The Advive Goddess

The Advive Goddess

 

Save the wails   

Are guys scared of politically active women? My boyfriend of two months just broke up with me over my support for animal rights, and I’ve generally had difficulty keeping boyfriends because of this. This boyfriend was bothered by two incidents. In the first, I got into an argument about zoos with one of his friends at a party. Another time, we were driving alongside a car with a pro-hunting bumper sticker, and I rolled down my window and shouted something to the driver. I’m trying to do good — protect creatures without a voice. Does that mean I don’t deserve a boyfriend?

— Yes, I Stand For Something
 

Men tend to like it when a woman screams passionately, but it’s less sexy if what she’s screaming is “McDonald’s is murder!”

But, wait — you’re trying to do some good; don’t you “deserve” a boyfriend? You, like the rest of us, deserve not to be run over by a truck. The Declaration of Independence also spells out that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” stuff we’re all supposed to get. That’s right; you have a right to chase happiness. It doesn’t get delivered to your door. (“Sign here, please.”) And the reality is, every requirement you have for a boyfriend and every, well, nonstandard practice you have (like Wicca, being a serious Civil War re-enactor, or a hobby of throwing fake blood on people in fur) narrows your options. The size of a person’s dating pool is determined by their level of hotitude factored with how hard they are to be around. (An annoying 9 might still have many romantic opportunities, though with limited staying power.)  

And just a guess, but for at least some of these guys who dumped you, maybe the problem wasn’t so much your support of animal rights as it was your lack of boundaries in expressing it. Even a guy who’s with you in principle on sticking up for Bambi and the lab rats might not be comfortable with your transforming every social gathering into an animal rights protest rally. Also, consider that there’s a difference between speaking your mind and yelling it out the window at someone who has announced in writing on their vehicle that they are likely armed.

In other words, you can refuse to ever bend your principles, or you can have a man in your life. This isn’t to say you have to start wearing snow leopard legwarmers and eating baby seal McNuggets; you probably just need to divide the world into political and social forums. Social forums would be reserved for pleasant cocktail party conversation — even if a guy is gnawing meat off a skewer and you long more than anything to stick him in the eye with it and say, “See how you like it!”

When you start dating somebody new, ask him what his comfort zone is regarding your activism, and either respect the boundaries he needs or be honest if you can’t or won’t. If you come to see a relationship as a party of two, each of whose needs matter, there’s a good chance you’ll find a guy who’ll at least be there to bail you out of jail — maybe for years to come — until you two finally retire to the country to run a lentil rescue. (Some say they scream when you drop ’em in boiling water.)

 

Snot to trot

I’m dating a guy who’s in the neighborhood of perfect. The problem is his nose. He picks it. Semi-frequently. He isn’t doing major digging, just more inner nostril scraping than I’m comfortable with. I don’t want to tell him he’s grossing me out, but I also can’t deal with witnessing regular daily nose-picking.

— Yuck

If you’re inspired to buy something for your new boyfriend to wear, it should be a sweater that shows off his broad shoulders, not a nose guard to keep his finger from scampering up to Booger Hollow. If his excavations aren’t largely absent-minded, chances are he has some rationalization, like that it doesn’t count as nose-picking unless it involves more than a half-inch of finger. Well, it counts for you, and you need to let him know. To send the message with a minimum of humiliation, wait till you catch him in action, and use a light touch: “Checking that nobody’s made off with your sinuses?” or “Do you store passwords up there?” This should be one of those cases in which a guy is quick to take the hint — lest you be too grossed out to have sex with him. Sure, when you’re dating somebody, you want to know what’s going on in their head, but you really don’t want to see them up there rooting around for it.

© 2014, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)

It’s Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Radio — “Nerd your way to a better life!” with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. Call-in during the show: 347-326-9761 (NYC area code).

Read Amy Alkon’s book: “I SEE RUDE PEOPLE: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).

The Advive Goddess

The Advive Goddess

 

Fool disclosure   

On a business trip, I drank WAY too much with some work friends and ended up kissing a random girl I met at a bar, despite my having a girlfriend I love very much. I feel horrible. Until now, I’d never cheated on a woman. Is it crazy to want to tell my girlfriend? It was kissing only, and I never saw the girl again. Plus, I barely remember it. I am planning on proposing soon and don’t want us to have any secrets.

—  Ashamed

Honesty is not the best policy. Judicious honesty is. That’s the kind of honesty that keeps you from telling your girlfriend that her mom is a shrill harpy, her best friend has amazing boobs, and you actually haven’t stopped peeing in the shower.

Getting away with something might feel good in the moment, but in time, it goes over like itchy underwear. Ruining the drunken make-out fun is one of the evolutionary underpinnings of human society, our evolved fairness-monitoring system that made it possible for us to live cooperatively in groups. This system is basically an internal accounting department, tracking who owes what to whom and using our emotions as the enforcer. When somebody’s chumping us, say, by not putting in their fair share of work, we’re goaded into getting mad (and then getting things even). Conversely, we feel guilty and long to right the balance when we’re the one breaking some agreement (like by treating monogamy as if it comes with days off for national holidays and photocopier sales expos).

But is letting your girlfriend in on your lips’ browser history the right thing to do? Maybe; maybe not. Chances are, you tell yourself that you’d be confessing for your girlfriend’s benefit, that she deserves to know. Well, maybe she deserves to not know. Maybe what’s really driving your desire to confess is the weight on your conscience and how telling will lessen your load. Sorry — you did the making out; maybe you should be hauling around the unsettling feeling about it. (Think of it as your pet anvil.)

What should determine whether you tell your girlfriend is why you kissed the girl and whether the past is a harbinger of what’s to come.  If you’re a bad bet for remaining faithful, disclose this so your girlfriend can decide whether it’s worth it to her to put herself in harm’s way. If, however, this was a drunken one-time thing, why cause her unnecessary worry and pain? Keep your big wandering yap shut and lighten your guiltload by doing what you would’ve if you had told her — making amends. Do kind acts for people in need and basically be a fantastic boyfriend to her. (Be careful not to go noticeably overboard. A dozen roses on some random Tuesday is “Oh, you shouldn’t have”; 100 is “Wait … what the hell did you do?”)

And finally, to ensure that this remains a one-time event, come up with some standards of bar-time engagement for yourself, like maybe that you need to switch to Shirley Temples after two beers. This way, you’ll be prepared to act like somebody’s boyfriend when temptation sidles up to you at the bar. (There’s a reason they call it “sloppy drunk” and not “making wise relationship decisions” drunk.)

 

Bambi Meets Waiterzilla

I just started dating a sweet guy who loves taking me to nice restaurants. (He knows I can’t afford restaurants, because I’m in grad school.) Well, he’s not rich, either, but when the waiter pushes sparkling water, he always says yes, and the same goes for cappuccinos, desserts, side dishes — all the extras. It’s lovely enough that he treats me to dinner; I don’t want him to go broke doing it.

— Frugal

A guy on a date is in a tough position when the waiter comes over and essentially asks, “Can I offer you some sparkling water this evening, or will you be drinking out of the faucet like a dog?” Sometimes a guy will say yes to all the extras because he is a foodie and likes to have the deluxe experience. But the average guy is just afraid of coming off cheap, making him easy prey for every waiter upsell in the book. The woman he’s with can counter this by being the one to lead with the frugalities, like “Tap water works fine for me!” and “I actually don’t eat that much … I’ll just have the entree,” when the waiter pushes the caviar-dotted baby vegetables watered with the tears of Tibetan monks. If you do this, you’ll reassure the guy that he’s the big draw for you and not the free dinners — perhaps allowing him to devote his attention to you instead of checking his phone to see whether the bank has cleared the security deposit for your desserts.

© 2014, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)

It’s Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Radio — “Nerd your way to a better life!” with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. Call-in during the show: 347-326-9761 (NYC area code).

Read Amy Alkon’s book: “I SEE RUDE PEOPLE: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).

