Men Are From Mars …

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I’m really excited to introduce Charly Lester to my blog, the go to girl when it comes to dating in the capital and here to give us some insightful tips on what she has learnt about the difference between men and women when it comes to dating … 

This time last year, when I first began my ’30 Dates’ journey I thought I understood guys.

I was always closer to my Dad growing up than I was to my Mum. I played boys’ sports, and was a tomboy in my early years. In my teens, when my parents died, it was a male friend’s family who I moved in with, and I’m still very close to him, his father, and his older brother. If I think about my closest friends, I have just as many male friends as female, despite having attended all girls’ schools. And I’ve always been a relatively “normal” girl when it comes to boyfriends and dating.

When I set myself up to go on 30 blind dates with complete strangers, in the run up to my 30th birthday, I knew I might learn some lessons. And yet I never once thought those lessons might be about men.

The thing I’ve realised about women, and particularly single women, is that we take certain things for granted about men. Often we expect them to react to situations in the same way we do. And when it comes to certain aspects of dating and relationships, men and women don’t always think the same way.

In other ways, we make allowances. We convince ourselves that men behave differently to us, and that the reason a man isn’t reacting to matters of the heart in same way that we do, is because he’s male.

Unfortunately both these attitudes can be dangerous in the dating world. Because essentially you’re dealing with a stranger. And until you know him properly, a lot of your interpretation of his behavior will be based on preconceptions.

As a relatively savvy, normal, single girl, I thought I’d share with you the most valuable lessons about men, that I’ve learned firsthand this year.

1) Guys do worry about stuff as much as we do

Everyone gets first date nerves when they’re meeting someone they think they might like. And that includes guys. I’ve spoken to just as many single guys about first dates as I have to women, and if anything they feel more pressure – because often the onus is on them to choose the setting. They won’t necessarily admit it to their friends, but they’re just as nervous and excited as you are … so cut them some slack.

2) Men like to play the part

This is a tough one in today’s society, particularly if you’re an especially outgoing and dominant girl, but let the man play his role – particularly in the first couple of dates. Wait to be asked out – don’t force it. If a guy likes you enough, he will ask you out. Hand over some of the ‘power’ and let him arrange the date. And when it comes to paying for the bill, always offer, but let him pay if he insists. There will be plenty of other opportunities for you to choose or pay.

3) Don’t share a bed with a guy unless you plan on having sex with him

I know why you’re doing it. God, I’ve done it tens of times – thinking it was the next step of intimacy. I wanted a cuddle. I wanted to wake up in someone’s arms. To kiss him late into the night.

But men don’t read that situation the same. The moment you invite a man into your bed, he assumes you want to have sex. And if you don’t, the act becomes a rejection. Driving him away instead of bringing him closer.

4) Don’t have sex with someone on a first date, if you want to see him again

I hate this one, because I hate the way it only seems to ‘reflect’ on the girl. But it really is true! Yes, there will always be a couple of exceptions, but for the most part it does ring true. I know we live in 2014, and that women enjoy sex just as much as men do, but guys enjoy the chase a lot more than we do. And unfortunately if you jump into bed with a guy on the first night (no matter how good it is), it’s unlikely you’ll get a second date.

5) If a guy is really into you, he’ll make the effort.

This is something it took me a long time to understand. I was constantly making excuses for guys. I knew they reacted differently to things than I did, but I’ve seen the way men behave when they really want something. And they’re just the same as us. If a guy really likes you – you’ll know. If a man really wants to be with you, you shouldn’t have to make any excuses for him.

Tough lessons to learn them, but I promise, once you take them onboard, you’ll start looking at dating and relationships in a whole different way.

Charly Lester writes The 30 Dates Blog. She is the editor of the Guardian Soulmates blog, and one half of the Go To Girls for Dating – dating experts offering advice and workshops to London singles. You can contact her at charly@30datesblog.com or on Twitter @30Dates.

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