Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Due to Popular Demand...

The 40% off sale for Dating for Shy Guys will be extended until the last day of July.

Check here for the details.

This is the one and only time I'll be extending this sale for the forseeable future so don't miss out!

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cupid's Injustice: Tests and How To Pass Them

(A verion of this article originally appeared on the Suicide Girls website in 2009)

I write about dating a lot. Love…not so much. Yes, there’s a difference.

You can describe dating in three words: “cruel, but fair.” If you have a working grasp of the fundamentals you will see results, at least provided your preferred gender being wiped out by an apocalyptic space plague. If the fundamentals aren‘t there, you will have problems, no matter how nice or deserving a person you are.

Love, on the other hand, is a wild card.

Sometimes it’s like in the movies. Being in love gives you the strength to overcome obstacles, transcend your limitations, and make Evil Willow see the error of her ways. But it can also trip you up.

Take the phenomenon I call Cupid’s Injustice--the person most in love is usually the person least willing or able to walk away. And contrary to what the songs and stories say, you don’t earn someone’s love through selfless devotion. You earn love by instead showing you can live without it.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to set those boundaries when every cell in your body is telling you to do what it takes to make this person happy.

But you need to do it. Even if you love them. ESPECIALLY if you love them.

From moment one, couples and potential couples test one another. Sometimes it happens early like a woman demanding a guy buy her a drink before she’ll talk to him. Other times, it happens later when a guy doesn’t call when he says he will. The specifics change, but you can count on one thing. The object of your affection will find the lone button in your psyche you least want pushed and lean on it with all his or her might (*).

Upset about this? Don’t be. First of all, most times the people holding up the hoops don’t consciously realize they’re doing it. Furthermore, it often has nothing to do with you and everything to do with their hang-ups. There’s no point taking it personally.

More importantly, I’ve noticed we only test the people we like. It might not feel like it, but being tested is a good sign. It means you’re in the hunt.

There are two big ways to fail a test. One is to be a pushover, and just let the other person do whatever they want. The second is to freak out and get defensive or resentful. If a woman asks you to buy her a drink and you‘re not into it, saying “let’s wait until I know you a little better” will get you further than exploding into a rant about “gold-digging bitches.”

The secret to dealing with tests is a very simple, two step process. One step is a ‘don’t’
and the other is a ‘do.’

1) Don’t take it as a personal attack.
2) Do what your heart tells you is the right thing to do (And you WILL know the right thing to do, ladies and germs. Trust me. More accurately, trust yourself.) (**).

The secret to handling the testing stage of a relationship is to get past it early before things snowball. The sooner the other person can trust you to be true to yourself, the sooner they can stop testing and start fantasizing about raising your children.

Unfortunately, following the Two-Step Testbuster is easier said then done. And if you’re in the grip of Cupid‘s Injustice…that’s when hell really breaks loose.

I’ve been on both sides of this particular fence. There once was a woman who loved me, and I took advantage of it. She told me she was okay with things when she clearly was not. I chose to believe her because…well, because I was getting what I wanted. And it’s a funny thing about human nature that when we’re getting what we think we want, we tend not to look too closely at things we’d rather not see (***).

I got my Karmic reward with the next woman I dated. I was crazy about her, but she did things that were against my principles. Not big things. Little things. I let them go, drop by drop, moment by moment, until I suddenly looked at the relationship we had and realized, “Hey, wait a minute. This is NOT what was pictured on the menu.”

The important thing to realize is that in neither case was I happy. The Death of a Thousand Tests sucks, but being the tester is no bed of roses either. Yes, you get the power in the relationship, but you also get to piggy back the crushing weight of guilt, being unhappy without knowing why, and the resentment that comes from feeling responsible for someone else‘s emotional health.

No matter how in love you are, no matter how much it hurts, no matter how unfair it feels or how many old fears and insecurities that come swirling to the surface, sticking to what you believe and refusing to become embittered will help both you and the other person.

