A Survival Guide For The Modern Man

What She Really Wants For Christmas

Right. Christmas is less than a month away and it’s time to focus. Let’s make this year you buy the woman in your life a gift that is going to make her so happy that she’s like a kid on Christmas morning.

If you want to buy the perfect present but have no idea where to start, I’d keep the words “thoughtful ” and “things she loves” in mind. When she’s out of the house, have a peek in her beauty cabinet, her wardrobes, study the underwear that she has bought for herself and really look at her jewellery. You won’t go wrong if you buy her something along the lines of what she already has buy with a thoughtful twist!

Jewellery:

Most women will either go for gold or silver. I’m sure you know which one your other half prefers although gold is really fashionable at the moment so bear in mind if she has always been a sterling silver kinda girl she may have changed her tastes recently. If you’re struggling give her best girl-friend a ring. She’s sure to know.

For thoughtful jewellery get something personalised. My favourite all time present was a charm bracelett from my husband with charms with our childrens’ initials and two entwined hearts to represent us. I wear it constantly and adore it.

You could also get a simple but beautiful necklace with the initials of the members of your family on it.

Or how about a piece of jewellery made in a place that holds meaning for you? A jewellery shop near the venue of your first date? A bracelett made in the place where you honeymooned?

You can buy great personalised jewellery from notonthehighstreet.com

Monica Vinander also does beautiful stuff (I love her friendship braceletts and initial necklaces)

For charm braceletts check out Thomas Sabo.

Underwear:

Make sure you know her size and the style/brands she wears. Just because she is say a 34C in one brand doesn’t mean this size will work in others. Generally once a woman finds a bra fit that works for her she will go for the same brand again and again.

Don’t buy porno underwear (peekaboo knickers/rubber) unless that’s what she loves (this is for her not you) and please please don’t go near Anne Summers. It’s just crass.

Beautiful materials, lace, silk, underwear to make her feel a million dollars will make her feel a million dollars.

Check out

Aubade, Chantelle, Coco de Mer, Elle McPherson Body and Stella McCartney for beautiful underwear.

For women with a larger bust, I love Freya and Fantasie.

Figleaves.com has a great selection of most brands and the Selfridges underwear section is fabulous.

Clothes:

This is a tough one. There’s a high chance you’ll get it wrong and she’ll be too polite to tell you so will hang on to an expensive item that doesn’t fit properly.

Again, chat to one of her friends or replicate styles that she already loves.

Perfume:

Don’t buy any old perfume because you think it smells sexy. Perfumes are very personal and again very easy to get wrong.

Either get something from the range she already wears or make a voucher promising that you’ll take her perfume shopping and choose something together.

My favourite perfume destination is the fragrance hall at Liberty London. It’s brimming with a combination of classic brands and niche/rare ones.

Beauty:

Most of the women that I know would love any of the following beauty products.

Emma Hardie Maringa Balm

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Night Cream

Diptique Candles

Jo Malone Body Cream

Chanel Palette Essentielle

Rose mask

A really thoughtful idea would be to book her in for a facial or make a home spa kit for her with massage oil, face masks, nail polish and candles. You could be her own personal beauty therapist.

Experiences:

Apparently Millenials love giving and receiving experiences rather than objects.

What does she dream of doing? Where would she love to go? Is there a place that you both adore that you’d love to take her back to?

Don’t just pick a random experience on lastminute.com. Create something that is tailor made to her passions/ you as a couple.

Happy Shopping!

 

Meghan Markle and Breaking The Mould

I got a text from my Mum last night.

“They’re finally engaged”.

“Who?” I asked. Thinking that she was perhaps referring to my cousin and his girlfriend.

“Harry and Meghan of course”.

I love my Mum. She can’t resist a good old royal romance and neither can the majority of us if the newspapers and general reaction of the public are to go by. Harry has finally found his one and will no longer be the lonely looking figure who often seems to be a spare part as he accompanies Kate and Wills on public engagements.

Now obviously none of us knows the ins and outs of the relationship but it appears that Harry fell for Meghan over a bottle of chilled rose and a conversation about their joint passion for charity work. Meghan is a strong, successful, feisty woman who wears sky high heels and isn’t afraid to speak out about what she believes in. She is a divorcee and in many ways breaks the traditional royal mould and that of many of the women that Harry has previously dated.

The words “breaking the mould” fill me with happiness and are great ones to have in your mind as you approach dating. It is so easy to get into a dating rut, to go for the same type of woman again and again and then wonder why each relationship fails. When you date it’s important to try and get rid of preconceptions (yours) and the expectations of your family and friends. Break the mould a bit. Go for a woman who is surprising, different, strong. A woman who challenges you and inspires you. Get out of your comfort zone and date the woman you never thought you would or could. She could enhance your life in many suprising ways.

Dating can be a challenge but don’t see that as a bad thing. Make it a chance to challenge yourself and stop playing it safe and next time you see a strong, eloquent  Meghan type ask her for her number and treat her to a chilled glass of rose. Who knows where it might lead!

Sex On The First Date

I can’t even count the amount of times that I’ve heard men tell me that if a woman sleeps with them on the first date then she isn’t relationship material. The general consensus seems to be that if a woman makes you wait she’s more likely a “keeper” than if she “puts out” too quickly. Many men abide by this rule even if they genuinely like the woman that they have dated.

I’m sorry but what utter tosh!