The Advive Goddess

The Advive Goddess

 

When Harry Met Hairy  

My girlfriend of six months just stopped shaving her legs and armpits. I think she is so sexy —except for this. Recently, I asked her whether she’d shave again, and she snapped that shaving is time-consuming and the idea that women should remove their body hair comes from anti-feminist propaganda. I don’t know about that. I just like seeing female legs and armpits without a bunch of dark furry hair cover. Do I get to ask again?

— In The Thick Of It
 

It’s great when your girlfriend reminds you of somebody exotic out of the movies — when that somebody is Mila Kunis or Eva Mendes, not Chewbacca.

 
As for your girlfriend’s notion that the defurred look traces to “anti-feminist propaganda,” way back before there was Cosmo, there was Ovid, the Roman poet, advising women looking for love: “Let no rude goat find his way beneath your arms” (don’t let your underarms get stanky like a goat), “and let not your legs be rough with bristling hair.” Archeological evidence (including hair-scraping stones and an impressive set of Bronze Age tweezers) suggests that women — and often men — have been shaving, depilating, and yanking out body hair since at least 7,000 B.C. In the early 1500s, Michelangelo sculpted David (who would have been a hairy Middle Eastern dude, looking more Borat than baby’s bottom), making him look like he was too busy spending three weeks at the waxer to slay Goliath. And these days, male bodybuilders also remove their body hair, lest their admirers have to peer through the hair sweater to find the pecs and abs.

You, likewise, would just like to see your girlfriend’s legs without having to send your eyeballs off on a search party through Furwood Forest. (You must look back fondly on the days when you could picture her naked without first giving her a mental bath in a vat of Nair.) Is there a double standard at play here? Sure there is — if you’d shave a Fidel Castro beard to be more attractive to her but she refuses to shave her Fidel Castro legs.

Let her know that you aren’t looking to turn her into a razor slave of the patriarchy — you’re just trying to keep your sex life (and, in turn, your relationship) alive — and ask whether there’s anything you could do to be more manhunky for her. This is just what you’re supposed to do in a relationship — make that extra effort to please your partner, even if it takes, oh, five minutes every few days to run a razor over your legs and pits. She can still rebel against the patriarchy in other ways, like by going around in snarky T-shirts and blogging about how leg shaving is an obvious plot to keep women in the shower and out of the House of Representatives. The bottom line, for you and many other men, is that it’s really sexy to run your hand through a woman’s hair — just not the hair on her ankles.

 

Dial Another Day  

Is it really that inappropriate to give a girl your number instead of asking for hers? I met a cool girl at the gym. We really seemed to hit it off, and I asked whether we could get a drink sometime. She said yes, and I said, “Here, I’ll give you my number.” She said, “Um, don’t you want my number?” Well, I just offered her mine because she had her phone with her and mine was in the locker room, but apparently she was offended. Really? Who cares?

— Hung Up On An Issue
 

Giving this woman your number and expecting her to call you is like the lion saying to the gazelle, “Would you mind coming over here and killing yourself, and then I’ll eat you?” For millions of years, there’s been a natural order of things and it involves men chasing women, and it hasn’t heard of Gloria Steinem and doesn’t care that your phone is in the locker room. Sure, women these days may sometimes pursue men, but when you want a woman, do you really want to walk away without her phone number and hope she’ll call — which most women won’t do? Also, chances are, expecting a woman to call you comes off a little insulting — telling her you’re interested in her, just not interested enough to lift a finger and touch it to phone buttons 10 times. In other words, the thing to do was to toddle off and get a writing implement and a scrap of paper so you could take down this woman’s number and call her, not try to rewrite male and female psychology and dating practices for your convenience: “Great meeting you! I’ll just be sitting home painting my toenails and waiting for the phone to ring.”

© 2014, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)

It’s Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Radio — “Nerd your way to a better life!” with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. Call-in during the show: 347-326-9761 (NYC area code).

Read Amy Alkon’s book: “I SEE RUDE PEOPLE: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).

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