Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'm Just Giving The Dog A Bone: The Men's Guide To Flirting

So you think you can flirt, huh? I have news for you, buddy-- you can always improve on that game, and just like how you begged until your parents sent you to basketball camp in middle school so that you could improve that 3-point shot of yours, I'm here by popular demand to tell you where you're slacking on the job while trying to pick up chicks. So, here it is, 5 quick, easy tips for sneakily getting on the better, phone-number-giving side of the fairer sex. Use them for good, my boys, not evil. After all-- Gandalf is watching.

- Be Aggressive, B.E AGGRESSIVE:

This is the cautionary tale of one would-be suitor gone horrible wrong:

Sometimes, being aggressive is a good thing, like in rugby and fencing and chess and discount sales in Filene's Basement. But sometimes, it's not. Persistence isn't always the best tactic. One over-enthusiastic gent tracked me down on Facebook-- and Twitter. He tried friending me-- 3 times in 2 days when I didn't accept fast enough for his liking. He messaged me. He poked me. It was the electronic equivalent of a grade-school kid standing on his blue plastic chair, waving his arms over his head, screaming, "Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!" I still haven't accepted his request. Why? Because there's aggressive, and then there's AGGRESSIVE. And...desperation has never been sexy. Doesn't matter if you're XY or XX-- it's a big NO, and the reek of it permeates everything you do. We will know when you're desperate. Your friends, parents, coworkers, classmates, postal worker, hair dresser, and the entirety of Facebook will know when you are desperate. It shows. So get a leash on that beast. Down, boy.

- "E" Is For Effort. Also, Egotistical Eunuchs End Up Eating Alone:

I've had guys tell me, "Come down to see me when you're on your break." This is bad. If you're the one who wants to see me, then you can come to me. A girl with options never goes out of her way for a man; she'll let him come to her, if he wants to. Nothing tells a girl faster if a guy is really serious about her or not by how much effort he puts into seeing her. And by this age, we girls should have stopped being delusional and making excuses for lazy asses and should know how much effort shown constitutes a viable man and a viable relationship. I know. If it isn't calling, isn't visiting, isn't writing, and isn't planning, it ain't yo' boyfran, gurrrrrrl. And kind sirs, if you are not actively walking your ass over to see her, she's going to find someone else who WILL, because she ain't that desperate yet for yo' lazy ass. Again, desperation is never sexy.


Always remember: A little goes a long way, if your "little"-- time, effort, energy, affection, money, passion-- is quality. I've always preferred my men a little aloof-- it helps keep the magic going. My last S.O waited until Date #5 to finally kiss me; the entirety of dates 1-4 I was constantly wondering what was going on, and the anticipation made me sparkle even more than the average girl trying to look good on a date does because I kept working for it. But the long-awaited kiss was so good, it was worth the wait. And you know what? All that time spent in good, intelligent conversation, learning each other's likes and dislikes, food and movie preferences before swapping spit made us both sure that we liked the other-- more than just a first date could have foreseen. They were quality dates. It was a quality first kiss. We were sure that the other was a quality person. Much better than a really awkward make-out session straddling the cup-holders in his car's front seat post first-date beers would have been. A win all-around.

- How To Scabbard Your Sword-- What Women Want:

Sorry, this isn't about sex. I just thought that play on words would grab your attention for what will probably be for most of you the hardest concept to grasp. (Unlike grasping other things.) This is about what all women want. This is the secret that lands the nerdy guys the perfect 10s. This is the Rosetta Stone for understanding women. Cracking this is like cracking a Rubix Cube. So I don't want to have to sit here and waits through eons of evolution for you guys to finally get it. Which is why I'm just going to come right out and say it to you:

Women just want to be saved. Or, at the very least, we want a partner in crime.

You know how in Million Dollar Baby, Hillary Swank kicked major ass? It was because Clint Eastwood was there in her corner, and he had her back. All women want a knight...white, black, red, or purple, it doesn't matter to us. What matters is that we all want a champion— someone who is willing to go forth and do battle for us, whether it’s getting us that extra dollar off our soft pretzel at the mall that the salesgirl somehow forgot to credit us, or sticking up to other people to defend us. Because we’re worth it. As Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote, every girl is a princess, whether she looks like it or acts like it or not. If I do something, if I say something, you best believe I do it with 110% conviction, and all I want— and what I deserve— is to have someone there who will stand next to me and uphold those words and those actions.

This is where a guy riding up on his high horse comes in. I don’t need to be questioned anymore. I shouldn’t have to explain myself. What I want, what I need-- what all women need-- is someone as strong and courageous and faithful as I am to stand next to me and be there for me to lean on when I’m too tired to lead the charge, and have them stand up to the job. So be a stand-up guy. If you say something, follow through. Never make any promises you can't keep; don't lie. If you know something wrong is happening, stop it. If you see something unfair, call people on it. In return, I promise that any woman worth that title and her salt will be doing the same for you, because if you have my back, and I have yours, nothing in life will ever be able to sneak up on us and scare the crap out of us. THAT is what women find most sexy of all-- reliability, safety, and partnership.

- Getting The Big N.O, or, Failure For Champions:

Then again, you could do everything right and still be turned down. It's a woman's prerogative to be fickle. Maybe she's just gotten out of a bad relationship, or isn't over her ex yet. Maybe she's interested in someone else and doesn't want to lead you on and waste your time. Maybe you're just not her "type" can't help that, but chances are you definitely will be someone else's. Or maybe she's just enjoying being single right now, and doesn't want to think about getting involved with men or dating. But don't let this dissuade you from trying again with a different girl-- practice makes perfect, after all. Take a page from the Casanova-like diaries of the men I met while I was in Italy-- with all the "ciao, bella"-ing that was going on, and all the flat-out rejections from those "bella"s, I thought it was a wonder any Italians ever managed to procreate. But as my Food and Wine professor told his class of 18 American girls, "If you say it enough times, someone is bound to say 'ciao' back." That's how he landed his American wife while she was studying abroad. See? It works. If Giancarlo could do it, I have faith that you can, too. Now, get out there, and be someone's knight in shining armor. Or, at least, take you car through the car wash and go pay for the cute lady in front of you's espresso at the coffee shop tomorrow morning.

Buona fortuna!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How To Stay Single, Or, The New Girl Brings All The Boys To The Yard.

When I moved home, I expected that being a grown-ass woman rooming with her parents was going to be putting a HUGE dent in my dating game, were I to choose to play it again. I forgot to factor in the atmosphere of where, exactly, I was moving back to, literally and metaphorically.

The one thing I'd forgotten about starting new jobs was the fact that working in a mall is kind of like being thrown A.) Back into high school, and B.) To the sharks. Since breaking up, moving back home, and becoming employed elsewhere after years of working for the college, I'd somehow forgotten that when you're a mall-rat employee, you meet LOTS of new people. Not because you're just that cool or that popular...but because everyone wants to find out what the new girl's like.

Well, when the new girl's under the age of 30, single, and is willing to wear 5-inch heels to climb the ladder at work to hang new company posters...well, being the new girl turns some heads. The fact that she doesn't pay rent and eats home-cooked meals isn't considered a deterrent, at all. Unfortunately.

By my second shift, I already had a coworker trying to play matchmaker with me and one of his friends. I had a slew of new Facebook friend requests...all male. I literally had to make the "turn around" hand motion to get some poor young dude working across the hall to go back to his shirt folding when I clicked by on a candy bar run to Kmart before his manager yelled at him. I have gotten more store card apps in the last two weeks from eager, young, impressionable men with birth dates in the '90s than...well, more than I should feel morally ok with.

...Have I mentioned the fact that in my hometown, having all your teeth is a sign of natural beauty? While I may not be a top-model prize in Burlington or, say, Milan-- in Vegas, baby, (all) my straight teeth and 4-pack abs are pulling out all the stops.

But here's the thing-- I'm enjoying being single. After two and a half years of always having some guy around, I actually like being on my own. I mean, sure, the fact that it's getting cold at night without someone else to leech body-heat from is becoming a pain in the ass, and I really miss the company, but as I told a coworker today when she asked me how I was getting by without having sex, considering the fact that I lived with my last boyfriend and consider sex to be a daily-- if not twice or thrice daily-- duty when in relationships, I'm taking a little bit of a respite from it now, thanks. It's nice to not have to shave every other day. My body is thanking me more than it's yelling at me every time a tall, muscular dude who looks like Jason Statham's nephew walks by the storefront. For real. I'm not kidding. And my leg hair has never kept me warmer. Which is good for all those cold nights spent cuddling with my cat at home while watching Netflix and having to keep turning the volume out to drown my parents out.

So, despite all the things that nature and our 21st century society state I should have working against me right now, I've started waving at one of my sweeter admirers every time he passes by, even though I've made it clear to all that NOBODY gets a "friend" request accepted until I've met and talked with you at least twice for a decent amount of time (it helps suss out the creepers from the genuine nice people), no matter how many times you walk by or how many times I wave hello. One of my managers noticed, and asked me how I felt about jumping back into the dating pool. I pulled a face and told her my master plan.

"I figure, if I say to them, 'my last relationship involved living together, him doing the laundry, and talking about weddings; are you ready to jump right in there?' it will scare them away."

So far, the master plan is working. The only thing scarier than a woman with missing teeth in this town is a 22 year old single girl who's looking to play Mr. and Mrs. Buy A House. I mean, I didn't give an underwear model my info. And he looked like this:

What in the unholy Universe would convince me to start dating again NOW?

So who's the smart one now? This (happily single) girl.