Thursday, April 29, 2010

Breakup Babble: Getting Back Your Stuff

The early 2000s faux boy band 2ge+her said it best: the hardest part of breaking up is getting back your stuff.

After all, you’re probably engaged in an intensely personal heated argument, and there’s a good chance that one or both of you is crying. It might not seem like the best time to ask for your Arrested Development DVDs.

Or maybe he just has a few of your old sweatshirts that don’t seem important enough to retrieve in the moment. But then after a few weeks of not talking and really missing the sound of his voice (but not wanting to be the one to initiate communication), you suddenly remember the sweatshirts and think that this would be a perfect excuse to talk to/see him again without looking desperate.

Except that you will. When you ask him to return your copy of House of Leaves, you might as well be asking him to coffee (which is, essentially, what you’re doing, unless you ask him to mail your stuff, which you know he’s never going to agree to anyway).

And if he knows you’re thinking about all the stuff of yours he has, it’s not hard to figure out that you’re thinking about him. Which you don’t want, no matter how badly you want to get back together with him.

On the other hand, if he has the David Yurman bracelet your parents gave you for your 18th birthday, you should get that back.

Returning possessions is a practical and necessary component to any breakup convo. He might say something like, “You’re breaking my heart, and all you can think about is your stuff???” (especially if you initiated the split), but it’s one of those messy conversations that has to happen.

Besides, it’s a breakup—it’s not like the conversation’s going spectacularly to begin with.

At the same time, it probably is a little petty/insensitive to ask to take your Trader Joe’s frozen dinners in the freezer (unless you’re getting dumped, in which case, grab the stuff that he paid for too).

In an ideal world, we’d start taking our stuff home, piece by piece, as soon as we saw the first warning signs. But breakups are rarely that predictable and usually require a bit more thinking on your feet.

Don’t mention your belongings the moment one of you decides that “it’s over.” Let each party indulge in a cathartic rant/emotional breakdown/stunned silence. But when the conversation starts to get repetitive and unhealthy, say something like, “I think we both need some time to cool off. In the mean time, I want to give you your stuff back.”

If you mention it, the other person is usually more likely to one-up you. After all, if you’re so desperate to get rid of the teddy bear he gave you, he doesn’t want to look like a sentimental schmuck for holding onto your laptop, right?

OK, it might not be that easy, but ask for all valuables up-front. You have every right to ask him to return expensive jewelry and electronics. If you don’t remember it until later, make plans to pick it up as soon as you remember it. And don’t make “plans” plans. Don’t ask him to meet you at Starbucks with a bag of your stuff. Text him at 4 p.m. and say something like, “Just remembered that I left my iPod at your place. Can I stop by at 7 to get it?”

And then do just that: stop by. Don’t linger. Don’t sit down. You don’t want to leave your dignity at his apartment, because that’s not something you can retrieve later.

But if he has books or costume jewelry that can, theoretically, be replaced, let him keep it. There are few material possessions that can’t be replaced with time and money. And while you’re probably short on both commodities, your pride isn’t something you can buy the next time you get a raise.

Asking for insignificant items might make you look (and feel) like you’re not over the split. And in a breakup, who wants to prolong the pain?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fox News Gets a Sex Column

It’s official: Fox News has a sex column.

If you like to be fair and balanced when you get down and dirty, Fox on Sex… serves no purpose.


Recent columns have included The Mile High Club… and Beyond, which was basically speculation on what sex on a plane might be like from a woman who has never done it. The author also suggests having sex in a handicapped bathroom (which only sounds sexy to those who’ve never tried it), “the back of dark clubs,” and (seriously) “alleyways” (which sounds great if you’re looking to get raped/step on a junkie’s used needle). Or, if you really wanna get freaky, Fox has a scandalous suggestion for local: the living room floor. “Is your mother-in-law scheduled to arrive today or tomorrow? And did she ever return that key?” If this is how parents get their thrills, we never want to hit middle age.

If a change of scenery isn’t your thing, check out Talk Dirty to Me: Decoding What Your Lover Is Saying,2933,591264,00.html?sPage=fnc/health/sexualhealth/foxonsex for some really great insight. For example, did you know that when she screams, “Don’t stop! Don’t stop!”, she really means, “Please continue doing exactly what you are doing without changing the tempo or pressure.” I’m sure our male readers have been wondering about that one for ages! But what if you’re partner’s really freaky? Like, what if she says, “I think the kids are asleep by now... I locked the door.” Spoiler alert: she wants to bone!

Read the rest at your own risk…

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

But He's Intimidated!

A friend of ours (let’s call her Maggie) recently ran into a work crush at a bar.

They have a flirtatious history (and one semi-drunken makeout), but he was acting strange and distant at the bar. Maggie’s other friend had a solution. “He’s intimidated by you!” she said. “You need to approach him!”

This is something girls tell each other all the time. He’s not returning your texts? He’s intimidated! He hasn’t called about a second date? He’s afraid! He’s being weird at the bar? You’re too intimidating!

