VALENTINE’S ADVICE FOR LOVERS, THE LOVELORN & THE “IS IT OVER YET?” CROWD

Ain’t love grand? Eh, that depends on who you ask actually. And on Valentine’s Day of all days (Jesus, is it here again already?) you’re bound to get a variety of answers.

But whether you’re a V-Day hater, a serious dater, or would just as soon wipe it from the calendar altogether, there’s fun to be had by everyone today – just as long as you know where to look.

Enter Miss Wingman to help you safely navigate the Cupid-filled waters. Here’s my fail-safe advice for those in the market, off the market, or flipping the market the bird (I’m looking at you, recent breaker-uppers).

For the happy couples: If you fall into this category…wait why are you even reading this site? And also, congrats, I hope you’re both punch drunk in love. I only have two pieces of advice for you: 1) Make the holiday perfectly suit your couple style – don’t worry what everybody else is up to – it’s about what you enjoy doing. And 2) If you decide to pop the question today, please do us all a favor and don’t Facebook/Instagram/Tweet a photo of just your giant sparkly ring.

Wait, what? Why can’t we share our happiness with the world, you ask? You can. Just upload a photo of the two of you together, smiling, or even a solo shot with your beaming face front and center (and yes, the ring too, I get it). Anything but the dreaded detached hand Look-What-I-Got picture – dubbed the worst form of e-bragging by the folks at New York Magazine.

And why is that such Internet blasphemy? Truth be told, I’m not among the outraged, but I’d guess this is the cause of their beef: Because you’re marrying a man, not a ring, and excited as you are, you should put the focus on what’s really important. Baubles are nice, but not as wonderful as your beau is (at least we hope).

For single men: One word…jackpot. That’s right. Take a knee, dudes, and bow down before the awesome power that is women desperately wanting to shed their single status. It’s like it’s raining va-jay-jay, and the wise man left his umbrella at home.

True, not all women fall into this category, there are plenty of them out there who proudly wave the “I Don’t Need No Man” flag. But those women are called lesbians. Or feminists. (And they obviously suck at grammar, too). Either way, you’re dealing with a different sample space, boys.

*Miss Wingman note: I kid, I kid. Only MOST of the “I Am Woman Hear Me Roar” crowd can be classified in the above manner (OK fine, some of those women, whatever). I know plenty of ladies who are neither gay nor angry Femme-Nazis who don’t feel anxious to land a man. They’re called “independent” and “confident,” and they’re pretty damn stellar in fact.

Jeez, since when did sarcasm need qualifiers? Sigh…

But back to the “you’re likely to score” thing. The fact is that few things remind us of our single-dom more than Valentine’s Day. (I’d call it “the dreaded VD,” but that can carry a different connotation entirely). Yes February 14th, New Year’s Eve, and pretty much every time one of our friends gets married brings with it a healthy b*tch slap from Cupid himself.

So it stands to reason that women will likely be out, will be boozing, and will definitely lower their standards from “Prince Charming” to “Eh, you’ll do” just for the night. Go forth and wreak havoc, gentlemen, just bring your manners and your game face.

For single women: Despite the aforementioned comments, I feel you. Let’s be honest, I am you, in a manner of speaking. That’s why I recognize that you can choose to fall into one of two categories here: Those that acknowledge all of the other forms of love that they’ve been blessed with (think nieces/nephews/friends) and celebrate it, or those that get stuck on what – or who – is missing from their lives. I respect whichever one you pick, but the former will make for a more enjoyable day.

So grab a friend or three and hit the bars (but watch out for those trolling men), or a spinning class, or the couch with a good movie – wherever makes you feel good, really.

Notice I didn’t say “go out to dinner.” Pfffft, b*tch please. I know better. Who wants to be surrounded by all those kissing couples and get hit with a prix fixe menu, amirite ladies? It’ll be like “Galentine’s Day” all over again, since technically that shiz already passed.

And just in case you choose the hunker-down-with-wine-in-someone’s-living-room route, there are a few fun distractions waiting for you online.

Recently broken up? Didn’t end well? Have no fear, revenge seekers, the website Dirty Rotten Flowers has you covered. Instead of the usual long-stemmed roses and candy, this site will send your ex a bouquet of dead and wilted blossoms and a stuffing-exposed teddy bear that looks like he was run over by car. Or an 18-wheeler. It’s a not-so subtle way to tell your former flame what you really think of him or her…delivery style.

Or, if you’re the social media-addicted type, you might try to wipe any evidence of your ex from your Facebook profile. Think of it as the “I want my stuff back” part of the break up, in cyber form. Now the mobile program Kill Switch can do the dirty work for you.

Heartbroken? You’re in luck – there’s an app for that.

