Charm school for men?

Many times I have said that I should start a charm school for men. (And I know men who say they should do this for women.) The challenge is the ones who really need it wouldn’t register.

My friend Ken Braly sent me an interesting article from yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle. In “Charm school for men teaches the art of the pickup, or keeping the conversation (and the kino) going,” writer Reyhan Harmanci discusses a charm school different than the one I’m envisioning. Yes, students get taught the art of conversation and how to keep the discussion 50/50, but it’s all for the purpose of picking up women. It is easier to woo and charm a woman if you have poise, manners and conversational skills. Perhaps that’s how to sell the concept to those who otherwise wouldn’t invest the time and money.

A few months ago I had three dates with an intelligent, funny, attentive, man 13 years my junior. While we enjoyed each others’ company, he drove me crazy by lacking some basic social skills. When he walked five paces in front of me, I had to tell him not to leave me in the dust. He interrupted me, didn’t call when he said he would, didn’t open doors, or other basic gentlemanly acts.

However, he had other positive personality traits, so I considered saying “Let me show you how to get any woman to fall for you.” If he agreed, I would tutor him in basic social skills and chivalrous acts that obviously his parents neglected. But he was gone before we could have that conversation.

Another man, 10 years younger, had also missed rudimentary training. Early in our 6-week relationship, we were dressed up leaving for dinner. I picked up my winter coat. Instead of taking it from me to help me on with it, as many men would, he just looked at me. I said “Do you know how to help a woman on with her coat?” “No.” “Then you’re going to learn.” I walked him through how to do it. Since it seemed we were going to be seeing each other for a while, I wasn’t willing to put up with his lack of manners without saying something.

Although these two examples are of younger men, there is no age limit for those needing a few reminders or hints. When a date does something charming, I comment on how I love it. I’d rather give positive reinforcement than negative, as most people can’t easily handle being told they aren’t doing something right. I feel the same way, but if a guy I’m seeing tells me gently and caringly that what I’m doing isn’t working for him, then I can hear it. So I try to do that with my guys as well.

It really isn’t that hard to be charming — and most women melt when being charmed. But if you aren’t taught and aren’t astute enough to pick it up yourself, you need to learn it from someone. And while some people take charming to a sleazy level, true charmers know the boundaries and don’t overstep them. They are classy and you feel better having had a conversation with them.

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