But these same girls get annoyed when the short, questionably underage GW frat boy comes up to them at bars and acts like he’s way out of their league. They think, “Can you believe he thinks he can get with me?"

Yes. We can. Because when it comes to (the opposite) sex, if it’s one thing most guys aren’t, it’s easily intimidated.

And when they are intimidated, they’re really good at hiding it.

Maybe it’s spray-painted on the showers in every boys locker room, but for whatever, reason, guys seem to learn pretty early on that the best way to get a girl is to act like you’re out of her league.

Guys know how to fake a cocky persona, and if they aren’t talking to you, it’s probably because they don’t want to. Not because they’re intimidated.

Case in point: we later learned that Maggie’s crush had pulled an all-nighter at work that week. He was really tired and ending up going home at 11:30.

He wasn’t necessarily ignoring her because he wasn’t interested, but it wasn’t because he couldn’t muster up the courage.

We’re all much more active in our pursuits of things we aren’t sure we can get. That’s why we spend hours preparing for interviews for our dream jobs and ten minutes browsing the Web site of the NoVa company that’s hiring interns. And that’s why you go to the happy hour for your cute coworker who might have been flirting with you in the lunchroom, but wish the guy who wrote you a love poem on Missed Connections would just get the hint and stop calling already!

When a girl thinks a guy is intimidated, her first instinct is usually to assure him that she’s a sure thing. But that destroys your game, and usually your chances with him.

So the next time a guy ignores you, ignore him back. It’ll get you a lot farther than confessing your love for him.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Medicated Girl’s Guide to Getting Down

A friend of ours recently came down with a sinus infection, and her doctor put her on antibiotics.

Two days later, she was nursing a Diet Coke at happy hour and complaining about having to use condoms for the rest of the month.

“Aren’t you on the pill?” a (male) friend asked.

She said that she was, but explained that she had to use condoms because of the antibiotics.

“Why?” he asked.

My friend and I were incredulous. Surely, everyone knows that antibiotics interact with hormonal birth control pills, and that you have to use what our high school health teacher called a “backup method” whenever you’re on antibiotics.

Our guy friend didn’t know that. OK, we figured, maybe guys don’t have this drilled into them, but surely all women know better than to bareback when they’re getting over a case of strep throat.

But some of the girls had never heard of that either. And so, in an effort to prevent a big “Opps!”, we’d like to present:

The Medicated Girl’s Guide to Getting Down

1. Ask your doctor. Whenever a doctor writes you anew RX, list all the other medications you’re taking and ask him/her about any possible interactions. It might be a good idea to write down your brand of BC in your phone/day planner, because these names are usually the hardest to remember. Mention any over-the-counter meds you take on a regular basis (especially vitamins/herbs/minerals). The doctor should be able to tell you if anything could undermine your pill’s effectiveness.

2. Ask the pharmacist. Yes, your doctor should have already told you about potential interactions, but medications only make up one small part of a doctor’s overall practice. Pharmacists, on the other hand, only work with the good stuff, and they’re often more knowledgeable about potential drug interactions. When you go to fill a new prescription, bring a list of all your OTC and prescribed meds, and ask the pharmacist about any potential red flags.

3. Be careful with the following medications. These substances may interact with birth control and probably call for a backup method.

a. Antibiotics
b. St. John’s Wort. If you take any herbal supplement that’s made up of multiple substances, check to make sure St. John’s Wort isn’t on the list of ingredients.
c. Rifampin (anti-tuberculosis drug)
d. Antiretroviral drugs (e.g., Ritonavir)
e. Phenobarbital (anti-seizure medication)
f. Griseofulvin (antifungal drug)
g. Carbamazepine (anti-seizure medication)
h. Topiramate (anti-seizure medication; migraine prevention)
i. Antidepressants/antianxiety medication. Some uncommon treatments for depression/anxiety, like Nefazodone, Diazepam, and Temazepam, can interfere with certain types of BC.
j. Soy Isoflavones (herbal supplement)

Most of these drugs have generics, so watch out for those too.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Missed Connection of the Day: Very Cute 20 something 'little girl' - 35 (Metro)

This is possibly the creepiest thing we've ever seen on Craigslist (and that's saying something).

Riding on the metro yesterday and as you turned and bent to sit down, my wife and I noticed you were wearing a pull-up under your more juvenile clothing. Couldn't tell what kind and it wasn't that you weren't being discreet...we just notice these things.

Write us back and let's talk...we understand everything!

Tell us what line you were on in the subject to help us avoid spam.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Anatomy of a One-Night Stand

The other day, a guy friend of ours asked us to help him “slay” a girl he described as “really annoying, but she kind of has big boobs.”

We, of course, refused, but we asked him why he was so interested in this particular girl when he could probably find countless other women equally well endowed with (at least marginally) less abrasive personalities.

No, no, he explained, her annoyingness was the allure; the boobs were just an added bonus.

