Interview Men Are Like
by Lisa LeeKing & Tanya Richardson
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
Men Are Like
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.