Talk of the Town

Talk of the Town is a blog about life in Atlanta. You’ll find features on people, places and events that local people (and the world) are talking about. Plus, you’ll find newsy scoops on things people should be talking about.

Why women should let a man make the first move

Georgia native @KelliAmirah's epic tweets chronicled the roller coaster ride of a burgeoning relationship and served as a cautionary tale for any woman thinking of hooking up with her Uber driver.

RELATED: Why Atlanta is one of the worst cities for dating

In 38 tweets, we learn that Kelli, a student at Howard University in Washington, D.C.,  is attracted to her Saturday night Uber driver so she decides to leave her phone charger in the back of his car to create a reason to call him:


She tries calling, but the driver never answers. So she files a lost item report through Uber hoping to get a response. On Monday, the driver sends a text and tells her he can meet her to give her the charger. She gets herself together, goes out to meet him and battles anxiety to ask him out:


He laughs and tells her to text him, which she does, only to find out that he is married and won't be taking her up on her offer. She is completely befuddled:


Dawn Maslar aka The Love Biologist, has the answer.

In her book, " Men Chase, Women Choose ," (HCI, $16) Maslar shares the science behind love relationships including why it is best to let a man make the first move.

"A man has a biological impetus to spread his seed. There was that split second where (the driver) is like well, maybe, but he had a crisis of conscience and he texted her back. It could have gone the other way. He could have waited until after they hooked up to say he was married and she would have been hurt," Maslar said.

Kelli would have been better off indicating her interest in a more subtle way, like maybe not putting the whole thing on Twitter and maybe not taking the big risk of asking him out. "She could have indicated her interest and not asked him out because that could have had unintended consequences," Maslar said.

So while Kelli said she hated her life once she learned the truth about her Uber driver, she actually got off pretty easy. For those who may not have fared as well at the start of a relationship, Maslar's book offers some insight.

Maslar, a biology professor, was frustrated with relationship books that were based on anecdotal information. As a scientist, she wanted something more.

"There are a lot of rules out there, but I wanted to understand what was the science behind the rule," said Maslar, whose TEDx talk has received more than 5 million views.

Why should women not call a man? Why do rules like waiting three dates or 90 days to have sex exist? Why is love at first sight, generally non-existent?

Turns out, there is a scientific answer for all of these questions.

Maslar said there are four phases of love, each of which impacts the male and female brain in different ways. Understanding the dynamics of each phase, can make the whole love thing a little bit easier, she said. But not going through the phases of love can short-circuit your relationship.

"Love at first sight is norepinephrine," Maslar said. "That feeling of butterflies and sweaty palms is similar to adrenaline. Its job is saying that something important has walked in the room and you should pay attention, but it isn't love yet."

So what should we make of the stories about the elderly aunt and uncle who met, fell in love at first sight and have lived happily ever after for 50 years? Maslar said these stories are possible, but not probable. It is more likely that the love-at-first-sighters will fall out of love within two years.

Once you've decided to take a chance on attraction and start dating, you're on the road to falling in love. But take caution, women and men fall in love differently.

"Sex can cause a woman to fall in love quicker because of oxytocin. She could be stuck on a guy for two years," said Maslar. Then her brain will re-adjust and she'll see the relationship for what it really is.

This is where the three date and 90 day rules come into play. A woman should probably wait for a man to fall for her before she falls into bed with him or she risks him never falling in love with her at all.

Still, commitment can be a challenge for a man, said Maslar. Research shows that when a man fall in love and commits, his testosterone drops.

"If he has something he wants to do in his life -- start a business, get a degree -- he may not want to zap his power. He needs to be in a safe place and with safe person. If a  woman is too aggressive, he will be reluctant to make that commitment," Maslar said.

When or if you finally fall in love -- the phase of love that has inspired music, poetry and more -- enjoy it, because you've got about two years before you have to face reality.

"Just because you fall in love does not mean it is going to be a relationship," Maslar said.

Once your brain comes down from the love high, you won't feel the same about your SO.

"If we look at the number of divorces in any year of a relationship, the highest number is at about year two," Maslar said. "I think maybe if people understood that, it could help them."

Couples who remain happy and who are in it for the long haul seem to have one thing in common, said Maslar.

"They practice positive illusion in the other. They look at the good side. They keep replaying those memories and thinking about what they love about the person," she said.

Though she is a scientist, Maslar said she was surprised by the effect that love has on your brain. Knowing what she knows now can take away a bit of the magic, but the biggest lesson she has learned, is that love, real love, is something that must be practiced.

"It goes from being something selfish that you are looking for to something you are giving to someone else selflessly," she said. "It is hardest to make a decision to love another person."






Reader Comments ...

About the Author

Nedra Rhone has been a features reporter with the AJC for 10 years. She’s written about everything from fashion to food to news.