Wednesday, July 30, 2008

1 and 2 and 3 and 4...

Before I get into today’s subject matter I wanted to share a story from this past weekend with the congregation. I was at a house warming party for Nee and I saw a classic situation of a guy being a douche bag. Thinking back upon my own words about asshole guys from earlier in the week, I decided to try to play the hero and step in to run interference on the conversation, especially considering the fact that the damsel in this case was Awkward Runner. I did manage to successfully liberate Awk-runner from the fool she was talking to but in the subsequent conversation, I drunkenly word-vomited all over the place and somehow upset her even more; so much so in fact, that she later wound up crying. I was too drunk to remember exactly what I said. If I had to guess, I think it was something to the effect of “You are way too cute to let that guy speak to you like that…well normally too cute, but maybe not in that particular dress”. Whoops. I guess the moral of the story is that even with douche-blocking intentions, the old adage; it takes one to know one, still holds true.

Let’s take a moment to talk for a second about the Gym: a relationship minefield. J-Lo copped a couple of free passes to his Gym, L.A. Fitness (La fitness to C-ee-poo), so I accompanied him to check it out and to get my proverbial swell on. This gym was one of those brand new, palatial deals, with a million bikes, treadmills, and a dance studio (with tons of window/mirrors…sweet). There were more good looking people in the gym that afternoon than had been out at any bar in the Illa the entire summer, save for when me and my peeps are heavy in the streets. All of the lovely distractions running around got me thinking: I really need to tone it up… and how do you successfully pull of the inter-gym relationship?

The first complication is everyone is sweaty and half naked (at J-lo’s gym ¾’s naked). You try not to get stare but it’s hard not to look, kind of like watching the Britney Spears “I’m a Slave” video…Youtube it, trust me.

The first key is to get someone’s attention without seeming to be A) a creeper and B) some Muscle Milked, sleeves optional (sorry Rogan), asshole. I’m a big fan of the ‘asking a person about an exercise they just did’ opener. This way you demonstrate respect for what they know athletically and you are neither creepy nor an ass. Asking for help with a semi-innocuous stretch is also ok, just no groin stretches. I used to think that asking for a spot was a decent opener, but that gets a bit tricky if you find your 250 pound self accidentally asking some 100 pound lovely to spot your bench press. Avoid direct physical compliments. For both men and women the gym is a very self-conscious time so although you may think that butt looks good in those shorts, s/he may think that their Easter hams are bursting from the oven.

Let’s assume that for some reason you lucked out, got past the gym convo, and are going to go out with someone from the gym. Talking about the gym is essentially off limits. ‘Single and Market’, you say, ‘We know better than that. That’s obvious’. Not true. Many a gym date has been placed on permanent injured reserve because of a 38 minute conversation about whether GNC or Vitamin World has better wheat grass juice. Anyway, you have to have something else in common to have any type of relationship, right? You see each other half naked all the time, so since that element of surprise is gone there better be some sort of bona-fide rapport or your relationship will go down as fast as an fat kid in dodge ball.

If you do get to an ahem,… private workout, grunting like Steffie Graff (tennis player who grunted a lot), is not going to get the job done. For the guys, I just hope that all that strength and stamina translates into more than a six minute mile time, and ladies, I hope that you have been dominating your downward facing dog. Watch out though. No one wants to switch gyms because they failed an off site workout. And be careful with whom you choose to stretch and grunt, nothing ruins a good workout like a bad partner.

Friday, July 25, 2008

An Alarming Lack of Charming

In light of the recent haterade I seem to be drinking regarding my posts, and some observations I’ve made regarding mankind, I’ve decided to take a touch on an issue that is addressed to the fellas in the audience. What has happened to charm? It used to be the case the women were treasured idols in the eyes of men. There was no effort too vigorous, no task too daunting, that a man would not do it to woo a lady, but now it seems like it has all gone caput.

Guys, stop being lazy. You are not entitled to get some. Period. I was out at Sips (Wednesday city-wide happy hour) last week and I witnessed more charm-less atrocities than I have ever seen in my life. Men letting doors hit women in the chest in a rush to get into the air conditioned bar. Guys hogging seats while many available attractive women are limping in their high heals from sore feet. What is this?

