Archive for May, 2012

You’re Sexy and I Know It

May 31, 2012

I once told a group of guy friends I could predict how long their next relationship would last based on where they met.  While uttered somewhat in jest, consider the results…

Name          Met at…                              Status

Jeff              Med school class              Married 3 years

Brian           Intramural sports              Engaged

Matt            Theater opening                 Dated 1 year

Mark           Bar                                       Snuck out at 6am

OK, hardly groundbreaking to say people with common interests beyond beer have better odds for a successful relationship but the thing that struck me was that the relationships that lasted began while the participants weren’t trying– they were living their lives and someone came into it.  It reminded me of that expression “Love comes along when you least expect it”.  But why?

I suspect it’s because when people are engaged they are more themselves and that’s when you’re most apt to attract someone who’s right for you.  Consider two scenarios— in the first, your friends come to order dinner and watch a movie.  In the second, you get all dressed up and go out to a club.

If someone watched a video of you in both situations, from which would they get the best sense for who you really are?  The friends at your place, of course.  Your guard is down and you’re not worried about pretense or appearances.  You’re being you.

This got me to thinking about some of the women I’ve recently been attracted to and the circumstances surrounding it…

All Bundled Up

Last winter, my friend had a party.  It was one of those freezing nights when you have to make that decision— do I look good or be warm and get laid in the Spring?  A surprising number of women chose the former— showing up shivering in slinky tops and thin but fashionable jackets. Then, in walked a figure so bundled up that I couldn’t even tell it was a woman at first.  She wore a huge, puffy winter jacket, mittens and a hat with pom poms on the top.  She looked like the Michelin Man and it was adorable.  I loved her priorities: Cozy comes first and she could care less what people thought..

My friend, Chris, and I watched as she removed her layers like some sort of Eskimo strip tease.   It was oddly hot– watching a woman take things off is just exciting, even if it’s 7 layers.  Our anticipation mounted with every piece—how many more are there?  What will be next?  Finally she got down to a big sweater and jeans.  Perhaps the best part was we then noticed her cheeks were flush and she was sweating.  Everyone else was freezing and she was overheated!  Chris beat me to the punch, offering a cold beer to help cool her off.  They’ve been together 4 months and by all reports she’s as cozy as she looked.

Sweatin’ in the Oldies

There’s a 20-something woman at my gym who wears baggy, beat up lacrosse shorts.  I don’t know her name but I love her.  She gets on the treadmill, plugs in her ipod and gets lost in her own world– mouthing the words to songs, sometimes even breaking into a verse out loud (and not well).  Its like she’s having a party to which nobody else is invited… and I desperately want to attend.  At the same time, I don’t want anyone to bother her little ecosystem. But by the third time I saw her there I couldn’t help myself and I decided I had to at least muster up the courage for an awkward “hey there”.  I walked 10 extra minutes on a treadmill to time the end of my workout with hers so we could accidentally bump into each other.  And just as I was about to make my move, a studly looking dude came out of nowhere, kissed her shoulder and asked if she was ready to go. Mission aborted.

Yard Sale

I was walking down the street in midtown Manhattan when I noticed a woman coming the other way.  She was a buttoned up business woman– complete with briefcase and power heels– yet seemed frazzled.  As she got closer, I noticed her shirt was coming untucked, her hair was losing to the humidity and she was struggling to handle her two bags while also talking on her cell phone.  She was a strong, modern woman having a bad day.  Watching her wheels come off made her so real and vulnerable.  I was reminded of how easy it is to be a guy– just throw on pants and some hair gel and I’m set for the day.  As she approached, I started to smile– not so much to flirt but as an attempted sign of compassionate recognition. We briefly caught eyes and she just looked away.  I think a male advance was the last thing she needed on this day.

Coffee in a Bun

It was a lazy Sunday morning after a late Saturday night when I threw on shorts and the same shirt I wore yesterday to run to the coffee shop across the street from my apartment.  Online was a woman who appeared to be on a similar program– hair in a bun, tank top and sweatpants so long she was stepping all over the bottoms.  She ordered a “massive cup of coffee.”  I looked at the board— massive was not a size, she was just being funny and emphasizing her need for caffeine.  The guy behind the counter smiled, as did I.  “Anything else?” he asked.  She hesitated, then said, “and one of those big ass chocolate muffins.”  I was smitten.  She was giving into her urges, a total devil may care attitude.  Today it was about her and she was going to do whatever she wanted.

