The other day I was out for dinner with a group of friends when a guy named Fred motioned me over, desperate to brag about his newfound sexual prowess.
"I always used to be the nice guy when it came to women," he told me. "I'd be the guy to take them out for dinner after expensive dinner, pay for everything, treat them like a lady, only to find that they'd go back and have sex with their cad of an ex-boyfriend. I was sick of it. I want to be the bad guy that was getting lucky!"
So Fred decided to change his dating tune.
He stopped taking women out for expensive dinners, quit the "nice guy stuff" (as he so termed it) and took on the age-old axiom of ``treat 'em mean to keep 'em keen''.
"My new found mantra worked like a charm. There'd be no more expensive dinners until I actually got lucky."
And since he became the "bad boy", he claims he's never been luckier ...
"Girls respond incredibly well to this behaviour," he explained. "It's like I've found the holy grail to this whole thing."
But what about fostering any meaningful relationships? I wondered. Did this new behaviour of his mean he'd have to say goodbye to finding true love?
"Oh, there's this one girl I'm really into," Fred admitted. "But I can't be like that around her. No way. I'm dating her the old-fashioned way."
Either way, when it comes to matters of attracting the opposite sex, many of us find going about "getting them" is a rather daunting experience. In fact, just starting a simple conversation brings with it all sorts of confusion. What should I say? How should I say it? What's the first move? Dinner, drinks or something else? And how do you truly tell whether or not they're really that into you?
According to Nick Savoy, President of Love Systems, the dating school for men that "teaches 'average guys' how to pick up beautiful women", Aussie men have it going on pretty well. But there are still many of them out there struggling to play the right game.
Our website is most popular in Australia," he tells me over the phone from Los Angeles. He is referring to his website "Love Systems", which promotes itself as being the ultimate mecca for the single modern man looking to get lucky, or at least getting a "yes" for a second date.
"Australian males are seen as confident, attractive men," he tells me. "It's macho culture. But if a guy doesn't fit into that, women perhaps won't look twice. So the types of men that don't have these skills need to learn them in order stand up to that arrogant Aussie male stereotype."
Like most of the attraction coaches I come across, Savoy has a similar game plan: to turn the soft "nice guy" into a bona fide macho male, otherwise known as the Alpha Male.
So, according to a man who's seen it all, what's the biggest mistake Aussie men are making?
"Most guys don't understand what it is that women respond to in the real world," Savoy says. "We are fed on so many images movies and television - abut how the shy guy gets the girl, or the really nice guy gets the girl.
"But attraction is not a logical process. What actually attracts beautiful women is something completely different."
Er, like what? I wondered.
"We have actually detailed breakdown in the courses we teach," he says, referring to his upcoming Aussie bootcamp (which is to be held in Sydney July 3-5).
"Men that use a lot confidence, who are a challenge and who are able to show their social value is equal or greater than hers do really well with women.
"One great example is to playfully tease a woman you've just met. A lot of guys might introduce themselves to a beautiful woman and might ask a lot of questions in order to search desperately for commonalities. They might talk about their house or car - both of which are major turn-offs because it's obvious that he is kissing her ass! It shows he's trying to play himself up, but is doing so because he is not on her level. For a lot of men, it becomes a vicious circle - he'll approach, get shot down and be disheartened by the results."
Savoy's aim is to teach men how to initiate the behaviour of a confident, successful man without coming across as trying too hard. So, should women be weary of such behaviour?
"Absolutely not!" he assures me. "There's nothing misogynist about what we teach. Women should be happy because we're teaching men what they want and what they'll respond to. It's a thousand little things. You just have to get enough of them right.
"There is no such thing as a perfect pickup."
SAVOY'S TOP FIVE TIPS FOR MEN
- Have a plan. "Know what it is that you're trying to do, and then go and do it. A lot of guys have no idea what flirtation and courtship should look like. Practice as much as you can to discover what works for you."
- Be your best self. "It's not a matter of becoming someone you're not or doing a bunch of weird things, it's about cutting out clutter and showing the best part of yourself."
- Take a lead! "A lot of men these days have forgotten how to be men. That doesn't mean be big a caveman - it just means be the man. Make the plans. Let the woman feel feminine and sexy. It doesn't mean order dinner for her, it just simply means taking the lead."
- Ask for help. "Be man enough to ask for help from men that know the ropes. There are so many obvious techniques, that once you learn them, they'll be obvious in retrospect."
- Don't settle. "Don't be the guy who is settling with women they don't want to be with because they think they can't be with someone else. Learn how to talk to the types of women you do want to be with!"
And his advice for the Aussie women?
- Don't judge a man too quickly. "I believe that women in Australia think there's a man drought, but I bet they're turning down hundreds of men at the same time. Women are going to lump a guy in a "maybe" or "no" in the first minute-and-a-half - at least that's what I'm hearing. Then they'll say that there's not enough men, but really, there's not enough men falling into the "maybe". Someone who you can see yourself that it could one day happen with.
- Don't go by first impressions. "So many women rush to judge a guy on his first impression and then that is kind of it. If you are going to judge a guy on his first impression, you're going to get guys that are really good at making first impressions. Yes, he's going to be smooth, socially savvy and light up a room in every situation. But a guy that is a little bit shyer and nicer, without as much as experience, might just be better suited to you in the long run.''
And my final question: How do you tell if a man just wants sex?
"It's tough because even the guys that are open to a relationship are still probably in the immediate focused on sex and wanting sex. Plus, there are so many women that want sex just as much as men. But here's something that many women do - they'll be sleeping with somebody (an ex-boyfriend or a booty buddy), and playing the 'dating and waiting game' with other guys. With these other guys, they might wait three dates or three months before they sleep with them. But the guy that is sleeping with her has the inside shot if he wants something emotional or long-term with her. Hence I advise men that the medium-term goal should be to develop a sexual relationship. Maybe not on the first time date, but you don't want to be the guy taking her to dinners for six months without making your move because you'll fall into a 'just friends' category."
Which interestingly, brings this story full circle. Maybe my mate good-guy-turned-bad-boy Fred might just have a valid point after all.
What do you think?