You know a rebel when you see one. And so does she.
In a recent Australian study, researchers discovered that men who ignore rules are more desirable to women.
“Nonconformity suggests qualities that women typically find attractive, like risk taking and assertiveness,” notes study author Matthew Hornsey, Ph.D. “It communicates authenticity, which in an image-obsessed world has become a rare and valuable commodity.”
Make Her Look
Walk into any bar on a Friday night, and you’ll swim in a sea of gingham.
Guys can be risk-averse: “We’re pack animals—we’re programmed to play it safe and follow the crowd,” Hornsey says. “But part of being an adult is knowing when to fit in and when to stand out.”
So rather than blend in with the rest of your wolf pack, reach into your closet for a look that’ll turn you into the alpha dog.
Add one edgy item to every outfit.
For instance, start with a black blazer and a white T-shirt, says Men’s Health fashion director Sandra Nygaard, and pair them with slightly distressed jeans to create contrast and interest.
Other ways to apply this principle: Trade a wristwatch for a leather cuff. Mix a leather jacket with a dressy shirt. Pair boots with a suit, sneakers with dress pants, or dress brogues with jeans. And switch out your cologne for something with a more earthy scent, such as patchouli.
Come On a Little Stronger
It’s obvious when you secretly hope something better will come along. Take online dating: Many guys flirt for days if not weeks before finally making plans.
“Men cast a wide net on these apps and sites, but it’s not always obvious when they’re actually interested,” says Paulette Sherman, Psy.D., a psychologist and relationship coach. “Making a first move quickly shows that you’re assertive and confident.”
Plus, it sends a message that you’re not playing the field.
Skip to the best part. Apps like HowAboutWe and Tinder are meant for meeting up instantly, so embrace them.
You might be surprised by how receptive she is, as long as you pick a safe, public place, Sherman says.
“It’s a relief to find out if there’s chemistry right away,” she says. “A man who drags things out can seem weak because his actions don’t support his words.”
Be straightforward in your pitch, and avoid a big-time commitment. Aim for confident with a dash of boldness. Try something like: “I want to buy you a drink. Tomorrow. You game?”
Lower Your Fear Factor
Men often play it safe because the potential for awkwardness and rejection is so high, says Paul Hokemeyer, Ph.D., a relationship and family therapist.
“When we experience fear, the primitive part of our brain causes us to steer clear of danger,” Hokemeyer says.
So treat boldness like a muscle you need to exercise as often as you do your quads, says Hornsey. “Practice being different. Let the potential for embarrassment wash over you, and eventually you’ll realize it’s okay.”
Demonstrate fearlessness in ways she’ll never forget: Hop the fence some night to go skinny-dipping at the local pool, or have sex in your office after hours.
Even little moments can leave a deep impression, says MH sex advisor Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., who recalls the way a man once flirted with her on a plane.
“After we’d been talking awhile, he got up to use the restroom,” Herbenick says. “He took off his headphones and slipped them over my ears without even asking. It was bold and sexy, and it’s never left me. If I hadn’t had a boyfriend, I would’ve said yes when he asked me out.”
Declare War on Boredom
Most people are prone to falling into dating routines, says Dan Ariely, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Duke University and the author of Predictably Irrational.
That’s just the way we’re built. And over time, these outings become less satisfying.
“Our brains quickly adapt to things, and then we don’t react as strongly to the triggers. They become a form of white noise,” Ariely says.
But when you and your date are sharing a new experience, there’s a spirit of adventure that naturally makes you seem more excited, he says. And that positive energy could rub off on your relationship.
Three words: restaurant bathroom sex, says Herbenick.
“Duck into a closet or bathroom with her and slip off her underwear,” she suggests.
There’s a good chance she’ll enjoy shaking things up. A 2013 survey by the sex info site Good in Bed found that 28 percent of women were bored in their relationships, and another 25 percent were on the “brink” of boredom.
If the restroom stall at Olive Garden fails to rev things up, you could go simpler: On your next airline flight, drape a blanket across your laps and engage in some playful fondling, suggests Herbenick, whose air travel adventures are apparently more interesting than ours.
See how close you can get each other to climax—without actually arriving there. Save that for the hotel room shower after you check in.