My Top 10 Pros & Cons for Getting Into a Relationship (as a Woman)

Ahhhh, relationships. That most fraught territory in the realm of human experience. That place where we crash and burn, where we are lifted up into a bliss and connection beyond our conscious mind’s capacity … and where we are smashed into the earth with a velocity that often leaves us bloody and broken, whimpering into the abyss.

Lately, I’ve been thinking more and more about my “stated” desire to get into a relationship and the uncomfortable truth underneath it: there are reasons I dread getting into one, too.

I figured I’d apply the same tried-and-true pro and con list thing to this knotty issue, just as I have to more minor problems like whether to take a certain apartment or pick a certain school.

Without further ado, here are my top 10 reasons for and against getting into a relationship:

CONS

  1. The isolation and despair and grief and inevitable disappointment I will feel when you let me down, since you are human and I am human and we are most definitely going to fuck up sometimes
  2. Dealing with morning breath (yours or mine)
  3. The feeling of being boxed in, like I’ll never be able to be truly free or expressed with respect to my sexuality again
  4. The anxiety of wondering when or if you’ll text
  5. The anxiety of wondering whether you’ll cheat on me
  6. The crushing heartbreak that will happen if/when you shut down or turn away from me
  7. The fear of losing hold of my practices (like morning journaling) because you will always around and I won’t be strong enough to hold my boundaries
  8. Feeling inhibited at parties because if I’m too flirty, you’ll be angry with me and give me the silent treatment in the car ride home instead of addressing it directly
  9. The resurfacing of core wounds and issues. Yeah, they come up to be resolved but right before they’re resolved they HURT LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER and isn’t it also true that some of them never go away?
  10. Because what if I go on a vacation and meet a really cute guy and can’t hook up with him (not even a little bit) because I’m committed to you?

PROS

  1. Cuddling. Regular spooning. Spooning that leads to sex. Sex in general
  2. Looking at you from across the room knowing you’re thinking the same thing I am and smiling at how much fun we’re going to have debriefing this moment later
  3. Smart, funny, witty text banter. Inside jokes. Sending and receiving #relationshipgoals memes with someone with whom I’m actually in a relationship
  4. You coming up behind me in the kitchen and nuzzling my neck, rubbing against me and getting me hot and wet
  5. Holding hands fingers intertwined. Affection and attention and being noticed and responded to and cared for
  6. The way you pull me in tight when we’re having a fight and we’ve gotten to that point where we’re stuck
  7. The closeness of “I’m thinking about you” “I’m thinking about you too”
  8. Looking around at a sea of men and thinking, “None of you is as good in bed as my man. It’s not even worth it.”
  9. Learning how it feels to have conflict and then actually resolve it, becoming stronger and more resilient as a team
  10. Because it’s one of life’s very greatest offerings
  11. Finally having a wedding date I actually want to bang

What’s on your list?

I Surveyed Over 1,000 People About Dating Problems. Here’s What They Said

[Photo credit: Cristina Souza]

I’m a member of a beach cleanup crew. We meet regularly. There is a cute guy on this crew, and a few weeks ago, we got to talking a little bit. When I got home that day, I saw that he’d friended me on Facebook. He has no girl in his photos and I think he may be single. However, I also think he *may* be dating one of the other girls on the crew, because they left together last week.

I don’t know what to do about it.

Do I assume they’re together, or do I ask him (or her) if they are? Is that weird? Do I just wait for him to reach out to me over Facebook? If he’s interested, he probably will (right)? If I’m the one to make the first move, is that un-sexy? And will that mean that I’m the first one to make the first move in the whole scenario? Would I have to be the first one to kiss him? That doesn’t really make me feel feminine …

And on and on.

I bring this up because it feels like a microcosm for the results I’m about to share with you.

Last year, I conducted a survey of both men and women, with the following questions:

  • What are your top 3 problems when it comes to sex?
  • What are your top 3 problems when it comes to dating?
  • What are your top 3 problems when it comes to relationships?

This piece covers solely the dating results. For sex, go here. The relationships data will come out next week.

To be honest, the dating data was much more challenging to sort than the sex data. In this set, there was less agreement and more paradox. There were more categories and fewer generalizations.

It turns out dating is complicated. Who knew?!

First a few specifics on the population that was surveyed. If you’ve read the other pieces, obviously you can skip this part:

  1. Each respondent could give three separate responses to each question, so the percentages don’t add up to 100 (they still show the overall trends)
  2. The exact question was, “What are your top 3 problems when it comes to dating? (If you’re currently in a relationship, think back to when you were dating)” — so as not to exclude those currently in relationships

The demographics:

  • Total age range: 16-72, average age 37
  • Identified as female: 85%; male: 14%, “other”: ~1%
  • In committed relationships: 45%; single: 33%; “it’s complicated” or “other”: 22% (many said they were separated from spouse)
  • Identified as heterosexual: 85%; bisexual: 12%; gay: 1%; “other”: 3%

Thus people were mostly in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, mainly hetero, and about half were in relationships, while half were single/single-ish.

The top problems listed by the groups:

WOMEN’S TOP DATING PROBLEMS  

  1. Dis/honesty: 12%

  2. Finding the right fit: 7%

  3. Men only being interested in sex: 6%

  4. Where to meet men: 5%

  5. Game-playing (including knowing when to have sex): 4%

—-

MEN’S TOP DATING PROBLEMS       

  1. Finding the right fit: 21%

  2. Expectations/pressure: 15%

  3. Insecurity: 13%

  4. Mis/communication: 12%

  5. Reading signals: 11%

—-

Now, quickly back to the guy on the beach cleanup crew.

