can’t have it both ways

Inspired by Alte’s post: A woman is a finite resource.

Alte makes a good point — in certain unnamed parts of the web, I see a lot of guys complaining that they can’t have the perfect, gorgeous, sexual, submissive, domestic, religious, virginal wife who cooks, cleans, pops out children, is skilled in all areas of sex, and who manages to have an extracurricular activity that’s both feminine and profitable.  In fact, in some parts of the web I even see guys who want a complete paradox in a woman, such as a demure, virginal girl who also looks exactly like a porn star.  Yeah — never going to happen.

I am many things that a man wants, physically.  I’m tall, I’m athletic, I’m extremely well-proportioned, and I have long hair, smooth skin, and just enough muscle tone.  I’m also sexually submissive and insatiable, I love prancing around in heels and short skirts, and I’m generally fun to be around, optimistic, and easy-going.  I’m intelligent and logical, I don’t care about money, and I hate talking about “us.”  Also, I know how to hack an Xbox Kinect, beat the house at blackjack, and kill a deer, all in heels (except for that last one), of course.  Plus, I like kids and animals and I make awesome home-made chili!  Yeah, I’m pretty good wifey material.

Actually, I’m not.  I’m cocky — hey, you don’t walk around looking like I do without knowing it — and I love attention, especially male attention.  I’m fun to be around, but I’m also loathe to be serious — in any context.  I’m intelligent and logical, but I also lack that sexy mystery of the emotionally-driven female.  I hate talking about “us,” and I mean I really hate talking about “us.”  Getting me to discuss relationship issues is like pulling teeth.  I don’t care about money to the point where if you’re making a lot, you’re setting the stage for a big turn-off.  I can do all of those fun boy things such as hacking, gambling, and shooting big game, but I can’t do any of the girl things such as…getting a tan, or shopping, or getting my nails done.  I do like kids and animals, and I do make awesome food, but I also don’t do laundry until I’ve been going commando for a few days, and I eat food out of the pan in order to avoid having to do more dishes.

Now some of these things may sound pretty cool to some guys — such as the fact that I don’t like to shop or get my nails done — but reality is this: even to the guys who say they don’t want a girl who shops all the time, a girl who hates shopping sets off red flags.  And a girl who really hates when guys have a lot of money?  Well that means you’re going to have to bring something — something big, that’s not money or status — to the relationship.

No, it’s not ideal at all, is it?  But you can’t have it both ways.

just friends

I hate the movie "When Harry Met Sally," but I love the quote.

“What I’m saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form – is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.” — Harry, When Harry Met Sally

Yep, one of those “questions for the ages” — can men and women be non-sexual friends?  There are a few different sides, although one camp will tell you that they can never, ever, evereverever be friends, because there will always be some sort of sexual tension on one side of the equation.  Another camp will tell you that there’s never any sexual tension between friends.  Both camps are (obviously) incorrect — as it is with every other “hard question,” there’s no perfect, clean answer.

Those who reside in the first camp — the When Harry Met Sally camp — are wrong to think that just because sexual tension exists means a friendship cannot also exist.  Here’s a little secret: throughout your life, you will meet, work with, see, interact with, etc. many people toward whom you will feel some sort of sexual attraction (or who will feel some sort of sexual attraction to you).  If you nixed every type of relationship — be it friendship, colleague-ship, acquaintance-ship, etc. — every time you felt any sexual tension, you’d be a pretty lonely person.  The bottom line is: it’s going to happen, so learn to deal with it.

As for those who reside in the second camp, well, my previous paragraph should have answered the question of “why are they wrong?”

The reason I’m bringing this topic up is because marriage is one of the best times to have opposite-sex friendships — because being friends with someone of the opposite sex works the best if both parties are in relationships.

I have several close guy friends — in fact, most of my friends are guys (that’s a combination of many factors, not least of which is because I work in a very male-dominated industry).  Is there any sexual tension there?  Well, when it comes to my closest guy friends, I want to say no.  Not because I’m delusional, just because we’re all in really great relationships and so we leave the sexual tension for that.  But if you get right down to it, do I think my closest guy friends are hot?  Do they think I’m hot?

Yes, and yes.  No question.  A couple of them are even my ex’s.  But does that mean anything?  No, not at all.

Might it mean something in some crazy alternate world in which we were both single?  Maybe, but quite frankly we have better things to talk about.