The program essentially identifies all messages, photos, wall posts, etc. associated with your ex and gives you the option to either delete them or quarantine them in a secret folder within your account. You know, so you can go back and peep them later, should you have a change of heart. Just remember, this form of clean up requires that you actually remain on your ex’s friend list, and vice versa, for it to work. Yeah, good luck with that.

And lastly, if you’re not broken up yet but still looking for trouble, you can always hit up sites like Ashley Madison, the preferred platform of cheaters everywhere. Touting itself as the place for “discreet encounters” for those either married or dating, it’s a veritable buffet of people looking to stray. I’ll reserve my complete thoughts on this service and simply say this: despicable. If you’re inclined to partake, you should be inclined to have the balls to end the relationship first. End of story.

But if all of that doesn’t cheer you up, you can always take time out from making fun of your ex’s cheesy engagement photos and scoping your high school crush’s Tumblr to put pen to paper. Grab some single, holiday-hating friends and start brainstorming a list of people you KNOW you’re having a better Valentine’s Day than – go on, it’s fun!

I’ll start…

Tierra from “The Bachelor” (or any of the cast off broads, really). Because the only thing worse than being sent home is being dumped and then having to watch your ex making out with a dozen women on broadcast television.

Lance Armstrong – Does this one really beg an explanation?

Taylor Swift, though frankly she’ll parlay her bad love life into inspiration for more platinum albums. Personally, I’d rather devour some ice cream and call it a day.

Kris Humphries – Because the only thing worse than divorce is watching your ex become someone else’s baby mama in record time. Walk that one off, man, you didn’t want to be known as Mr. Kim Kardashian for the rest of your life, did you?

Bethenny Frankel – And believe me, it pains me to say this, because I really like her. Though come to think of it, not as much as I like her ex. Jason, if you’re reading this, call me, maybe?

A flower delivery person. Suuuucks to be them today. And finally…

Cop-killer and fugitive Christopher Dorner. Did your week end in a fiery standoff? No? Then you’re in way better shape, trust me.

That’s it, lovebirds. That’s literally all she wrote. Enjoy the day – or blot it out, your choice – but either way, here’s hoping something makes you smile today. If it’s any consolation, Miss Wingman loves writing for each and every one of you. May all of your hearts be similarly full, and if they can’t be, may your cup always be full (of vodka). Cheers  –MW.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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ROMANCE WINGMAN: VALENTINE’S DAY DO’S AND DON’TS

So much has been written about Valentine’s Day that even the journalistically inclined are hard pressed to find a new way to tackle the subject. Taking the straight route, for example, dictates that we make some romantic comparison to a timely subject – like, oh…I don’t know…politics, as found here. Gosh, what a well-crafted argument, whoever wrote that must be pretty clever (or just shamefully self-promoting – your call).

Or there’s the statistical route, which isn’t flowery but still pretty damn interesting, like this compilation of cupid-related numbers. Eleven thousand children conceived on Valentine’s Day on average?! Ew, that’s more information than I needed…

But my personal favorite read as of late was about Valenswine’s Day, the day before Valentine’s when men take their mistresses out for a romantic tryst (hey, it’s better than double booking, right?)

This year, however, my contribution to the lovers melting pot is a 2012-themed Do’s and Don’ts list for both singles and couples. True, it may have been done before, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still fun.

For the attached:

DO try to avoid flaunting your syrupy sweet relationship details on Facebook or Twitter. Uploading excessive pictures of your gigantic floral arrangement or giving us the play by play of all of the things “the very best boyfriend/husband/fiancee in the whole world” did for you today tends to get on people’s nerves. Also, please try not to profess your love in 140 characters or less. The words “marry me” should never come with a hashtag in front of them, in my opinion.

Men: DON’T pawn off a gift that really serves your purposes as something you think we’d enjoy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: giving lingerie and sports tickets is only altruistic if you’re dating Adriana Lima or Marv Albert. *Miss Wingman note - if you’re dating a woman who would love to hit up an NBA game on Valentine’s Day, marry her. She rocks.

DO recreate a fond memory with your beloved. If your first date was for Dim Sum in Chinatown and then a John Hughes revival at local theater, why not relive it? (And if it’s not possible, ordering in Chinese and Netflix’ing The Breakfast Club works, too).

DON’T be afraid to Do It Yourself for a gift. If you’re particularly good at something (cooking, playing music, etc.) now is a good time to showcase your skills. Just don’t go that route if you’re known for being notoriously cheap – homemade is endearing, but not if your reputation precedes you.

DON’T ignore the holiday entirely, even if your significant other swears that she hates Valentine’s and couldn’t care less about it. Fact: 53% of women say that they’d break up with someone if they didn’t receive a present on Valentine’s Day. So even if it’s just a card, give Cupid a nod. Or else.

