January 07, 2015 / Chivalry Does Not Build Attraction
Flowers and gifts are for girls who are already attracted to you.
"…If she already likes you"
My man TVJ hinted at this in his excellent article: "Love Actually…" that I encourage you to read. I also hinted at it when I suggested that women’s advice is for men they already like. However, with the influx of ‘Bring back Chivalry’ posts flooding my Facebook I think it makes sense to address some of these chivalrous acts that will supposedly make every girl melt in the palm of your hand. Sadly, many acts of "chivalry" only work with women who already like you, and if you put them to action if she isn’t yet attracted to you, you risk losing her, or worse, totally creeping her out.
Chivalry Is Not Politeness
I’d like to start with a quick disclaimer. Some people will consider simple actions like holding the door open for someone as "chivalry." I consider holding the door open and similar actions basic manners, and as such, they are not targets of this article.
There’s never a downside to being a polite and acting like a decent human being. So you should never worry about being "too polite" with a woman. You should only worry if you’re considering doing any of these things:
Buying a girl flowers "just because it happens to be a Wednesday" is a great idea if you are in a relationship with her.
Otherwise, it’s a bad idea if you’ve only went out once or twice and haven’t been physically intimate, and it’s an absolutely terrible idea as an opener. Look, there’s nothing specifically wrong with flowers, and women do generally like them especially when they come at a random time (as opposed to Valentine’s Day). But only if she already likes you! Otherwise, it’s just plain creepy! This is a mistake I’ve personally made, and learned my lesson the hard way.
You may be wondering why buying a girl you are interested in flowers is creepy if she doesn’t already like you. The answer is three-fold:
- You’re conveying interest way too soon. Any time there is a big disparity in the interest you’re expressing, it will always as needy and desperate. She’ll think your creepy for sending "Just Because" flowers for the same reason she’ll think you’re creepy if you text her twenty times is a day.
- It’s unoriginal, because you probably got the idea from bad romantic comedies. Do you really want to come across as a guy who gets his dating advice from movies like "10 Things I Hate About You?"
- By conveying interest so strongly, she will now have to give you a very direct rejection, and she will not like doing this. If women liked direct rejections, then "let’s just be friends" would not be a universally known phrase. If you’re classmates or co-workers, hearing LJBF is a rejection, but at least you know you can coexist in the same room with her without any awkwardness. But if you send her flowers after two dates, she’s going to have to give you a much stronger rejection to really make you sure don’t get the wrong idea (since you’ve proven completely incapable of getting the "right" idea), which is going to make her feel awkward and want to completely avoid you afterwards.
This is a corollary to "no flowers." You should also not send any surprise gifts to women while you’re still trying to build attraction with them. This includes even sentimental "token" gifts that are inexpensive but show you’ve been "paying attention." You may be on a date with a woman and she may make some off-hand comment like, "I really like Arizona Iced Tea, I drink them all day at work." So then you show up for your next date with a 12-pack of Arizona Iced Tea.
How goddamn chivalrous of you. Except, not really. This will still probably be perceived as coming on too strong, and you’ll still have all the creepiness problems as the "Just Because" flowers. A good general rule is this: no gift giving before intimacy.
Songs and Poetry
Well, you may ask: what about non-physical gifts? Certain behaviors that demonstrate interest are fine, as long as they aren’t songs, poetry, or anything similar.
If you like expressing yourself artistically and consider yourself talented at doing so, you may feel writing a song or a poem is DHV. The problem is you’re conflating "look how talented I am!" and "look how much I like you!" You want to express your talents and have her think, "I wonder if he’d ever write a song and play it for me." If you bust out a serenade on date two, you’ve taken all the anticipation and excitement out of the courtship before it’s even began!
Songs and poems may have been the courtship methods used in the 1500s, but they are no longer applicable. Today they firmly belong in the "dating seriously" and "relationship" phases; special things you can do to surprise, excite, and demonstrate your affection to your significant other. Passing a girl you barely know a love poem is going to make her feel very uncomfortable if she is not attracted to you, and it won’t make her attracted to you if she wasn’t already.
Why It Worked Before
You may question the premise of this article because you’ve done these things previously with other women, and you still got laid and/or had an LTR.
This is why it worked: you were lucky enough that you had already built enough attraction beforehand, probably without realizing it. I’ve repeatedly used the caveat, "don’t do this unless you’re sure she really likes you." Well, if you did these things early on with a girl and they worked, she probably did really like you.
But as they say, even a broken clock is right twice a day. In other words, most women you meet will not be extremely attracted to you right away, so even if it’s worked in the past going in too strong with flowers or gifts will almost definitely backfire in the future.
Save it For the Relationship
Because I’m essentially suggesting you tone down the "romance" early on with a woman, this may sound wrong to you. It may sound weird to be romantically interested in someone and be told not to perform romantic gestures like gifts and flowers.
So if you can’t wrap your head around my advice, then try this: if you focus on building attraction first, you can have a relationship where you can give her all the flowers and gifts you want. In other words, what’s the rush? Once you’re actually in the relationship, you can do all these chivalrous and romantic things. And even better, you can do them knowing that they’ll be appreciated and reciprocated.
Chivalry isn’t dead, but there’s not much place for it on the first couple dates. Focus on building attraction and establishing comfort. The flowers and gifts aren’t going anywhere.