Often showing willingness to walk away can turn a troubled relationship around. In earlier stages of courtship it can make the difference between “just-another-pretty face” and “I-want-to-know-more-about-this-person.” And sometimes…well, sometimes it does nothing. Sometimes no matter how much you love someone, you need to walk away.

It‘s not always fun. Sometimes it feels completely unfair. But love never pretended to be anything else.

(*) Not everything the other person does is a test. Some things--chronic lateness, obsession with organization, or an unwholesome passion for the music of the psychedelic rock band Vanilla Fudge--are just personality quirks. Also, it is not a test if someone hits you, steals your stuff, or otherwise takes advantage of you physically, emotionally, or financially. That’s called abuse and there are three things you need to know about it 1) It isn’t your fault. 2) You aren’t alone and 3) There is help available.

(**) You’ll earn yourself bonus points if you can do it in way that’s funny, socially graceful, or sexy, but that’s all icing. Sticking to your guns is the cake.

(***) This also explains some of my diet choices. Food is a lot like relationships: Choices are more important than words. It doesn't matter how healthy you tell people you want to be if whenever it comes down to it, you go with whatever is fastest, most convenient, and fills the emptiness inside.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

NEXT WEEK: This article we looked at the importance of being willing to walk away. Join me in seven days as we take a look at the other side of this coin...making the commitment to stay.

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Get Dating for Shy Guys for 40% Off!!

Feeling good this week. Read this post if you want to know why

To celebrate I’m offering the Dating for Shy Guys ebook at 40% off.

Normally priced at 25$, I’m offering it for a donation of just fifteen dollars.

To get your copy now, go to the donations page here and make your contribution. If you want the ebook sent to an address OTHER than the one on the Paypal receipt, make sure to let me know the details at thegatewayboyfriend(at)

Dating for Shy Guys has all the tools the shy guy needs to have a satisfying dating life, covering everything from the attitude you need to specific tricks and techniques to improve your ability to connect with women. Not to mention there’s a special section on What Women Want that will let you in on the secrets Freud couldn’t even figure out.

For a more specific rundown of the Dating for Shy Guys ebook, click here.

This offer is only good until Monday, July 25 at noon so act quickly.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Diary of a Gateway Boyfriend: "Women Give Perfect Feedback: Perfect Feedback Theory

(This is a revised post that originally appeared on the Hot Chicks & Strangers blog)

I have a theory.

I have a lot of theories, as regular readers well know. This one is simple, and it’s one of the reasons I find relationships so compelling.

A guy’s problems with women often reflect problems in other areas of his life.

Are you scared to ask a woman out? Often that means you aren’t assertive in other parts of your life.

Are women constantly saying they only see you as friends-only material? That probably says something about you too.

Are women okay with going out with you, but then they lose interest after a couple dates?

In the words of a retired pick-up artist: “Women give perfect feedback.”

Unfortunately, as anyone who’s ever listened to women’s confusing, vague, and sometimes downright contradictory advice can attest, just because she knows what’s wrong doesn’t mean she can articulate it. And even if she can say it, she might not necessarily for fear of hurting your feelings.

I wonder if that cuts both ways.

Do men give perfect feedback?

The comments section is open for discussion.

Personally, I suspect we do. And I also suspect that the feedback we give isn't necessarily in the words we say, despite our best efforts.

You would think being a man, I would have insight on this, but I don’t. Attraction happens on a primal, non-verbal level. I often don’t know why I’m attracted or not attracted to a given person. Nor do I always know why I react the way I do to some things in some situations.

It's especially frustrating when those reactions are inconsistent from woman to woman and situation to situation. It's not as frustrating as the CONSISTENT reactions (okay, overreactions) I have that I wish it were possible to just get over, but at least those ones, I'm learing to predict and accept.

But this column isn't about those things.

It's also not about the effects of bad luck, unforeseen circumstances, chemistry, or the way people grow and change in a relationship.

