| || || | AS ONE of the eternally single women in this country I think I've probably tried every conceivable method to bag myself a decent man — from internet dating to speed dating to blind dating (not a good idea). So I was delighted when the opportunity arose to interview Isabel Losada, who I thought might have the solution to my problem, seeing as her new book is called — Men! Forget the Fiction! Where are all the interesting and available men?
Losada, a fiery Londoner, was married, had a child and divorced at a young age and has since been on the lookout for a guy who could satisfy her intellectually. But it has proved a harder task than she thought.
Realising she knew hundreds of beautiful, intelligent, successful women in their thirties who were unable to find an interesting, available man, she took it upon herself to seek out where all the corresponding guys were hiding.
Her definition of an interesting man is “one who, when you meet him, you know that you'd like to have dinner with him and having done so, you're glad you did and you'd like to see him again. An available guy is one who is not married, living with a partner or in any relationship which another woman believes to be long term and monogamous.”
She adds he should also “preferably not have any major dysfunctions; not be addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling, train spotting; and not be a football fanatic. And of course we would like them heterosexual, and most of my friends prefer non-smokers,” she says. Is this too much to ask? Apparently so.
Losada started off her journey to find an interesting man thinking that maybe single women were hanging out in the wrong places.
“I know that far too many women are spending their weekends doing yoga, tai chi, meditation, workshops of many different kinds, all of which are very fascinating, but they cannot have failed to notice that the guys aren't there. So I thought I'll throw myself into all male environments, some of them there have to be interesting.”
So, Losada jumped head first into the world of men, spending time on building sites lugging bricks, hanging with bikers learning to ride a Harley, driving 4x4s on a stag weekend, mixing with the testosterone at the stock exchange, all the while studying and trying to befriend them. “It was successful in that I spent a lot of time listening to men talking about women. We are accused of being needy, manipulative, whining, nagging, emasculating, demanding, suffering from a plethora of emotional problems, 99 per cent of which are created in our own heads. Basically, in short, women are hard work.”
And what she discovered men want is “a woman in their life who is happy, preferably with her clothes off, who wants to make love a lot when they come home from a hard day at work.”
It seems some men regard hanging out with women hard work. “They just want to relax and have an easy time with the lads and the last thing they want to do is try and figure out these obscure difficult creatures called women.”
On her quest for answers Losada learnt from Professor Simon-Baron Cohen, author of The Essential Difference (and cousin of Sacha), what we all suspected — that male and female brains are different. “The male brain has a main drive towards systemising. Most men are interested in how the computer works whereas most women don't care how the computer works. The main drive in the female brain is towards empathy.
“A minority of men have a higher level of empathy or are more balanced between the two, so those guys are the ones that are more interesting to women because they have more interesting conversations. And those are the men that get snatched up earlier, marry sooner and are more able to sustain good relationships because they are better at relating to women.
“So, when women say all the good ones are taken it's not a stupid complaint, it's actually a fact. The good ones ARE taken and are most likely to stay taken because they're better at relating to women.”
There is some hope for Irishmen, however. “If you think of an Irishman you always think of a man who's charming, funny, kissed the Blarney stone, warm, open, friendly and good looking, that's the stereotype. But I think, on the whole, Irishmen are less afraid of women than Englishmen are.” Please note Losada has never lived here with Irishmen.
She leaves me with a little motivational rhyme: “If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always got. If you want something different you've got to (pause and shout the last line), do something different!”
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at MetroSexual LA