ONLINE DATING HORROR STORY OF THE WEEK: THREE’S A CROWD

Happy Friday, Wingman faithful. I’m back on U.S. soil and back in the dating horror story groove. This week we have another one from the male perspective. Keep ‘em coming, boys. Even though women are more outspoken about their dating disasters, for some reason the guy stories always amuse me to no end. I suppose crazy really is a two-way street. Our tale of misery comes to us from Pete in “South Jersey,” who found out that the only thing worse than an awkward night is sharing it with a third (or fourth) party.

Phyllis, the Kindergarten teacher-turned-model: “I’ve only spent a total of a few weeks doing online dating in my entire life because my buddy convinced me to try one of the free sites. After a few dud dates and this last girl, I’ve thrown in the towel – I’ll take my chances with the non-cyber population, thanks.

I met this girl in January and emailed back and forth with her a few times. She was very attractive (so much so that it made me wonder why she was even on a dating website) and I was stoked when she agreed to grab dinner a few weeks ago. We hit up a place near both of us and, when we sat down, she was facing a mirror over my head (and I was facing the bar and a wall of TV’s). This was the first problem because she spent the whole night looking at herself, fixing her hair, and generally mugging in the mirror. If I managed to not stare at the Sixers game on behind you, you should be able to hold the narcissism for a few hours. And you ladies talk about guys having bad manners?

As far as the conversation went, it was fine – not great but not terrible. She wasn’t the most interesting, but we only had 2 awkward silences which, for a date, isn’t that bad. I guess you don’t need to be much of a conversationalist when you’re that good looking, but if things had gone better I would’ve eventually liked for her to have had a little more to offer in the personality department.

She told me how she used to be a teacher but had recently started picking up work as a model and decided to switch careers since the money was better. She also told me she doesn’t really talk to anyone in her family, and that she hasn’t seen her siblings in years. That last part was a little weird and probably an over-share on a first date, for what it’s worth.

But the real problem started when a couple came in and was seated two tables away from us. I noticed her eyes dart up and follow them in the mirror as they walked by, and her facial expression visibly changed. I asked if she was OK and she whispered to me that the guy was her ex boyfriend, and that the girl was his new(ish) girlfriend. She apparently hadn’t seen him in several months, and I got the impression it was a drama-filled break up. I almost started laughing it was so awkward. Who runs into an ex on a date and gets seated near them?

To make matters worse, he was sitting on the same side as me, so they were basically facing each other five feet apart. At this point, I didn’t even care about the Sixers game, the better action was happening at our table. She lost her train of thought and was too flustered to tell the rest of the story she’d started, and they kept stealing glances at each other. It was so awful.

This went on until we finished our meal (longest 45 minutes of my life) and when we got up to leave (the date was clearly over at this point) she didn’t acknowledge them, just left. I gave the dude a nod and headed out to the parking lot, where I then had to listen to her tell me all about their relationship, break up, how she didn’t expect to ever have to see him again, etc etc etc. Did I mention we were outside, in February? Yeah, not ideal.

But the date finally ended when I tried to make her feel better and said, “Well if it’s any consolation, the girl he was with wasn’t even that cute, she was just average” AND SHE BURST INTO TEARS. We both called it a night right then and there. I’ve never been so happy to get into my car in my life. Needless to say, I cancelled my account after that. No amount of hooking up I could score from those sites is worth the drama that comes with it.”

Pete: You sure about that last statement? How very un-guylike of you. A few things here: 1) You’re lucky the girl her ex was with didn’t have a ring on her finger, then you probably would’ve had to grab the butter knives off the table and hide them, 2) There is nothing worse than a hot girl (or guy, for that matter) who KNOWS they’re hot, it kills the appeal instantly, and 3) Who the heck, after 1968, names their kid Phyllis anymore? Did she also have a sister named Joyce or Barbara? Or Muriel? Talk about a throwback.

Women need to learn that, no matter what drama is swirling around in their heads, don’t spew it forth onto guys. That’s what our girl friends are for, ladies, men just zone out and look for any available outlet to escape the hail storm of emotions. Also, even without the ex theatrics, the mirror thing would’ve driven me nuts. Not to mention the crying – guys don’t do well with girl tears, understandably so. And did I mention her name was Phyllis?