Let’s assume he does like me back. I don’t know him very well, but from the results of this survey, I’m going to go ahead and guess a few things: first, he isn’t sure whether I like him, either (he’s not 100% sure about about the “signs”). Second, he doesn’t want to get rejected, so he’s not sure about asking me out. What if I have a boyfriend? What if I don’t like him back? What if he asks me and I say yes and then he finds out he doesn’t actually like me? What if he hurts me?

And on and on.

I’m going to outline my biggest takeaways from the data now, but the two most overwhelming ones are these:

Humans are complicated.
When it comes to dating, we need to communicate with each other more.

More detailed takeaways (these are mainly hetero-normative, since the vast majority of the responses referred to hetero dating):

1. Nobody knows “the rules”

All actual responses:

  • “Lack of labels, always confused!” (woman)
  • “What are the current social norms?” (man)
  • “Never knowing when it’s okay to have sex without seeming like a slut or a prude.” (woman)
  • “Reading the situation, i.e. is she OK for me to kiss her? Etc.” (man)
  • “I never know if I should give into my sexual desires, even if it’s on the first date for fear I’ll come off as slutty. And fear that if I hold off for a few dates, and disregard my urges to gain their ‘respect,’ that they’ll actually get bored and lose interest.” (woman)
  • “Who pays the damn bill this time? ;)” (man)
  • “Sex – if you’re dating more than one person and no one exclusively, what’s the sex etiquette in that situation? Is it OK to assume that you are free to have sex with more than one person until you are dating an individual exclusively?” (woman)
  • “Timing. When to ask for sex the first time.” (man)
  • “I intend to sleep on the first date, some think I am a whore.” (woman)
  • “Reading ‘signs’” (man)
  • “Feeling a great connection and afraid to overwhelm the person. I come on pretty strong whenever I read energy that feels sexual. So, if I get that kind of vibe, I’m like, (in my head ~ NOT out loud!) ‘When do we get to the sex already???!!!’” (woman)
  • “I’m too old for games, when to text, what to say, don’t seem excited or desperate or interested. Who knows what’s going on?!” (woman)

I’ll tell you: Nobody knows what’s going on. If all these responses were written by a single individual, they’d be schizophrenic.

What came across more than anything was this: modern dating is confusing. It is. The social norms have changed. Everyone is fumblefucking their way through it, there are casualties along the way, and one of the biggest casualties seems to be clarity. Nothing is clear, which brings us to our next point:

2. More honest communication is needed

As you can see from the data, women listed their top problem as dis/honesty. Of course men want honesty, too, of course, but this was a big issue for women in particular. They said things like:

  • “Wondering how genuine [men] are. What their real intentions are.”
  • “Men who are not upfront about their intentions or desires. You want to be my fuckbuddy, cool, I’m human and we all have sexual needs. You want to date and get to know me and try to have a future together, awesome! But please, out of courtesy or respect, do not say one and mean the other.”
  • “Men are not clear in the communication. They say, ‘I’ll call you’ when they really mean ‘You are nice, but I don’t see us as a match.’”
  • “Men lying about what kind of relationship they really want just to have sex.”

A friend of mine hooked up with a guy she knew at a house party a few weeks ago, and it fell into that really confusing category of: what happens now? Is he going to text me? Are we going to date? Does he actually like me? What’s going on?

Then he did something classy. He sent her a long email (I know that doesn’t sound romantic, but bear with me). He was courteous and straightforward, saying he’d really enjoyed their time together and wanted to let her know what was going on on his end. He had just gotten out of something serious and was looking for a strictly physical relationship. He wasn’t sure that was a match for her. Was it?

It wasn’t. She told him, and that was that. She could stop wandering about in limbo, not knowing what was happening. It was also obvious from the email that he really did respect and care about her, and wanted her to know that.

This kind of straightforward communication is the exception right now, not the rule. And the lack of it is creating a lot of chaos, resentment, and bewilderment for both sides. To me, the overall lesson is this:

Be brave. Tell the truth.

3. Humans are complicated

One of my guy friends helped me with the data, and his interpretation of it all was both poetic and accurate:

“It was validating seeing all the contradictory responses, because it made the social matrix I’ve been navigating all my life visible. One woman says, ‘I hate that men want sex on the first date.’ Another says, ‘I want to have sex on the first date without feeling like a slut.’ One says, ‘I’m scared of feeling used.’ Another says, ‘I’m sick of guys being worried I’ll feel used. I can take care of my own feelings.’

We’re all walking around wanting and needing, fearing and feeling frustrated with different things, and we won’t necessarily know until we ask and have a conversation about it.”

He’s right. The data was full of paradoxes. Women said both:

“Men want sex right away. If they don’t get it, they move on.”
“Keeping my pants on.”

“Men telling you I love you too soon.”
“Picking ass clowns.”

“Being smothered and me having to pace the relationship.”
“Men do not want to take me anywhere but the bedroom.”

And men said:

“Wanting to get serious when they don’t.”
“Fear of hurting the one I’m dating emotionally in case I realize that she’s not for me.”

“Falling real hard for them when we did connect sexually.”
“Knowing if she is really into me.”

And on and on.

As with the last piece, I have much more to say about all this but I wanted to get this out. If you have any thoughts on all this, please do get me directly at melanie@pleaseherinbed.com. This is an ongoing project and I can use all the feedback I can get. Especially: if this is helping, I would love to know how.

