Praise the Woman. Challenge the Friend.

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As boys, we challenge each other in order to grow and discover our edge. “Let’s see who can hold their breath the longest underwater.” or “I bet I can eat more chimichangas than you without getting sick.” With sports, competition and rivalry challenge us to become better for the team, filter out weaker competitors and promote fraternity. Boys learn quickly to challenge. Over time, challenge becomes part of an unspoken male language. Within moments, most men know their standing in a group and whether another man is a threat or potential friend. While this language of provocation is often effective for inspiring certain aspects of the masculine, it does not nurture what we find most appealing in women.

Praise Her

Positive relationships have a harmonious synthesis between masculine and feminine energies. This is true regardless of orientation  or sexual identity. By challenging your woman, only her masculine side will grow. Her feminine grows through nurturing and praise.  When she is feeling down about her weight don’t talk to her like you would a male friend. Telling her to get off her ass and run is a first class way to lose respect and trust. Instead use positive reinforcement. Tell her how attractive she looks when she sweats or give subtle gifts or make tasty treats that allow her to associate working out with pleasure instead of discomfort. If you like working out with a partner, invite her to work out together.

Uplifting the feminine requires  nurturing and kindness. “You have a beautiful smile” is much more warm and effective than “You’d be pretty…if you would only smile.”  These if/then phrases are common among men and most women hate them and see them for what they are. The first statement indicates that you find her and her smile attractive regardless if she feels up or down. It is uplifting, accepting and encourages her to smile. The second statement is a challenge to smile. It tells her that she is only pretty IF she smiles and your approval is highly conditional. It also implies that it is her job to keep you happy through compliant behavior. Phrases like this are common with men between each other. Our language is a little different. But the average woman will take this seemingly benign provocation as a threat and rightfully establish you as a source of emotional anxiety.

Praise What you Wish to Change

Whatever aspect of her life you wish to increase that is what you should praise. For most men, this is a difficult practice. It goes against our early training. But you must praise the qualities you find less than praiseworthy above all, if you want them to change for the better. If you find yourself thinking critical of your partner, be genuine and find something you do like, no matter how small and praise her daily without need for reciprocation. Once a month is not good enough. No matter how actualized, a person needs consistent reinforcement. Another tactic to avoid is bombarding her with information. Telling her to not drink so much because it causes premature aging will only cause her to dig in and possibly resent you unless it is coupled with love and encouragement. Treat your relationship like a living organism.  Just as food, water, sunshine and exercise are essential to the body, praise and encouragement are essential for the feminine.

Consider however to always encourage her for her needs and not your own insecurities. If she is healthy and happy working long hours away from home or feels content living in a cluttered, messy house and you do not, then you should evaluate your own needs and desires. Your opinion of your partner will affect your relationship if you tolerate behavior you do not find becoming.  In other words, be honest with what you can tolerate and be true to your own needs as well.

Just as too much challenge breeds low self esteem, insecurity and resentment toward the challenger, too much nurturing, especially unfounded and without merit creates complacency, laziness and stifles self reliance. Over time, the more you pay attention to her moods and explore her needs you will get the balance right.

-D. Bricquet

You’re Right, Women Don’t Like Nice Guys…and They Shouldn’t.

Women like good men. That’s right, gents. Kind, confident men who give freely and aren’t afraid to show love and affection are in high demand. I know many don’t believe it. Many potentially good men accept the self defeating maxim  of “Girls don’t want a nice guy” as natural truth. But I promise you, women like good men. They don’t, however, want nice guys. “Aha! I knew it.” you say. But before you revel in my admission, lets explore why.  

~Nice Guys are Full of Shit~

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Most of us know a nice guy. If you’re a woman, you’ve met several. Last week over dinner I discussed this often bemoaned group of men and the response was unanimous- Nice guys are creepy. But why? I thought back to college.

My assigned roommate freshman year was a good ol’ boy from Belton, Texas named Rob.  He loved Jesus, guns and Adam Sandler movies. His father was a preacher. Mother was the dutiful home maker. His particular model of courtship was steeped in clear defined roles where men were men and women were at their side. This model came into question as the free spirited ladies of Austin Texas were a constant challenge.  Every weekend he would go out, get drunk and come home alone.

~Why are you so upset, I said.

~Girls are fucking crazy, he said.

~Yeah? How’s that?

~I stayed up all night talking to Sara about her asshole ex boyfriend and she spends the night at his place. I take her out to eat. Listen to her cry. I treat her right…She should be into me. 

And here lies the problem with guys like Rob. They are rarely nice because it’s in their nature. If it were, they wouldn’t whine. Instead they do these things because they expect to be compensated with love, affection, sex or respect. These men are not genuine. These men are hucksters so deep into their own game they don’t even realize the depth of their dishonesty. They are nice because they expect something in return . At it’s essence these men are not offering kindness and mutual appreciation. They are offering ingratiation and deception and any woman in tune with her emotions will feel repulsed.

~Doormats & Entitled Nice Guys~

Doormats and ENGs are two variations of the same Nice Guy archetype.  They are the fellas who give the term “Nice Guy” a bad name. Each is invariably needy, lacking in self awareness and rarely nice at all. While The Doormat may be more noble in his intention, his lack of self respect makes him unpalatable not only most women, but most people.

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The Doormat often lacks ambition and fortitude to make choices for his personal happiness. He often hopes and allows others make decisions for him.  He may see himself as powerless in the currents of the world and therefore seek out a woman that nurtures or mothers his insecurities. A particularly self deprecating doormat may allow abusive behavior from his partner, thinking that it is better to be with someone abusive rather than no one at all. Like all Nice Guys, the Doormat fails to take personal responsibility for his own happiness and self improvement, instead relying on his partner or others for empowerment.  A doormat is overly doting and attentive, making most women feel pressured and uncomfortable. He is borish, contributes very little in terms of emotional and intellectual stimulation and is a thief offering very little to an actualized woman save for unquestioned attention and praise. Never bring the doormat inside your life. Always leave them outside.

