Just when I thought I knew most of what there was to know, or at least that which was mostly worth knowing, about what is alluring to men about women, I uncovered a stunning new truth.
I believe that I can now say that it is neither sleek high heels nor lace-trimmed lingerie that tantalizes them most. It is definitely not figure-defining dresses, the perfect shade of lip gloss, long, glossy hair or lashes that are curled and tinted. It is something that is bolder, more smoldering, more dangerous.
For years now, both college girls and older women have sought my advice on how to capture the man of their dreams. Sometimes they have someone picked out while at other times, they are looking. They come to me mostly because they have read one or another of my books on the femininity and expert flirtation skills of Southern women.
But in all the years that I have advised women across the country from New York City to California, there’s one piece of advice I’ve never given, but you can bet your pretty bottom dollar that it now tops the list.
When women write, especially the ones who are in despair, and ask how to get a man’s attention, I will reply simply, "Get a gun."
Apparently nothing appeals more to a man’s sense of attraction than a woman holding a slick piece of shiny metal in her hands and squeezing off a shot. Forget the Manolos, never mind the Chanel lip gloss. Just tell ‘em what caliber you’re packing and you’re in like Flynn.
I can’t believe I have lived this much of my life without knowing about this powerful love potion.
The first piece of this revelation came after one of my girlfriends reported that she and her husband had met Sarah Palin at a convention.
"Drop dead gorgeous," she reported.
"Beautiful and she hunts," gushed her husband. "Now, that’s sexy — a woman who looks like that and can take down a deer with a single shot. That’s my kind of woman."
He carried on about it for days, mooning over the combination of beauty and gun powder like a calf that has been parted from its mama.
It so happened that this occurred at the same time that I realized I needed a gun after an unsavory brush with a couple of fugitive lowlifes. I called the sheriff, a friendship so old that I knew him when he was a rookie and I worked after school at a dress shop.
"Do you think I need a gun?" I asked.
"Ronda," he shot back quickly. "I think everyone needs a gun."
He called one of his buddies and asked him to teach me to shoot. I arrived for my first lesson straight from another appointment so I had on a dress and heels. He eyed me from head to toe. "Are you going to be comfortable, shooting in that?"
"Well, in real life if I need to use the gun, I’ll probably be dressed like this so I might as well practice in it."
He nodded. "Good point."
We went through safety, loading, unloading and firing. Then he took me out to the target in his back yard. I took my stance, lowered the gun and hit the target.
"Good job!" He grinned. "I would say you look like one of Charlie’s Angels except you really know how to hold the gun."
As soon as word filtered through the male world that I was becoming a pistol-packing mama, my phone rang endlessly with offers to take me gun shopping or to the firing range. When a man sees a woman in a dress and she is holding a gun, he salivates. Darnest thing you ever saw.
Protection that creates attraction. Hmmm. I guess that’s what you call killing two birds with one shot.
Ronda Rich is the Gainesville-based author of several books, including "What Southern Women Know About Faith." Sign up for her newsletter at www.rondarich.com. Her column appears Tuesdays and on gainesvilletimes.com.