We loosened him up with a round of drinks and got him to elaborate, and we happened upon some pretty misogynistic sexual desires. Our friend prefers to have one-night stands with women he can’t stand for a litany of reasons, mainly because 1) he gets a Gob Bluth-esque satisfaction out of saying, “I f*cked that,” 2) he feels sexually liberated—he can try whatever he wants with her because he never liked/respected her to begin with, and 3) he never has to feel guilty about blowing her off because he dislikes her anyway.

We were about to get judgmental, but then we realized that few people have the purest intentions when it comes to one-night stands.

One-night stands rarely translate into great sex. Everyone has different sexual idiosyncrasies, which means sex with a new person often starts out awkwardly—especially for women, who often have a harder time orgasming to begin with.

So if we’re not doing it for pleasure, why are we doing it?

Women often receive validation from feeling sexually desired—if a guy wants to bone them, they feel better about themselves. Some women also seek men with money, power, and popularity for sexual flings because they like being able to tell their friends that they “f*cked that.”

None of this is unhealthy, per se, but it is good to think about. We’re not saying you should evaluate your motivations when it’s last call at Heaven and Hell and you’re ovulating, but it’s not a bad idea to think about why you have one-night stands in general.

If you are doing it for validation and self-worth, it might be a good idea to seek these things elsewhere.

The fact of the matter is, sex doesn’t make you more beautiful or powerful or popular. Sex is supposed to provide sexual pleasure (and, technically, babies), and the more you get off, the easier it is to feel sexually satisfied at the end.

But the more you try and make sex into something else (i.e., a self-esteem boost), the more you lose the ability to enjoy the pleasurable physical sensations.

If you have the wrong attitude, one-night stands can leave you feeling frustrated and wanting something more. You went into it wanting to feel better about yourself, and you’re left feeling hot and bothered with no orgasm to speak of.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Missed Connections

We’ve been tabs on the Craigslist Missed Connections for the past few months for you, dear readers. And all that cruising research revealed a few patterns in these postings.

Missed Connections usually have one of two leads: “This is a long shot…” or “I’ve never done this before…”

Then the poster describes what the person in question was wearing, but leaves one critical detail out. He/she ends with “Tell me what color hat I was wearing so I know it’s you.”

It’s sort of the 21st-century equivalent of, “Meet me here. I’ll be wearing a yellow scarf and I’ll have my left hand in my pocket.”

This type of personal ad is nothing new: newspapers attracted hopeless romantics for years with entire sections of coded love letters. (“SWM seeks SWF…”)

Online dating seems to have taken the place personal ads, and probably for good reason. A profile tells you a lot more than a 20-word half sentence, and photos somehow seem a lot more reassuring than a phone number.

But even online dating skeptics read Missed Connections religiously in a move that, when you really think about it, is more old-fashioned than anything else.

The idea seems to be that someone could spot you in a crowded bar and instantly know that you’re “The One.”This is, perhaps, the definition of a hopeless romantic.

Because when you think about it, a guy posting on Missed Connection probably remembers three things about you: your hair color, the size of your boobs, and what your ass looks like in a pair of tight jeans.

The guy on, on the other hand, at least has the optionof looking at your interests and deciding whether or not you two would be compatible.

So, really, the guys posting on Missed Connections are looking for an opening line with a really hot girl who’d never give them the time of day if they approached her in a bar.

It’s rude and creepy to approach a woman and say, “You’re so hot.”

But when you go to Missed Connections and say, “Saw you on the Metro. You were so beautiful. Let’s get dinner?”, suddenly it’s romantic.

Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that these postings rarely lead to relationships.

Though it is interesting to note that the most vague postings get the most replies in post form (we obviously have no way of tracking which posts get the most e-mail replies).

There’s a pretty obvious explanation for this: everyone who’s reading Missed Connections wants to find a post about themselves.

But if a guy posts, “You’re a brunette. I smiled at you on the blue line this morning,” isn’t that a little suspect? That he felt such a huge connection with this girl, but he can only remember her hair color?

And so, while we get that present company/circumstances/manners sometimes prevent people from making a move, it’s unclear how much a missed connection written by someone who saw you cross the street should count.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sex Tip of the Day: Mirrors

We’ve talked a lot about how guys get off from feeling sexually competent. But women aren’t immune to sexual narcissism, and it’s a lot easier for us to feed those cravings. We never have to worry about whether a guy faked an orgasm, and men generally approach sex with an abundance of enthusiasm, which is easy to credit to our own performance.

The fact is, the more confident you feel during sex, the better you’ll be in bed. Like we’ve said beforethe number one turn-on for guys is enthusiasm, and shyness/timidity don’t make you look eager.

One way to build confidence is to feed your inner narcissist. There’s a certain thrill that comes with watching yourself engage in intercourse, and it helps with body confidence too.

To start channeling your inner porn star, add a mirror.

If you’ve never tried this before, take baby steps. You don’t have to rearrange your bedroom, but angle your bed or open your closet door so that you can see your own reflection from certain spots on your bed.

If you’re nervous, set it up ahead of time. But if you want to make this even more of a turn-on, wait until you’re mid-coitus to say something like, “Hang on—I really wanna watch this.”

