To mark the country’s 73rd Independence Day, I attended a ‘Dating Masterclass For Men’. It seemed like the best thing to be doing, since as a single man, I do have a lot of independence! So what better way to celebrate that independence than to do some introspection in the company of some very fine gentlemen?
Wait, before you read on…
What on Earth is a dating masterclass?
Did the term creep you out? Just this morning I read a comment from a woman on Facebook who balked at the thought of a ‘dating coach’…
Was this a session where some guy teaches you a few cheesy pick up lines which will help you get laid?
Umm, not AT ALL.
There are in existence dating coaches who guarantee you a bang a week if only you learn a few lines and use them at every opportunity available. If you’ve read ‘The Game’ by Neil Strauss (as alluded to above), you will know what I mean. If you haven’t read it, please don’t bother. Not only is it one of the most boring books ever written, it will give you nothing to think about, and nothing to apply as far as the Indian dating scene is concerned. How that book became so famous is a mystery to me 😉
This masterclass was NOTHING like what Neil Strauss would take you through though. Thankfully!
The masterclass was NOT about the following:
- ‘say this’ when she ‘does this’
- how to ‘approach’ at various times of day and night
- lines to use to ‘hook’ her
- where to position yourself when you are in a coffee shop / bar / book store etc
In short, the masterclass was a one day course in self development with a focus on nurturing relationships with women.
We covered a range of topics which were introspective in nature. The session was aimed at classy gentlemen who are happy to put in the work required to take their dating lives to the next level. And believe it or not, taking your dating life to the next level almost always has a positive impact on all other aspects of your life.
The session was NOT aimed at cringe worthy pick up artist wannabes who believe that saying a code phrase will make any woman want to drop her pants for them. The focus was on getting the participants to look inward and course correct, as opposed to being prescriptive in nature.
My biggest takeaways from the masterclass were as follows:
- We all have self limiting beliefs with regards to how we interact with women. Most often, these beliefs operate outside our awareness and silently chip away at our ability to have great relationships. At the masterclass, it was a good opportunity for me to revisit these beliefs and remind myself that though these beliefs exist in my head, they don’t necessarily have to create my reality.
To give you an example, until the age of 25, I had never had a one night stand. It’s not as if I pursued this as my highest priority, but still. It just seemed like something I would like to experience. I saw loads of my friends pull it off and I used to wonder what I had to do to ‘pull’. By the time that I was finishing my masters, I had developed a belief that I would never have a one night stand. It just wasn’t for me. I wasn’t good looking enough. I wasn’t the kind of guy who attracted ‘that’ type of woman. Or so I believed. Anyway, to celebrate the end of the course, a few of us went to Croatia. The truth is, until that point, I had never really tried to make the right moves on a night out. So while in Croatia, I made a concerted effort to meet and engage with women in clubs. And lo and behold, the experience I thought I would never have came into being with a beautiful girl who I dated until the distance made it close to impossible for us to meet regularly.
Over the last few years, I have systematically tried to dismantle my limiting beliefs by consciously going out and doing things that would invalidate them. This applies to all spheres of life, not just dating. The more success you have at dismantling limiting beliefs, the more you grow, and the easier it becomes to craft an interesting life.
- We got an insight into what the women of Floh want in a man — some of these were surprising, some enlightening and others were what you’d expect. One graph we were shown told a telling picture — hygiene ranked more important than looks for a lot of women out there! Also, the women of Floh like it (a lot) when a man takes the lead. This isn’t to say that all women want a typical alpha male (aka douchebag). A little alpha is good, as long as you temper it with softer qualities like chivalry, humour and kindness. Balance is truly where it’s at! Women want a range of qualities (confidence, career, purpose, adventure, looks, humour etc) when deciding whether they want to date you or not, as opposed to just paying attention to looks or money (which is what a lot of men believe). If you don’t believe me, look around you and notice who the best looking and sexiest women are with. Often, they’re with average looking guys. So fellas, what does that tell you? Bring your entire self to the table, man! It was good to learn these takeaways from ‘real data’, as opposed to from unsubstantiated claims in a random article (which is most often the case).
- One exercise made us list down the ‘non-negotiables’ that we want in a potential partner. My non-negotiables were simple —
1. she must have a commitment to a career / purpose
2. she must have compassion towards others
3. she should be witty (not necessarily just academic intelligence)
4. she must be someone who pursues fitness / sport / working out
5. she must have an adventurous attitude towards all aspects of life
This exercise too was particularly useful as I had not given this much thought earlier in life. Getting clear about what you want makes it easier to spot it when it is in front of you. Also, for many people, this list contains upto 40 items, in which case you’re probably going to have to develop this ideal girlfriend in a test tube yourself, or date thousands of people to meet the one. Both of which could be fun!
