The Gym Reaper And Ladies Who Hunch

MidWeek (Hawaii) - - Front Page - Amy Alkon

This an­noy­ing guy at my gym keeps ask­ing me out. I’m al­ways po­lite, say­ing, “Would love to, but sorry, I’m re­ally busy.” And then I move to an­other part of the gym. I’d go at a dif­fer­ent time, but un­for­tu­nately, he’s al­ways there in the hours I can work out. What should I say so he gets the hint and leaves me alone? —

There are peo­ple — some of them men — who won’t take no for an an­swer. But you haven’t tried no — or any of the vari­a­tions: “Nuh-uh,” “Are you crazy?” or “The only way you’re ever get­ting into my pants is if you’re try­ing on la- dies cloth­ing at Good­will.”

Women have a ten­dency to be hinty and in­di­rect in telling a guy they aren’t in­ter­ested. As per­sonal se­cu­rity ex­pert Gavin de Becker puts it in The Gift of Fear: “Re­ject­ing women of­ten say less than they mean,” and “men of­ten hear less than what is said.”

Re­search by evo­lu­tion­ary psy­chol­o­gists Mar­tie Hasel­ton and David Buss sug­gests that men evolved to be poor guessers about women’s sex­ual in­ter­est in them — erring on the side of as­sum­ing a woman’s in­ter­ested when they have no de­fin­i­tive sign that she isn’t. As Buss ex­plains, the likely per­cep­tion bias,” leads men “to be­lieve that a woman is sex­u­ally in­ter­ested in them in re­sponse to am­bigu­ous cues such as a smile or go­ing to a bar alone,” and thus func­tions to keep men from “miss­ing sex­ual op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

You don’t have to be cruel, but some­thing a lit­tle more hope-crush­ing than “I’d love to” would be a start. Say­ing you’re “busy” doesn’t cut it, as it sug­gests that all that’s keep­ing the guy from get­ting into your lady-busi­ness are

The most ef­fec­tive re­jec­tion is di­rect — like this one I sug­gested in Good Man­ners for Nice Peo­ple Who Some­times Say F*ck: “Thanks so much. I’m re­ally flat­tered, but I’m sorry to say that I’m just not in­ter­ested.” It sug­gests that you be­lieve the per­son you’re re­ject­ing has some mer­its, as op­posed to what may ac­tu­ally be the truth: “I would rather be pecked to death by an­gry hens than have sex with you.”

This hot guy I met on­line lied about his height. We got to­gether, and I’m like 3 inches taller than he is. That doesn’t bother me, but I’m wor­ried that his height is a source of in­se­cu­rity for him (since he lied about it on his —

You can’t al­ways find your one and only, but you can some­times find your three-quar­ters and only. While there are breast men, leg men, butt men, and even toe men, in fe­male pref­er­ences for men’s ap­pear­ance, across cul­tures, there’s one thing that re­ally mat­ters, and it’s height. (Guilty: I’ve joked about get­ting one of those amuse­ment park signs to post over my bed, “Must be this tall to ride this ride.”)

Re­search by evo­lu­tion­ary so­cial psy­chol­o­gist Gert Stulp sug­gests that women, in gen be taller than the man they’re with and pre­fer to be sub­stan­tially shorter (ideally a whole 8 inches shorter; so, say, 5-foot6 to a man’s 6-foot-2). As for why women evolved to pre­fer taller men, though be­ing tall doesn’t al­ways mean be­ing stronger (and thus bet­ter able to pro­tect a woman), tall­ness points to phys­i­cal health.

How­ever, a short man isn’t nec­es­sar­ily short on self­worth. Ac­cord­ing to Stulp and his col­leagues, shorter men’s dis­sat­is­fac­tion with their height seem linked to the gen­eral pref­er­ence by women for taller men.

This makes sense, con­sid­er­ing how bad it feels to know all that at­trac­tive. But since that isn’t a prob­lem here, let him know. And you might also keep in mind that good things do, as they say, “come in small pack­ages”: gum, Shet­land ponies … and, hey, Ron Jeremy is a short dude. (Uh, not all over.)

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