power moves

There’s opening her side of the car first, the half-stand at the table, walking along the outside, closer to the curb, when you’re by her side. But those aren’t power moves; they’re etiquette. And when a man is a gentleman in this way, I pay attention immediately. He passes the test.

Men have tests. They wait to see how she’ll take care of him when he’s sick, and if she does that well, he’s pretty much done. It’s over. She wins. It’s so mommy. The way to his heart is through his stomach… so she cooks and takes care of you when you’re really sick. Then you’re done—call off the hunt… this is the woman for you? Is this mostly true, assuming you’re already attracted to her mind and body?

This summer, I had a very brief divot of dates with a guy who tested me incessantly. Besides quizzing me on trivia and teaching me the military alphabet, he’d pose “what if’s” to me. “Hey Stephanie, what if I were to dive from here. Think I can do it?” He posed the question as if he were about to dive into shallow water, with a running dive. “Come on, I want to try it. Think I can do it? How much of running start would I need?”

“Don’t do that. You might get hurt.”
“Ahah, you passed the test.”
“The test?” My eyebrows pinched together.
“I wanted to make sure you cared about me.”
“Try asking next time.” What a shmuck.

We all have tests. Many women I know begin with telling the man she’s with, maybe we should take things more slowly, or take some time apart. It’s very foolish, and manipulative, and I’ve totally done it. Many times, we do it to hear a declaration. “No. I don’t want to lose you. You’re important to me.” I’ve learned this manipulation, if I feel myself doing it, is a sign for me. If I’m acting out like this it means I shouldn’t be with him… clearly my needs aren’t being met. Clearly, I need to be with a man who I don’t need to test. I should know he doesn’t want to lose me without having to push it. I should know it because he says it, know it because he shows it.

Summer Diver Dude got in with me with his power moves.

Moving misplaced hair… not the kind growing between browns, but a misplaced curl, he brushes aside when you’re mid sentence. In that one move, I know you’re paying attention, even if you’re not listening to a word I’m saying. I feel taken care of. And that’s your power move. I feel coveted and adored in that one small gesture.

When you kiss me, you use your hands. It shows passion. Use them to pull me close, on the small of my back, or brushing a finger along my cheek, or under my chin. I’m pretty much done there, swooning.

Turning my head toward you, gently, with one of your hands beneath my chin is a good one. The move shows you have patience and sensitivity. It’s hot.

MEN: What small gesture can a woman perform– ahem, blowjobs are no small gesture—that does it for you? Do you have your own power move that works like a charm every time? Inquiring minds want to know. Spill it.

WOMEN: Chime in with more power moves you spot in men. What does it for you?



  1. Love it when a woman kisses me and gently puts her hand on the back of my neck.

    Also, love holding hands; it's so damn 50s…I know, but something about the energy of a person through the hands…

  2. Power move…hmmm…never thought about that. I like for someone to sympathize w/me if I'm ill (I'm never usually sick), but not smother me.

    Also, I like a woman to listen when I've had a biatch of a day or a problem, without necessarily struggling to find solutions for me. Sometimes we men just need to bitch, knowing there isn't much we can do to change the situation.

  3. Tests are a pain in the ass…although, we all have to go through them and do them. Otherwise, you could be stuck with the wrong mate.

    All men should act like a gentleman, with the etiquette that you mention. It is opening doors, standing when a lady leaves the table and when she returns, not eating before everyone is seated and has their meal, taking packages from a lady to carry them for her, and walking on the side that is closest to the traffic. It is paying the bill for dinner. It is walking her to her door instead of just dropping her off to make sure she gets in safe. It is giving her your coat or jacket because she is cold. It is the way that you introduce her to people when you are out at an event. Personally, I think that it is completely underdone in today's times.

    Most of the blame for it not happening goes with the guys and some belongs with women. Ladies don't take this the wrong way, but those that feel that being "independent" means that they don't need a guy to do these things because he is taking away her independence is confusing his intentions. It is purely being done out of being a gentleman and should never be confused with anything other than that. Let men be gentlemen.

    As far as power moves goes…

    Sometimes it is just the way that you look at us. It is your eyes and your smile. Sort of when you are staring at us for no reason at all and we catch you, then you smile. We see it in your eyes…your happiness.

    Also, when we walk in the door and you come running over to give us a big hug and a kiss. It could be the worst day in the world and all of it was forgotten instantly because of you.

    When you whisper in our ear about how much you love us.

    How about when we are out and we might be talking with some other woman and we see you looking over at us…not with jealous eyes (very easy to spot), but with the look of love.

    When you want to experience something that we really enjoy doing despite it not being your thing…i.e. the football game with the full tailgate party. It shows us that you don't really care where you are just as long as you are with us.

  4. I have no moves, power or otherwise.

    I'm a sucker for honesty and clarity. You probably can't say too much, even if it's not what I want to hear.

  5. I had a few "tests" my husband had to pass before I knew he was "the one." When we were around my sister's children he needed to offer to change the diapers. When we got a puppy and it cried in the middle of the night he needed to be the one to get up to take it outside…even if it was snowing. When deciding where to eat dinner he never pulled the "I don't know, where do you want to go" card. I hate indecisiveness. And there were many many more. Luckily for him (and me!) he passed with flying colors. :)

  6. I thought they were power moves at first, and they totally locked him, but after 3 years my boyfriend will still wake up everyday before work and make me a hot breakfast.

    In return, I listen to him ramble on for an hour about a component he made at work even though it's the most boring conversation one could endure and I usually have no idea what he's talking about. But-he loves to talk about work and I love my eggs in the morning.

  7. I know it's very "Bronx Tale", but after I have opened the car door for her, I find her a keeper if she reaches across and opens the car door for me (or unlocks it at least).

    If she is honest enough to tell me that I have spinach, or broccoli, or a poppy seed in my teeth, she's a keeper too.

    If she pours the low sodium soy sauce in my sushi turreine, she's a keeper….as well as allowing me the last piece of spicy tuna.

    The simple things, as you say, show interest, show emotion, show meaning and feeling. These are my 'power moves'. I don't set 'her' up usually, just pleasantly surprised when she takes initiative.

    Oh, and if she leaves the seat up for me…..she's golden!

  8. Carrie's "tests" IMHO, are pretty shitty. Why would you expect him to change your sister's kids' diapers? I have a 3 month old daughter whom I love dearly and of whom I take care during the day while my wife is at work (read: I change an average of 10 diapers/day) and I would not want to change my sister in law's kids' diapers.

    As far as dinner…I'm not so sure "I don't care, wherever you want to go" qualifies as indecisiveness. I actually truly don't care at times where we go…as long as we go. One, IMHO, should be accused of indecisiveness for much graver issues than "where to eat dinner."
    Anyway, that's just my opinion.

    According to your test, I'd have failed…but in reality, I've been married now for 10 years (to the same woman), and have had and taken care of two children. I'd say I haven't done badly as a husband.

  9. My power move today:
    Left a message to FW (future Wife)letting her know I was just remembering a specific date we had back before the ring, how remembering that/her made dealing with moronic co-workers easier.

  10. In the way a woman touches your arm. When she gently touches you, it's almost as if she's drunk, but she's not (well maybe she is, but it's not the alcohol that is causing her hands to blindly yet gently stumble while finding their way to you). Combine this with leaning in close to the ear to whisper something flirtatious, and you'll render any man vulnerable.

    Playing hard to get shouldn't be when a woman hides the fact that she's interested, but is when she lets you know through her actions but forces you to figure out what the hell you should do about it. If you're in a relationship, there should never be any question about whether she's going to be with you or not, but it is still incredibly sexy when she gets coy with you.

    I've seen plenty of quotes about how women spend a lot of time getting dressed up and want to be noticed for their efforts. Men spend an incredible amount of time trying to act more powerful, "manly," and together than we really are, and I guess you could say your continued flirtation is a way to show you notice our efforts to be the man in your life.

  11. No offense kids, but these are some of the lamest 'power moves' i've ever heard. since when is listening a move? that's a relationship requirement, isn't? i mean, i can see waking him up with a BJ regularly scoring daily breakfast in bed, but simply paying attention when he talks? good grief.

    and asking a man to offer to change diapers of someone he is not even related to is just weird. however, playing with others' kids at holiday time is a good indicator of dad-worthiness. and being too decisive can be misconstrued as controlling or inflexible.

    woo moves i love: if you have not driven to the date together, calling to make sure she got home safe gets points. day-after hook-up calls are mandatory too. always reply to her emails. holding cheeks (either ones) wonderfully enhances a liplock. catching a guy looking at you when you don't know it is a thrill. a hand placed on her lower back guiding her as you walk. playing with her hair as you lie together watching a movie. and i suppose this is a shrink red flag, but JUST A HINT of jealousy shows that you care. full-blown insecurity, however, is bad, bad.

    but in general i've found power moves to fail miserably. when i tried to be the 'interested-in-sports chick,' he laughed at me, like it was pathetic of me to be invading his territory. when i tried to play nurse with another guy after his wisdom-teeth removal, he got annoyed, saying he already had a mother, thanks. i've also tested guys by withdrawing or picking fights, just to see if he'll chase me or fight for me. never, ever works.

    but a few fail-safe physical moves: knee-high boots. allowing your breast to ever-so-slightly brush against him when you reach for something. allowing a bra strap to slip down. and my fave: when you go to the ladies room at a restaurant after the meal, walk (and wiggle but not too much) slowly and look back once when you are half way there. if he is still watching you, he is a keeper.

  12. male power moves?

    -wearing a pink polo shirt. i'm sorry- that just makes me swoon.
    -any sort of hand to my lower back makes me melt
    – doing crossword puzzles, in pen. extra points for the NY Times
    – when meeting my parents, he flirts with my mom and gives my dad the best handshake of his life. that's a power move.
    -being the first to apologize
    – at a party a few weeks ago, in the middle of a conversation with someone else, a certain guy looked over, winked, and smiled at me totally incognito: the ability to share a secret in a crowded room is hot.

  13. In a recent post, stephanie writes,

    "Halloween is an excuse for women to dress like sluts; it's like summer. Not all women go here: French maid, Eve, Genie, Cat Woman, English School Girl, Farm Girl, Cow Girl, Cave Girl, Playmate Bunny, Slutty Nurse, Easy Girl Scout, Pirate Queen, Dominatrix, Wonder Woman, or a FemeBot from Austin Powers. But a lot of them do. What does it say about these women who always go ho and put the "lo" in Halloween?
    Why don't they ever dress as Missing Milk Cartons, Mummies, or Martha Washington? They're starved for attention from men. They don't want "wow, that was really creative" attention; they want erections."

    We then read/see a recent post/photos whereby stephanie is seen prancing around manhattan on halloween night wearing nothing more than a woman's undergarment!!! Its blantantly apparent that stephanie is as "starved for attention from men" as those that she devalues in her above commentary. I mean..could it be more obvious not only in this example, but in pretty much everything she writes??? This is even worse than the non-stop over-analyzation of men. Its comical.

  14. Power-moves that win me over:

    …one solitary hand cradling my head while we kiss; his fingers entwined in my hair. He did that Halloween night as we cuddled in bed. I was very, very happy.

    …asking if i could watch his dog when he has to go out of town (and suggesting I keep the doorkey). It shows that he trusts me; not just to care for his dog, but to be at his place when he's not. No secrets there.

  15. Ah NED… or whatever your real name is… if you actually made it to the bottom of the post you so readily copy/pasted in your comment, you'd see that I already said I'd be a Freudian Slip, dressed like a HO, along with all my racy girls. And I loved every minute of it beotch.

  16. I like when girls make funny faces at me, like sticking their tongue out and the like. Anything that shows that she's comfortable around me is good. Burping or telling me naughty private stories about herself for example.

    My power move is I suck at dating games, if I want to hang out with you I'm calling you, screw waiting 3 days or whatever the "rule" is. That guy in Steph's previous entry that said "I like you, too bad", that guy rules and I'd give him a high five.

  17. very poor attempt at trying to cover for yourself, Stephanie. but keep it up.. you're good for a laugh.

  18. I'm trying to understand how the qualities I looked for in a future spouse could be something that is up for debate. I have girlfriends that refuse to date a man strictly based on height. Does that predict how a man will care for your children, protect his family or be able to make important decisions? No. My criteria did. Whether you agree or not, it worked for me. I was merely answering Stephanie's question, which is more than I can say for you Robotnik.

  19. For my wife the power move was me paying for dinner, and flowers and movies…every time. For me it was knowing that she would follow me where ever I would be stationed in the military. The smaller signs I liked were how she would rub her hand down my arm and make all the hairs straight. Baking snicker doodles….done. Admiting that I was the better driver and we were safer that way was sexy. But I would have to key to me kneeling on one knee saying I want to spent the rest of my life with her was how much I felt needed.

  20. What small gesture can a woman perform that does it for me?
    1. Innocent little physical contacts. A playful slap on the leg when laughing at a joke. A touch on the arm, a playful kick under the table, a kiss for no reason at all.
    2. Public affection. Arm-in-arm, hand holding, kissing. Who cares who’s looking?
    3. Initiative. Why do we men have to continually initiate contact? We call, we phone, we IM, we text. I love it when a girl doesn’t wait for me to initiate contact. Big plus.
    4. Appreciation. Totally individualistic. She shows me, in her own way, that she truly appreciates me.

    My own power moves
    Probably not power moves in the traditional sense. Man, are there moves out there that really work like a charm every time, as you say? As for me, these are things I like believe in, successful or not:
    1. Etiquette (although you say it is NOT a power move). Seems to be a lost art these days. Jeez, you hold a car door open for a girl and it’s like you’ve been instantly been crowned King for a day.
    2. Pay attention. In simple conversation, remember the seemingly obscure things she says she likes. File them away for future use. Peonies, Ranuculus, and French tulips from Takashimaya, Mint chocolate chip ice cream from B&R, Laura Mercier Secret Camoflauge, etc. Remember little facts. Family, friends, or pet names.
    3. Surprise her. Keep her on her toes. Open up the files and send her something from #2 above. You don’t need a reason. It shows you care about her and, maybe more importantly, it shows you cared to remember her little favorites.
    4. Innocent little physical contacts. Goes both ways. Little touches (such as those you describe) while kissing seems to raise both temperatures.

    Shit, if I keep going there won’t be anything left to surprise you. Nuff’s enuff.

  21. Carrie…you'll note that throughout that post I qualified it with IN MY HUMBLE OPINION (IMHO). Also, I did answer the question; look a little higher.

    Again, for you that works; for me, it seems skewed to "test" a man by asking him to change your niece or nephew's diapers. I was merely saying that I do that all day for my 3 month old daughter, and I would NEVER volunteer to do it for someone else's kids (unless, of course the parents needed help or asked me adamantly for some reason).

  22. I'm with an earlier post. I melt when a man puts his hands on the small of my back or gently holds my upper arm to gracefully lead me through a crowd.

    I'm way big on opening doors and when a guy walks me up to my door to say goodnight. I like great hugs on first dates… when he starts buying the groceries you like.

  23. I don’t want someone holding any doors open for me. This makes me uncomfortable. This has nothing to do with being a gentleman: it is impractical to be in front, open the damn door, and then wait for me to saunter through. Open the door; walk through the damn thing, and let’s get on with it. Just don’t let it slam behind you before I get through. If we reach a door at the same time, the person on the hinge side should hold it open: it’s faster. Sometimes, I want to hold the door open for other people too, because it’s helpful.

    I don’t want someone to pay attention to what side of the sidewalk he’s walking on in reference to me. Don’t occupy your mind with what side of the sidewalk you should walk on. That’s dumb.

    Don’t make me carry the conversation.

    If you want to help me with my “packages” (tee hee – packages?), then ask if I need any help, and if I say no, thank you, then let me carry them. I appreciate the offer – but I don’t want anyone taking my packages away from me unless and until I relinquish them. I’ll take the help if I need it or want it, and I will genuinely appreciate it, but it’s my decision.

    No need to open the car door for me either: maybe unlock my side first so that by the time you get back to yours, I’ll have been able to unlock yours for you already and we can get on our way.

    What works? Oh, flattery. But not too suck-ass. Laugh at my jokes. Call me smart and fabulous and beautiful (but that one always gets a raised eyebrow of disbelief). Listen. Talk – lots and lots. Make me laugh until my sides hurt. When you shake my hand, hold onto it a little too long. Maintain eye contact a little too long. Grab my hair. Touch my face. Be in awe.

  24. Power move: at functions he doesn't murmur when you dump your handbag, shawl, jacket, wine glass with him as you mingle, go to the bathroom, etc.

    Power move: always makes sure your glass is kept topped up and takes away your glass when finished.

    He cares for me and loves me!

  25. I love it when he comes over and for no reason at all picks up the leash & decides to take my dog for a walk. Caring about me means the entire package…dog and all. Although silly, on drunken nights when all I want to do is pass out and sleep, it's sweet when he reminds me to take out my contacts…better yet, when he gets the case out, opens it and sits and waits for me to get moving.

  26. My last boyfriend absolutely loved when I put both of my hands flat against his chest just below his neck when I kissed him. I always thought that was really sweet.

  27. All of this "power moves and etiquette" debate can be resolved by how we were raised. I, personally, was raised by a single mother from the age of 5 to 14, so from an early age I understood how important it was to listen to women. And that's NOT a power move, it's just social etiquette. Women like to be surprised with gifts, no matter how minute they may be. If I'm out shopping for whatever reason, and I see something that I think my girlfriend might like, I'll pick it up. And that, too, is not a power move. By the time I started to get to know my father as well, I was at the right age to learn all of the gentlemanly things to do around women. He taught me that men should stand on the side closest to the curb. We should take their coats, cook dinner every once in a while (I actually enjoy cooking), tell them they look beautiful whenever it occurs to us, open doors for them, carry bags, etc. It may seem a little backwards for today's society so interested in equality, and I certainly appreciate that some women may not like it when I do things like this. My girlfriend has yet to mention that she dislikes anything I've done in that respect. And, if she ever does, I'll do my best to stop treating her like a queen.
    I refuse to call these moves power moves, as it is not an exertion of my power over women whatsoever, they're just a good way of letting the girl you're with know you care, but I suppose I have a couple. When I'm with my girlfriend and some hair falls in her face and she doesn't notice, I brush it away and tuck it behind her ear. This is not because I'm a control freak (because I'm most certainly not), sometimes it's just an excuse to touch her gently on her face. If we're kissing, I usually DO have my hands in her hair or gently caressing her cheek. She loves it, and I like doing it. If I wake up before her, I'll just watch her sleep (and not in that creepy Police "I'll be watching you" sort of way). I do it because sometimes I AM in awe of the fact that this beautiful girl is actually laying there next to me. If she has a little cough, I get her water. If she's hungry and I'm not, I'll grab her a quick snack. I tell her embarassing stories about myself to make her laugh, because a little shame never hurt anybody.
    All of this comes down to genuinely caring about someone, and "power moves" have nothing to do with love. If a guy really doesn't do any of these things (and he's not an engineer), then he's either too stupid to figure out how to treat you, or he's just not the one for you.

  28. All this talk about power moves and tests really raises my hackles. Sounds like a bunch of rules to me.

    Whenever I see a man reaching over to his woman to move a lock of hair that's out of place, or when I'm walking by a well dressed couple on a narrow sidewalk and the man sort of puts his hand on the woman to "guide" her, the first thing I think is, "my what a posessive bastard! She must be secretly miserable."

    All of it strikes me as superficial and gives the impression that it's more about appearances. And when a women does that sort of thing to me, it just puts me off, especially when we just met.

    Likewise with the tests. That shit is called being too smart for your own good. If a woman wants to know if I truly care for her than she needs to spend time with me and slow down and observe. I will unconsciously give away every thing there is to know about me through my actions and behavior. Hell, just watch how I drive or how I interact with the waitstaff.

