He's a bit of an enigma. The man sings love songs, yet we rarely hear much about his personal life. He's confident on stage but sometimes shy and reserved face-to-face. He's the object of desire for legions of women across the world, and he must be aware of that, but he's happily married. He swears he's not a romantic, but the very next minute he's telling you a story about the song he wrote about a girl he used to see on the subway at age 14 who he fell in love with from afar but never quite got the nerve to talk to.
Just who IS Jordan Knight?
A few days ago, I asked my readers and followers to submit their most burning questions they wanted the male perspective on ... without telling them that Jordan would be the male perspective.
Since the only thing possibly MORE mysterious than Jordan is the male mind itself, it seemed to make sense that by asking Jordan to weigh in on some of things that puzzle women most about men, perhaps the other mystery -- Jordan himself -- would be solved.
* * * * * *
My phone rings promptly at the time Jordan and I had agreed upon for the interview (a rarity in the business). It's snowing in Boston, he says. "My son thinks he made it snow," he continues. "He told me this morning, 'Daddy, I wished for snow last night and it snowed!'" He laughs, sounding less like the lead singer of one of the most successful boybands of all time and platinum solo artist and more like a proud papa.
He's on his way to rehearsal for his upcoming solo tour, "Jordan Knight: Live & Unfinished," which will be hitting a series of handpicked cities across North America over the next couple of months. After a wildly successful summer tour with NKOTB, where they teamed up with Backstreet Boys to create supergroup NKOTBSB, Jordan says as much as he loves his band of brothers, he's excited, if a little nervous, to fly solo again.
"With solo shows, there's a self satisfaction," he explains. "You feel really accomplished, like 'Man, I'm doing this by myself!' With a group, you feel like you're part of something a lot bigger. It feels like a brotherhood. For me, both are necessary."
With an overwhelmingly female audience, it's not unusual to think that Jordan might have picked up a word of wisdom or two along the way for the fairer sex. What is unusual was the candor and genuineness with which he spoke. Within minutes I felt like I was getting advice from one of my guy friends rather than interviewing Jordan Knight.
The popularity of the book and the movie "He's Just Not That Into You" (which Jordan hasn't read or seen but said he was familiar with) has left many women wondering: Are relationships and love REALLY as black and white as they seem?
It was time to find out.
TheSingleWoman: As women, society and our moms and friends and the movies always teach us that guys only "pick on girls they like." Is this true, or is it actually the opposite?
JK: I think there's truth to that. Sometimes when two people are fighting, it's kind of like there's some kind of tension there. Why would somebody really even care to fight with you or pick on you if they didn't care? I think if they didn't pick at you, it means they're not interested in you. Sometimes you try to get a person's attention by being an irritant.
TheSW: Well, then, that aside .. .how does a woman know if a guy is REALLY into her?
JK: Little things. Like, is he asking about your life? Is he in tune with your life? Does he really genuinely take time to talk about your life? If you're spending time trying to make him care, then he isn't into you. He's into himself. I think all ladies need to know the secret, though. The way to make somebody into you is to stop trying to get them to be into you. If they're not into you, do your own thing. Hang out with your friends. Everybody wants what they can't get.
TheSW: So there's truth to the whole "hard to get" theory. Men like it when women play hard to get?
JK: If you're always trying to pull something out of the guy, you create exactly what you don't want. You're going to get exactly what you see wrong with that person. It's human nature. Women don't like guys who do that, either. If a guy's always nagging you or being jealous or checking in on you and acting insecure, you're not gonna want anything to do with that guy. You want a guy who has his own thing going on. It's not a man or "Don't want what you can't get. Let the other person want what he CAN'T get" woman thing. It's a human thing. We all want what we can't get. Don't want what you can't get. Let the other person want what he CAN'T get. Be ungettable and you shall get.
TheSW: That said, who should be the one to initiate the date -- the man or the woman? Do men like it when a woman asks them out, or does it take away the "thrill of the chase?"
JK: I think it's great when a girl asks a guy out. I don't see any problem with that. I don't think guys do, either. Women think, "I could never do that. He might think I'm too forward." But I think a girl can ask a guy out, as long as you're not overly serious about it, like "It has to happen. There has to be a positive outcome." Don't be too hung up on the outcome. Don't be serious with it. If it's you just casually calling "Hey, I'm gonna be here with some friends. Join us if you want." Keep it light and you can initiate the meet-up.
TheSW: Speaking of "the thrill of the chase," why does it seem like as soon as a guy "catches" a girl, he loses interest?
JK: It goes back to everybody wants what they can't get. You should always make yourself a little unattainable. Of course, at some point that has to come to an end. But if you think love and a man is going to provide you with everlasting happiness, that's not the greatest attitude. If a man sees that without him, you're gonna be fine and you're gonna live a happy life, I think that's attractive. Don't just sit at home waiting for the guy. You have to have your own thing going on, not wait on somebody else to provide you happiness in your life. You've gotta provide happiness for yourself first, and then other people are going to want to join the party.
TheSW: So what's sexier for the woman to wear to the party? Jeans and a t-shirt, or a LBD?