For the unattached:

DON’T get drunk and text or call your ex. Likewise, don’t check their Facebook page or e-stalk them – it will not make you feel better – especially if they’ve moved onto someone else. The past is the past for a reason, leave it that way.

DON’T try to DTR (Define The Relationship) with someone with whom you’ve been casually hooking up. This is not to be confused with being DTF (Down To…you know), which everyone should be on Valentine’s Day. Right, Pauly D?

DO start fresh by eliminating painful reminders of your old flames on Facebook, G-chat or your mobile device (a clean slate is better than looking backward, after all), but DON’T do anything drastic, like overhauling your life. Joining every single dating website (and downloading dating apps), buying a whole new wardrobe and signing up for the next casting of The Bachelor is excessive, FYI.

DO turn the negative (read: a recent break up) into a positive. It turns out angst is great fuel for creativity, so find a way to channel it. Hey, it worked for Adele, didn’t it?

DON’T be a cliche. The idea of the embittered single female – or in rare cases, male – isn’t amusing, it’s just plain angry. Please avoid blasting “F*%k You” music or going to see a midnight showing of Carrie, it’s not helping your cause (or making the rest of us look good).

For both:

DON’T sext half naked (or worse) pictures of yourself to anyone, whether you’re in a relationship or not. Have we learned nothing from Anthony Weiner, people?

But DO spread the love. Remember how much fun Valentine’s Day was as a kid? You don’t have to write tiny cards to all of your coworkers, but dropping Hershey’s Kisses or conversation hearts on your neighbor’s desk is fun way to be nostalgic. Everybody loves a little kitsch once in a while, right?

And there you have it, Miss Wingman’s take on this hot button holiday. Sure, some may hate Valentine’s Day because it, following closely on the heels of the other dreaded singles holiday, New Year’s Eve, provides the one-two punch we can’t avoid. It’s like a tandem assault-by-calendar, if you choose to view it that way. But I’d prefer to think of it as just another opportunity to make someone else smile – and there’s nothing wrong with that. And, if you still can’t get behind it, just know that your own Valentine’s misery is probably nothing compared to this guy’s. My love to you all, today and always.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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I’M JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU: HOW TO HAVE ‘THE CONVERSATION’

Ain’t love grand? You can’t stop thinking about someone, you smile uncontrollably – it’s an all-consuming affair. With Valentine’s Day upon us tomorrow, mushy displays of affection abound. But what if the person you’re with doesn’t conjure such gooey, lovey dovey feelings? In fact, what if you’d just as soon take them or leave them? Yikes. Sounds like you’ve got a case of the “Eh-You’re-Cool-But-I’m-Kinda-Indifferent-About-You’s.” Sucks to be them.

A telltale sign that you fall into this category might be that, for instance, if they called you and asked if you wanted to hang out and you were home on your couch doing nothing, you’d still prefer that over motivating to see them. Ouch.

So what do you do if this predicament describes you? You’ve got a choice. You can either ignore it and hope that your girlfriend (or boyfriend) doesn’t notice that you’ve emotionally checked out, or you can have “the Conversation.” (Insert ‘dun dun dunnnn’ music here for dramatic effect).

In all honesty though, who wants to have that conversation? Not this girl. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t the necessary – and courteous – thing to do. How do you tell someone that they like you more than you like them? Do you just say, “You’re cool and all but I’m just doing this for now, because it’s there (read: it’s convenient to be getting laid regularly)?” Or say, “I don’t consider you my girlfriend, in fact most days I don’t consider you at all?” Neither would go over well, for obvious reasons.

Or you can take the more mathematical approach and say, “On a scale of 1 to 10, my interest in you hovers at a solid 4. OK fine, it’s a 5. Six! Six, I meant six, please stop crying.” Or else try, “You know how when you’re really into someone, you get butterflies and miss them when they’re not around? Riiiight, I don’t feel that way about you at all. Not even a little.”

Face it, there’s no easy way to tell someone this, because you know it’s going to hurt to hear. This is why people avoid having that conversation like the plague. Like. The. Plague.

In some instances, the person you’re with will force the issue by asking you outright to DTR (Define The Relationship, in case you’re not a seventh grader like I am). In that case, you can take their lead and hope for the best. This is the preferred method, since it just requires that you not lie to them, and not that you initiate.

But, if your insignificant other never calls you out on it, how do you make it clear that the scales are unbalanced? Try the, “I think we’re looking for different things,” route. This is the safest route, in my opinion. Then explain that you don’t really want to be in a relationship – and hope she doesn’t hate you when she finds out you found someone better a week later and you’ve wifed up already.

