Friday, October 29, 2010

A Few Words on Perfume

The other day a (female) friend of ours enlisted a (male) European to show her how she should wear her scarf. He demonstrated on his own neck, and before returning the scarf to her, he held the scarf up to his nose and conspicuously inhaled, which made the entire table burst out laughing.

“What?” he said. “Sometimes a girl’s scarf smells so good from her perfume!”

This got us thinking. If the smell of perfume is so enticing that this guy will go out of his way for it—and not only that, ignore pretty much all social conventions to get it—could Sephora be the answer to all dating woes?

 The olfactory glands can be powerful persuaders. Certain smells can trigger strong emotions when they hearken back to your past, and there’s nothing like finding (and smelling) an ex-boyfriend’s old t-shirt to set you back two weeks in the grieving process.

Those Old Spice ads might have driven you crazy, but we bet you’ve lingered in the deodorant aisle and debated whether or not you could get away with one whiff.

A light, feminine fragrance has the same effect on men. Is it going to make him fall in love with you? No. Will it help you find your future soul mate? Definitely not.

But if a guy gets wind of a pleasant smell, will he find himself wanting to talk to you without knowing why? Perhaps.

If nothing else, it can’t hurt. The next time you’re out of mascara, consider switching to drugstore brand and put the savings towards a new bottle of something sweet.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Zen and the Art of Pubic Hair Maintenance

We’ve talked about this before, and there’s no right answer to the shave or not to shave conundrum.

1) The close trim. Some girls see this as a lower-maintenance alternative to the hygienic feeling you get from shaving (or waxing) it all off. And while the look (and feel) might great for you, it’s kind of like a guy’s third- or fourth-day stubble. When you nuzzle your boyfriend’s face on a Sunday, it’s kind of itchy, right? Same thing goes for this particular pubic haircut: it irritates the guy’s skin.

A full bush is more of a soft cushion for a guy’s pelvis to land on. A waxed pubic region is like sliding in your socks on a newly polished floor. But the in-between? It’s like the rug-burn you get from slide tackling on Astroturf.

If you don’t want the hassle of maintaining a prepubescent nether-region, or if you prefer to leave some hair down there, you’re better off keeping some areas completely bare, and where there’s hair, keep it long.

2) Shaving it all off and neglecting the labia. Yes, it’s scary to take a razor to the inside of your vagina. But when a guy thinks he’s getting porn-star smooth and he opens the package to find a few errant hairs, it’s the same feeling you get when you ask for an iPod and your parents give you an off-brand mp3 player.

Besides, these are the most troublesome hairs to deal with. Blowjobs would be even worse if a guy’s pubic hair was on his shaft rather than scattered around the base. 

If you’re going to let the forest run wild, don’t worry about the hairs inside. But if you’re going to shave it all off, that means removing everything. Everything.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Does It Matter Where Your Date Went to College?

            If you’re in DC, chances are you have a pretty decent education under your belt.
Between the interns looking to work the fact that they universitied at New Haven into every conversation and the Georgetown grads who are all-too-cognizant of the fact that theirs is the most prestigious school in town, no one seems to see an associate’s degree as a viable option to $200,000 of college loans.
In one of the few American cities where your alma mater is still relevant ten years out, what should you do when you meet a guy who’s undergraduate degree ranks a few (or more) notches below yours on the US News and World Report? 
This question is an inherently icky question most of us wouldn’t admit we’ve asked ourselves. But it’s not necessarily as superficial or simple as it might seem.
The most important thing to remember is that the average American family’s annual income is less than one year of tuition and expenses at the top private universities ($45k vs. $50k).
And that’s just the average.
A family of four that’s pulling in $80,000 is doing well, statistically speaking, but that doesn’t mean they can drop the 50 grand it takes to feed, house, and educate a Georgetown co-ed.
The guy in question may have received a fat admissions letter from Tufts and an even fatter full ride from a smaller-name school in the Midwest, and at the end of the day, the school on his diploma is much less important than what he learned.
And that is worth being picky about. But, again, not in the way you might think. Whether or not he can recite the names of all U.S. presidents alphabetically is much less important than whether he can think, carry on an engaging conversation, and stimulate you intellectually.
A friend of ours started dating a guy who went to a school that’s famous for basketball and partying. She was having doubts, because she felt like their conversations lacked substance—they seemed like kinds of things you’d talk about at a post-game party.
Harvard grads watch Gossip Girl too, and if you’d rather be talking politics, it’s up to you to initiate.
Try to take the conversation where you want it to go, and if he can’t keep up, well, then maybe it’s time to reconsider.
If intellectual conversations are important to you, and he’d rather be reciting Dane Cook jokes, you’re going to have a harder time enjoying each other’s company.
But don’t assume anything. And when you’re getting to know each other (whether it’s on a date or at your best friend’s house party), try to get him talking about something he really cares about. Ask about hobbies, interests, things he does in his free time, and if he sounds passionate, keep him going.
Maybe he uses his calculator to calculate the tip, but could talk for hours about Stanley Kubrick’s films. You have to decide which is more important (or, if you can’t decide, which holds your interest).
The relationship probably won’t work if you don’t enjoy talking to him. But you’re 50 percent of the conversation, and you owe it yourself to give him the chance to dazzle you with his intellect.
The bottom line is, if you’re judging someone solely on his class ring, you’re limiting your dating pool to people who share your particular snobbery. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Office Romance

A friend of ours works for a huge corporation that requires her to attend company-wide meetings every few months or so. She keeps meeting this guy there who works in a different office, and they’ve really hit it off.

She figures that, because they work at separate sites, it won’t be one of those things where they’re walking down the hall together and everyone starts gossiping as soon as they pass.

When work consumes three-quarters of your waking hours, it’s tempting to multitask. Why go on dates when you can meet one in the office?

We all know people who’ve had successful office flings. But we also probably know more people who’ve regretted the holiday party make-out. It may have worked for Jim and Pam, but remember what happened to Michael and Jan?

If the relationship goes sour, you’ll be left, in the best-case scenario, feeling a little awkward, and possibly worse. Breakups and relationship drama rarely make people respect either party, and if your coworkers are on the receiving end of any rants, it’s not going to reflect well on you.

He may be great at fixing your computer, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be a perfect boyfriend. Your chances of sustaining a successful relationship are probably no greater than they would be with a friend of a friend, and the foaf isn’t going to blab to your boss. So why take a huge risk for the same rate of return?

It’s hard in DC when happy hours and co-workers night out seem to be the norm, but there’s a huge difference between drinking with and dating your colleague.

That’s why, if you absolutely must, you have to start off as friends. And then become good friends. And then—and only then—are you ready to let him take you to Ray’s the Steaks.

You might be able to puke and rally in AdMo in front of your cubemate without worrying that the whole office will know about it on Monday, but chances are you two didn’t start off doing shots of tequila. You probably went to a few happy hours, exchanged phone numbers, started hanging out, really hit it off, and slowly built the sort of trust and mutual respect that means you can talk to her about leaving your job.

That’s a good litmus test for your potential coworkerboyfriend. If you trust him enough to talk about career ambitions beyond your current job, you’re on the right track.

Going back to our friend, this is why it’s actually probably a better idea to date guys in the same office. The Philadelphia office is only an e-mail away, which makes the distance less of a shield and more of a barrier.

What kind of relationship, realistically, develops between two people who live a few hundred miles apart? And getting to know each other beforehand is a lot harder if you can’t really hang out. You’re more likely to end up as a weekend bootycall road trip than the serious girlfriend.

There are plenty of guys that you don’t work with, which means there’s no reason to date the ones you do.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Is He Into You?

A friend of ours has a crush on a guy. The problem is that this guy happens to be dating one of her coworkers.

She doesn’t feel any particular loyalties towards this coworker, but she doesn’t want to make things awkward at work.

And on top of that, she isn’t sure the feeling is mutual. The problem is, there are signs. Like last weekend when he cabbed over to Virginia to meet her at a bar. Or a few weeks ago when he brought her favorite kind of a beer to a house party she was hosting.

Each act of kindness caught her off guard and spent her head spinning—into daydream territory full of “what ifs” and “what does this mean?”

She’s not staying up late at night charting his interactions with her to try to discern a pattern, but she is thinking about it a little—and who wouldn’t? When you’re excited about something (or someone), it’s fun to hype yourself up, to convince yourself that you’re not totally crazy and there is really something there.

So she wonders what it meant when he jumped in a cab without worrying about the $20 fare, but we all know how easy it is for wonder to transform into reassuring ourselves that the interpretation we’re hoping for is, in fact, right.

And so the “What did he mean by that?” becomes an excuse to tell yourself that he’s definitely into you.

The problem is, this is mostly a waste of time. You can’t really “know” until he asks you out, and even if he is interested, there’s a huge difference between being mildly intrigued and wanting to pursue a relationship. In other words, he might like you, but he might not want to date you.

But the more time you spend decoding his e-mails and coming up with convenient excuses for why he hasn’t asked you out yet, the more of an investment you’ve made in this totally hypothetical relationship. The more you invest in something, the more you want it to pay off.

And so the more you think about him, the more your crush grows, the more you can’t stop thinking about him; basically: the more you think about him, the crazier you feel.

Of course, not thinking about him is much easier in theory. In practice, every time you see him, well…

You have to work to ignore your attraction. In an ideal world, you could distract yourself with a new guy. But the best coping mechanism is the one that works even if your office blocks OK Cupid, and it involves training yourself to think of him in totally platonic terms. Every time you feel yourself obsessing, take a walk, start a blog, make a 5-year plan, whatever. Remind yourself that, at the end of the day, he’s just a person, and if he can do it for you, you can probably find someone else in the 6 billion you have to choose from.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Role-Playing 102

Yesterday, we talked about why and how you should add role-playing to your sexual repertoire.