I leave you with more prize responses:

  • “I’m just going to say it: I HATE dates. They feel way too artificial. I can’t help but feel that, on a date, both parties’ mindsets are, ‘OK, I’m running you and everything you say through a giant filter where if you slip up and say something wrong then the rest of this evening becomes me just being polite while I bide my time until I can leave and ghost on you.’” (man)
  • “Hard to find the right combo of “real man” and being emotionally available.” (woman)
  • “Dating apps that perpetuate a Candy Crush style of dating.” (man)?
  • “The fear of my body not being beautiful enough once we get intimate physically.” (woman)
  • “I’m quite sensitive and caring so women see me as weak but I am really passionate and am not afraid to get rough/dominate her once we are a little comfortable together.” (man)
  • “It was hard to find someone strong enough to handle me… Who didn’t want to conquer me.” (woman)
  • “Breaking the modern dating culture ‘act like you don’t care’ barrier.” (woman)
  • “Being judged for being nice. Fuck you, I’m a nice fucking guy, I’m opening your car door all the time, and buying you dinner, not because feel like I have to, or am trying to get you into bed. I’m doing these things because it’s nice to be nice to someone and I like treating human beings with kindness.” (man)
  • “How do I trust another man… ever? (After my heart has been so shredded)” (woman)
  • “Being presumed to be the sum of all previous boyfriends.” (man)
  • “Holding in a fart.” (woman)

Ten Things NOT to Do When I’m Being a Bitch

Women don’t come with a manual. If they did, men wouldn’t need man caves.

The truth is, part of what makes women appealing can also make them terrifying. Their emotional volatility is either fascinating or distressing, depending on both how it’s expressed, yes – but also how it’s taken.

Every woman’s got her moods. Most men are by turns charmed, bewildered, and blindsided by them. Here are some hints to help you keep your cool when I’m being a red hot bitch:

10. Don’t Resist It

I cannot overemphasize this one. Resistance is the most common reason me being a bitch gets us into all kinds of trouble (and not the fun kind instigated by tequila and a hot tub).

In case you’re wondering what this means, it includes saying things like, “Calm down,” “Would you just relax?” “What’s the big deal?” and, “You’re overreacting.”

This is much like pouring gas on a lit flame.

When I’m pissed, no matter how ridiculous it may seem, it’s happening. Wishing it wasn’t or telling me to stop isn’t going to work. It’s similar to attempting to stop a tsunami. Is you telling the big bitchy wave to stop being a big bitchy wave going to work?

Nope. But if you accept that the wave is happening and grab a surfboard, you’ll get farther and be in for a hell of a ride.

I know how complicated women are – trust me, I’m living proof of this. But if there’s anything I’ve learned about men, it’s that the more I’m accepted for exactly who I’m being in this moment, the more I change and morph and melt into something more accepting myself.

9. Know that it won’t last forever.

Have I ever been a bitch forever? Have I? Have you ever known any women who were? (Meryl Streep from Devil Wears Prada doesn’t count).

That is correct. I will never not be a bitch.

No. Emotions don’t last forever, no matter what they are. That’s why they’re called e-motions – energy in motion. There is no permanent state, particularly when it comes to women. We can switch from ecstatic to melodramatic in an instant, and be ready for tiramisu right after.

By the way, do you think that’s easy? No. A lot of the time it’s exhausting. You should try being on this rollercoaster of emotion, not just being around it.

8. Know That It’s Not Really About What It’s About

When I’m being a bitch, we’re in Emotion Land. We left Logic Land long ago and as much as you may lament its absence, that ship has sailed (right on over the tsunami). I may be crying hysterically ‘because’ you forgot to call, or sniping at you ‘because’ you forgot to buy the right kind of milk. But it’s not really about that. In other words, it’s not really about what it’s ‘about.’

It’s not that it has nothing to do with the milk; it’s just that it’s more about something else. In fact, I may not even know exactly what’s wrong myself.

The best way for you to deal with this is to stop playing the game of “fixing what this is ‘about,’” and start listening for what it’s really about. The more you can hold off on shaming me for being upset over something ‘illogical,’ the more we can work as a team to figure out what’s really going on.

7. Have Fun With It

Are you one of those people who loves watching sh*t go down when there’s something destructive happening? Are you like, daaamn, look at those waves flood over the boardwalk, or those cars floating down the street, or that (empty) house get torn up by that hurricane? Holy Sharknado, this is amazing!

Use that. Pretend my storm is an actual storm, and you get a front row seat (which incidentally some people would pay for). Witness it the same way you would a tempest – it swirls and rages, lessens and worsens, and eventually dissipates.

Because the things I’m saying and the way I’m acting isn’t ‘the truth.’ It’s just what’s true for me in that one particular moment. It will change in the next moment, just like the weather. And once you stop taking it to be something to be defended against or resentful of, it can actually be kind of entertaining.

I’m like your own personal hurricane. Besides – wouldn’t it be boring if it were sunny skies all the time?

6. When I Act Like a Child, Think of Me Like a Child

Half the time when I’m being a bitch, it is exactly the same as when a 3-year-old is wigging out because s/he’s sleep-deprived. There is no logical reason for the behavior – it’s a physiological reaction. As adults, we assume we’re all capable of being normal, rational beings all the time.

We’re not. Especially not those of us with riotously, spectacularly, outlandishly fluctuating hormones. Did you know that 70% of crimes committed by women are perpetrated within 3 days of their period? #truth.

Seriously – when I’m whining or bitching or complaining seemingly just for the sake of it, picture me as a tiny little girl in a tiny little dress with a tiny little diaper and a tiny little face red from bawling, who is upset that you just gave her the wrong milk. How seriously do you take that toddler? How much compassion do you have for her?

You always knew I was secretly a 3-year-old. Now make it work for you.

 

5. Call me out (gently).

For me personally, this works best when you give a nickname to my bitchy side.

