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In most cases, men try very hard to impress their girlfriend/to-be-wife at the start of the courting period and this sets expectations of how the relationship will evolve. Photo: iStock
In most cases, men try very hard to impress their girlfriend/to-be-wife at the start of the courting period and this sets expectations of how the relationship will evolve. Photo: iStock

Why faking charm gets you more women

Women love drama as much as men like to scratch their balls, so it is best for a man to give a woman some drama, at least occasionally

My cousin-sister-in-law was throwing a birthday bash for her two boys and it happened to be on the same day as her birthday. In conversation, she mentioned how relieved her husband was to celebrate the sons’ birthdays on the same day as hers, since it meant that he wouldn’t have to worry about doing anything special for the wife. They’ve been married 10 years and so, they’ve come a long way from trying hard to impress each other. That’s pretty much the story of every not-so-new couple. Okay, maybe there are exceptions, but hey, I don’t want to hear about it.

It’s a fairly well-known fact that, in most relationships, men try very hard to impress their girlfriend/to-be-wife at the start of the courting period and this naturally sets expectations of how the relationship is to evolve over time. Except, love fades and becomes vanilla-coloured over time and we womenfolk are naive enough to believe that we have the power to brave the harsh realities of life over our love.

A friend once told me that she’d been meeting all these nice guys with whom she couldn’t transcend the realm of weekend plans, dinner menus and the weather. As the old married hag, I thought it was my duty to enlighten her on life after the love in a marriage fades and how it was okay to not optimize for the dreamy. She, on the other hand, acknowledged how things change after a few years of marriage and hence, she said it was precisely why the beginning was so important—you need something to hold on to while you make a marriage without its novelty work.

This emphasis on the beginning of every relationship is aptly captured in our movies—most movies tend to be about how a couple meets, falls in love and eventually gets married; and seldom about the life after (unless it lead to the beginning of another love story). This creates unnecessary pressure for men to be charming in order to impress women and most men succumb to it anyway—simply because it makes them more likely to be accepted by women.

Recently, I met a guy who makes for a great long-term husband—sincere, honest (even when you don’t want the honesty) and pragmatic (about things like not taking the car out in weekend traffic). Unsurprisingly, he had trouble impressing women (including the one above) as he saw no need for setting false expectations at the start of a relationship. But the problem with women is that we are utterly spoilt by romantic comedies. In When Harry Met Sally..., Harry says, “I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." Now this is the sort of douche we dig. On the other hand, imagine if he said, “I have an extra room at home and I could use someone to share the rent and so, I think we should move in together?" It’s NEVER going to work.

Women love drama as much as men like to scratch their balls, so it is best for a man to give a woman some drama, at least occasionally. In fact, it may not be wrong to say that a regular dose of drama is the shortest way to a woman’s heart.

So, should men fake charm even though it might be apparent that women will see through it?

It turns out that women are generally familiar with making peace with life becoming vanilla-flavoured over the years. if only the start seemed more like chocolate or butterscotch. Women have a tendency to adjust, settle, etc. and hence, have a mechanism to deal with change after marriage, even if it is done grudgingly. We have found ways to seek comfort in the fact that “all men change after marriage" because we feel more secure going down together as womenfolk instead of all alone. Just acknowledging this one fact could open up a huge pool of women for all non-charming men.

People love recounting stories of how they met their partners even if their lives are plain ass boring today. The husband had planned a grand surprise proposal back in the day and we recount the story ever so often, and it reinforces why we are still together. So, by giving me a story to hang on to, he managed to charm me into a life-long vanilla relationship. Having said that, this vanilla flavoured life has several sparely-spaced moments, conversations, etc. that are absolutely surreal and make you realize why you came together in the first place, but mind you, these are best enjoyed occasionally. If someone tells you otherwise, don’t trust them. They’re probably trying to live a social media-friendly life that’s surely not sustainable.

Priyanka Bharadwaj, author, is the founder of Marriage Broker Auntie, a wing(wo)man service for arranged marriages. Founded in 2013 as a personalized matching service, Marriage Broker Auntie now focuses on coaching people and helping them make decisions on finding a life partner.

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