13 Dating & Relationship Tips You (Should Have) Learned From Your Friendships In Junior High

thursday-13

“Don’t take your partner/spouse for granted.” We hear that all the time, but what does that really mean? It means treating your lover — and other family members too — with the same respect and kindness you show your friends. (And don’t forget to demand the same in return!)

If you aren’t sure what this means, ladies, remember back to those unspoken rules you (painfully) learned in junior high. Here are 13 reminders of them (in the order they popped into my head.)

#1 Gossip and assumptions are dangerous things, often motivated by people around you who have an angle; be as suspicious of the one who brings you “news” about your romantic partner as you are of your romantic partner.

#2 While first impressions may matter, it’s more about the person than their looks. Haven’t we all a BFF, now or back in the day, who was unable to afford the latest fashion trends, had bad taste in clothes (didn’t know how to dress to impress — or didn’t care to!), had horrible skin, or some other sin or appearance but is/was the very definition of a best friend? Don’t knock a potential partner because he or she wouldn’t appear in a slick glossy magazine — you might miss the romantic best friend you’ll really have forever.

#3 Sucking up to the cool kids never works; or at least it’s a brutal thing to do to yourself. Be friendly, make yourself accessible; but glomming on or inserting yourself where you are not welcome only makes you the butt of jokes while demoralizing yourself.

#4 Make the effort to stay connected. You probably don’t need to take the call-them-everyday-after-school approach when you first meet them (that goes for texting etc. too), but you do need to put effort into the relationship. It’s not just that you call them during a crazy work week to let them know that you are alive; your call says you care to know that they are still alive.

#5 Show an interest in them. No one liked that girl who made everything all about her all the time; no one will like her now. Dates are opportunities for each to learn about the other. Don’t monopolize; take advantage of the time to learn about this new person in equal measure to allowing them to discover you. When you live together, make an effort to focus on your partner that is equal to your expectation to be paid attention to.

#6 Trust is earned, not blindly given. Actions, then as now, speak louder than words. Dating is also about spending enough time together to build trust. (And when you are in a committed relationship, your actions still speak louder than words.) Value the sacred trust of secrets and shared intimacies — and demand the same. Start with small confessions and as they are held sacred, slowly increase what you divulge. (The same is true for physical issues of proximities and intimacies — yup, that means sex! This preferably after trust has been earned in other ways.)

#7 Forgive and forget is an expression stated as a sentence, but in reality it’s multiple choice question; sometimes you can & should do both, sometimes you will choose one, and sometimes grievances are too large for either. Effort on the part of both parties is required and time will be both the test and the tell.

#8 Time heals all wounds. On Friday you were writing in your journal about Jane’s crimes, using words your parents didn’t know you knew; on Saturday you were begging to sleepover at her house. Emotions of the moment are best vented, explored, and examined overtime with a zeal equal to the intensity of your feelings. Whether it’s the multiple choice question of forgive and forget, or a matter of swallowing your own pride when you’ve been called upon to face something about yourself, time is required to digest this bitter meal. (Even when you must simply walk away from the relationship, time will heal that wound; the sooner you start, the better.)

#9 When invited somewhere, reciprocate in a timely manner. You know what happened to those girls who only went to your parties, but never invited you to theirs; to those who came to all the birthday parties, but never brought a gift; to those who waited months after sleeping over at your house to have you sleepover at their house — they got axed from the invite lists. Not only should you be mindful not to be only date taker, but remember to be a date maker too. This means suggesting plans as well as being prepared to pay for them.

#10 Be as generous as you can. Like with party invites, it’s just good manners to reciprocate gifts shared — and in a timely manner. I’m not saying that when you are given a birthday gift that you must give them a gift in return, but don’t be a taker. You may not have the means to match a person dollar for dollar, but give something. And do not think of gifts as only those objects which come wrapped in pretty packages either; gifts are also kindnesses, understandings, secrets, and intimacies shared.

#11 Share and share alike only works just so far. Remember how you didn’t want Trish to wear your favorite top — how she called you stingy & jealous too? Well, there are always things that remain solely yours, no matter how close you are to someone else. There’s no reason to give up or share every single thing — including your personal dreams, career, identity — just because you want a close relationship. If they act like Trish, remind them this is normal, healthy, and to get over themselves.

#12 Being supportive doesn’t mean you force the unwilling to talk — or have to provide the solution. There are many ways you cheered-up a friend with problems — even serious problems. Sometimes you listened; sometimes you just sat with them. Other times, you arranged distractions — cracked jokes to get them to smile, invited them over, took them to the mall, or otherwise offered ways to get them temporarily “out” of whatever was trapping them. There are a million little ways to let a person know you care and are there, ready & willing, for them to share. (Similarly, if you aren’t a big talker or sharing isn’t easy for you, be sure to respond somehow!)

#13 Have fun. What’s the point of being with someone who only brings you down? It’s one thing to ride out a tough time, be supportive through a bad circumstance; it’s another to devote yourself and your life to one who makes you miserable.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Finally, Sexual Assault Tips That Don’t Blame The Victims!

I didn’t write these rules — and neither did Jess McCabe at The F Word, where I found them — but as you see, we’re all supposed to share these rules:

Please distribute this list. Put it up in your place of work, in your university’s library or wherever you think they might be read:

1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.

2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!

3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!

4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.

5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!

6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.

7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.

9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!

10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.

Any tips you all would add?

Pepsi Perpetuates Predatory Males

Pepsi’s latest foray into social media with an iPhone app for its AMP energy drink is more than trending on Twitter — it’s downright pissing women (and men who give a damn) off.

The “fun” application is called “before you score” — and yes, with “score” means what you think it does: getting laid. As in men who “bag” chicks.

For all the gory details, check out Mashable’s post, “Alienate Your Female Customers? Pepsi Has An App For That” (the title of which is where the trending “alienate your female” topic comes from). But maybe all you need to know is the simple premise of the app, as stated by Mashable’s Adam Ostrow: “AMP has actually built features into its application that make it seem one can systematically “score” by exploiting women’s naivety. Beyond that, they actively encourage users to promote such conquests through social media.”

Whether or not the app can really assist in the exploitation of any woman is neither here nor there. And if Pepsi tries to defend itself with a “the app is just entertainment” it’s no excuse. The pure perpetuation of predatory male stereotypes and encouragement of such actions is horrible.

I would rant on & on about this, but there’s plenty of smart comments to read at Mashable (and at Jezebel too). But that won’t stop me from asking a question…

What’s next, Pepsi, a cave man app where you can slip a Mickey into a woman’s drink and drag her off by the hair? Oh yeah, and brag about it too.

Tips For Dating A Married Man?!

At HelloBeautiful.com, Von-Anise McCoy posted No Judgement Fridays: Five Tips To Follow When Dating a Married Man. While I applaud the spirit of no judgements, and I certainly agree that a man or woman in a committed relationship is the one doing the cheating (not the one dating the married or previously committed person) and is one who will likely cheat regardless of your individual “yes” or “no,” I cannot applaud this article.

I take great issue with McCoy’s tips for what they represent: agreeing to a relationship with a person committed elsewhere is to agree to center the relationship based on their needs, not your own.

That is a tacit agreement to make yourself secondary, if not worse. And by “if not worse,” I refer not only to the number of your subjugated position on the list, but to the game playing involved.

The whole set-up is abusive — and when you agree to that, you abuse yourself.

Look at McCoy’s rules — spot the degradation, the use (abuse) of others, the game-playing and dishonesty which plagues not the married or committed person, but the one dating him/her and others involved!

You are number two in his world so play your position.

Keep a man and when I say man, I mean another male companion.

Low-income men are not an option.

Never say the three words, “I Love You!”

This last one is an oldie but a goodie: He is never leaving his wife for you, never, ever, ever no matter how much he may complain about their relationship.

The advice isn’t wrong; it’s all sound if you want to play that game. But who wants to play a game that defeats them at every turn, with no chance of winning because the game is skewed to screw them (literally & figuratively) while it panders to the married or taken?

Wouldn’t the best sound advice be to point out to these women just how unfair to themselves dating a married man is?

I agree these women do not need a morality lecture, but wouldn’t these women be best served by advice which points out the truth of their own willingness to settle for less the least for themselves?

Uh, My Eyes Are Up Here, Bud.

Every female who has had to remind a male to look her in the eye (or at least her face) as opposed to looking at her breasts when talking to her — and that’s a whole lot of us! — will find this item annoying.

In the October issue of Cosmo, Gossip Girl‘s Penn Badgley models this “winking” sweater by French Connection:

french-connection-wink-sweater-cosmo

Do men really need to be encouraged to look at our boobs? Do they really need to be more confused about where to find out eyes?

The official name of the sweater is “Lush Lashes” — and while they may only charge you $128 to purchase it, the cost to women everywhere is much, much, higher.

Alcohol Consumption, Alcohol Policies, and Risky Sexual Behaviors

According to work by Sara Markowitz, Robert Kaestner, and Michael Grossman, “There appears to be no evidence suggesting a causal role of alcohol use in determining the probability of having sex.”

Linda Gorman breaks it down:

The consequences of risky sexual behavior fall heavily on teenagers and young adults. In 2002, the incidence rate for chlamydia was 297 per 100,000 population for persons of all ages, 1483 for teenagers, and 1610 for young adults. Similar age disparities are found for gonorrhea, with incidence rates per 100,000 population of 125, 476, and 593, respectively. Moreover, approximately half of all new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections in the United States occur among people under age 25. Current teen rates of pregnancy and out-of-wedlock birth in the United States are high by historical standards and high relative to other developed countries.

Although alcohol use has traditionally been associated with risky sexual behavior, there is still a question as to whether excess alcohol consumption causes an increase of risky sexual behavior among young adults. In An Investigation of the Effects of Alcohol Consumption and Alcohol Policies on Youth Risky Sexual Behaviors (NBER Working Paper No. 11378), co-authors Sara Markowitz, Robert Kaestner, and Michael Grossman ask whether alcohol use promotes risky sexual behavior and whether there are public policies that can reduce risky sexual behavior by reducing alcohol use.

The authors look at the influence of alcohol consumption on individual behavior using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the biennial Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. Alcohol use was defined as the number of days in the past 30 days that an individual reported having had at least one drink of alcohol and the number of days on which five or more drinks were consumed. They conclude that, “there appears to be no evidence suggesting a causal role of alcohol use in determining the probability of having sex.” There was some evidence, however, suggesting that alcohol consumption does “lower the probabilities of using birth control and condoms” among sexually active teens.

The authors use aggregate data on the reported incidence of gonorrhea and AIDS infections by state to measure whether state and federal taxes on beer, county laws banning alcohol sales, laws governing blood alcohol levels, and zero tolerance laws for underage drinking and driving affect infection rates. Though women appear unaffected, zero tolerance laws appear to decrease the gonorrhea rate in males aged 15-19, and a one percent increase in beer taxes is associated a 1.1 percent reduction in the gonorrhea rate in young men aged 15-19 and 20-24. Neither the percentage of the population living in dry counties nor laws controlling blood alcohol rates affected either rate of infection.

Now compare and contrast that to Sara Markowitz’s research on the links between alcohol and violence and you’ll see the real reasons why drinking alcohol can be a problem for women.

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.

The Facts About Children, Sex, Predators & The Internet

Last year the Internet Safety Technical Task Force released the Enhancing Child Safety and Online Technologies, the Final Report of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force to the Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking of State Attorneys General of the United States, but I wouldn’t have heard of it if it weren’t for the recent article by Michael Castleman at Psychology Today:

Last year, the attorneys general of 49 states created the Internet Safety Technical Task Force to investigate sexual solicitation of children by molesters who troll for targets using sites popular with kids, among them, MySpace and Facebook. The 278-page report concluded that there’s no real problem.

The task force, led by Harvard researchers, looked at reams of scientific data dealing with online sexual predation and found that children and teens were rarely propositioned for sex by adults who made contact via the Internet. In the handful of cases that have been documented-and highly publicized-the researchers found that the victims, almost always older teenagers, were usually willing participants already at risk for exploitation because of family problems, substance abuse, or mental health issues.

The report concluded that MySpace and Facebook “do not appear to have increased minors’ overall risk of sexual solicitation.” The report said the biggest risk to kids using social networks was bullying by other kids.

“This study shows that online social networks are not bad neighborhoods on the Internet,” said John Cardillo, whose company tracks sex offenders. “Social networks are very much like real-world communities that are inhabited mostly by good people who are there for the right reasons.”

The bottom line is, the actual threat to children from sexual predators online is negligible.

So I’m guessing the reason I hadn’t heard of this before was that the findings, though incredibly clear, aren’t willing to be heard & accepted by the population at large. Instead of shouting from the rooftops that the internet is as safe a place as any for children, or even breathing a sign of relief, people would prefer far more salacious, fear-mongering headlines.

In truth, the actual Internet Safety Technical Task Force report says that, “Bullying and harassment, most often by peers, are the most frequent threats that minors face, both online and offline.” Which means parents should be paying a lot more attention to what their children are experiences (and dispensing) at school, with their friends, etc., than they should be about the invisible “they” known as internet boogie men.

From the report:

Much of the research based on law-enforcement cases involving Internet-related child exploitation predated the rise of social networks. This research found that cases typically involved post-pubescent youth who were aware that they were meeting an adult male for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.

And if you think that’s only gotten worse because kids today are bombarded by internet porn, well, that’s just plain wrong too; from the report:

The Internet increases the availability of harmful, problematic and illegal content, but does not always increase minors’ exposure. Unwanted exposure to pornography does occur online, but those most likely to be exposed are those seeking it out, such as older male minors.

In other words, most kids ignore it, but those (mostly male) youths who want it go for it — just like those meeting with adults or others for sex. Because teens have sex drives, so you’d better be prepared to deal with the issue.

However, the report does not ignore the few times where child molesters have connected with youth online. It says that in the small number of cases, the internet was the first of several steps — the rest of which are no different than how “real world” hook-ups are made. So, if the sexual predator finds prey on the internet & the prey responds, the next step is telephone contact (right under their parents’ noses), followed by eventual meetings in person.

Here’s what the report suggests in terms of advice (I’ve bullet-pointed them, so they are easier to read):

Careful consideration should be given to what the data show about the actual risks to minors’ safety online and how best to address them, to constitutional rights, and to privacy and security concerns.

Parents and caregivers should:

  • educate themselves about the Internet and the ways in which their children use it, as well as about technology in general
  • explore and evaluate the effectiveness of available technological tools for their particular child and their family context, and adopt those tools as may be appropriate
  • be engaged and involved in their children’s Internet use
  • be conscious of the common risks youth face to help their children understand and navigate the technologies
  • be attentive to at-risk minors in their community and in their children’s peer group
  • and recognize when they need to seek help from others.

All of this, though, ignores the basic facts regarding child molestation: Most rapes, sexual assaults, and abuse is perpetuated by someone that the victim knows and trusts.

And I guess that’s the real reason I hadn’t heard of this report & its findings before; people still prefer to pretend they are safe at home, that the unknown danger is “other” and locked outside — or on the internet.

What Signals Are You Sending? (How & Why To See Yourself As Others See You)

Check out the October issue of Psychology Today; it’s full of great dating information (even if it’s not all listed as such). For example, the cover art & headline “What Signals Are You Sending?” which goes with a feature by Sam Gosling, entitled Mixed Signals.

psychology-today-cover-october-2009In the article, Gosling discusses our personal blind spots to the perceptions that others have of us and how we overestimate not just how we are seen in terms of flattering ourselves, but we overestimate the ability others have to be aware of our internal states & feelings — we overestimate the “extent to which our behavior and and appearance are noticed and evaluated by others — a bias known as the ‘spotlight effect.'”

In many cases, our opinion of ourselves and the perception of others clash — but that’s not even necessarily the worst part; you might not even be aware of it.

You need feedback (direct & indirect) from others to know what they think of you, and sometimes the very things you need to know the most, negative perceptions, are least likely to be communicated.

If you do know how irritating or attractive you are, it’s probably via direct or indirect feedback from others. At work you might find that, despite setting everyone straight on a few issues when you last served on a committee, you haven’t been asked to serve on any since then. If the attributes are positive — such as the fact that everyone likes you or that you’re very attractive — people are more likely to come straight out and tell you about them. If they’re negative, they may forever remain unknown to you.

If you’re tempted to ignore the perceptions of others, don’t! Your body language is outside your own visual field, but others are very aware of them. And your behaviors are, if not similarly unseen by you, understood by you because you (and often only you) know your motivation & reasoning. So others do have clues for their perceptions and attitudes about you.

Even if you think other people are misguided, their perceptions of your character probably do reflect things you do habitually. Once striking set of studies recently showed that a spouse’s ratings of a person’s anxiety, anger, dominance, and solitariness are better than self-ratings at predicting heard disease. The implication: Our spouses are better judges of such traits than we are.

(I think it’s obviously worth noting the traits listed here; that spouses are better better judges of anger & dominance than the person who is angry & dominant. This refers back to the victim’s need to survive and brings up the point that those in an abused person’s support network — from friends & family to doctors, police, social workers & legal professionals — had better trust them when they say his behavior is dominant, threatening, etc.)

When people are asked how long they think their romantic relationship will last, they’re not very good at estimating the right answer. Their friends, it turns out, fare far better. But if you ask people how satisfied they are in a relationship, their ratings accurately predict how long they’ll stay together. In many cases, we have the necessarily information to understand things are they are — but our blind spots don’t allow us to take it into account.

(Yet another reason to really discuss relationships from many angles, including how happy a person is as part of a couple. Doubly important to do so alone when you fear your friend is being abused, so that they can move past the cover story and predictable prediction points of “we’ll be together forever” — which could very well be a taught or fearful response.)

This doesn’t always mean others are right, of course. Sometimes the blind spots are, again, due to the perceptions of others — based on things they observe which do not reflect what’s going on internally with you. This would seem to be especially important at work and when dating, when dealing with people who do not know you very well yet. Since their perceptions will affect how you are treated (no committees, no promotions; no dates or second dates, etc.) it’s important to see what signals you are sending.

Many of us have times when we are misunderstood. People perceive us as cold and unfriendly when we are really just feeling shy, as flirtatious when we’re just trying to be friendly, or as depressed when we’re just tired. Being misunderstood is largely a problem of a lack of information – not communicating effectively with the people around you through your words and body language.

Gosling cites work by Randall Colvin of Northeastern University which indicates that people who are easily judged, those that people just “get,” tend to be extroverted, warm, consistent, and emotionally stable. These traits, called “amplifiers,” tend to increase the expression of other traits as well as the amount of verbal & behavioral information, making them easier to read.

Another trait that makes people easier to “get,” is “blirtatiousness.” Blurters, those who tend to respond to others quickly & effusively, are open books.

Gosling says that if & when you feel misunderstood, you should say & do more. “Even introverts can train themselves to communicate more through their words — telling people directly what they like and how they feel.”

But before you run out there and babble profusely about how you feel, you should know how others perceive you. And the best way to do this is to ask for feedback. And Gosling wants you to ask more than just your mom. *wink* Seek feedback from many others, including at work and, if possible, your enemies. Gosling also recommends using “the cloak of anonymity” that is the internet; suggesting apps like Facebook’s “Honesty Box” or the “YouJustGetMe” app he collaborated in developing.

I suggest you start by considering the obvious. Are you asked to be on committees, invited to parties & events? Are you disappointed that despite all your efforts, you’re still not offered promotions & dates? If you feel you are being passed over or underestimated, then sit down with your friends for some honest talk. Maybe open a bottle of wine first; cuz once that starts flowing, so will the honesty.

The next morning, evaluate what was said and put it in context of who said it and how you perceive them… What can you learn from all of that? And how can you counteract any misperceptions with better communication?

Dating Advice From The Past (Or Female Dating Snark, 1940 Style)

This article, written by an anonymous female, was published in The Bedside Esquire, 1940 — just see how well it holds up today *wink*

The Wench Is Not Amused, by Anonymous

Any girl, if the body she possesses isn’t actually deformed and the face badly moth-bitten, is going to become acquainted with the gentle art of seduction fairly early in life. As for myself, I’ve had what I now recognize as more than my share of experience.

Not at the risk of sounding vain, because I know I am vain, I’ll say that when men look at me in the street I know why. They’ve good reason to. In 1930, when the agency I was working for folded, I posed for several commercial photographers. I’ve seen strange men studying my picture in a magazine and, though their eyes generally started at the ankles & worked up by degrees, I’m pleased to admit that they looked twice at the face, too. And I’ve read a book, I dance well because I love it, I know how to listen as well as talk, I can tell a touchback from a safety, I can hold my likker as well as my men – when I want to – and I know most of the right words. I seldom buy my own dinner.

I know it sounds conceited as the devil but, darn it, it’s true. I’ll lay twenty to one I can make any nine out of ten males, provided they are neither puling infants nor doddering antiquarians, ask for my phone number within any given half-hour.

So, when I say I’ve had more than the average experience with the technique of seduction (horrible phrase) I think I’m stating a simple truth.

When a gal is first turned loose on the world of man the game of seduction – win, lose or draw – is pretty exciting. And it continues to be for some years. At first, either your parents or your school keep you under observation & your only exposed to younger men. Their approach, naturally, isn’t as polished as that which you’ll encounter later. Also, the fact that you are under some sort of surveillance means that you’ll be exposed only occasionally & for brief periods of time & not to the extensive & intensive campaigns you’ll have to face when you become what is so quaintly known as a bachelor girl. During my lat four years of school, a year abroad, & my first three or four years in New York I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed the whole tiresome process; particularly so when I learned that, so long as I kept my head, the game could be played according to my own rules without ever hurting the boy friend’s sense of masculine superiority in the least.

It was always a thrilling battle & the campaign itself was often more exciting than the storming, or attempted storming of one’s last citadel. How many times I’ve lost in this warfare is entirely a matter of my own business. But I will say this: no campaigner, no matter how hardened, ever overcame my last line of defense unless I deliberately chose that he should – and that can hardly be counted a total defeat.

In the past year, sadly enough, I’ve come to realize that what was once an enthralling game is now a deadly bore. And I contend it’s all the men’s fault. A seduction should be above all things glamorous & exciting. But can there be glamour in a story repeated a dozen, yea a hundred times? Can glamour be expected to survive the hundredth ardent whisper of non-poetic time-worn words? Can there be excitement in a card game played eternally, with both players forever holding the same cards? There cannot!

Why don’t men vary their approaches? Damn it, haven’t they any originality? Must they be so monotonous?

Why is it that each man has at his command three or four of the seven standard approaches to seduction & selects his approach according to what he fondly believes to be his shrewd analysis of the character of the wench he is lusting for?

This is all wrong. And something should be done about it. Why don’t men realize that an injection of originality or novelty into their love-making will get them further with the gal of their temporary choice than any pet phrases or standard passes the gibbering idiots can produce?

Repetition is so damn boring. The fun is all gone if, after the first kiss & the first declaration, you can, from past experience, anticipate practically every word & gesture that is to follow, be it a one night stand or a three week siege. And that isn’t right – sex should be fun.

If you’re a girl who hasn’t given this matter any objective thought, stop now & take stock. You’ll be saddened & disillusioned to see what well-worn ruts your young men pursue.

And you, lad, believing yourself to be a Casanova as you do, cast your eyes over the following catalog – and blush for your sex’s limitations. Blush, too, for yourself, for you have nothing more on the ball than any other man. You’re unoriginal & trite. That swell build-up you were planning to use tonight & which you rather expected to send darling little Jean into a swoon will be the same build-up John used on her two months ago, Paul the week before, Ronald last year, and so on back to the days when she bought her first lipstick & lace panties. And you actually expected her to fall for it tonight? Fooey! Those girlish peals of laughter will probably be at you, rather than with you. But you have only to get yourself a new approach, my lad, really new, and your path will be paved with recumbent maidens.

The following list contains what I’ve found to be the seven fundamental approaches. There are, of course, variants but they are all variants of these basic seven. At least, my own experience & the experience of attractive girls I know leads me to believe that this is a complete list. If it isn’t, I’ve been neglected & I resent that. And if the young man will step forward to present credentials proving that he is in possession of an Approach Number Eight I’ll be glad to meet him on his home grounds, winner take all.

Approach One
The Crudest Simple, and very raw. The idea is for the male to ply you with likker until you lose control. The man who uses this approach is obviously a louse, obviously without resources, and so unsubtle that he is easily seen through & a cinch to out-smart. This technique is so bad it doesn’t merit serious discussion. The only ones who will succumb to this attack are the completely foolish, those who are particularly light-headed drinkers & potential nymphomaniacs.

Approach Two
The Cheapest As crude in its way as One. This man tries to get at you through passionate declarations of love. He may even plead with you to marry him, sometimes soon. Meanwhile, sine you are already man & wife in the eyes of God or, at the very least, two hearts that beat as one – how about it? The man who uses these tactics is probably an even greater louse than the likker-plying-male. The ‘I-love-you’-chanted-soulfully method will succeed only with susceptible virgins (any age) and those stridently emotional wenches of meager intelligence whose metier in life is rocking the cradle. The gal who has been around will merely enjoy her laugh, when approached in this manner, and promptly send the man back to the minor leagues, where he belongs.

Approach Three
The Ham-iest The long-bearded ‘misunderstood husband’ gag. No elucidation is needed. Only fools fall for this chestnut & it is doubtful if, after falling, they deserve any sympathy. It has been my experience that married men are seldom worth the trouble. It is generally wisest to send them home to the little woman, in short order.

Approach Four
The Outright Purchase Like the Greeks, they come bearing gifts; generally expensive & so tendered that it is possible for the semi-prostitute to accept her wages without feeling too professional. The man who pulls this one isn’t fooling. He means business & wants it tacitly understood that there are to be no strings attached to this business deal. And he is intelligent enough to know that the average female is capable of very long distance rationalizing & thus can graciously & righteously accept a fur coat or a diamond ring whereas would regard the offer of actual cash as a terrific insult. This system, probably because it has sound economic & not emotional basis, is liable to work with any of us who haven’t been an heiress. If the man is anywhere near as attractive as his gift it is sometimes necessary for a gal to summon up her last bit of will power to say ‘No.’ But it usually is worth it, if only to preserve those few remaining shreds of self respect.

Approach Five
The Big Brother Act This predatory gent is an insidious operator where the unwary female is concerned. In the first place, he is patient. This, in itself, is usually enough to throw you off. He starts off on a ‘just friends’ basis & worms his way into your heart as a confidant & pal. Before you know it you are, on those odd nights, telling him all about your joys or sorrows with whichever Tom, Dick or Harry you are at the moment involved. He is very sweet, sympathetic & understanding. But he is playing a waiting game. He knows that eventually, human nature being what it is, there’ll be a bust-up between you & the boy of the moment… and when it comes you’ll find his broad shoulder there for you to weep on. You weep & you weep. You’re on the rebound & desperately in need of masculine comforting. And suddenly you find that you’re getting it in a very big, and totally unexpected way. And because you are weak & blue& emotionally drained & in need of some male tenderness you all at once become aware of the fact that your Big Brother is is much sweeter & more desirable than you had ever found him to be before. And if he realizes this at the same time that you awaken… you’re lost. When he puts on the pressure you’re defenceless. I know that this approach depends upon extenuating circumstances but they occur far more frequently than one ever suspects. And a girl on the rebound is in no fit condition to put up an adequate defence. My only solution is this: never trust a man who tries to build up a platonic friendship with you. At the time it may seem to you that it would be such a relief to know a man like that, but you can with impunity bet your last garter-belt that you’re wrong because, some place in the back of his mind, he’ll have an idea or two…

Approach Six
The Pseudo-Sophisticate This approach has three subdivisions but they are all based on the same fundamental sophistry: 6-A. The Philosophical. The life-is-real, life-is-earnest, opportunity-knocks-but-once, so grab-each-fleeting-moment-while-you-may school. This is, of course, the veriest hokum, fit only for children in their teens. Every woman beyond the age of adolescence knows that this unique opportunity the gentleman is so magnanimously offering her is an opportunity that knocks all too damn frequently. Why any man who isn’t completely witless ever thinks a girl will believe him to be the only one who will ever offer her a chance to indulge in a life of sin is beyond me. So, girls, the nest time a man pulls this, ‘Tonight is ours!’ line on you, control your laughter, let him down gently, and send him on his way. The stronger sex? Physically, yes.

6-B. The Pagan. This lad is likely to have long hair. He has read Ulysses and has a glib knowledge of neo-realistic painting or something of that sort. He thinks very highly of individualism & quote Nietzsche’s remarks about the Superman (himself). he tells you that the old, conventional moral standards of our fathers are outmoded (news to you?) and insists that today we see such things as sexual relations with a new vision, a proper perspective. ‘After all, we want each other, and what is going to stop us?’ he asks. ‘Aren’t we free people, free to live our own lives?’ You are also free to point out to him that ‘we want each other’ is taking altogether too much for granted. You explain, in as tactful & gentle terms as the situation requires, that a fairly ardent kiss or two, permitted in a moment of weakness, doesn’t exactly establish the fact that you are willing to turn over the body beautiful. He’ll never believe, of course, that it wasn’t your inhibitions which prevented you from succumbing & he’ll go on his way, still proud of his free & soaring spirit, in search of a girl with low heels & spectacles, who thinks Communism would be nice. And he’ll say to her ‘Look at Russia,’ and get away with it. I don’t want to look at Russia. Blouses & smocks? Not with my torso.

6-C. The Physical. Whereas the first chap in this category went at you on a philosophical plane, so-called & the second tried to weaken you on a moral & individualistic grounds the ‘Physical’ lad goes to the root of the matter & attacks you with body blows. His weapons are psychiatry, Freudian psychology & your glands. These physical realists always have your well being at heart. They explain at great length that sex is an appetite which must be satisfied if one isn’t to become a victim of all sorts of fetishes & suppressed desires. Now, no girl would want to become amorous in public with Shetland pony or become addicted to horsewhipping her grandmother. It isn’t being done. The obvious solution is to permit whichever physical realist is at the moment spouting his propaganda to come between you & the tragedies of perversion. The whole affair is, of course, to be considered in your own best interests.

We may very well be animals & victims of appetites which must be satisfied in order to prevent complexes & frustrations. I’m willing to admit that the boys may have something there. But, so far, I’ve been able to order my own meals & I think I’ll continue to do so. When I’m hungry I’ll eat, if the proper food is available, and no one is going to force improperly prepared food on me when I’m not hungry… and my grandmother will have to take her chances.

Approach Seven
The ‘Forcing’ Method Or perhaps I should call it the cat-and-mouse attack. In any event, the glib gentleman who works this approach on you is primarily concerned with forcing you to make the final move and ‘Safety First’ is obviously his motto. The opening lines generally read something like this, ‘I don’t love you & I know you don’t love me – but I can’t help wanting you. Why pretend? I think you’re swell – sex excluded – but you’re so damned attractive that, no matter how hard I try, when I’m with you I want you.’ Then he adds, oh very frankly & fairly, ‘I like you so much that I have to be honest with you. If I continue to see you I’ll make love to you, I can’t help myself. If you want me to stop coming around, now that you know, you’ve only to say so.’ The catch in this last speech is that he only produces it when he is pretty damn sure that you like him a lot & enjoy being with him. Of course you, liking him as you do & feeling on safe terrain because he hasn’t so much as touched you, laugh it off & take your chances.

But after a night or two of conversation in the same vein but growing progressively more intense, the chances are that he will kiss you: ardently, of course, and probably with considerable finesse – and you’ve given the inch that may coast you your virtue.

Gently & insidiously the campaign progresses. Each night it will become a little more intense & each nigh your defences will fall back and inch or two. But he will never use force, never put on an any obvious pressure. Each time you feel called upon to say ‘Stop,’ he’ll stop – to your growing annoyance. And, though you probably won’t realize it, that is one word you’ll come to use less & less frequently.

Slowly & inevitably the tide, to use a figure of speech, creeps up & up until that night when you’ve forgotten even the meaning of the word – and then the louse stops of his own accord!

The speeches at this point are liable to be on the impassioned side & to deal at some length with his desire for you & your many darling qualities & so on far into the night. Eventually he gets around to asking you if you, too, desire him. After what has just transpired you wonder of he is a complete idiot, then reassure him in your own subtle way.

This generally calls for a clinch & the addition of fuel to the flame. After a proper interval he pulls the Remorse-stop. It goes something like this & is generally delivered in a somewhat throaty voice, ìI want you sooo much (pause) but I can’t let you do this unless you are sure in your own mind. We’re excited now, my dear, (He’s telling you!) and I wouldn’t want you to do anything you’d later regret. I want you more than anyone I’ve ever known, (this is standard: note careful evasion of the word love) but this is too beautiful an adventure to rush into headlong.î While you’re wondering just how he would have you rush into said adventure he makes a suggestion, ‘Sleep on it tonight & think it over in the clear light of day, tomorrow. We’ll meet for dinner, and then you can give me your decision.’

You agree, and this leads to another scene that wouldn’t get by the Will Hays’ office & considerable incoherent & what he thinks is poetic talk about how much he hopes you’ll feel tomorrow night as you do tonight.

Then there is much discussed sleep & ‘thinking (if any) in the light of day.’ It would serve the gent right if the daylight led to a decision he wouldn’t like but for some darned reason it seldom does.

When you meet him the next night he is pretty solemn about the whole thing (but you can be sure he’ll give you the best dinner he can afford, with a rather obvious emphasis on the wine list). Once you get back to whichever apartment is the scene of combat you’ll find that tenderness is the preliminary mood of the evening. He may not use his arms & hands as they were intended to be used as all, but if he does he’ll be very, very gentle. In desperation you finally take him by the hand, figuratively speaking, and lead him to the bedroom.

It may be several days before you begin to realize that you’ve been had in more ways than one. And if this realization doesn’t come to you shortly you are in an even worse position because you’ve been had so thoroughly that your heart may well be in your young man’s hands – and that is one section of your anatomy which should remain permanently yours.

There is a mild variant to this approach. In this method the man, at the critical point, doesn’t suggest a little daylight thought on the subject but, instead, goes dramatic & says, ‘No, this can’t be. The price you pay is too large,’ or words to that effect. It works out in exactly the same way. One says, ‘Perhaps.’ and the other says, ‘no,’ and in the end you are unconsciously forced into taking them both by the hand…

This is probably the most difficult form of seduction to work clear of – because you’ve been allowed to work yourself into it.

These are the standardized versions of sexual Blind Man’s Bluff, Tag, You’re It, or whatever you want to call it, as I know them. There are probably other, depending on race, color or previous condition of servitude but I wager that they are in their way just as standardized. What to do about it?

Sometimes I think I’d rather be attacked. Or at least meet a man direct enough to say bluntly & without preamble, ‘I think you’re swell & I’d like to make love to you. I warn you, if you say no I’ll ask you the same thing tomorrow night. What will it be, milady’s boudoir or the movies?’

The hell of it is, experience has so conditioned me that I’d probably choose the movies & be forced to sit through a Hollywood version of the preliminaries of one of the stereotyped brands of seduction I’ve listed. There’s no escape.

Why Women Opt To Remain Single

A woman goes out with her friends, meets a guy named Dmitri and they talk for “at the most 2 minutes.” She hands him her business card and says call me… These are the voicemails he leaves her (with some images added for video appeal):

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.

Less Physical Dating Violence & Greater Condom Use — Among Boys Only?

Research done at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Centre for Prevention Science in London, Canada, reveals that a course on dating violence and healthy relationships may provide benefits for high school students, particularly boys.

According to ModernMedicine.com:

David A. Wolfe, Ph.D., of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Centre for Prevention Science in London, Canada, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,722 ninth-grade students attending schools that were randomly assigned to the intervention or to serve as controls. The intervention was a 21-lesson program led by teachers, integrating dating violence prevention with core lessons about sexual health, substance abuse prevention and healthy relationships.

After 2.5 years, the researchers found that physical dating violence was higher in control versus intervention students (adjusted odds ratio, 2.42). Although boys in intervention schools were less likely than the controls to engage in dating violence, girls in both groups had similar physical dating violence rates. Condom use was higher among sexually active boys in intervention schools (67.9 versus 58.6 percent).

“We found support for the hypothesis that teaching youth about healthy relationships and ways to avoid physical dating violence in Grade 9 Health classes would reduce physical dating violence 2.5 years later, but this effect may be limited to boys,” the authors write. “Although overall rates of substance use and peer violence were unaffected by the intervention, exploratory analyses indicated that boys in the intervention schools reported safer sexual practices (indicated by always using condoms).”

Before I say anything else, let me give a great big “Hooray!” that more young men were using condoms!

And a giant “Wo0t!” as the kids would say, that the boys were less likely to be involved in dating violence.

But isn’t it interesting that while the boys in the class were less likely to participate in dating violence, the girls in class were still experiencing the same amount of dating violence…

That sorta changes that “Wo0t!” to a “Shoot.”

Do we conclude that there was some gender bias in teaching &/or course work, and so the girls didn’t learn or accept the information as readily as the boys?

Do we conclude that a large number of the girls date boys outside those classes — and that the girls “knew better” but in the intimidation of the moment(s), they fell prey to boys with a more predatory nature?

Are there just a few bad boys dating all the girls?

Or do we conclude there is some sort of discrepancy between what the boys reported and what the boys did — *cough* LIARS!

Because the abstract gives very little information & reading the full report & findings published in the August issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine requires a fee, I can’t really say for certain what I think…

Do you have any ideas?

~~~

This post is part of the blogathon for Hope For Healing; Twolia generously sponsored me in this wonderful event raising awareness of domestic violence & funds for supporting victims!

You can help too: Comment, link, Tweet & use this special link to iSearch.iGive.comclicking it and performing searches will raise money for HopeForHealing.Org.

More Bashing Of Single Mothers Who Wish To Date

If you’ve stopped gagging over this, grab a barf bag for this charmer:

Now it’s important that you don’t start dating as a means of getting financial help for single parents. You don’t want to date because you can’t pay the bills. This is, of course, common sense, but many people — particularly single mothers enduring financial difficulties — seek to date as a means to find someone to help pay the bills. This can cause a lot of problems down the road, so don’t do this.

Yeah, Jenny, way to alienate your supposed audience. I know that I always trust advice from folks who call me a gold digger.

And you do know that anyone who actually would date to “find someone to help pay the bills” isn’t going to suddenly become ethical because you wrote that drivel, right?

Sheesh.

Sexism Alert: “The Great Male Survey” Results

Last month, AskMen.com (50,000 AskMen.com readers) & Shine (19,000 respondents over a four week period) conducted its second annual online survey, where real women and men answered questions on such topics as online dating, money, careers, soul mates, marriage, romance, cheating, etc.

One area where men really weighed-in differently was the matter of weight gain. Seems fatty-fatty-two-by-four will be kicked out of the couple’s door — by (surprise!) males.

An overwhelming 70% of women responded to “Would you dump a boyfriend if he became fat?” with “No, his appearance does not affect my love for him.” But 48% of men said they would dump their girlfriend. Shocking? No. Superficial? Yes.

While 75% of US men (just a few points off of their male counterparts in the UK, Canada & Australia) and 63% of the women believe marriage “is a necessary institution, and one that I will participate in to help preserve,” there’s something funky going on… I guess marriage as an “institution to preserve” only applies to skinny folks — for men, anyway.

But perhaps most upsetting to me were the results regarding divorce (as in “she’s too fat to remain with me”). When asked, “Do men get screwed by the courts in divorce?” 83% of the men said “Yes.” I guess I’m not surprised to hear men continue to whine about their victimization (as if!), but the women? While the 44% who said, “No, men and women generally get fair and equal treatment,” may seem comforting, look closer and you’ll see that 40% also said “Yes” — 40% of women believe that men are victimized by divorce courts.

Ugh.

I guess these women aren’t really listening to their friends’ divorce stories.

Yet 35% of these whining & irrational men who believed they are treated unfairly by divorce courts say prenups are “Not at all important.” Isn’t that a dumb reaction, to not protect yourself from what you (irrationally) fear?

But that’s only part of the story, really; just look at the questions & results:

For Men:

How important is it to you for your future wife to sign a prenup?

35% Not at all important

33% Not very important

22% Somewhat important

10% Very important

For Women:

Do you want your future husband to sign a prenup?

73% No, I will marry a man who I trust enough to not need a prenup

11% Yes, but I won’t risk jeopardizing our relationship by asking him to sign one

9% Yes, I won’t marry him unless she does

7% No, I’m out to steal his money

And that sexist difference in the survey questions & responses may be the most telling thing of all.

Women too insecure to ask for a prenup? But not the big strong he-man. (He’s just too dumb not to ask, even when he thinks the male created & controlled courts are out to get him because he has a penis. A-duh.) Women asked a question in which they are offered the golden opportunity to self-identify as gold diggers? Where are the men’s sugar daddy responses? And that confusing typo (see 9% female response) — for a minute there I thought they were actually including lesbians. Yeah. Right.

If such sexism was ignored or thought “cute” by the female respondents, then no wonder they themselves are sexist enough in their thinking to believe that men have it bad in divorces.

I do believe now we know why this is called The Great Male Survey; Long Live The Great Male.

*yawn*

Is Dating In The Dark Treating Us Like Mushrooms?

You know the old joke, “I must be a mushroom because people keep me in the dark and feed me BS,” right? So when I heard about ABC’s Dating In The Dark, I was suspicious. My verdict? The bad news is that the new reality dating show is unremarkable. But then again, the good news is also that it’s unremarkable.

As far as dating reality shows go — or any reality TV shows, actually — it’s rather refreshing to not watch a show and find yourself becoming pissed off at the exploitation of flesh (Dating In The Dark had the option to take peeps and bare or topless bods, and it didn’t take the usual sleazy route), irate at the mythinformation presented by “experts,” or screaming in anguish at the cruelty of manipulating people’s feelings.

OK, so some of the latter occurs, but that’s just part of dating; people put themselves out there and get rejected.

I don’t want to pick on people (even if those people have put themselves out there for such attention), but I have to say that Christina had attention-seeking bitch written all over her from the get go & so her decision not to continue to see Seth (who is a charming & attractive guy) because he wasn’t GQ cover material wasn’t at all surprising. In fact, by the time we got to her moaning in pain & hurt at the self-discovery that she was the kind or person who would dismiss a caring man who would be there for her — one she had a connection with — just because he wasn’t what the Greeks chiseled in stone, I was peeved. “Why,” I wondered, “would a person put herself on a show about proving appearances don’t matter when she so obviously (and callously) did?” Then the answer came to me: Because she’s not just a conceited bitch who thinks she’s prettier than she is — she’s an attention-seeking bitch who wants to pretend she’s nice and so puts herself on a reality television show.

But honestly, that’s about as typical (and icky) as the show gets for the genre.

There are no freaky-mean twists (like after telling the 6 participants that how they’d paired them off based on pre-show screening compatibility was a joke & tricking them into making then breaking the bonds they were making), no overly suggestive hype — in fact, most of this just proves what most confident & sane people will tell you about dating:

* Chemistry is important; but that’s not all about looks

* People have weird ways (both the down-right odd and the charming versions) of evaluating people, some of which are not suitable for happiness

* “Good looks” are in the eye of the beholder — and while we all see the same thing/people, we sure don’t “behold” the same way.

* Most people need to be directed towards potential mates because they would  otherwise continue to make the same dating mistakes, write-off potential relationships for silly reasons (armpit sweat on a shirt, think a guy is too handsome (intimidating), etc.) — so trust your family & friends to set you up!

* Some people are self-centered & mean; but if you close yourself off to protect yourself from the jerks, you’ll also prevent yourself from learning more about yourself and from discovering other nice people.

All basic stuff, yes; but not unhealthy. And lately, I feel like the world, especially reality TV shows and stupid dating experts, spends too much time ignoring the basic good stuff. But still, it was confusing.

And at the rate the hour long show clipped along, I became even more confused…

With 6 contestants/participants (3 female, 3 male) and ready to see each other about 1/2 way through, I wondered how this could be a series. Were we going to keep them in this living arrangement, force them to continue dating, mate & raise children, get divorces, find new loves, all via furtive visits to the dark room?

But no, Dating In The Dark offers 6 new participants each week.

I’m not sure if I will watch more shows or not; but I won’t suggest a boycott, nor will I make faces at people who say they do watch the show.

Dating Fear Mongering, Single Mom Edition

Once again, supposed experts shoot their mouths off, using salacious headlines and fear to label & manipulate women; this time the horrible deeds are being done by Robert Siciliano at Single Minded Women.

In the article, Siciliano paints single mothers as easy prey for sexual predators:

…the one under-discussed, over looked and “it can’t happen to me” aspect of being on the dating scene is your personal security, and that of your children. In fact, online dating is one way pedophiles find their next victims (through unsuspecting single mothers looking for love and perhaps a male role model for their children).

While the supposed security expert infuriates me with his depiction of single moms as so eager for love that they’d sacrifice their own children, it’s only going to get worse:

As the saying goes, “water seeks its own level” which means unhealthy, insecure people seek each other out; this often leads to destructive relationships. But what’s worse is insecure people often seek out destructive, unhealthy and sometimes violent people. We’ve all read the story, the single woman or single mom who couldn’t break the cycle of always settling for less, and winds up a statistic.

Healthy, conscious, right minded people don’t settle for less and can sense “bad” from a mile away. They are secure, and often are aware of their personal security as well. When something doesn’t look or seem right, they pay attention to their senses and get themselves out of what may become a dangerous situation. They cut their losses and chalk it up to a learning experience. Others get deeper into destruction.

There is a clear parallel here between what would be considered a healthy potential mate, and a predator that has nothing but bad intentions. The good guy actively pursues what he believes to be his heart and does things to romance his potential mate. The bad guy does the same thing but in the name of personal gain, manipulation and evil. Predators will target anyone who will give them their time and attention. Often a smooth talking good looking guy, who is a predator, may win over the attention of a healthy and conscious woman, but she will soon see there’s something wrong with the guy. Whereas an unhealthy woman who is unsure of her personal security will settle for less and in some cases put her and her children at risk. Sadly, sometimes loneliness trumps consciousness.

Sadly, sometimes it’s media-hungry experts who consciously prey upon the fears & insecurities of the humans they pretend to be helping.

The real “clear parallel” that Siciliano seems to be operating off of is his non-documented notion that single mothers are single parents because they are “unhealthy,” “insecure,” “destructive,” & therefore somehow more likely to put their children at risk.

Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s his first bit of helpful (and tainted) advice (page 2):

First make sure you have a healthy strong mind and your self esteem is in order. Read as many self help books as possible, go to weekend empowerment retreats, associate with friends that are goal oriented and have their life in order, shred any baggage you may have and most importantly, “know thyself”; which means to understand oneself is to understand others as well.

Like all self help books are full of sound advice. *snort* Like those with real (not author-imagined) mental health issues are able to trust their way to “health” through a book alone — or trust their friends (doesn’t that “water seeks its own level” business apply to friends too?)

The rest of his advice for dating safely online is fine; rather generic and based on the commonsense advice your friends give you (and not unlike what mom told you in the years before the internet & other tech gadgets), but his message gets lost in the fear-mongering & victim blaming.

If there is any connection (and I’ve not yet ready any study that indicates this) between single moms’ children being at risk from pedophiles and/or sexual predators, I’m willing to bet that this has less to do with the single mother’s poor self esteem than it does with access to the children.

Just as biological dad has access to his own kids, step-dad or mom’s boyfriend is there to watch the kids while she works, runs errands, etc. In both cases (as with uncles, other family members, clergy, etc.), these males are (eventually) trusted to be alone with the children; trust being something the criminal works hard to gain. It’s a matter of single mothers working, meaning a higher rate of absenteeism from home; not something necessarily borne of an “unhealthy” single mom putting her children at risk for the sake of her own loneliness.

Are some pedophiles using dating sites to target victims? Sure they are. Just like rapists are. But targeting victims isn’t new. Before the internet and dating sites, those willing to commit sex crimes against children were trolling parks, volunteering to coach or otherwise be with & supervise children, etc. looking for victims. (I they wanted adult female victims, they knew what they were looking for & did their best to find the situational windows to take advantage of.)

Like Celeste Moyers, the director of the Safer Online Dating Alliance, said two years ago (when Good Morning America covered this “story”), “If someone wants to do harm, that person will find a way to do it.”

“People are caught off guard,” she said. “Even the smartest savviest online dater can be a victim of sexual assault.”

So why is this fact buried in most of the coverage of this issue — and absent from Siciliano’s salacious story?

Because it’s preferred to blame the victim — and the victim’s mother — rather than to hold the victimizing, criminal pedophile responsible.

Shame on Robert Siciliano for playing up & preying on the fears of female single parents, for labeling them “unhealthy” for not being married, for blaming them for somehow increasing the potential victimization of their children.

Refreshingly Honest Pond Scum

I have mixed feelings about AshleyMadison.com, the “married dating & affairs” site… With a trademarked tagline of “Life is short. Have an affair.” they’re really putting the “tery” in adult dating sites. The adultery dating site even guarantees “an affair to remember.” While I suppose divorce court, public shunning, and loss of respect from your own family are all things you’d remember (literally protecting the guarantee), what the guarantee actually does is offer your money back if you don’t err, have an affair.

According to this article (page 2):

It’s free to become a member and to create a profile and search others. But to chat with another member, a user has to buy credits– $49 for 100 credits (it takes five credits to initiate a chat; subsequent back-and-forth chats are free). For the Affair Guarantee Membership it’s $249 and the Web site will refund your money if you don’t have an affair in three months. “If somebody had a genuine, sincere message and sounded like a nice person, I would send a message back,” she says. “You had to really weed through those who didn’t want what you wanted.”

(And don’t you just love the idea of a person screening requested messages for affairs for “genuine, sincere & nice” people to cheat with?)

Obviously, the whole idea is disheartening. But these people are going to break their vows with or without AshleyMadison.com — and if that means there are less of the lying cheats on other dating sites and social networks, then that’s a good thing. And hey, at least these like-minded cheaters are being honest with one another; they are all saying they are just there to get inside one another’s pants.

Then again, I suppose AshleyMadison.com has its own liars… People who aren’t married who just want a lay. But again, let them stick to fishing in that dirty water with the other pond scum — refreshingly honest pond scum.

Is He Just Killing Time With You Until The Next (Or Better) Girl Comes Along?

Have you ever wondered if your mate would stray if given the chance? Do you question if you should trust he or she? Have you been dating for a short period of time and question how committed they are to the relationship? Instead of going the mature route, why not put them to the test with hidden cameras — and then broadcast it on television?

Pitman Casting is now casting men and women for a new relationship gameshow which will test your mate’s intentions with the help of hidden cameras.

Mmm, sounds exploitative and humiliating; but if you’re into that sort of a tasty bitter dish, email photos of you and your mate as well as a paragraph about your relationship to: castingmate@gmail.com

Tell ’em Alessia of Relationship Underarm Stick sent you (and sure, tell ’em I mocked it too lol).

When He Just Wants To Get Into You

Vittorio at Toronto Men Unite, a blog encouraging “open and honest discussion” about “the problems many men face in the ‘trenches’ of modern dating,” writes the following in Why Men Lose Interest After Sex:

Many women mistakenly believe that the only reason guys lose interest after sex is because they gave it up too soon. While this is true sometimes, there are other reasons as well. One reason is that the men only wanted to have sex one time, and then move on. So witholding sex will not change this outcome.

Another reason is, men lose interest because the women have difficult personalities. Let’s look at this one more closely. Some women have difficult personalities, and guys will put up with them until they get the sex, and then they will bail shortly after. If these women had sex after one date or several dates the result would have been the same – the men would have ditched them regardless.

Sometimes, these women mistakenly assume that the solution is to hold out on sex even longer the next time. It never occurs to them that they are the problem.

Yeah, that sure sounds like women are the problem — why won’t we just understand & accept that, despite what they tell us on dates, that all men want is sex. Even if that sex is with a woman with a “difficult personality.” What are we women, stupid or something?

But why would we consider the problem is “us” when men play such games?

If all a man wants is to get laid, why doesn’t he walk up to a woman & say so? “Hi, I’m Bob and all I want to do is screw you.”

He doesn’t do it because he’s afraid of the, “No way, Jose,” response. So he decides to lie to get his lay. And then complains about what happens.

*snort*

Worse yet, he uses the “cycle of f***-and-dump,” as he calls it, as a way to explain women and their “difficult personalities” — of course, he neatly leaves out any responsibility from men in their creation; this is all something that just happens to women. It is to be expected:

If the cycle of [f***]-and-dump continues, it can feed increasingly neurotic behaviour. These women can become increasingly demanding before and after they have sex with a man, needing constant attention and affirmation from the men that they will stick around. This of course has the opposite effect, driving the men away, which in turn can further compound the problem, causing the women to further “ratchet” up their efforts. The result is an insanely demanding woman who pulls out all the stops, even by going so far as screening men right away to make sure they can provide all that she needs, so that she doesn’t “waste time”. It’s a sick cycle.

You’re right, Vittorio; it is a sick cycle. But it’s not neurotic; it’s a learned self-preservation mechanism. And it begins with men who pretend to want more than sex.

If you want to break the sick cycle of “neurotic cock-blocking,” why not stop the “f-and-dump” cycle? Be honest, admit you’re just after sex and take getting shot-down like a man.

Vittorio finishes up his post with the following advice to men:

As men, you need to trust your instincts. If a woman shows signs of insecurity and possessiveness at the beginning, she is most likely a time bomb ready to explode. So cut your losses early.

Me? I say first of all that males need to act like men, be honest and face the rejection. And second, women, follow your instincts; if he shows signs of being a dawg, he probably is a dawg and block him accordingly. And feel free to be as neurotic as you like about it. You’ve got my permission.

On the other hand, when an honest guy actually says he justs wants sex with you, please praise him for his honesty. Your praise need not include putting out (unless you’re already agreeable!), but at least throw the guy a bone for being honest about the fact that he’s only in it for the bone.

Are Dating Messages Too Ambiguous? And What Does That Mean About Rape?

In the journal Personality and Individual Differences (Volume 47, Issue 2, July 2009, Pages 145-149), T. Joel Wade, Lauren K. Butrie & Kelly M. Hoffman present findings of a study on the male perceptions of women’s opening lines. The study, dissected in further detail at PsyBlog, reveals that men prefer women to be very direct — to the point of being boringly blunt. Ladies should ask a man to dinner (#1) as opposed to asking him if he’s busy that weekend (#6); ask him if he’s got a girlfriend (#2) rather than ask about what shows he’s watched (#5).

But the most surprising finding, at least to PsyBlog, was this:

The only surprise is the low ranking of funny or sexual humour. Men don’t seem to appreciate the lewd come-ons suggested by gender stereotypes. This relatively low rating for a jokey approach is another thing shared by both sexes. Previous work by Bale et al. (2006) found that women weren’t particularly impressed with men trying to be funny, despite what we are often told. It seems opening lines are a serious business for both sexes.

This is not surprising to me or readers of this blog — remember when I told you that men, no matter what they say, do not want sexually aggressive women? But it’s interesting to note for another very important reason…

Remember all that commotion & conversation about Steve Ward’s stupid & misogynistic comment on Vh1’s Tough Love? You know, where supporters of Ward’s and those who blamed the victim in the name of Women’s Safety alike declared that Ward’s statement that Arian “would end up raped if she kept talking like that” was accurate and well-intentioned?

These people believe(d) that his (sometimes even admittedly inept) scare tactic was a tool to get Arian (and others) to “wake up” to reality. Of course, they forget that rape is not an act of “misunderstanding” and “misplaced lust” but one of violence; but we’ll ignore that for now and just look at how this study is more proof that Steve Ward is the tool.

Men (and women too), do not find frank sexual talk and humor to be an arousing come-on; it’s actually more of a turn-off.

So there, ladies and gents, you have more proof that wildly sexual talk is less likely to inspire a man to think she’s into him than if she has asked him out to dinner.

And, just to be clear, asking a man to dinner is not a signal for rape. (Heaven help me if any of you argue that point!)

No word, still, on just how direct a woman has to be to communicate that No means No.

So I am still left badgering the point that society needs to condemn acts of sexual violence. We’ll need to say it loud and clear, of course.

Perhaps by way of introduction. “Hi, I’m Alessia and sexual assault and domestic violence are not acceptable.”

I think I’ll get that made on a t-shirt.

The What I Think You Should Know Relationship Round-Up

There’s a whole heck of a lot of good relationship stuff on Twolia; I thought, just in case you never leave Relationship Underarm Stick, that you should see some of it…

Twolia now has a new relationships blog where you can make your own post — sort of like a forum. It covers not only dating & marital relationships, but friendships & relationships with family members & coworkers as well. Go check it out.

Over at Kitsch-Slapped, Deanna’s done the research on a sad story of romantic misfortunes that took place in the late 1940’s.

Deb Amlen (her book, It’s Not PMS, It’s You is due Spring 2010 from Sterling) has answered a letter about sleeping with your professor over at Miss In Your Business.

Survived all your relationship stink, and now you’re getting married? Congrats! Now see what you need for your wedding over in the Twolia Shops.

Married, single, divorced, whatever your situation, music tells your story. You know… Without breaking up and making up, there might be no music… So check out the music on Twolia — I’m digging Bri Anne Michelle and Ellee Ven’s Dangerous Diversion. (Yes, I can enjoy pop-country & hip hop too; how about you?)

Might As Well Just Hit Myself With A Rolled-Up Cosmo

cosmopolitan-mag-june-2009The June issue of Cosmo has a cover screaming the usual predatory scare tactics about love, lust, sex and how not to be a fatty. But buried on page 44, the pickle-sized beef patty on an obnoxiously condiment loaded burger, is the meet of the issue.

Is It Ever Okay To Stay If He’s Hit You? is an article prompted by the Rihanna/Chris Brown situation (another topic I should sink my teeth into, eventually), and it discusses how even a shove is dating violence.

While the one page (large font & image laden) article isn’t bad, it barely covers the subject of dating & domestic violence past the surface stuff. However, given Cosmo‘s poor & even dangerous presentation of such serious issues, I suppose I should count my lucky stars that the topic even made it into the glossy — even if it, as it usually does these days, took a celeb situation to warrant any coverage at all.

cosmo-abuse-in-relationshipsBut I’m not thrilled.

Not just because it’s skimpy coverage, designed to provide assistance in gossiping about Rihanna and her “shocking” decision to “take Chris back.” But because it’s buried on page 44 — and the issue isn’t even put on the cover.

Yeah, I know that the domestic violence issue, like rape, is a downer and that it won’t make copies fly off the news stands like Best. Sex. Ever. (I know this from writing Relationship Underarm Stick.) But is it too much to ask that Cosmo give attention where attention is due and at least try to look like it gives a damn about the safety of women? More in-depth — and accurate — articles, please; and load the cover with ’em when you run ’em.

Because while the chicks who read this stuff are probably the least likely to be drawn to important personal safety information, they are probably the most in need of it.

Your Mr. Right May Be Out To Sea

The Emmy & Peabody-award-winning company that produces Project Runway, Top Chef, and other top notch shows, Magical Elves, is currently working on and casting a new documentary series (read: reality television series) for a major television network “about marriage and people looking to get married” — specifically to find a suitor for a “handsome, tall, successful, and charismatic adventurer who is ready to settle down.”

Our chosen guy is a boat captain and dive instructor who frequents the Bahamas and absolutely loves the ocean. He is kind, funny and genuinely hoping to find his better half. Could it be you?

We’re looking for females who fit the following:

30-45 years old
physically fit / active
spiritual
liberal minded
pet friendly
Non-smoker
social
Intellectual
Outdoor / Adventurous
Must love water

Participants with children under 18 will not be considered at this time.

You know it’s all about the ratings-matings game here, more than true love, right? If you’re into that kind of abuse you can apply here, or to Magic Elves directly. (Please tell them Alessia of Relationship Underarm Stick sent you!)

If you wonder just who applies to these sorts of things, you can vote on casting applicants here.

PS Don’t forget to enter my contest!

When You Are Surprised To Find A Relationship Deal Breaker After Three Years Of Dating

Ashley writes in with a personal problem stemming from the Steve Ward/Vh1 mess:

Hi Alessia,

I’ve been following along with the Steve Ward fiasco (what a piece of work that jerk is!) and I wonder what you think of the situation that I now find myself in…

While I was drafting my letters of outrage, my boyfriend of 3 years (you can call him Bob lol) came on over. Because I was feeling pretty intense about things, when he greeted me with the casual, “Whatcha doin’?” I actually answered him. I told him of Ward’s hurtful stupidity, the lack of concern on the parts of show producers etc., and my overwhelming grief to discover (via reading all the comments etc.) just how widely held & deeply rooted such irrational beliefs are in our world.

At first I thought Bob’s lack of concern over the situation was because he hadn’t seen the show and maybe he thought I twisted the words… So I sat him at the computer and ordered him to read. But when he read, he wasn’t as outraged as I had thought he would be.

Not only did he not share my opinions, but he started to argue Ward’s side!

Now, after years of dating I was shocked! I mean we’ve discussed rape and violence towards women (and children too) and he’s always seemed educated, concerned for women’s safety and nearly apologetic in that male way of like “I can’t believe there are men who would do that.” So I was flabbergasted that Bob would hold Arian or any women accountable for what a man or men do.

I want to rant on & on about this, but you’ve covered the issue really well and I know I’m preaching to the choir, so I’ll get to the problem here. ;)

After three years of dating we’ve been talking marriage. (The only reason we aren’t officially engaged is the money thing — until I get to the next level at work, I’m still not able to afford an apartment of my own which is something I insist upon doing before I marry.) But now that I see that Bob is holding onto some archaic, dangerous, misogynistic and mean victim blaming beliefs, I just don’t know…

I sent him away that day and our conversations since then have mostly been short. Anytime the elephant on the phone line is mentioned, we just end up debating at best, arguing at worst.

Bob thinks I’m over reacting; I should know after three years that he’s a good guy. But I can’t get past the fact that good guys don’t ever excuse the behavior of bad guys — let alone hold the victims responsible for what the bad guys do.

I still love him… Otherwise this wouldn’t hurt so much. But I don’t trust him the way I used to — and I’ve lost some respect for him. I think, as hard as it will be, that I need to end things with him.

Am I being overly sensitive? Am I irrational or otherwise sabotaging a good relationship for a small thing?

Biting my nails with anxiety & heartache while I await your reply,
Ashley

Dear Ashley,

I probably should say that I’m sorry my blogging has disrupted your relationship with Bob — but I can’t honestly say that.

I’m sorry to hear that Bob’s not the good guy you thought he was, but,see, from where I sit, I think you are better off for making this discovery now. Even three years of dating in is better than making this discovery after three years of marriage & building a family. That’s what dating is for, to learn all you can about one another.

I don’t think I even have anything to tell you that you don’t already know…

You know that if trust and respect for your partner diminishes you are faced with two choices: Work it out, with compromise & communication (maybe some counseling), or walk away safely.*

And there are some things we just can’t compromise on.

This situation is not purely one of political difference, like say gun control, where you might compromise by owning a gun but keeping it in a locked gun safe in the garage or something– and by knowing that each of your votes cancels-out the other’s vote.

This is far more than theory, philosophy, or ideals; this is a fundamental framework of every day living. It’s a matter of freedom, equality & safety because, as you know, even if Bob is not personally a threat to you or others, he insists upon perpetuating an environment which places women with the responsibility to control male behaviors — and when that (obviously & maddeningly ridiculously) doesn’t work, he leaves victims to suffer the guilt & blame.

Heaven forbid any violence should ever befall you or someone you love, Ashley (knocking wood!) — but given the odds… How would you cope or assist another survivor in their recovery with Bob at your side? Even if his mouth never uttered a blaming sentence, you’d see it, feel it.

Whether or not you & Bob should have children of your own, building a family between yourselves involves each of your extended families and you community of friends. Can you live with Bob passing along his views about the responsibilities women (or potential victims) have to control the behaviors of rapists and abusers to your nieces & nephews, your friends’ children?

You know Bob’s views help shape our world; and you’ve clearly said that his views help shape a world you don’t want to (continue to) live in. So you know what the math is: If Bob can’t be educated out of this, you’re better off living without him. There’s no sense in living in a toxic relationship.

This is definitely a relationship deal breaker.

In the interest of fairness to your relationship with Bob, and your heart, you owe it to yourselves to communicate this as plainly as you can to Bob.

Wherever the chips fall, I wish you well.

Alessia

* Note how when a human being has less respect for another human being, that the first human is not entitled to hurt, abuse or force the less-respected human to do whatever they want.

Getting In The Mood — At The Same Time Your Partner Is

So, if you read part one, you know that the problems with getting in the mood for sex with your partner — especially both of you being in the mood at the same time — are relatively normal and they are not to be taken personally. What can you do about it?

Couples are often told to make “date time” with our spouses and partners — you know, schedule romantic dinners, go to the movies, do something “just the two of you.” I can tell you that this may sound wonderful — but too-too often it becomes just another thing to do. Ugh. Instead of whistling happily as you shave & get dressed, you find yourself groaning & grimacing as you glance at the clock, calculating how much time you don’t have to be “date perfect,” thinking about what other things you could be getting done — and wondering just how long this date’s supposed to last anyway… Instead of being relaxing & romantic, it all just becomes another obligation.

And then you worry, “If this is supposed to be ‘romantic,’ are you going to have to put out too?” That can add to the stress & obligatory feelings; there’s a pressure to perform — on both sides. Ending up in a tangle of guilt & resentment — often coming from ourselves, not our partners — which pulls us away from one another rather than pulling us in closer.

I think people should take a night or time off, as often as they can, to reconnect as a couple, but it’s easier said than done.

First of all, you’re going to have to make a commitment to intimacy with your partner. You’re going to have to make it a priority — equal to the other things on your to-do list — and have a positive attitude about it. Don’t do it grudgingly; look forward to it. Change your attitude about yourself and your partner — commit to this time because you deserve it.

Work towards creating time & space to romantically connect — without placing pressure on yourselves. Maybe that means staying home, turning off the phones (yup, cells too), and watching a DVD together. Maybe it means going to a restaurant, luxuriating in a leisurely meal & talking. Maybe it means having a date but putting sex off for another time — like make promises for a nooner the next day.

Seriously. It’s one of the best ways to jump-start your libidos.

Don’t act so surprised; the quickie can be the hot follow-up to the emotionally intimate conversation, a passionate act that reminds you both of when you were so hot for one another that you couldn’t keep your hands off each other. Scheduling a quickie can also be a great way to increase aroused anticipation. Anticipation can be a great arousal for women. And for men, who might be feeling they get mixed signals (like mistaking your sleepy morning kiss as a sexual invitation, only to get rejected and have that hurt & frustration make them feel any advances are unwanted) the nooner appointment will let them know that it’s “on” for real. In short, a scheduled nooner (after you’ve reconnected emotionally) is like a literal “heads up” *wink*