My ex used to use “’tudy,” short for “attitude-y.” This was brilliant because it named what was happening without making me wrong for it. It also acknowledged that I’m not only that – there are many aspects and facets to me. This just happens to be the one that’s coming out right now.

It usually went a little something like:

Me: [Looking in fridge] “Really?? You forgot that I asked you specifically to get whole milk this week? You know I’m trying out that new Fat Is The New Skinny Diet – you just thought you’d ruin my chances, or what?”
Him: [glancing over at me; pausing for a moment] “Hey there, ‘tudy! I’ve missed you. What you been up to?”

I’d roll my eyes but no matter how much I wanted to, I couldn’t suppress a smile. He knew me – all of me – and he wasn’t scared of it. Instead of taking my comment as ‘a huge and monumental attack on my manhood that I must defend against,’ it was more like, ‘that bitchy thing Mel just said.’

It’s not that he wasn’t taking me seriously. It’s that he wasn’t taking me too seriously.

 

4. If you can’t handle it, leave.

It’s all well and good to talk about enjoying it, but sometimes that’s just not possible. In those moments, don’t tell me I shouldn’t be or feel a certain way. If you can’t handle it, get out the way.

Look, I love my sister like, well, a sister. But she can be a real bitch sometimes. And I’ve learned that occasionally, it’s best to just leave the room. Sometimes I can read her moods and know that she’s ready to talk; other times I know it’s about her blood sugar being low; and sometimes it’s just a different type of mood – the untouchable one. It’s that one where no matter what I say or do, she’s just going to be a bitch.

For the most part, I know when to stick around and when to stay away. Then there are the times when I read it wrong and get scratched by her ‘tudy talons. At that point I retreat into the other room and lick my wounds.

Both are fine, but it’s a whole lot more pleasant when I read it right and beat a hasty retreat. You should feel free to do the same.

 

3. Take Care of Yourself

You don’t always have to put up with my crap. Just because I’m in a bad mood doesn’t mean you’re responsible for it – or for fixing it. As my man, I expect you to give me attention and put energy into the relationship, but I don’t expect either 24/7.

You are, in fact, a whole separate being with your own experiences and needs and responsibilities. And your first responsibility is to yourself: if you can’t handle it or don’t have the energy or just don’t want to deal with me in a certain moment, don’t.

DO NOT sacrifice yourself or your truth just to make me ‘happy.’  I’d much rather you take care of yourself in the moment and have space for me later, than overextend yourself now and blame me for it later.

Instead, try just letting me know: “Hey, I get you’re upset and I want you to know I care. At the same time, I need to take care of myself right now so I’m gonna go chill for a while. Cool?”

With this you’ve solved half of it anyway just by acknowledging that I’m not OK. I at least feel seen, and I’m also primed to get that it’s not all about me all the time.

Sometimes it’s easy for me to forget that.

 

2. If you don’t know how to support me, ask.

You don’t have it all figured out. You don’t have to know exactly what to do or how to do it or what to say or how to say it beforehand. It’s far better to admit you don’t know than constantly attempt to figure out the enigma wrapped in a riddle served on a bed of unpredictable with a little dollop of wtf on top, that constitutes the psyche of a woman.

If you are really at your wit’s end but you do have the energy and you do want to know what’s going on or how to help – ask. For example: “I don’t know what to do or how to help right now, but I want to. How can I support you?”

That will bring me up short.

And much of the time, I will tell you. This can flip me right out of my mood and put me into a different one. I might start to bawl; I might ask for chocolate; I might collapse into your arms and say, “I just – *sob* – want – *sob*– a footrub. Can you – *hiccup* – give me – *searching look*

 – a footrub?”

Because usually when I’m being a bitch, there’s some need that’s not being met. I don’t feel heard, or I’m craving connection, or I’m not feeling expressed, or I’m just generally feeling like I don’t matter. Here’s a truthful secret for you: sometimes I lash out just to make sure that I do matter – that I can at least affect someone.

The point is, usually all that frustrated and angry energy wants to be transmuted into something else, something softer and more accessible and more yielding. If I’m given the genuine space for it, it will.

You can create that space. Sometimes.

1. Love me anyway.

Please, God, let me find a man who is capable of this. Let me find someone who doesn’t take me too seriously, isn’t intimidated by mood swings, and embraces the fact that I’m pretty judgmental a lot of the time. Let me find someone who knows that while I’m totally imperfect and totally impatient, I’m also totally loyal, totally affectionate, and willing to go all out for my friends. Let me find someone who sees it all – not who shuts down when I’m not at my best.

And if it’s in the cards for me, let me find someone who doesn’t just tolerate me, but genuinely finds my quirks endearing. Let me be discovered by someone who doesn’t see me as a problem to be solved or a thing to be handled, but as a woman to be loved.

Even – or maybe even especially – when she’s being a bitch.

 

 

10 Things To Avoid Doing When Hitting On Me

Being a moderately attractive young woman, I get hit on a fair amount, and I see some of the same mistakes being made by men over and over. In an effort to spare both you, my fine male friends (not to mention myself), I’m going to break it down for you. Because chances are, right now some of the girls you’ve been going after probably prefer their Adam and Eve toys to what you have to offer. Here’s what to stop doing:

 

10. Don’t neg

This terrible trend in pick up is more than just obnoxious – it’s obnoxious and obvious. Negging, also known as “negative comments” (which really just means insulting women), is praised by pick up artists everywhere, based on the assumption that negging a woman forces her to try to ‘prove’ herself. This, in turn, supposedly puts the man in the power position, so that he can get her to ‘do the work’ rather than have to prove himself to her.

Does it work? Sure. The real question is: who does it work on?