I wanted to say something, only my head was too cloudy for original thoughts and my hair still smelled like a bar. So when it was my turn I decided imitation was the sincerest form of flattery and loudly announced, “I too will have a massive cup of coffee.” Nobody laughed.  I think I forced the moment a little and actually wound up shouting.  There was an uncomfortable silence, I paid for my coffee and left.

So while I did not go on to marry any of these women (actually, I never even approached one), someone definitely will.  But they all caught my eye and proved memorable enough to make it to this blog.  Guys are always going to check out a pretty girl (not nearly as much as women do, by the way) but I assure you these are the type of things that catch the good ones’ eye.

NOTE: Thanks for all you support on my CD pre-sale!  We hit the minimum required so its full steam ahead. Only three hours left if you still want in… here’s to hearty guffaws!!! http://tinyurl.com/7fqphdv

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Men You Shouldn’t Date

May 24, 2012

Last year after the relationship I was in ended my buddy tried to set me up with his “incredibly cute coworker” to get me back in the game.  Very kind, but I declined.  My heart was still with my ex and I didn’t think it would be fair to get involved with someone else when I didn’t really mean it.  Quite simply, I wasn’t datable.  Not that I wasn’t tempted.  Men are particularly risky bets post-breakup because we secretly hope we’ll never have to deal with our feelings– the chance to “fix” our sadness with someone else is very attractive.

I’m proud I had the self awareness to make that call and am happy to report– after taking some time for myself– that I’m back in the game.  But it got me to thinking about the types of guys women would do well to avoid. Of course there are exceptions to everything but in general beware of…

Mr. Not So Nice

Sure there are examples of reformed Bad Boys, in Hollywood and probably in your own circle of friends. But for every Warren Beatty, there’s a Tommy Lee.  And having seen the way some guys I know treat women, I’m amazed at what my gender thinks they can get away with. A partial list of atrocities I’ve witnessed: Checking out the waitress, playing with his Blackberry while she’s talking, canceling plans last second/for no reason, opening the door…just for himself, and worst of all, asking the bartender for her number when his girlfriend is in to the bathroom. So while the untamed spirit of an “edgy” guy who is living life to the fullest may seem appealing, if it’s a relatively stable relationship you’re looking for, these dudes are a don’t.

Mr. Disappearing Act

He’s fun.  He’s nice.  He’s gone.

Some seemingly normal guys have a bad habit of vanishing. Common excuses like “traveling so much” and “work’s really busy” may technically be true, but there’s often something else going on— like in the case of my old roommate who had a girlfriend while trying to be with someone else. I also know of a guy who told a woman he was single in New York when in fact he was married in Ohio.  In both situations, they checked out for days at a time. No wonder.

The give away is erratic contact—is he in touch every day and then suddenly MIA?  Does he frequently change or cancel plans?  Do invitations have sudden urgency—didn’t hear from him all week and then he calls and wants to get together in an hour? One important aside: Do not confuse this magician’s behavior with general male laxness. We can go twice as long as women without contact and not find it the least bit odd. And, yes, we know you hate that, but it’s true. 

Your ex

It’s tempting to go back, I know. Long nights, fear of being single forever and conveniently short-term memory can lead you right to what was comfortable, familiar— and over. I’ve been guilty of it twice, both during lonely times in the dead of winter.  Rekindling romance seemed far easier to me than the unknown, and it was for the two months before we painfully rediscovered why we broke up in the first place.

Like with the bad boy, everyone has an example of someone that this worked out for—I myself know a happily married couple who met when neither could commit but later found that they were indeed ready. Still, keep in mind that for most of us mere mortals, recycling is great for the planet but a crap shoot for your love life.

Mr. Too Much Too Soon

If it’s the first date and he has already discussed joint vacation plans, mentioned meeting the parents, and even alluded to marriage and kids’ names he likes, you’re out with someone who has gotten way ahead of himself.

A female friend told me of a first date where the guy suggested they go to a Spanish island for the holidays.  A lovely sentiment but a bit much from someone you met four days earlier!  As the night progressed– and he continued to reference things he wanted to do for her– she realized it was all a ploy to end this night in his bed.  It didn’t and she never heard from him again.