Sorry the chips didn’t fall in your favor man, but at least you found out about her baggage early on and could spare yourself the trouble. The only thing worse than talking about past loves on a date is actually seeing them, and for that you should be commended for not breaking out into nervous, uncontrollable laughter. Better luck next time. I hope you at least made it home to catch the end of the game. Oh wait, you said the Sixers? Nevermind.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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DATING AND THE AGE GAP: WHAT WOMEN THINK (BUT MIGHT NOT SAY)

Is it me or does every man, once he gets to 30, only date women 5-7 years younger? If I had a dollar for every guy friend who’s now dating a 24-year-old, I’d have a serious financial windfall on my hands. This isn’t a new trend, but it is one that makes us women raise an eyebrow – and form an opinion or ten. Maybe it’s because it’s March and Miss Wingman has a birthday approaching, but getting older has been on my mind lately. And now, lucky you, it’s on my keyboard too.

If age is a case of mind over matter, then it shouldn’t matter in regards to relationships, right? Wrong. Women mind, and what we think matters – if you ever want to end up with one of us, at least.

This isn’t the stereotypical bitter-older-woman-hating-on-younger-girls story, on the contrary I completely understand the draw. But it is an appeal to think about what your actions say to the female population. And ladies, don’t think you’re off the hook either. I’ve got some choice words for those of you who only date older men, too, so sit tight.

Guys who date women that are fresh out of college might as well be wearing a billboard that says, “I’m not looking for anything serious.” It tells us that you’re only interested in looks or a casual set up, because a woman that age likely won’t be checking her watch and tapping her foot any time soon waiting for a ring or a commitment. Not in the Northeast or California, at least. A guy who serially dates young women and then tries to date someone his own age will automatically garner some skepticism, as if we’re not sure you could really be serious about us if you’ve never stepped up to the plate until now. We want you to be, but we’re just not sure we’d like to be your trial run.

That’s not to say that women 25 and under aren’t mature, intelligent and sophisticated in their thinking, on the contrary I think they have those things in spades. It just means that they’re just getting started having fun, and they won’t be looking to settle down any time soon. If you’re not “done yet,” you don’t care if the person you’re dating isn’t done yet, either. Having no pressure is the biggest draw, but if you’re dating her when she heads into that Quarter Life Crisis freak out stage that most of us hit, you could be a casualty of her youthful wanderings, so be warned.

Women are equal offenders, having long fallen into the pattern of dating older men. Maybe that’s why guys opt for the younger model, partially as payback for their high school and college years when women treated freshman males like plankton – the lowest form of life in the romantic food chain.  So then it’s no wonder that, as soon as we hit our late 20s and 30s, we end up dating men who are closer to 40 – they’re the only ones who seem to have their acts together.

Hold it right there – I said “seem to” have their acts together, not that they’re the only ones who do. In my observations, guys want to be established and have (at least somewhat) arrived at the man they’re trying to be before feeling like they can settle down with someone. So, the later we catch them in life, the more chance there is that they won’t flake out on us like their younger counterparts. Plus, they’re not afraid to show women that they appreciate us – arguably the biggest draw of all. This might sound like a money thing, but in reality it’s a maturity thing. Money is easy to come by, but maturity? Not so much.

The flip side to all of this is that women fundamentally want to end up with someone who feels like their peer. I’m fine with dating a few years older, but after a certain point it just starts to feel wrong – like a creepy old man. Maybe it’s because I’ve never stopped thinking of myself as 20-years-old, but if the man I’m dating can’t accompany me to a fratty bar and dance with my friends and I to cheesy music every now and again – as we’ve been known to do – we might be doomed in the dating department. There’s a difference between being a grown up and taking yourself too seriously, and it’s a fine, fine line.

As for women dating younger men, I support it but my question to the guys is: Really? What’s in it for you? Either you have a true appreciation for a woman who knows what she’s all about, who she should surround herself with (and who not to), what she wants and where she’s headed…or else you just want to be able to tell your friends you took down a Cougar. I’ve dated much younger guys, and while it’s fun, it fundamentally makes you wonder if you’re just going to end up an anecdote. Like the time you dated a red head. Or an identical twin. (I’m kidding, some of my most favorite people are red heads – and now they hate me).