Of course, just because it doesn’t mean anything to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t mean anything to your husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/whatever, especially if one of your close friends happens to be an ex.

So, a couple of tips on how to allay the fears of your jealous partner, based on my own expertise:

Don’t Lie – Should be pretty obvious.  I’m not saying you should never ever lie to your spouse — because, honestly, nobody is going to be able to keep that promise (sorry, but it’s true), I’m just saying you shouldn’t lie about your friends, your conversations with your friends, or when you go meet your friends.  The only real exception to this is if you’re lying to protect them — but even then, it’s sketchy.

Let me explain: a girl friend of mine (K.), who has a boyfriend, recently received communication from an ex who is also a friend.  The ex was reliving some of the good times in the message (voice-mail), so K. deleted the message and told her boyfriend about the communication, but not the exact nature of the message.  Basically, her current boyfriend would not have benefited in any way from knowing what her ex-boyfriend had said, and K. didn’t follow up (with the ex), so what her ex had said pretty much didn’t matter.  Of course, as I said before, this is still slightly sketchy and it’s likely that your significant other would still rather know what went down.

Have Everybody Meet – If you’re really close friends with someone, then why hasn’t your significant other met them?  Barring incredible distance/time barriers, there are no excuses.  Not only will having everyone meet help allay any misplaced fears your love may have (once he sees you interact with your friends…as just friends), but it will bring the two of you closer — next time you say “Nate is so crazy,” he’ll be able to say, “Yeah, I can see that,” instead of “Who’s Nate, again?”

Don’t Be a Bitch – If your boyfriend or husband is asking why you’re always talking to/about Max, it’s not because he’s a hater who doesn’t trust you.  It’s because he doesn’t know enough about Max (like the fact that Max is gay) and because he loves you and doesn’t want to lose you (to Max, even though Max is totally gay).  So while you may feel defensive and hurt that he doesn’t trust you, the answer is not to jump all over him.  Remember, even if you love Max to death and Max is your best childhood friend from when you were 2, you (presumably) care about your husband and your relationship with your husband more than you care about Max (if you don’t, then perhaps it’s time to rethink the marriage).  Of course, if you never, ever talk to Max and the only Max you have in your phone is Max’s Diner, then, yeah, he’s the one who needs to turn down the jealousy dial.

Make Your Relationship the Priority – Here’s another story for you: another girl friend of mine (L.), with a boyfriend and an ex-boyfriend.  Early in the relationship, L. texted her ex-boyfriend a lot, and even met up with him a couple of times (though she didn’t cheat, as far as I know).  Her boyfriend…not so down with that.  After a few months of this, he explained himself and politely asked her to stop the frequent texting.  She called me and asked what she should do — after all, this ex was her friend, though she could understand why it was making her current guy uncomfortable.  Ultimately, she stopped.  Not because he issued an ultimatum — he just asked — but because she loved the guy she was with, and if it was that important to him that she stop talking to the other guy, well, it was a small price to pay.

“Making your relationship the priority” doesn’t only apply to ex’s, either — if you have a friend with whom you talk about all sorts of personal and (arguably) “relationshippy” type things, make sure you’re not doing this instead of talking to your actual partner about these things.  In other words, if you’re always talking to your guy friends about video games and sports because your husband hates video games and sports, fine — but if you’re always asking your guy friends for life advice, make sure you’re not asking them instead of your husband (although you can ask them in addition to your husband…but it’s still a little weird).

Set Boundaries – What?  Your buddy is texting you naked photos of his dick?  Put the kibosh on that right quick or reap the consequences.  If a friend crosses the line then it’s up to you to set the boundaries, because past the first picture/sexy message “but he just kept sending me stuff” isn’t going to cut it.  Yeah, that means tell him off, block his number, change your number, etc.  Seriously.  If you don’t set boundaries, then your husband has every right to get pissed.