Don’t focus all your attention on the mirror. But sneak a peek every once in a while when you’re feeling super sexy.

Try getting on top and arching your back. A curved back makes you look ten pounds thinner, and no girl can resist a flattering angle.

If the reflection starts freaking you out, reposition yourself so you can’t see it. But try again a few minutes later. The more you’re able to enjoy the view, the harder it is for your inner critic to ruin the moment.

Don’t worry about any jiggling skin—this happens to everyone, even super models.

If you’re up for it, try watching porn ahead of time (Spankwire and Pornhub are good places for beginners to start). It’ll give you a good idea of what turns guys on, and you’ll see how close to “normal” that is (especially in terms of body fat).

The more you can enjoy watching yourself have sex, the easier it’ll be to convince guys that you’re great in bed.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday News Roundup: 10 Great Guy Movies A Gal Can Earn Serious Points For Loving

The Frisky has some awesome advice on how to score your next boyfriend: fake an interest in male-oriented movies!

This is almost as brilliant as pretending to like sports, except better because you get high school intern writer Kelli Bender’s insightful analysis into movies that are actually awesome and not specifically targeted at either gender.

The Big Lebowski? Lets guys vicariously live their ultimate fantasy (becoming The Dude, not driving a fancy car, banging hot women, or, oh, anything else that most guys fantasize about) “while also delivering a naked Julianne Moore [and] ball jokes!” Oh—and don’t forget the “dynamite dialogue” (notice the alliteration???)!

The Godfather? “You are risking social scorn is [sic] you go on with life having not [sic-ish] seen it.” Why? “It is an important and excellent film that also features Diane Keaton looking young and fabulous.”

Goodfellas? “As with most Martin Scorsese movies, there is also an awesome soundtrack.” But the best part of the movie? “It is also amusing to see that even crime overlords can get put in their place by their wives.”

Field of Dreams? The film also shows men that no matter how old they get, or how lost they feel, extraordinary things can still happen.” Ms. Bender then goes on to refer to Field of Dreams as a “film” and urges you to watch your movie with your guy (wait, wasn’t this supposed to help you meet guys?) , because it might give you the chance to see him cry! (Sexy!)

The Usual Suspects? “It is a man-powered mystery full of suspense, swear words, and scheming.” And you’ll like it because, “It also has Kevin Spacey doing what he does best—being an amazing actor/human being.”

Ms. Bender’s skill as a film critic aside, this is actually a horrible way to meet guys. That’s because most straight guys are actually looking to date girls, not guys.

If a guy wanted to date someone who locked himself in his room for March Madness, drank beer, and enjoyed a good fart joke, he’d date one of his guy friends. After all, a girl pretending to like all these things is just a watered-down version of an actual male.

We’ve talked about this before: guys are better than we are at separating friendship from sexual desire.So if you buy season tickets to The Nationals, he might think you’re the coolest girl he’s met, but you’re still going to be his coolest girl (space) friend.

If a guy finds a girl who behaves exactly like a guy, he’s going to treat her like a guy. He’ll befriend her, but he won’t necessarily try to sleep with her.

Besides, when you spend too much time pretending to be something you’re not (i.e., a sports/guy-movie fanatic), you ooze self-consciousness, and guys are more attracted to girls that are confident and secure in who they are. Yes, that sounds like cheesy advice your mom gave you when you told her 16 was too old to still be carrying a pink lunchbox to school, but it’s also true.

When you act like the real you isn’t worth showing, people can pick up on that. And they assume that the real you isn’t worth knowing. But when a guy sees a girl walk into the bar with a pink lunchbox like she owns the place, he unconsciously picks up on her body language, which tells his brain, “This girl is HOT!”

So if you want to attract a guy, tell him that you think Field of Dreams is about male athletes’ latent homosexual desires.

OK, maybe don’t take it that far, but you get the point.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Asking for a Favor

On Monday, we talked about how to get a guy to favorably remember a conversation with you.

Today, we’re going to talk about another trick we all learned in Psych 101: asking someone for a favor.

When someone agrees to do you a favor, that person thinks more highly of you. According to psych professors, when you help someone out, your unconscious mind things, “Oh, I must like this guy. Otherwise, why would I agree to do something for him?”

This isn’t to say that you should run out and demand that the next cute guy you meet buy you a sandwich. But it does mean that if you’re stuck in the kindasorta friend stage with a guy you kindasorta know, it might not be a bad idea to (politely) ask him if he wouldn’t mind helping you hail a cab.

Monday, April 12, 2010

How to Talk to Guys

Spring brings more opportunities to socialize: outdoor happy hours, rooftop parties, drunken kickball games.

There’s an increase in eligible bachelors in close proximity, but how do you increase your chances of hitting it off with one of them?

Most guys will tell you that the more attention you give a girl, the easier it is to bring her home at the end of the night.

A similar strategy can win guys over as well. They might not be as easily swayed by attention alone, but you can make a good impression with a great conversation.

The more favorably a guy remembers a conversation with you, the more likely he’ll be to remember you in favorable terms.

