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Might go up the pub tonight.

Might go up the pub tonight.

Last week I gave a talk with my Fairfax colleague Samantha Brett at Sydney's Ivy, opining about the things women are doing wrong when it comes to finding a guy and keeping him ... 

It's almost an impossible arrogance to try to answer this question, but there were 150 women in the room who'd all paid good money to hear us speak (while guzzling chilled shampoo), so I felt compelled to give them something.

"You're lazy," I said, then went into an embarrassing spiel about fitness and vitality, trying to back away from the unspoken sentiment that seemed to hover above me like a fart: "Fat chicks don't get boyfriends."

In fact, it wasn't what I was trying to say and, from what I've heard from readers and many women, being overweight is only an obstacle to romance for a small percentage of women and men.

So, as the fart cleared above me, I leapt for clear air and got to the point I was actually trying to make: people who are engaged with life, who do things other than work, eat, sleep, catch up with friends, rinse and repeat - are attractive.

People who care about others, who have interests and hobbies, who are active in their community, who give a shit and make a difference - are attractive.

And people who are not, by and large, are lazy.

This is where y'all start to disagree with me, but stay with me for a few more paragraphs.

Yes, there are energetic, egocentric types who are also attractive but their self-absorption is a sentiment you can absorb by opening any one of a thousand magazines.

I was trying to give the crowd that night something a little different.

Which is to say, that having a "life", making a difference, caring for people outside your immediate family and friends - to me, that is sexy, and I dare say many men feel the same way.

As I've written in this blog many times, this is not just a woman thing, it's a person thing, but I was talking to a group of gals, so I made it gender specific.

A lot of you will probably take issue with my use of the word "lazy", saying that a full-time job, travel to and from work, as well as a full social and family life is no small feat and requires plenty of energy.

And you're right.

However, it's nothing out of the ordinary.

If a person is truly struggling to meet someone, may I be so bold as to suggest they might have to step it up a bit and not be so ordinary?

Constructing a vital and rewarding life takes time and effort - I know because I've had one and I've lost one, or at least let it wither.

But I'm also single, so I was giving the advice to my inner slob as much as I was the 150 lonely hearts.

Going that bit further, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, takes effort but it also stretches you as a person and that vitality, that growth, is attractive.

And when you're doing things you love, when you're focused on issues other than your own genitals and procreation, it's amazing who appears - namely people doing the same with their lives.

Putting on a nice dress/shirt and heading out to your local for a few drinks might seem like you're making an effort - but compared to what I've just outlined, it's plain slovenly.

Too often, couples form by cobbling two tiny lives together and, after the initial glow has cooled, they turn on each other and begin sniping because nothing's really changed - "they haven't made me happy".

If you're lazy when you're single, odds are you'll be lazy in a relationship, sated as you are by orgasms, takeaway food and DVDs.

But if you build a rewarding life outside a partnership, odds are you'll also nurture it while you're in love or lust, and that's an attractive, intelligent and logical thing to do.

Your thoughts?

Sam de Brito's latest novel Hello Darkness is in bookstores now. You can follow him on Twitter here.

98 comments so far

  • Sam, it's not that I don't think what you're saying has merit, but I think it's something you should do for yourself - it won't guarantee Mr or Miss Right will walk into your life, and it's very disappointing when you've made all this effort to better yourself but you still haven't got anyone to share your life with.

    There are plenty of lazy people who have had the good fortune of finding the right person for them - and there are plenty of dynamic folks who haven't been so lucky.

    If you're single and you're prefer not to be, the only thing I would insist you do is make an effort to date - invest some time, money and energy in one or more dating services (such as internet dating or speed dating), get your friends to fix you up, go to every party you're invited to and talk to new people, ask out that random attractive person you otherwise would have let slip through your fingers...

    Unfortunately, your love life is something you only have so much control over.

    Lady Contributor
    Date and time
    November 23, 2011, 5:17PM
    • "Too often, couples form by cobbling two tiny lives together and, after the initial glow has cooled, they turn on each other and begin sniping because nothing's really changed - "they haven't made me happy"". - Sam de Brito

      I couldn't agree more. Thinking someone else can make you happy is a great fallacy.

      fav line
      Date and time
      November 23, 2011, 8:24PM
      • Brilliant!

        I was just saying something similar to my husband (although saying that I did read it somewhere else recently, not this exact angle of course).