It works on women still seeking love and approval at all costs from the world, from their substitute father figure, or from themselves. It works on women who will second guess their choices or clothes or the school they’re thinking of going to, based on an annoying comment by some guy at a bar. It works on women who don’t know themselves well enough to know that they shouldn’t waste their time with men who think they have to neg in order to not feel helpless in front of the opposite sex.

In other words, it works on women who suffer from low self-esteem. This means that in fact, negging is manipulative, underhanded, and in some cases downright mean.

I, on the other hand, will not respond well to you insulting my outfit, hair or drink of choice. Not only is it annoying, it makes it SCREAMINGLY OBVIOUS that you are trying to run game on me.

So neg if you want to simultaneously attract a woman who doesn’t know who she is (and is potentially a hot mess), and repel women you might actually be able to want to be with for longer than one night.

Sounds like a solid strategy to me.

 

9. Don’t lead with your money

I don’t really care how much money you make or what kind of car you drive. I mean, I care, but I don’t care that much. 

Want to know what I do care about? You telling me about it. Straight up, it’s weird. And again, this strategy may work on other women, but it doesn’t work on ones who have their shit together, can take care of themselves, and who value EI over IQ.

To me, telling me your salary says two things: 1. You’re probably lying; 2. You’re scared that you don’t have anything more important to offer.

(Incidentally, you’re  the same guy who is going to get mad when the girl you’re dating expects you to pay for everything. Gonna lead with money? Don’t be surprised when she expects you to spend it on her.)

 

8. Don’t put yourself down

There’s nothing sexier than a man who insults himself before you even know him… NOT.

I’ve had guys tell me they weren’t smart, good looking or successful. I get that you’re going for the self-depracating thing, but there’s only so far you can take it before I start to believe you.

Plus I hate feeling like I have to reassure you, even in jest. “No, no, I’m sure you do just fine with the ladies.” It’s tiring. And if you’re already using me to reassure you now, what would you be like in a relationship?

Don’t be afraid to be confident. It’s not going to scare me away.

Finally, don’t kill the mystery. Give me a chance to figure out that you suck on my own. Seriously – we all have the things we suck at; in fact, true intimacy is getting an insider’s glimpse into the things someone else sucks at and accepting them anyway.

This is also known as love.

 

7. Don’t be cocky

I don’t care if you bench 300lbs, hang out with famous people, or pick up models. In fact, as a rule, don’t talk to me about all the other women you’ve hit on successfully. Again, unless it’s within a specific context, it’s just fucking weird. And please don’t name drop. I hate that shit.

It takes more than muscles, a Volcom shirt, a wallet, and the fact that you’ve “totally been to the Playboy mansion” to impress me. It takes heart and soul and vulnerability and desire and groundedness and a sense of purpose and humility.

Cocky men are obsessed with the outside because deep down they’re afraid they don’t have anything of worth on the inside. Confident men know they have value, so they have the space to actually think about someone else – in this case, me. Cocky men are busy talking about themselves in order to impress me.

Guess which one I’m actually impressed with?

 

6. Don’t get handsy

Unless it’s obvious that I’m really into you, stop touching my lower back, elbow or shoulders! It’s not that this is unpleasant, it’s just that it’s so obvious that this is something else you read in Pickup 101! Seriously? I just told you I’m a sex and dating coach. Do you really think I haven’t read The Game?

It’s *literally* my job.

 

5. Don’t inflate your good deeds

It’s nice that you mentor underprivileged youth or donate to Save the Children. But (again) if you tell me about it directly, it makes me feel like you’re trying to prove something. All I hear is, “See what a good guy I am? Now don’t you want to fuck me?”

No. What I want is for you to relax and stop trying to prove yourself so that I can get a glimpse into who you actually are.

 

4. Don’t make fun of my friends

Period.

Maybe one of my friends is a little heavier, maybe one is drunk and loud and maybe one doesn’t dress that well. It doesn’t matter. You can’t make fun of them.

Not only is this unattractive, it has me distrust you like crazy. Are you going to talk behind my back about me? Probably. I’m creeped out just thinking about it.

Now, as with other things on this list, this may work on certain types of people. But I live and die by my friends. I’m fiercely loyal and you trying to dis them isn’t going to earn you any favors – in fact, you’ll be lucky to emerge unscathed. My wit is as sharp as the talons I wear on these dainty little feet of mine. You don’t want to be on the receiving end of either one.

Trust me.

 

3. Don’t leave your sexuality at the door

There have been tons of men apparently hitting on me who I only realized later were attempting to do so. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been stunned – stunned – to discover that a guy was interested in me sexually.

Guys: if you aren’t owning and feeling your sexuality, I’m not gonna feel it. And you wanna know what that’s gonna get ya? A one-way ticket to the Friend Zone.

In other words, you trying to hide the fact that you feel sexual about me in order to ‘make me comfortable’ might make me so ‘comfortable’ that I miss the fact that you’re dtf. Because when you act all buddy buddy with me, I’m going to assume you actually just want to be my buddy.

Nobody wants to fuck Mr. Nice Guy. So stop being him if you want to fuck.

 

 

 

2. Don’t coddle me because I’m a girl

This one is similar to negging, because it is insulting. Don’t assume I don’t like whiskey or that I don’t know anything about cars because I’m a girl.

Now, I happen to hate whiskey and know next to nothing about cars – but I don’t like you assuming this is true! Doing so makes you look closed-minded and occasionally misogynistic. Get to know me before you jump to conclusions – I’m smart, sarcastic, sweet, well-meaning, unsure, and racy. Yes, some of those counteract each other and/or are paradoxical. Hi. Have you met me? I’m a woman.

