How picky are you in finding a lady to date?

Can attraction be a conscious decision?  Can we, as human beings, simply decide that we like something?

Ice Cream

What’s your absolute favorite flavor of ice cream?  The one flavor that just rings a bell with you.  For my brother, he just loves strawberry ice cream.  Sure, there’s different versions of strawberry, but his favorite is Breyers Natural Strawberry.   Other members of the family like different flavors including chocolate, Rocky Road, vanilla, and even maple nut.  But my brother just loves the strawberry flavor ice cream.

Could I talk him into eating one of the other flavors? Even maple nut?  Sure, it can be done.  He doesn’t hate the other flavors, but they just don’t do much of anything for him.

How about, say, asparagus ice cream?
He hates asparagus, but it’s safe to say he’s never tried that type of ice cream.

Could I persuade him into at least trying the asparagus ice cream once?  Maybe toss in a little motivation?  $100 do the trick?  Or just out of a sense of adventure?  I think this would work.  With some conscious decision-making, he could decide to go through with it and try the asparagus ice cream.



Taste Buds

But can I persuade him to like it?
Can he even persuade himself into thinking that his taste buds jump for joy with asparagus ice cream?

I submit that the answer to that is….no.

Sure, he might be able to force himself to eat it, even tolerate it.  But will the asparagus ice cream elicit the same response as the Breyers Natural Strawberry?  Will the asparagus flavor become a favorite?

Again, I say…no.

Attraction is Subconscious

Whether a person can verbalize their preferences or not, they will end up liking what they like.  They will gravitate toward that they find attractive. They will act on those things they find interesting.

Attraction is either there or it isn’t.
You can’t force it.
You can’t push it.
You can’t create it if it isn’t there.

This is why trying to impress a lady or trying to convince her on an intellectual level that you’re a good catch or a nice guy or trying to buy her with fancy dates and gifts does not work.  You might attract the proverbial gold digger, but they are attracted to the gift, not to you.

And such it is with men too.

Three Depths of Attraction

As we get to know people, we first physically see them.  Then most likely we will get to know them on an intellectual level.  And only as things progress along will we get a glimpse of them on a deeper spiritual level.

So from the shallow end of the pool to the deepest:

  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual

That’s the general timeline of how we learn about people, but the importance of it is in the reverse order, with spiritual being the deepest, followed by intellectual in the middle, and physical last.  Especially as physical changes over time in this lifetime.

Have you ever been on that first date with a really beautiful lady but the more she talks, the more you simply don’t want to be around her anymore?  Typically those first dates of talking are getting to know somebody on an intellectual level.  And either you’re intellectually attracted to them or not.

But make no mistake, all three are required to be there.
Physical attributes are not enough.


I don’t know why the swan-tiara-look
never took off as a fashion statement

Checklists, checklists, checklists!

We hear about the checklists.  Tiny or tall, brunette or blonde, certain body type, career in certain fields, and the list goes on.  This is a human trait of trying to understand the underlying ingredients to somehow shortcut the system and logically deduce whether we should love a person or not.  But saying that way just sounds silly.

Some of us may figure out through trial and error (and more error) a few of our preferences over time.  But even then, have you known people that say they seem to like one type, but then end up marrying someone that doesn’t seem to fit the type?  It’s just that person learning more about their inner self as they go along.

I say if you’re not 110% sure about your checklist, then perhaps don’t pre-filter ahead of time and enjoy meeting and learning about people.  Or as one friend put it, just find someone that doesn’t annoy the crap out of you and go from there.

If you’re being true to yourself, then you’re not being too picky.  Will we find people along the way that didn’t work out? Absolutely!  And in the mean time, try the maple nut ice cream, you may just be surprised.



Talking in Sacrament Meeting and Other Clichés

Suppose I started out this article by saying I really didn’t want to be here and I really didn’t want to be writing this and I really don’t want you to read it and I don’t know what I’m going to say and…

Yeah, why would anyone want to read further?

In sacrament meeting, we hear openings like this fairly often.  The speaker starts out with their story of how the bishopric staked out their home and work to finally track them down to ask them to give a talk that the speaker didn’t want to give. But they got shackled into it anyway and here they are, up behind the podium doing what they don’t want to do…talk to you.

That’s one of the lousiest openers to public speaking that one could give.  Ouch!

Yes, I realize having a lay ministry and lay speakers in meetings makes for public speaking opportunities for those that might never have had such a chance.  Hopefully these tips can help a person be more at ease with it, be more confident with it, and even feel better as they get better with it.

Opener = Sparkler

The talk may often be on a subject.  Whether the subject was given or selected by the speaker.  So open with…a side-channel that is not exactly the subject, but extra points if this opening sparkler does have a passing relation later.

