Man Makeovers: 6 Ways to Make Mr. Right Even Better

Men want to make us happy. That's the truth according to dating consultant Renee Piane of Lovemechanics.com. The author of Love Mechanics: The Power Tools to Build Successful Relationships says their occasional inability to accomplish this goal stems from our inability to say what we need in an, ahem, constructive manner. Piane adds, "Men are simple creatures. Unlike us, they weren't raised analyzing every nuance of relationships." They honestly have no idea what we want. This leaves them shadowboxing blindly, praying they'll accidentally hit on what we need and hoping that they won't get in too much trouble when they fail to deliver.

But not all guys are completely clueless at every turn. Chances are, your man is smoother in one or more of the following areas, but in an effort to cover all the bases -- and save as many relationships as possible -- let's take a giant step back and start at the beginning. The simple secret to teaching them what we want in a way they'll "get" is to deliver the message wrapped in a velvet glove -- as opposed to a two-by-four. Here's how you can help him improve his:

  1. Wardrobe
  2. Eating habits
  3. Living space
  4. Ability to make plans
  5. Attention span and memory for "the little things"
  6. Moves in the bedroom

Plus: Men's top 5 pet peeves about women

1. Improve his wardrobe

A man who has no fashion sense is aware of his flaw and doesn't need you to point it out to him in condescending fashion ("You're gonna go out of the house in that?"). Piane says, "If you nag, he'll hear his mother's voice and turn off." The battle plan is SSS: stroke, suggest, stroke. Meaning compliment him, tell him what you want, compliment him again. Say, "Honey, you're so attractive. You've got a great haircut and great shoulders but you're not showing yourself off to the best advantage. How would you feel if we went shopping to find a few new flattering outfits? That way when we go out with our friends next weekend, you'll look like a million bucks."

2. Improve his eating habits

He's the king of junk food, the only thing in his frig is ketchup and a bottle of water. Piane says, "You can't really change his inbred habits, but you can show him a better way to live." Next time you're visiting, say, "You have nothing in the house. Why don't we go to the supermarket and stock up?" Buy healthy foods that are easy to prepare, like prepackaged salad, and make a healthy meal when you get back to his place. (Men love to be fed, Piane points out.) Hopefully he will start learning by example.

3. Improve his living space

When you walk into his amazingly messy hovel, don't attack him for what you see -- and don't see. Don't make a judgment. Remember SSS. Go, "Sweetheart, what a great couch. It would look awesome to match it with this lamp I saw at Ikea." Piane says, "I once dated a guy who had a great job, drove a Lexus, the whole bit. His kitchen sink was full of dirty dishes and bugs. I said, "You're such a together guy, I expected your place to be like the rest of you. I have a great maid who can take care of this for $45." The next time Piane visited, the place was spotless. His sheets make you itchy? When he stays at your place, say, "Oh, I love these sheets. They' re so soft." He'll probably go out and buy the same sheets for his bed. Remember that he aims to please if only he'd know how.

4. Improve his ability to make plans

He's constantly putting it on you to decide the evening's agenda when your deepest wish is for him to come up with a great plan. Instead of nagging, try, "Honey, it makes me happy that you want me to make plans, but what really turns me on is when you call and say you've thought of something great for us to do." Piane advises, "Put it in terms of feelings: 'I love when you pick the place because you always pick a great one.'"

5. Improve his attention span and memory for "the little things"

It's so great when a man remembers little things about you, like your preference for Diet Coke over Diet Pepsi. If you're like most of us though, you're lucky when your guy remembers that if you eat shellfish you'll wind up in the hospital. Piane says, "He is who he is. He doesn't give love the way you do. Show him what you need. Every time he does remember some little thing about you, shower him with appreciation. ('When we were out with Barbara and Steve last night and you said, "Diane loves the cheesecake at this restaurant, it made me feel so special."') In this way you'll be programming him to please you because he knows he'll be rewarded."

6. Improve his bedroom moves

Men aren't born with road maps of the female body and hate it when you come off like a drill sergeant. Piane puts it plainly, "Don't castrate a guy when he's naked with a hard-on." Show him what you like with words and gestures. In bed, moan with joy when he accidentally hits a hot spot. Out of bed, say, "It felt amazing when you did this but when you did that it hurt just a little. So can we try this again? It was really spectacular." The key is to be playful, not punitive.

The bottom line, according to Piane, is to have reasonable expectations. He isn't actually a white knight, but instead a mere mortal with a penis. It's not his job to make you happy 24 hours a day. Take care of yourself and appreciate him and every little thing he does to please you. Odds are, you'll be rewarded tenfold

Men's Top 5 Peeves about Women

Now that you know what techniques will work on him, here are the surefire failures:

1. Nagging
Piane suggests, "Call your girlfriend and rant to your heart's content about your bozo boyfriend's thoughtlessness. Or write out your disappointment." Don't nag him. Odds are, your bad mood is due more to your own insecurities than anything your guy has done -- or not done.

2. Holding grudges
Okay, he accidentally threw out your favorite blouse -- seven months ago. Get over it.

3. Bad timing
Don't begin a life-changing conversation when he's obviously very stressed. And don't utter the ominous phrase, "We need to talk." He'll think he's in big trouble. A gentler, more effective approach is, "Later on tonight or maybe tomorrow I want to have a conversation. It's not a big deal and it will only take a few minutes."

4. Tough tonality
He gets your displeasure, not the reason for it when you bark at him like at a puppy who missed the newspaper. Or when you sound like a teacher chastising a wayward pupil. Or when you are condescending and bitchy. Or when...

5. Lack of appreciation
You notice when he messes up but rarely mention when he gets it right. Repeat after me: Compliment, don't castrate.

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