He is a God-fearing, rugby-playing, dance floor-slaying, muscle-bound Tongan—he might as well be a superhero, if you ask the women of the world. Eric “Eruption” Tai used to be on your TV screen as one of the co-hosts of It’s Showtime. Him and his wife Rona Samson also just competed on season 5 of AXN’s The Amazing Race Asia.
“When I was a kid growing up in New Zealand, sports was the only thing going for a lot of kids on the street; it was about playing basketball or rugby,” says Eric.
“When I was about 3 or 4, I was playing outdoors a lot. By the time I was in high school I was into a lot of sports including rugby, cricket, volleyball, and track and field. Who you surround yourself with is what you become and all my friends were athletes.”
Since then, Eric’s been a sales consultant for a gym (where he went from 170 lbs. to 220 lbs. of pure muscle), a missionary for the Church of the Latter Day Saints, a security guard, factory
worker, a night club manager, a dancer, an honorary Filipino, a TV co-host, and finally, a rugby player for the Philippine national rugby union team (the Volcanoes, for short).
He shares with us all he knows about women—and we tell you, the guy knows what he’s talking about.
Girls like men who know how to dance.
[Dancing] really is an attraction. I would say that [this talent] is something unique I possess. Girls get to see a lighter side of me and become less intimidated. Guys approach me too, like “Astig ito ah! Ang galing mo!” It helps to start up a conversation.
Pick-up lines don’t really work on girls.
[When I was single] I didn’t use pick-up lines per sé. I just approached girls and started a conversation with them based on what I thought they liked. This doesn’t usually happen in a bar but in a quieter place, like a coffee shop or a bus stop. If I saw a girl reading Stephen King’s It, I
would know that she likes horror and she likes it rough. I just went up and asked her if she saw the movie, something like that.
With smart women, obvious compliments don’t work as well as “sensitive-guy” compliments.
I would compliment women on something not as cliché as “You have beautiful eyes.” I’d ask about the shirt she’s wearing or her glasses. How she responds will clue you in if she likes you. If she just says, “Thank you,” that means she’s not interested. If she asks a question of her own, that means she’d like to keep the conversation going.
Older women are attracted to big guys.
While girls get scared and think that I am unapproachable, I have also found that older women are attracted [to big guys like me], because I guess they haven’t met anybody my size before and they find it appealing. Obviously with these guys being big, [the women] expect rough times. Sometimes we might get a little bit rough, let’s just keep it at that. What they don’t know is that I’m a big teddy bear. Not all women like buff guys, though. Some want someone who’s comfortable with themselves.
There are girl “playas,” too, not just guys.
What you need to do is never give your trust to someone at the first get-go. Follow your
heart, but use your mind, too. Love exists but it doesn’t mean that if you are on cloud nine after your first couple of dates, you already have to give your all. Love has to be developed as well as trust. That goes hand in hand. My wife and I were in the getting-to-know stage for eight months before we became a couple. And we waited a year and a half before getting engaged; then waited a year after that to get married.
I believe what girls are looking for is a balance between the tough guy and the sensitive guy.
You can’t be tough and not show your emotions at all; that’s not good. [Girls] like a guy who can be tough when the situation calls for it, someone who can make a stand when it counts. But it’s also nice to have a calm, soft side, too. That said, some girls can be just as brutal [as tough guys].
Women are into real men.
For me, it’s not about the muscles or machismo. A real man is God-fearing. He knows what he wants, he won’t stop until he gets it, but at the same time knows his limits. He knows when to calm down and when to rage and stand up. He knows his responsibilities and knows what he needs to do to better himself. If he is in a relationship, he does what he can to protect that relationship.
Photography Dairy Darilag Styling Genie Ranada-Babista Grooming Anne Castaño
This feature originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of FHM Philippines.
Minor edits have been mad by the FHM.com.ph editors.