    But if you throw out a contrived test, then that will just put me off and on the defensive. That sort of thing will tell me everything I need to know about you, including why I don't want to spend anymore time with you.

    Forget power moves or any kind of move for that matter. If I'm attracted to someone, every move she makes will be golden to me. If not, than any power moves will just come off as manipulative and inspire me to go, "take your hands of me."

    Oh, and I tend to call everyone "dude," even women. It means that I'm comfortable with you and consider you a cultural equal.

  29. Umm….hands behind the head while kissing, or on your chest. A big that I have always loved is when you settle and are watching a movie, having me lie and chill watching my movie, and my girl snuggled cozily in the crook of my arm. The whole nine yards is her face resting on my chest and her arm going across to my other side. Very adorable to see

  30. Things he does:
    Brushing the small of my back when he puts his arm around me.
    Kissing the back of my neck from behind, or right below my ears (especially when I'm pretending not to know he's there).
    Pet names (amor, little girl (he's 6'7" and I'm 5'6", and four years younger than he is), Katty, corazon).
    That little half-smile of his…indescribable.
    Watching our son so I can take a nap.
    Drawing things for me or playing his flute for me.
    Putting up with me when I'm acting like a two-year old.
    Whispering in spanish in my ear (or portuguese, he speaks both).
    Watching me sleep.
    Sticking up for me (his friends like to tease me a lot, they can be mean (they're just overly macho, for the most part)).
    Staying in bed with me after sex (men, this is one of those things that you just…should do) and being there in the morning when I wake up.
    Playing with my hair.

    Things I do:
    Tugging his hair.
    Love bites.
    Kissing him – anywhere – when he least expects it.
    For some reason, he loves that I put my head under the covers and snuggle against him when I go to sleep.
    Coyness – he loves when I play hard to get (as long as I'm still…get-able).
    Being the only one he will ever, *ever* cry in front of, and I will never tell anyone if, when, or why he did, and I will never make him feel like less of a man for doing so.
    Playing with our son so he can take a nap. ;)
    Waking him up with kisses every morning.
    Taking showers with him (though sometimes it's hard to fit us both…makes for some interesting situations, though).
    Making small, contented noises (I don't know why he likes this, most people think small high-pitched noises are annoying).
    Getting along with his friends (for the most part) and not kicking them out of the house.
    Playing my viola for him.
    Putting my arms around him from behind.
    Ohh, that's enough.

  31. Why the need for tests? I find myself administering them to "potentials", without even knowing it. Things like saying a Tomato Juice sounds good, just to see if he'll volunteer to go to the store to get it for me and then being able to say "No, it's okay. I'll do it myself", all the while hoping that he'll INSIST on going for me, thus passing "the test".

    Why? What does this prove? His undying love for me? That he'd leap tall buildings for me? That he'd sacrifice his life to save mine? That he's The One? No. No. No. All this means is that he's offered to get the damn Tomato Juice for me.
    Glad to know that I'm not the only one that gives pointless, meaningless (albeit entertaining) tests.

  32. It's a bit late since the last post was 6 months ago but not many of the people who posted actually gave us an insight into what really turns them on so here are a few:

    I'm saying something you don't want to listen to and you stop me by gazing into my eyes and placing your fingers gently on my mouth.

    You lean over me to reach for something and you let your breasts touch my arm or back.

    We're standing at the back of a crowd looking at something and you steal a kiss on my neck without giggling or holding my hand.

    I'm sitting on a chair, you stand behind me and lean over just enough to put your arms round me and whisper something in my ear. It doesn't really matter what you whisper, it can be as simple as "Hi".

    I'm standing next to you in a public place and I place my right hand gently on your back just above the waist, you turn towards me and put your left arm behind my back resting your hand on my shoulder nearest to you.

    If after keeping your hand on my shoulder for a minute or so you move it to the back of my neck (no need to pinch or massage) you are a winner.

  33. I love standing next to a guy, or lounging around on the couch and have kiss my forward – after that, I'm done….

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.