get your copy of “How to Be Attractive to the Woman You Love.” What you’ll save on furniture the first time it comes up will more than pay for the book! Just kidding! Seriously, it costs less than a good meal for two, and any time you can throw a few dollars and a little time at a problem and watch it go away, that’s an offer you simply have to take!

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Testing, Part 3, Deeper Still: WHY Do They Test Us, and HOW BAD Can It Get?

Let’s get a little deeper into why women test men, and what you should do when they do, and tomorrow, we’re going to talk about how and why we can test THEM, so stay tuned…

I like to write about testing from time to time because it’s an inexorable part of life with virtually any woman. To give you an example of how automatic and literally unavoidable it is, look at how women interact with me.

I’m an expert and published author on the subject, proved that to nearly all the women I know during the course of writing “How to Be Attractive to the Woman You Love” as I researched and tested the material, and they’ve acknowledged it, yet all of them test me nearly every time we talk! Some get embarrassed about it, some just laugh, but they know that I know, want to avoid it because they know they’ll get busted and I’ll give them a hard time over it (in a naughty, mischievous way, not hateful or demeaning!), yet they still do it.

Think about what this means to the average guy living with the average woman. She’s not trying to avoid it, because she’s not the least bit worried about getting caught at it. Indeed, she’d probably be happy to get caught at it and have something said because in most cases, in her world that would be an improvement. Why?

I’m going to give you the short version, because this is a complex subject, it took several pages in “How to Be Attractive to the Woman You Love” (and even more in the still-untitled book I’m writing for the women) to cover it and I don’t want to overload you with “homework.” Besides, I think we both know that I’d prefer you buy the book! (Wink!)

Women are constantly testing men from the first to the last day of their relationship because they are wired to look to the long term and protect their offspring (whether they have any or not) and ability to produce them, and don’t want to get stuck with a bad man. We can tell them we’re real men, we’re tough, we work hard, we never lie, we’re good in bed, we’ll stand our ground and fight the good fight, but it could be a lie, or could become a lie at any point, so their only option is to test us to see if what we say is consistent with what we do, and stays that way.

You’ve seen both men and women change the instant they figure out they’ve got somebody hooked; most men just aren’t secure enough and smart enough to do something about it. We’re biologically wired to be nomads, father children through multiple mothers, etc, so our biological purpose is to secure food and lodging and make women pregnant. We’re also biologically wired to protect the women before the kids, because we can make more kids in minutes, where women are wired to protect the kids first, since their investment in making a baby is over nine months. And no, that’s not all we’re good for, but the biological mechanisms that cause and support behavior can’t be completely ignored, either.

Yes, it’s a mess. But getting back to the point, they have to test, can’t stop testing, no matter how good things are, and if you don’t know how to respond to a test, you’re toast, especially as far as attraction goes – they’ll test you to see if you continue to tell the truth, remain committed and loyal, etc., and the only way to deal with that is honestly; right now, we’re here to talk about attraction.

You’ll be tested to see if you’re a real man or a wuss, and even if you’re a real man, a weak moment can cause you to do wuss things and kill attraction, so you need to be ever-vigilant. Again, this is a very complex subject with near-infinite possibilities, and I’ve only got room to cover a small part of it here, so you’ll have to consult the book, starting on page 45, for a much clearer picture of how to detect and pass this kind of testing, but let’s hit some of the really common stuff…

First, keep in mind the characteristics of the alpha male: strength, self-esteem, authoritative, confident, playful, intelligent, etc. You must strip yourself of all the wussification programming that you’ve received since birth and allow the real man within you to emerge; you can’t “fake it until you make it” when being tested. The tests that you face will be tests that challenge these traits and try to get you to expose a hidden weakness, especially in a weak moment, to make sure you’re not just a wuss PLAYING THE PART OF a real man, the alpha male.

It can come very overtly, such as pitching a fit over something inconsequential to see if you will remain calm and negotiate your way back to reality, remain both calm and strong and tell her that when she gets done pitching a fit and is ready for a rational discussion that you’ll be available if she still wants to talk about it, or go the wrong direction by allowing her to get you upset and yelling or even worse, immediately apologizing for something that you haven’t done. In the former case, you’re allowing her to define authority by dragging you into a bad discussion and setting the tone for it, while in the latter, you’re just caving in to a totally unreasonable situation like a coward.