 

1. Please don’t take it personally if I say no

You could avoid all 9 of these other tips and still get shut down. It happens. It happens every day, and it’s not fun – I’m not going to sugarcoat that. And I have mad respect for men who hit on women – you’re twenty times better than the guy who stands in the corner and does nothing. Even if you do everything wrong, I salute you for being a man.

That said, your efforts as a man are not always going to pan out. Sometimes women are going to say no – myself included. And if I do, please don’t take it personally and then take it out on me. Hint: yelling, “Why you gotta be like that!?” really isn’t helping make your case.

In addition, some of the men I respect the most – and some of the strongest friendships I’ve forged – are with those who asked me out and I turned down. When I said no and they took it in stride, I had so much respect, faith and trust that they were able to handle themselves, I wanted to be around them. I wanted to hang out with them. I wanted to show them aspects of myself that they never would have been privy to if I hadn’t known that they wouldn’t shame me for not happening to want to fuck them.

The truth is, attraction is a mystery. You could do everything ‘right’ and still get rejected. You could do everything ‘wrong’ and still get a date. The only thing we can all do is show up fully as ourselves and see if there’s a match.

So show up as you. You are not how much you make or what you do or who you know or where you hang out. I want YOU: goofy, funny, clumsy, exhausted, honest, frustrated, sexual, introverted, excitable you.

Hit on me with all that, and I might even hit you back.

 

6 Thing Men Should Get About Women.

Newsflash, men: It isn’t all (always) your fault.

I recently received an amazing email (names and other identifying information have been changed), and it had me realize just how much confusion there is when dealing with the fairer sex:

“Hi there. I stumbled upon your blog and thought you might be a good person to turn to for advice, so here goes. I met a very intelligent and attractive woman at a lecture a few weeks ago. We had been talking for about a half hour and really developed a great rapport. We had even made tentative plans to meet for coffee sometime.

Then things suddenly went downhill. There was a pause in the conversation and since she had classic curves (large bust, narrow waist, etc.), I commented that she had a “really nice hourglass figure.” My intent was to be complimentary and a little flirtatious but instead she became deeply offended. I went into damage control mode and tried to clarify my comments but the more I talked, the more I exacerbated things as she rolled her eyes and shook her head. She told me I was being “inappropriate” and that she was “very disappointed” and then whap, she slapped my face and departed.

My reply:

“She slapped you!? No, I don’t think you should email her an apology note. I think she should email you one!”

read more

Almost Maybe

Hey, look: Two Kate Mosses would almost maybe make a whole person. Almost. Maybe.

Dude, my life is FULL of Almost Maybes right now. It’s killing me.

You know what I’m talking about – that guy (or girl) with whom it almost maybe works, but doesn’t quite. It’s close to what you want without actually being it, which makes it even harder to let go of. It’s especially annoying when you like the attention and therefore have trouble divesting yourself completely of the Almost Maybes in question.

Of course I wouldn’t know anything about that.

But maybe if I describe them, I will some how exorcise myself of their appeal and be able to actually let in a man I really want.

So without further ado, here is my list of my Almost Maybes:

Rory – You’re super HOT and I’ve already hooked up with you so I know you’re an amazing kisser. But I already have a strong feeling it wouldn’t work because a) you don’t speak my love languages AT ALL (I’m pretty sure I’ve heard you say you care about me out loud exactly one time in the entire history of our friendship), and b) you’re not really into emotional processing the way I am.

Don’t worry, baby. You and I both know it will always work between us.

However: I love how present you are with me. I love your naturally grounded nature. I love the way you play the piano and how good you look with your shirt off. I love your touch. Oh, my God, your touch. Fuck.

Archetype: That guy you love hooking up with who you’d really WANT a relationship to work with, but know deep down that it never really would.

Rick – I LOVE how well we get along. I feel like we could go on a roadtrip and never run out of shit to talk about. We have similar friends, similar interests, similar professions. We are really fucking great together.

Except I’m not that turned on by you. You walk in the room and I don’t get wet; I just feel neutral. You have good touch, but the fact is it isn’t really you I want touching me. In other words, the problem is sex… I don’t really give a shit about having it with you. I like the affection we share, but that’s about it. Wtf?

Archetype: That guy you can talk to like you do with your girlfriends, but who might as well be one of them for the amount he turns you on.

 

Matt – You and I have great chemistry. As in, REALLY good, and in more ways than just physical. You’re just as smart as me, which is a huge turn-on, and we share language as a passion. You’re also masculine in a different way than I’m used to, and we communicate well in ways I’ve only ever dreamed of.

But I can’t always feel your heart, you’re pretty narcissistic, and you’ve proved over and over that I can’t rely on you. Plus I’m fairly certain you have a girlfriend, a fact you seem willing to overlook. And that’s a problem for me, because I don’t like being around messy energy.

Finally (the nail in the coffin), you sort of lack tenderness, that soft quality that makes me melt, that has me look into your eyes and know that without words, you’re saying, “I love you.” I’ve had that with men I’ve only been with for an evening, that sense of adoration, of wonder. You’re never really like that, and I want that. Not really willing to negotiate on it.

Archetype: That smart, sexy guy from your office who’s perfectly willing to sleep with you, but who doesn’t like to cuddle and you have the sneaking suspicion would throw you under a bus for a promotion at work.

 

Karl – You’re the most available man I’ve ever met. You’re actually available, as in you’re willing to commit – maybe even looking for a commitment; and that’s different than a whole slew of guys I’ve attracted in the past. Huge step forward. You’re also emotionally aware enough to actually be ready for a relationship – also new.

However: you apologize for things like having an erection. Seriously? You should never apologize for that! It’s OK – in fact, it’s more than OK. It’s healthy. And deep down, I get the impression you’re apologizing for something else, something deeper, something perhaps you’re not even aware of. And that’s somewhat concerning.