JK: Both. Don't be looking ragged ladies, don't do it! (Laughs) Men like women who are put together. No doubt about that. But you can still have it going on and have it together in a t-shirt and jeans. That is very sexy. If you can rock both, that's great.
TheSW: So let's say at this party, a guy asks for a girl's number but never calls. What does this mean?
JK: He could have lost the number, he could have been interested at the time but now he's distracted ... there are many different things. Maybe he's scared or nervous to call. Or he could be just not that into you. There is truth to the "just not that into you" phenomenon. The more you accept that, the better off you are. Move on. Don't think of striking out as a failure, or somebody not calling you as a failure...it's just another step in finding somebody. Don't fear rejection. Don't put so much emphasis on it. It just may not be the right time or the right person. So what?
TheSW: What about the serial texters, who never call, but always text?
JK: If a guy's into you, I would think he would wanna hear your voice and enjoy talking to you. You can only get so much out of texting. Plus, is he only texting you at 2:30 in the morning on a Friday night? If you're only getting booty calls, you have to decide if that's enough for you.
TheSW: Is chivalry dead?
JK: I don't think chivalry is dead. I do think you teach people how to treat you. You carry yourself in a certain way, people are going to treat you a certain way. Holding a door for a woman, little things like that...I don't think that's dead. I like doing that kind of stuff just because it makes me feel good, and it shows my wife that I love her.
TheSW: A lot of ladies asked "How do you know when you've met The One?" How did you know?
JK: It's kinda like...you just know. It's almost like if you have to ask the question, maybe you haven't met the one. In my case, I just felt like I could be myself. I felt like I didn't have to worry about down the road ... does this person like me for frivolous reasons or because I have money or because I'm famous? I didn't have to worry about all of that. It's just an intuition ... how do you feel around that person? I felt calm and safe. If you're always on edge and you're always worried, then that's probably a good sign that it's not 'The One.'
TheSW: Do you believe in love at first sight?
JK: I believe in love at first sight, sure ... but love over time has to be nurtured. You have to grow with that person, you have to grow yourself, and your love will grow. It's not as easy as love at first sight if you wanna go long term. It's not gonna be as easy as 'The Honeymoon Stage' for the rest of your life. There are gonna be challenges for sure. There is no eternal bliss in love. To have a long-lasting loving relationship, you have to look at yourself and you have to see where you're going wrong instead of trying to change the other person. I think that's the only way to have a relationship. Don't overestimate your ability to change another person and don't underestimate your ability to change yourself. If you're always focusing on changing yourself, the relationship will keep getting better. If you're focusing on changing the other person, the relationship will stay stuck.
TheSW: Well, let's say the couple doesn't make it past the Honeymoon Stage. In that case, do you think it's possible to be friends with an ex?
JK: I guess anything's possible, but ask yourself the question: Why are you trying to be friends with your ex? Let's be honest, folks. Are you just trying to get the ex back? Let's not lie to ourselves. If you have a boyfriend and you're telling your boyfriend "My ex is just my friend," just make a choice between the two and go one way or the other. (Laughing.) Why torture all of us?
TheSW: That begs the question: Can men and women ever be "just friends"?
JK: I think to a certain degree, yes, but when there's a guy and a girl saying, "No, we're just friend, we're just friends," one of the two is interested in the other one. They guy might be saying "We're just friends," but the girl might be hoping it's more than that, or vice versa. Any time any of my friends say, "I'm just friends with that girl," I'm thinking "Well, YOU may think so." (Laughs)
TheSW: Women dream of the perfect "fairytale ending." Do men have similar thoughts about love?
JK: If you think of a "fairytale wedding" ... it's really just a moment in time. It's like getting an award and thinking: "My life will be perfect once I get this award." There's so much more than just that one little moment in life. You have to live your LIFE. Once you hit that moment, it's not going to make you happy for the rest of your life. Happiness is in everyday life. That's why I titled my album "Unfinished." It's not about the end. It's about the process. Did you do it the best way you knew how at the time? Don't just think about the platinum award hanging on your wall. Think about whether or not you had fun doing it. Life is a work in progress and people are a work in progress.
TheSW: Any final words of wisdom for single women?
JK: When I was in the 8th grade, I would take the train to school, and for the whole school year, there was a girl that got off the train before I did ... so I would see her on the train for like 4 stops. I always thought she was really gorgeous. I would fantasize about us being on the train alone and talking, lovey dovey kind of fantasies. I never got up the courage to talk to her. I wrote a song about it called "I Wish." So there are guys who are shy. Don't be afraid to initiate. It's a scary thing because we all fear rejection ... but you can take the rejection. It's not the worst thing in the world. You can't worry about what the other person is going to think of you, how nervous you are, or if you'll look like a fool. It's better to make a fool of yourself than to always wonder. Bottom line, if you love and respect yourself, love's gonna chase you. It's gonna follow you. Loving and accepting yourself comes first. Men will see that and know it instinctually, and they'll wanna be a part of that. They'll wanna be a part of that party.
* * * * * *
Jordan Knight is currently touring the U.S. on his "Live & Unfinished" tour. To learn more about the man behind the answers and to see if he's coming to a city near you, visit www.JordanKnight.com.