Perfect Feedback Theory is most useful at the beginning of the dating process. You are a blank slate to the other person so their responses are less colored by your shared past history. It's also most helpful when you are dating a variety of people.

If you are consistently getting similar reactions from a diversity of people, it might mean that you need to look at what you're doing.

Dating, like life, is cruel but fair. The lessons we need to learn are always being taught to us, in our dating lives, but also in other areas. Every moment is an opportunity to learn and grow. It also means facing that sometimes the challenges we face are consequences of our own attitudes and approaches to life.

That’s a scary, because it leaves us with no excuses, but it’s exciting as well. It’s within all of us to attain our full potential. All we have to do is reach for it.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Trite Stuff

(This article originally appeared on the Suicide Girls website)

The most horrifying moment for me in my life as a dating expert was the moment I realized that most of the advice I had spent years dismissing as trite clichés was 100% true.

* "Be yourself." Check.

* "Don't over-think things." Check.

* "Don't have sex on the first date." Okay, that one I don't buy into yet. But I'm at the point where I could be convinced, which is something, I guess.

Still, it's embarrassing. I put a lot of hours in, after all: reading books, wondering if I'll ever get laid, going on dates, getting laid, talking to strangers about their boy and/or girlfriend problems, wondering if I'll ever get laid again, lying awake in bed next to the Wrong Girl thinking "How did this happen AGAIN?"

With all that experience, I feel I should have something more insightful to say than "Be honest" or "Know what you want."

That's the trouble with the truth. Even if it's a cliché, it stays true, whether we want to hear it or not.

You wouldn't know it from reading this column, but I'm not a big fan of giving unsolicited advice (*). Unless someone really wants my opinion, I dodge casual requests for guidance like Spider-Man evading pumpkin bombs. I'll use every conversational tool at my disposal to avoid answering from "What do YOU think you should do?" to "Boy, I could sure use a bite to eat right now" to "Sorry, I wasn't listening. I was busy picturing you naked (**)."

The truth is, even when they ask for it, most people don't want to hear advice. Ninety percent of the time, they know perfectly well what they need to do. They don't want guidance; they want support and reassurance. They want to hear that they're an okay person and that the bad things that keep happening aren't their fault. Sometimes they don't want to hear anything. Sometimes, they just want someone to listen. (Another cliché. God damn it!)

Most days, I try and do just that. But every once in a while, I am consumed by the urge to impress someone and I can't resist sticking my oar in the water.

"You can't love someone else until you can love yourself," I'll say cheerfully. "Dating is a numbers game. Put yourself out there."

I'm kind of an asshole sometimes.

The weird thing is, often one of those clichés will be the exact right advice for that person. And boy do they ever hate it.

"Put yourself out there!" They'll sputter. "That's your dating advice? That's trite!"

It's IS trite. It's been said a million times or more since the dawn of time. Yet people don't do it. Then they wonder why they're not getting what they want. And when a likable, talented, sexually irresistible dating writer tells them why they aren't getting what they want, they get mad at the advice (***).

We've all done it. Why? Because we don't just want advice. We want SPECIAL advice.

We want to believe our problems are more dramatic or different or more insurmountable that other people's problems. We don't want the 'be yourself' breadcrumbs that feed the plebes. We want unique advice as befits our station. Better yet, we want advice that will let us keep doing what we're doing and somehow give us different results. And if it blames some nebulous group (women, men, media steretypes and/or the Delaware Union of Shoemakers & Chimney Sweeps are my personal faves) instead of holding us personally accountable, that would also be a bonus.

The trouble is, the simple stuff is what works. As advice goes, "eat properly and exercise" sounds banal, but it's the only healthy way to get in shape. Similarly, if you want successful relationships, you're going to have to do the things people in successful relationships do.

There are no short-cuts. No argument will change the truth. You can't run from the devil in your own back pocket.