The Entitled Nice Guy views the world and more specifically women as something to be subdued. In their quest to subdue, they often employ strategies, (Let’s call them “Nice Guy Strategies”) or take on a personae that will ingratiate or use guilt to manipulate a woman into having sex or give attention. They often seek to garner sympathy stating  “Women only like bad boys or aggressive alpha types or men with money.” ENGs might compliment a stranger, then label her a bitch if she doesn’t take time to respond with conversation. More crafty ENGs may employ abusive pickup techniques such as “negging” or ego blasting to break down a woman’s self confidence and then build her back with positive observations. ENGs often believe that they are entitled to sex, attention and affection because they are emotionally supportive and should be rewarded. These guys more often blame the nature of women for their lack of romantic success instead of attempting to understand human nature. ENGs are not a friend. In many cases they are emotionally stunted man-boys hoping to prey on the insecurities and societal expectations of vulnerable women. Even men considered to be doormats are a type of ENG and while the doormat may have more noble intentions, they often assume that by behaving in a prescribed fashion, the object of their affection should give them kindness or at least time and attention in return.

These traits give us a rough outline why the modern nice guy has so much difficulty appealing to women. But why do women like Authentic Men? And why are they  so appealing?

~The Authentic Man~ 

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The Authentic Man doesn’t need a partner. The Authentic Man doesn’t need much at all. The hallmark of this rare gentleman is the ability to make his own happiness. This self invoked happiness allows the Authentic Man to be confident, give without expectation, be fearless in his affection, kind to the vulnerable, uplift the weak, steadfast toward aggression and isn’t afraid to smile, laugh and enjoy life. The Authentic Man doesn’t expect any one person to give respect, love or attention. If the object of his affection doesn’t give these things freely, he quietly moves on to another who will. You might see the Authentic Man buying a round of drinks for a bachelorette party just because he enjoys seeing women have a good time. He might take time to comfort a depressed lady friend just because they are a friend and fellow human being. Authentic Men uplift those around him and give compliments, love and gifts without the need of reciprocation. Authentic Men respect themselves and others and because of this they will simply walk away from a bad relationship or social situation rather than whine, complain or attempt to manipulate someone to their needs. Authentic Men are nice because they are genuine and have a healthy self-love and that is the bedrock of their behavior.

An authentic man draws power and confidence from his own mastery and love of self. A nice guy is needy and draws his energy and self worth from others. He attempts to accommodate and please others rather than perform acts of kindness without the need for recognition or praise. A nice guy expects gratitude. This is one reason why nice guys are baffled and frustrated when women pay no attention to them or seem ungrateful. When gratitude and attention are expected, you are not nice, you are entitled, which in no way allows the other person to accept you on equal ground or on equitable terms. In instances where a potential partner is ungrateful or fails to recognize you as an equal then they are not for you and are best left alone. An authentic man does not need to have love from one specific person. He knows his self worth and only a partner that loves the self equally will be a comfortable match.

Few men are exclusively Authentic Men or Nice Guys. There is a little of both in every man. But where does that leave Bad Boys? And why do so many women like them?

~Bad Boys aren’t all Bad~

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Every good man is a little bit of a bad boy. If not, he should be. Bad Boys know what feels good and they pursue these interests. They more often follow their joy and this makes them magnetic. Even in their choice of partner, a bad boy will rarely stay with someone who they do not find attractive or interesting just for the sake of convenience. Bad boys do what they want with little regard for the approval of others and that in itself is a powerful drug.

But most drugs are both medicine and poison and the difference lies in the dosage. In moderation many bad boy traits are wonderful and their brand of selfishness is essential to being a self actualized partner. But like most things  when abused or untempered, they can take on a poisonous quality. This is how  stereotypes of bad boys become a convenient narrative for entitled Nice Guys and when a person is also emotionally immature or unreflective, the dark aspects of these traits come through.

Most assertive and decisive men are rarely taught how to also be compassionate and empathetic. They are more often taught to be posturing and aggressive. But women are not drawn to posturing, overly aggressive assholes because they appear stronger, richer, higher in status or more fit to provide healthy offspring. And women are rarely attracted to other negative traits such as aggression, selfishness and rudeness. This is where certain schools of modern psychology have failed, giving a convenient narrative that blames the insecurities of women rather than acknowledging basic human nature. In truth, women are attracted to other traits lying at the periphery of these so-called negative traits. Decisiveness, assertiveness and confidence are just a few that attract some women to bad boys and are the reason these women are willing to endure bad traits, even if it means partnering with someone lazy, arrogant, insecure or even abusive.

So I’ll say it one more time, gents-Women like good men. But to be a good man and find the right woman you have to approach her without expectations and a strong sense of self. Even then , there is no guarantee you will find someone right away. Being a good man is a lifetime pursuit. But the pursuit is worthy and being a nice guy for expediency is the lazy way out.

-David Bricquet 2016

Good Sex

 

David Bricquet Photography

Good sex doesn’t rely on different positions, or acrobatics or feats of strength and endurance. It relies on the internal, the mental and emotional communion shared in both intimate and mundane moments. Good sex can be found with a friend, a long time lover or partner or even a vulnerable night of new passion. But good sex must be a dance, an equal give and take of trust and energy and delirium that starts well before the first embrace and glides on well after climax,  imparting traces of that dance well past those silky moments of passion into the afterglow, into your morning, into your work and friendships and every love thereafter. Good sex doesn’t ends or begin. Good Sex transforms you, fades and yet lives on.

-David Bricquet