My romantic relationships have all followed this same pattern: I am "not enough" for the other person's love. Sometimes I blindly pursue men who blatantly tell me I am not enough. One boyfriend told me I would be really hot if I was five inches taller, ten pounds lighter, had broader shoulders (what?) and was Irish. Still, I stayed with him for 18 months. By unconsciously seeking out unattainable/emotionally unavailable/married or simply not interested men, I can obsessively reenact my father/daughter dynamic in the vain hope that if I can convince said man to love and notice me, then surely my father will notice and love me too.
We've all been there: You come up for air during a heavy makeout session and feel a distinct burning sensation... on your face. Thanks to Loverboy's adoption of the rugged men of "Lost"'s unshaven aesthetic, you've got yourself a case of razor burn worse than when you first tried shaving your legs without water. Love hurts, yes, but it shouldn't be threaten to ruin all of the hard work of your Proactiv regimen. So what's a tactful but smitten woman to do when a dude's facial hair causes her pain? Advice expert Alanna Kalb, author of the upcoming book Stuff Every Woman Should Know, has this to say: "Much like wearing lumberjack plaid, beards make men feel masculine. And men like to feel masculine." In other words, it might be your skin at stake, but it could also be his manhood, so broach the subject with sensitivity.
In a former life filled with long lunches and spray tanning, I was a reality show casting director in Hollywood. I worked on some wildly popular prime-time hits as well as some pilots that never saw the light of day. I started my career at Blind Date, back when MySpace was still a place for friends and Facebook was a twinkle in Mark Zuckerberg's eye, and I'd often turn to this "new online world" to search for contestants. Dating tips gleaned from casting The Bachelor and other reality TV shows. I had just started dabbling in online dating myself and navigated the virtual waters with ease. I'd post clever ads on Craigslist and flirt with guys on Friendster, all in the name of casting the show. But try as I might, I couldn't always rely on the Internet to find willing male participants—I actually had to go out and meet men. In real life. I was very shy. I'd sweat in the weirdest places when my nerves would kick in. So whether on the clock or not, I would always say I was "casting a show" when I'd approach good-looking men. That way, I'd never feel jilted if they declined my advances. But casting the shows taught me how to build my self-confidence and, frankly, helped me meet a lot of guys. Even an '80s teen icon. Sadly, most guys I encountered were of the typical vapid L.A. fare, leaving me to kiss a lot of bottom-feeding mouth breathers before I actually met a nice, normal, gainfully employed gent (a qualification both for myself and most of the shows I worked on). And this got me thinking—what else did casting reality dating shows teach me about life and love?
Don't believe what you read in magazines and Web sites for women. Well, except for this one. When it's me. Publications for women love to make you feel sh**ty about yourself, particularly when it comes to aging—as if it were a choice, and women who choose to let nature take its course are sad, harelipped bog creatures who are too busy listening to the wind whistle through their empty wombs to properly moisturize. Actresses who were once young and vibrant and adorable undergo grotesque surgeries to defy the natural process of senescence and end up with strange facsimiles of their former faces. (Meg Ryan's mouth and Lara Flynn Boyle's mouth should go bowling at an alley that allows weird-looking mouths to bowl at discount prices.) Well, I'm sort of sick of it. Yes, 20-something women can be vital and gorgeous, many of them with bodies at the nubile peak that our culture covets so much. It's not just the gorgeous groundstrokes that keep men watching women's tennis. And don't get me started on the grunting volley. But older women? They rule. For a ton of reasons. And they're sexy as all get out.
When a man can't get it up, the experience for him and his partner falls somewhere between awkward and utterly mortifying—I've even heard of men not calling women back because they were so ashamed of their inability to keep it up. So what can a woman say or do when her man can't get an erection? Here are five things you can say to help make the best of the situation. Because men are so sensitive about it, and because it's about as embarrassing a moment as he can experience, it puts the woman in a really tough spot. Of course you just want to say, "Honey, is there something I can do to help?" But in some cases, that's exactly what he doesn't want to hear. He's thinking, "No, I'm just dying from the pressure here, and the last thing I want you to do is even notice, much less try to help!" Even worse is if you say, "Is there something wrong?" or "Are you okay?"—because, yes, there obviously is something wrong (you don't have to remind me!) and, no, I'm clearly not OK, I'm flaccid! So what can a woman say or do when her man can't rev up the engines? Here are a few possibilities, but know that any one of these can backfire too, depending on the circumstances. But, in order of most likely to go over well, here are five ways you can say to help make the best of the situation.