Examples of an opening sparkler

  • Quotation by somebody else (general authority, Mark Twain, JK Rowling…doesn’t matter as long as it’s good)
  • Scripture right off the bat
  • Story – stories can be extra good
  • Your personal story is fine. It’s done all the time, but your story is unique.  Just work it toward your goals (your message, humor, spiritual, etc.)
  • Inflection – we have a very monotone inflection in much of our meetings, whether we get this culturally or not, it’s there. Adding a mild inflection does wake people up…slightly.

Ever visit a church that has a professional ministry?

To be a professional minister in the world where one gets paid for a living, it actually takes a lot of work and dedication.  Professional ministers often go to dedicated schools that help them learn skills and such.  One of these is public speaking.

Some non-LDS churches I’ve visited on occasion have some very talented speakers (they’ve also embraced PowerPoint and video presentations quite well).  Many of these ministers also sing exceptionally well and they’ll break into song too.  But back to just the talking portion.

I’ve watched non-LDS ministers as they use their hand/arm gestures, their body language, their speaking skills, their changing-up of the content and pace, their voice inflections, their methods of moving on stage (when not behind a podium).  They’ve pretty much learned many of the same types of public speaking skills as I have, and they’re wonderful at it.

You can also search YouTube for good examples or watch some great TED talks for these types of skills.

Back to sacrament meeting

The Plan

  • Tell them what you’re about to say
  • Tell them what you’re saying
  • Tell them what you just said

This mantra is very common in public speaking.  In your opener, you don’t spill all the beans, but you give previews of the good stuff.  Then in the middle, you give the good stuff.  Then at the end, you relive the good stuff.

Humor early, spirit later

Humor is not the easiest in public, but if you have some good stuff, here’s, not how, but when…

Watch general conference, some speakers are excellent at this.  If you have some good laughter medicine, go with it early.  Once people laugh, they may be inclined to laugh again, so you can do a follow up or two.  But don’t turn it into a standup comedy routine as people will get uncomfortable.  So during your talk, after the laughs, bring it down.  Bring in the special parts.  Bring in the spirit.  Leave with the solemn gems that they’ll love.  The combination of laughing then feeling is a wonderful and powerful set of emotions that humans do enjoy and relate to, and it helps them remember the message.


Don’t have things that stop you dead in the talk.  Know your material very well.  A well-practiced-public speaker will average 1 hour for every 1 minute they are on stage.  For sacrament meeting we’re not figuring on ultra-paid-professional level, but set aside some time early to go over it and go over it again.

If you have scriptures to pull up, have them pre-printed for you or have it well book-marked in your scriptures.  Don’t’ take time looking it up.  Just say the reference out loud for those that want to mark it, then carry on with the message.

Eye Contact

Nope, don’t bother looking people in the eye.  You can if you want, but you don’t have to.  If you’re not looking them in the eye, then you’ll look at three spots on the back wall about 8 feet high slightly above everybody.

  • Talk to your left a a 45 degree angle (10 o’clock position) but looking at the left wall just above where the people site.
  • Talk to the center (12 o’clock position) slightly above everybody looking at the back wall
  • Talk to the right at a 45 degree angle (2 o’clock position) again looking at the wall about 8 feet above the ground. The clock is often in this location so you can check on it.

The Clock

  • Be knowledgeable
  • Be brief
  • Be seated

If you go short on your time, everybody but maybe the speaker after you is happy. If you go long on time, nobody is happy.

If you’re not talking first, then you may not know how much time you’ll have. So break up your talk into “modules.”  Then if you have extra time, use more modules.  If you’re short on time, skip a section or two.  Practice this before hand at least once.  And time yourself at least twice.

Example of Modules

  • Opener sparkler story (can’t skip)
  • Part from conference talk
  • Your comments
  • Scripture
  • Story #2
  • Side lesson of story #2
  • Thoughtful quote
  • Closing

Maybe story #2 is the expendable part.  You’ll decide ahead of time so if the time comes, it’s very easy to skip it if needed.

Bringing it together

Prepare well ahead of time.  Even a week or two before lightly if you have that much notice.  Open your talk with a sparkler or attention-getter.  You’re excited to be there and digging into the subject. You’ve got your plan of what to say and you do the light-hearted fun earlier.  You give eye contact to the back walls, you are mindful of the clock and ready to axe modules if needed.  Then as you tie up the end of your talk and bring in the spiritual component, you get extra points if your closing has a relation to your opening sparkler.  Which people will remember.

They will remember your humor, your message, your engagement, and never know that you didn’t want to be there or what sneaky ancient ninja tactic the bishopric used to track them down.