People associate feelings with the situations surrounding those sentiments. When the guy looks back on the conversation, he’ll think, I enjoyed talking to her, therefore, I must enjoy her.

But how do you guarantee a good conversation? It’s actually much easier than you’d think.

You capitalize on two things that people love: talking about themselves and hearing their own names.

We all love talking about ourselves, but we also recognize that manners and basic social norms punish people for making themselves the number one topic of conversation. (Like the friends you avoid because they only talk about themselves.)

A skilled conversationalist makes someone forget that he’s committing a social taboo by engaging him on his favorite subject: himself.

But you don’t want to pounce on a guy and start interrogating him immediately after exchanging names (i.e., asking “What’s your favorite color? What do you do? Where do you live? How many siblings do you have?” before the guy can get a word in edgewise).

Here’s how it works: let the conversation develop naturally at first. But when you hit on something interesting/unique, start asking questions. You want him to feel like an expert in a subject that happens to fascinate you.

So let’s say he mentions that he studied archeology in college. Casually ask him what digs are like. Avoid yes or no questions, and, if you’re really stuck, ask him to explain something complicated (and give him the opportunity to show off useless knowledge).

Again, avoid interrogation. Really listen to what he’s saying—don’t use his response as an opportunity to think up the next unrelated question. Pause after his response, and briefly turn the spotlight on you (i.e., say I/me a couple of times) before asking another question. So if he says, “Yeah, the financial crisis has really hit the archeology industry pretty hard,” say something like, “Yeah, I was really into those Indian Jones movies when I was little, but I feel like their jobs were totally unrealistic. But even with a degree from such a great school [a little flattery never hurts], it’s still hard?”

But don’t turn the conversation back to you. Don’t use his aside as a segue to make it all about you. Keep the focus on him.

If a friend comes up to you, introduce your new companion—and use his name. People love hearing the sound of their own names, and while you don’t want to overdo it (i.e., don’t drop his name in one-on-one conversation--unless you're trying to channel your inner used car salesman), make sure to use his name in place of pronouns whenever you can.

But don’t spend the entire night with him either. After a half-hour conversation, excuse yourself and go mingle. Leave him wanting more, and let him come up to you to continue the conversation.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Take it from Jennifer Love Hewitt: vajazzling is great!

According to Ms. Love Hewitt, covering your vagina in Swarovski crystals is not only a great use of money, it also makes your lady parts “shine like a disco ball,” and it might even give you that boost of confidence that some women get by taking off their panties.

Don’t worry about whether or not it’s safe/a good idea to glue crystals to your vagina, or that it costs around $100 and only lasts for 5 days. Instead, focus on the positives—like the fact that you can get vajazzled for 50 bucks during spa week!

It’s unclear why women don’t consider this some kind of cruel and unusual punishment, and it’s even more unclear why they actually pay money for it. If you’ve ever had sex, you’d immediately realize how impractical it’d be to have jewels down there mid-coitus.

Here’s the interview, if you’re interested.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Is Going Commando the Best Way to Meet Guys?

Apparently cooking’s not doing it for Rachael Ray anymore, because the other day she had a panel come in to talk about the merits of not wearing underwear.

One of her dating gurus, a woman who calls herself “Mama Gena,” suggested that women who are unlucky in love have only one thing the blame: the thong separating their jeans from their lady parts.

According to Mama Gena, the best way to attract men is to go commando, because that dirty little secret gives you a boost of confidence that’s irresistible to men.

“It’s a secret that’s been passed down through the ages,” she explains, making obvious reference to the medieval heiresses who shocked the Babylonian fashion world when they were painted stepping out of horse-drawn carriages without their chastity belts.

And everyone’s read the Victorian ladies handbooks that suggest snagging a suitor by showing up at the ball with nothing under your corset, petticoat, and twelve layers of floor-length skirts.

Oh, that’s right—they didn’t, because women didn’t start wearing anything that even remotely resembled the modern-day panty until the late 1930s. (Wikipedia It.)

So Mama Gena’s already batting like a third-string outfielder for the Washington Nationals, but is there some merit to her pantyless proposition?

The Kane Show posed this question to its listeners this morning, and the vast majority agreed. Each caller basically offered some variation on, “Fuck yeah, I never wear panties, and I get guys all the time!” Except for one chick who said, “I totally disagree—I never wear underwear, and on the days that I do, I feel a lot more confident.”

But here’s our question: is lack of underwear making women confident, or do the women who forgo undergarments tend to be more confident to begin with?

The dirty-little-secret element can certainly be thrilling, but does it make you brazen enough to approach every guy at the bar? And furthermore, is approaching guys at bars necessarily the best tactic?

We’ve talked about this before: coming off as overly available isn’t sexy. That doesn’t mean that guys won’t respond to it, but they’ll be more interested in the girl at the bar who won’t give them the time of day.

But the question is, how do you exude sexiness from afar? The answer really is confidence. And so if going commando gives you bravado, by all means, go for it.

But confidence is easy to fake, too. Proper stance (shoulders back, chin up)and a cocky gait can be just as effective as a firm handshake.

