… about women. This screed was inspired by this outstanding article from Emma Gray. Strap it on, buck up, and get with the program.
1. Stop thinking with your willy. If all you expect from a partner is Sealy Calisthenics, you are proving your shallowness. You'll never find out the true depth and beauty of a woman by wrangling her onto the percale as soon as possible. Let it be her idea, and then you'll both feel the magic. Addendum: If you need it that badly, go to the Bang Kok rub 'n' tug.
2. Listen. This does not mean “obey.” Especially when she wants to talk about the relationship. Turn the game off (see # 9). Hold her close and let her talk. In the end, you'll have a stronger bond. And, Mr. Macho-Six-Pack-Hung-Like-Hillshire-Farms, this is what you really want.
3. Appreciate the bifurcation of the sexes. Women are different than us, in myriad ways. Instead of lamenting this, celebrate it. For instance, only women can say, “Awwwww.” If you were down in the dumps, from whom would you rather receive consolation (see # 14 ): your mega-farting buddy Sully or the woman whom you love?
4. Ask her. Out on a date. For a kiss. Her opinion. Not only will she appreciate this, but you'll find out quickly whether she has sentenced you to Friend Prison or not.
5. Lose the hoodie. Enough said.
6. Employ the mini-compliment. Lay off the “you're the most beautiful, gush, gush, blah, blah” shit. This is hyperbole. Notice the earrings, the hair (ESPECIALLY the hair), the shoes. And yes, you like them. Every time. And don't wait for her to mention the item at hand. Detect it, Sherlock. And don't gush.
7. Cook. This does NOT mean grill. Any Natty-Light-swilling idiot can do this. Start with easy dishes (not Ragu!) and work your way up. Yes, this can be used as a ploy, but think bigger. Many women I've known would rather enjoy your veal marsala with a nice Pinot than go to Chez Fancypants. The only time this backfired on me was when a woman told me she was intimidated by my knife skills. Sic transit gloria mundi.
8. Beware of alcohol. Especially in the beginning. Feel this out with her. Do not drag her down to Filthy McNasty's on the first date. Too many times, I have seen a woman toying with her Chard at a table while Datey and his slovenly boys, fueled by multiple Jaeger Bombs, debate the worth of Eli Manning at the rail. See # 9. As far as recreational drugs go, you're on your own.
9. Tame your sports obsessions. Am I saying stop supporting your team? No. But putting your life in total-stop mode to watch endless games can rupture a blossoming relationship. Perhaps she has a favorite game you both can enjoy. If she understands you (and yes, you can foster this by being open with her), going with the guys on an occasional outing won't be such a big whup. Plus: You're, say, 45. Do you really need that $275 custom-lettered official jersey? For the same price, you two can go to a B&B.
10. You can't buy her. Perhaps moneyed investment bankers and washed-up film stars can do this, but it doesn't last. Baubles, gewgaws and other impedimenta should be avoided, especially early on. Too often, you'll embarrass her with something she is hesitant to accept. Later on, surprise her with something small and inexpensive. You'll get a laugh and a hug.
11. If she cares about you, she'll show you. Meaning: Don't expect Sweetie to come out right away and tell you anything romantic. Women are not conditioned to do this. Look at the whole shebang as an adventure, not a chase. For example, on an early date, my soon-to-be gal invited me in and, wordlessly, served us a glass of wine. The same wine we had at our first dinner. Then I knew that this was going to be a BIG ONE. And she was one of the finest women I have ever known.
12. Don't make demands. Corollary to #1. I know an absolutely wonderful woman whom I loved back in the day. I guess I always will, in a way, because she is such a woman of substance. We reconnected a few years ago, and it's been fabulous to have her back in my life. One night she called me, sobbing, to tell me about a guy she had been seeing. After a furious flurry of solid, meaningful dates, he—out of the blue—demanded that they roll about on the Serta. She tried to explain that she was enjoying this nascent relationship but wasn't quite ready to conjugate the verb. This douche-nozzle then abruptly announced this was a deal-breaker and stormed away. If you act like this, stop reading this piece. Right now.
13. Iron. The verb. Especially for her. It's not cryogenics. My grandma taught me this, in about fifteen minutes.
14. Compassion. I think this is one of the most admirable traits anyone can espouse. She might just need a hug, some soothing words … or your veal marsala. If you're both not giving—and getting—this from your partner, something is awry.
15. Cuzzy. This is not my term; it's via my old roomie, Johnny Dateless. It's a combination of snuggling, holding, warming, with maybe a soupçon of osculation. Often, this is just what she needs. Then you'll find out that you're not a wuss because you enjoy it, too.
16. Be noble. Admit your faults without over-apology. Find out what you've done wrong (which may prove difficult) and fix it. Is it really going to kill you to pick up your Jockeys off the floor and put them in the hamper? And if she errs, accept her words, don't berate. Talk. Listen.
17. Remind her. Remind her that she is beautiful and loved. Every day. I wish I had known this when I was younger.