It doesn’t matter if it is pasta with Ragu topped by a meat-ball you picked up at the corner deli. He’ll say, “This is the best pasta I have ever had in my life!”

Now he feels like a king. And the only difference is the amount of time and effort he had to invest, first. He didn’t get it all right up front and he appreciated it more.

ATTRACTION PRINCIPLE #2 The women who have the men climbing the walls for them aren’t always exceptional. Often, they are the ones who don’t appear to care that much.

This isn’t about how to play a game or how to manipulate someone. This is about whether you are genuinely needy, or whether you can genuinely show him that you’ll be an equal partner in the relationship. It’s about whether you are capable of holding your own in a relationship.

What would happen if you let him know from day one that you are willing to bend over backward? He’d think you’re desperate, and he’d want to see just how far you’d be willing to bend. It is human nature. He’d immediately start to test the waters. The more malleable you’d become, the more he’d expect you to bend. He’ll instantly perceive you as a Duracell battery, as in, “Just how far will she go? How much can I get out of her?”

Nice girls need to know what a bitch understands. Overcompensating or being too eager to please will lessen a man’s respect; it will give the kiss of death to his attraction, and it will put a time limit on the relationship.

Most men don’t perceive a woman who jumps through hoops as someone who offers a mental challenge. Intelligent women make the mistake of assuming that if they hold a higher degree, they can hold their own in a political debate, and they have a good understanding of mid-caps, they offer a man mental stimulation during dinner. But the mental challenge has little to do with conversation. (Granted, if she thinks that Al Green and Alan Greenspan are the same person, then Houston? We have a problem.)

In general, the mental challenge has to do with whether you expect to be respected. It has to do with how you relate to him. It has to do with whether he knows that you aren’t afraid to be without him.

The nice girl makes the mistake of being available all the time. “I don’t want to play games,” she says. So, she lets him see how afraid she is to be without him and he soon comes to feel as though he has a 100 percent hold on her. This is often the point when women begin to complain: “He doesn’t make enough time for me. He isn’t as romantic as he used to be.”

A bitch is more selective about her availability. She’s available sometimes; other times she’s not. But she’s nice. Nice enough, that is, to consider his preferences for when he’d like to see her so that she can sometimes accommodate them. Translation? No 100 percent hold.

What about the woman who will drop everything and drive to see a man? The man also knows he has a 100 percent hold on her. After a couple of dates, he goes out with the boys, comes in at midnight, calls her, and off she goes to see him. When a woman drives to see a man in the middle of the night, the only thing missing is a neon sign on the roof of her car that says WE DELIVER.

ATTRACTION PRINCIPLE #3 A woman is perceived as offering a mental challenge to the degree that a man doesn’t feel he has a 100 percent hold on her.

Your time with him is telling. The nice girl sits in a chair after a week of knowing the guy, bored out of her mind as he does something that interests him. He may be watching sports on TV, cleaning his fishing gear, strumming his guitar, or working on his car. She is miserable but doesn’t say a peep. Instead, she tries to make the best of it and twiddles her thumbs politely, just so she can be in his company.

The bitch, on the other hand, makes plenty of peeps. In fact, she is bitching the whole way through. This is not a bad thing, because then he knows he can’t walk all over her. But remember, a mental challenge has little to do with being verbally combative. It has to do with your actions and how much of yourself you are willing to give up. For example, he says he likes blondes. You have dark skin, dark eyes, and black hair. The next time he sees you, you’ve bleached your hair and dyed your eyebrows to match. Translation? He’ll sense he has a 100 percent hold on you.

“A man’s love comes from his stomach,” they say. That’s true, but no one said to slave for six hours to feed him. Whether he eats out or you order take-out, the stomach is full, and there is plenty of love to go around. Rule of thumb: If it is warm, he’ll eat it. The rest is wasted effort.

Women are conditioned to give themselves away. I have yet to see a men’s magazine with an article on how to cook a woman a four-course meal. The closest they ever come to a recipe is in the bodybuilder section, when they tell guys to mix up a few egg whites with some wheat germ.

I raise the issue of cooking because it’s one of many ways that women overcompensate. This doesn’t mean you should forgo cooking altogether. Perhaps it’s your anniversary, and you’ve been together a whole year. Perhaps it is his birthday, and you want to do something special for him.

On a special occasion, and after he has earned it, cooking him a meal is a nice “treat.” But it isn’t a treat if you give it to him right off the bat. Since this is a book for women, I would be remiss if I didn’t include some recipes for those first weeks in a relationship. And, unlike Martha Stewart’s recipes, the following are easy to remember. You don’t even need recipe cards.

Appetizer Popcorn a la Carte

I recommend popcorn for its convenience and quick preparation time. First, place the bag in the microwave. When all the kernels have popped, remove the popcorn from the microwave carefully, because it will be very hot. Be sure to wear a cooking mitt, an apron, and a spatula to assist in the removal of the popcorn from the microwave. This will not only impress your guest, it will also make it look like you really know what you’re doing.

If you find that the popcorn is burned, notice where it is burned. If it’s black at the top, dump out the black part and salvage the rest by pouring it into a bowl. Serve the yellow part to your guest, and then adjust the time when you make a new bag for yourself.

Serves: one and a half. (Good enough.)

Main Course Gourmet Delicate Dippings

Bring a pot of water to a boil, and plop in two wieners. Cook them for five minutes so the wieners are tough or slightly al dente. Pour your guest a refreshing beverage (Kool-Aid). Then send him onto your balcony so he can enjoy the lovely view—as ambience is everything. When he isn’t looking, slice and dice the little wieners and stick a toothpick into each piece. Like Martha, you can truly express your creativity with a wide assortment of different colored toothpicks. Now serve the little weiners with two “delicate dipping” sauces, served side by side: ketchup and mustard. And never refer to them as weiner slices, always refer to them as “Gourmet Delicate Dippings.”

Now for dessert: a jelly roll (Hostess) served with coffee (instant). And an after-dinner mint always makes a classy finishing touch. I recommend peppermint, spearmint, or Trident.

You’ll know dinner was a smashing success when he insists on taking you out to eat next time. Never again will you hear him utter the words, “Hey, what’s for dinner?”

If, after some time, he ever slips and asks you to cook, simply offer to make your specialty: popcorn, wieners, and a jelly roll, with coffee and Kool-Aid to help wash it down. Then start getting ready because you’ll have reservations within the hour.

The bitch is not the woman who will sit at home and work overtime to refine her “man-catching” skills. All she feels she has to do in the beginning is focus on being good company. This is more than enough until he earns the “cat-bird seat” at the top of the yacht.

In the beginning, pay close attention and take note of the following: If he’s unwilling to lift a finger during the courtship, he is showing you right up front that he has nothing to offer you in the future. This behavior has nothing

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