Sunday, March 14, 2010

We want you to be courteous.

Courtesy, chivalry, whatever you want to call it, we women like it.

I've been with my husband for going on 13 years now, and rarely does he open a door for me anymore. Headed through the door to a restaurant, even on date night, I can be assured that he will go through, and leave it to swing closed on either my face or my butt--depending on how quickly I'm walking.

It's not that I am opposed to holding the door myself, I am perfectly capable of doing so. What bothers me about the whole thing is that he doesn't look back to see if I've gotten through before letting the door close.

The whole women's liberation movement made men think that women don't appreciate chivalry because it makes them seem like helpless animals. I guess that may be true for some, but the strong and independent women I know would still appreciate the gesture, at least every once in a while. And especially if we have a stroller to push through or are carrying something heavy. ESPECIALLY then.

But the whole courtesy thing extends beyond opening doors and pulling out chairs. Mostly, we just want you to help us out. If we are folding laundry or doing the dishes, a simple, "can I give you a hand, hon?" will go a long way. It's like in the movie The Breakup with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. The demise of their entire relationship can be traced back to an argument they had about doing the dishes. He wanted to wait, but she just couldn't let them sit around any longer. It's not the fact that he wasn't helping her that upset her so much: it was the fact that he didn't WANT to help her.

"I want you to WANT to do the dishes."

We want you to care about us, basically.

Another great example is from the movie
Friends With Money. An entire marriage disintegrates because when the wife says "ouch" her husband doesn't ask if she's OK. The truth is, we really do need to be asked if we're ok. We want you to care about us. If we get hurt, we want you to help us nurse our wounds and bring us ice and bandages. Maybe it's the whole "in sickness and in health" pledge, but we'd really like it to go both ways.

When in doubt, just think, "Am I being nice to her?" If the answer is no, then think back to what you learned about manners in Elementary school and try a little harder. Courtesy rocks.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

We don't wake up looking like this.

"It takes a lot of money to look this cheap!" -- Dolly Parton

Few women are natural beauties. Sad, but true. Movies and television would have men believe that we roll out of bed with sexy, tousled hair and perfect skin. The reality--which you may have already discovered--is much less glamorous.

We women go to great pains to create the illusion of natural beauty. In addition to the obvious application of makeup and fixing of the hair, we do all of our plucking, waxing, exfoliating, shaving, tinting, dying, tanning, and moisturizing behind closed doors. Even the most beautiful woman will do most of these things in private in order to maintain her femininity.

"But wait!" you say, "My girlfriend doesn't do any of that and she's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen." Suuuure. Is your girlfriend a supermodel? No? Well, then either you have very forgiving taste in women (which is awesome of you, by the way), or she is hiding it from you (which you should be thankful for). If you don't believe me, hide her tweezers from her and find out what happens. I guarantee you that either another set will magically appear or you will soon be dating Burt from Sesame Street.
Even if your wife or girlfriend DOES roll out of bed looking beautiful, it's likely as a result of all the effort she put in behind the scenes.

In the beginning of a relationship, many women will go to extreme measures in order to keep their boyfriend from seeing their flaws. Some will even wake up while it's still dark out, put makeup on, then go back to bed just so that when their man wakes up next to them, they look perfect. Yeah, it's stupid, and it usually stops after some period of time together, but it's definitely something that we women have been known to do.

Why is this stuff important for men to know? Because it would be nice if you would appreciate all the hard work we put into keeping ourselves attractive for you. It is a job in itself, and if you start taking it for granted, there is a chance that she may start letting a few things go. Also, if you are bankrolling her beauty routine, it's best just to let her spend what she needs and not ask questions. This is one area you don't want to know about, she doesn't want to tell you about, and you'd be better off just leaving alone.

Be thankful that you've got someone who cares enough to keep the illusion of beauty alive for you and appreciate it. But please, if she ever goes into a coma, don't say I didn't warn you!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

We like gifts.

With Valentine's Day around the corner, I thought this would be a good time to talk about the fine art of gift-giving. I know that some of you guys have a female counter-part who has said something along the lines of, "don't get me a Valentine's Day gift" or "I don't really like Valentine's Day". Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but that's a load of crap.

Every girl likes to get gifts. Whether or not she finds Valentine's Day to be too "commercialized" to celebrate is beyond the point: get her something. It doesn't have to be anything big--a box of chocolate, a $20 necklace--anything to show her that you are thinking about her will do. This is one instance in which that phrase "it's the thought that counts" really rings true.

Why do women say that they don't want gifts when they secretly do want them? Well, there can be many reasons. Maybe she doesn't have any money this year to give you anything nice. Perhaps she wants to look low-maintenance and so she's playing it "cool". It could be that she knows that you are low on money and is trying to let you off the hook. Whatever the reason, 99% of the time, we would still very much like to receive some sort of token of your affection.

So, what do you get her? A sure-fire way to pick the perfect present is to pay close attention to little (or big) hints she gives. For example:

"I sure wish I could still wear my favorite necklace, but the clasp broke."
Translation: Buy her a new chain (or a new necklace).

"My back has just been in knots lately!"
Translation: Get a massage certificate, or give her one yourself.

"I've been looking for this movie everywhere, but I just can't seem to find it! I'd sure like to watch it..."
Translation: Hop on Amazon, you moron.

See how easy that is?

Now, with Valentine's Day in particular, the most important thing about the gift you give is that it is thoughtful, or romantic in some way. Lingerie is good, but only if she is very comfortable with her body and likes wearing fancy underwear. If you're going to go with lingerie, by the way, I would stick with matching bra and panty sets, because she will be able to use them often. I do have one exception for a romantic gift: Unless she is really psycho-crazy in love with candles, I would steer clear from giving her candles for Valentine's Day. Candles are the type of thing you give someone when you don't know what else to give them--that's what you get for strangers in Secret Santa exchanges, not for the love of your life.

Another great idea for a Valentine's gift, especially for the wife or girlfriend who thinks it's too "commercialized", is something home made. Try gathering up old photos, upload them to Blurb, and make an album of your relationship. Write her a love letter, listing out the reasons she's wonderful. Mixed CDs are always a good option, especially if you have a lot of songs you share as sentimental. Cleaning the house and cooking dinner and dessert is ALWAYS a hit. Get the idea?

Also, please keep in mind that it doesn't have to be a holiday or special occasion to show your woman how much you love her with a present. Sometimes the nicest gifts are given "just because". So next time you are out and about and you see something that reminds you of her, pick it up for her! I guarantee you that she will love you more for it. :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

We have very fragile egos.

If you are already in a relationship, you probably have figured this one out by now. Women are delicate creatures in more ways than one, meaning that if you think you can just "tell us like it is", you have another thing coming, buddy. Even if you've got one of those low-maintenance type of gals who you like to think of as "one of the guys", it's quite likely that she still has a pretty fragile ego.

Unless you are a complete and total moron, you would never go around pointing out her flaws directly, but it doesn't take you pulling out a magnifying glass to feel like we're being judged. We know we have flaws--even the most confident-seeming woman is probably much more insecure than the average man. Take the amount of flaws you have noticed in us and multiply them times at least 5, and that's probably the amount we've tallied up ourselves. It isn't necessary to point these things out to us, is what I'm saying. We've got it covered. There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes that you don't ever see, and much of that is concentrated on hiding our flaws from you in the hopes that you never notice them.

Unfortunately, it doesn't take you saying, "Hey, your ass is getting really big--better lay off the ice cream," to bruise a woman's ego. We can take a seemingly innocent comment from you and turn it into a dig on us, especially if we are having a bad day.

For example, say you and your lady-friend are watching tv together when a Pro-activ commercial comes on. And say you've noticed that her skin has been less-than perfect lately. The first thing that comes to your mind is to suggest ordering the magical skin-clearing system, but any idiot knows that's the wrong way to go. So instead, you say something along the lines of, "Wow! That Jessica Simpson sure has some great skin now--what a difference!" You may not know it, but you just made her want to put a bag over her head. Not Jessica Simpson, dumb-ass--your woman.

Believe it or not, even though you didn't say anything about her directly, she was thinking along the same lines as you were. She was holding her breath, hoping you weren't noticing her bad skin while looking at the pore-less woman on the screen. The moment you opened your mouth to talk about acne, she felt every single blemish and pore on her face magnify to the size of Mount St. Helens, which in turn made her feel self-conscious. Sad, but true.

So how do you put this knowledge to good use? Clearly it's not practical to censor yourself with every breath, so here's a pretty easy rule of thumb to follow: don't talk about any thing pertaining to any one of her flaws. This list includes, but is not limited to: acne, fat, cellulite, varicose veins, body/facial hair (on women only), and saggy/too-small boobs. The list is different for every woman, so adjust your banned-topic list to your female companion. Don't go overboard and start complimenting her on her perceived flaws ("Your skin has looked really good lately!") because we see right through that. When in doubt, just keep your mouth shut and give her a hug or a kiss--works every time.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

We hate telling you what to do.

Really. We hate it.

Perhaps after months or years together, your better half has become something of a "nag", reminding you to put the toilet seat down, take out the trash, and put your dirty underwear in the laundry basket. Well guess what? We don't like asking you to do these things any more than you like being told to do them.

So, we should stop "reminding" you, you say? That would be great! Let's do that! Only now, we are forced to fall into the toilet in the middle of the night, frantically run the trash out to the curb in our pajamas in front of the whistling garbage men , and...well, put your dirty underwear in the laundry basket FOR you. Does that seem fair? Not really.

What seriously doesn't make sense about this whole issue is that you men want us to stop nagging, but if you forget to do something, you come at us with, "Well, why didn't you TELL me? I'm not a mind-reader!" Clearly, this is a Pandora's Box of a problem that's been around for ages and isn't likely to be solved in one tidy little blog post. However, if I could offer one piece of advice on this whole issue, it would be to stop making us remind you to do things. Oh, and never call us a nag, no matter how much you think it. Unless you want to sleep on the couch.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

We need to be told we're pretty

This should be a no-brainer, guys: tell your wife or girlfriend she looks pretty, and tell her often.

I'm going to assume since you are in a relationship with this woman that you are, or once were, attracted to her. If you've been in the relationship for a long time, I'm going to assume that you have stopped complimenting her often, or perhaps altogether. This is a major oversight on your part, fella. We women need to be reassured of our attractiveness, and since we are no longer playing the field, the only place we can get that reassurance is from YOU.

"But," you say, "my wife has let herself go and she doesn't even try to look attractive anymore, so why should I encourage that?" *virtual slap upside the head* Do you realize that part of the reason she may have "let herself go" is because she feels like you didn't seem to notice or care if she made the effort?

I was out for drinks with a friend the other night, and this subject came up. The exact scenario I just described was going on in her marriage: she had always dressed nicely, worn makeup, and fixed her hair for her husband, but she recently stopped doing all that. Why? Because her husband didn't treat her any differently when she made that effort than he did when she frumped around the house. And why would she waste all that time and energy on her appearance if it wasn't necessary?

Truth be told, women have a hard time accepting compliments, and a lot of us will respond in a way that makes you think that it would have been better to say nothing at all. Don't let that discourage you. Though she may argue back with something like, "But I feel so fat today!" keep in mind that your words, more than likely, still gave her that little boost of confidence she was looking for.

Complimenting your wife or girlfriend will do more than just make her feel good: it will make her want to look good so that she can hear it more often. As an added bonus, it has been noted in many a research project that one of the biggest sexual turn-ons for women is having a partner who is turned on by her.
Yes, that's right--if she knows you are attracted to her, she is more likely to be attracted to you. Could this be any easier?

So, to sum it up: if you want a partner who looks her best and wants to have sex with you often, keep this short but sweet phrase in your daily vocabulary: "You look pretty."