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I haven’t had a burst of curmudgeon recently, so I’m due one. I’ve worked for it, I’ve earned it, I’m going to have it. A bit like a heart attack.

‘Ten ways to win a girl’s heart’

I found a blogpost with this title recently. I can’t remember where it was or how I came across it. I thought the title showed promise. I expected a spoof, a checklist of dorky things that will really not impress women at all. You know, ‘Women find men with really bushy eyebrows incredibly sexy,’ that sort of thing. But as I read on, I found, to my horror, that it may have been serious. I’m not absolutely sure about that. It may just have been a very clever satire. It may have been.

One thing that got me wondering was the introduction. ‘In three weeks time I’m getting married to the love of my life.’

‘Congratulations son!’

‘She’s really beautiful. She’s Miss America!’

‘I’m getting uneasy now, son. Not sure why, but I am.’

‘She’s also intelligent, creative, athletic…’

‘Hold hard, sonny boy. That’s quite an afterthought.’

Definitely edgy now, I carried on reading. I’ll not bore you with all of the ten vital tips, but here are a few. They may not be verbatim, but here’s the sense of them.

‘Pursue her. Be persistent. Call her every day, text her, email her.’

I’m all for a bit of diligence. A friend of mine was relentless in his wooing of a young woman, and they’ve been married twenty odd years. However, what our correspondent here fails to grasp is that if you’re an oik and she really isn’t interested, you may just fall flat on your spotty face and end up on a stalking rap.

‘Pay her compliments, tell her she’s beautiful.’

All well and good, except you need to exercise some caution since the majority of women (and men for that matter) are crap at accepting compliments. And if the object of your desires is swayed solely by compliments about her looks, as opposed to her awe-inspiring creativity or ability to fix a leaky tap, she may not be much of a prospect for a lifelong relationship.

‘Some dating books recommend backhanded compliments, but I don’t think that’s much of a basis for anything long term, do you?’

Well, now you ask, yes I do. Backhanded compliments, and indeed out and out gentle insults, are a well known and respected means of flirting and showing affection. Also, I wouldn’t want to spend too much time with anyone who takes themselves so seriously they can’t laugh at themselves occasionally. This applies to men and to women.

‘Stay focused on the task. Remember she’s the one you want.’

This made me suck my teeth. Focus on the task? This isn’t an attempt to finish your doctorate on time. This is to do with someone falling in love with you. There aren’t any real metrics here. And while you’re focusing on this particular task, what’s happening to that girl who really likes you and whom you’re ignoring because she doesn’t look like Ann Hathaway? It’s just possible, my boy, that she’s the one for you.

‘Be polite. Open every door for her. Especially the car door. Walk nearer the street than her. Women like men to protect and treasure them.’

Sorry to disillusion you, mate, but this can explode in your face too. Politeness never does any harm as long as it is proportionate and doesn’t fall into the category of what might be referred to as ‘Fussing too much.’ Especially if, as suggested, you insist on accompanying the woman if she goes out walking or running or to the gas station at night. There’s a narrow line between being polite and protective, and being obsessional and intrusive. Very narrow. She’s a woman, not a china doll. The many years of women striving for a degree of autonomy seem to have passed you by, don’t they?

‘Listen to her. Be interested in her. Ask open ended questions such as ‘how’ or ‘why.’’

Whoa! Hold your horses. Being interested in her is a given, isn’t it? If not, you’re on a hiding to nothing.

By the time I’d finished reading, I’d come away with an impression that this was ‘Prom Night 101: How to get into your date’s pants.’ If you have ever seen that film where Tom Cruise plays the sex guru, telling a roomful of men with unpleasant character traits how to get their leg over, you’ll perhaps share my disconcerted feelings.

If you have to be told to be polite, to pay compliments (carefully), to be protective but not overbearing, to listen to what she has to say, these behaviours will not come naturally. Women aren’t stupid. She’ll see right through you, and you’ll end up trying to shovel water uphill without webbed hands.

And if she doesn’t see through you, then it’s just possible she’s an airhead. Fine if you want an airhead. That’s entirely up to you. But it’s not so fine if you’re looking for a soulmate and helpmeet. Or someone to fix that leaky tap.

STOP PRESS!!!!!!!

Cripes! The guy was serious! I just got a reply to a comment I made on his blogpost.

I give it three years.

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