Matt Hussey is a world famous dating expert. He's SO good, Eva Longoria's made a show with him about love and he's just released a how-to book called Get The Guy. But does he really have a clue? Clare Bennett will be the judge of that...
I'm sitting across a table in the Electric from the man billed as "the world's leading authority on attraction", so perhaps that's reassuring. There's something rather boy-band-adorable about him – he's groomed, but not overly (appropriate level of stubble, no hair products – phew) and girls are definitely checking him out.
Thank you for coming all this way, I say. "That's how important you are," he replies, touching my arm. Having read his new book Get The Guy, I know touching people early on in conversation is crucial to starting the attraction process. As someone who touches people constantly, I am now realising how flirtatious it actually is. No wonder that traffic warden let me off last week. I'm better than I thought.
Get The Guy teaches women how to find – and keep – a bloody fantastic boyfriend, by giving them the inside track on how the freakoid-alien-man-creatures think. There's the book and the seminars which play host to around 10,000 women a month, plus he's about to star alongside Eva Longoria in a new reality TV show, Ready For Love, which sees him coach a group of women who want to date three men selected by the Desperate Housewives star. What's Eva like? I ask. "Crazy down-to-earth," he beams.
So with all this knowledge, is he a major player? "The book hasn't been great for my love life. Once I'm in a relationship and I make a mistake, the line is, 'You're supposed to know women!' But I'm not perfect, I make all the mistakes you do." He's bashful about his own dating situation – but says coyly that at the moment he's "having a really good time".
A lot of what he talks about – being a woman of "high values" - isn't news particularly, but it's the tricks and insider info that make it juicy. Men, he says, want to feel "chosen". They want to feel that they've "earned" you. "It's not about making a guy chase, it's about making a guy have to earn the space in your life." Importantly though, Get The Guy is deliberately funny – I laughed out loud several times and he's pleased to hear this.
Fear of rejection is a big opportunity-killer for both men and women, he says. "The removal of intent is so powerful. Some women fear they're not sexy, but they are – it's their behaviour that isn't and it could be."
This is good - but what about specifics?
Should the man pay for dinner? "Yes."
Should the woman offer? "Yes. Once. If it's assumed, he doesn't get validation and there's no positive association."
What should you get him for Valentine's day? "Have an experience you'll both remember, like a picnic in the park. Don't amp up sex for any 'occasion'– sexual favours and rewards are gross!"
Why don't boys call? "You can be completely right for someone but not instantly show them that. It doesn't mean you're not amazing, it means your trailer wasn't good. Most people think 'he doesn't like me and that's the way it is' – and I say neither is true.
"He's not an idiot for not liking you and you're not fundamentally unattractive. Things can shift. Men can and will take the number of women they never intend to call. Sometimes he's just validating himself. Get Zen with this fact."
What about putting out on the first date? "It's not a good idea if you want a relationship. If you make yourself that available, the incentive to invest is not that high. But it's a balancing act – I don't really believe in 'rules'." ME NEITHER, I almost shout.
None of this is about desperado chasing, he continues, but it is about how to put your taxi light on and not being so quick to judge everything - including yourself.
And so, how do you know if you've found a keeper? "Ultimately, you have to ask yourself, 'does this person want to sit at home with me and eat pizza?' If he passes that test, you might have a future."
Get The Guy by Matt Hussey is out now.