The Advice Goddess

The Advice Goddess

I got spew, babe

You wrote in your column, “Men, especially, are compelled to ditch what’s chasing them and chase what’s trying to ditch them.” It seems you’re advising that the simple desire to love a man must be approached without authenticity and personal integrity. Must a woman really scheme to get a man, using a painfully conscious strategy based on men’s psychological makeup, and wait and wait like Cinderella until he reaches out to her?

— Truth-Teller

For a woman of character, honesty is the best policy — except when judicious honesty is a better policy, like on the second date, when you refrain from telling a guy that you and he should pick out side-by-side burial plots: “The moment I saw you, I just knew I wanted to decompose next to you!”

You think of employing restraint as “scheming.” Um, scheming is talking a guy into a $10 million insurance policy and then sending him skydiving with a busted parachute. The notion that it’s morally bankrupt to refrain from chasing a man is an idea out of some future gender-neutral utopia where everyone wears Star Trek uniforms, eats single little cubes of lunch, and grows babies in a Mason jar in their front room.

As I’ve written before, any sexual encounter had a hefty potential cost for a woman during the Stone Age — a particularly crappy time to be a single mother. Because of this, women evolved to be choosier about partners, and men coevolved to expect that of them. Times have changed, but our psychology really hasn’t. So, when a woman throws herself at a man like a big flopping flounder, he’s likely to duck — suspecting that she probably isn’t worth having (for anything beyond a quick romp) if she’s so easy to get. This is unfortunate, but whining endlessly about it is an ineffective strategy for getting what you want, unless what you want are polyps on your vocal cords.

What you’re really arguing for is, “Why shouldn’t I be able to throw all self-discipline out the window and have the man I want drop down my chimney like Santa?” In a similar vein, I often wonder why I’ve been unable to become incredibly wealthy by napping. (Welcome to real life. Please visit often in the future.)

The answer is neither throwing yourself at a man nor waiting for him to notice that you dropped your glass slipper. You flirt to indicate that you’d be interested in going out with him, if only he’d ask. Flirting takes patience and self-control, but it isn’t exactly a horrible chore. It’s playful and fun. Kind of like tag. You run a little, and if all goes well, the guy chases you. Men just love to chase things — women, animals, purse-snatchers. In the U.K., they even have a tradition of chasing a big wheel of cheese down a hill. Wait — don’t get ideas. You will need to flip your hair and make eye contact and teasing remarks. You can’t just throw yourself down a grassy incline.

 

Schlong story short

Thanks to recent medical issues, my husband of 10 years can no longer get an erection, and our sex life has dried up. Sitting side by side on the couch watching the Food Network is, no doubt, a marvelous way to spend an evening; it’s just that we thought those kinds of evenings were a bit further down the road for us. No offense, but writing you this has been the most romantic thing we’ve done as a couple in quite some time. Help!

— Prematurely Old

So, his penis refuses to stand up anymore: “Is that a piece of lasagna in your pocket …?” As devastating as this may seem, it’s no reason to have a funeral for your entire sex life. (If your stove broke, would you stop eating?) Chances are, your retirement from sex has less to do with recent penile developments than believing that the only “real” sex is the hot dog into the Lincoln Tunnel variety. Sex therapist Dr. Marty Klein points out in Sexual Intelligence that many people make the mistake of defining what sex is by how their bodies work at 18 or 25, and then, ridiculously, cling to that vision into their 30s, 40s, and beyond, when they have far different bodies. Because physical intimacy is pretty essential for maintaining emotional intimacy, thinking this way can be relationship-wrecking. Turn off the TV and start making out and doing the kajillion sex things that don’t require perfectly functioning hydraulics. Watching Paula Deen re-enact Last Tango in Paris with a pork chop has its merits, but exploring Klein’s advice — that “there isn’t any part of your body that can’t be erotically charged” — should prove far sexier and a lot less likely to give you diabetes.

(c)2012, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)


It’s Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Radio — “Nerd your way to a better life!” with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. Call-in during the show: 347-326-9761 (NYC area code).


Read Amy Alkon’s book: “I SEE RUDE PEOPLE: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).

 

The Advice Goddess

The Advice Goddess

 

Splendor in the grass cuttings

I married a domineering man 20 years my senior. We have two college-age kids. I’ve spent the past 22 years (half my life) navigating his ill-temperedness and high expectations, and my life is often chaotic and unhappy. For nine months, I’ve been infatuated with my super-hot 25-year-old co-worker, “Dax.” I’ve tried to distance myself, but my husband met Dax, saw how buff Dax is, and offered him a landscaping job at our home! Because my husband is such a jerk, I was sure he’d drive Dax away, but he and Dax have great rapport! Dax laughs off my husband’s snide comments and teases back and even flirts with me in front of him. He’s now joining us for dinner, my husband’s making him egg sandwiches in the morning, and my daughter called him “kinda like a sister.” I’m having intense sexual fantasies, and my marital love life has perked up because I’m constantly turned on. My rational mind says this is a runaway train, and my crush-addled brain is trying to arrange alone time with him. I fantasize that my hubby will run away with someone so I can be with Dax.

— Lust-Whacked

Be careful what you wish for. The way things are going, it shouldn’t be long before you come down to the breakfast table and walk in on your husband cutting up egg sandwiches and playfully popping them in Dax’s mouth.

In fact, it seems your cabana boy needs a sign-up sheet. When he isn’t busy removing his shirt in your backyard and letting sweat glisten on his taut pecs and drip down to his tight abs, he’s got tease-offs with your husband. Then, it’s off to the mall for a little shoe shopping with your daughter — before sitting down for the family dinner. An aspiring two-timing wife just can’t get a sex rendezvous in edgewise!

 
So, your husband is “ill-tempered” and “domineering” — and apparently has been for 22 years. By all means, do nothing about that. (If only snubbing your problems would make them hang their little heads and slink away.) Of course, getting naked in the tool shed with a sexalicious lawnboy is loads more fun than getting emotionally naked with your husband and some disapproving therapist. The thing is, fair play in a marriage involves sticking to that boring “forsake all others” business until you’ve notified your spouse that you want out of your contract. And no, letting him catch you in bed with your lawn intern doesn’t count as notification.

It isn’t too late to take the step you should’ve when you first started feeling miserable in your marriage — do that adult thing and use your words. Tell your husband how unhappy you are — in a way that motivates him to take action and makes him feel that he may lose you if he doesn’t change. Think of this as triggering a positive crisis — positive in that it gives you a shot at turning a despot into a husband and a dictatorship into a partnership. You may ultimately decide to end your marriage, but at least you’ll do it in a way that doesn’t leave your kids with a sordid story of how Mom left Dad for the lawn guy and then the lawn guy left Mom for a hot 22-year-old with crabgrass.

Steaks on a plate

I do some volunteer work, and I’ve fallen hard for this guy who volunteers with me, and he seems to be into me, too. The thing is, I’m a vegetarian, and he appears to mainly subsist on cheeseburgers. He seems to be a great guy, but is this doomed before it starts?

— Veggie Girl

The question isn’t whether opposites attract. The question is, Would they spend the entire evening fighting over whether one’s chicken bone touched the other’s frying pan? The answer to that question hinges on your answer to a few more questions, like, Why are you a vegetarian? Do you hear “medium-rare” and think “morally bankrupt,” or do you just think meat is icky? And let’s say you’re OK with the ethics of meat-eating. When you think of kissing the guy, are you imagining his lips on yours or around that chopped dead cow? Next, consider that cooking together would probably be more like cooking separately together but with shared meat stench. And finally, be sure you wouldn’t eventually feel compelled to bully him into becoming a meatless meatball eater, like by starting a cute mealtime ritual of estimating what percentage of the rainforest was destroyed by farting cows to put that steak on his plate. Thanks, hope you enjoy your dinner, too.

(c)2012, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)


It’s Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Radio — “Nerd your way to a better life!” with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. Call-in during the show: 347-326-9761 (NYC area code).


Read Amy Alkon’s book: “I SEE RUDE PEOPLE: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).

The Advice Goddess

The Advice Goddess

 

Hell in a hen basket

Seven months ago, when I met my boyfriend, I had no idea he had so many female friends. I’m 26; he’s 30. I understand having opposite-sex friends to get perspective on dating, but he’s like one of their girlfriends. He gabs on the phone with them constantly, and they treat him like their little teddy bear, inviting him to baby showers, bringing him leftovers, and baking him cookies. He only understands my jealousy as fear that he will cheat. But, these are married girls he’s known for years, and he’s not a sleazeball. I’m not scared of catching him in bed with another woman; I’m terrified I’ll overhear him discussing what color she should paint the baby’s room. I know he won’t be comfortable telling his girlfriends that he picks out nail polish with only one woman from now on — me! I don’t feel he needs these relationships when he’s in a serious relationship, and it isn’t their job to take care of him.

— Feeling Inadequate

He isn’t just your man; he’s the married hens’ pet mandroid. Kind of like their own super-adorable version of “The Terminator”: “I’ll be back … to help you pick out panty liners!”

From the way you describe the guy, it sounds like his testosterone level is somewhere between zero and “crying softly while hiding under the bed.” But you apparently didn’t find him under-manly when you started dating him and apparently don’t now; you’re just upset to learn that he’s been moonlighting as a gay decorator.

 
Odd as it is to have a boyfriend whose homies are a bunch of suburban homemakers, outside friendships can help keep a relationship alive. (No one person shares their partner’s every interest or meets their every need.) Outside friendships can also go too far — like if your boyfriend’s confiding things he’d otherwise confide in you, ditching you to hang with them, or answering the phone during sex as their first responder for nail polish emergencies: “Definitely ‘Baby’s Breath’ over that trampy ‘Seashell Pink’!”

If you aren’t icked out because he likes scrapbooking and sipping chard with the ladies, and you don’t feel shortchanged in time, energy and attention, maybe the real problem is insecurity on your part. It is understandable that you feel a little jealous. When you get into a relationship with a guy, you expect to be his one-and-only, and not feel like you need to get in line behind the housewife harem bringing him plates of homemade brownies.

Stamping your foot and ordering him to ditch the biddies is a bad idea. Even if you got him to cave, resentment would surely rise up in him to fill the void. What you can do is tell him what you need. Explain that you aren’t worried he’ll cheat, just anxious that he’s got a bunch of women in his life who mean a lot to him, who do kinda girlfriendy things for him, who have a history with him that you don’t. Get him to tell you what he sees in you and why he’s with you. This should help you recognize that these women are special to him, but not special-special, like you, which should help you rest easier when he comes home smelling like he spent the night singing into hairbrushes with the girls.

 

Mean and hungry

Men apparently see the organic grocery’s salad bar as the new singles bar. Sorry, but after a long day, I want to load up my container in peace, not get hit on with “So, what’s on the menu tonight?” or “You know, I make a mean kale salad.” (Didn’t know, don’t care.) I’m getting so annoyed at this always happening that I’m tempted to say to the next guy, “What makes you think I want to have a conversation with you?”

— Girl, Interrupted
 

Sadly, shopping local often involves ducking the locals. (If only the salad bar came with a sleaze guard.) Though you could pelt these guys with croutons or cutting remarks, venting anger actually makes it worse — biochemically and psychologically. Wearing a big rock on your finger should stop some men from approaching, and mentioning “my husband” should chase away any who already have. You’ll ultimately feel better if you make the tiny effort to ditch them with dignity; treat them like they have value as human beings (if annoying ones) and like their feelings matter. You might also consider yourself lucky. The day may come when men look at you with all the longing they have for a bench. At that point, you’ll still be complaining: “What’s the world come to when a little old lady spends six hours getting a box of sprouts without attracting a single guy wanting to do wheatgrass shots off her abs?”

(c)2012, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)


It’s Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Radio — “Nerd your way to a better life!” with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. Call-in during the show: 347-326-9761 (NYC area code).


Read Amy Alkon’s book: “I SEE RUDE PEOPLE: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).

The Advice Goddess

The Advice Goddess

 

Scold mountain

The guy I’ve sorta been seeing travels around making videos for an extreme sports company but lives two hours away in the mountains. We met through a mutual friend, went to dinner and then had sex. We had a few more dates, and then he got a girlfriend. He contacted me after they broke up. I went up to see him, and we went to dinner and had sex. He then visited me, and I cooked him a lovely dinner and gave him a massage, putting lots of effort into everything, but he never puts much effort into us. He’ll always say, “I really like you, you should know that,” but only when I’m hounding him, asking why he never calls. Because he lived with his girlfriend for two years, he seems capable of commitment. Should I tell him how I feel — that I want more out of our “relationship”?

— Irked

There are some pretty funny extreme sports, like extreme ironing — lugging an ironing board to a remote location (like the top of a 1,000-foot rock formation) and, as extremeironing.com put it, combining a dangerous outdoor activity “with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.” Less amusing is the extreme sport you seem to favor — all-terrain hurling yourself at a guy who rings you up for sex whenever nobody in his zip code is available.

When you want a boyfriend, you don’t send the message that all a guy has to do to get you is sit across from you and eat a burger. (What’s your idea of playing hard to get, withholding the catsup?) Your extremely casual sex partner popped up again, and you not only had sex with him but cooked him dinner and gave him a complimentary massage. Are you an aspiring girlfriend or an aspiring day spa?

Feminism tells us that a woman should be able to do anything a man can do, from becoming an astronaut to having sex on the first date. I’m all for girls growing up to be astronauts. And obviously, a woman can have sex on the first date — but because men tend to devalue women they don’t have to chase, she’s taking a risk unless all she wants is a little nail and bail.

You need to accept that you’ve blown it with this guy, having trained him to see you as dating roadkill — the sex-providing equivalent of a flattened possum. If he’s starving, he’ll scrape up some possum steaks; otherwise, thanks, he’ll take the $36 T-bone. Your thing with him won’t be a total loss if you turn it into a lesson in how not to act with men in the future. But, don’t just play hard to get; become hard to get. This means developing yourself into a woman who wants a man but isn’t so needy for one that she’ll shove her self-respect in the closet and try to bribe him into wanting her with sex, shiatsu, and home-cooked gourmet meals. Sure, the way to a man’s heart is sometimes “through his stomach,” but only for laparoscopic surgeons taking the scenic route.

 

Brawl in the family

My formerly loving parents are fighting constantly and putting me in the middle, frequently calling to complain about each other. They even phoned me together during a heated argument to ask whose side I was on. This is gut-wrenching, and it’s been great to have my boyfriend’s ear, but I was humiliated to discover he’d called Catholic services and his parents to ask what I should do. He’s a sweet guy, and I’m trying to forgive him, but I feel he compromised my trust.

— Exposed

You counted on two people to be the mature adults in your life — and then the “honey, do” list became the “honey, die” list. (It’s enough to make a girl march into AT&T and ask them to take her off the Family Plan.) As mortified as you are that your boyfriend took your problem out and introduced it around, this is a sign, not that you can’t trust him but that you can — to be there for you when the chips are down instead of turning up the game and crunching extra-hard on the Doritos. Applaud him for his good intentions, and then make sure he understands your “privacy settings.” Next, inform the enemy combatants that your ear is now off-limits for trash-talking and that you’ll say goodbye and hang up fast whenever either starts. Ask them to see a mediator to help them work out terms to live by in the immediate future (get names at Mediate.com) and find a therapist to help them over the long term — for their sake and so seeing them might eventually be more like going to Donny Osmond’s family reunion than Don Corleone’s.

(c)2012, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)


It’s Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Radio — “Nerd your way to a better life!” with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. Call-in during the show: 347-326-9761 (NYC area code).


Read Amy Alkon’s book: “I SEE RUDE PEOPLE: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).

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