That’s not to say it can’t work, or that he’s deceptive or a stalker, but don’t take the barrage as a sign that you’re so amazing that he can’t resist imagining the next 50 years with you. Any number of things can be going on—loneliness, his “biological clock” is ticking (when my perpetual bachelor friend, Brucks, recently announced his engagement, we were all shocked.  “I said that would never be me,” he admits, “but all of a sudden having a family looks cooler than it used to. It literally happened over night.  Plus, I’d like to be able to play with my kids, see them graduate from college– all stuff I had with my dad.”)

…or he thinks it’s what you want to hear, he just got out of a relationship and is anxious to fill the void (see above!)—or, the best option, he is beyond himself with excitement and has momentarily lost the ability to filter what comes out of his mouth.

Mr. Way Too Sexual, Way Too Soon

These guys even make me uncomfortable so I can’t imagine how you must feel. Hands on thighs, stroking things that didn’t ask to be stroked.  A female friend told me of a third date where the guy invited her to his apartment for “wine and whatever” and answered the door naked.  Yes, they’d been flirting on the phone and she assumed (and hoped) going over would lead to something— but his approach infuriated her.  She made him put on pants, open an expensive bottle of wine… and left.

Mr. Way Too Slick

Impeccably dressed, professionally decorated apartment, his life looks like a magazine.  If a guy this buttoned up is your cup of tea then go for it, but beware when people pay that much attention to appearances, it’s sometimes at the expense of what’s inside.

My college roommate (not going to say what year) suffered this challenge— his life resembled that of a leading man.  Sporty car, newest cell phone, some futuristic toothbrush from Sweden– he was “perfect”… and I mean it in quotes.  Living with him I came to realize he was totally insecure and never felt “good enough” so he hid behind exteriors.  As such, he refused to let women get close to him for fear they’d find him out. They, in turn, felt rejected when it was really he who sucked.

Say what you want about the guy with a mountain of laundry in the corner who considers a picture of dogs playing poker “art” but I promise you this– he’s real.

All this said, keep in mind that sometimes when a guy does everything wrong, it’s because he just really, really likes you.  Take my friend James. After finding out the “awesome” woman he just met at dinner party was from Maryland, he practically shouted at her that a palm reader said he would marry a woman from, that’s right, Maryland! Needless to say, she was a little thrown. Fortunately, she realized he wasn’t insane, just insanely giddy about her. So she gave him a chance, and eight months later, they’re still together and he’s still doing backflips.

NOTE:  Thanks for reading my blog!  I have a new comedy CD coming out next month and it’s packed with relationship jokes– if you’re enjoying “What Me(n) Think” you’re going to love it!  I’m using kickstarter to fund the project and have 7 days left to make it happen!  If you want autographed CD’s before they even hit store please visit the link…

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/handsomelydisheveled/launch-michael-somervilles-comedy-cd-handsomely-di

You Can Talk to Me

May 16, 2012

Me (texting my grandchild in 30 years):  “When I was your age we used to have conversations.”

Grandchild (texting back):  “lol granpa ur SO old!”

 

With technology more advanced than ever, communication between couples must be flourishing… right?  Not so much.  In fact, advances in telecommunications may actually be hurting relationships– particularly newer couples still getting to know each other.

The problem?  Nobody talks anymore.  Texting, email, Facebook, etc. have become the vehicles of choice for everything from saying good morning to booty calls.  Fewer phone calls are getting made and leaving a voice mail is virtually extinct.

Remember the nerves of going away with someone for the weekend (“Two days together? What will we talk about!?”)?  Now I see people suffering that same anxiety over a dinner (“An hour eye to eye?  Somebody text me!”)

Don’t get me wrong, fast-food communication has its place– I know a married couple that texts each other while sitting in the same room so their kids don’t know they’re discussing dinner and start screaming suggestions.  But the downside seems bigger.  Couples argue via text (that’s like using two cans and a string), jokes get misconstrued, even emoticons seem to have 8 different meanings depending on who you ask.

For all the world’s wonderful innovations, there’s just no substitute for speaking live.  To talk to someone is to truly experience them– their tone, intention, voice and expression is who they are.  It’s the only way you’ll know if they really did “laugh out loud” and, more importantly, what that sounds like.  Recently, I learned this lesson firsthand.