I know that the last 15 years have been good to man kind. Women have turned conventional stigmas about gender roles on their heads. Women have been wearing less, getting it in more often, and more generally becoming romantically aggressive. Kudos to them, but this is not an excuse for guys to act like douches. We need to stop dabbling in douchebaggery. Seriously, stop acting like the dudes on Mad Men, you are not Don Draper, asshole. Have some consideration for those around you. Do you know why women like Veterinarians and doctors? Well, it’s because they are loaded, but they also help those in need.

You know what it takes to wow women nowadays? Not too freaking much. Just being polite, considerate, and hygienic can go a long way. What you do doesn’t even have to be directed at any women specifically. Ex. This morning I went into Starbucks for my morning coffee. The guy there knows I’m a regular and always has my coffee waiting for me by the time I get up to pay. It was Friday so I hooked him up with a $5 tip. As I went to add sugar, I looked back at the line to see three women smiling at me warmly. Now this isn’t charm per say, but a little courtesy and looking out for people goes a long way. Don’t kick puppies. Do give you seat to older women on the train. Do help people pick up stuff they drop it. Don’t ogle women as they pass by (you look like an ass to every other women looking at you).

That being said, you ladies need to act a little more grateful. That guy you let buy you a drink that you have no intention of talking to, yeah, he’s broke and that was his last $20, so if you weren’t into him at all then you should have told him. Now he’s going to eat Ramen noodles alone for the rest of the week. We get it, ladies. You are independent now. Whoop de doo, you don’t look like Paula Patton (Google her. I love her). We owe you respect and adoration, and you have to meet us half way by not being so uppidy. Smugness on a woman smells to men the same as axe body spray smells to you.

Have fun and let try to get along this weekend. A little golden rule in your life could lead to a little golden ring on your finger.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tested

Going along with the theme of people asking questions that they don’t want answers to is the ides ‘testing’ your current romantic interest. If someone like us why do we feel the need to test that attraction? Here is an example of a test that recently happened to a friend of mine. My buddy was out with a girl with whom he had steadily been hooking up. Status-wise they are more that a friends with benefits, but rock at less than exclusivity. During a nice meal she tells him that her, single, available, and significantly cuter friend, has a crush on him. Why does she this? A test. It would appear that she wants to reconfirm that the interest my friend has in her is active and growing. By offering this open ended invitation to stick one’s foot it one’s mouth she thinks that she is being clever, coy and satisfying the objectives of giving a back handed compliment, testing his committeemen to her, and forcing him into some from of reassuring (hand cuffing) statement.

Whoops. This is the point where a test backfires. Not only has she fatally over estimated her long term longevity potential to my friend (seriously, he’s just not that into you), but she has also stoked dormant embers that she never even knew were aflame. Two weeks prior, that same other women with the crush (a BFF of the current hook up, mind you) jump-straddle kiss greeted my buddy at a bar and professed her desire to get biblical. Grimy, ladies, grimy.

Problem the first: why test you love interest with someone hotter than you? That is dumb. That is dumb like ‘letting your boyfriend go on Real World and believing his promise not to hook up with roommates’ dumb. Problem the second: don’t have grimy friends. Skankness is a plague…a beautiful, beautiful plague. Problem the third, don’t ever test a person when you are not in the power position in the relationship. That’s the relationship equivalent to lighting a firecracker and deliberately closing your fist around it. Tick…tick…gooey.

Now what will probably happen is that my buddy, having limited morals and having created no real allegiances to the test proctor girl, will wind up getting carnal with the cuter full-court pressing friend. He will end up juggling both of them for a while until the whole thing blows up like A Zack Morris double date on Saved by the Bell. Or even worse, he may actually hit it off with the test girl and the tester proctors asked to be the maid of honor at the wedding between her cuter friend and the dude.