But learning how to carry yourself is probably a lot easier than learning how to project confidence by taking off your panties before you head out the door.

And that’s a secret that’s probably worth passing down through the ages.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What Not to Wear (To a Bar)

Spring has officially hit DC: bars are packed for happy hour, tourists have taken over the Metro and bought up all the fanny packs inside the beltway, and people are finally going out again.

All the eligible bachelors spent the winter hibernating, and if you’re single, you’re probably more than ready for a summer fling.

While we don’t advocate meeting guys in bars (mainly because the only thing you’re guaranteed to have in common with a guy you meet at a bar is a taste for alcohol, and as the night progresses, the normal guys tend to go home, leaving you surrounded by raging frat boys), it’s bound to happen in the warmer months, and we definitely approve of getting free drinks.

In an ideal world, we’d all bring books to bars, and our fellow DFW-enthusiasts would approach us to ask us what we were writing in the margins of
Infinite Jest.

But in the real world, your appearance is the only first impression you get. You don’t have much control over the shape of your nose or the size of your boobs (excluding surgery), but you do have control over one thing: your outfit.

If you were to ask the average girl to name a female fashion icon, she’d likely name some obscure designer or trendy celebrity. If you were to ask a guy, he’d say Scarlett Johansson in a bikini.

Fashion is totally lost on most straight males, which is too bad, because most girls dress to attract a mate (though these intentions might not always be conscious).

You might think your cape is cutting edge, but the average guy (especially in DC), probably finds it weird and intimidating.

Here are a few other trends you might want to modify for a night at McFadden’s.

1. Long, shapeless dresses. If you’re 6’2” and 120 pounds, go for it. If you’re not, beware: these dresses tend to make you look shorter and rounder than you really are.

2. Tons of layers. Trendy layers (vests, etc.) can also add bulk if they’re not applied correctly. If you’re adding layers for the sake of layers (i.e., to look more hipster), it’s usually pretty obvious.

3. Boxy shirts/dresses. Same as number 1: adds unnecessary bulk. If it’s well made and paired with the right pair of jeans, it might work, but if it’s from Forever 21, it’s probably doing more harm than good.

4. Short skirts/dresses and bare legs. Almost everyone has cellulite on their upper thighs—why show it off? Throw on a pair of leggings or some black tights—they’re slimming (and less skanky), and they eliminate the need for tanning.

5. Forehead headbands. Let’s be real: on face value, these things just look silly. They’re too ubiquitous to make any sort of statement (unless your statement is, I want to marry Free People/Urban Outfitters), and they’re definitely not guy magnets.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Scoring Sunday's Nuptials: DC Edition

If you’re a girl and you’re bored at work on Mondays, chances are, you scan the NYTime’s Wedding Section and make fun of the profiled blushing brides.

And if you identify with all of the above and also hold a liberal arts degree (e.g., pottery making, beading, English), you’re probably already very familiar with Gawker’s Nuptial Roundup. But for the rest of us, Gawker writers/editors basically do the same Monday morning wedding planning that you do, only better (but if you were getting paid to do it, you’d probably be just as snarky).

This week, Gawker pitted couples against couples in an NCAA-style bracket, jealousy(but actually probably closer to self-loathing)-induced hilarity ensued.

We thought: if they can do it in New York, we can do it in DC. But turns out we were wrong. Very wrong.

To start, the Post only publishes three weddings a week, so we had to include the past two weeks to come up with an interesting bracket. Then we followed Gawker’s lead and ranked them by column length.

Quarterfinals: How They Met
Semifinals: The Proposal
Finals: The Wedding

Quarterfinals: How They Met

Richard Imirowicz and Terrance Heath (1) vs. Carry Galnar and Gustav “Gus” Evler (6)

Imirowicz and Heath are a gay, biracial couple with two kids and a two-page online spread on their recent DC marriage. Does it even matter how they met? Unfortunately, it does, and the fact that they met on an “AOL dating site” doesn’t bode well for them. Galnar and Evler met in Princeton, NJ—but wait: while the bridegroom was supping in dinner clubs and waxing poetic in ivy-lined halls, the bridegroom was attending Westminster Choir College. Heard of it? Neither have we.
Winner: Richard Imirowicz and Terrance Heath (1)

Jennifer Heyman and Jared Okan (2) vs. Jim Beller and Chris Wolf (5)

The Heyman-Okan team met in Hebrew school, and Wolf caught Beller’s eye at a dinner party. Wow. Can you get any more normal? This round’s headed into overtime, and the tie-breaker? Pick-up line. Beller offered Wolf unnecessarily cutlery, while Okan said, “We should date” (and then the script said to which Heyman replied, “Let’s give it a shot").
Winner: Jim Beller and Chris Wolf (5)

Adrienne Skipoora and Alex Skuttlerman (3) vs. Jessika Twodder and Phillip Sedoze (4)

Skipoora and Skuttlerman met on Jdate and had their first date on Christmas day. Twodder and Sedoze met at a glorified frat party.
Winner: Adrienne Skipoora and Alex Skuttlerman (3)

