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the 5-minute rule
fact or fiction
by katherine l (aka clevertitania) (@CleverTitania)

Here's an interesting question I see more than I would expect to...

Does a woman really know - in the first five minutes of meeting you - whether or not she'll sleep with you?

Yes, with some wiggle room. In the first five minutes she will likely determine if she is sexually attracted to you, however, if she actually decided your viability that fast speed dating would've been invented centuries ago. It's still frustrating isn't it? Five minutes in, and if you've said one stupid thing you're screwed. Or more importantly, you're not.

But what if you didn't say anything stupid in the first five minutes. Is it like being on a plane; as soon as that seat belt light ding goes off, you're probably going to survive? Nope, not at all. Because it rarely has anything to do with a word you said.

Women respond to your presence a lot more than your words. If they like men who are sweet and sentimental, they can tell if you are such a man. If they like men who are solid and stoic, they can tell that too. Just like you can walk into a bakery and your nose can direct you to the item you'll most enjoy, our instincts and senses will tell us if the guy we're talking to has the type of presence we find most appealing.

You can't control if you are the type of guy she's interested in, so this is where the old "Be yourself" advice comes in. But even if you are the right type for her (and presumably this makes her the right type for you), there is one other way to lose her in the opening gambit. But fortunately, this is where you can save the date later, if you can keep her talking long enough.

Take a lesson from the so-called "Bad Boys". Ever wonder why women are generally attracted to them? Despite what you might think, women are a little more complicated than dangerous=sexy. A Bad Boy doesn't mince words or hesitate. If he wants to kiss you, he'll kiss you. If he wants to touch you, he'll touch you. You don't have to wait and wonder if he's actually into you, he shows you. But, you'll say, everyone knows Bad Boys treat women like shit, right? No, that's assholes. And yes there are women attracted to assholes, but Bad Boys are a whole different breed. The Bad Boys might even look like assholes on the surface, but when you get them alone, it is all about 'her' and 'us'. They are attentive, complimentary, and sincere. And this is why, in the first five minutes, a woman is already trying to stop herself - and failing miserably - from undressing a Bad Boy in her mind.

So what does that guy have that you don't? Confidence? Rarely. In fact, Bad Boys can be even sexier with insecurities and emotional baggage. Charisma? Sometimes, but again, fumbling can be adorably sexy. No, it's not a personality trait, it's a behavioral attitude.

Certainty That's what a Bad Boy has, and that's what you need if you want to lock her in, even after the egg timer has gone off. Confidence begets cockiness, which can quickly become a turn-off. It's not about showing her that you're not afraid of rejection. It's about being willing to be rejected, just to get your shot. It's about showing her, in the first five minutes, that you really WANT to be there, with HER. Women know that men - as a general rule - are less inclined to abandon any chance at sex, even with a woman they aren't particularly attracted to. And frankly, we don't even hold it against you. Your instincts are to get as much action as you can, even if it means padding your odds every chance you get. Getting mad at a man for that behavior would be like getting mad at him for occasionally scratching his balls. You have the itch, you're gonna scratch; we get it.

So when women are out with a man, we always have to wonder if we're padding or not. You have to show us that you're not just with us because you want someone, but because you want us. Women respond best to men who make them feel irreplaceable. Does that mean we freak out if you instinctively check out a hot girl that walks by? Not if you follow up your leer with a playful comment about how glad you are to be with us instead of the hottie. Once again, we don't fault your instincts, we just need a little proof your brain's got some pull in this relationship too.

And on that note: the definition of a relationship is a state of connectedness between people. You have a relationship with pretty much every person you know, even the guy who drives the bus you get on every other day. So if she uses the word on the first date, in any context, don't freak out. The male Pavlovian response to any word they think might make us imagine bouquets and baby carriages... that's a great way to make her feel like padding.

There's a double-bonus for women too, in dating someone who never fails to make them feel important and wanted. We don't have to wonder if the relationship is healthy or not - a constant thorn in womens' emotional sides. How can a date, where we're treated as worth your attention, lead to an unhealthy relationship we're eventually going to have to defend to our nosier relatives?

So what about online dating? This is the 21st century after all, and the singles-bar scene is not nearly what it used to be. Certainly the same rules can't apply when you're not dealing with a person face-to-face at the start? On the contrary, the exact same rules and issues apply. The advantage to online dating, is that you have a bigger arsenal to win her attention. In a live meeting situation, you have only your words, your body language, your eyes, your touch to show her who you are and how much you want to know who she is. But in an online dating situation, you'll not just have an email - which can be checked for spelling, grammar and synonyms to make you appear more articulate - you'll also generally have a profile, maybe a blog, some social networking updates, and a page full of likes/dislikes that she can compare her own list to.

But too many people waste the opportunity these tools represent. You don't have to spend the first contact telling her you would eat Chinese food seven days a week if your profile makes this abundantly clear. And if the profile provides your basic stats, opening an email with your height and weight is even stupider. She gets to review all this information when she looks you up, and she can decide pretty quickly if you are the type of guy that might fit with her.

In online dating, you get to spend your entire first contact establishing Certainty, making her feel interesting to you. In a single paragraph, you can totally own the 5-minute rule. Don't just say you found her profile interesting, tell her what was interesting about it. Don't just tell her she's cute, say what about the picture really attracted you. Make her feel like there was a reason, among the thousands of profiles on the site, that you contacted her. And never EVER start with a generic email that you could've sent to anyone. That's the modern day equivalent of a cheesy pick-up line.

The 5-minute rule might make women sound fickle, but it's as much instinct as you checking out the waitress at Hooters. It helps us to avoid the guys who aren't what we're looking for or who'll treat us like just another fish in the sea. No reeling in jokes, I promise.


When I grow up, I want to be; whoever Joss Whedon wants to be, when he grows up. I am a writer because it's the first thing I want to do when I wake up in the morning; aside from eating and using the lavatory of course. My work includes screenplays, short stories, film/TV/music reviews and socio-political commentary. The last one is a fancy way of saying I like to shoot my mouth off on many topics. I excel at using $1.50 words. They gone up, thanks to inflation. Isn't our economy awesome?

more about katherine l (aka clevertitania)


god to retire to florida
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by katherine l (aka clevertitania)
topic: humor
published: 7.9.09

god gabs with morning radio hosts
the big man rules the airwaves
by katherine l (aka clevertitania)
topic: humor
published: 9.10.10


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