Interview by Lisa LeeKing & Tanya Richardson
Men Are Like Fish In the following interview with Steve Nakamoto, author of Men Are Like Fish (Java Books, 192 pages, $14.95), we offer up one more psycho's take on love. We spoke to Myreah Moore about her book Date Like a Man a few months back in these pages, not because we particularly liked Moore or her views, but because we hoped it would be an interesting discussion, which it was. So we decided to try again. Nakamoto, although amusing, also seemed certifiable. But as Woody Allen said about love (and this was when Soon Yi was just another one of Mia's orphans who made the wait in line at FAO Schwarz around Christmastime 10 minutes longer), "Nobody out there knows what the hell's going on!"
Well, there are books out by women and by psychologists about women, but I'm just coming from a guy's point of view. I think men are like fish, and this is sort of the fish's point of view. On how to catch us. But you know I have friends that are married and my parents are married...
Lisa LeeKing: So why of all things would you compare dating to fishing?
I noticed that in our language when people say, "There are more fish in the sea," "He fell for her hook, line and sinker," "She was very alluring," "She was the big one that got away," "She landed a husband"?these are all fishing metaphors. I did a lot of metaphor work when I was a trainer for Tony Robbins for seven years?the motivational guy.
TR: [not touching the Tony Robbins thing with a 10-foot pole] You say people fall into three categories as far as love goes?those who make things happen, those who wait for things to happen and those who wonder what happened. Doesn't just about everybody fit into that third category?
Not necessarily. There are a lot of people who've made mistakes. I fall into that category and thought there was more I needed to study. Fortunately I was taking a lot of these motivational classes anyway. I wanted to get more confidence and get rich. I thought, you know what? This is kind of like the dating world.
LL: You say that women hold the ultimate power in a love relationship.
There's an old American proverb: "A man chases a woman until she catches him." The woman does the catching, so the man is the fish. Whereas the other way around, if the man is doing the catching, it tends to turn to ego. I look at Warren Beatty as the perfect example. Before Annette Bening he was a real womanizer. When a man goes fishing and he catches a fish, he either wants to catch a bigger one or he wants to catch more.
TR: You make men sound pretty stupid and confused.
TR: Is that true?
In some ways they are. Women have to juggle a lot more things in their lives. You know that. You gotta be a mother and a daughter and a friend and you gotta look good...
TR: We don't have to look good, Steve. So your main tenet is that women should let men be the aggressors.
Yes, if you want the big fish.
TR: I met my boyfriend through some mutual friends he went to college with, and I caught him by spitting whiskey into his mouth through a straw at a bar and then making him sing into my foot like it was a microphone. We're still together. And Steve, he's a big fish.
Well, that's just breaking the ice. But all these things I say are a principle we operate by. There are always exceptions. Just as women can see things in other women that guys don't see, I can see things in other guys I hang around with that women wouldn't ordinarily see. Now I don't happen to know your boyfriend?
TR: You better not, Steve! One of your points is that women have come a long way in every other area as far as equality, but it takes longer for love to catch up. Doesn't some generation have to say, "Dammit, straight women can be aggressive in love, and if guys can't handle it then who gives a fuck"? Why shouldn't we walk out of the ocean and take those first steps on land?
We've got generations of cultural conditioning. You can find a counterculture where things are different, but if you are talking about mainstream...
LL: Is it true that guys think of every woman they know in a sexual way?
No. Sometimes they don't think.
TR: In the book you say it's not just about meeting the right person, but being ready to meet the right person. What's the recipe?
The first component is the angler, or the person who is going fishing. And that they are prepared.
TR: Which means you gotta have a cooler full of beer, huh?
A cooler full of beer...
TR: That's the way Lisa and I fish.
You're going to have a good time.
TR & LL: Yeah! Woo!
Well, let's just fine-tune the five basics: the angler, the bait, the hook, the fish and the net?the emotional security of commitment.
LL: Do you think that women will often get hung up on these small guys?these small fish?just to fill the void?
That can happen, and there is a place for the small fish.
TR: You gotta throw those back in the water. Or use them for bait. Let the big fish eat 'em!
