Real-Life 'Hitch' Teaches the Lonely-Hearted How to Date
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Paul
But so many men -- and women, for that matter -- aren't like that. They're either too scared or just don't know how to meet people.
Lately, it seems dating coaches are becoming more and more of an asset in helping wallflowers bloom. So we decided to see firsthand what they have to offer, heading straight to psychiatrist and relationship expert Dr. Paul.
The Chicago-based dating coach, who calls himself the "real-life Hitch," has taught and treated about 15,000 men and women worldwide, showing them that basics like instincts and body language can easily improve their love lives.
Dr. Paul has created a program that aims to teach the art of approaching a love interest and landing a date. For those who can't go to his classes in person, he offers two courses for in-home study, "The Three Brains of Mr. Right" and the "Seventh Sense." Luckily for me, I had the chance to attend Dr. Paul's first female boot camp in New York.
Late for Class
With notepad in hand, I strolled into the classroom casually and was greeted by a tall man dressed in jeans, button-down and blazer. Checking the time on my phone, I realized I was late. Dr. Paul scolded me, making me feel like I was back in high school.
"You're Emily, aren't you? Hi, I'm Dr. Paul. Nice of you to join us," he said teasingly as he shook my hand and handed me a workbook.
It was clear he took his course very seriously judging from the material, which consisted of Powerpoint slides and references to the theories of Freud and Karl Jung. I sat up a little straighter and got into model-student mode.
Three Brains of Love
Dr. Paul claims that we all have three "brains" we use when we meet people: the "reptilian brain," the "mammalian brain" and the "higher brain." When we first get to know someone we're attracted to, we engage our "reptilian brain," which thrives on sexual attraction and is what drives people to have one-night stands. It also compels women to seek out the "bad boys." Dr. Paul believes that instinct comes from the Stone Age, when men actually had to protect women from danger in the wild.
"Why do women go back to bad boys? It's your reptilian brain working," Dr. Paul said. "And there's a chance he can protect you from death."
Once we can see that there's more to a new man than hook-up potential, we move toward our "mammalian brain," where a friendship starts to bloom, he believes. Love can then begin because our feelings go beyond the superficial.
"Love is not desire," he said. "And desire is not love."
If we are lucky enough to find that special someone and transition from friendship to a relationship or even marriage, we have tapped the "higher brain," he explains.
This may seem like common sense, but Dr. Paul said most people (even some of the married ones) don't use their "higher brain" until well into their 40s or 50s.
So what happens if you've been with someone for a while but that old adage "I love you, but I'm not in love with you" applies? Dr. Paul has a simple explanation.
"That statement is true," he said. "A guy [who says that] really does love and care about you, but he just doesn't want to have sex with you."
This isn't to say that the jerk you've been with for two years was just using you. But Dr. Paul says you need to have both the sexual attraction and the friendship to make the relationship a worthwhile and lasting one.
Your Body Speaks Volumes
The next lesson was about the signals we give off to men when we're in public. From the direction our toes are pointing to the habit of twirling our hair, non-verbal cues are ways a man can see if you're interested in him, according to Dr. Paul.
"Early dating needs to be fun and flirtatious," he said. "Gazes and smiles go a long way to those ends. The former needs to be longer than two seconds, but too long beyond four seconds starts to impact negatively, even when paired with a smile."
He ties that theory to biology too: In primates, an extended look is a sign of an imminent attack, not of sexual desire.
"There are two kinds of arousal -- danger arousal and sexual arousal," he told us.
Other signs or "submission signals" include the "jaw-drop" (a slightly open mouth indicates an invitation to touch and can be perceived as readiness for a kiss, he said); the "hip tilt" (having a waist-hip ratio of about 70 percent because it signals physical fitness and a a readiness for sex) and "foot pointing" or "knee pointing" (which can convey a turning away from threats and a turning toward food, sex and other pleasurable things, he said).
"When three to five or more of these are present, the 'reptilian brain' expects touch to occur [and] the mating dance to proceed," he explained.
Later, we were sent to a New York City hot spot to try out what we learned in class, along with the men from a similar workshop for guys. The handful of boot camp students and I sat around a large table with "love coaches" Tony and Kim, waiting for Dr. Paul. Since it was the first time the male and female students met, the tension was palatable.
Just then, Dr. Paul walked in wearing an outlandish all-white fur coat that lit up (you read that right). Though he was trying to teach his students how to be noticed, it wasn't going to be that easy if he was anywhere nearby.
Dinner conversation revolved around what the women and men had learned. Since it was a small group, Dr. Paul had one-on-one sessions with the four actual students who'd attended, making sure they understood the lessons and answering any questions they still had.
Afterwards, he instructed members of his group to float over to the bar to try their luck and start their "hunt" (wasn't this a "Sex and the City" episode?). While some of the guys were still nervous and needed more coaching, a few students were ready to go. One woman was particularly bold, striking up a conversation with a guy she found interesting. As for me, I decided to sit on the sidelines and observe.
Boot camp was a two-day affair, with the second half about building a relationship once you've successfully met someone. I had to skip that part. But I did learn at least one important lesson from Dr. Paul: In matters of the heart, the language your body is speaking is probably more powerful than anything that comes out of your mouth.
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