I’d met a woman through mutual friends on a trip to Chicago. We only chatted briefly as the night was winding down but she seemed fun.  When I got home to NYC, I found her on Facebook (ok, did a little stalking) and sent her an email to say how much I enjoyed meeting.  (I didn’t “friend request” her for fear that would be too much but did include my email address.)

My strategy worked as she responded with a sweet email later that day.  I did my best to temper my enthusiasm and not write back instantly but cracked by evening.  What followed were 17 days of back and forth banter—  I spent hours analyzing her emails and crafting the perfect response.  We flirted, laughed at ourselves and shared some pretty personal stuff.  Seeing her name in my inbox was the highlight of my day.  I felt like we were in a relationship.

Three weeks into our courtship came the awesome news that she had a business trip to New York the following week— we’d actually get to see each other!  She was only in town for the day so we made plans to get lunch.  Secretly I fantasized it would go so well that she’d cancel her flight and spend the night.

That didn’t happen.  When we met at the restaurant, she looked more amazing than I remembered.  I made some sort of “wow, you’re real” joke.  She pinched herself and smiled, “Yup!”

That was the best part of the lunch.  Not long after we ordered, it become clear we weren’t sure how to act.  At first I attributed this to nerves so I tried to break the ice by asking about her work.  I think we were both relieved to have something to discuss but that soon turned into an awkward (and somewhat boring) Q&A.  When I finished the interview, I told her a little about my life in New York while the voice in my head whispered “this is not going well”.  Out of desperation, I decided to revisit a more personal topic we’d mentioned via email to get over this hump and closer to “us”.

Only there was no us.  Instead my attempt brought to light the fact we knew stuff about each other that, now face to face, neither party was comfortable discussing.

My stomach sank.  I felt so close to her online yet in person we had no connection.  It was like we’d been together six “internet months” but in real life this was our first date.  Part of me wanted to take my lunch across the room and email her.

We finished lunch and she had to run back to the office.  We both knew it hadn’t gone as hoped and it wasn’t anyone’s fault– we just didn’t click.

In retrospect, the mistake I made was getting ahead of myself.  Having only met briefly, I created a whole image of her based on emails.  Not that you can’t get to know someone this way but I took it to another level– interpreting sentences the way I wanted to hear them, making assumptions about her based on nothing more than a reference.  Like seeing a movie after reading the book on which it was based, she just wasn’t the person I imagined.  Actually, I hadn’t imagined a person at all but created a character.  And characters only appear in movies.

What Guys Care About

May 9, 2012

Recently the woman I’m dating asked if I liked her new shoes. They were black and looked exactly like the other 37 pairs in her closet. Of course I didn’t say that, instead fervently supporting her choice, but it got me to thinking its high time a guy wrote a list of the things men really care about. Contribute your additions in the comment section!

Which jeans you wear –

He probably can’t name the brand and chances are he couldn’t even pick them out of your closet but your man totally loves the way you look in a certain pair of jeans you have. When I mentioned this to the woman I’m seeing she said “I know exactly which ones you like because you always grab my butt when I wear them.”.

Your friends’ opinion of us –

We know you report back to your friends about our behavior, from romantic gestures to royal screw ups. And they listen and pass judgment like a Relationship Board of Director’s– so if they’re not impressed by our performance we’re aware. And concerned.

Your ex-boyfriend –

We don’t seek information about your last beau but, if the opportunity presents itself to gain some insight, watch us perk up. Is that a picture with your ex? We definitely take a look (and struggle with whether or not we want him to be handsome). You never told me you’ve been to France… um, with whom? Your roommate telling a story that involves your “old friend”? We catch every word.

Justin Timberlake –

He’s hooked up with all the women we’ve fantasized about and its annoying. Cameron, Janet, Scarlett and now Biel. If he goes near Kate Upton I’m making a citizen’s arrest.

How short your hair is-

Among the many sentences that can rattle a guy, “I got my haircut.” is right up there. Short hair scares us. Even if it is a good haircut we don’t like it when people can mistake you for a man from behind. So the next time you get your haircut and he doesn’t notice, rest assured that may be the best case scenario.

