Applied mathematicians studying dating is about as likely to deliver credible results as gorillas solving quadratic equations.
That's what I conclude at least after reading about this mathematical model created by researchers at University College London to explore the role of gift-giving in courtship.
A team of applied mathematicians created a sequential calculation as a model of dating... The researchers assigned points to an array of courtship behaviors, including gift-giving. The computer considered the hypothetical facts, mulled over a few variables and calculated which behaviors would result in the highest score for the imaginary male or female dater.
The researchers varied the type of gift the man could give. (Political correctness aside, it was a given that the man was the pursuer and gift-giver.)
So you had a choice of worthless, valuable or extravagant gifts.
Valuable gifts = diamonds for example. Items with usefulness or resale value
Extravagant gifts = dinner at a fancy restaurant, tickets to a Broadway show or a moonlit serenade. The value of these gifts was just in the experience.
The model showed that extravagant gifts had the highest score for both men and women. This was interpreted to mean: women feel confident that they have found a strong and committed mate when they receive an extravagant gift. And men avoid gold-diggers by giving only gifts that have no intrinsic value.
Hmm. I can see a whole lot of guys go bingo! We knew it. Women want rich guys who can spoil them, no wonder we never make any progress..
But let me just point out a few problems with this mathematical model. Especially if you're in one of those common (for Indian men especially!) situations where you've been secretly infatuated with this girl who barely knows you exist on the planet. Or perhaps knows you, but only as an acquaintance or friend.
Extravagant will not only NOT work in this situation it will have the poor girl running off in the opposite direction. Getting 100 red roses from someone you barely know on Valentine's Day is flattering to a girl only if SHE also has some feelings for you. Just the roses or the dinner won't trigger those feelings.
So an extravagant gift will work fine if you're IN a relationship. Otherwise, if you ask me, the 'worthless' gift variety which the researchers simply overlook could be more potent.
The best kind of worthless gifts are those which involve effort, not money. They indicate you care about the other person, that "I'm there for you".
Sometimes just being emotionally available is a gift. Helping someone with a difficult decision or problem can be a gift (though you should offer advice only if you're asked to). Offering to drop her home if it's late is a gift (she may not accept but your offering to do so will be noted).
But again NONE of this matters if she does not have a basic attraction for you.
Should I tell/ should I not?
Now take this common situation almost every girl (and a few guys) have encountered in their school days.
* Someone who you don't know at all comes up to you, turns red, thrusts a mushy card/ flowers/ other lame gift in your hands. And waits for a response.
If you're a kind hearted soul you just smile and say "So sweet" and somehow squirm out of the situation gracefully.
If you're a mean one you may laugh on his/ her face and walk away. Next thing you know the whole school knows about the incident and the red-faced one is standing in a corner, purple-faced and alone.
Of course he/she eventually gets over it but what I mean is the success rate of this 'cold call I love you' is so negligible that it makes no sense to even try it.
Then there's the second situation which takes place more around college time.
* There is a girl/ guy who is a friend - maybe even a pretty good friend - and you have developed feelings for her/ him. Now you wonder, should I tell/ not tell.
Now this is definitely tricky and while girls do take the initiative these days let's just say more often than not the 'who will bell the cat' question still has to be answered by the guys.
I guess here you have to trust your instinct. Although you may think the girl does not know you like her - she does. And if she likes you back, there will be some subtle signs of it - though she may not actually say it.
If you are getting those vibes - go ahead and take a chance. But if you're not, just keep mum because telling her "I have feelings for you" when there's a 99.9% chance she will reply "I like you as a friend" is a recipe for disaster.
Here's what is likely to happen. And this not my 'feminist' opinion. These are insights from a very interesting guy called David deAngelo who's written an ebook called 'Double your Dating'.
DeAngelo is an amazing writer and I think what he says has cross-cultural relevance. (No I haven't bought the book but the guy has written a bunch of articles to promote his book - this is an longish excerpt from one of them)
A Secret Women Know but Men Don't
Here's the deal: If you do something to "let a woman know how you feel"... but she isn't ATTRACTED to you, then it's going to backfire.
It's going to trigger a feeling that like to call the "Instant Ewww".
The Instant Ewww is just as powerful as the physical and emotional response of ATTRACTION.
Once a woman feels it, YOU'RE DONE.
It's like hammering a RAILROAD SPIKE into the coffin.
Once a woman feels the Instant Ewww, she will start behaving differently.
In short, she'll disappear.
So where did I get the concept of the "Instant Ewww"?
I got it from WOMEN.
I have actually heard SEVERAL women use the word "Ewww" when describing how they felt about a guy that was "confessing his love"... of course, these were guys that weren't loved in return.
So what causes the Instant Ewww?
And why would a woman feel it towards a man who was trying to be nice... a guy who was giving her a gift or telling her how he feels?
Because if you think about it from HER perspective, you'll realize that the moment a you do something to "confess", you have created a TURNING POINT in the relationship.
Up until that point, you were harmless.
I mean, women always know how men feel.
She already knew you wanted her.
She knew it from the beginning.
But now that you've started pursuing her and talking about how you feel, you've created a NEGATIVE TENSION that is VERY uncomfortable.
You've triggered an emotion that is repulsive to women. And it does repel them.
You can't "make a woman like you" or "change how she feels about you" by doing nice things for her...
Guys think that they need to communicate when they like a woman... as if that's part of the necessary process of getting a girl.
In their minds, it goes like this:
Like her>Tell her you like her>She likes you
Well remember... if you follow this pattern yourself with women who aren't ATTRACTED to you, then it's going to BACKFIRE.
If she's not into you, then it goes like THIS:
She thinks of you as a friend>You tell her you like her>She gets the "Instant Ewwws" and never wants to be around you again...
Now of course this DeAngelo guy advises at this point: "Buy my book to learn the secrets of how to succeed with women". And you know what - it may be a sales pitch and the book may not actually work for you - but he certainly knows more about dating than those lame mathematicians.
Sorry, guys! Courtship is highly complex and can't be distilled into a few sterile numbers and equations. Or there wouldn't be so many mopey single engineers and IITians!