Why test people if the results are likely not to be what you intend? Nobody likes a difficult test, let alone a difficult pop quiz. I am guilty of testing girls too. I remember bringing girls to watch a basketball game just to see if they could not talk through it (Failures). I have been tested myself…let’s just put it this way, I wouldn’t suggest any ladies test me with their cute friends because people who give opportunities to opportunists end up alone on Friday nights watching Bridget Jones’ Diary with a bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough. People like the idea if honesty like they like the idea of homeless shelters: Great in principle as long as it’s not in my neighborhood. Honestly, honesty sucks. What ever happened to blind faith? Let’s go with that for a while, and maybe instead of disastrous relationship tests, we can focus on the more important things like getting uglier friends.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

Goodbyes play a crucial role in our romantic general social interaction. The question of what to do at the end of a date/hang out session/movie viewing-sleep over hybrid, can make or break a relationship and can set the tone for a relationship like the second act Romeo and Juliette (Balcony Scene) or like the final act Romeo and Juliette (Poisoning/Stabbing double suicide). The resounding truth is that both men and women loose years of their lives worrying about what to do at the end of dates and hook-ups but I have some creative offerings to help guide you through this issue as smoothly as the cops in Super Bad guided McLovin’s c*ck.

Early on in the relationship is the goodbye minefield. You get stuck on the door step/car/bathroom floor wondering how to dot the proverbial ‘I’ in the excitement that was your night out. Do you hug? Do you Kiss? Do you ass-out half hug so that your fun parts won’t touch? The truth is not so complicated. All you need to do is answer three questions to yourself and select the appropriate scope of action.

1. On the date did you do something that made you sweat in a gross non-sexy way? Salsa dancing sweat = Very Hot. Beach Volleyball sweat = kind of hot. NASCAR sweat = a little gross. The hotter the sweating context the more intimate your goodbye should be. Dirty dancing calls for frisky fingers. Friendly fishing calls for a pat on the butt and a shower.

2. Did you eat something that smells like death? No one wants to make out after you have eaten the following foods: Anything with garlic, anything with serious dairy involved (excluding redi-whip, cool whip, etc), or asparagus (look up what it does to your bodily fluids and take notice!). Everyone one likes a tasty companion. If you have chosen to partake in a food as described above, you have chosen a night for hugs, handshakes, and high fives, not one of leather, lace and, lasciviousness. And to re-iterate about the garlic: if you eat Italian food pull an Ari Gold and just hug it out, bitch.

3. How much do I like this person…tonight? There is no rule to what is socially acceptable to do for a goodbye. I say mix it up. Guys, skip the lips and make out with her neck. Ladies, who says you’re hung up on foreplay, give his crotch a firm handshake goodnight.

Most important are the non relationship related goodbyes. We call these graceful exits or escapes. There are two times when these goodbyes come into play, ‘the night of’ and ‘the morning after’. The night of scenario is a prickly pear of an escape. Preparation is the key to slipping away faster than an promise for no house-cest on the Real World. If you paid attention to where you placed the following essentials you will make life significantly easier on yourself: Shoes, wallet, phone, and keys. Clothing is negligible. You can find clothes anywhere but closets or laundry baskets are always safe bets. What’s more important, avoiding super awkward DTR/ goodbye combo punches or loosing your favorite limited-edition Nike Dunks? If you have all of the necessities your first option is the door. If the door is out of the picture, go window, but only if there is a fire escape. If your friend wakes up in the middle of the night chances are they won’t remember your name anyway so either pretend they are dreaming and do your best ghost impression or just say that you are stepping out for a bit and leave your least liked friend’s name and number behind as a token of all the night meant to you.

The morning after scenario is a little more complicated. One needs to wake up first before the other party. THIS IS CRUCIAL! If the other party is still sleeping you can size up your predicament and make the appropriate decision. If the creature next to you is in fact a creature, refer to the above and wave goodbye to your Nikes. If you are still interested and think that the person may be able to cook an decent Eggs Benedict, stick around but be wary. Once both parties are awake you have three choices. 1. Continue what you were doing the night before but this time moan the right name and put it in the right hole… 2. Pretend you don’t know where you are or how you got there, grab as much of your stuff as you can and flee like politicians from a hooker’s corpse. Or 3. Linger as long as possible until it gets super awkward. I’m talking ‘let’s go get breakfast’, ‘let’s go out on a real date’, ‘let’s talk about what this is’ awkward.