But it can be hard, at first, to come up with scenarios that don’t include the phrase, “I’m here to fix the cable.”

It’s really only a matter of advanced planning. If you decide you want to role-play, come up with a few scenarios ahead of time (e.g., doctor’s office, student-on-professor) in case your first pick isn’t doing it for your partner.

In general, different things work for different people. If you want to reenact the Battle of Gettysburg, try it. If it’s not working, you can always just start having plain-vanilla sex.

But we would like to talk about two scenarios that seem to be very popular among women: virginity and rape.

Rape is serious. It’s a crime, and it’s wrong, and it’s a traumatizing, soul-shattering experience.

But human sexuality isn’t always as black and white as morality, and that gray zone leaves room for a lot of sexual fantasies people wouldn’t want to explore in real life.

A surprisingly large number of women have some combination of curiosity and fantasy when it comes to rape, and if you’re one of them, don’t beat yourself up about it. A rape fantasy is just that—fantasy, and when it’s in your mind it can still feel safe enough to romanticize.

If this is something you want to act out, you don’t have to feel guilty about it, but you definitely need to plan.

Simply put: if your role-play involves rape, you have to talk to your partner about it ahead of time. You need to have a safety word that has nothing to do with sex, because with this kind of role-play, stop doesn’t really mean no.

Make sure that you trust your partner and trust yourself—if it starts feeling wrong or upsetting, don’t be afraid to call it off. Above all, make sure you feel safe.

Don’t feel pressured to try this one out if you’re not comfortable—if your partner brings it up and you’re not having it, don’t be afraid to say so (and if your partner brings up a rape fantasy without realizing that it might make you uncomfortable, you might want to reevaluate your relationship).

The second scenario is decidedly less controversial, but it’s equally as prevalent and feels almost as taboo. Virgin and rape fantasies probably both stem from a desire to feel dominated, but, again, if you want to pretend that someone’s loosing his/her virginity, you should definitely talk about it ahead of time. Come up with a safety word and make sure he knows it’s coming—this definitely has the potential to get strange if one party isn’t prepared.

The virgin fantasy can also be a great set of training wheels for a couple just starting to experiment with role-playing. It allows the women to assume an innocent, submissive persona that might feel much more natural to someone who’s not used to trying new things in the bedroom. It’s also somewhat familiar territory—if you’re having sex, you had to have lost your virginity at some point along the way.

The key to role-playing is to step outside of yourself. You might feel embarrassed telling your boyfriend that he’s been a naughty boy, but the camp counselor/nun/whatever doesn’t. And that’s the thing about role-playing: it’s not you saying or doing these things.

That gives you the freedom to go a little crazy, and that inhibition usually pays off. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Role-Playing 101

Role-playing is a lot like vacation days and money from your parents: it’s hard to ask for.

Women worry that if they bring up, they’ll come off as sexually depraved, and men assume their suggests will be shot down.

But two groups of people stand to gain a lot from a little after-hours acting: couples looking to spice up their sex lives and women who feel shy and intimidated when it comes to sex.

The first group is pretty obvious: you can (usually) only have sex with someone so many times before it starts to get stale, and role-playing (and really any other sexual experimentation) is a great way to make it feel new again.

Women who are still figuring out how to embrace their sexuality, on the other hand, might not seem like the most likely candidates. But by allowing participants to assume another identity, role-playing lets otherwise timid women (and men) become characters who don’t feel so shy about what they want. So maybe Mary’s uncomfortable having sex in front of a mirror, but her school-girl alter ego isn’t.

So how do you bring it up with your partner? You have two options: you can either talk about it beforehand, or you can just… do it. Walk into the bedroom in a long white button up and say something like, “Are you ready for your checkup?”

Or wait until you’re nakedly grinding all over him and say, “Hey, can we pretend that I’m a teacher, and you’re my misbehaving student?” Once someone’s turned on, almost everything seems like a good idea, and when he’s in that mindset, he’ll be much more likely to go along with it.

Role-playing is one of those things that most people really get in to once they’re there.

So what should you act out? Check back tomorrow for some suggestions.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

News Roundup: Katherine Chloe Cahoon

 There’s a new hack-who’s-so-bad-it’s-good in town, and she’s here to save American women from the horrors of dating men with a blue passport.

Vanderbilt graduate Katherine Chloe Cahoon has discovered the secret to a great love life, and it’s as easy as hopping the pond.

According to Cahoon (who, by the way, cannot interview a single “subject” without uncontrollably giggling), European men are more romantic. (That’s what we assume she wants us to conclude, anyway—her video is just a collection of “interviews” that look more like super-awkward first dates with no conclusion/message.)

