An Interview in a Learjet, a big make-over and the sincere advice to see men as birds: A visit with Love Coach Lauren Frances in Aspen, Colorado
The meeting with Lauren Frances at first resembles getting lost at a movie shoot. We meet at Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles, where Greg, her boyfriend’s private pilot, is rolling out a red carpet in front of the Learjet. Then the 41-year old Love Coach appears. She has a reputation as someone who seems, like a diviner, to find chances for love in situations where others feel lost in the barren desert of a relationship forever.
Among her clients are movie stars in search of the Happy Ending away from the screen, as well as celebrity couples on the edge of divorce, all of whom she helps to re-discover themselves. She does, in fact, look made for Hollywood. Is this woman down to earth enough to understand the world of normal mortals? Naturally, I wouldn’t want to have to rely on being rescued in high waves, if Pamela Anderson was the only life guard on duty!
Thankfully, everything about Lauren Frances rings true. Including her gift to emphasize with people and bring their true feelings to the forefront. No matter how in love, confused or hurt. No matter whether famous stars or abused women, for whom she always cares pro bono. Her friend, actress Kate Walsh, said on the phone: “Lauren has a witchy intuition”. And she uses it as well as an author in her just-published book “Dating, Mating, and Manhandling. The Ornithological Guide to Men”.
As an Ornithologist of a special kind, she offers tips for the care and taming of the strangest bird of all: man. She unlocks the flighty and the peacocks and their odd mating rituals. “That men want to impress women is genetically engineered; whether with diplomas, money or stories of the perfect wave”, says Lauren Frances, who, in American fashion, introduces herself simply as “Lauren”. “They signal: Take me!” For the first date, her boyfriend sent his “carriage”, as she jokingly refers to his jet. For propriety, she took along another couple.
Today we’ll accompany the Love Coach to Aspen, where she wants to spend Independence Day with her sweetheart. Frances warns in her book about migratory birds and misses nothing in her typology: from the monogamous penguin over the vulture, from which a woman isn’t safe even at a funeral, to the rubber ducky, which waits in the night stand for its vibrating mission, if things don’t work out with a bird.
A service she offers as Love Coach is the “Man Magnet Make-over”: a sort of style consultation for successful idolization, with which she helps her female clients to find their seductive self. “It’s not about putting a costume on a woman”, she explains, “but about together creating a role that can be explored with pleasure. I help them dream a larger vision of themselves.” That she doesn’t at all demonize men doesn’t contradict one of her favorite descriptions of herself: “My girlfriend noted once that I was a radical feminist in a push-up bra.” Lauren has lived early on along the lines of the “Sex and the City” quartet.
”Most women act like Sleeping Beauty waiting to be kissed awake”
And in some way she embodies all four characters of the US-series: She’s a “best friend” type like Carrie, has the wisdom with which Samantha spouts unpopular truths, is a career woman like Miranda and as romantic as Charlotte. The Samantha in her then says things like: “A woman who sleeps with a man really likes him — unless she’s drunk.” For men, the first sex with a woman doesn’t at all mean that they want more. The reason: Oxytocin. “This hormone ensures after sex that a woman feels connected to a man”, Lauren Frances explains. It’s also present in men, however, in much smaller doses.
The love expert’s advice to single women consists primarily of four things: First, they should signal a man with little compliments, that they find him attractive and are approachable. “Most women act like Sleeping Beauty waiting to be kissed awake”, says Frances. She thinks this strategy is totally wrong, because one never meets nice men that way — because those respect it when a woman shows no interest.
Second: listen really well at the beginning. “Normally you can tell after the first or second date if something’s wrong with a man”, says Frances. Sentences such as “my longest relationship lasted seven months” or “the last woman I dated was 18”, should be taken seriously, even if they sounded like a joke. The latter comment was made to a client, end 30, on the first date. “She replied: ‘then I don’t think we’re a good match’”, recounts Lauren Frances, after which the successful man in his mid-forties eagerly clarified how much he enjoyed her company. Remember: “A woman who knows her worth is always ready to withdraw from an uncomfortable situation.”
Thirdly, love expert Lauren Frances advises, to clarify early on whether long-term relationship goals are compatible. An actress who gets coaching from her asked her current husband on the first date whether he believed in marriage. “At that time, men tell the truth, because there’s no commitment yet”, Frances is convinced. She thinks it’s nonsense that questions like that always scare men off.
And fourth one should avoid the mistake of removing oneself prematurely from the love market, as soon as one believes: He likes me. Very American advice. Because specifically in me tropolises like Los Angeles or New York, it is not unheard of to go out with several candidates at the same time — sometimes even as far as the bed. Until either partner requests exclusivity. And as long as a man makes no efforts in that direction, a woman shouldn’t concentrate on him alone.
While the romantic Lauren always advises against “rushed sex”, the pragmatic also clarifies: if, then at least protected! “After all it’s all about our needs and desires” — and she explains the major difference between the two: “A real need is non-negotiable. You can sacrifice it, but it often leaves hard-to-heal wounds.” She always gives her clients a homework assignment to write a comprehensive wish list, and then to differentiate which items are desirable, and which are truly essential. That some women didn’t have “kind” on the list, but “sense of humor” is ever-present, irritates her. Not that she doesn’t have a sense of humor — after all, she was together with Matt Groening for six years, the creator of the animated series “The Simpsons”. But seriously, “If a guy is loyal and true, strong like Hercules and kind — would you reject him just because he has no sense of humor?” One of her clients, a comedy author, noticed after this question, that the serious attorney, with whom she’s together today, met all her needs, without being obnoxiously funny. It’s not about finding the seemingly perfect, but to discover the love that suits you. Frances’ Credo: “Everyone has problems — you want someone, whose problems you can live with.”
“Normally you can tell after the first or second date if something’s wrong with a man”
Frances is convinced that it’s against your own interests not to give the other what he wants. Aside from that, she believes that mainly two things make long-term happiness possible: “To love the partner in the way he really needs it” and sex. But when you say in a monogamous relationship: I’m the only outlet for your romantic, emotional and sexual fulfillment, than one partner can quickly feel trapped if the other doesn’t meet those needs. That’s why I’m a fan of role play, endearments, and creating your own couple’s language. When she went on the first date with her boyfriend, she knew of his predilection for knights. In her luggage she put a handkerchief like ladies once tied on the lance of the knight they favored. “He was deeply moved”, she recounts, “because I spoke to him in his language.”
For her clients she also plays the love whisperer, like Cyrano de Bergerac: she gives hints on texting via SMS, or formulates online profiles for dating sites, in which she re-writes keywords like “travel, wine and literature” in such a way that they immediately create a visual in a man’s head: “I’m sitting in Nice in a red dress, sipping Bordeaux and reading Baudelaire.” Sometimes she gives her clients little monologues as conversational basis for the next date. “A real need is non-negotiable. You can sacrifice it, but that often leaves it hard to heal the wound.”
On the flight back her friend Brandon gets such a script. To the 31-year old, Lauren Frances is a kind of big sister who’s accompanied him for years. At the moment he’s in a pretty difficult situation: He’s attracted to a woman who’s not only married, but also pregnant. Frances dissects the situation in seconds: the appeal is clear; that he doesn’t plan to play dad is also clear. So she speaks plainly: “You tell her that the baby must have priority. That’s why you realize that it’s not right to flirt with her. Advise her also, that the best is to try to clear up things with her husband before the kid is born.” Brandon is impressed: “Sometimes you’re downright scary. You’re right; I just had to hear it.”
Many of her clients are happy that she, in contrast to a psychologist, can openly say what she thinks.
– Emotion Magazine (Germany 2009)