But seriously, no one expects things to go smoothly in a morning after situation (that’s why the pill exists). It’s bizarre and hilarious so go with making the situation hilariously bizarre. Throw in some cliches for good measure. A well placed ‘This is the first time I’ve ever done something like this before’ or a ‘I don’t want you to think that I’m that guy/girl’, makes everyone feel like a winner. No harm, no foul, so get out of Dodge ASAP and recap with the crew over a Bloody Mary because when you have an adult sleep over, you just made a memory. Cheers.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My buddy, my buddy and me!

Many issues have recently been brought to my attention regarding the issue of repetitive negative patterns in relationships and general struggles meeting new potential suitors. In the last post, many readers critically examined the assertions and found that it to be a bit devoid of the original insights which they had come to enjoy (Haters). They suggested that like an over zealous first year student who dominates the discussion in an upper-class seminar (i.e. Joe Rogan’s Fist year roommate), that I was pontificating the obvious instead of providing some fresh observations. I like to refer to this phenomenon as ‘intellectual masturbation’. I apologize for nothing, haters, but in response to these critiques, and due to my own desire to hold my work to a higher standard, I offer today’s post about the dynamics of Friend of Friends (FOFs).

The FOF scenario is duplicitous in nature, for when successful, it can provide the best of the best possible scenarios, but when unsuccessful, it can create disaster of epic proportions. Everyone has a finite pool of friends; people we know, love, and have come to depend on. There is some commonality between friends that is the basis of the relationship. For many of my friends this commonality would be a fondness for Dungeons and Dragons, Chick-Rock, and Emo stuff. By this ‘similar interest logic’, FOFs are likely to share some common interests. This immediately gives them something to talk about. That, in conjunction with the common friend to make fun of, gives both parties enough material to get through at least one date and that’s half the battle anyway, right?

In the immortal words of Deep Blue Something:

You say that we’ve got nothing in common/
No common ground to start from/ And we’re falling apart…

And I said what about "Breakfast at Tiffany's?/She said, "I think I remember the film/And as I recall, I think, we both kinda liked it./And I said, "Well, that's the one thing we've got./


Now that you have met the FOF in a neutral social surrounding with the common friend present, and now that you and the FOF are BFF, here comes the tricky part: How do you go from friend-ish to dating? The first mistake people make is relying on the common friend to be Cyrano. Once you have met the new FOF, you are on your own. We aren’t in middle school anymore. Boys and girls, take some responsibility for your own actions and contact the other party directly. You are grown ass men and women. Nothing kills a budding FOF relationship by playing whisper down the lane.

Secondly, after the first date keep the conversation about the common friend to a minimum. On both sides of the equation, it is mad irritating to be trying to get to know someone and to have them only reciting wack-tack stories about you’re mutual buddy from band camp (like the one about Naughty Flautist and her late night B-dorm liaisons). Start fresh. The ice is already broken so go for a swim. If you have any game/interest in the other person, the waters will have warmed up naturally and you won’t get a cramp.

Thirdly, if it doesn’t work out do not make it super awkward forever. Mutual hang out could be awkward for a while but it can’t be weird forever. But always know that because you were just FOF's to begin with, you can always feel comfortable knowing that you have no obligation to make it comfortable if you feel like just being a dick about whole thing.

Be careful out their friends. The FOF situation can be dangerous: heed this tale from personal experience and learn this lesson. While at school a FOF visited for a weekend. As way lead unto way, it became clear that her intentions for me were anything but platonic. Due to the curious behavior of my friend and the FOF earlier in the night, I asked for some clarification about what was going on between the two of them. She told me that her friend was actually 'really into me' and that she wanted the FOF to “test the goods to make sure they were up to par” (This is a direct quote. I was drunk, but this is actually what she said). At the time, that logic seemed fine by me and the naked party continued. The next morning, I found out that apparently “testing the goods” was a one party plan that had failed to be discussed with our mutual friend. Consequences and repercussions followed.