At the end of the day, can men and women be “just friends”?  Absolutely.  But if you’re in a relationship, remember who you’re in a relationship with.  I have a lot of guy friends, many of whom I have been very close with for many years.  But if my husband was uncomfortable with one of my friendships, even if nothing was going on?  Then yes, I would be prepared to set my pride aside if it came to that.

my favorite stockings

My husband is all about stockings.  This means that I’ve (we’ve?) gone through about 200 pairs just in the past two years (you think I’m exaggerating…but I’m really not).  This puts me in the unique position to review stockings — and yes, there are good stockings and bad stockings.  Here are some of my favorite pairs:

Sheer Lycra Heart Stockings (Amazon, $5)

These elastic-top thigh-high stockings are one of my husband’s favorite pairs.  They’re extremely thin and sheer, which makes them a little sexier, and they do run easily.  Luckily, the runs only make them look trashy a.k.a. hot (according to the boy).  Also, wear the bows in the back — it’s sexier.

Sheer Pinstriped Thigh-Highs with Bow (Sock Dreams, $9)

We first found these in a little (expensive) boutique for $13.  Again, the sheerness is sexy — also, it allows the stocking to go further up your leg — and the pinstripes make your legs look longer and sexier.  My only complaint is that the little bow becomes untied rather easily, and, well, they’re pricier than other stockings.

Vinyl-Top Fishnets (Flirt Catalog, $13.50)

These are expensive, but they’re actually worth it.  Very few thigh-high stockings stay up comfortably for an entire night, even if (especially if?) they’re “stay-up” style elastic.  These vinyl-top thigh-highs stay up fantastically, however, and they also look great, especially if you’re going out.

what a boy wants

Before we get started with turning you into the perfect porn star wife, let’s take a step back.

Do you honestly have any idea what your husband wants, sexually?

“Of course I do, he wants me,” is not an acceptable answer.

My husband is thankfully straight forward when it comes to what he wants.  If he likes something he sees — be it porn, a dress some girl is wearing on the street, or a double cheeseburger — he has no problem pointing it out to me and describing exactly what he likes about it.  Unfortunately for the female population, most guys aren’t like my husband — they’re not terribly adept at pointing out details in what they appreciate about, say, the fairer sex, and this often lands them in trouble with, well, the fairer sex.  For example, if a guy says some girl is “hot” to his wife/girlfriend, without articulating exactly what makes the girl “hot,” he’s likely to offend his lady (think about the difference between “that girl is hot” and “the dress that girl is wearing would look really good on you” or “I like her hair, you should try doing yours that way sometime”).

The moral of this story is that you probably have no idea what your husband wants sexually, unless the two of you are uncharacteristically open with each other.  And even if you are uncharacteristically open, chances are you only know what he wants right now.  Guys (and a lot of girls) appreciate variety, and if you’re in a monogamous relationship, that means it’s up to you to be, well, varied.

The easiest way to figure out what he likes, if he’s typically male and a “big picture” sorta guy (the “big picture” orientation of the male brain is one of the reasons guys are unable to aptly articulate what they like — they just don’t know.  A lot of guys will say something like, “I like red lingerie,” but there are about eight thousand different styles of red lingerie.  This big picture orientation is also why they never notice when you get your hair cut) is to watch porn.

Three types of red lingerie. My husband only likes one of these.

Yeah, porn.  If you don’t want to watch it together, that’s fine (though, honestly, if you’re having sex with the man I’m not sure what the big deal is) — just have him send you a few links of porn scenes/sites he enjoys.  I guarantee you that most men, barring the religious sector, have a few porn sites in their bookmarks.  Once he’s sent you the links, actually take a look — and pay attention to details.

It’s important to remember, especially if you’re easily offended, that just because he links you to a site doesn’t mean he wants everything in any particular scene to happen.  This is why it’s better to view it with him, so he can at least try to point out what he finds sexy.  Also remember this, if you start feeling self conscious because your body isn’t exactly like the porn stars’: he married you.  Guys don’t usually marry girls they find sexually unattractive — so brush off your insecurities.

If you can’t figure out exactly what he’s into based on his porn tastes, ask him specific questions.  Don’t ask him “what do you like about this scene,” ask him “do you like her stockings?” or “do you like her eye makeup?”  (This is also something you can do in real life — point out random women on the street and ask if he likes their dress/skirt/shoes/bracelet/necklace.  If you get a lot of “Dunno,” ask him if he’d like it if you wore that dress/skirt/shoes/bracelet/necklace.  Hopefully he’ll give you a better answer.)

If your guy is still a mystery after all of this hard work, then it’s time to do some recon.  And by recon I mean just start mixing it up and see what he responds to.

So go do your thing ladies, and once you’ve figured out what your boy wants — report back to me and we’ll get started.