THE EX-FILES: WHAT WE DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR FORMER FLAME

The holidays are a time for reflecting. But what if, while looking back, there’s a figure in your rear view mirror that your current passenger isn’t too thrilled to hear about? When it comes to exes, there’s a fine line to put us at ease about how you regard her; Too fondly may mean you two still talk often (or hang out – which doesn’t sit well with most women). But, if you never mention your past, you may have us wondering if your love ended with a restraining order, or if she’s currently at the bottom of a river somewhere? No one’s so detached that you move on and nary breathe a word, after all.

Whatever your status with your former flame, there are a few things that your current (or potential) love interest will be none too pleased to learn about the One That Came Before. Just like most men don’t want to hear that our ex is the heir to a (fill in the blank) fortune with McConaughey’s good looks, Gosling’s sensitivity and the anatomical endowments of Wahlberg in “Boogie Nights,” there are certain things we hate to hear, too. So if your ex fits the following bill, perhaps it’s best to play your cards close to your chest:

A Model of Any Kind: Whether her bod graced the pages of an LL Bean catalog or, God help us all, a Victoria’s Secret glossy, why not do us a favor and keep that your little secret, too? Normally I’d tell you to always be up front, never lie by omission, but in this case that news may just mess with her head more than any normal woman can handle. No matter how confident a female is, we almost always compare ourselves to our peers. And, if you inform her that her peers now include genetically gifted chicks who don lingerie for a living, her head may just explode. Seriously, how would you feel if we told you we used to sleep with a Ryan Reynolds look-alike (or worse, the real thing)? Mum’s the word, boys.

A Do-Gooder: Does your ex volunteer for the Peace Corps? Is she healing the world one under-developed country at a time in Doctors Without Borders? Does she rescue orphans from war-torn regions? Yeah, this is a little too Angelina Jolie for your average woman to handle. It’s one thing to volunteer her time on a relatively local level – many of us do that, and enjoy it immensely – but if she’s off globetrotting or started her own Nonprofit, those are some big shoes to fill. We should all do good just for the sake of doing good, but that bar is set pretty high, don’t ya think?

She Lived With You (or worse, you two were engaged): No one takes a relationship to that level unless you’re really serious with that person. People break up and move on every day, but there’s something about the permanence this once showed that makes it hard for the one who’s with you now to ever feel like she’ll be as much of a presence in your life. Sad but true, and tricky to work around.

A Semi-Pro, Pro or Otherwise-Gifted Athlete: Two words, David Beckham. OK fine, maybe that’s not a fair comparison…But seriously, girls who have skills on the field or on the court are a tough act to follow – even if her name isn’t Hope Solo or Maria Sharapova. And being a female who’s good at something sports-related is about as good as it gets (unless she’s built like a Williams sister or is gender ambiguous, a la Beijing Olympics – not hot).

Granted, we know we shouldn’t worry about making such comparisons, but would you like it if she told you Once upon a time she dated Derek Jeter or Mark Sanchez? Or C.J. Wilson, or Cam Newton (I could go on and on here boys…) Right, didn’t think so.

Bi-Sexual or just Bi-Curious: We’re aware of your fantasy to see us with another girl, but if your ex actually WAS with another girl, that’s not just dipping our big toe in to test the same-sex waters, that’s diving head first into the deep end of the pool. I’m all for people being with whomever makes them happy, male or female, but that little tidbit may just make her feel like she’d never be seen as adventurous enough to entertain you in bed.

An Identical Twin: You boys and your fantasies again… We know, twins are twice the fun. So, even if you only dated one half of that novelty pair, at some point you still swam in the Doublemint Commercial pond, and probably liked it. Nothing we can do about this one, but still not terribly reassuring.

An Adrenaline-Junkie: Was she A) a pilot, B) a race car driver, C) an extreme sports enthusiast (read: she loved skydiving, motorcycle riding or snowboarding half-pipes) or D) a crack shot with a firearm? If so, we will immediately begin to wonder why you are now dating a regulation female like us. Even if your ex’s adventurous ways were too much for you to handle, it’ll still be hard to hear that you once shared a bed with a badass.

A Singer or Actress: This one is less “actress,” since the definition of that word is shamefully loose these days, and more “someone in the public eye.” If your ex had Adele’s pipes or used-to-be-on-that-television-show-about-that-guy, those types of run-ins are hard to avoid. Even if you swear that you’ve learned to resist her siren song, your current beau might not believe you. And she might have to stop watching TV or listening to the radio, too. Would you like it if our ex was a triple threat, of the Timberlake variety? No one would, hell I’ve known straight males who crush hard on that guy. But you get the idea.

Granted, in a perfect world your relationship record would be expunged, and we would all forget that anyone came before us. Women – and men, for that matter – prefer to feel like they were the first pioneers to, er…explore your land. But that’s not realistic.