It can also come very subtly. My favorite example is in one of Jeff Foxworthy’s jokes, where his wife says she’s cold and without a word, he gets up and changes the setting on the climate control for the room. In his joke, he says he’s being trained, and his wife calls her mother and says that the training is working, but in real life, she’d be quite disappointed, because he just wussed out and took a non-verbal order to get up out of bed and change the temperature (or turn on the ceiling fan – it’s been awhile since I’ve seen the show).

There are two ways that I know of to pass this particular test (Ladies, feel you’re invited to write in if you have thoughts on this – guys, always leave a communications channel open, even when you are the authority figure), depending on your relationship. One is to ask her, with a very naughty, mischievous grin, if her legs or fingers are broken (do NOT challenge her intellect unless she is extremely bright and you know she’s secure about it) – unless she’s in a wheelchair or can’t get up, which is just mean.

Or if you want to be considerate and take care of it for her, you can say, again with a bit of a sly tone and facial expression, “I’ll change it for you, but it’s going to cost you…” and then negotiate a kiss, backrub, favorite dinner, sexual favor, or whatever you’re comfortable with, but turn it into something fun and intimate for both of you.

Unfortunately, many women also use testing as a way to communicate to men things they aren’t comfortable discussing, like feeling ignored or unimportant, and they do this by pulling nasty little stunts like filing for divorce, emptying the family checking account or incurring a huge debt, or picking up a substance abuse habit or a boyfriend. It’s not because they want any of these things, but because they want you to see that they are vulnerable to these things because of your lack of allure, responsibility, leadership, or whatever, and can’t think of any other way to express it than to show you the worst-case scenario.

Yes, that sounds really screwed up, and it is, but that’s reality, and you really are going to have to read “How to Be Attractive to the Woman You Love” to get the rest of that story, especially the tips on how to handle the situation. It’s far too complex and the stakes too high to try to address it in the limited space of an e-mail or a blog post. I can’t over-stress that testing is among the most complicated, misunderstood and potentially dangerous of all male-female issues, and if you don’t give it due consideration, you will be punished when you keep failing tests.

The action plan? Get the book, get the details, learn the alpha male behavior that women love in their men and keep it up while “deleting your wuss program,” learn to spot and respond appropriately to the testing that you will endure, no matter who you have married or are dating, and watch how quickly you start wearing out bedding and beds, not to mention how much more intimate, fun, and rewarding the rest of your life together with your partner will become. Jump on over to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and get your copy right now, before you have to face some catastrophe to find out that you’re partner would like to have you home for dinner or have a date night once a week.

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

How Women Test Men, Part 2 (The Toilet Seat!)

In the next part of this lesson on testing and communications, we’re going back, for the sake of all who haven’t reviewed it in the archives and are sending in letters asking about it, to pick up and explore the ancient issue of “the toilet seat, up or down, and whose job is it?”

I hope you're having another great day and a great week! Yesterday we revisited the issue of testing and how to sort out issues into tests, bratty behavior, and legitimate issues, and it got a little long before I got through both examples I wanted to cover, so today we're going to continue the discussion using the example of the age-old fight over whose responsibility it is to manipulate the toilet seat. Hang onto your hats!

For those who've just joined us, here's the original question, sent in by Jake:

"Hi David! I bought your e-book, and after getting through the first section I know the relationship is definitely one I should stay in, and I'm in the second section now and a bit "challenged" by all the stuff on how women test us. My wife is a bit of a brat, and while I love her to death, she's constantly giving me grief about all the girly stuff, like hanging towels just so on the towel rack and putting the toilet seat down for her. How can I tell what part of this is a legitimate issue and what part is just her being a brat and what part is a test? Any help would be appreciated. --Jake R."

In the previous discussion, I stated that you must evaluate context (whining, asking politely, yelling, etc.), signals (hints, body language, mood, etc.), and congruence (is what she's asking or complaining about consistent with other behavior, i.e., if she's acting picky about how you hang the towels on a towel rod, is she equally picky about the appearance of the rest of the house?), and responding with logic and authority with bits of the naughty boy scattered about for good measure. The same thing holds true with this issue.

