On the popular dating show "The Bachelorette," twenty-five eligible bachelors compete for the affection - and possibly the hand in marriage - of one woman.
This "reality" show hardly reflects the way real people date, as the contestants live together in a decked-out mansion in Malibu and each outing involves an over-the-top thrill like a helicopter ride, a walk-on role in a Broadway Musical, or a private concert from a popular recording artist. And the most implausible aspect of all? Each of these 20-and-30-somethings is willing, able and eager to get married, no emotional baggage attached!
However, there is one major dating lesson that women can learn from watching the bachelors duke it out for The Final Rose: competition begets commitment.
This season, perky blonde Ali Fedotowsky is looking for love and the dozens of six-pack-sporting men hand-picked (or, rather, cast) for her seem more than happy to give their hearts. But even though these bachelors incessantly claim, episode after episode, that they each feel an "amazing connection" with Ali, is that really possible?
Let's put our collective suspension of disbelief on hold for a minute and say that Kirk, for example, the 27 year old sales-consultant-trapped-in-an-underwear-model's-body, is appearing on The Bachelorette not because he wants to launch his acting career, but because he genuinely wants to find the woman of his dreams and settle down... and he genuinely believes that it's possible to do so while cameras are rolling. And let's go ahead and assume that Ali has lots of the qualities Kirk's looking for in a mate: cute, sparkling personality, good sense of humor, career ambition. Now if they were to bump into each other in line at Starbucks, or were to be set up by a mutual friend, perhaps they would hit it off and a real relationship could develop over time.
But on The Bachelorette, chances are it's not an immediate "connection" Kirk claims to feel so strongly, but rather a cut-throat determination to beat out his handsome counterparts and win the game. And when there are just 10 heart-pounding weeks for Ali to choose a "winner" - 10 weeks filled with Oxytocin-producing adrenaline rushes like bungee jumping and private jets - it's only natural that each contestant would believe he belongs with Ali.
The foundation of my dating advice for women is understanding "Guy-ology," or how a man's biological instincts affect their behavior. Biologically speaking, men's primal instinct is to populate the planet, so most are not wild about the idea of monogamy at the beginning of a new relationship. It often takes another, more powerful, primal male drive - to win at competition - to motivate a man to commit.
In other words, if you really want exclusivity with a man, the best thing you can do is date other people. It seems counter-intuitive, since the last thing women want to do is go out with someone else when they're really into one particular guy. But Mr. Wonderful is much more likely to lock down a commitment with you if he feels threatened another man might steal you away. If he does, you'll have all the time in the world to build - and nurture - a real connection. And if he doesn't, well, no time wasted - you'll still have plenty of other suitors waiting to hand you a rose.