- One incredibly useful takeaway for me was that one should treat this game of dating as FUN. There is no point if you’re not enjoying it. This isn’t meant to be approached as a high stakes situation which could make or break you. Sidman stressed on ‘unattachment to outcomes’, and I really did get a lot from this reminder. I try and stay unattached to outcomes in most other things in life (business especially), and implementing this when it comes to dating makes complete sense.
- I’m sure you will agree that dating is, after all, a part of a well balanced life. To give it undue importance or to ignore it entirely will cause you to lose balance. It makes life more interesting when it is going well, and it can make life seem monotonous when it isn’t working out for you. At various points in life, I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum. The best way to maintain an even keel and a steady head is to maintain a balance between the various spheres of life that command your attention and energy — friends, family, work, working out, pursuing hobbies and so on. The masterclass was again a good reminder that in order to be able to attract the right kind of person, you need to have balance in your own life. In other words, you have to make sure that you’re in good shape physically, emotionally and mentally. This definitely increases the chances that you will be able to attract more people into your life as they’re more likely to be part of your life when you’ve got a good vibe about you. So how does one do this? For me, exercising regularly, meditation, hanging out with friends and family and eating well are really the key to a balanced life. This sounds like such basic advice, but it is so easy to go off the rails when one aspect takes up disproportionate attention and energy. Here’s a really good article to help you figure if your life is on track.
- Your shoe game has to be on point. I had heard this often but this one was again a nudge in my direction that I really should go to a half decent shoe shop and pick up some solid leather shoes. Point noted Simran! I tend to go everywhere in my fave H&M sneakers — they’re stylish, comfortable and olive green in colour. Just FYI.
- Dress well. Nice shirt, trousers, belt which matches the shoes (thanks Dipti!). Look like a man worth dating basically. Not a guy who is so unsure of his place in the world that he hasn’t had a look in the mirror in six months.
- We ended with a QnA session, and it was great to get pointers on various ‘uncomfortable’ situations one is likely to encounter. Once, when out with a girl, I tried to hold her hand (as you do!) and she withdrew her hand as if I had just electrocuted her! It was embarrassing (and funny when I think of it now), and there was no coming back from there. I just mumbled a ‘sorry’ and it went downhill from there. Sidman suggested a great come back from such a situation. He suggested saying ‘I was just trying to turn you on’! This is a much lighter way of averting an awkward aftermath, and possibly even converting a potentially embarrassing situation into one that evokes laughter.
- How to make the best use of apps, in particular the Floh app. Again, it is surprising how so many people don’t get the basics right. Good profile pictures, a well written bio and how to go from exchanging messages to meeting in real life as quickly as possible. I have found that apps waste a lot of my time, and much prefer meeting people in real life and then exchanging numbers, rather than the other way round. But anyway, that’s me and I don’t for a moment recommend that you do what I do. Figure out for yourself what works best for you and run with it!
- Meet multiple potential partners at the same time. This was again a good reminder that life is limited, and uncertain. So why not speed up the process of finding the ‘one’ by seeing more than one woman at a time? Of course, make sure you uphold your integrity and let the other person know that you are seeing other people, if it gets to a stage where not revealing the truth could cause problems!
- In the past, I have been guilty of being a total kiss-ass. Whenever my girl wanted to do something (anything!), I would always respond in the affirmative. In fact, on occasions I would even give up a game of cricket on a Saturday (I used to play semi professionally) because a girl I was dating wanted to do something I had little interest in. But I didn’t want to lose her, and so I would give up the game I love to be with her. This is often known as ‘nice guy syndrome’. Well, as you’d expect, this caused me to lose touch with my own interests and over time, really started to gnaw away at me and made me miserable. We spoke about how important it is to continue to lead your own life as you pursue women. Don’t be a pushover!
So there you go, that’s what the Floh Dating Masterclass was like. No nonsense introspection to make you more assured, more efficient and a man with a plan. Confidence, efficiency and strategy will get you far in anything in life, not only with women! If you feel like you want a safe space to talk about dating issues you probably wouldn’t want to discuss with anyone else, I suggest hitting up one of these the next time they are held.
Be a man. Do the right thing 🙂
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of Floh)