So where does this leave us, then? Hopefully at a truce. Women – at least this woman – would like to date men in our own age group. And, if more men would shrug off the Peter Pan syndrome, we’d be happy to forego the older guys. But only if you boys promise to stop thinking that every single woman over 25 is trying to pin you down into marital submission. Some of us aren’t in any hurry to be wifed up. Some of us are content to just sit tight. Some of us have faith that it’ll all shake out in the end… and if you need us, we’ll be over here enjoying life in the meantime.

If you care about the person you’re with, trust them, and can agree that neither one of you is going anywhere anytime soon, then that should be enough. Granted, not every female thinks like this, but more of us do than guys tend to realize – so give us some credit, please.

I know it’s tempting to go for the woman with the 24-year-old ass (you’d be crazy not to, frankly), but equally important is the woman who has had the time to cultivate a strong sense of accomplishment and self. But these things only come with time, it’s as simple as that. You should aim to find a female who wants to be with you, but doesn’t need to – there’s nothing sexy about being dependent.

Likewise, be patient, ladies. If the man you’re dating hasn’t arrived at the life he wants to lead yet, rather than pointing it out, be excited to see what he will do with his potential. Encouraging a guy to be the best version of himself and realize his goals is preferable to pointing out his shortcomings all the time. If you tell him you think he’s going to end up disappointing you, you’ve just solidified that he will. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, not to mention unfair.

So the moral of the story is this: age matters, but maturity and mindset matter more. Life experience, perspective and a generally solid set of values is key – and they can come in all different ages, shapes and sizes. Just try not to be a total cliche, and we’ll do the same. Maybe one day we can all meet somewhere in the middle…but I won’t hold my breath. Unless it’s to blow out my birthday candles.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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SOLO WINGMAN: AN INTERESTING READ

Whilst trolling the Interweb for compelling things to share, Miss Wingman stumbled across a fascinating read in the NY Times. The article talks about the quirky habits we develop when living alone, and it got me to thinking about how difficult it is for us to let people into our weird little worlds – which is essentially what we do in relationships. It’s OK to be an odd duck when we’re behind the privacy of closed doors, but when those shutters get thrown open for the world (or the person you’re sleeping with) to see, that’s when things get interesting.

According to this assessment, as someone who has lived alone for years, I’m not alone in my strange apartment-dwelling ways. I, too, stand partially clothed in my kitchen preparing a snack. And closing the bathroom door? What’s the point if there’s no company over to shield oneself from?! I fully support it. I sometimes say things out loud to no one in particular, and I’ve come to accept the fact that the nice people in the conference room across the way have probably seen me naked on more than one occasion. So be it.

But, this does mean that one day I’ll have to adjust my bra-hanging-from-the-coat-rack ways to accommodate the (hypothetical) man in my life, unless he has a particularly good sense of humor when it comes to laundry.

And sleeping hours? Don’t even get me started. Anyone who could peer into my apartment at will would likely witness me wide awake, typing away or catching up on my DVR at 2am. My neighbors now think nothing of seeing me heading to the gym at 10pm or sauteing up some dinner at 11:30. I’m certain I keep vampire hours. We’re a strange breed, us solo dwellers, and one day we’ll be forced to change our spots (or at least show them to someone else).

The same goes for men, however, in adjusting their living and cleaning habits to eventually domesticate themselves enough to share a space with (read: not horrify) someone of the female persuasion. Suddenly you’ll not only have to close the bathroom door, but you’ll be asked to put the seat down, take your hand out of your shorts when couch lounging, and probably even stop screaming like a maniac during playoff games. Oh the travesty…So enjoy it while you can, boys, freedom is a fleeting thing.

Eat peanut butter right out of the jar, let your laundry pile up in the corner and blare your music first thing in the morning – or maybe that one’s just me. Revel in your solo living as long as possible, because one day we might actually look back on our tiny apartment days fondly and wish we’d appreciated them more. I’ll probably still sleep sideways in my bed, though, so I hope I end up with a man who doesn’t mind occupying a small portion of my mattress real estate.

