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.