Ah, Valentine’s Day. That special day when there is no vacancy at Victoria Court.

However, for those who cannot celebrate Valentine’s Day because they have not yet found the right one or they are so heavily sedated they fear arrest, here are a few dating and romance tips from the sukis of this column: lifestyle coach Pia Acevedo of the Love Institute shares with us what movies to avoid on Valentine’s Day, dating coach Maxine Mamba tells us why dating is like psychological warfare and romantic fugitive Guru Shivaker explains why love hurts. Literally.

RJ LEDESMA: Coach Pia, let me ask you Twitter trending topic: How exactly do you define love? And how much is it when converted into pesos?

COACH PIA ACEVEDO: Allow me to define love within the context of my relationship with our clients. First, I always examine if there’s enough self-love or self-esteem or self-worth for him or her to even branch out and be in a relationship to begin with.

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(No Girlfriend Since Birth [NGSB] representative: Thanks for the concern. So far, all our relationships have been or digital or right-handed.)

When a person has enough self-worth and self-esteem to enter into a relationship, you make sure that the definition of love is to nurture your partner and not just to get what you can out of the relationship. That is what love is. You are nurturing another person to be the best that he or she can be regardless of how you feel.

So you should find a partner who is like Governor Vi? You know, someone who is for all seasons?

(NGSB representative: Sigh… I’ve been in a dry season all of my life.)

(Dirty Old Man [DOM] representative: Try some lubricant.)

We also cater to a lot of clients who also decide to be single.

(NGSB representative: I wish I could make that decision for myself.)

There are those who don’t want to be in committed relationships. Nonetheless you must remember to stay respectful of the other person. You should not feel like you are compromising each other’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Because if there is no commitment, then there is a greater chance that the self-esteem of the people in the relationship will be compromised.

(NGSB representative: I think I’ll stick with my right-handed relationship. It’s less complicated.)

Coach, do you think romantic movies like A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Say Anything, There’s Something About Mary and Good Luck Chuck have improved the diskarte of heathen male bachelors when it comes to courtship?

I think they have had no positive effect on love and relationships. If anything, they have made expectations (too high) when it comes to dating to turn out just like the movies. This is not realistic.

(DOM representative: What!? You mean it’s not possible to hook up with both Anne Curtis AND Cristine Reyes?)

(Imaginary Derek Ramsay: Not unless you got these six packs abs, brotha.)

(RJ’s three female readers: Derek, can we have one of your packs for ulam?)

True love is realizing that it’s not exactly what you intended a relationship to be like, but you still decided to stay. A lot of the time romantic movies show love the way that it is “intended to be,” but honestly it’s not going to be that way. Eventually, the honeymoon period will die down, and that is when you will have to choose to be there. That is what true love is about.

(DOM representative: That’s why my favorite movie about true love is Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo.)

(NGSB representative: Mine is The Forty-Year-Old Virgin.)

LOVE EXTORTS

Maxine, you say that courtship between a man and a woman is like China and the South China Sea?

COACH MAXINE MAMBA: When it comes to courtship, the man is the aggressor because he sees what he likes and he goes after it. And the woman has to be the object of the hunt.

We may need to clarify this statement further lest the NGSBs reading this column start buying hunting nets and tranquilizer darts.

Remember: Even if the woman likes the man, it is not to her advantage to demonstrate this to him. The man will always want to take comfort in the fact he got her with his own will and cunning.

(DOM representative: Can’t I just pay money? I think I’ve lost all the will and cunning I had to Alzheimer’s.)

You need to play a mind game on the girl and not be that aggressive. Never demonstrate to her you are directly interested. You need to make her come to you. It’s a lot like fishing, you give a little and take a little back until she finally takes the bait.

(NGSB representative: So we need fishing poles as well?)

Dating and relationships is like politics.

You mean there’s a lot of false promises, extortion and wide-scale cheating?

If the woman gives “more,” then there is an imbalance. So he is likely to retaliate in the long run. There has to be a balance, he has to give a little, she has to give a little as they progress towards intimacy.

(DOM representative: Can we forego all the balance, engage in extortion and proceed straight to intimacy? I don’t have much time left.)

How do you prepare your clients for a date? Do they have to take written tests or do they go straight to practicum?

Let’s talk a little bit about dressing up. In the book The Game, it says that men are supposed to “peacock.”

“Peacock”? That’s when you where try to attract a woman’s attention by wearing ostentatious clothing and channeling the fashion sense of Kuya Germs during Master Showman?