Objectively speaking, there is in most cases no reason for everybody in the house to take responsibility for anybody else falling into the bowl. Period. Unless your partner suffers from a bladder control problem that causes her to rush to the bathroom peeling off clothing along the way, or is taking some kind of psychoactive drug (or is afflicted with something like Alzheimer’s Disease) that causes her to forget that she has to do things like lower her pants and check the seat before sitting down, expecting everybody else in the house to raise and lower the seat is just absurd, because they’re having to do it twice so that she doesn’t have to do it at all.

Hence, she's either being a brat and can get over it, or she's testing you to see if you're going to wimp out and give in. Luckily, the counter move for both of these scenarios is the same.

Your first move is obviously to tell her to get over it. However, how you tell her to get over it can make the difference in having her respect you and having her wait until you're asleep to pour a pitcher of ice water on your crotch. (I hate it when that happens!) Again, it involves switching gears between naughty and authoritative.

With the look of a mischievous kid on your face, you start off with something like, "Do you mean to tell me that a woman of your maturity and intelligence isn't capable of looking before she sits down to make sure there's a place to sit? You should be glad that I raise the seat while I'm in there!" (And for the love of Pete, if you're not raising it, you should be, so get with the program!)

Bust on her, and get her laughing, or at least sheepishly retreating, but be careful not to ridicule her to the point of frustration and anger, which is abusive and will be entirely counterproductive. At some point, when the nagging has subsided and she's either smiling or pouting a little, you switch gears, and become the expert decision-maker:

"Okay, all joking aside, here's the deal. We know that putting the lid down creates a dark, wet environment that will encourage the growth of mildew, and we don't want that, so it stays up all the time. I raise and lower the seat for my own needs, since I need both, and there's no reason in the world that you can't do the same thing.

"However, I know that stumbling into the bathroom in the middle of the night half-asleep is a good way to end up sitting on the bowl instead of the seat, because I’ve done it myself, so I will join you in making an effort to see that the seat is down before going to bed, and if I get up in the night I will try to remember to put the seat back down when I raise it.

"If I don't remember to do it all the time, you'll have to understand that sometimes I don't even remember getting up in the night, and can't reasonably be expected to remember to lower the lid when I'm barely aware of being in the bathroom. We're going to have to cut each other a little slack.

"That's the offer, be smart and take it because it doesn't get any better and we both know it could certainly be a lot worse."

Yeah, it's a mouthful, but look at what you said, and if you said it right, what she heard:

-- You're aware of stuff that grows in the bowl and could leave her with a yeast infection (a lot of the mildew you see is a strain of yeast called "Candida Albicans," which among other things is the most common cause of feminine yeast infections).

-- You're not going to put up with any bratty crap.

-- You are willing to be considerate and cooperative on reasonable issues

-- You can think things through and make reasonable and equitable decisions

-- You can present those decisions with authority while still allowing her room for input (it's an offer, not an ultimatum)

-- You know the score and know that she knows it, too.

That's a lot for a short paragraph. The naughty boy routine disarms her, and possibly charms her, and then the authority figure leads her to an equitable solution and expects her to take it, but doesn't attempt to bully her into it. Bullying a woman will get you hurt or killed if she's strong willed, and will get you a useless, needy, esteem-deprived coward if she's not, and you really don't want that.

Incidentally, if when you tell her it could be a lot worse, she has the bad sense to pop off with something like, "Oh yeah? How?" say, "I could just do like a lot of guys do and leave the seat down all the time, or I could be a real wimp and just do exactly what you suggested, becoming a man that gives in to whims and which you can't respect and bore the living hell out of you."

You could even push it a step farther by jumping back into naughty boy mode and with a big grin, say, "Hmmm, maybe if I start leaving the seat down all the time you'll appreciate it when I start raising it again..." Remember, gear-switching like that is incredibly attractive, because it creates an air of unpredictability and a tension that is entertaining for her but still safe.

