Sex is Strategic, and So Should You Be

When hookup culture seems as common as dodging potholes on the road to romance, there’s a glaring mismatch in the emotional wish lists of men and women.

Jamie Callan doesn’t mince words in “Hooking Up or Holding Out: The Smart Girl’s Guide to Driving Men Crazy and/or Finding True Love.” She paints a vivid representation of desires at odds, like a chess game where one player is armed with a queen and the other is juggling three pawns and a misguided knight.

In this corner of the ring, we have women, the purveyors of courtship and connection, longing for a love that’s more sonnet than sext. And in the opposite corner, men, often portrayed as the hunters, armed with nothing more than a ‘Hey, you up?’ text at 2 a.m. It’s a mismatch that would make even Cupid hang up his bow in dismay.

“Here’s what he wants:  to have sex with you.

Here’s what you want:  to be courted, adored, wooed, admired, listened to, understood, wooed some more, forgiven for your foibles, your little peccadilloes, chased, called, pleaded with, cared for, kissed, loved and to have great sex.

You see the problem here?  We want more stuff than they want.”

Jamie Callan, Hooking Up or Holding Out:  The Smart Girl’s Guide to Driving Men Crazy and/or Finding True Love

The current swipe-right scene is a bit like a fast-food joint for romance – quick, easy, and leaves you hungry an hour later. It’s a playing field skewed by a supply-and-demand that’s not doing many favors for the ladies who are looking for lasting relationships. Men are in it for the thrill of the chase and the catch, while women are handing out Michelin-star experiences at drive-thru prices. But why are women playing the game with a losing hand?

It’s all about strategy – or the lack thereof. Since the dawn of time, humans have been strategic about love and war, often confusing the two. Men and women are wired to want different things, but when the “market” demands it, it’s adapt or be single. Right now, women are unwittingly co-signing men’s preferred terms and conditions, and let’s be honest, the terms are more confusing than a Facebook privacy update.

Navigating Love and Hookups with a Business Mindset

As a freelance writer navigating the competitive currents of the digital media and publishing world, I’ve come to realize the peculiar parallels between building a successful career and navigating the choppy waters of modern dating. Every day, I find myself browsing through myriad opportunities I see on LinkedIn, pitching my skills, and yes, often being ghosted or passed over for another candidate, much like the experience that follows a seemingly promising date. In this relentless quest, I’ve learned to adapt, understanding the nuances of the industry, presenting myself not just as a writer but as a valuable asset, a necessity for survival and growth.

When I do land a job, it’s a game of constant adaptation and strategy, a need to stay relevant, to evolve, and to anticipate the next trend or shift in the industry (looking at you, AI). It’s a continuous hustle, much like the pursuit of a lasting relationship in the age of fleeting connections. In both worlds, success hinges on understanding the landscape, recognizing opportunities, and presenting yourself as a compelling choice.

This experience in the business world has given me a unique lens through which to view the dilemma of modern dating. It begs the question: Could the same strategic planning and adaptability required to succeed in business be applied to the dating scene?

I believe it’s worth exploring the overlapping fundamentals of how a business mindset can be a powerful tool in navigating the dating marketplace. We could dissect the tactics, the positioning, and the art of selling yourself – not necessarily in a transactional sense, but as a way of maximizing your chances of finding genuine connection and success.

As someone with a strategist’s lens on life and love, I’ve learned to not just survive but thrive by understanding the rules of the game and, when necessary, rewriting them. This approach, I believe, can be just as effective in the world of dating. By applying a business-like strategy to relationships, we can better understand what we’re up against and build custom approaches to not just participate in the game, but to master and excel in it.

Strategy Outline: The Business of Dating and Vice Versa

I. Market Research and Self-Assessment

  • Business: Understand your industry, identify your niche, know your competition.
  • Dating: Know your preferences, understand what you offer and what you seek in a partner.

II. Brand Development and Personal Presentation

  • Business: Create a unique value proposition; how do you stand out from competitors?
  • Dating: Develop a sense of self-awareness and confidence. Present yourself authentically.

III. Networking and Outreach

  • Business: Build professional connections, attend industry events, engage on social media.
  • Dating: Socialize, use dating apps wisely, attend social events, expand your social circle.

IV. Communication Skills

  • Business: Clear, concise, and effective communication. Tailor your message to the audience.
  • Dating: Be open, honest, and engaging in conversations. Practice active listening and direct communication.

V. Negotiating and Setting Boundaries

  • Business: Understand your worth and negotiate accordingly. Set clear boundaries.
  • Dating: Communicate your needs and boundaries clearly. Respect your values and standards.

VI. Adaptability and Learning

  • Business: Be open to feedback, adapt to market changes, and be willing to learn and grow.
  • Dating: Be open to different perspectives, learn from past relationships, adapt as you grow.

VII. Long-term Planning and Goal Setting

  • Business: Set clear, achievable goals. Have a vision for where you want to be in the future.
  • Dating: Understand what you want in a long-term relationship. Don’t settle for less.

VIII. Risk Management and Handling Rejection

  • Business: Calculate risks, have contingency plans. Handle rejection as a learning opportunity.
  • Dating: Don’t fear taking chances. Learn from rejection without letting it diminish your self-worth.

IX. Sustaining Relationships and Client Management

  • Business: Maintain relationships with clients through regular check-ins and value addition.
  • Dating: Nurture the relationship through continuous effort, communication, and shared experiences.

X. Evaluation and Reflective Practice

  • Business: Regularly review and assess business strategies and outcomes.
  • Dating: Reflect on your dating experiences. Understand what works and what needs change.

Remember, this isn’t just about outsmarting the dating algorithms or playing cupid with a calculator. It’s about finding that sweet spot where strategy meets soul, where your head and heart are both in the game. In the world of love, as in business, there’s no one-size-fits-all blueprint. It’s a bespoke journey, tailor-made to your unique desires and quirks.

So, here’s my invitation to you: Let’s not just navigate this adventure alone. If my insights as a strategic thinker resonate with you, I’m here to collaborate, to brainstorm, and to offer guidance. Together, we can devise a plan that honors who you are and what you truly seek in the world of love and relationships.

Whether in love or life, the best strategies are those that embrace authenticity and foster meaningful connections. So, drop me a line, throw in your two cents, or just say hi. In this madcap world of modern romance, it’s always better when we ride shotgun together, turning strategies into stories worth telling.

Until next time,

Ash Pariseau

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