How to Train Your Man

How to Train Your Man

Cosmopolitan has a secret to share.  Men are like exotic animals.  Primitive, wild and astonishingly trainable.  No longer must women put up with males who treat relationships like antelope carcasses and the world like a cave.  The key is to handle them like the beasts they are.  

In an article entitled “Six Ways to Train Your Boyfriend,” a group of psychologists demonstrated how to apply techniques used to train exotic animals on men. 

If your man doesn’t do chores, treat him like trainers do chimpanzees.  “Get on their level and play with them for five or ten minutes.” In other words, indulge his pinheaded mischief-making side, perhaps while wearing a cap with a propeller on top, then ask him to do the dishes. 

If he avoids arguments it’s because he’s like a horse, a skittish creature who doesn’t respond to assertiveness.  Rather than running a blitzkrieg on him, use a soothing voice to tell him what he did wrong.  A guy who embarrasses you in public has a lot in common with your dog.  Rather than punishing his bad behavior, ignore it, but give him a Scooby snack when he does something right.  

A headstrong man should be approached like a cougar you can “bend to your will” with a non-threatening stance.  Like a lion, a lazy man should be pounced on during his “productive mood.”  And like elephants, unromantic guys learn by example, so demonstrate to him what a fancy candlelit dinner looks like.  Then perhaps, feed him a peanut.  

I see women all the time who care about shit like this.  Gals with pre-written scripts in their heads about how relationships ought to play out, their boyfriends acting as male leads who should simply read their lines.  If the guy improvises, he’s up crap creek without a paddle.  When he buys candy instead of the flowers she expects, he gets read the riot act.  He doesn’t notice how pretty she looks in a new dress, World War Three breaks out.  

These women drag their boyfriends around, make them try on dumb-looking clothes, fix their hair, eye them when they speak to make sure they don’t slip up.  I hear them complain to friends about how their dude doesn’t call when he’s out with friends, never considering that if they were having a more enjoyable evening themselves they might not notice.  

I feel sorry for these guys like I do kids whose parents make them perform show tunes during family reunions.  I also wonder why men choose such monsters.  

Then I think of all the lonely women I know who only want men to reveal their true identities and allow themselves to be loved.  Women who could look past a man’s clumsy courting style and domestic habits as long as he’s making an effort.  Women who realize human beings are complicated, and that understanding rather than manipulation evolves souls.  Women who are still, alas, alone.

But thank goodness Cosmo has reminded us we are all highly sophisticated wives-in-training who must go into the jungle of maleness and choose some swine to domesticate.  No longer are we expected to bring kinship, empathy or even great passion into our romantic lives.  Now, the love bond exists to shore up our egos, rather than the bad old days when we were expected to shed our egos and try to merge souls.  All we need to have satisfying partnerships is to make sure the men in our lives fold laundry and tuck in their shirts. 

Maybe I’m weird.  Sure, I like a guy who takes the time to wipe the Cheez Whiz from his necktie.  Men who don’t pull their own weight around the house annoy me, and anyone who backs down from a fight is certainly a child.  But I prefer love with all its chaos, I want men who are complex, I like relationships with sharp edges. 

A man who makes a bad joke in public, I don’t consider a terrible partner.  A guy wearing an ugly shirt, I won’t send home.  If he’s trying his damndest to understand who I am and make the thing work, he can wear a pineapple on his head for all I care.  He can take a piss on the floor as long as he’s loving and has something to say.  I don’t want to train anyone and hardly want to bend anyone to my will.  I have no preconceived notions of what I want.  I only hope he’s authentic and surprises me. 

Let him be messy.  As if I don’t have anything myself to fix.