Also, we don’t really talk exactly. I need to be asked about my life; keep me talking. I need someone who’s fascinated by me, by my ups and downs, someone who holds space for all my ramblings and tumblings and withdrawals. I need someone that’s captivated by my ride, who always wants more, who knows how to draw me out. When we’re in the car I want you to ask, “What’s going on for you?” or “What are you thinking?” I like to be invited out; I need you to be an invitation. I want that, and I don’t think that’s you.

Archetype: That sweet guy with whom it seems like it all lines up, but something just doesn’t feel quite right.

 

Are you guys sick of these yet? Are you? ARE YOU?

No shit. So am I. But believe it or not, THERE ARE MORE. Wtf? It’s like my life is an Almost Maybe convention right now. They just keep parading around, texting me and emailing me and running into me and straight up just hanging around my consciousness.

It’s practically to the point where I hang out with one at work, take the bus home with another, and see the last one in my elevator in my building. Almost like I can’t get away from them. And because I can’t, you can’t. Here we go with the last two.

That’s right. I’m relentless, bitches.

I had to include this because it’s just so hysterical. Do you know what this is? Do you? Spoiler alert: It’s literally an Abercrombie store’s promo: Shirtless Friday. Now THAT’S my kind of retail.

JR – You’re so hot I can’t even stand it. I watch you walk around the workshop doing your thing and I just want to jump you right there. I watch your sad attempt at peeling an onion and I just want to jump you right there. You’re not even DOING anything, you’re just BEING.

But you’re an alcoholic. You joke about not being one, but you are. Talk about a dealbreaker. It’s like game over before the game has even started.

By the way, here’s a hint: if you’re drinking at home alone, even if it’s “just a few beers,” you should probably start going to meetings. And not PTA ones.

The problem isn’t even the drinking, because you’re actually kind of funny and cute when you’re drunk. The real problem is what’s behind it: it probably has something to do with your dad, and the fact that you haven’t even really looked at that means I can’t be with you. I need someone self-aware. I don’t need perfection, but I am NOT interested in a project. Which sucks, because you want to hang out and hanging out with you is fun. And I can feel your heart.

But I can’t get past the drinking thing, and all of its ramifications. So would you please stop being so goddamn hot?!

Archetype: That hot guy your head knows isn’t good for you, that your heart has trouble letting go of anyway.

 

Caleb – You are almost it. Really. I like that we don’t really seem to run out of things to talk about. I love that you’re into processing shit just as much as I am. I think it’s HOT that you’re part of a men’s group and that you’re a leader. And you’ve got a good body! I do feel turned on by you.

But you’re a little old for me. And while I get that you’ve recently been doing all this work on yourself and right now you’re just spewing out all this random bullshit all the time – seriously, you’d need to REGULATE that shit before I could ever be with you. Otherwise I’d just feel like you were out of control. I’d never know whether you could modulate your comments to fit the situation; if we’re out with my mainstream friends, are you gonna be able to rein in your exuberance over the implications of the enneagram on your relationship with your id? I need to know that you know that I am up for all kinds of hippie spiritual shit, while also being aware that that kind of stuff can overwhelm other people, and that sharing about it doesn’t always serve the situation.

I love that you bring shit up. Trust me, I do. But the way you do it right now has me a little nervous about what you’re going to say next, to whom, and how.

Archetype: That guy that’s got all the qualities you’re looking for, just not to the degree you’re looking for them… like a watered down version of soup.

 

Whew.

Now I feel a little like that Alanis Morrisette song now where she talks about all those men she learned something from.

So what have I learned?

I think I’ve learned that if it’s not it — for whatever reason — it’s not it. No amount of resisting that fact is going to make it more it. It’s just not.

So it’s probably a waste of time to keep spending energy on Almost Maybes, whatever form they take. They could be that hot ex who’s back in town, the sexy neighbor you just started seeing with whom you’ve always had a flirty elevator relationship but have come to realize has kind of a mean sense of humor, or the super sexy married woman from work you’ve accidentally started sleeping with (there’s no judgment here at Vixen on the Loose, btw; if you’re in a stressful situation like this and need help, please write. You don’t have to be alone no matter how fucked up your situation).

Whatever it is, most of us have an internal sense of when it’s Not Quite It, which is really just another name for Almost Maybe.

The issue is really that the more energy and attention you spend focusing on Almost Maybes (texting them, thinking about them, fucking them) – the less energy and attention you have to actually be present in your life right now, which means the harder it would be for an actual match to find you. My friend Jeffrey puts it best when he says you have to let go of the banana to get the goodies.

Think about it: let’s say you have a friend with benefits who you know it isn’t going to work with, and simultaneously you want to be in a real relationship. Well, if on a given Friday night you meet up with your fuckbuddy for a rousing game of post-college flip cup (nothing like that to make you feel old) after which a good old-fashioned romp on the futon, that’s one more night you’re not spending out with friends meeting new people.

Or let’s just say you’re busy texting an Almost Maybe while you’re on the metro; that makes it totally likely that you’ll totally miss the adorable, single, sane, commitment-ready guy who thinks you’re cute but can’t figure out a way to talk to you because you’re busy with your head down in your phone.

The point is, you pay more attention to your surroundings — in every sense of the word — when you’re not spending mental energy trying to figure out what the latest Almost Maybe’s deal is, or what to do about him/her.

Here’s what to do about him or her:

(Note: if you figure out how to actually do this, let me know.)

 

 

 

Incidental Sex

Her: "You do realize we'll be stuck like this for *eternity*, right?" Him: "Aww, yeah..."

Some sex is meaningful.

