He’s Got Wingmen; She’s Got Cock-Blockers

Also in the October issue of Psychology Today, a piece about cooperation in courtship by Matthew Hutson titled I’ve Got Wings. The piece, complete with diagrams for play like a football coach would use, may have been so titled to play upon the old wingman dealio; but that’s only half the story as the brief article, covering research by MIT’s Josh Ackerman and ASU’s Douglas Kenrick, exposes that women and men use their same-sex friends differently:

When a woman is flirting with a desirable guy, her girlfriends will tend to leave her alone, but when she’s interacting with an undesirable, they’ll step in. Conversely, guys will leave a buddy alone if he’s stuck with a dud and provide support if he’s onto something good.

This probably isn’t news to you; but it does concisely explain what’s going on as far as wingmen & cock-blocking.

(Yes, you can click to read/see a larger scan.)

cooperation-in-courtship

Also from Hutson’s article:

Three quarters of participants also reported that they’d used a pal as a decoy mate, typically (for men) to demonstrate desirability to other women or (for women) to ward off other guys.

Top reasons people offered for cooperation in courtship were self-satisfaction, help with future access, and friend maintenance. As competitive as the sating world is, humans advance — and defend — in packs.

If I wanted to continue the pun, I’d say something about dating going to the dogs. But I’m too classy to do that.

Maybe You’re Not Juliet

When Chelsie Hightower & Mark Kanemura Dance danced to Leona Lewis’ Bleeding Love on So You Think You Can Dance (choreography by Napoleon & Tabitha D’Uma), I was mesmerized…

But the lyrics disturbed me; doubly so when the girls, my daughters, began singing it. Especially the chorus.

But I don’t care what they say
I’m in love with you
They try to pull me away
But they don’t know the truth
My heart’s crippled by the vein
That I keep on closing
You cut me open and I

Keep bleeding
Keep, keep bleeding love
I keep bleeding
I keep, keep bleeding love
Keep bleeding
Keep, keep bleeding love
You cut me open

Now, technically, according to the full song lyrics, neither the cutting nor the bleeding is real; it’s metaphorical teenage poetry expressing the pain of trusting and loving after having been hurt before by others. But…

There’s also this part:

But I don’t care what they say
I’m in love with you

Whoever “they” is, be it family or friends, why don’t you trust them?

I know it’s social acceptable — required, even — for teens to rebel. (And love songs are filled with teenaged angst & longing, even if they aren’t of the pop variety — which Bleeding Love is.) Teens aren’t supposed to trust their parents. But parents are the very same people teens have to thank for keeping them alive all these years. They don’t have an ulterior motive. They want you alive, safe & happy — even if your definitions of the latter differ greatly.

And what if it’s your friends who don’t like the guy — or girl? OK, occasionally, you have a frenemy who wants the dude (or babe) for themselves… But if you aren’t wise enough to keep away from frenemies, you probably aren’t mature enough to date (or have sex) anyways.

My point is, unless what “they” say is that you shouldn’t date or be with him is because he’s too short, or her nose is too big, or some other superficial thing, shouldn’t you at least listen to their reasoning & evaluate it for yourself?

They try to pull me away
But they don’t know the truth

Oh, you might be temped in that dramatic romantic way to believe you know more than “they” do — but really, why would “they” try to pull you away unless they saw or knew something was bad or even dangerous?

Ignoring the people who’ve known you longer, if not better than anyone else; resisting the warnings of the people who’ve cared for you, invested time and money in you, because you want to be right or play Romeo & Juliet, is not maturity. (See comments about frenemies.)

It scares me when I hear songs with lyrics like these… Hear people singing along, like it’s a mantra… Romanticizing “forbidden love” to the extent that they mistake warning signs for meddling, mistake dangers for a chance to prove themselves “right” rather than being safe.

True love doesn’t hit, soul mates don’t control or hurt you, and families & friends (the “they” sung about) don’t lie about your safety — the people who love you, family members & friends, want to like & love who you love. At the very least, they don’t want to upset you — but “they” will upset you, try to pull you away from things & people who are not good for you.

Maybe you’re not Juliet.

So maybe there’s no reason to drink from the poison cup.

~~~

This post is part of the blogathon for Hope For Healing, a wonderful event raising awareness of domestic violence & funds for supporting victims.

Twolia generously sponsored me, and you can help too! Comment, link, Tweet my posts!

And use this special link to iSearch.iGive.com to perform searches; it will raise money for HopeForHealing.Org.

Settle Your Relationship Disagreements

Every relationship has its disagreements. The Fair & Square Pillow provides a daily reminder about how to deal with them and one another. (Perhaps you should get a pair of them and settle things with a — fair & square — pillow fight. *wink* )

fair-square-pillow

And, if the relationship is doomed, remind yourself (or cheer your depressed girlfriend) that this too shall pass with this greeting card by David Shrigley for Polite Cards. (I just love this one!)

david-shrigley-for-polite-cards

Putting Singles In Their Place

PlumParty.com calls this set of 8 placecard holders singles placecard holders:

But with labels such as “tease,” “high maintenance,” “gold digger,” “drama queen,” “damaged goods,” and “on the rebound,” I think they are perfectly wonderful for any good old-fashioned get together. Sure, for girls’ night, but how much fun to use as a party game in mixed company –with couples too — where you either…

A) turn the moniker away from the chair, facing the rest of the dinner guests, and have each guest guess what their label is

Or, B) you hand one to each guest as they enter, and have them act out their label, making the other people guess what their personality/circumstance is.

Naturally, all your guests will need to be both secure enough with themselves not to take anything personally as well as have a good sense of humor about the whole thing. But you’re cool like that, so you must have friends that cool too.

(Or at least you are wise enough to know better than to get these placecard holders to begin with.)

Of Platonic Friendships, Jealousy & Tunics

Growing up, my dad often expressed the fact that men were always looking for sex.

When you just hung out with a boy, he’d outright ask — or at least those eyebrows would, “Did he make a move on you?”

When you laughed out loud that Steve was sooo not that kind of guy, dad said, “Oh, yes he is.”

And when you argued your case, illustrating just exactly how Steve never did make a move of any kind, even when you were literally crying on his shoulder about how some jerk guy had treated you, dad would reply, “Oh, he’s one of them tunics then.”

“Tunics” was the word he used because once, in struggling to recall the word “eunuch“, his mouth mistakenly said “tunic”. We never let him forget it either, so the word “tunic” became synonymous with “eunuch” — and you can imagine our laughter in the 70’s when fashion sported the tunic and there was much flowery talk, including of freedom, used to sell it.

Anyway, dad used the word “tunic” to describe platonic situations.

He just couldn’t understand how any man — even one who respected you — would be able to restrain himself from stealing a kiss or at least giving you one of those long romantic looks which would turn a girl’s belly to goo and let her know that romance was in the air…

Dad’s point was that everyman was looking for romance & sex — unless he was physically unable to perform it. So if Steve wanted to spend time with you, but did not make a move at all, there must have been something literally, physically preventing him from it.

It’s not that dad was a letch — he was, and remains, one helluva a romantic, intelligent and sensitive man. To him, spending time with a woman was about all a man needed to do to feel amorous — especially a single guy whose ultimate love was still waiting for him out there somewhere. Any girl could be The One — or at least a lot of fun.

He even told me about a time when my sister and I were little girls and we went to the mall with him. He spotted a pretty young woman with her own child in a stroller, and he and that woman shared a moment. Their eyes locked briefly, they each noted the other’s children and presumed marital status, then locked eyes again & smiled, as if to say that if they had met in another place and time…

Even happily married people with no intentions weren’t sexually or romantically dead; so why, dad reasoned, would an available guy do the time with an available girl if he wasn’t wanting to do the deed?

Dad was not a whistling wolf. He did not appear as a cartoon sex predator. Yet he said men were always ready and looking… It was confusing, but I had to believe him. Sometimes he was right too. But does that mean that there are no such things as platonic friendships between heterosexual men and women?

CNN recently posed the question in a recent article titled Should your wife have guy-friends? According to recent data, platonic relationships do occur:

Some 83 percent of the people surveyed think that cross-gender friendships can and do exist, according to a 2001 Match.com poll of more than 1,500 members. And a 2006 study by Canada’s Public Health Agency of nearly 10,000 Canadian children shows that they often start early, with 65 percent of boys and 60 percent of girls declaring three or more close opposite-sex friends by grade 10.

But as many of you with such opposite-sex friendships know, they aren’t always accepted — especially by your romantic partners and lovers who just don’t understand:

Jealousy over an opposite-sex friendship can be the result of projection, says Dr. Bonnie Jacobson, a New York City clinical psychologist and author of “Love Triangles: Seven Steps to Break the Secret Ties That Poison Love.”

“People project onto another person something they would do,” Jacobson says. “If Tom says to Sally, ‘I don’t want you to hang out with Harry,’ it’s very likely Tom feels he would violate that boundary [if he were in the same situation], so he imagines his wife will, too.”

I know this is true; I’ve seen it acted out. But what about the guys, like my dad, who really just don’t get it? Not because they are projecting, not because they are jealous jerks, but just because the concept is so foreign to them?

Well, keep those lines of communication open. Listen to his concerns, his point of view, but reassure him too by explaining how it works for you. Other advice from that CNN article includes the following reality checks:

• Be honest. “Never lie about the time you spend with your friend,” Sabatini says. “If you don’t feel comfortable telling your husband you’re going to hang out, then maybe he has a reason to worry.”

• Socialize as a group. “Spend time with both your significant other and your friend,” Sabatini says. “And acknowledge your love for your spouse in front of your friend.”

Valentine’s Day Dating & Relationship Tips

Thirteen Thoughts About (& Some Gift Suggestions For) Valentine’s Day

For The Single:

1 Do remember your friends! It’s still fun to send & receive Valentines — even if they are silly, they are sweet.

2 Don’t be bitter -and go ahead, buy yourself something you want. Not to cheer yourself up, but to treat yourself. Hey, if you don’t express self love or think you’re worth treating special, who will?

(And don’t ask me to suggest things for you — you should know you. If you don’t, you are light-years away from being ready for a relationship.)

For The Bitterly Single

I told you not to be bitter; but if that ship has sailed…

3 Do try to get over it. It’s one day. And while you’re working for One Day, don’t overlook what today & this moment has for you. See: For The Single above.

4 Do try to have fun with friends — those single or or not. Have fun, enjoy yourself! But…

5 Don’t go to bars or parties if you’re feeling angry &/or desperate. (It shows and never ends well. Plus you’ll embarrass your friends and that’s not cool.)

Unless

It’s a party just for the bitterly single. You folks can eat gummy hearts (writing your own wicked sentiments on the gift box — that’s half the fun!) and poke pins in a red Voodoo doll.

Do not, under any circumstances, give such things to even your best friend unless you too are single; like the ‘N’ word, those in relationships do not get to make such jokes.

6 Don’t call and ex. Don’t even kid yourself that you’re just friends, that it’s perfectly fine for you to go out as buddies, because even if you make it past the phone call (and he doesn’t reject you for the crazy desperate chick you are), you’ll either be doing #5 &/or end up as fuck buddies for the night.

And let’s face it, that only results in A) being in a relationship that already has been deemed wrong for you, B) with one of you over-the-moon for the other & all dreamy-eyed waiting by the phone the rest of the weekend, C) one of you thinking the other is a cheap & easy lay, ready for any 3 A.M. booty call, D) any combination of the above.

Just skip all that.

For Those Dating

7 Do get him or her a card, send an ecard or whatnot, depending upon your relationship.

8 Don’t send a card that says, “I Love You!” unless you’ve already spoken those words to one another.

9 Do get a gift — a nice, not a joke, gift — and only if you are celebrating the holiday together. Do not go overboard.

10 Don’t give inappropriate gifts. Like if you haven’t had sex with her yet, don’t give her lingerie. It’s too loaded with expectations.  Even if you’ve had sex, but this holiday is early in your relationship, avoid such cliché gifts which express a (hopeful) question or (rude) assumption rather than sentiment.  A middle of the road gift idea which says, “I love — and lust — you!” is a pretty pair of panties in a box with perfume, jewelry, &/or a book she’s wanted…  Something that expresses interest in more than just her bod.

Chicks, you typically make the mistake of going overboard in your gift giving; it’s equally inappropriate. Presenting him with something too extravagant is one part projection (it’s the extravagant gesture you want him to make) and one part presumption (that marriage is the next step, or this is The First Gift Of The Rest Of Your Lives).  Don’t make him feel guilty &/or pressured with gifts; they’re to be nice, thoughtful and fun.  For many of you this will mean spending a third (or less!) than the price of that ‘perfect’ item you instinctively thought of — or already bought. (If you already bought something ridiculously expensive, take it back now.)

For Married People Or Those Otherwise Deeply Committed

11 Do give a card and a gift. One is not a replacement for the other.

12 Do make it memorable. Here’s an excellent idea:

If you’re married or otherwise sure she’s The One, a really nice romantic touch is to also give her a (archival quality) scrapbook to store this card and all future cards in. Do this right, and you probably won’t need to have another gift. Write a little note inside, telling her that this is a scrapbook of your love… From now on, all your cards to one another shall be properly placed inside it; ephemeral proof of your lasting love that shall live on as proof for future generations. *dreamy sigh*

Yes, we love cheesy stuff like this; and no, you don’t need to tell all your macho pals. She’ll probably do that part for you anyway. *wink*

13 Don’t get your partner something that suggests work. Not even ‘from the kids’. No one wants a gift that says, “Fix my car, monkey-wrench boy!” or, “Make me some heart-shaped eggs, bitch!”

Now go forth and make with the merry, not the faux pas.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here! UPDATE: The original site appears to be down, so please check Thursday-13.com!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!