We have a feeling Cahoon made this video for the sole purpose of talking to the men in the video, and the results are hilarious. Highlights include her secret to meeting European men (the nonlocational “sports”), and you have to watch just to hear the answer to the hard-hitting “What do men from the Balkan peninsula love most?”
 (And the Frenchman she picked, who’s about as sexy as the Parisian Metro at rush hour.) 

OK, in all serious, we touched on this a bit before in our post on dating men with accents, but setting out to date a man who can get you into the EU is like picking a college based on the sweatshirts.

If you fall in love with a Frenchman, great. But if you limit your search to guys who call it the “American War of Independence,” you’re really shrinking your pool of eligible bachelors. It’s hard enough to find someone you click with in your zip code—why make it worse?

There’s also the cultural barrier. If the ultimate goal in a relationship is understanding, you have to do a lot more work to get there when the guy you’re dating has never heard of Sesame Street.

That’s not to say that two people from different countries can’t have wonderful, meaningful relationships—if they couldn’t, we wouldn’t be around to write this blog today.

But going out and looking for a relationship that, by definition, presents more challenges than most is a different story.

Don’t turn down a date just because he’s British. But don’t turn down an American just because he isn’t.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Changing Venues

After yesterday’s post, a few people asked what you should do if a guy proposes a comedy club, concert, or other less-than-desirable location for a first date.

You’re better off saying something, but blame it on logistics.

When he says, “I have an extra ticket to Metallica Tuesday night,” say, “Ahh I have an LSAT class Tuesday—want to get dinner Wednesday instead?” That way you nix the concert AND switch to a better venue, and he thinks it’s just a scheduling issue.

Or if his invitation is locale-specific (i.e., he tells you he’s been dying to check out a new comedy club), tell him that part of town’s no good for you. Say something like, “It takes me forever to get through Georgetown after work/I really hate switching at Metro Center after 5—want to get a drink at Domaso in Rosslyn instead?”

The key is to replace his suggestion with concrete plans. If you just tell him you can’t do the Metallica concert on Wednesday, he might suggest a cover band on Thursday, and if you’re trying to avoid live music, you’re still in the same position.

Monday, October 18, 2010

When to Give a Guy a Second Chance

A friend of ours had a spectacuarly bad first date the other night.

The guy looked great on paper: his interests, background, and ambitions matched what our friend was looking for. And he invited her to a comedy club, which seemed like a cool location for a first date.

The venue turned out to be less than ideal for talking and getting to know each other. They were seated at a table with other people, and once the show starts, it’s basically the movie-theater shhh dilemma.

The comedian’s routine also hit a little too close to home when his shtick turned to sex—specifically, sex in a new relationship.

When our friend got home, she told us the guy was “really awkward.” But we wonder if the experience made the guy seem less adjusted than he actually was.

After making a mental note to never bring a first date to a comedy club, we told our friend to give this guy a second chance.

There’s nothing worse than a bad first date. You’re feeling generally uncomfortable to begin with, and you usually start wondering what’s wrong with you/all the guys out there/life in general, depending on how bad it’s going.

Your only saving grace is the knowledge that this, like everything else, will end, and you’ll never have to see the guy again.

But you’ve probably been a shitty first date before too. Maybe you were too tired to make conversation, or maybe you’d had a long week and that glass of wine loosened you up more than you’d meant it to.

Couple that with a bad venue, and the guy’s gonna remember you as being much worse than you actually were.

Same goes for this guy. A few jitters seem much more pronounced when the guy on stage cracks a joke about shaved vaginas and the guy has to decide whether or not to laugh.

If this were some random guy she’d met at a bar, we’d tell our friend to move on. But because they met online and had paired up based on interests and outlook, we told her to give him another chance.

It may have been his job to make a good first impression, but it’ll be her loss if a compatible match slips away. And if a guy seems good on paper and just meh in person, you might want to give him another shot.

Besides, it’s hard to judge what kind of boyfriend he’ll be from the first date alone.

Generally speaking, people who shine on first dates tend to excel because of experience.

Once you’ve been on 50, or 100, blind dates, you know how to work the system.

That’s not to discount great conversation or “hitting it off” who shares your love of national anthems. But barring a strong resemblance in up-bringing/personality/taste, if a guy’s sweeping you off your feet on the first date, he’s probably done this before.

Guys with a long record of relationships, on the other hand, have probably only been on a handful of first dates. And men who are looking to settle down probably don’t read The Pick-Up Artist.

The more serious ones might be bad at first dates because that’s not their forte. The side of his personality that attracts girlfriends might not come out until the second or third date.

That’s not to say that every bad date is a prince disguised in frog’s clothes. And in between your job, yoga class, and kickball team, you can’t afford to waste too much time on a guy who’s not worth it.

