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Video: Inside the mind of a Casanova

By
TODAY contributor
updated 12/11/2007 12:02:33 PM ET 2007-12-11T17:02:33

Great novels were written about them, movies were inspired by them. Call them anything you want — Don Juans, Casanovas, or gigolos — they preyed on unsuspecting women to get them into the bedroom. But do they still exist?

Meet Paul Janka, a 32-year-old, Harvard-educated writer living (and serially seducing women) in New York City. Janka says he's chalked up over 100 bedroom conquests...and there's nothing wrong with that. As long as he's up front about his intentions, Janka says, he can love 'em and leave 'em without a guilty conscience.

But would you really know what a guy like Janka was thinking after chatting with him for a few hours, or in some cases a few minutes?  Read about his dating philosophy below and judge for yourself.

What’s my dating philosophy? I was on the phone last night with two friends and we were discussing the dos and don’ts of dating in New York City. From that conversation, I can thread out a few general themes. Before we get there, though, let me say I have a dual aim when I spend time with a woman: to have fun and to maintain my integrity as a man. Maintaining my integrity means honoring what I want in the process and not being manipulated by a woman’s agenda. This has to be an active process because I’ve found that women in the City – consciously or not – operate by a societal script that doesn’t incorporate my interests as a man.

A man needs a goal when he spends time with a woman
An analogy: having run a small business in my twenties, I have experience with meetings during which much is said, but at the end of which little is accomplished or acted upon. Ten people may get together in a room, chat for 30 minutes and then disperse. Without actionable items and measures for accountability, the meeting may as well never have occurred. The same is true with dating. A stroll through SOHO with a girl, holding her shopping bag and exchanging pleasantries doesn’t advance the couple and both parties leave with nothing. It’s not just the guy who feels blah; the girl has a weak impression of the date (and the man) in her mind. In my twenties I spent plenty of “dates” eating, walking, movie-watching with a girl and then we’d part company with a hug and a peck. What are we both thinking as we walk away? Because nothing compelling happened, we both leave with some version of, “That was nice. He’s a good guy/girl.” If nothing of consequence occurs, the afternoon is not memorable. And a guy pursuing an attractive woman can’t afford to make a mild impression. Not in New York.

Challenge a woman immediately to force her out of her comfort zone
Just as in sales, you need to offer a proposition to your prospect. In fact, this is done on the street in the first 10 seconds when I ask for a telephone number. Shit or get off the pot, right? I found that unless I force a decision upon the woman, I learn nothing about her. Is she open-minded, a risk-taker, or closed and conservative? Can she adjust to new information, or does it confuse her? In my experience, the real interesting part of dating is the drama that unfolds when I’m unyielding about a position and I get to see how the woman reacts. This is not as hostile as it sounds; I simply believe that in the chaos of NYC dating, I’ll only get to see a woman’s true colors when she has to decide. The rest is platitudes, pleasantries and bullshit. No one ever reveals themselves by being polite, is my experience.

Video: More on this modern Casanova To effectively date in The City, a man needs to confidently override a woman’s agenda
As I mentioned earlier, women often have an imagined ideal for a date. This may involve many things I’d rather not do (and pay for) with a complete stranger: dinner at Daniel, drinks in the Rainbow Room, the opera — all of this is fine if I really enjoy the person. But with a woman I hardly know this an unacceptable risk to wallet and watch. Not to mention the slim chance of either party wanting to get physical after such a marathon night. In addition, women often say they “want to go out (on the town) so they can get to know me,” which is contradictory. Spending time with me in my apartment will show them more about who I am than cavorting about town. And in my experience, young women often brag to their girlfriends about where they went and what they ate, rather than who they were with. That’s a lousy deal for the sap who funds the night. Decide what you want and how you want to get it (such as sex with a woman) and go for it. In the end, they’ll respect you more for it, even if they walk. Women, as most guys eventually learn, can’t respect a man they can manipulate.

Don’t search for compatibility through dating, just have fun
This is an important point, because as my friend Chris says, “Very few people are, in fact, really compatible.” In my case, I eventually found a women with whom I had a tremendous commonality of interests, lifestyle and attitude, but it was a fluke — simply a byproduct of meeting many women. As a man, when I hear the phrase “I want to get to know you first,” I cringe because intimacy takes a long time and doesn’t adhere to any formulaic timetable. In reality, the odds are against our being truly compatible and by the time that’s evident, the opportunity for carefree fun will have passed. I understand that women have a biologically-driven need to feel connected with a man before sex, but the reality is men have myriad schemes, personas and other illusions to shield their true selves from a woman whom they want to screw. If true compatibility exists, it will emerge well after the initial sexual phase of a relationship has passed.

There you have it, a summary of some tenets of my dating philosophy, a decidedly contrarian approach!

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