One other word of caution: When you do considerate things for her, like putting the seat down at bedtime, taking out the trash, etc., don't make an announcement. It's seen as approval-seeking, which is wimp behavior. She's paying attention to what you do at all times, and if you do something nice for her, she'll notice, and if you allow her to respect you by doing it without fanfare, she'll reward you for it. ;-)

As I said yesterday, Jake wrote back recently, and he’s on top of things (including his wife, to hear him tell it, as his is one of many great success stories I get from buyers of “How to Be Attractive to the Woman You Love”). But, there’s something you can do right now, without waiting for tomorrow’s newsletter or any other.

Everything I talk about in these newsletters and much, much more is covered in “How to Be Attractive to the Woman You Love,” and you can get your copy and start making your partner and yourself happy, secure, and full of life. Don’t put if off; procrastination is for losers, as is a crappy attitude that would have you sitting around reading a newsletter picking up crumbs day after day instead of spending less than the cost of a good meal for two to have it all in your hands right now. Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and get it done, now, because life is too short to be following a trail of crumbs!

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

Monday, June 05, 2006

How Women Test Men, Part 1

Most of us know that women test men, and those who have followed me for awhile know that they test us in ways that we don’t even see, which can make a man who hasn’t yet read “How to Be Attractive to the Woman You Love” downright paranoid. This is a multi-part discussion which explores communications and testing through extremely common issues, at least on the North American Continent (I know have readers on every continent except Antarctica), the “good towels” or “show towels” today, and "the toilet seat: up or down, and who’s responsibility is it to manipulate it?" tomorrow, and who knows what may come after that?

There are instructions at the bottom of every newsletter pointing to the archive of all newsletters I’ve published since hooking up with AWeber as my broadcaster, yet many people don’t seem to be availing themselves of this wonderful resource. I always get a lot of letters on "testing," but I continue to get questions on the issue of “the show towels” and “the toilet seat” from the newer members. The following letter, from Jake R. still really sums up about all the letters, so we'll go with his for today's Q&A. If you’ve seen this one before, keep reading, because there is new information included. Meet Jake:

Hi David! Man, I bought your e-book, and after getting through the first section I know the relationship is definitely one I should stay in, and I'm in the second section now and a bit "challenged" by all the stuff on how women test us. My wife is a bit of a brat, and while I love her to death, she's constantly giving me grief about all the girly stuff, like hanging towels just so on the towel rack and putting the toilet seat down for her. How can I tell what part of this is a legitimate issue and what part is just her being a brat and what part is a test? Any help would be appreciated. --Jake R.

Well, Jake, congratulations on being an achiever and buying the book, and deciding to make things better in your life. It's action, not wishful thinking, that gets results, and you're now headed in the right direction.

Your question isn't so difficult as it may seem right now, and you'll probably discover the answer as you read further, especially in the communications section, but the toilet seat issue is a classic and one that needs to be addressed, so we'll dig into the whole shebang right here, right now.

First, the communications issue. Pay attention to whether she's asking or whining when she brings up these kinds of issues. Every woman's communication style contains idiosyncrasies that can tip you off (think poker) as to what she's up to, but you have to pay attention and look for consistencies to learn what those "signals" are that you've been missing.

For instance, how does she treat you after you comply or don't comply, compared with how she presented the issue? If she whined and you did what she wanted, and then she treated you like a doormat, she was testing, and you wussed out, where if she treated you well, it was a legitimate issue and she appreciates it. The main thing is to pay close attention to her and learn her habits and how she communicates, realizing that she's saying a lot more with body language and hints at any given moment than with words, and it will quickly come.

The other thing is dealing with the issue of whether her expectation is realistic and valid, or not -- does the issue really matter to anyone, or is it potentially immature (bratty) behavior or a test? The towels and toilet seat are pretty easy issues to analyze and address, so let's dig in.

First, the towels. Does she hang "show towels," or are there just regular towels hanging? We'll discuss the distinction in a bit, and it's important. Whatever is in there, she wants them hung "just so" on the rack, and if they are indeed "show towels," she doesn't want anybody using them. How does her attitude toward the towels compare to her attitude toward the rest of the house? If she's an immaculate housekeeper, and you see that she keeps things neat herself, then by all means, recognize that this is a "nesting" issue, that she's proud of a well-kept house and uncomfortable in a poorly kept one, and make the little extra effort to hang the towels straight.