But as long as you don’t spot any red flags, a second chance is probably worth the risk. This time, pay attention to reasons you thought this would work. Ask him about his plans for law school, or love of Greek food, or whatever else made you say, “That’s the one!” when you saw the 6 things he couldn’t live without.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Hardest Part of Breaking Up Is Actually Doing It (Part 3)

Third scenario: the guy you’re “seeing”

Maybe you’ve met his parents. Or his friends. Or he’s taken you to brunch at Liberty Tavern one too many times for you to say, “We’re just getting to know each other.”

At this point, you need to do it in person. But the face-to-face is actually less about manners/his feelings and more about practicality.

The person on the receiving end of a “We should see other people” speech rarely succeeds in “not taking it personally.”

In fact, when most people realized that they’re being dumped, they take it pretty badly.

If you break up over the phone, or on Gchat, or at your apartment, he can yell, scream, cry, call you names, guilt-trip you into staying with him while he “rides out the pain.”

But if you break up with him in a bar, coffee shop, or other public place, the pressure to adhere to social norms will keep him from going too crazy.

Don’t make this a bigger deal than it has to be. Don’t ask him if he wants to get drinks at the Ritz. Instead, say something like, “Do you want to get coffee after work?”

Try to avoid alcohol at all costs. Lower inhibitions might make you feel more comfortable, but you don’t want him feeling “relaxed” enough to start crying, screaming, whatever.

Doing it in public keeps it short, sweet, and somewhat civil.

So come right out and say what you’re feeling the moment he sits down. No half-hour discussion about last night’s episode of The Big C as your lead-in to, “So, I’ve been thinking…”

Be as honest as you want, but, generally, the less you say, the better. If you say, “You know, I really want to date someone who plays kickball,” he’s going to take that as, “If I join a kickball team, we’ll stay together!”

Remember, you’re not obliged to hear him out. But again, it’s different for every relationship. If you’re breaking up with your fiancĂ©e, there might be more to say than there would be with your friend’s cousin’s brother that you met at a wedding.

If he’s being mean, rude, or just generally unpleasant, you have every right to say, “I have to go. I’ll call you when I’m ready.”

The bottom line is, the more serious the relationship, the harder the breakup. But if you do it in public, you’re making composure and priority, which should make the whole process at least a teensy bit smoother.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Hardest Part of Breaking Up Is Actually Doing It (Part II)

Second scenario: the blind date you went out with a few times

Or the guy who asked you out in Potbelly’s, the friend of a friend you met in Adams Morgan, whatever.

Unfortunately, you can’t take the e-asy way out, and you have to respond using whatever form of communication he used to contact you.

Again, wait until he asks you out again. There’s nothing more embarrassing than calling someone to say, “This isn’t working” and having him say, “I know… that’s why I never called you again.”

The good news is, if he sends you a text to propose dinner, you can respond in kind. The bad news is, if he calls you (or, even worse, leaves a voicemail), you have to respond in kind. (But don’t break up with him via voicemail—just leave him a message asking him to return your call.)

You can use the whole, “I’m not looking to get involved line” we talked about before. But here’s where we advocate being a little bit more straight-forward.

If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance that you’re still looking for “The One,” and there’s an even better chance that you’ve been devastated when a guy that you felt like you really hit it off with gives you the vague brush-off.

When you say, “I’m not looking for something right now,” you’re giving this guy hope for the future. And it’s a lot easy to get over someone when you don’t have any lingering mysteries to obsess over.

Say (or text) something like, “I had a lot of fun with you. You’re a really cool guy, and it’s so awesome that I finally met someone else who appreciates the genius of Born Rich! But I want to be honest with you: I don’t think this is going to work.”

If he asks why, or what he did wrong, or anything else (and if you’re on the phone, you can bet he will), spin it around. Say something like, “I just hate when you go out with someone and they kind of start blowing you off/playing games, so I just wanted to be up front. It’s not anything in particular, I just don’t like taking the easy way out when I know something’s not going to work.”

Most guys will probably be caught off-guard, and some will be grateful for your straightforwardness. In an ideal world, they might even thank you. But if we lived in an ideal world, we wouldn’t be writing this blog, and if he starts getting angry or defensive, say, “Look, I’m sorry if I upset you, but I need to go,” and get off the phone.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Second-Hardest Part of Breaking Up Is Actually Doing It (Part 1)

We’ve all been there. You’re seeing someone and you’ve decided, for whatever reason, that you want out.

But once you’ve made the decision to break it off, you have a second logistical nightmare on your hands: how, exactly, do you go about breaking another person’s heart?

OK, it doesn’t have to be that dramatic. And to help you out, we’ll break it down, in order of descending difficulty.

