It's one thing to hear dating coaches tell you how to behave to land the man of your dreams -- it's even more compelling when such wisdom comes from the mouths of dreamy men themselves. That's what I took away from three recent interviews with some of the sexiest men on television: Josh Holloway, star of Lost; and True Blood's Joe Manganiello and Ryan Kwanten.
In an interview with Women's Health under the "What Men Think" column, Holloway (41) serves as perfect spokesman for The Rules by echoing three important themes:
- Don't show that you're interested in marriage: "the worst [is having] baby and bridal magazines" strewn around your apartment.
- Do dress like a CUAO: "The hottest thing is lingerie. The least sexy is baggy sweat pants and a large T-shirt. And granny panties!" (Rules Bonus: If you're going away on your first mini-trip, bring sexy lingerie with tags STILL ON.)
- Don't pressure men about your relationship: Men are happiest when "we're not under pressure of any kind, particularly from our relationship or work."
Joe Manganiello (33) emphasizes the importance of letting men take the lead. For example, on who pays on a date:
"It's very sweet and much appreciated if you offer to pay, but a real man won't let you do it. Men are hunters by nature; we used to drag home dinner for the family to eat. I feel my best when I'm taking care of my woman. I'm old fashioned."
He also emphasizes the importance of postponing sex: "Many guys go straight to the physical stuff in the beginning, but the longer he waits, the clearer it is that he likes you."
Refreshingly, he's not afraid to underscore The Rules take on break-ups -- if he breaks up, it's usually broken, for good. Says Manganiello: "Move on. People just keep bouncing off their exes and wasting each other's time. If you go back, you'll be dealing with the same stuff that drove you apart in the first place."
His co-star, Ryan Kwanten implores women not to open up too fast. In fact, he says the one mistake he sees women making in relationships is "Trying out the 'I love you's' after a week or two [of dating]. You have to give it time before you start [saying that]."
In fact, after two weeks of dating, you shouldn't say "I love you" back even if he says it first -- and of course, YOU should never say it first (think poor Kate Hudson saying ILY first to Lance Armstrong). But Kwanten is raising the larger issue of letting the man discover you -- of letting things unfold slowly.
Says Kwanten: "I like exploring the mystery of a relationship instead of laying it all out on the table in the beginning."
Rules co-authors Sherrie Schneider & Ellen Fein lay this out in Rule #19 ("Don't Open Up Too Fast") and #20 ("Be Honest but Mysterious"). It's good advice whether you've just begun dating someone -- or you're at a social function or work event -- or even if you're being interviewed, for a job, or by the press (think Megan Fox, TMI!).
Doubters may argue that, sure, super-hunks like Josh, Joe & Ryan may appreciate the chase -- and feel manly in paying on dates, taking the lead, and deciphering the cues of the ravishing women they meet -- but what about ordinary male mortals? Don't they need more encouragement? More tit-for-tat?
While it's true that it's all the more important to do bootcamp rules on celebrity men (or the equivalent in terms of super-handsome, rich or powerful catches), the rules work on all men, without exception. Moreover, when you break rules by declaring undying love on date four, or jumping into bed, or picking up the tab, men may stick around for more adulation, sex, or free meals in the short term, but you're just setting yourself up for a bigger fall in the long run. Besides, if your guy really isn't the king-of-the-red-carpet master-of-the-universe, all the more reason to let him feel like a conquering hero in your universe, by letting him win you over, a little at a time.