Don’t ever lie about your past, lest you seem like you’re making a bigger deal out of something that wasn’t. Just realize that, once you’ve told us your ex fits into one of these categories, it might take us a minute to process the news. Then, it’s out there and you should answer any questions she has about it, but don’t dwell on it – move on as quickly as possible.

Making the one you’re with feel like she’s the only one that matters is important, but it’s also a two-way street. If you reassure her and she’s still stuck on it, or can’t shake her insecurities, then you’re dealing with a much larger problem. The confident woman will always prevail…just as long as your ex’s name isn’t Giselle.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

 

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CHECK THIS OUT WINGMAN: VIDEO EDITION

Everyone knows SNL is on the downward slope of the funny curve lately (and by lately, I mean the last five to ten years). They pretty much only roll out the funny material when Justin Timberlake hosts anymore.
But, sometimes it surprises us and we laugh as hard as the cast members who get the giggles. If you spend time with children, you’ll wish this Dora spinoff were real. This Bill Hader/ Seth Meyer clip is worth watching, enjoy.

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SCENT OF A MAN: FRAGRANCE PROFILING

Whenever a guy tells me I smell great, my answer is always the same: “I’m a girl, it’s my job.” But in actuality, it’s men who should pay more attention to their scent style. With the holiday season upon us, there’s a good chance that either A) you’ll find cologne in your stocking or B) you’ll be working the party circuit and will need to smell your best. So why not put a bit of personality into it and discover what your nose already knows – women love a well-scented man. Thus, here’s a tutorial to examine the good, the bad and the do-it-yourself of men’s fragrances.

The Good: Choosing a scent is as subjective as what hairstyle you prefer or the jeans that fit you best. It’s as personal a decision as they come. But, I test drove some scents for you and there were a few standouts.

Anything with vetiver in it was a strong contender (don’t ask what it is, I don’t know either), for instance Tom Ford Grey Vetiver and Issey Miyake’s Intense. The scents were clean but not overpowering, perfect for the ladies. Terre D’Hermes also stood out, since it was a little more hip but didn’t delve into really feminine notes like some of its peers. Taking a detour from the cologne aisle, The Art of Shaving’s sandalwood-scented aftershave balm is the kind of scent that makes us want to bury our faces into your neck and nuzzle your shirt. It’s just that good.

Prada Amber Pour Homme Intense was strong but pleasant, much better than it’s even-less-subtle brother scent, the classic Prada Amber. Then there are the old standby’s that have been male staples forever: Giorgio Armani’s Acqua Di Gio smells light and fresh, but it also shows no personality. As if you couldn’t be bothered to invest the time, so you just bought anything. Not bad, but you can do better.

Likewise anything in the Polo family has a been-there-done-that feel, even though Polo Black has some nice, spicy undertones. Men under 50 would do well to avoid the classic Polo scent (green bottle, gold pony logo), since it’s an older-feeling, geriatric scent. Or maybe that’s just because I equate it with my dad, who’s been wearing it since before Reagan was in office.

The same can be said for the timeless-but-somewhat-stuffy favorite Old Spice. Not bad, but not youthful either. Either way, you don’t want to remind us of our fathers when you’re trying to woo us, trust me.

The Bad: These scents conjure images of it’s wearers being slick-haired, sports-coat-wearing smooth operators who pull up to velvet-roped nightclubs with tinted windows. Maybe I’m being unfair, but hey – it’s an honest assessment.

Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million, Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male and Armani Code all fit that bill. Yves Saint Laurent’s fragrance L’Homme took that even further and just smelled flat-out bridge and tunnel. That may be lost on those outside the tri-state area, but for the rest of us it’s specific enough.

Dior Fahrenheit smelled like new age patchouli, and Thierry Mugler smelled like you swiped your girlfriend’s perfume by accident. Yikes. Givenchy Play Intense, fronted by Justin Timberlake came off as sterile-smelling (Sorry, JT, cry me a river) and Marc Jacobs Men was, in the words of the lovely gay salesman helping me at Sephora, “way too gay, even for me.”

Lacoste’s scent is for the man who wishes he could just wear the logo-emblazoned bottle on his shirt, while Polo Blue seems to be the unofficial scent of frat boys everywhere. Ralph Lauren’s related scent collection, The Big Pony, smelled like the Axe Body Spray version of it’s older brother. It’s like a modern-day version of the mid-90s Drakkar Noir phase. Kindly avoid, please.

And, if nothing on this list suits your fancy, you can always opt for the DIY approach and create your own custom scent. I know, this is way too much effort, but it’s a fun, modern way to play Bill Nye The Science Guy if you’re so inclined. Places like Le Labo, which have boutiques in New York City, London, Los Angeles and Tokyo, shun the mass-produced trend by offering you the chance to cultivate your own cologne. All fragrances are formulated-to-order.

Whatever suits your olfactory style best, just remember to apply it sparingly. Smelling like you unscrewed the cap and shook the bottle all over you is unwise. Plus, she’ll have to get in close to get a whiff. And isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?DAPPER WINGMAN

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