First scenario: the guy from OK Cupid

You went out with StudlyDolittle69 once (or twice, or thrice), and no matter how hard you try to ignore it, that bald spot and lazy eye combo just aren’t doing it for you. But he’s treated you to a few dinners, and you feel bad…

The great thing about online dating is that it establishes electronic messaging as the standard form of communication. So even if you have his number, you only owe him an email/message.

Wait until he tries to contact you. Maybe the “this isn’t working” feeling is mutual, and, if you never hear from him again, you never have to tell him you’re just not that into him.

But if he does ask you out again, keep it short and vague. Say something like, “I had a great time with you, and I think you’re really cool. But I’m not really sure I’m ready to get involved with someone right now.” If he calls you and you want to have that convo over the phone, great. If he calls and you’d rather fire off an e-mail, that’s fine too.

If you really hit it off as friends (and, as weird as that sounds, sites like OK Cupid that try to match you up with someone based on interests often spawn just as many platonic friendships as they do relationships), you might say something like, “Your stories about your French host family had me laughing for days, and I’d still love to hang out as friends, if you think I’m friend material.”

If he responds with anything other than “Yeah, let’s be friends,” ignore him. He might ask you what went wrong. He might ask you to refund your half of the dinners. Whatever it is, you don’t owe him a response, and if he seems like he might be inclined to message again, block him.

It’s tempting to think, “Oh, if I just explain that it wasn’t about his personality, it was just about his receding hairline and wandering eye, he’ll feel so much better!” But the longer you drag it out, the less fair it is to him. When a guy asks why you felt like it wasn’t going to work and you gave him a straight answer, you might think you’re just clarifying, but what you’re really doing is giving him hope.

And no one wants to hear that he’s bossy, or that he talks too much about himself, or that he smelled so bad you had to breathe through your nose.

“But the odor’s such an easy fix!” you say. “And if I tell him now, maybe he’ll have better luck with the next girl!”

It’s not your place, and when you say, “If you try bathing more frequently, maybe you’ll have a better shot with the next girl,” he might hear, “If you try bathing more frequently,  I’ll go out with you again.”

And besides, would you want a guy telling you it wasn’t you, it was your waistline?

And we can’t believe we have to say this, but we will: if you’ve been messaging some guy and he drops his prostitution habit/bed-wetting problems/”I’m still in love with my ex,” do NOT send him a break-up message. Just stop responding. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Men to Avoid in Online Dating: Part 2

One of the depressing things about OK Cupid is the map that must’ve been underwritten by U-Haul. If you’re not familiar with the list of cities with the largest number of potential members, chances are your dating site of choice has given you some reason to believe the grass is greener in another city, whether it’s your highest match on record, conveniently located on the other side of the country, or a sneak peek at singles in other cities.

You’ve spent six months dining out on a bunch of someone elses’ dimes, and you’ve convinced yourself that the problem isn’t you, it’s the District of Columbia.

There just aren’t any good guys here. They’re all too focused on their careers/underpaid/still interning/overpaid, and you’ve had enough!

So when PhillyCheeseSteak29 messages you to tell you he comes to DC once a month on business, you think, “Finally, a change of scenery!”

Here a long-distance relationship, as seen by men: you wake up and have to call her. No sex. You get to work and have to deal with three e-mails detailing how you two are “growing apart.” No sex. You spend $500 on a plane ticket to visit her, and, while you’re there, you drop another 5 hundo on meals, etc. Sex, at most, three times.

It’s no wonder this guy’s on the hunt for a relationship that spans multiple zip codes.

No matter what his excuse is, he’s not looking for a relationship if he’s looking outside his metropolitan area.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Men to Avoid in Online Dating: Part 1