        I want to make a comment about laziness within relationships. I'm coming up to my 10 yr wedding aniversary next month & I realised last night I've been damn lazy, I didn't think that at all before, I'm generous & nurturing in loads of ways, but I didn't spend enough time truly listening to my partner. When he talked about work or golf or sport I would pretend to listen, these topics bore me & I find them hard to understand. But last night I really listened. I realised how I spend so much time 'dumping' talk/talk/talking to him all the time about everything but not nearly enough time asking him questions. It's very selfish & lazy.

        Actually that brings me back on topic - i have a close friend who is prob about to break up with her boyfriend. It struck me listening to her talk about it that it's all about her, it's not even on her radar that being a good partner to him could bring her satisfaction. As Ajahn Brahm puts it, a relationship is not about you, or the other person, it's about 'us' :)

        Date and time
        November 23, 2011, 8:53PM
        • What if you don't love anything? I think I'd prefer lazy. People suck. But not anal. Anal is very ugly. You have to be very sexy and intelligent to overcome anal.

          Passion is often naivety and bravado.

          Date and time
          November 23, 2011, 9:02PM
          • Sam, do you think the "fat bum" post will haunt you forever?

            looking back
            Date and time
            November 23, 2011, 9:53PM
            • What a load of BS. Spoken like a guy who last held down a full time office job 10 years ago in a go-nowhere, moronic probably short term temp... mate, you have NFI how much energy is required to work full time in a high level stressful job...there is literally not much energy left over for anything else, hence the dating services for the high-end professional. This is a world you know and will never know nothing about, you who get to sit in your undies scratching yourself all day. Your advice to people like myself, and most people who work hard at their professions, is useless.

              I call BS
              Date and time
              November 24, 2011, 12:25AM
              • this is something that i can speak with authority. I am so lazy ... well, I can't be bothered finishing this sentence ... but Lady Contributor, I have to advise that Sam is right ... I neatly disguised my slothfulness with activity ... now you may point out that seem a contradiction ... but Sam will know what I mean ... anyway, I go out, org. things, hang out with annoying Scouts and mix with other folk who do the same ... I had a relationship end not long ago; big disappointment as i wanted to marry the lases ... I couldn't be bothered putting myself out there ... of course, i still go out with charming women ... it's that they ask me (quite often) ... and i'm as far from a merchant banker, or what ever the flavour of the month is suppose to be ... and i once won a Kenny Everett look-a-like contest (god rest his soul) ... I fixed a pretty women's son's bike not long a ago ... we now seem to have something going (she's very pretty) ... anyway, you do have a say over "your" life ...

                Date and time
                November 24, 2011, 12:37AM
                • This post has been a nice reminder to keep striving. Lately I've been exhausted by life, and contemplated giving up on my personal goals for a whiel (reading, hobbies) to try and focus more on my career. However, after this post I think I'll keep pushing myself. The happiest people I know seem to spend every minute of every day purposefully...

                  Date and time
                  November 24, 2011, 1:53AM
                  • I agree and well said. I try as much to live my life by the motto of 'putting myself out there'. And it doesn't just mean to get sex, I've had times where I've met a nice girl in public like in a shop where they've worked, or when I'm working, and we've had a really good conversation so I've asked for their contact, usually fb, or had them ask for mine. Some take this as thinking you want them in the sack, which is fair enough, but a shame when it isn't and you just wanted to be plutonic and talk some more because you were having an awesome exchange.

                    Meeting like minded people you get along instantly with isn't a frequent enough a thing so why pass it up!? The most important thing in life are your human relationships, and they are the key to happiness above the gym, exercise, plastic surgery, drugs, vitamins and fish oil. Although those things can all help after, but they won't do anything without the former.

                    One of my best girl friends (yeah, just friends) I met when I was working the counter thanks to her giving me her number and asking to meet up :) As it turned out we ended up traveling overseas and having many lifelong memories together.

                    Put yourself out there!

                    Keep Turning
                    Date and time
                    November 24, 2011, 2:12AM
                    • The other benefit of leading a full and happy lifestyle is that even if you don't meet the person of your dreams, at least you ahven't sat there, wasting your life away.
                      Now that I am single again, I am getting out and doing all the things that were banned. Healthy, Community oriented things. Things which can make a difference to people's lives, and mine. Although I do notice that all the groups I am involved with, they are all so seriously the wrong demographics for finding someone. All married, 15 - 20 years older than me. Oh well, at least I am loving life again.

                      Date and time
                      November 24, 2011, 3:29AM

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