Here's another true thing, I've learned: Advice does you no good unless you test it for yourself. Reading it won't help. Thinking about it won't help. Debating it on the internet won't help. You have to try things and see if they work for you.

That's why I'm grateful for the time I put into dating, even if in some ways, it led me right back to where I started in the first place. There really is no substitute for experience.

That's a cliché I can get behind.

(*) I'm also not so good at TAKING unsolicited advice, so I guess it evens out.

(**) Not for use on close family members.

(***) Sometimes they get mad at the writer. But he IS kind of an asshole.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lies My Brain Told Me

One day I woke up absolutely convinced my girlfriend was going to leave me. The feeling of dread stayed with me all day. I wondered how it would start? A phone call? A text saying we had to talk? Would she arranged a coffee date, sit me down, and break the news?

What do I do? I thought. Should I distance myself from her, and make it easier for her? Should I try and win her back? Should I call her to find out what was wrong?

I don’t want to be needy, but I worry I’m so worried about being seen as needy that I’ll push her away instead. But then I worry I’m so worried about not pushing her away, that I’ll become needy again. Plus, if she isn’t into me anymore it will hurt and I don’t want to admit she can hurt me.

I don’t want to get hurt and I don’t want to give my power away and I don’t want to bring up the subject because I’m afraid it will make me look weak and she’ll either lose respect for me or think I’m crazy and all of these things are whirling around in my head despite the fact that nothing has actually happened.

I called her that night.

We talked about our respective days.

She did not break up with me.

Life went on.

This is not the first time this has happened. Once, I remember twelve hours of being absolutely convinced the woman I was dating was cheating on me. Another time, with another woman, I experienced a twenty-four hour sweep of “this is never going to work out” that was completely unrelated to anything that had anything to do with the relationship. On yet ANOTHER occasion, I was terrified that the woman I was casually dating was going to be the last relationship of my life, that we would end up together by default instead of because we both wanted to be there.

Never happened. But it was darn convincing.

The brain‘s efficiency is an amazing thing. Unexplained feeling of dread? No problem, says the brain. We’ll just take some memories from the last twenty-four hours or so, fill in some missing pieces ourselves, and we have a scenario already.

The scenario may or may not be true, but hey, at least it provides an EXPLANATION.

And sometimes that’s all we want. We want a reason why we feel or act the way we do. Sure, the reason could be absolute bullshit, hey, it’s better than nothing.

The scary part for me though is how accurate those stories seem at the time. When my brain is playing these tricks, it is absolutely, 100% convincing. Even when I know my brain is just making things up, the feelings are so powerful, I spend so much time wrestling with my perceptions I don’t know what to do.

I am not the only person who does this. See if any of these feel familiar.

-When we made plans for our next date, he never texted me back when I texted him to say I looked forward to seeing him. That means he doesn’t care about me anymore

- When I smiled at that girl, she looked away. That happened once a few months ago. And when I told my story last week at that party, when I was done, the people I was with started talking about something else. I must be creepy and weird.

The neighbour’s dog comes to the fence whenever I walk past their yard. And my best friend’s family cat follows me around. I must have super-powers. I am the Lord of Dogs and Cats!

Okay, maybe that last one was just me. In my defense, I was six years old at the time.

All of us have brains that make up stories. Some of us have more creative brains than others, but we all do it. Our brains are programmed to do it. When faced with incomplete information, they fill in the missing pieces.

Which is a nice gesture. For example, all of us have a blind spot in our vision where the optic nerve passes through the retina. We don’t notice it, because the brain helpfully fills in what’s missing and we go about our days unbothered by a black void in the center of our vision.

But sometimes the brain’s tendency to fill in the blanks can hurt us.

We make up motivations that aren’t there. We connect dots that are, in fact, not connected. We take fears, things that happened in the past, or our own insecurities and write them into a story that was playing out perfectly well without them.

This would not be a problem, except that sometimes those stories feel so real, we ACT on them.

And that’s where the trouble starts.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.