But, we are capable of cleaning up our acts, we just need to be really, really sure before taking the plunge to live with someone. It’s a huge decision and one that, in this girl’s opinion, should only be arrived at when you’re certain that your names will one day occupy a marriage license, not just the same mailbox. The quickest way to get to the bottom of your compatibility is by living with your significant other. And if after a few months of wiping toothpaste out of the sink and enduring their Sounds of the Ocean Sleep CD you don’t want to murder each other, you’re probably fine. We just have to step outside our own comfort zone (which widens the longer we live alone) and consider another person’s habits. Because sometimes the easy part is sharing a life, the hard part is sharing a living space.GEEK WINGMAN

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GIRL FACTS: VACATION WINGMAN EDITION

Miss Wingman’s gone fishing…

Not really, but I am going to be partially out of pocket over the next week. Not because I’m slacking off from my responsibilities, but because I’m at the mercy of highly unreliable island Wi-Fi. In the meantime, here are some vacation-themed Girl Facts. It’s a whole lot easier to write when the scenery behind my laptop looks like a postcard.

Girl Fact: We can find any item, no matter how small, at the bottom of any handbag – no matter how cavernously large. Despite appearances to the contrary, when we’re carrying enormous bags filled with our entire lives, we’re actually remarkably adept and accurate at locating things like pens, lip glosses and hair ties…like purse ninjas.

Girl Fact: There is nothing like the 5 seconds leading up to a first kiss. Especially if you gently lift our chins or put your hands on the back of our necks when you seal the deal.

Girl Fact: When men say things like, “Hey gorgeous” or refer to us as, “Pretty lady,” we swoon. It doesn’t matter if you also say it to the 300 lb woman with 4 teeth who just bagged your groceries at Walmart, we still love it. Women eat that kind of thing up.

Girl Fact: We know when you don’t bring your A-game with us. If you check out other women in our presence, aren’t attentive to us or don’t do chivalrous things, we notice. We may not call you out on your indifference, but still – we notice.

Girl Fact: The best quality a woman can offer you is believing in you wholeheartedly. Well, that and having boobs like Kate Upton.

Girl Fact: If stores were smart, they’d serve cocktails in the dressing room while women tried on bathing suits and plaster the walls with pictures of women who look like Roseanne Barr. It’d make bikini shopping a whole lot easier for us, and a whole lot more profitable for them.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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SEXLESS RELATIONSHIPS: YOU COULDN’T PAY ME ENOUGH

Relationships are a trade off. Sure, we get to have someone we care about whose company we enjoy, but we also make a barter of sorts. When we’re dating someone – or married, as the case may be – we trade some of the more exhausting aspects of coupledom in exchange for the obvious perks (read: regular access to sex).

We tolerate listening to someone else vent about their day when all we want to do is unwind from our own, we spend time dealing with family drama that isn’t from our blood relatives, and we generally consider someone else’s feelings at every turn – or at least we’re supposed to. But it’s OK, because we get companionship and support in return. And did I mention sex? Right – that’s the undisputed high point (and if my parents are reading, kindly cover your ears and stop from this point on). Sorry, mom and dad.

But what do you do if you’re in a relationship where having sex has become a thing of  the past? An artifact of courtship days long gone, if you will? Do you lay down the law and demand it like a foot-stamping child mid-tantrum? Avoid the giant, 1000 lb chaste elephant in the room? Or do you run for the potentially sex-filled hills and never look back?

I can’t tell you which choice is the best for you, but I can say this: That nonsense has to stop – now. Why any person in his or her right mind would ever tolerate this lopsided setup is beyond me. Whether you’re married, have kids or are just dating and the sex well is already running dry (think I’m lying? you’d be surprised how many people fit this bill), sexually-sparse relationships are more common than people realize.

It is maddening, it’s depressingly sad, but most importantly it’s indicative of a larger problem in your relationship. And if you don’t confront it head on, you’re headed for one of three scenarios: infidelity, an obsession with porn that may eventually border on clinical, or the resignation that comes with having dust form on your…equipment.

Anyone running to sign up for any of these? Didn’t think so. (Except maybe the porn one – I get it).

So what’s a guy to do? Or a woman, if you fit the bill…although I’ve yet to come across a woman whose man isn’t an eager and willing participant in bed. First, you need to determine if your own sexual habits fall on the woefully deficient side of the spectrum. Then you need to address it. And then you need to do everything in your power to find a happy medium with your significant other to satisfy both parties. First things first, though – the sex depraved part: does it apply to you?

I’d say anyone who either A) has sex less than three times per week or B) can’t remember the last time because it’s been weeks or (gasp!) months fits the bill. Again, I can’t wrap my head around this, but in my informal and highly unscientific surveying of my readership and numerous conversations with friends, this is what I’m finding to be increasingly true.