But once you’ve set aside time for your dates & quickies, how can you relax and forget about bills, work, kids, obligations left unfulfilled… And look forward to sex as a satisfying thrill, not another something to put on your to-do list… How can you really want it?

Some folks say a glass of wine or a cocktail helps. But as my friend Karla says, “Having a drink or two doesn’t help. Sure, it relaxes me & gets me ready for bed — but it’s in that ‘tuck me in, I’m snoring already’ sort of a way. So not sexy.” So know your limits or skip the alcohol and stay awake.

Some folks, especially women, say it helps to take a nap, get a manicure, or otherwise spend some other relaxing luxurious “me time” that makes them feel female (or at least human) again.

My friend Sara says that having a pizza delivered helps to set the mood too. “There’s no rushing around to make dinner or clean-up after it and it brings back memories too — no, not of funny porno film scenarios, but of those early dating days when we were too hot for each other to want to leave the apartment.”

All these things may help you relax, but what if you feel more inclined to cuddle and sleep than do the deed?

While there are many products and appliances to enhance male arousal, there’s been little offered in the way of of such help for women. Until now.

k-y-brand-intense-arousal-gel-for-womenThe makers of K-Y Brand sent me a preview full-sized sample of INTENSE™— a female arousal gel scientifically shown to enhance female pleasure, arousal and satisfaction during intimacy. According to the lit sent with the product, “75% of women in consumer studies experienced heightened arousal, sexual pleasure and sensitivity…where it counts most.”

It sounded yummy, but I thought, “Really now,” as I clicked my tongue with the jaded sophistication of the all-knowing woman who has been disappointed before. But I had agreed to test it, and I’m not one to shirk my responsibilities — Heh heh. Plus, I had a reason to invite hubby for sex — I mean, we support each other in our work, ya know? *wink*

So we gave the K-Y Brand INTENSE™ Arousal Gel a test drive. He pumped just a small drop out of the dispenser bottle, and applied it to my most intimate parts…

Then I felt it, cool & tingly, like peppermint — and very reminiscent of the arousal of our early days, when I couldn’t wait for him to touch me… There. That tingle was amazing!

It was fun, for sure, but quickly my ability to concentrate on the product — or anything else — evaporated as I got lost in *ahem* everything else. Afterwards I realized that this product might work really well as a quick pick-me up — you know, dab a bit on myself before he came home for our nooner date… Be ready & waiting before I even saw him… So I decided to give that a try too.

It worked! I had the emotional anticipation and the tingle, which made the quickie all the more satisfying.

And that means that if you feel that there isn’t time for all the foreplay that you need, or in that spot you need, INTENSE™ may help. There’s the application massage time & the increased sensation — which increases the pleasure of natural movements during sex, even if your love button isn’t being directly manipulated.

So I highly recommend adding K-Y Brand Intense Arousal Gel For Her to your sex life — and to consider adding a little dab to yourself to get fresh fresh-en up before your special time with your partner. I guarantee that this little dab there will do more for you than that perfume you dab behind your ears. *wink*

Trouble Getting In The Mood? Or In The Mood When Your Partner Is?

It’s a common complaint from married folks, couples living together, and even those who are dating: S/he wants to, s/he doesn’t want to. Well, actually, you both might want to, but one or both of you just isn’t feeling good about it right then…

Baring any big relationship deal breaker issues, this matter of seemingly incompatible moods usually boils down to three things: timing, transitions, and familiarity.

Timing Issues

Timing is a big issue, especially for heterosexual couples, due to practical & biological issues. He wakes up with morning wood, proof of high testosterone levels, ready to start his day with a “Bang!”; and we women prefer to end our days with sex, then drift off to sleep with satisfied grins on our faces. (Plus, it spares us the oozy mess in our panties, which occurs even when condoms are used, thankyourverymuch.)

If this basic bodily biology seems ‘off,’ consider too yet that (typically) men require sex to feel close and committed to their partners while women (again typically) require emotional intimacy & commitment in order to have sex. Men & women, we’re sort of automatically out of sync.

And then there’s our lives…

Transition Problems

It’s difficult to transition from workmate to soul mate, from mom to playmate, from exhausted caretaker of everyone to a being focused on your own pleasure; but that’s what you need to do.

Our days are spent in frantic pursuit of career goals & family duties, manifests broken down into smaller to digest day planners & to-do lists — even our social activities are often commitments of conscience, feeling more like obligations than relaxation — and as a result, we are stressed-out and tired. We may fantasize about sex, but have it? Nu-huh. That’s less sleep.

Plus there’s the whole feeling sexy… We just don’t feel very desirable.

That goes for men and women both. Typically, when he feels ineffective at work, his libido drops. Women, on the other hand, fear that the beauty shortcuts which have saved us time in making ourselves presentable enough to the world at large have left us with “gross” things, such as hairy legs & next-day hair, which will unhappy discoveries in intimate settings — things that will turn him off, if not forever, than at least leaving us rejected at that moment. And that hurts.

The Problem With Familiarity

The familiarity of having so much history & contact with one another often changes our response to one another. It’s not that familiarity breeds contempt, or that we necessarily become bored with one another; but in our fitting the other person into our lives we continue to live our lives — including all the work and commitments we have.

We have to sort of put that flush of romance a bit to the side to function. And that includes ignoring or subduing that erotic thrill we feel when we lay down to sleep by our partner’s side. Once you train yourself to bypass the thrill of laying beside the man (or woman) your bod is aching to love — just so that you can sleep in order to function the next day — it can be difficult to flip the switch back to “on” again.

With all of this buzzing around in our heads, and the natural but nearly opposite body rhythms, it’s no wonder we have difficulty getting in the mood at the same time.  But it’s important to note that is natural, common — and that none of this is personal.

But in light of all this, how can you relax and fan those smoldering flames into the heat of passion again? Stick around for part two and you’ll see!

Real Women, Real Sizes, Real Love — Real Casting

Fox Network, Next Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television, and Mike Fleiss, producer of The Bachelor, have teamed up to produce More to Love, “billed as the first “dating show for the rest of us’.” It’s promoting itself as a dating show for average folks, “Real women. Real sizes. Real love.”

“We want to send the message that you can be the size you are and still be lovable,” [Fleiss] said. “We aren’t going to thin these girls down so they can find love — that’s a backwards message.”

They are currently casting nationwide, looking for women who are curvy, beautiful, sexy, at least the age of 23 (and appear under 35) who are ready to be introduced to their soul mates — as well as America’s television viewing audience.

If you’re selected, you’ll be flown to Los Angeles to star in the show; no air date has been selected.

To apply, visit www.MoreToLoveCasting.com — or go to an open casting call at select Lane Bryant stores. Don’t forget to tell ’em Alessia of Relationship Underarm Stick sent ya!

Dates Are For Learning

My daddy, the one who calls ‘eunuchs’, ‘tunics’, always said that dating was equal parts learning about your date and learning about yourself.

Each & every date, each and every person you dated, was a field trip to learning. You might have thought you liked bowling but, as it turns out, you really only like drinking beer, spending time with your friends and wearing funny shoes. Go blowing with a guy you don’t like and bam! It becomes crystal clear: bowling is not fun, it’s the people you like. Then again, you might not like bowling, but you sure did enjoy spending time with that guy who took you bowling… It takes awhile to do the math, but eventually you figure it — and yourself — out. If you are wise, that is.

Too often, people spend time on dates just evaluating the other person as potential partner material, ignoring the self-evaluation. It’s important because maybe what you really really like about bowling is the flirtation with the guys in the other lane… So then it’s not the date that’s the problem (either going bowling or his seeming unlikelihood as a soul mate) but it’s that you aren’t really looking for a relationship.

I was reminded of this when I watched VH1’s Tough Love. It was the second episode but my first time watching the reality show — you might think that it would be ‘bad’ to miss the first show, but I found not knowing info about the eight women he’s trying to coach in the ‘boot camp’ far less distracting (like the whole “bitchy Taylor returns” thing — WTF?!) Anyway, professional matchmaker Steve Ward was trying to teach these girls some self-awareness. They must be pretty oblivious to themselves & their behaviors because Ward actually used a shocking device to zap the women whenever they broke dating rules — just like my uncle trained his hunting dog, or my sister’s invisible dog fence.

People reverting to old or bad habits, dating or otherwise, isn’t especially odd; new habits and behaviors take time. But the most amazing thing to me was Jody. This woman is completely unaware of the signals she sends. She comes off as a chick who doesn’t really want a relationship, but I think she’s got the same exact problem as Arian: neither one of them has the confidence in themselves to believe they’ll be loved that they’ve created tough-cookie exteriors to push (shove and kick) people away before there’s even a chance. Like those swaggering men with rotten cores I dated. It’s a neurosis as terribly isolating, self-destructive and painful as the clingy stalker chick, Jessa. And no fun for those dating them.

Stasha (who had to be zapped so often for bragging about being in Playboy that it went past comical into abrasive — I can only imagine what it would be like to sit across the table from her on a date. Ugh.) and Abiola also seem to be projecting a confidence they don’t feel… Or they could be so damn unrealistic about themselves and the realities of relationships that they’ll end up only accepting cartoon ones — superficial and, at best, two-dimensional.

(I didn’t see enough of Jacklyn, Natasha, and Taylor to get a read on them — yet)

Anyway, my point is that these ladies are all so busy looking at & evaluating men — immediately judging the men to be untrustworthy or otherwise unworthy so they can dump them and move on — that they require a third party to give them literal, physical shocks.

And even then they resist.

Along with not knowing how they behave (and how that behavior is interpreted), they don’t even seem to know themselves, their needs, or what motivates them.  It’s more than classic defense mechanisms that automatically go off; it’s ignorance about themselves.

If only these women had begun dating under my dad’s dating philosophy. It may not have spared them broken hearts & bad experiences, but at least they’d have walked away knowing something more about themselves. And then they wouldn’t have had to been zapped — on national television, yet.