5 Things Women Asked Their Dates To Change

Five women shared which things they've asked men to change about themselves in order to make them more date-worthy. From toning up to tossing out old pizza boxes, find out which requests earned a "yes" here.

By Dave Singleton

emember that Billy Joel song "Just the Way You Are" in which he reassures his beloved by singing: "Don't go changing, to try to please me?" Well, Billy's message apparently doesn't apply to everyone. Whatever happened to liking someone just the way they are? It's pretty nervy to ask someone you barely know to make a change in order to be acceptable to you — and even more so when it's in the context of a romantic courtship.

I spoke with several men who revealed how they responded when their dates asked them to change such things as their eating
Guys are more sensitive about their appearance than many women realize.
and exercise habits, body hair, communication styles, clothes… and even their religion! As these women soon learned, men are more sensitive than some might think — and the size of the change being requested is relative (i.e., what you might consider to be trivial might actually be huge to him). But no matter the reason for making such a request, most guys agree that getting a positive reaction from them relies as much on the lady's timing and approach as it the actual appeal itself does.

Request #1: Will you please start working out and eating better?
"We'd been dating for a month," says Washingtonian Bill, 33, reminiscing about his ex, Linda. "I invited her over for Chinese food, had a DVD waiting and uncorked some wine. During dinner, she said: 'I don't know where we'll be if you don't start working out and cutting down on the fast food.' She's a little uptight about her workout schedule and food choices — which I was fine with — but when she turned that on me, I turned off. I wondered: If she's asking me to change now, what else will she ask me to change in the future when we really are more comfortable with each other?"

Request Status: Denied.

Takeaway Lesson: Since when is it a good strategy to threaten your date with a statement like: "I don't know where we'll be if you don't change?" Never, that's when! Guys are more sensitive about their appearance than many women realize — and if you want to talk about pursuing healthy lifestyle habits together, have that conversation in a neutral setting (i.e., not over dinner).

Request #2: How about shaving your beard — and doing a little "manscaping" while you're at it?
"It started when I was kissing my new girlfriend," says Virginian Jim, 42. "She said my beard felt fuzzy and hurt her face, then [she] asked me if I'd shave it. She told me I was very handsome and felt bad asking me [to do such a thing], but she couldn't ignore her skin breaking out. Then she laughed and asked me if I wanted to date a girl with a facial rash. I had to think about it for a couple of days, but I decided that I liked her, so I agreed to give it a try. She also asked me to trim my chest hair, but [then] kept reminding me how attracted she was to me. And it also gave me the chance to ask her to make a couple of changes, too, including some trimming 'down there.' She was very open to it."

Request Status: Approved.

Takeaway Lesson: Ladies, never underestimate the power of flattery. Men love to have their egos stroked, and a little demonstrativeness goes a long way in convincing him you're right. Showing and telling a guy how sexy he is can be a great way to broach a sensitive subject, like changing some aspect of his appearance. Being willing to return the favor is even better!

Request #3: Can you stop texting me all the time?
"I hate talking on the phone," says New Yorker Chris, 28. "I text instead — and I do it with everyone about everything. But when I started dating Jenny a couple of months ago, she wasn't having it. After our first few dates, we'd send flirty texts and it was fun, so I thought she was fine with texting. But one night after no contact for a few days, she called to say she wanted me to stop texting so much. I didn't realize the
Don't expect someone to change based solely on the setting for each outing.
texts were starting to annoy her. We cleared the air about our [communication] preferences, and I agreed that we'd talk more — but [I would] not give up texting completely. I wish she hadn't waited until she was annoyed to bring it up."

Request Status: Approved.

Takeaway Lesson: Don't let issues fester and build up before saying something to your date. It's worse if what you have to say comes tumbling out of your mouth in tones tinged with anger or annoyance. Talking about a personal communication preference isn't even remotely in the same category as telling a guy he has bad breath or is a terrible kisser. It likely won't make him react as defensively as you think it might. But getting mad at him because you waited too long to bring it up could (justifiably) irritate him.

Request #4: Can you change your clothes and remove your earring before we leave?
"When I met Ann, I wore jeans, T-shirts and my earring was firmly in place," says Virginian Billy. "So it's not like she didn't know what she was getting [into]. Initially, she was really into me and I liked her a lot, too, despite the fact that she's a corporate lawyer and I'm a musician. After a month of dating, she invited me to a party hosted by a friend of hers. When I picked her up, she frowned and asked me to change my clothes and take my earring out. I was wearing black jeans and a polo shirt — not fancy, but not unkempt-looking, either. And I never take my earring out, so I said no. We ended up going to the party as-is, and it turns out I wasn't as under-dressed as she thought I'd be, but the damage was done. We were ticked off at each other all night. Eventually, we broke things off, and I look back at that night (and her request) as the initial slide toward the end [of our relationship]. I realized she liked me a lot in private, but needed a different type of guy when she was out in public."

Request Status: Denied.

Takeaway Lesson: Change doesn't happen overnight, and the worst way to ask for it is with a frown as you criticize your date's appearance just before you leave to go somewhere together. Also, don't expect someone to change based solely on the setting for each outing. If you can't be happy with the guy you're dating in private and in public, then it's time to move on.

Request #5: Would you clean up your messy place before I come over?
"After our second date, straightforward, bold Lisa came to my place for drinks before dinner, took one look around, shook her head and said, 'oh no, this isn't going to work,'" recalls Californian Mike, 38. "She actually nosed around my bathroom and kitchen as if she were the home inspector. 'You're such a typical guy,' she said. 'Your bathroom is a mess and your kitchen smells like old pizza boxes.' After spending time with her, I discovered that she was trying to find a way to feel comfortable in my space because she liked me. Her initial approach wasn't flattering, but once I realized she had good intentions, it was fine. My place is now our place — albeit cleaner — and she's still my girlfriend two years later."

Request Status: Approved.

Takeaway Lesson: Sometimes, a request to try doing something differently doesn't imply the insult that you think it does; rather, it's actually a compliment in disguise. Lisa's approach might have been a little pushy, but if she didn't like Mike, she wouldn't have bothered mentioning her aversion to his housekeeping habits. And living with the smell of old pizza boxes? Can you blame her?

For the other side of the story, read 5 Things Men Asked Their Dates To Change.

Dave Singleton, an award-winning writer and columnist for since 2003, is the author of two books on dating and relationships. Send your dating questions and comments to him at
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