You can take the brutally honest route and say, “Is it wrong that when I’m with you, I’m secretly scanning over top of your head to see if someone better comes along? Also, if given the choice between hanging out with you or a cheese sandwich and a Family Guy rerun, you’d lose the face off. Sorry.” I probably wouldn’t recommend that, though.

Either way, even if you can’t see yourself ending up with this person, hopefully you’ll have some compassion and consideration for their feelings. In which case, you should A) try to break it to them lightly that they should manage their expectations of you, and then B) expect that they’ll probably bolt after that conversation. It’d take a case of grievously wounded self esteem for someone to stick around after that – either that or you’re just too good in bed to give up on. Ha, who are we kidding? The former is more likely.

I kid, I kid. But if you want to move forward and find someone who actually makes you  happy, you need to suck it up and just tear the band-aid off swiftly. It might make for a seriously uncomfortable few minutes, but in the end it’s the right thing to do – for both of you. Good luck, god speed, and don’t forget to warm up the getaway car.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

Don’t forget to tune into Sirius’s WakeUp! With Taylor on February 14th at 8:40 a.m. Eastern to hear more of Miss Wingman’s Valentine’s Day musings, or just check out USA Today (print copy or website) for a Miss Wingman Op-ed. Don’t have Sirius? Get a free trial subscription here.

Are you following Miss Wingman on Twitter and Facebook? What better way to say “I like you” this Valentine’s Day? Hit up @misswingman or facebook.com/misswingman. I also take requests, email misswingman@gmail.com. Get involved!

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ENTREPRENEURIAL WINGMAN: A LITTLE O’ THIS, A LITTLE O’ THAT.

It’s really hard to follow up yesterday’s Stamos-themed cuddle posting, but I’ll try…Big things are brewing here at Miss Wingman, starting with a little travel this week. Yes, starting today I will be bi-coastal for a bit – not to be confused with bi-curious, which is another posting entirely – but in the airport travel interim I’d like to leave you with some bits and pieces today. If we were playing Jeopardy, consider this, “I”ll take knowledge Potpourri for $1000.” Which I guess would make me Alex Trebek…bad analogy.

Anyway, with Valentine’s Day now less than a week away, I’m sure every attached male that is scrambling for ideas/gifts, if he hasn’t already. But rather than rehashing gift ideas we love once more, I thought it better to just refer you to my Fail-Safe Girl Gift Guide from the holidays, since most of those still apply. Turns out, judging from your feedback, many of you found great ideas in there, so feel free to revisit them again.

Here’s what women would want to unwrap if she’s into something: sparkly, sentimental, serene, sporty, boozy or intimate. If you’d like, you can resurrect something in the culinary idea vein, but be careful – the only things that are Valentine’s Day appropriate from that list are the glasses and the classes – and again, only if you take them together and she’s hinted at wanting them (otherwise it could be a very lonely holiday for you, my friend).

Aside from those offerings, be on the look out the next few days for a two-part list of stellar activities to do with your beloved. I’m covering everything and, since I’ll be out west, I’m including some love for the LA lovers this time, too. And yes, that’s how New Yorkers think, there are only two cities in America, and a whole lot of flyover stuff in between (or just refer to this map of our mentality). I kid, I kid!

Moreover, if you want a little extra Miss Wingman next week, you’re in luck. On Valentine’s Day, if you pick up an issue of USA Today and turn to the editorial page (or just check their website), you will find a love-themed Op-ed written by yours truly, as well as tuning into CosmoRadio’s Wake Up! With Taylor at 8:40am eastern on Sirius radio where I will be a guest that day. If you’ve never listened to Taylor and Kenny’s musings before, you’re missing out – and might I suggest starting on Tuesday…

Finally, since I would never just give you an entirely recycled post, here’s a little something – two little somethings, actually – that I stumbled upon in regards to starting your own company (How old is too old to be taken seriously? Ask these guys) and being at the helm of something huge as a youthful CEO (Are young CEO’s up to the job? Find out!).

Not only are they both interesting reads, but as someone who took the career plunge, I can appreciate the wisdom in both. Also, I know I’m not alone in dreams of lofty job pursuits, so maybe these pieces speak to you…. Go big or go home, that’s what I say.

So be good, kids (don’t fight with your brother), read up and I’ll be posting from sunnier skies before you know it. I’m contemplating provoking the TSA just to get some fun content out of it, but maybe that’s not such a good idea. I don’t play Words With Friends, either, so at least the plane leg of the trip should be smooth sailing. But probably not as good as this guy’s.

In the meantime, I leave you with this little slice of awesome for your mid week enjoyment. Because no one ever went wrong with a little Led Zeppelin.GEEK WINGMAN

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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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