On my website [www.menarelikefish. com] there's the big fish test.
LL: How does this testing work?
It asks: Are you hooked up with the man of your dreams, does he measure up, how attracted are you, how well does he capture your attention, do you like him at heart, do you respect his character, and what kind of a team do you make. Because you can be fooled by a guy who is outstanding in one area and be blind to everything else.
TR: Why now do we need all of these quizzes and tests and books, when our grandparents just caught someone's eye across a crowded bar, spit whiskey in their mouth and got married?
Because we've lost our culture a little bit, and there's too many weirdos out there.
TR: You're not a weirdo, are ya Steve?
Generally speaking, no. But we as a society are fearful of weirdos, plus we have a much higher ideal of what's right for us, so it's tougher to settle for something less. We always think we can do better, whether that's real or imagined.
TR: You believe some people don't have any trouble hooking lovers but have problems landing them. I think that's how most women who are fishing for men feel. Do you think waiting a while on the sex helps? In the book you emphasize the fact that when people wait it builds up a more intense emotional bond.
Yes, I believe that. The problem with landing, which is the commitment part, is that they might not be hooked properly. I have a thing called the trouble hook, which is that you should get the man attached to you emotionally first. That means he has to like and respect you and enjoy your presence.
TR: And feel all of those things without having your panties on his head.
LL: What if someone has an emotional attachment to another person who doesn't live in the same city?
TR: The L.D.
Ultimately it boils down to who is going to relocate. Make sure you have a good fit.
LL: If you do go to visit them, how long do you wait to sleep with the person?
Once you fall in love and you feel certain about it, then you're ready. Sometimes you can fall in love in five days.
LL: What do you recommend for couples who have been in a relationship for five or six years and their sex lives are getting pretty boring? How do they spice it up?
Maybe spend a little bit of time away. But this is something that has to be anticipated, because it's normal for stuff to die down. The man has to be away enough so that he?
TR: ?stays attractive. What the deal is Steve, we've got this friend who's getting married, but she and her boyfriend haven't had sex in a long time... Is there a point where the sex is over and it can't be recaptured?
I think that if it was there at one time, you can go back?that's why I think going on a cruise or going to Club Med is sometimes a good idea. Going to some tropical place.
TR: Where you're not wearing a lot of clothes...
Easy to touch...
TR: Rubbing suntan lotion...
TR: And the umbrellas in those drinks. Those are pretty hot...
Yeah, actually that's a pretty smart thing because?
TR: ?you can use them if it rains.
LL: What do you think about females catching other females?
I don't really know. I don't have much experience in that. I'm sure there are different roles, where one is the catcher and one the catch...
LL: What about a man trying to catch another man? Don't most men have some bisexual tendencies?
Well I don't know about most, I would say some, but that's another area that I frankly don't know too much about.
TR: Sure, Steve.
Although if they were to read my book...I've got 31 proverbs and 170 writers, experts and philosophers that threw ideas in there. Maybe if they read it they'll get something out of me.
TR: [not touching the Freudian slip with a 10-foot pole] What about letting go of the big one that got away? You say take one last look and never look back, which is what they told the vets when they came back from Vietnam.
It's a tough thing letting go, because there are certain things that you want to remember and treasure in your life. But...
TR: You shouldn't stay in your basement for six months listening to Blood on the Tracks every day. And put a moral on the story.
Then you can actually turn the page.
LL: There's something in the book that I disagree with: "The most attractive women are those who can move men emotionally, not intellectually."
When you write a book you have to make it to where the masses kind of get it?
TR: ?are you saying the masses are stupid?
They are going to have to read a 300- or 400-page book. That's why, with a lot of my sentences, I had to shorten them.
TR: How about that French proverb you quote, "Love makes time pass; time makes love pass." That's something you would expect a frog to say. But it's in the chapter on trying to make love last. Any advice on that?
Keep it fresh. It's a cycle. And that's the problem with the fishing metaphor, because people assume you get this person and you catch them forever...
TR: Gut 'em, clean 'em and eat 'em!
But the real art to fly-fishing is letting the fish go.