If I was an even bigger smart ass than I already am, I could’ve titled this post, “Congratulations on your marriage – hope you didn’t like having sex.” Or maybe, “Congratulations on having kids – guess you’re never getting laid again.” They both would’ve been accurate for a portion (not all!) of the population – if in poor taste, of course.

It’s not a blanket truth of course, but for those to whom this applies they’re pretty vocal in their discontent. Specifically, with regards to men who complain that their sex life has flat-lined since becoming a parent, I say this to you: Duh, of course things have dropped off. Your libido would suffer too if you spent your days having conversations about breast pumps and your child’s poo habits. Motherhood is a messy business – give her a minute to adjust.

In arguably the least shocking revelation ever, not only are you blindingly tired from chasing after your children, but you’re also not feeling particularly sexy in most instances. Many women consider it a good day if they’re able to take a shower or brush their hair, so worrying about tempting their man sexually often becomes less important than other things…like cleaning the baby puke perpetually running down their backs. Being a mom is one of the lesser glamorous (on a daily basis, at least) things women encounter – at least until they find their stride and settle into a comfortable routine. So while she’s figuring it out, kindly bear with her, guys. It’s only fair and it’s only temporary, she’ll find her way back to her old, put together self. If you love her, you’ll be patient.

But, don’t get it twisted – my loyalty isn’t one-sided. In fact, I’d say that there’s a finite window on how long you can starve your man sexually post-baby, and if it exceeds a few months (bearing in mind that six weeks of that is doctor mandated), you fellows have a right to be frustrated. And don’t even get me started on couples who sleep with their children in their bed – no wonder your sex life is waning! Fidgety toddlers wearing Underoos is a mood killer, to say the least. It’s cute to cuddle with the kiddos, but there’s a time and a place – and it shouldn’t begin until the wee hours of morning, in my opinion.

If I could say one thing to the women reading this it’s that yes, juggling your family, household and often a career makes you pretty much Superwoman – you deserve all the praise in the world. But don’t forget that at the most primal, fundamental levels your husband (or baby daddy, whatever) is still – and most importantly – a man. That means his sexual side should never be ignored, lest he look for other outlets to express it.

Am I saying, “keep your man happy so he doesn’t cheat on you?” It’s more complicated than that, no one should ever get a free pass or excuse to shirk their relationship commitment because of a dry spell. Especially if you’re married to or have kids with someone, it’s not as simple as just giving up when things are less than favorable. But maybe, on some level, I am saying this outright: You can’t deny a man sex, it will end badly. This should come to the surprise of exactly no one.

But while we’re at it, where’s the women’s libido in all of this? It consistently blows my mind when I encounter women who view sex as a chore or an obligation. Whether you’re simply married with no children (in which case you have no excuse, let’s be honest here) or just dating someone but still not feeling particularly frisky – if you don’t feel compelled to put the Do Not Disturb sign on the bedroom door from time to time (figuratively, of course) then something is amiss.

Far be it from me to call anyone abnormal, but there’s something fundamentally unsettling when women say they’re not particularly sexual. That should be a strong part of your identity – of anyone’s identity – but if it isn’t, it doesn’t mean that it can’t become that way. Maybe it just means that it hasn’t been tapped into fully or properly until now, but there’s always hope. If your woman hasn’t expressed a huge interest in having sex, or if you’re always the one initiating things, this begs a conversation. You need to find out why.

Whether you flat out ask her what she enjoys (then do it more often), or ask if there are things she hasn’t tried but wants to (and do them more often), you need to talk it out. Or if the biggest impediment is fatigue, change the time of day you try to cozy up to her. If it’s a confidence issue find ways to help her bolster it and feel less self-conscious, etc. But again, please talk it out. If she feels like things have gotten too routine then find a way to spice things up and be more spontaneous behind closed doors – or, hell, out in public. Whatever floats your boat. If she feels like things are low in the…pleasure department, figure out what will correct that for her -  and have a good time in the process. If you weren’t having any fun in bed you wouldn’t be readily signing up for it either, would you? (Who am I kidding, of course you guys would).