When the flowers we gave you die –

I have this theory that flowers last as long as the emotion that was behind them. If they are dead the next morning, he doesn’t really care. (This has come back to bite me as I once woke up next to my date and tried to initiate Round Two in the shadow of dead petunias). On the other hand, if they make it a few days it is meant to be. But, either way, once they die throw them out. Hanging them upside down in your bedroom is a little spooky. They’re dead. Let it go.

Giving you an orgasm-

I don’t think there is a man on the planet who doesn’t want to bring his woman to her happy place every time but with all the variables involved it seems like its not always up to us. When it does happen, we feel like a King. When it doesn’t, its pretty cool when you make it clear that you still really enjoyed yourself.

How comfortable your shoes are –

We care, but not for the reason you might think. When your shoes hurt, the whole night is affected. You walk slower, barefoot or we have to carry you. We would much rather you be an inch shorter and happy so we can all focus on having a good time.

Your journal –

My last girlfriend kept a journal and I was more than a little curious about it. What’s in there? Is she talking about me? It felt like a little secret record of what she is really thinking. What made me craziest is she would write in it after we had an argument. It felt like she was telling on me.

If you like our mom–

We like our moms and she likes us, so its really helpful if you like her too. And if you don’t, lie.

For Love, No Money

May 2, 2012

My grandma grew up during the Great Depression– they literally had no money. Instead of dates, on weekends she and her friends gathered at someone’s place, cleared out the furniture, turned on the radio and danced.

“If you liked a boy, you made sure he was invited,” she recalled fondly.

At first, I considered this an adorable tale from a bygone era but, in this economy, can’t help but wonder if the days of moving a couch to bust a move are far off.

And, while everyone’s feeling the wallet pinch, the guys I know are taking a slap to their ego as well.

“Forget a share in a summer beach house, I can’t even super size my lunch.” my buddy, Mark, lamented this week.

Trying to impress a woman with limited resources is a challenge but might it ultimately be good for the dating game? Consider this…

Dates May Get More Interesting

The most romantic thing I ever did was in college. When I discovered that the woman I was seeing had a terrible high school prom, I threw her one in my dorm room.  Sporting a bow tie, I prepared dinner in a hot pot, made a sign declaring her prom queen and programmed an evening of romantic songs that we danced,  and did other things, to…

Compare that with the effort I made planning a date last month: Google concert tickets, type in credit card number and hit “confirm.”  So if I know the charms of a sweet, thoughtful date, why would I opt for the quickie, grandiose one?  Because guys fear the woman we’re trying to impress will label us cheap (or worse).  But now, with less cash to throw around, men just may have to take time to consider the woman and get a little creative.

He May Get More Interesting

My buddy, Brian, is a banker (a nice one, I swear) with a girlfriend who’s rather easy on the eyes.  For years, he was the envy of our friends as he lived the life— sweet apartment, dining out nightly, awesome vacations… then he got laid off. Suddenly having to watch his spending rattled him completely.

“I had a harsh realization,” he confided to me. “I hid behind money.”

He felt especially unnerved when it came to his girl: “I started wondering if I was good enough for her.”

Never one to sit back, Brian got to work. He learned how to cook, started working out regularly and put more effort into a little game called “conversation”.  Since he dropped the Daddy Warbucks facade, he claims to feel more like himself and even conceded “I like me better.”  And according to reports the lady friend agrees.

He’ll Be More Honest

Part of feeling like a man is having the ability to pay for things. So when my ex Claudia and I were going out every night, I beamed as I dropped plastic to cover the check.  Secretly, I was going under.  Maxing credit cards, transferring balances, I was spending more than I had but ignored that reality as I attempted to keep the woman I loved happy.  My silence, however, cost me plenty. While trying to build something real, I was being dishonest about who I really was– an issue that weighed on us until the end.

By my next relationship, I’m proud to say I learned my lesson and was up front with the fact that money’s been tight.  The result?  I felt more relaxed and, lo and behold, she stuck around.  Guess there’s more to me after all.

And the Funnest Stuff is Still Free…

When a thin wallet compromises a man’s manhood he looks for other ways to assert himself and often that’s in the bedroom.  And when the chips are down, chances are he’ll double down on his effort.  So next time you feel gypped by another DVD-on-the-couch date, take it to the bedroom and make him pay.