Monday

THE IRONMAN IS PERSISTANT

Long about now, I'm sure some of you are wondering how an Ironman wins a woman who seems to be disinterested in him. After all, if the Ironman is relentlessly cool, strong, if he resists calling when he feels desperate to call, if he never begs nor pleads for a date, how on earth is he ever going to get a date with a woman who rejects his first or second advance.

Good question. In certain ways Ironmanness and pursuing a hard- to-get woman do seem a contradiction. But the truth is, once you fully understand what it is to be an Ironman, once you feel like an Ironman deep inside you, you will know that there is an Ironman way to do almost anything. You will simply ask yourself, What is the Ironman way to accomplish this? How would an Ironman approach it? Even tasks that somehow seem weak or compromising by their very nature, like borrowing money, or asking for help or affection, can be approached and often accomplished in an Ironman fashion.

The one underlying point you must keep in mind is that there is nothing inherently shameful or pathetic about wanting a woman who doesn't want you. That's life. Attraction is often, at least at first, chemical, instinctual. Just as there are some women who turn you off and some women you're attracted to, there will be some women who are drawn to the way you look, the way you act and talk and stand and smell, as well as others who find you totally bland or unappealing.

You may, of course, decide that if a woman isn't drawn to you, why fight it? There are millions of other ones out there, many of whom will quite naturally be attracted to you. On the other hand, what if there's a girl out there who appeals to you tremendously and yet has no interest in you whatsoever?

I submit that you're very decision not to give up, not to take no for an answer, is the very stuff of which Ironmen are made and in many ways most constitutes Ironmanness. For the very essence of being an Ironman is getting what you want out of life, not what life happens to shuffle your way.

So, without further ado, here's how an Ironman goes after a woman who appears to have absolutely no desire to go out with him. He simply calls back a week or two later and asks her out again ~ not defensively, not referencing his previous rejection -- but proudly and straightforwardly. "Hey, Ellen, how are you? I've got two tickets to the Bulls game Friday and I'd love to have you join me."

If she again turns you down ~ "Sorry, Bill, but I have a date that night." -- you simply say something like, "No problem, just thought you'd enjoy it." Sound confident, happy, upbeat, never peevish, only mildly disappointed. Maybe she really does have a date.

Call back a week or two later. Again without referencing your previous rejection. After all, you're an Ironman. You've got a thick hide. You know you're worthy, desireable. Furthermore, you're the opposite of paranoid. You don't think she's making up excuses so as not to go out with you. You simply called a day or two later than the other guy.

If she still says, no, call back again. This time don't wait as long. Call back a day or two later. You just got tickets to Miss Saigon which has recently come to town. Or the Symphony. Propose dates that are classy, substantial, that she might really want to go to despite her not being all that turned on by you. Make them events that reflect your worldliness, good taste, financial wherewithal. And if she still says she's busy, why then call back again. A week or two weeks or a month later. Remember, the Ironman is persistent.

Consider this. If she hadn't been aware of your existence, she certainly will be now, even if, to some extent, negatively. She'll know you're someone to contend with, someone who doesn't give up easily, someone with a healthy enough ego to take a few hits and still come back with a smile on his face. These are all characteristics women value in a man for, at least on an unconscious level, a woman knows that a strong resilient man is more likely to be a good wage earner and someone who will stick around for awhile.

Okay, what happens if, on your sixth call, the woman tells you very directly that she's not attracted to you and has no interest in going out with you. Is now the time to fold your tent, fall apart, babble an apology for having bothered her, blow up and call her a bitch, slam down the phone? No, no, a thousand times, no. You simply respond,

"I'm sorry you feel that way because I'm tremendously attracted to you. Of course, I don't want to be perceived as a nuisance, but this is not a feeling that's going to disappear easily. I want you to know that at least for the near future there's a good, strong, capable man out there who would love to spend some time with you. Keep that in mind. If you're ever feeling harrassed or lonely or bored out of your mind, just give me a call and we'll grab dinner or a movie together, or I'll just be a good listener over the phone to whatever's ailing you."

If this is a woman you work with or see around your neighborhood, don't turn away the next time you see here. Remember, you're the Ironman. Rejection doesn't hurt you. It's part of life, water off a duck's back. Inside you know you're a person of great value who any woman in her right mind would die to go out with. You're clean, fit, loyal, generous, honest, trustworty ~ not a drug dealer or user, not an alcoholic nor wife beater, not psychotic nor mentally disturbed, not a womanizer, not suffering from any dreaded sexually transmitted disease. You don't have a criminal record, aren't bankrupt, or illiterate or in this country illegally.

I mention all this because the scenario of phone calls we've just gone through — and, of course, I don't intend for you to use them word for word — will accomplish the following: It will let the woman know you exist. That you're crazy about her (this alone is an aphrodisiac for many women). That you're straightforward and honest. That you're brave. That you're polite. That you're not dangerous. That you're mature.

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