If you take nothing else away from this discussion hear this: Don’t ignore a sexually sparse relationship. You will come to resent her, men, and it will be your relationship’s undoing over time. And ladies: for the love of God (OK fine, maybe I should leave God out of this, I doubt he’d appreciate the reference), don’t let the pilot light go out. There’s nothing sadder than women who view sex as a chore. Find a way for both of you to enjoy it equally, and don’t ever give up on keeping sex appeal in your relationship. If you care about the person you’re with – whether you’re a man or a woman – don’t accept the death of your sex life, fight for it. Remember – we shouldn’t lay down and take it…but maybe start by just laying down.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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CUPID WINGMAN: FUN VALENTINE’S-RELATED ACTIVITIES

So this is what the other side of the country looks like…palm trees and low buildings. Who knew? Miss Wingman arrived safely in the City of Angels and has been soaking up the landscape (and losing her cell phone, screaming at her GPS and discovering how many things she forgot to pack) ever since. Good times!

But, as promised, I’m delivering with ideas to make your Valentine’s Day a little more interesting this year. I’m splitting the list into NYC and LA and starting with activities prior to the 14th, because who needs to adhere to calendar confines? Psshht, not this girl.

My biggest piece of advice for you is that you should aim to find new and unusual ways to have fun with the woman in your life (or man, whatever). Whether it’s something low key like sipping wine on the porch, or something spontaneous like a spur of the moment road trip, find the thing that suits who you are as a couple. There’s nothing more endearing than coordinating something that’s just so you, in our eyes. But before I get my list on, I leave you with one more kernel of Cupid-related wisdom. This one’s an oldie but goodie from my early advice days, but it’s classic Miss Wingman in tone (read: you can practically wring the sarcasm out of it). Enjoy.

For NYC lovebirds…

Get her dirt rock on (OK fine, hair metal, whatever): Guns N’ Roses at Roseland. You’re welcome. 2/10

Is she a fan of man’s best friend? If she can’t get into any Fashion Week events, no worries. Hit up the New Yorkie Runway Show at the pet-friendly New Yorker hotel. And no, I’m not making this up. 2/10

Does she love a man who can drain 3′s? The Knicks/Lakers game at the Garden is a solid choice (despite claims that sporting events are more for you than her – nonsense). Who needs Kobe when we have Lin and Novak – heck, ‘Melo can stay gone for all I care. Nothing says love like some hoops. 2/10

Keep her warm: What’s cooler than ice carving? Nothing. Check out the Ice Festival at Tavern in Central Park and watch the pros chip blocks of ice into Central Park icons. Cool! 2/11

Does she like wiseguys? NYC has no shortage of mob-related walking tours down in Little Italy, but this one’s a good place to start. *Note: If she prefers a more Kosher mafia, there’s also a Jewish Gangster tour. True Story. 2/11 or 2/16

Give her the gift of hockey: Is she a Lundqvist girl? Or maybe she prefers Ovechkin (I’m a Brooks girl, myself). Either way, the Rangers take on the Caps at the Garden. Guaranteed good time. 2/12

If you can’t serenade her, let someone else do it: B.B. Kings is hosting a Valentine’s Eve concert featuring the Harlem Gospel Choir. You haven’t heard people sing ’til you’ve heard this. 2/13

Maker her laugh: Cedric the Entertainer and Friends Valentine’s Show at the Beacon, because funny is sexy, too. 2/14

Say “I Do” all over again: Renew your vows at the Celebrate Love in Times Square event with a zillion other couples. How intimate! 2/14

Get your Capulet on: Nothing is more romantic than the New York City Ballet performing Romeo & Juliet on Valentine’s Day? She gets to see men in tights, and you get points for sitting through it. The things you do for love… 2/14

Does she love a good blow out? Yeaaaaah buddy! DJ Pauly D is at Pacha Valentine’s night. If she’s a Shore-head and you set this up, she’ll probably be DTF. 2/14

Put her in the mood: Filthy Gorgeous Burlesque show at the Highline. Need I say more? 2/14

For west coast lovers…

If she likes drummers…or tattoos: Travis Barker is at The Roxy on 2/10

If novelty is her thing: Bring out her competitive (and spooky) side at this Haunted Hollywood Valentine’s weekend scavenger hunt, 2/10

If classical is more her style: Take her to hear the Los Angeles Philharmonic on 2/11

For the girl who loves guys who play piano (and most of us do): The Fray is playing at The Troubador on 2/11

…Or the girl who just can’t get enough ?uest Love: The Roots (yes!) are playing at the House of Blues on 2/11

For the hipster in her: Young the Giant will be at the Wiltern on 2/11

For the sappy girl: Overdose on love at the ArcLight classic romance movie festival on 2/12

If she’s always wanted to dirty dance: You don’t have to be on Dancing With The Stars to dazzle, there’s a Tango workshop on 2/12

If you feel like watching her drool over another man: Robin Thicke is playing at the Nokia on 2/14. Swoon.