If you're making the effort and she's not satisfied, when it comes up again, the question, "How exactly do you think the towels look best?" and have her show you the details -- which direction the seams and folds are to be turned, where the little tag is, which way the pattern runs, whatever is important to her. DO NOT ask, "How do you want me to do this?" That's approval-seeking, and you don't want to go there. See the difference? You're looking for instruction, not permission or command orders.

Now, this is really important: As you will see in the attraction section of "How to Be Attractive to the Woman You Love," you must pull this off in a way that allows you to define and exercise the authority in the situation. Once she has shown you what she wants, take a towel from the rack, straighten it out, refold it and hang it as she just described, and say, "Now that I understand what you're doing, I think that it does look better than what I've been doing. I'll do it that way in the future." It's the framing that makes the difference; instead of giving in and complying with her rules, you come across as having viewed her suggestion, and then decided that it was best and that you would do it that way because it was best, not just because she got upset with you about it.

Now, if the rest of the house is a mess and she's asking for perfection in the towel hanging, you've probably got either a test or a brat on your hands. The counter move is the same for both brats and testing (they're frequently, but not always, the same problem): put on the naughty boy smile, and say something like, "Is this the first step in a total makeover, or are we just redecorating the bathroom?" Something to pick at her just a bit, and in a good-natured way to let her know that you've noticed the incongruence, then listen and keep busting on her a bit until her demeanor changes, then switch gears and say, "Look, I like a nice-looking house as much as you. If you're going to make the effort to keep them this way, then I can, too, but when I find towels on the floor or the counter-top, what do you think should motivate me to hang them up?" You've agreed to comply, but still from a position of authority, requiring that she make the same effort.

A variation on this is when there are kids in the house, which tends to complicate everything to some degree. In the case of kids, use the same approach, but also include the kids in the condition: "Look, I like a nice-looking house as much as you. If YOU AND THE KIDS make the effort to keep them this way, then I can, too, but when I find towels on the floor or the counter-top, what do you think should motivate me to hang them up? There's no use in you and I doing things to keep the house neat if the kids are going to come behind us and trash it, so I'll call them in here and we'll show them what we've agreed on and then WE'LL ALL agree to keep things looking better." Again, you've made a decision and acted from a position of authority without coming off like a pig or a tyrant. This builds both respect and attraction, two things you just can't have enough of.

Warning: If you establish that the show towels are indeed a significant issue, DON’T USE THE SHOW TOWELS, NO MATTER WHAT! I didn’t fully understand just how important this really is until recently. It’s obvious that it’s a territorial, thing, a nesting thing, etc., but what’s not obvious is the reason she’s so up-tight about them: THEY ARE EASY TO RUIN AND CAN BE REALLY HARD TO FIND!

Most of the time, these towels are made of cotton, and in case you don’t know much about fabric, organic fibers are generally lousy at holding dye. Consequently, after only a washing or two, they can be faded and look like something other than the bright, pretty decorations that she put them in there to be. Since decorative towels are often the (or one of the) focal points in bathroom decoration for women, they often take extra pains to try to find just the right ones, and when you (or the kids, so back her up on this if you’re a parent) deface them with motor oil, blood, ink, or something else that didn’t come off your hands in the sink, you’ve just blown what may have been a month-long expedition for her to try to find just the right thing.

To bring this up to date, Jake wrote back recently, and he’s on top of things (including his wife, to hear him tell it, as his is one of many great success stories I get from buyers of “How to Be Attractive to the Woman You Love”). I'm going to save the toilet seat for tomorrow. Stay tuned, because it's going to be enlightening and amusing in the extreme, as evidenced by the flood of e-mails I’ve had when I’ve run this lesson in the past!

But, there’s something you can do right now, without waiting for tomorrow’s newsletter or any other. Everything I talk about in these newsletters and much, much more is covered in “How to Be Attractive to the Woman You Love,” and you can get your copy and start making your partner and yourself happy, secure, and full of life. Don’t put if off; procrastination is for losers, as is a crappy attitude that would have you sitting around reading a newsletter picking up crumbs day after day instead of spending less than the cost of a good meal for two to have it all in your hands right now. Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and get it done now, because life’s to short to take it a few crumbs at a time!

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham