I’m 23, and my girlfriend of a couple months is 20. I’m taller than her, although I’m only 5-foot-7, and very thin (I weigh less than she does). She’s mentioned several times that she’s never been with somebody so thin, making me think it’s a problem for her. I just have the feeling that she’s not that turned on by me. I know I’m not as big as my guy friends, and I don’t care. I don’t need to be as big to get their respect. Could this be a childish hangup she’ll outgrow? While I’d never threaten to break up if she’s simply not in the mood (which she seems to not be a lot), I need the physical to go with the emotional. There must be something I can do to spice up our love life.
— Slim Jim
From the way your girlfriend’s been talking, your best bet for spicing up your love life is trying new things in bed, like the Double Down. Unfortunately, that isn’t some tantric maneuver, but the new KFC sandwich with bacon and melted cheese between two fried chicken patties.
Dating a really skinny guy can make even thin women feel huge (“Do I look fat in this relationship?”). Women seem to have an evolved preference for men with characteristics that suggest physical dominance. Numerous studies show that almost all women prefer men who are taller than they are. And even though the only bear you’re likely to encounter these days is the little plastic one your honey comes in, many women want men who are built like they’d have some chance of slaying a real one — as opposed to taking one look, scaling the woman like a tree, and whimpering, “Donnnn’t hurrrrt meeee!”
Sure, your guy friends are fine with your body size — because when they hang out with you, they might wake up hung over, not naked and spooning you with their face pressed into your back hair. Skinny guys can make up for a lack of beefiness by trying to date even skinnier women, or by muscling up — not to cartoon proportions; just so they’re more cruel Adonis than human breadstick.
As for your recent sexual dry spell, there does come a time in a relationship when the old sex life cools down, but it’s not supposed to happen anywhere near the three-week mark. Maybe your girlfriend’s not that into sex, maybe she’s not that into sex with a guy built like you. She may like you, respect you, and want to want you, but lust doesn’t work that way. You just can’t train yourself to be attracted to a person like you’d train yourself to rollerblade or master the subjunctive. There are women out there who’ll be really attracted to you and won’t be able to keep their hands off you — at the very least, for the first few months. They’ll probably drop little suggestions about stuff that bugs them, too, but it’ll be stuff like “Don’t snap your gum” and “Don’t leave the toilet seat up,” not “Don’t be 5-foot-7.”
Acquaintances with benefits
I’m a successful, attractive 40-year-old man with a great job that often has me attending social functions where I meet great women who hit on me and hint at going on a date. The thing is, I have no interest in a long-term relationship, but it seems jerky and presumptuous to say upon meeting, “Hey, you’re really cool, but I’m not looking for anything serious.” But, what if a date leads to crunch time on a woman’s sofa? Do I pause the action early on and make a public service announcement? Waiting till afterward seems unfair.
— Good-Time Charlie
People are prone to believe they’ve found whatever it is they’ve been looking for. You, apparently, look like the sort of man they write about in romance novels, but are actually the other sort: the sort they write about in bathroom stalls. A commitment-minded woman may start visualizing you behind the wheel of a minivan, driving the adorable twin sons you had with her to soccer. It’s your job to give her a more accurate picture of her future with you: a view of the back of your head as you’re heading out to your car after your third and final date. When you’re first chatting, wind your way to the subject of Relationships Today, touch on general points, then get more personal: “I’m actually not dating as much because I’m not looking for a long-term relationship or anything serious.” The woman may decide to ignore this, and may even take you on as a challenge, but you’ve done your part in making the landscape clear:
You’re pretty much the pool boy; you just happen to be one who has his own house and pool.
Amy Alkon’s just-published book: “I See Rude People: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).