If you’re not too pogi, then you have to stick to the basics: you need to look clean, masculine and dignified.

(NGSB representative: Okay, strike three, we’re out. We will need to learn how to reproduce asexually.)

When you’re trying to attract attention with your clothes, you need to “go against the grain.” For example, most people like to wear dark colors at night. You can wear light so you can stand out. Or if you have a pendant, show it. If you’ve got a tattoo, flaunt it. If you’ve got a bowler hat, wear it. It will make you stand out.

(NGSB representative: Every time we dress up to stand out, we get arrested by the fashion police.)

What are the other common mistakes most men make during the date? Aside from showing up?

Men compliment too much at the beginning. A premature compliment when you don’t know the woman just sets her on edge. It’s like a warning signal to her that you are on the hunt.

(NGSB representative: So we better find a good place to hide the hunting nets and the tranquilizer darts.)

Another big mistake most Pinoy men make when it comes to dating is that they way too aggressive. They will just start making ligaw (courting) and will not stop.

But that’s the Robin Padilla school of dating and courtship!

Men must realize that it’s a tactical advantage for them to let the women miss you. Then come back to her, but don’t take too long. Rule of thumb is that you take a break for about 20 percent of the time. So if you go out with her for five days, then rest for about two days. Give her space to miss you.

(DOM representative: I don’t know if my pacemaker can hold out for that long.)

You need to better appreciate how your perspective on gender roles influences how you treat women. Here’s a tip: no matter how independent a woman is, she will always appreciate chivalry.

(DOM representative: Does she like that on the rocks?)

But since a woman wants to have her cake and eat it too, she wants a degree of intellectual respect for her ideas. So the best thing I can tell you when it comes to dating is that you should listen to her.

(NGSB representative: I’m sorry… what were you saying?)

And she will feed you the ammunition to make you like her.

I never knew that a lot of women had death wishes.

And women are glad to talk about themselves most of the time. (Laughs)

I will not comment on your previous remark for fear of retribution.

The smell of love

Guru Shivaker, when you attract women to yourself, do you use any swami spells?

GURU SHIVAKER: There is no swami spell, but there is a swami smell — it smells like mango chutney. It is definitely attractive. The swami smell is definitely attractive. I cannot make you smell it or else you will fall in love with me.

Please open up the windows. What are the most common love dilemmas encountered by Pinoy men?

They go for the “crash and burn” type of love. They go all-in to the relationship and they forget to love themselves.

(NGSB representative: No wonder we never get into relationships. We never forget to love ourselves.)

There’s a direct correlation between getting kilig and getting hurt. As much as you are going to get kilig, that is how much you are going to get hurt.

What do you advise for men who get into these “crash and burn” type relationships? Should they wear safety helmets and fireproof clothing?

Use your mind.

(NGSB representative: Oh, so that’s the body part you are supposed to use…)

Don’t let your emotions take over. Your mind will be the strongest and most powerful tool that you will have. However, if you’re not ready to get hurt, then you’re not ready to fall in love. Because love is correlated with getting hurt. If you’re not ready to get hurt, then you’re not ready for love. Some people enter relationships for the kilig factor. They don’t realize that there’s so much more at stake.

Na-nosebleed ako diyan, guru. What is your advice for all the NGSBs who hang on to every precious drop of laway that escapes your lips?

You’re blessed. That means you haven’t been hurt yet. Go to the gym. Learn to become ambidextrous.

What is your advice to all the DOMs whose pacemakers are slowly conking out?

Buy a new Lacoste clutch bag. The one you’re using is outdated, there’s a new model already. Stop using your credit card. Credit card is for bagets. For a DOM, you’ve got to have cash. If you have eyeglasses, make sure they’re tinted. When you wear a shirt, button it only halfway up the chest. Stop experimenting with colognes for the young people. The classic smell of Brut must always be on your person. Know your role in society and everything will be fine. You have your own market, stop going after the market share of other guys.

(DOM representative: Would you like to be our party list representative in congress, Guru Shivaker?)

Guru, what is the difference between love and lust?

Lust is sometimes better than love. It’s like going to the massage parlor. Once you’re done with the massage, its over. You don’t have to cuddle, you don’t have to kiss, you don’t need to get the masahista’s cell phone number. But if there is love, then you have to give load, you have to give pang-tuition. All these things matter in love. If it’s lust, it’s practical. Trust me, I know. I’m Indian.

Om, great guru. Om…my gawd.

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