It means something when you finally sleep with that guy in your building you’ve been flirting with for months but never got the guts up to ask out. It means something when the girl from your kickball league you wanted from the moment you laid eyes on her, finally says yes and you end up going all the way. It means something when you sleep with that college RA you always had a crush on, who you hadn’t seen for years but just moved into your city.

In those instances there’s a connection, and the sex is memorable even if the act itself isn’t particularly good. In fact, it’s actually hard for it not to be good, because anticipation is half of what dopamine release is all about.

Damn, boy... that fire's not the only thing that's smokin'!

There’s also the kind of sex where the physicality itself is so good, so explosive, so raw, that it doesn’t matter who it was with. It’s that guy you met in Brazil at a bonfire with whom you could barely communicate (at least verbally), who traced his fingers along your bare shoulder until you were the one dragging him down the beach with a blanket and whatever Portuguese is for Trojan. It’s that girl that rubbed up against you while you did the merengue at your favorite salsa place until you were totally incoherent, who you took back to your place and continued the incoherence nonstop, all night.

Hat trick, anyone?

It’s the pro hocky player who spotted you from the stands and came to ravage you after the game, not even fully taking off his uniform but taking his time while he bent you over the benches in the locker room and lifted you up with your legs around him while he did you against the lockers themselves.

(Obviously this is not a personal fantasy of mine).

At any rate, in those cases your mind is overrun because the only space that exists is taken up by your body. The bends and ridges and curves of you can do nothing but remember the sensual, sexual, creative, intoxicating power of it, the way skin and lips and limbs and thoughts melded into one. It’s the kind of experience where the sex itself carried you beyond the present into the Present, that place where words are lost and grace is found.

Then there’s incidental sex.

Incidental sex is exactly what it sounds like: it just happened to happen. It was a Monday night, it wasn’t particularly inspiring, and it wasn’t particularly memorable – it just sort of occurred.

I had incidental sex this past week. We met up at around 10pm on a weeknight. We had a nice drink at a nice hotel bar. We got along well, both having gone to good schools, both knowing who Kanye is and who Romney isn’t. And after about an hour and a half, we went back to his place.

Now, just to clarify, the sex was good. He could get it up and keep it up and liked to kiss while fucking and could read my body for the most part and genuinely wanted to do what I wanted to do and liked to give oral sex. So really, technically he was a great sexual partner for me.

And yet, even just an hour after I’d gone home and was about to go sleep, I realized that the sex (and the guy) were hardly even in my consciousness. I’d spent the taxi ride home thinking about other things – what classes there’d be at the gym tomorrow, whether or not it was going to rain, my weekend, friends, my life. And the next day when I got a text from a friend asking how the date had gone, I was surprised. I’d practically forgotten I’d even had sex the night before.

To be completely honest, I think this did, in part, have to do with the guy’s technique. It was a smidge mechanical. I think that frankly, I wanted a little bit more care, a little more love, a little more tenderness. (Also, I hate it when men grab my breasts like they’re door knobs. Wtf is that? Does it feel good to you? Do you really think it feels good to me? Well, if you do, think again. It’s doesn’t just not turn me on, it turns me off. In fact, if I were a lamp, you’d be in the pitch-ass dark, motherfucker).

But I digress. The point is, if the sex had been truly spectacular (as I love to harken back to), I wouldn’t have been surprised at the text from my girlfriend. I would have been texting her, because I would have been replaying the scenario in my mind, or looking at my phone hoping he had texted, or simply basking in post-coitus-excellentus bliss.

But I wasn’t. I was thinking about my upcoming workshop and acting and music videos and my writing and all of the rest of the things I’m excited about in my life. I didn’t regret the night before, but I also didn’t want to relive it. I just felt neutral.

In other words, it was a bit like going out to dinner at a good restaurant – not a great restaurant, not a truly extraordinary restaurant, but a good one nonetheless. It’s good while you’re there; the sauce flavorful, the food hot, the waiter attentive.

But it’s not truly exceptional, where even the next day you’re remembering how exquisite the soup was, light and buttery and delicious, or how perfect the bread, crunchy and warm and delicious, or how extraordinary the dessert, a delectable chocolate lava cake with just the right melt-in-your-mouth, feed-it-to-me-slowly-and-make-me-beg-for-more factor.

Nope, most of the time going out to eat is incidental to your life. It’s a meal, a way of nourishing yourself, something you do because you don’t feel like cooking and you don’t want fast food.

And that’s sort of what this was. It was incidental, not fundamental. It was a like going out for a sexual meal, a way of nourishing myself because I didn’t feel like cooking for myself, so to speak. Sometimes a girl just wants take-out, you know? Or in this case, take-ME-out.

You get the idea.

The point is, while there’s nothing wrong with incidental sex, I’ve decided that I’m sort of over it for now. The next sex I have, I want to be good. I don’t need it to be The Best I’ve Ever Had, but I do want to have a few transcendental moments. I want to have at least a times where our bodies are moving together in exactly the right way, where the way that I’m being touched is perfect in that moment, connected and exhilarating and relaxing at the same time. Maybe even transformative.

My body wants this. My mind wants this. My heart wants this. I’m in alignment.

And it’s been a while since I had it, but I’m willing to wait. I’m even willing to forgo some incidental sex.

But if I’m truly honest, I’m hoping I won’t have to wait long.

 

 

 

 

Grounds

I want a divorce.


Why? Cause I put a camera


in our damn bedroom!


 


Up, Chuck

When I think about


your hands on me it’s all I


can do not to hurl


 


 

Hot fun

This was just supposed


to be a quick summer fling.


What the fuck happened!?


 

Cosmopolitan Magazine