Former Silicon Valley matchmaker Nichi Hodgson is an expert on the ins and outs of dating in the 21st century. Ms Hodgson has written extensively on sex and relationships for Men’s Health, the Guardian, Vice, GQ, Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, hosted documentaries for the BBC, and authored two books on finding and making love (most recently, The Curious History of Dating: From Jane Austen to Tinder).
Here, the newly-minted communications boss for The Inner Circle, a curated dating app for “successful, ambitious and like-minded singletons,” details the 10 crucial things you need to keep in mind when dating an accomplished woman (though a true gentleman will find much the same rules apply, no matter how high-powered the object of his affections may be).
Be like McQueen. Make the call, man.
10. Demonstrate Phone Etiquette
“What matters to women more than money, looks, or gym-whittled muscles? Manners, that’s what, because in a sea of ghosting and zombie-ing, good digital manners are the ultimate aphrodisiac. Keeping your phone out of sight on dates (unless you’re calling a taxi), responding to texts promptly, even daring to call rather than text to ask her out again will all mark you out as a man of distinction.”
9. Groom, Groom and Groom Again
“If there are no ugly women, only lazy ones, to paraphrase Helena Rubinstein, then the same applies to men — and you will rarely meet a successful man or woman that isn’t well-groomed. Why? Because grooming is both a sign of self-respect and respect for others, which can dramatically improve someone’s perception of you. That means hair, beards, skin, teeth and nails need the best regular attention you can give them. A successful woman will settle for nothing less.”
Even if she's a style expert à la (the cinematic) Coco Chanel here, don't be a helpless man-child — master your sartorial destiny. And ensure your grooming's on point, per the Boy above.
8. Style Yourself
“Women dressing men should be restricted to mums dressing boys. Seriously, do you think a successful woman has time to dress you as well as herself? By all means, shop together and ask for her opinion on your choices, but don’t leave her with the ‘responsibility’ of your style. A modern man takes charge of his own look.”
Like this Eighties Armani alpha female, her time is money — and it's just as important as yours. Be considerate with arrangements.
7. Be Time-Sensitive
“Time is the most precious commodity we all possess, in exactly the same quantity. Yet it’s amazing how many men treat their time as more precious than that of the person they’re dating, focusing on logistics that routinely benefit them. A successful woman will know very well how best to spend her time — which means not always meeting at venues that suit you, not always staying at your place, and never being at your beck and call.”
6. Exhibit World-Awareness
“The most successful women are world-aware. They know what’s happening in the news and the wider community. Quite different to being up to date with trends and gossip, they give the current state of play for other people thought, and have opinions which they are always ready to articulate. So if you date a successful woman, you’ll need to make sure you’ve done your current affairs homework in order to be able to keep up with her.”
5. Treat Her Right
“Successful women may be able to care for themselves better than most, but everyone needs to be treated. That doesn’t necessarily have to mean lavishing her with jewellery, though. Whether it’s getting tickets to her favourite band, or buying her a copy of the book she mentioned she wanted to read, the best treats are things people know they want but don’t get around to organising for themselves. Of course she can do these things for herself but the fact you listened carefully and treated accordingly will be oh-so-appreciated.”
Be a good, attentive listener, let her vent, and steer clear of condescendingly 'mansplaining' how you'd have handled a situation differently. It will not end well.
4. Be a Sounding Board
“Every successful person has their professional frustrations, yet successful women are less frequently able to vent them at work, where they risk being labelled a bitch. So if she wants to let off some steam about her business partner over that first cocktail, step up to the plate by listening thoughtfully. Offer your opinion if she asks for it — but only if she asks for it. And never, ever tell her what she should have done.”
3. Don’t Expect Her to Make All the Decisions
“If she’s successful, she’s probably an ace at making decisions — but fatigued from doing so. The best way to alleviate the stress of being a decision-maker while not coming across as dictatorial, is to first, consult her mood (Thai vs. Mexican?) then make The Plan and, more importantly, The Arrangements. Always have that one bar, restaurant, and home-made supper in your back pocket for the times she’s too tired to even express a preference.”
She's in the driver's seat in her career — take some of the pressure off by co-ordinating date-night plans. Don't be surprised when she steers proceedings in the bedroom, though.
2. Expect Sex with an Engaged Participant
“For a successful woman, sex is never something to be the passive recipient of. A successful woman won’t settle for less than fire in the bedroom — and she’ll have ideas she’ll want to put into place about how best to fan the flames. Be ready to be receptive to these ideas, and work with her to come up with the best, mutually pleasurable choreography the pair of you can create together.”
1. Support Her Success
“Men that are simultaneously attracted to a successful woman and threatened by her — her money, self-assurance and articulacy — are insecure. Don’t be that guy. Instead, be the guy not only proud to be seen on her arm but interested in her future plans and personal development, and supportive of those aspirations. Her success does not come at the expense of yours, after all.”
(Lead image) She's The Boss: Stephanie Zimbalist and Pierce Brosnan in Remington Steele, 1982.