            The first few weeks of online dating usually pass by in a blur.
You can’t even respond to your e-mails because you’re too busy checking out who’s viewed your profiles, taking mind-numbingly pointless (but somewhat addictive) quizzes, and figuring out the proper response to a wink (answer: ignore it).
But after a while, the pool of eligible partners starts looking smaller and smaller, and you’ve rated so many people in your city that your Quickmatch comes up empty.
As desperation starts to set in, your standards embark on a nosedive that begins so subtly you don’t even realize it’s happening.
And this is when you become the perfect target for the two biggest wastes of time at the virtual singles bar: married men, and people who live in other cities.
In approximately one out of two marriages in the U.S., boy meets girl, boy marries girl, boy and girl live happily ever after.
The other half 1) deicide it’s not working, 2) split up, and 3) meet new people.
There’s nothing wrong with a person who failed at marriage the first (or second or third) time around. There is something wrong when said person decides that step three should come before step one or step two.
Divorce isn’t a regular breakup. When your boyfriend tells you he wants to see other people, he never has to say the word “asset.” When your husband delivers  the same message, you suddenly have to divide up things you never even realized you only half  “owned” (cars, houses, friends, family members, pets, health insurance).
We’re going to skip over the “emotionally available” bullshit that some women use to justify or oppose the practice of dating married men. You should be thinking about your emotions, not his, and regardless of whether or not his “feelings” are ready for another roll in the hay, yours aren’t.
Let’s start with the obvious. This guy is ready to cheat on his supposed life partner, and regardless of what you think of marriage as an institution, he took commitment one step farther than he had to when he said, “I do.” When you’re dating a guy, you might agree not to see other people, but you haven’t entered into a legally binding agreement that basically only says that you won’t see other people. So if he’s ready to screw monogamy with this woman, what makes you think it’ll be any different with you?
Then there’s the fact that he’s still married (or separated, or anything other than legally divorced). If he really wanted out of this marriage, he’d be out, and he’d be too busy sorting out the legal implications or building a new life to sign up for a free trial on If he’s still living with his wife, or attending couples therapy, or even keeping the marital status in name only, he hasn’t made up his mind, and don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll be the deciding factor.
People go crawling back to former partners after they see what else is out there. No one buys his ex a take-me-back diamond when he’s rediscovering the joys of keeping the seat up, drinking milk out of the carton, and brining home a different woman every night of the week. It’s after he tries to settle down with a new woman that he realizes how much he misses the way his ex-wife made the bed each morning.
Long story short: when you date a married men, you’re entering into a messy, emotionally turbulent situation that has a lot of potential for pain with only the slimmest glimmer of hope for payoff. You don’t have to be a gambler to figure out that the odds aren’t in your favor, and you’d be better off waiting for a better split.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lessons from Karen F. Owen

Note: Links to uncensored slides at the bottom of the post.

            By now, most of you have probably heard of the Duke alum who either popped an Adderall the night before a huge final or took one too many Biz Com classes and decided to document her sexual conquests in a surprisingly businesslike PowerPoint presentation.
            Certain “media” outlets (cough Gawker cough) have been ripping the aforementioned femme fatale (better known as Karen F. Owen, apparently not to be confused with the myriad of other Karen Owens else there/a lesson in why you should never include your middle name in your Facebook identity, lest you too find yourself enshrined in a similar “scandal” and Facebook search renders you unable to bask in anonymity) to shreds, but we don’t really see what all the fuss is about.
            Yes, it’s embarrassing, and yes, parents/grandparents/future employers can now find all sorts of anatomical information on Ms. Owen and her band of 13, but, to us, this PowerPoint presentation is, at the least, highly entertaining, and, at most, pretty informative.
            The evaluations of each “subject” and description of each “encounter” include such brutally honest assessments of her own performance that we’re inclined to take most of her conclusions at face value. (One review has the author basically admitting that the highlight of her hookup had nothing to do with sex—it was being surrounded by hot lax gods who were telling her how hot she was. We’ve all been there—it just takes balls to admit it.)
And it’s men, not women, who stand to benefit most from Ms. Owen’s backbreaking research.

1.      1. Bigger DOES NOT equal better. We know you guys grew up with Sex and the City, and watching Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda traipse through Manhattan in search of  he biggest package has convinced you that size is all that matters to women. Size is an issue, but you’re more likely to hear a girl complain about a guy being too big than you are too small.
      The bigger a guy is, the more likely it’s gonna hurt. Ms. Owen describes sex with her best-endowed subject as “a tad painful” and gives him one of lowest score on the charts—4/10.

      So stop opening those e-mails promising you 10 inches of hard, pulsing manhood, mkay?

2.       2. Exude enthusiasm—for her. The French-Canadian finishes dead last for being cheap with the kisses (“did not even bother to kiss me for more than a few seconds”) and generally ignoring her afterwards. He may only have been looking for a one-night stand, but now his name’s plastered all over the internet as the worst one girl’s ever had. On the other hand, most of the top-scorers earned points for doling out compliments. Ms. Owen gushes about how one guy ran his hands all over her body, and when she confronted him about it, he said, “Shh… I’m just trying to explore this body…”

Ms. Owen’s presentation also brings up something we’re hesitant to talk about: insecurity. Ms. Owen herself plainly admits to being “susceptible  to compliments” and going home with a guy just because he said she was hot. Suffice it to say that the average woman’s self-esteem is probably lower than that of the average man, and everyone likes a boost in confidence.

If you want to come off as a top-notch lover, pay attention to her. Tell her she’s sexy, don’t skimp on the lip-to-lip contact (even after foreplay’s over), rub your fingers all over her body. The sexier you make her feel, the sexier she’ll think you are. Even if it’s a one-night stand, pretend (and act) like she’s the girl of your dreams.

Keep the compliments coming mid-coitus. Tell her when it feels good. Tell her you love it when she does that. This will help her relax, feel more confident, and enjoy herself. Need proof? Read Ms. Owen’s evaluation of subject 9.