If she’s more baller than ballad girl: As with the above mention, women like sports too (well, cool women at least). There’s a Lakers/Hawks game on 2/14 or a Clips/Wizards game on 2/15 if she’s a Griffin or Paul fan (and you can convince her to wait).

Or, if you find yourself solo before Tuesday, you can always try speed dating, held 2/14 all over, but this boozy Valentine’s one sounds like fun.

* * *

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CUDDLING: YES, YOU HAVE TO, SORRY.

There are certain things that really highlight the differences between men and women. An affinity for cuddling is definitely one of them. Whether it’s your garden variety snuggling on the couch, or some post-coital spooning, at some point in your romantic career you’re going to have to succumb, men. I’m sorry. But just because it’s the right (read: sweet) thing to do, doesn’t mean you have dedicate hours to it. In fact, in this girl’s opinion, there’s a limit to the cuteness.

How can something so fundamentally adorable come with a shelf life? Easy – because guys generally hate doing it. Any woman who has a boyfriend/husband or just access to a man she regularly cozies up to should understand this fact and behave accordingly. It’s like shopping: Women know you hate it, and yet they still expect you to accompany them, for some crazy reason. I’m staunchly opposed to making your man shop with you – unless it’s for home improvement things. But cuddling is different, because not only do we need it, we actually like it. And we want you to like it, too.

Of course there are some obvious issues to overcome when snuggling with your significant other. Sometimes it’s hot, or you’re tired, not to mention that one of you always gets stuck with what I like to call “stupid arm,” where your arm is pinned arrow straight beneath both of you. It’s an all together clumsy business at times.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t appreciated. In general, you’re much bigger than us, and we love how in your arms we feel small and safe. Plus, it shows us that you care about keeping us around, even if it’s only for 15 minutes and after you’ve gotten laid – whatever, we’ll take it.

Women need reassurance way more than you guys do, it’s just science (or something). Men who raise the bar in the cuddling department by kissing our foreheads, stroking our arms/backs or just generally giving really good hugs are especially revered. If there was a formal ranking for such snuggling skills, these men would get five stars.

But where should you draw the line? That’s easy: When the expected cuddle time exceeds 30 minutes (an hour even…but that’s pushing it). That’s usually when people start to get antsy. Or – and this is my steadfast rule, please heed – when you’re in public. Fun fact: Miss Wingman is strongly anti-PDA (I’m also anti-using the word “canoodling,” too, it makes me want to vomit). I’m anti-making out, anti-nose nuzzling, hell – I’m anti-anything other than hand holding, an arm around each other or quick kisses while in public spaces or in the presence of others.

Why? Because that’s for you, it’s not for everyone else. And the rest of us don’t really want to see it, frankly. Let it be known that this is coming from a person who highly values affection and could never be with a stoic, unaffectionate male. But even I think that there’s a time and place for this stuff, and it’s usually behind closed doors. What goes on under the covers or in the comfort of your own home is your business, kindly keep it that way.

So now that I’ve made you think that I’m the kind of person who would throw things or hiss at unsuspecting couples (never!), let’s clarify your obligation – especially since Valentine’s Day is approaching – the mother of all cuddle-intensive holidays:

Do try to show your sweet side, as often as possible. Upright hugs and hair stroking are not only viable alternatives, they’re welcomed and appreciated. Don’t expect that it always requires spooning, there are other ways to show you love us…like us. My bad, where’s my head?

Do make sure to tell us how you feel from time to time, even if it’s just with a sweet email, a flower for no reason or a note tucked away somewhere. And don’t be afraid to speak up if you feel like her cuddling expectations are unreasonable. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it, and a polite, “Maybe we can work on a happy medium here,” suggestion shouldn’t make you boyfriend road kill. At least I hope not.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

 

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