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THE VANCOUVER COURIER FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2011

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Man’s role in courtship open for debate Continued from page 5 “I’m not fully believing in that yet, but I keep getting hit by the fact that a girl doesn’t need to take initiative.”

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wen Gnazdowsky, a coach who runs relationship bootcamps at the YWCA, “never encourages people to play the game. If you like someone, let them know.” Gnazdowsky built her coaching service, One Conversation, on the virtues of self-discovery and self-improvement and has been seeing clients since 1991. “I really do want people to win at love,” she said. Her advice: “Be real. Don’t play hard to get. Don’t play like you’re interested and front like it’s the guy who should do all the work.” Asked if women should refrain from asking a man out, her response is emphatic. “Oh no, no, no, no!” When Gnazdowsky tells the story of her courtship with the man she met nearly 20 years ago at age 33 and for whom she eventually moved to Vancouver from Montreal, she’s the one who initiated. “I asked him out,” she said, remembering an afternoon in downtown Vancouver when she stopped him on the sidewalk after a coaching conference they were both attending. She was smitten. But she was stymied, not sure her gestures and bright smile were enough to convey her profound interest and draw him in the direction she wanted them

“DON’T PLAY LIKE YOU’RE INTERESTED AND FRONT LIKE IT’S THE GUY WHO SHOULD DO ALL THE WORK.” Gwen Gnazdowsky

both to go. “I said to him, ‘I’m flirting with you, you know.’” She wasn’t playing, she was playful, and in so doing, Gnazdowsky naturally embodied the advice of Lolekonda that seems so parochial to her and me: “Women invite, men take action.” She initiated and was honest and open and flirtatious in her intention, but she did not actually ask him out. On reflection, she concedes she didn’t. He asked her. And before he did, she showed him the answer would be emphatic. “Yes!”

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ask the group of men attending the Lifestyle Transformations seminar how they’d feel if a woman asked for their number. “She shouldn’t have to,” said one 27-year-old. Young men who have been coached how to open with strangers, sense her interest and ask for a cellphone number welcome the idea of a woman starting the conver-

sation, “but she shouldn’t have to close.” For some, it’s the unappreciated act of “manning up,” but for others it’s simply appreciated. “It’d help me out a lot,” said another. Pylarinos believes, like magnets, the opposite polarities of masculine and feminine create attraction. “In my opinion, it’s more of a man’s role or a man’s instinct for him to pursue.” Taking charge is the most comfortable role for most men and with a woman he wants to be “able to read her and lead her.” Of the top goals for their clients, Pylarinos and his business partner Cheyenne Kamran, who is leading the evening seminar, want them to learn how to be inherently social and friendly. The three-day weekend bootcamps that take male clients to malls, parks, nightclubs and cafés to test their skills in a real-world classroom cost up to $2,000. I met clients who signed up more than once. Before the end of his lecture, Kamran drops a wise line that applies to men and women, heterosexual and otherwise, game-players, the charmless, the clueless and those seeking The One. His advice: “Smile and say, ‘Hello.’” Happy Valentine’s Day. See more on this story at

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mstewart@vancourier.com

Vancouver Courier - February 11, 2011  

Vancouver Courier - February 11, 2011 printed edition