Friday, July 8, 2011

Save Your Peacock(iness) for Katy Perry

Women like confident guys. This is not a revelation—at least it shouldn’t be if you’ve be reading this blog—but there is a line, a fine, fine line, between confidence and cockiness.

Tip #5: Confidence is hot, cockiness is not.

I met Tom at a happy hour last spring. Things started off really well: we engaged in a good conversation for an extended period of time, he bought me a drink, and before he left, he got my number. All in all, an auspicious beginning.

He called a few days later to ask me out on a proper date, and we agreed to go out on a Wednesday. He suggested dinner and a movie, because there was a new Jake Gyllenhaal out that he really wanted to see.

He showed up half an hour late to pick me up, though he did do the right thing and texted me to let me know that he was stuck in traffic, but again, the promise of that “auspicious beginning” was starting to wear thin.

Since we were already running late, I didn’t want to waste more time by having him come all the way up the fourth floor of my apartment to pick me up at my door, so I ran downstairs to meet him, where he was waiting for me in his sleek and zippy Corvette.

Sidebar: I’m not the kind of girl who cares much about cars. Expensive cars can be nice, but really, so long as it has floorboards, air conditioning and doesn’t reek of mildew or gym-sweat, we’re good.

You could tell Tom was incredibly proud of his ride—in fact, we’d talked before about how he likes to work on cars, and takes his Corvette out racing from time to time—and that’s cool. I was glad to see that he was passionate about his hobby, even if it wasn’t something that I was into.

No, the problem came after I had lowered myself three feet to the ground to get inside the thing and we sped off to dinner. Not only did Tom LOVE his car, he also seemed to love living the fantasy that he was actually Paul Walker in The Fast and The Furious.

He drove in such a way that I not only feared a bit for my life, but I had the thought that if I was in another car on the highway witnessing this “need for speed,” I would probably be muttering curses and giving him the angry fist shake.

Sidebar: Leave the drag racing-style driving for the track, boys. I’m sure it’s much more impressive to the ladies from the sidelines than from the front seat.

We got to Studio Movie Grill about forty-five minutes early. Tom had decided that instead of going to a restaurant for dinner, we would simply eat in the theater before the movie. An interesting choice, but, okay…I’ll roll with it.

Sidebar: This may just be personal preference, but I tend to think taking a girl someplace a bit more off-beat than a chain restaurant on a first date shows that the planner put a modicum more thought into the evening.

He paid for our tickets (there was a Groupon deal that week), and we got our menus, walked into the empty theater and took our seats. Literally the first words out of Tom’s mouth after we sit down were the following:

Him: So, I’m sure you’ve been checking out my Facebook, so tell me, which do you prefer: long or short?

Me (looking at him like he’s a crazy person, as I have NO idea what he’s talking about): Um, I’m sorry…what?

Him (matter-of-factly): My hair. Do you like it better long or short?

Me (bewilderedly): I actually haven’t spent any time stalking you on Facebook, so I’m afraid I don’t have an opinion to offer on the status of your hair length—sorry.

I couldn’t really tell if he was trying to be funny, or if he genuinely thought that CLEARLY I would have spent hours poring over his wall and pictures and favorite quotations in preparation for this date.

We ordered our food (I wasn’t really hungry at this point, so I just ordered dessert, he ordered grilled cheese), and spent the next half hour or so before the movie started chatting about nothing terribly memorable, since his opening line was so hard to beat.

The movie ended up being pretty interesting, so we were able to talk about it on our way back up to his car after it was over. He opened my door for me, like any good man should, and I climbed into the passenger seat.

Quickly, the conversation turned to work, and Tom confided in me that he had a huge presentation to make to BP in the morning that he hadn’t started yet.

Me: You haven’t started it? Like, you haven’t even made an outline, or anything?

Him: No. My boss is kind of ticked, because I’ve known about it for about three months.

Me: Wait. So, you’ve known about this major presentation for months, and you haven’t done anything on it.

Sidebar: Don’t get me wrong, I am a horrible procrastinator, but this is just unprofessional. Was I supposed to be impressed with his devil-may-care attitude?

Him: Nope.