Look, I understand that many men seem to enjoy the chase and with a lack of wild animals to hunt for the dinner table, women can provide the perfect challenge. However, if you take a step back and analyse the situation, your personal rule book could be messing up potential relationships and if you don’t mind me saying so, is a bit of a cliche.

If you have had a wonderful night with a woman and you are both attracted to one another, there really is no harm in two consenting adults having a bit of fun. Sometimes passion takes over and one thing leads to another, particularly where alcohol is involved. This type of sex is not making love. You don’t know each other well enough for that. But it can be incredible and is a great sign that you are attracted to each other.

Following your night of fun, you can then continue dating and getting to know each other. As you spend more time together, the relationship will grow,the sex will change and hopefully you will enjoy the journey that you are going on together.

The key here is not to see the sex bit as the challenge but getting to know the woman in question and growing the relationship.

Sometimes you just want a one night stand (many women do too) but please never discount a woman because she has sex with you on the first date. Like you, she was caught up in the moment, excited and perhaps just really wanted sex. (Men aren’t the only ones with libidos). So….give her a call the next day and don’t turn your back on a potentially great relationship opportunity.

 

 

Workplace Etiquette

I feel really sorry for many male colleagues at the moment. Since the Harvey Weinstein story broke, the news has been laden with story after story about men who have misbehaved in the workplace. Actually, misbehaved is an understatement. Many of these men have groped/raped and bullied and it is only now that the conversation is open that women are coming forward and talking about horrendous experiences that have often affected them for decades. As a woman who has encountered such men in her career, I am absolutely elated that such behaviour will no longer be accepted. Men who use their position of power to intimidate and bribe women will be held to account and hopefully it’s the start of a new era of equality in the workplace.

But, there is another side to the story that worries me. With today’s papers publishing pictures of a colleague of mine who allegedly sent an inappropriate text 10 years ago, it worries me that we have started something of a witch hunt. Correct me if I’m wrong but there’s surely a big difference between a man who rapes a woman and one who sends an unsuitable text. Where do we draw the line?

One close friend and colleague told me that he is on constant high alert at the moment. He loves a bit of banter and is something of a flirt but he is aware that if he says the wrong thing to the wrong person, he could end up jobless and with his face strewn across the front pages. This saddens me. In my opinion a bit of light banter and flirtation makes the world spin. Work can be dull and stressful and fun interaction between male and female colleagues can make it a bit more manageable.

So as a man what can you do? Well here’s my list of what in my opinion is acceptable and what is not:

Unacceptable:

Pinching a colleague’s bottom (this happened to me two weeks ago and it is not OK)

Sexism (belittling or undermining a woman because of her sex)

Sexual bribery of any form

Unwanted text messages/emails that make a woman feel scared or uncomfortable

Overt and unwelcome flirtation

Acceptable:

Banter

Flirtation with a female colleague who welcomes it and flirts back

Hugging a female colleague who is upset (ask if you can hug her first)

In fact, the key to surviving the current climate is asking permission and keeping the conversation open. There is no harm in saying “Please tell me if I’m offending you?” , “I hope it’s OK me saying this, but you look really lovely today” or “I see that you’re upset. Can I give you a hug?”

Look, I met my husband at work. Without flirtation in the work place and with fear on his behalf that he was causing offense in some way, would we be together today? I don’t know.

You can still be friendly and you can still flirt. Just don’t go too far, gauge the reaction of the woman in question and if she is in any way uncomfortable then STOP.

 

 

 

The Two Week Online Dating Challenge

So many of the men that I talk to complain about online dating. Take my cab driver Neil. Lovely guy, very witty, a heart of gold but a total failure at the online dating game.

“I just can’t meet the right woman”, he complains. “None of the ones that I show interest in reciprocate and I just don’t like the ones who contact me”.

We talked further and after 20 minutes of intense questioning, we got to the nub of the problem. 52 year old Neil was searching for a woman no older than 35. She had to look the part (in his case this was tall, thin and blonde), have similar interests to him and have no baggage. Sorry to say it Neil but how dull and predictable can you get? Practically every man who is failing at the online dating game reads from a similar script and the words that I hear again and again are “I don’t want her to have any baggage”.

I detest the word baggage. It is so negative! Baggage should be replaced by life experience and a woman with life experience can only be all the better for it. So what if she’s divorced? She will have learnt some valuable life lessons and know what she really wants from a man. She has children? Who cares! Doesn’t that just add to who she is? Speaking from my own experience, I can tell you that motherhood has made me far more selfless and rounded as a person. Oh and what if she doesn’t have long blonde hair and boobs that make your eyes pop? Beauty does not equal happiness. Yes you need to feel attracted to her but please don’t limit yourself by searching for your image of the perfect woman. She doesn’t exist. As far as shared interests go, it is great to have things in common but a woman who has other hobbies and passions is all the more interesting for it. Wouldn’t it be dull to do EVERYTHING together?

It’s at this point that I introduce you to my two week online dating challenge. It’s very simple. All you need to do is change your search criteria for a period of two weeks. Don’t focus on age, appearance or look for a woman who only likes the things that you do. Widen the search and then reply to every woman who gets in touch. Give the women a chance, agree to a date and keep an open mind. If your first date is good but not perfect, see her again and then perhaps again. Once you have really got to know the woman in question make your decision.

Love is not always instant fireworks and passion. Sometimes it takes time for it to grow and if you are willing to keep an open mind and stop looking for perfection, you may be surprised at how quickly you are forming a relationship with a great woman.