The moral of the story is that the FOF situation is great…until it doesn’t work. Know what you are getting into before you get into it and you will be ok. It may be best to only deal with FOF’s that aren’t that close to the mutual party, just to be on the safe side. As always happy hunting and save a cute friend for me.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A tale of two Scenarios...

This was an offering posted to my email by a reader and friend of mine. For the sake of appearances, let's call her Danielle Steele. Danielle, a very accomplished writer in her own right, and often a provider of Hitch-like services, similar to those offered by yours truly, craftily illustrates a tale of two relationships and below her commentary I offer my own musings in return:

As a woman with numerous close male friends, I have found that sexual tension, while it does not always get in the way, quite often either strengthens or destroys friendships between straight people of opposing sexes. Here is a summation of several examples:

Relationship I – Starts with a kiss, ends with a …? Boy meets girl. Girl meets boy and bats eyelashes. Boy say something standard, usually full of false confidence. Boy and girl end up … "spending some quality bonding time together" (you fill in the blank). Relationship I then goes one of three ways
i) Date City - Boy and girl really like "spending some quality bonding time together" and proceed to do so until it blossoms into a very lovely and hopefully healthy relationship. Yay.

ii) BFF - Boy and girl may continue to "bond," but eventually realize friendship is the proper route. No more bonding time is required and boy and girl live as long as is possible as friends. Yay.

iii) __ and Run - Boy and girl never see each other gain.

Relationship II – "No, we're not like that, really…"Boy and girl share a strong friendship, which did NOT begin with any physical encounter other than perhaps running into each other while each is engrossed in the latest Wall Street Journal. Lattes fly, suits are ruined, friendship is sealed for eternity. Boy and girl have such a strong relationship that they can easily confide in each other about their own relationships, etc., sometimes even revealing intimate details. These details are shared in a sacred space, as this relationship is viewed, ultimately erroneously, as devoid of sexual tension. Then, one night, maybe both boy and girl are lonely and after spilling their latest failed relationships, as the last drop of wine is sipped, they slip into something they had not imagined. Well, truthfully, maybe they had imagined it, but they had never intentionally lusted after it. Here is where, like Relationship I, the relationship can go one of three ways:

i) *Sunshine and Happiness* - This rare scenario results in a healthy dating relationship, maybe even long-term due to the nature of the strong friendship.

ii) Did that just happen? – Boy and girl laugh about how ridiculous the moment shared was and hopefully return to status quo.

iii) The End of an Era – Sadly, this DOES happen. Even what seem to be the closest of friends can experience the rapid, or even more painful, the slow deterioration of a friendship in the wake of the culmination of sexual tension. What used to be the person who would bring soup to you when you were sick, or the person who knew just when to be quiet and just when to hold you and let you cry becomes the person you both resent and love. Eventually, the resentment overcomes the love; while that boy or girl may still be the one you want to call with your latest musings, you know it'll only result in an upsetting conversation, or worse, the inevitable, "Hey, can't get to the phone right now, but leave a message …"

so now what???


xo,me. the relationship advisor who cannot maintain/start a normal relationship

OK, here is the interesting thing that I think makes up 90% of the complication/confusion that people have over these two scenarios. Essentially, the situations are fundamentally different in the way that the relationships started but then they run parallel to one another because they are fundamentally the same thing. Allow me to elaborate.

Look at point 1 relationship 1 and point 1 relationship two. they both end in successful, sustained, monogamous, dating relationships. "Date City = "Sunshine and Happiness".

Look now to point 2 relationship 1 and point 2 relationship 2. The means are a little different but the ends are the same or at least similar. The "friend zone" is the destiny of both relationships. One relationship had to go their for the first time and the other had to revert back, but the end game is the same.

And now point 3 in relationship 1 vis a vis point 3 in relationship 2. The relationships is over. That's the gist of both points. it may be more painful in relationship 2 but it also may not be. Maybe the friendship described in relationship 2 was really just an epic courting process drawn out under the guise of friendship and all either party ever wanted was to act of the tension in the first place (cynical but often true).

