April 2009: I was sitting in the basement of Milk and Honey in London. I turned to the girl I had been talking with. "What are your plans for the rest of the night?" I asked.
"I have to see what I can get up to," she said. "I'll be spending time with my mate Gretchen."
I wave at Gretchen across the way. "Cool."
"How about you?" she said.
"Well if I can be perfectly honest I'd like to take you back to my hotel room and spend the rest of the night making love to you."
Her face turned red. She looked away. "No." she said. "I can't do that. I have a boyfriend I'm in love with."
I willed my body to inhale and exhale slowly.
"I understand," I said. "That's too bad for me. I would have liked to open your legs and kiss them from foot to inner thigh. Nibble on your neck. Bite your chin and suck on your tongue. But I understand your situation."
We said our goodbyes that night. The next day I flew back to New York.
A week later I opened an email from her.
She wrote: I can't stop thinking about what you said to me. Now that I know the difference, I don't think I've properly been hit on by a man before. I'm not getting any work done here. I'm blaming you. I'm thinking I may have to come see you.
She took a hiatus from her relationship, flew across the Atlantic, spent two weeks in America with me and then flew back to her boyfriend.
Advice based on this principle:
- Phraseology is important. Use the word 'want'. That's hard to do because it makes you vulnerable. But the definition of being a leader is taking a risk first and being a leader is sexy. Be careful of using the word 'need' or asking 'do you want to...?'
- Share your honest vulnerabilities with people. Putting that sort of trust in them builds connection and makes you sexier.