Semifinals: The Proposal

Richard Imirowicz and Terrance Heath (1) vs. BYE

According to the article, they’d kind of already been married twice when they got gay married in DC (and the second time was on a “Rosie O'Donnell cruise for gay families”), so Imirowicz and Heath squeak by on a lucky bye.
Winner: Richard Imirowicz and Terrance Heath (1)

Adrienne Skipoora and Alex Skuttlerman (3) vs. Jim Beller and Chris Wolf (5)

Skuttlerman proposed to Skipoora on an early-morning beach stroll in Costa Rica. He gets negative points for creativity, but luckily, his opponents also seem to have skipped the proposal (though the article tries to gloss over this by throwing random boring facts—like the fact that both are fourth-generations Washingtonians—in the “proposal” section). Which is too bad, because, despite the low seed, the Beller-Wolf team was becoming a crowd favorite.
Winner: Adrienne Skipoora and Alex Skuttlerman (3)

Finals: The Wedding

Richard Imirowicz and Terrance Heath (1) vs. Adrienne Skipoora and Alex Skuttlerman

Skipoora and Skuttlermanbought their chuppah at Home Depot; Imirowicz and Heath, despite loosing points for taking their kids to Clydes post-nuptials, got married on the first day it was legal in DC at what sounds like the most afterlife-obsessed nondenominational church in DC: All Souls Unitarian Church.
Winner: Richard Imirowicz and Terrance Heath (1)

Conclusion: Unlike their New York counterparts, Washingtonians are a lot more like you and me. They come from families that don’t have their own Wikipedia pages, they have actual jobs, and they don’t blow half their trust fund on nuptial floral arrangements. In other words, they’re more boring. It seems like we’ll have to leave the wedding pages to the New Yorkers, but don’t worry! We’ve still got… the White House?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Survey the District: Is It a Date?

Dear Date the District,

A friend and of a friend and I have recently become chatty after a chance meeting at a party. When I say chatty, I mean that we are mutually snarky and give one another a hefty helping of shit talk on what has become a somewhat nightly basis. In one of our "serious" lulls he mentioned his internship in DC this summer and I had mentioned that I would be there in July tagging along on a business trip of my aunts to do some sightseeing and he suggested that 'if I get tired of hanging out with my aunt that we should meet up." I more or less said okay, and since then I have wondered what this potential meeting is--is this a date? I'd still call him an acquaintance since we've only met the once, but it does seem peculiar for an acquaintance to go out of his way to chat with you and to invite you out if there weren't some sort of interest? [I maintain that men NEVER knowingly pursue platonic relationships.] He's a total catch so if he is interested I'm delighted but my recent run ins with the opposite sex have left me unenthusiastically suspicious at best.

The problem with cop-out invites that leave the ball in your court is: you rarely find out if it’s a date until after it’s over. If he goes out of his way to meet up with you that week (i.e., calls you, makes plans, takes you out to dinner) and then kisses you at the end of the night, it was probably a date. If he suggests meeting up at the Smithsonian and then tells you he’s meeting up with friends for dinner, it might not have been.

It’s probably not worth spending too much time trying to decipher his intentions. Chances are, he’s still trying to test the waters, and if you ask him out-right, it might do more harm than good.

When you start trying to put labels on things and name every interaction (e.g., his asking me to coffee = date, his asking to borrow my notes = flirting), it drives you crazy, and if the guy finds out, it makes you look neurotic—not exactly a turn-on.

We've said it a million times: the best guy to win a guy over is to make him work for your affection and to treat him like a friend until he asks you out.

Plenty of guys pursue platonic relationships with members of the opposite sex. Sure: some guys put bros before hos and see girls as walking vaginas, but the vast majority don’t. In fact, we would argue that guys are sometimes better at pursing platonic friendships with girls because they’re not socially conditioned to see every member of the opposite sex as a potential soul mate.

Girls watch chick flicks and Gossip Girl and see girl and guy friends fall in love with each other at the wrong times and spend the entire movie/hour working towards the climactic finish: a marriage, a make-out, etc.

But guys are sometimes better at separating sex from friendship. If they have a girl (space) friend, they’ll still pursue sex—and they often pursue it in other venues.

Girls sometimes see guy friends as potential romantic partners that they already have an in with—not necessarily our fault if we grew up on Julia Roberts movies.

If a guy wants to date a specific girl, her pursue her romantically from day one. If a girl wants to date a specific guy, she’ll often pursue friendship first—not a bad option, given the difficulties of expressing interest without coming on too strong. But that means that girls, not guys, are more likely to have ulterior motives in platonic relationships.

Girls might see guys as unable to pursue strictly platonic relationship because these girls are unable to do just that and they assume that it works the same way on the other side.

This isn’t to say that guys don’t fall for their girl (space) friends. But the best way to win them over is, as always, showing them how cool you are and sprinkling in a dash of unavailability. In other words, treat him like a platonic friend.