Now, aside from the fact that relationship 2 sounds like a bad rom-com (Romantic comedy), I feel like that scenario happens way more often than relationship 1, but the scenarios aren't always independent for relationship 1 can beget relationship 2. But the point is to address the effect that sexual tension can have on a relationship and the bottom line is that sexual tension is prevalent and pervasive in everything we do. We get signals all day from advertising, co-workers, waiters and waitresses, that really cute barista etc. and the tension is there but the key is to use it as a vehicle to get into some ones head and not just their pants. Physiologically, there is so much at play that if the animal attraction is there, we can all get a relationship 1 going on, but the key to getting to that 'ideal relationship' is to find someone with whom you can grow that sexual tension into and intimate chemistry.

We all need to slow down and stop putting pressure on ourselves to find someone. When you look that hard for something you tend to miss it anyway, and with all that's going on in the world I don't think too many of us can afford to miss out on anything. In the mean time, I say spill more lattes and make things more awkward with friends, lets not let opportunities pass us by for fear of the consequence. You have to blow up a few labs before you can split an atom.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I'll have the usual...eh how bout what she's having

Routine is a comfortable blanket of warmth in times of uncertainty, but in times of tranquility there are routine can be the asbestos in your daycare facility. The death of spontaneity in a romantic relationship is the death of a romantic relationship. There is a reason that the first weeks of meeting a new person are the most exciting. There are the butterflies of anticipation, the thrill of the chase, and the surprise and novelty of the interaction all of which contribute to keeping us engaged and entertained. In many relationships after the first few months the novelty fades along with our interest, just like a child tires of a holiday toy by the third week of January.

The natural reaction to this new ennui is one of two paths: The termination of the relationship, or an increase the severity/ commitment. The DTR (Define the relationship) talk comes in to play. Are we a couple? Are we just friends (unlikely, men and women struggle to be just friends i.e. When Harry Met Sally)? Fuck Buddies? Soul mates? Do I even know your last name? First name? The DTR is a dangerous bridge to cross. But I digress. Defining anything leads to preventing spontaneity. Organically grown produce is probably better for you than produce dipped in pesticides, and organically grow relationships are probably better for you than those dipped in titles and formalities.

A friend of mine, who will be named the Voice of Reason, recently engaged in an escapade which is worth sharing for the sake of reaffirming my point. She is currently engaged in an on again off again relationship with a young man from the mid west. Over the last few weeks *cough* months, she has been in a pseudo friends with benefits/booty call hybrid of a relationship and she was getting to the point where she wanted to have a version of a DTR. Now, what she wanted out of this talk was not to be the GF or to break the thing off, but just an acknowledgment that when two people are intimate, they share a bond that goes beyond a Flash drive entering a USB port.

While at work the other day (she runs a camp) she took a brief break to hang out with said boy and his buddy. While in a store changing room she beckoned him to join her on a whim and proceeded to get that good old fashioned, ‘I’ll even stay for a while to cuddle’ loving. The spontaneity was there in full force, along with the heat pumping exhibitionism, and the prospect of a legendary story to be told. This day moved into that night when she had to drive 50 miles out of her way in the middle of the night to help him with car trouble (adversity…another spontaneous stimulant of lasciviousness) and was rewarded with some of that Keeanu Reeves/ Sandra Boluck from speed loving:

(after surviving the subway explosion)

Annie: You're not going to get mushy on me, are you?

Jack: Maybe. I might.

Annie: I hope not, 'cause you know, relationships that start under intense circumstances, they never last. Jack: Oh yeah?

Annie: Yeah, I've done extensive study on this.

Jack: OK then, we’ll base it on Sex.

The moral of my story that I want all of you to take with you is that when you go out there to mix it up, you really need to be mixing it up. Did she have the DTR...no not really, but at least now she is getting something positive out of the situation and may help figure out what she really wants in the long term. Ham and cheese sandwiches everyday for lunch don’t lead to a love for ham and cheese; they lead to the new sexy chicken salad on a pita, or even a bowl of paella. Don't wind up ham and cheese! Head my words.

Good luck this holiday weekend and if you hear what I say then you may just spark some fireworks of your own. Oh and if you need some courage to get your creative juices flowing, I‘ve been told that alcohol is a great way to learn how to be spontaneous in a hurry.