I stopped drinking when I was 29. I was tired of the consequences outweighing the benefits—tired of calling in sick to work, tired of hooking up with people I would have run from sober, tired of crying and throwing things for no reason. Oh, and did I mention I was tired of all the drama drinking brought to my love life?
We can't help but remember our first loves, even if we'd rather forget them. Whether it was a high school sweetheart, your first real relationship after college, or the first person you said "I love you" to, chances are that person still holds a powerful spell over you. Now a brand-new TV show is betting on the fact that—if you haven't already found him on Facebook—you'd like the opportunity to reconnect in real life. Or maybe on live TV. Each Wednesday, "First Love, Second Chance" follows a couple who have decided to reunite and discover whether they still have sparks. OK, we can see the appeal of re-discovering the one who got away, but what would possess someone to do it front of a large chunk of America? We asked a few of the "First Love, Second Chance" cast members to find out—including the pair who got their second go at true love last night.
The not knowing and the waiting for the next phone call are always worse than just hearing the truth: that he started seeing someone else, that he got back together with his ex, that—pardon the cliché—he just wasn't that into you. Do I expect a guy who isn't interested after one drinks-date to tell me that he doesn't see a future together? Of course not—he'd sound so presumptuous. And trust me, I've pulled the disappearing act many a time. But past the get-to-know-you point, don't we deserve to know where things went awry? I say yes. But because it's easier not to address these topics, I've never gotten a straight explanation—at least without prompting—until now. Truthfully, I hadn't been 100 percent sold on this guy, but I was having fun for the time being and, frankly, there was no reason not to keep seeing him. We liked the same bar band and, as it turns out, had been at the same concert years ago. He suggested one of my favorite restaurants for our second date but was cool with just watching "The Office" on our fourth. (That he felt it appropriate to make out with me in the middle of "The Office" was slightly less promising.) And when he woke up at my apartment and suggested that, rather than going downstairs, we just order bagels and coffee and catch up on TV, it felt like he had read my mind: That is exactly how I want to spend a slightly hung-over Saturday morning. Basically, we seemed to have a fair amount in common, and he seemed like a good guy. (Plus, he was tall.) I was trying not to dismiss the relationship too quickly, as I'm prone to do, and, instead, listening to my mom's advice, was hoping sparks would develop. That's when I found he had come to the same conclusion I had—and decided not to drag it out.
It is no secret that alcohol and dating share a volatile but intimate relationship, especially on St. Patrick's Day. In fact, for the most part the two go hand-in-hand. The key is to reach a level of intoxication that has you feeling loose and confident, not nauseated and belligerent. (Read: don't stumble over there and grab his crotch or bellow in her ear.) Because despite your previous finding-true-love-at-a-bar experiences, sometimes two people actually DO meet when they're drunk and manage to form a connection that lasts longer than a hangover. Who knows, maybe that guy over there with the green party beads who's doing a shot of Jameson is your soul mate. So we've compiled a few dating tips to help you make a drunken connection that won't damage your dignity.
Memo to the ladies: Your boyfriend jerking off to Perfect 10 or the occasional American Apparel ad is not cheating. Masturbating to a hot message that he got from a new 17-year-old "friend" he met on Facebook is. See the difference there? We hear a lot of complaints, especially from women, about concerns regarding their partners' insistent masturbation. "Would you consider this cheating?" some ask. While no question is a stupid question, such queries do give me pause. Catholic guilt aside, when did self-love become tantamount to infidelity?
Every time I step outside my front door, I'm subconsciously indexing all the important things I need to be aware of. Cars, buses, cabs, anything that moves and could break my spine? Check. Where I'm going, how to get there, and what time it is? Check. Is that dog poop on the sidewalk? Yes. But the remaining percentage of my brain? It's focusing on breasts. If it's between catching a train and taking an extra 10 seconds to stare at the top half of some woman digging in her purse for her cell phone, I'm missing the train. It has to end. I must become Spartacus to Breasts' Rome. Here is my plan.
I've never been afraid to ask for what I want in bed. I guess because during my teenage years I figured out I was/am a perv and I just owned it. But in my decade-plus of hooking up with dudes, I’ve come to see being clear about what I want is a bit rare: Guys have told me other women become self-conscious when asking for something risqué or kinky. So, I'm going to help you out, boys. Here are some things your lady might want, but she's too self-conscious to ask for. Don't pressure anything, of course— but if you offer, you may be pleasantly surprised at how enthusiastically she accepts ...
Dating. It's the nightmare from which you never wake up. Why do we do it? Because it's the best way to find the guy we want to marry. And why do we want to get married? So we never have to date again. Find out the seven types of guys you're more than likely to end up dating along the way. Don't say we didn't warn you, girlfriend.