Is Playing Hard to Get Really The Way to Go?


I've been trying to clear off my desk, which is piled high with stacks of books. There's one stack of novels I want to read (Barnaby Jepperdoom and I have agreed to be in a two-person book club, FYI ... although first I have to finsh War + Peace.) There's another stack of books--about dating, relationships, self-help, etc.--that have been sent to me by publicists, asking that I mention the volumes in this here blog. There's a small stack of poetry books and writerly primers that I keep handy for when I need inspiration or help. And there's also a fourth stack of books I need to either get rid of or put back into my shelves; the miscellaneous pile.

It was in the fourt stack that I came across my friend Judy Dutton's book, How the Science of Sex Can Make You A Better Lover. Judy, as you may remember, talked to us about the best kinds of pick-up lines and the best flirtatious body language. (She also pointed out, if you'll recall, that the people who get the most attention in bars are NOT the prettiest girls but the ones who flirt best--who make the most eye contact, and that kind of thing.) Anyway, I started flipping through it again to make sure there wasn't anything I'd missed ... and came across something that seemed directly relevant, it seems, to the Mr. Tweed Jeans conundrum.

In her book, Judy cites a study that tested out the old "play hard to get" theory. For the experiment, psychological researcher Elaine Hatfield set up a fake dating service: She invited hetero men to come into her "personals lab" to check out women's profiles and then choose the ones they found most desirable. Every man in the experiment got to see whom the women they were interested in were willing to date. It was set up so that some women were willing to date any man. Then there was a second group of women who (supposedly) weren't very impressed by any of the men, not a single one. A third group, however, indicated that they weren't interested in any of the men except ONE. And, because the thing was rigged, in every case, the one guy each woman liked happened to be the very guy who was looking at her profile. As it turned out, it was chicks who fell in this last group who won the most favorable ratings by each male rater.

(I am explaining this well? Sorry if it's confusing.)

The point is, as Judy says: "We like people who like us, but we like them even more when they like ONLY us. By acting selectively hard to get, the women in the third group made the men they picked feel special--by far the biggest ego boost of all."

How does this relate to Mr. Tweed Jeans? Well ... since it's not playing hard to get, per se, that's attractive, but rather showing that you're choosy, maybe it's okay for me to email he of the tweed. After all, I distinctly flirted with him, and not his (rather hot) British friend. And maybe there's a way for me to word my email to make it clear how uniquely interesting I find him ...



dear commenters:

-Topz! I really hope you are feeling silly over the weekend and the "model citizen" line just slips out!

-Scientist Lady: Yes! I only have ONE year of living flirtatiously ... so ... I think you're right. And I must experiment more, in general! I'm glad you're reading (and that you wrote).

-Amber and Paris, Love: Will you promise to report back about how John's tips worked out for you? I'd like to know! I bet other people would too!

-Diana: please keep commenting, my friend.

-And Edwinna: I think you're right--it IS all about confidence, and being around John, I have it! Without him, not so much.


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