What men and Women find attractive

Opposites attract, but often for the reasons you least expect! In my flirting seminars I play a game with the attendees whereby the men say what they like and dislike when they first meet a woman and then the women do the same. I've played this game with thousands of people over the years and the results are often a surprise for each group. Here's what I find (note that this info, while not scientific, is illuminating):

✓ Men: Oddly, good looks rarely ever come up in the men's list of top ten attributes. Smile, eye contact, bottom, breasts, and legs are consistently the top of the head responses, which mirrors research on this subject. Looking and smelling good, high heels, long hair, nice nails, and being interested in them are also top answers. Having rich parents and owning a brewery have been cited as great - but not necessary - assets.

When asked what they don't like in a woman, I'm usually met with a deafening silence in the room. Clearly, men have firm ideas about what they like but aren't too fussed about what they don't like. Facial hair, using a mobile phone during a conversation, and having a husband are top of the list of dislikes when a man first meets a woman.

What's she got that I haven't?

Karen and her friends enjoyed nothing better than a girls' night out. Recently single, she splashed out on a wardrobe of new clothes and shoes and a treasure trove of make-up. After a few weeks she was a bit disappointed at her hit rate with the men and perplexed by the success of one of her friends. She seemed to have the pick of men, even though she wasn't blessed in the looks department and her image was more 'Cheeky girls' than 'Sex and the City'.

Karen came on my Open Flirting course and applied her knowledge of the opposite sex to modifying her evening wardrobe. She ditched the black and started wearing more shapely clothes. Karen was surprised that her new image changed her 'luck' with men almost immediately, and quite horrified that grabbing a man's attention was so easy with just a tweak of the wardrobe.

When trying to impress a man, focus on what they generally like in a woman, rather than worry about what they dislike.

✓ Women: When first meeting the opposite sex, women noted height/stature, sense of humour, generosity, kindness, being well groomed, and half-jokingly, but consistently, having a large wallet.

Women's responses to what they didn't like in a man were spontaneous and far more extensive than the men's list. Top of the dislikes were bad breath, body odour, arrogance, joke telling, superfluous hair (nasal and ear hair and monobrows), and looking over their shoulder. Joke telling is often confused with being entertaining (see Chapter 8 on following the rules on humour for more on how to avoid this flirting gaffe).

Key to impressing a woman is avoiding the things they generally don't like in a man and emphasising the things they do.

The following sections go into a bit more detail on how you can use this information to your advantage.

Getting visual

Research shows that men are physiologically attracted. In other words, they're drawn to colour and shape, in particular colours that stand out from the crowd and the outline of the feminine form.

Wearing a demure black number makes you virtually invisible amongst every other woman with the same dress strategy. Black can cover a multitude of sins, but is a bad choice if it drops you off the radar. Colour is like a magnet; however, don't think you have to go out dressed like a parrot. Wearing colourful clothes to draw attention to your greatest assets or features is your best strategy.

Sounds great!

Kevin was the kind of guy who loved the sound of his own voice. He dominated conversations and fancied himself as a bit of a charmer. Still, after his divorce he couldn't attract a woman despite his gift of the gab.

He claimed to be very entertaining and interested in people, however an internal training seminar finally pinpointed his problem. He made all the right noises and asked questions, but never waited for an answer, and, even worse, often turned away from the person he'd just queried to start talking to someone else. He littered his conversations with jokes that people laughed politely at, whilst he smugly enjoyed his own joke-telling proficiency.

Kevin was shocked at this insight into his behaviour. He immediately started to listen to the answers to his questions and dropped the joke telling in preference to actually getting to know the people he was dealing with. He developed a genuine interest in people and the people around him responded positively; not only did he do more business, women were attracted and flattered by his interest in them.

Being interested in the people around you pays far bigger dividends than trying to be a clever conversationalist.

Next time you're at a function, or networking, scan the women in the room and see who catches your eye first. I guarantee it'll be the women wearing colourful or figure-enhancing clothes.

With the exception of 'height', women are far less specific in their desire for visual attributes. However 'height' is a bit of a misnomer; what they're actually referring to is stature. Being six foot tall but slouching along like a giant beanpole won't fit the bill. A man needs to fill his space well and hold himself with confidence. A shorter man with great posture is more attractive than a tall man with bad posture. So men, if you want to attract women, be confident and stand tall (no matter your height).

Assessing assets of the non-monetary kind

Knowing the common assets is invaluable for building any kind of relationship, not just for flirting. These assets can be used with both sexes to great effect. The top three common assets are:

✓ Maintaining eye contact

✓ Being interested in the other person

Desperately seeking . . .

Fran had taken a teaching post on a remote island in Scotland. Having looked forward to the opportunity, she became increasingly frustrated by her non-existent love life. The local men were thrilled at the prospect of a new woman on the island and fought fiercely for her attentions. However, Fran had a very specific picture of her Mr Perfect and none of the islanders came close. A successful city player was the profession of choice for Fran's ideal man; however, as no such institutions operated on the island, it made her idea of Mr Perfect into Mr Impossible.

When she finally put her tick list for Mr Perfect to one side, she started to see the local guys in a whole new light. Before she knew it, she was head over heals with a man she wouldn't have looked at twice in her original hunt.

High or unrealistic expectations limit your options. Discard any previous fixed ideas of what you're looking for in a person to immediately improve your flirting prospects.

Displaying the common assets with everyone you meet, both socially and professionally, gains you a reputation for being friendly and approachable, and a genuinely likeable person.

Continue reading here: Looking beyond Mr or Miss Perfect

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