So if summer rolls around and he doesn’t make any concrete plans with you, by all means, send him a text and ask him if he wants to hang out. But make plans like you would with a girl (space) friend: no romantic walks around the monuments at sunset, etc. Try to do something during the day. Avoid physical contact. And limit your interaction to only a few hours. If you’re meeting up at 2, tell him you have somewhere to be at 4. That leaves him no time to get sick of you and plenty of time for him to miss you.

Be patient, but until he specifically asks you out on an unambiguous date, it’s best to assume that it’s not.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

This Is My, Uh…

In the 20-something world of OKCupid dates and post-Black Cat hookups, it’s often hard to tell if you are, in fact, dating the guy you’ve been sleeping with for the past few months. Because it’s hard enough to define the relationship for yourself, it’s usually even harder to spell it out for someone else.

Which brings to today’s conundrum: what to do when you’re forced to introduce your S.O. to someone.

You’re walking out of a restaurant after your third or fourth date with the new guy, and suddenly you run into a girl from your Kickball team, and you find yourself stuttering, “Oh, this is, uhh… John.”

Or maybe you two are officially dating when you run into the cute coworker that you don’t want to close any doors with, so you introducing your boyfriend by saying, “This is my friend, Chris.”

Sometimes you don’t want to look like you’re rubbing your marital status in people’s faces, and other times you don’t want to say anything that would scare the guy off.

But think of it this way: if you and your roommate ran into your college friend, you would introduce your roommate by saying, “This is my roommate, Jess.” But if you’re introducing two friends, you don’t need a title.

When our relationships with people extend beyond friendship (i.e., relatives, coworkers, etc.), it’s totally fine to acknowledge this distinction. If you were out to dinner with a 50-year-old woman, the acquaintance you bump into would probably assume it was your mother, and when you introduce her as such, the acquaintance understands the situation. When we understand what’s going on, we’re more comfortable.

Likewise, if you see two people of the opposite sex having dinner together, you’re going to assume it’s a date. But if these people go out of their way to avoid confirming your suspicions, you feel left out, confused, and unsure how to read the situation.

With all of this in mind, let’s discuss what you should do if:

It’s only been a few weeks (or maybe even a few days), and you run into someone you don’t know that well. Introduce the guy first, and don’t linger on how you know the guy. “Amy, this is Brian; Brian, Amy. Amy and I go to the same yoga studio.” If it’s a friend, you can explain the situation later.

If you’re taking him to a social event (e.g., a party), again, introduce the guy first, and then try to make a connection between the two people. “Molly, this is Brian; Brian, Molly. Molly, Brian also likes skiing.” Prepare an answer to the “How-do-you-two-know-each-other?” question, but make it neutral and noncommittal. Say, “We’re both friends with Michael.” Or, if you met online, say something like, “Oh, you know, the New-Englanders-in-DC thing.” Don’t call him your boyfriend, and don’t say, “We’re dating.”

You’re not trying to hide anything, but you are trying to avoid pressure too early on. If your response is too committal, or too vague, you’ll worry about what you said, and the guy might get concerned too. Take the focus off of how you two know each other. Most people will be too self-absorbed to notice.

Whatever you do, do NOT introduce the guy as your friend. If you two do become official, and you have to reintroduce this guy as your boyfriend, the people who thought he was your friend are going to feel like idiots, and they’re going to resent you for lying. You’re also giving the guy a window of opportunity to turn this into a casual hookup.

Use the same avoid-answering-the-question strategy as above, with one caveat. If you do want the guy to start calling you his girlfriend, it might not be a bad idea to introduce him as your friend every once in a while. If he’s told you that you two are dating, but he hasn’t dropped the g-bomb yet, introducing him as your friend both makes you seem unavailable (which makes you more desirable) and invites further discussion. If he says, “Why’d you tell that girl I was your friend?”, ask him how he’d like to be introduced. He might say, “As your boyfriend.” If he doesn’t, keep introducing him as your friend.

Don’t introduce him as your boyfriend yet. This is one of those things that makes you seem too eager, and besides, do you really want to make it seem like you’d let just anyone call you his girlfriend? If he wants to use that term with you, he has to earn it (by asking you out-right). If you don’t make him work for it, it seems like you don’t respect yourself. And if you don’t respect yourself, why should he?

If you two are officially bf/gf, you should introduce him as your boyfriend. People feel more comfortable in situations they understand, and when you withhold that information, the other person’s going to feel stupid. Let’s say you introduce your boyfriend to Karen in name only, and Karen runs into Laura later that week. Laura tells Karen that the guy was your boyfriend, and Karen feels like an ass for not picking up on it.

If it’s the cute guy from work, the guy you’d dump your boyfriend for, you still need to acknowledge the relationship. If he finds out the truth later, it’s going to make you look deceptive and manipulative, two qualities most guys don’t look for in a girlfriend.

You’re not bragging about having a boyfriend any more than you’re bragging about having a roommate if you just say, “This is my boyfriend, Alex.” And everyone (you, your boyfriend, and the friend) will feel better if all the cards are on the table.