Ms. Owen also claims that one subject blew her away with “intense eye contact” throughout sex. We’re a little wary of this one, as we see the potential for disaster, but it might be something to whip out every once in a while.

3.       3. Don’t peace out afterwards. Ms. Owen also seems to bump scores based on how boys behaved post-hookup. The ones who stayed to chat always got higher scores than the ones who “had to get up early.” In theory, these scores are supposed to be about sex alone (well, technically, “hook-ups,” but we’re going to go ahead and call that the same thing), but this shows that 1) sex is more about the in-and-out and 2) our perception of another person’s skill in bed have a lot more to do with us than them. When Ms. Owens thinks back on the night with the French-Canadian, the way she felt (i.e., shitty) stands out more than anything else, which makes her remember things as being worse than they actually were. (She claims he came off as rude in the taxi home, but the fact that she still went home with him leaves us to suspect that his bad manners seemed more pronounced after the fact, when she was reflecting on the whole evening.)

4.      4. Try something new. Ms. Owens raves about one subject, who takes her to have sex in new places (e.g., the library) and introduces her to new positions that “seemed ingeniously innovative.”

       Women often feel the need to mask (or at least downplay) their sexuality. The SATC girls may have spent all day talking about vibrators, orgasms, and porn, but a surprisingly large number of women feel awkward talking about this stuff, even with close friends.

      But most girls enjoy going crazy when it comes it sex–it makes them feel like powerful sexual beings. Women like to cling to the illusion that they can snare men with sex, and giving an upside-down blowjob in a packed library makes that dream feel attainably close.

      So suggest something that goes beyond plain vanilla, and remain assertive, up to a certain point, when she starts to protest. Because women don’t tend to be as comfortable with sexuality, she might not say yes right away. But as long as she’s giggling and putting up less-than-radical protests, keep going with it. (When she breaks out the mace, back down.)

      Tell her you’ve always wanted to do it outside, or in your car, or at your office. Consult Google, books, and your friends for advice on new positions. But do everyone a favor and avoid blind experimentation and/or porn. Just because can picture it doesn’t mean it’ll work, and just because it’s sexy when Audrey Bitoni does it doesn’t mean it won’t be awkward when your girlfriend tries it.

       Also, be wary of dirty talk. When used effectively, it can be incredibly sexy, but it’s really easy to sound ridiculous, especially with a one-night stand. Like the (white) Red Sox player who kept saying, “Tell me how much you like big black cocks.” When you’re with someone you trust, it doesn’t matter, but when it’s a girl you picked up at a bar, well… you end up on the internet.

5.      5. Build anticipation. After having sex in the library, one of Ms. Owen’s subjects goes on to take her on, “the most erotic walk of my life.”

How does he do it? He just puts her panties in his pocket and makes her walk across campus. OK, so you might not have those tricks at your disposal, but the key is to get things to the point where, “we both wanted each other so badly we almost couldn’t wait.”

Because girls are more about the mental than the physical, thinking about what’s coming is usually better than actually coming (well, almost). The key is to get her hot and bothered long before you reach your final destination.

Try slow, sensual make-outs in a public place that’s at least 20 minutes from any potential bedroom. Whenever things are about to turn PG-13, pull back. Stroke her hair. Tell her she looks beautiful. Draw it out. Make her feel like she wants you as much as you want her.

6.       6. Take control. Only one subject receives a score above 10, and what’s it for? “Him COMPLETELY taking control, throwing me around like I weighed nothing, dominating me, grabbing my hair…”

Most people like to be dominated (in a sexual sense anyway), regardless of gender. So if you want to be good in bed, the best thing you can do is fulfill that need—whether you’re a guy or a girl.

But this is perhaps more true for men. As we’ve discussed before, women sometimes feel shy and timid when it comes to sex, especially when they’re with a new partner. Make her feel like you know the ropes, and show her the way, while you’re at it.

7.       7. Suggest the shower. Most girls that we know love showering, but understand that actual penetration in the shower requires a delicate balance of proportions, and if looks like it’s not going to work, go back to anything but before it gets awkward.

“I had always shied away from [showers with guys]…as I felt as though it would make me look terrible (false, as demonstrated by a later repeat with Subject 9) and expose my flaws (false, it hides them even better).” Guys, this might not mean much at first glance, but it’s one of the most important sentences you’ll ever read in your life.

Here’s a secret: woman are always looking for ways to look/feel skinner. If you can convince yours that the shower is one of them, you’ll be getting warm-water blowjobs for the foreseeable future. If you’ve read tip 2, this should be obvious, but we’ll say it again—complement her! In the shower! Tell her how sexy she looks. If you really want to wow her, say something like, “You’re so skinny! I need to get you a sandwich.”

To anyone who disagrees with Ms. Owen’s advice, we say: haters gonna hate.

Check out the uncensored (and slightly out-of-order) slides here and here.