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Baiting the Hook 

When dating becomes a hunting trip

Bait isn't just for fishing and hunting -- it applies to dating as well. After all, dating is essentially a socially acceptable hunting trip. We use all kinds of bait to attract members of the opposite sex. We wear perfumes and colognes, spend thousands of dollars a year on clothes, cosmetics, jewelry, you name it, we buy it. Charge, please.Not all types of dating bait are as tangible as hooking up a worm and throwing out a line. Some are emotional bait, and both sexes are guilty of offering what they simply will not deliver. For men, their bait tends to be the lure of a wonderful relationship that he actually has no intentions of ever pursuing; for women it's just good old-fashioned sex. Unlike the creatures of nature we share this world with, we're probably the only species on earth that practices two-way baiting.

The biggest lesson women have to learn in life -- something we're told in our teens but for some reason takes almost 15 years to get branded onto our brains -- is that men will say anything, absolutely anything, to get you into bed. I used to think this male attitude was something that was left behind after high school (except for college frat boys). Think again. Men who remain single throughout their 20s treat their "conquests" as an artform they must polish and perfect, to be used over and over again. The only way any of these men ever get married is when they find someone who plays the game better than they do.

The earliest form of bait occurs on the first date; that's the money bait. A man asks a woman out to dinner and takes her to a very nice restaurant, and she automatically begins to have visions that this is how every night out on the town is going to be spent. He doesn't even flinch as he orders from the top of the wine list and actually encourages her to order the filet and lobster, as he is having the same.

This is where the woman begins to use the sex bait. If she's still interested, she may lean over the table to give him a glimpse of cleavage through her low cut blouse and her new lace brassiere she purchased for the occasion at Victoria's Secret. She may tease him a little by eating bites of food, knowing just how far she takes the fork in her mouth before she starts choking. He watches all this, and wonders if the brassiere might perhaps belong to a matching set. He may also look at her platinum blonde hair and have high hopes that once, just once, the carpet may in fact match the curtains. Men are such visual creatures.

As the conversation and wine begin to flow, the men start with the relationship bait. He may begin to tell a story of an amazing ski trip he recently took in Vail, Colorado, and well, he casually asks you if you might consider that to be an ideal trip. She excitedly agrees, and then he throws out a line, letting her know he would definitely take her along on his next trip. By her reaction, he knows she's taking it hook, line, and sinker.

The couple ends their meal, and he invites her to his home for a cocktail. It's not that he particularly cares for her company, as he might not even want her to know where he lives, he just can't have sex on the street, and asking her to a hotel is a surefire nooky no-no. Now, at this point she knows that she's putting herself in a vulnerable situation by agreeing to the invitation, especially after downing her last glass of vino. This is where the true art of his charm starts to work. In her mind, she may feel it's wrong to have sex with a guy she's only going to go out with once or twice. Then she takes into account the money, and the relationship bait that was thrown out earlier, and convinces herself that no, this isn't just a date, it's the beginning of a relationship. She agrees to the nightcap.

It's a scenario that plays itself out over and over again with amazing precision. Where the woman tends to make a mistake is after agreeing to the nightcap, followed by a two-hour wrestling match on the couch, she suddenly stands up, readjusts her clothes, and announces at 1am that she has to go home. This is called bait backfire, and is the perfect way to never hear from the man again, not to mention that it ends the evening on a sour note.

Because of his sexual frustration, this is the only time you will ever hear a man ask the question "Why?" which is as close to begging as he'll allow you to see. She gets irritated at his tone, and he labels her a tease. The date ends and in another week they're back out for Round 2 -- provided he's willing to be tortured again. Ding Ding Ding.

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