He pauses before going on.

Him (ardently): I’m just so…so angry with BP! I mean, everyone thinks that they’re such a great company, but really they just suck and have good PR people…

He continued on in this vein for several minutes. I had a fervent desire to stop him and say, “You know, my sister works for BP…” but I refrained.

The rest of the drive went by in a blur (that’s not a metaphor—we were back to tailgating and constantly switching lanes again). When we got back to my apartment, he got out to give me a hug, and asked if I was going to the Howdy Club crawfish boil that next week. I said maybe, and he left.

He hasn’t called me since, though I did see him at another happy hour after that. He didn’t really come over to talk to me, but any time he passed by, he would give me a quick wave. Once, I gave a sarcastic wave in return. He responded by high-fiving it. I collapsed into giggles.

The moral of the story is this. Trying too hard to impress your date, whether it through over-the-top romantic gestures or reckless driving, it generally backfires. Stick with the small stuff: opening doors, making sure that you don’t have stains from lunch on your shirt and that any space she might see (your car, your apartment, etc) is presentable will go a long way in making a positive first impression.


  1. Now THAT'S the kind of story I wanted to hear(read)! That truly follows in the vein of "How to Lose a Girl in One Date." Much appreciated Miss E.

    But I will make one point, if I may: society has taught us men that we must impress the heck out of a girl on the first date so that we might get a second one. If we don't, we risk losing the girl to the next (pea)cocky guy with the more flamboyant feathers, whether it's all a big show or not. So we tend to err on the side of all too eager and too bold in order to get a second chance at the beauty.
    Just my $.02


  2. Fellas,

    Proper Peacocking…

    I must concur with E here: confident and cocky are two totally different things, with one showing a maturity and self-awareness that comes from experience and life, while the other shows the ignorance of youth.

    But, like Commenter J said, guys have to keep their dates interested or some other guy, with more brightly colored feathers, will come along and steal the girl’s attention away.

    The easiest way to get/keep a girls attention is to demonstrate value.

    There are many ways to try to demonstrate value, but they all depend on the women in question. Some women are into guys who can work on cars/houses/plumbing/etc, others prefer guys with high-powered jobs, still other women enjoy their men as modern day househusbands. Each type of girl would find a vastly different type of guy valuable and therefore interesting. It is important for a guy to A) understand what type of suitor he is or wants to be, and B) understand what type of girl he should be looking for.

    Let’s just focus on part A in this comment.

    The biggest piece of being confident is knowing who you are, and who you aren’t. This is hardest thing anyone can ever do. It easy to look at another person and objectively state there pluses and minuses. It is much more difficult to look in the mirror, put emotion and ego aside and really try to understand what you actually bring to the table and what you don’t. Unfortunately this takes time, experience and a lot of self-reflection. But the pay off is huge and leads to a more mature, established and therefore confident person. (Even if you never actually figure it out 100% it’s attempt that matters.) Once you truly (or mostly as the case maybe) understand your pluses and minuses, then you can determine what kind of person you are (and then ask yourself if that’s the kind of guy you really want to be.)

    This knowledge is priceless when it comes to showing off your feathers. A cocky boy will find his one, seemingly bright (but really not so much) feather, and say, “look at me, look at me, ain’t I great!” making it all about him. On the other hand, a confident man can take his understanding of himself, find his his brightly colored feathers and present them in such a way in which they will speak for themselves without his ever having to say a word. This doesn’t take grand gestures, fast cars, or ridiculous pick up lines. It takes a man who is comfortable enough in his own skin to unabashedly be himself and respect the person he is interacting with enough to not make it all about him. Instead, the confident man is able to put aside his ego and understand they are building something together that will be greater then the sum of their parts. When a guy can do this, he has a pretty good chance of getting that second date.


  3. Insights again from both sides of the court!

    Not that it can be said too much, confidence is being who you are. If you're not happy with who you are, better yourself! There's no need to show feathers then; it's all then simply a seamless living instead of doing.

    Why he would even mention the meeting the next day is beyond me. Especially if it's a first date. Talk about losing focus!

    Then again, I've never had a thing for corvettes either.