Recently I published my latest book A Beginner’s Guide to Women. The title alone is an audacious statement but it is what it has to be. America is in trouble. Our divorce rate is sky high and, if the headlines of today’s popular magazines are any indication, Americans seem to be unable to maintain satisfying, lasting relationships.
I revealed my book at a party I recently attended. The reaction to the title was remarkably different for males and females. Women were shocked and said so while the men were expressionless. Upon reading a few snippets, the ladies all had something to say about the contents but the men remained chiseled and unresponsive.
This event was a great help to me because it challenged me to defend what I had written. The beginning of all marketing campaigns for a writer is learning what to say when asked why someone should buy his/her book? My answer is that men need to stop trying to understand women and to start paying more attention to what they are saying with words as well as through body language.
I have come to the conclusion that women are incredibly complex. I didn’t learn this in school or from a book, I learned this by dancing tango.
I have always been awkward around women. After three years of tango I was finally able to embrace a woman and feel certain she wasn't anxiously waiting for the song to end. Talking to other tangueros, I found that three year period was pretty much the norm. Five years is the accepted length of time for a man to finally be able to lead a tango dance successfully.
There's a reason for this. A woman needs to feel free while she’s dancing. She also needs to know that you will support her if she stumbles and that you are communicating effectively through your physical points of contact. Acquiring these skills takes a great deal of time and effort. Learning how to fly a plane takes considerably less time.
Men tend to think of holding a woman the same way they think of holding a football: hold tightly and don’t let anyone rip it from your hands. Newsflash! WOMEN ARE NOT FOOTBALLS.
It is my opinion that men try too hard to understand women. Women are doing everything they can just to try and understand themselves; there’s no way that you, a man, is ever going to do that. Tango teaches us that understanding is not necessary, only that we listen to the music and try to move together in harmony.
So many times have I witnessed a new tanguero writing down everything that is being said during a tango workshop instead of paying attention to every word the instructor is saying. He does this because life has taught him that success in school and at work comes from taking good notes. However, getting along with a woman is not work, nor is it a test: it is an absolute necessity.
When I talked to the women at the party about my book. I told them that it instructs men to listen and to pay close attention to body language when dealing with a member of the opposite sex. Their responses spoke volumes though they uttered very few words. As soon as I said this, they immediately nodded their heads in approval and turned around to look for their men. This told me that what I was saying was something they felt was absolutely critical to the success of their relationship and that it had to be addressed immediately.
Dancing tango has taught me not only to read my partner’s body language but to also be aware of the messages I am inadvertently sending through my own physical demeanor. First and foremost is personal hygiene. How you look and smell speaks volumes to a lady. Second, all facial expressions and audible tones are taken by your partner as either insults or compliments and to a higher degree than if you had actually used words to deliver the same message.
These are all superficial things that you could easily learn from Ann Landers or Dear Abby. What I reveal in my book are the more complicated facets of a woman’s behavior, such as something called slut-shaming or her linear mental process or how much effort is really needed in order to be romantic.
In today's high-tech, up-to-the-minute journalism, very little attention is being paid to these topics and I am doing something to rectify the situation. It is a risky stance for me to take but I feel it is a stand worth making. I’m certain I’ve made mistakes but that is okay because I know that life is like a tango where there are no mistakes, only attempts at spontaneous choreography to the rhythms of our society. I feel as if American culture is somehow off-balance and I am making an effort to correct that.
My book is available on Amazon and on Kindle. If you care about this country you live in and the state of affairs in the relationships between men and women, I asked that you forward this post to a place where it can be read by others. Maybe it is a time for us all to take a stand for how we treat each other, to stop over-analyzing why people do things and to begin working for positive results instead of simply increasing the amount of information we’ve gathered.
Here is a link to my book: