Posts Tagged ‘commitment’

Why We Broke Up

July 13, 2012

PERSONAL NOTE:  Exciting news! Some new projects have come my way (in part, thanks to this blog) so I’ll have great news to share with everyone over the next few months. The bad news, I’ll be super busy so am going to have stop writing this blog for now.  But don’t worry, TONS of funny, insightful stuff coming your way– be sure to keep track of me via facebook, twitter or my mailing list.  All those links are on the home page of http://www.michaelsomerville.com!

Last year, I’d been working such crazy hours that I decided to avoid relationships because I didn’t have the time.  Then I met Kim and that logic went right out the window.  After just a few dates I was behaving in ways I never had— I even cancelled a business trip because she was in my bed and I didn’t want to leave.  The people expecting me were mad and I didn’t care.  I was in love.

We spent every free moment together having what felt like years’ worth of experiences in four months— dinner with parents, weekends away– like a microwave relationship.

And then it ended.  Just like that.  One night we rented The Hangover and ordered Thai food, and by the time Mr. Chow got out of the trunk, we were both single again.

It happened so quickly, I have trouble recounting how it went down. There was a disagreement about attending a party and, in a flash, we were both running down our list of grievances.  Turns out that these nine dealbreakers were standing in the way of our happily ever after: 

I wanted a little appreciation

The first time we went out we had a great time— I took her to dinner at a cozy gastropub, then bought cupcakes which we munched while aimlessly roaming the streets. After I dropped her off, I realized she hadn’t thanked me for the evening.  I never would have thought something like that mattered to me but, when it didn’t happen, I noticed.  During our time together, I’d come to discover she had far more enjoyable ways of showing gratitude (her special “wake up kiss” will never be forgotten), but something always struck me about the fact that she didn’t say thanks.

She wanted a little attention

I have a habit of being a crowd pleaser, which reared its head at her dad’s retirement party.  In going to great lengths to cement everyone’s approval and make a good first impression, I apparently “completely ignored” her. I don’t like that Kim felt neglected, but she got all of me when we were alone.  Was it wrong to spread the wealth?

I felt underdressed…in bed

After we’d have sex, she almost immediately put on a tank top and underwear, sometimes even shorts.  I didn’t pick up on the trend initially because she’d also go to the bathroom or get water, so putting on clothes didn’t seem that crazy (although I never did doing those same tasks). By the third time it happened I realized how awkward it was– me completely naked and her dressed for the gym.  Was she uncomfortable with her body? Uncomfortable with mine?  Could this be an extension of her goal-oriented personality. “Sex? Check. Next…”  Whatever it was, it killed the intimacy and any plans for round two.

She locker-talked about me

One night we were watching a Sex & the City rerun and there was a scene where the ladies were describing a guy’s “manhood”.  “How embarrassing,” I said, “I can’t imagine if a woman did that to me.”  She said nothing but had a guilty face.  My stomach sank.  “You haven’t…”  Turns out she had told her roommate, in some detail, what I look like “down there.”  I felt mortified— how was I supposed to look that woman in the eye again? The only thing that made it forgivable was hearing I’d received a positive review.

One word: “Woobie”

We were snuggling on the couch on a lazy Friday night, basking in the glow of that early relationship buzz (“You’re perfect!” “No, you are!”) when she called me “woobie.”  I beg your pardon?

Baby talk is a dangerous animal.  For one, you sound ridiculous so you need to make sure your partner is on the same page.  It’s like dirty talk in the bedroom without feeling the other person out first. My new pet name rolled off of Kim’s tongue so easily I suspected it was a recycled one from a past relationship– I recognized this move because I’d been guilty of it before, calling a current flame “schnoockums,” a term of endearment I’d used with an ex.  Schnukums II let it go without comment, which is how I chose to play this one.  Still, I kept wondering, does she “woobie” everyone? Was I not worthy of the effort to conjure a new (and, perhaps manlier) name?

I kid because I love

I grew up with all brothers, went to an all guys high school and for college attended the beer ‘n sports capital University of Notre Dame.  Coming out of these testosterone dominated environments, typical male teasing became a large part of my character.  It’s not intended to be hurtful– in fact I consider it a sign of affection— but I playfully gave Kim a hard time on a few occasions and she didn’t like it. This was the first time a woman brought this up and, when I thought back to past relationships, I realized I’d always poked fun.  Yikes, do I have rounds of apologetic phone calls to make?

“At the sound of the tone, please leave a boring message.”

If I’m going to force someone to listen to my voice for 30 seconds, why not be entertaining?  As such, I try to leave funny voicemails. Kim’s response to some of my masterpieces: “You don’t have to perform for me. Just be yourself.”  I resented her wish but concurred and began leaving boring “Hey, it’s me. Call me back” messages. And that didn’t feel like “me” at all.

She text-slapped me 

Everyone enjoys the cheesy smiley face or sideways heart, but Kim had a habit of using text messages to convey her feelings of annoyance.  One night, I said I would call after my shows but didn’t get a chance until well past midnight.  I turned on my cell phone to find a sarcastic  “thanks for calling. goodnite.” She had a right to be annoyed, but sending unfriendly texts to someone you care about is bad politics.  I’d have preferred she make sure I’m even OK and let us talk through a problem live. Which brings me to the biggest dealbreaker…

I didn’t address this list (or anything else)

While I really disliked Kim’s text complaints, at least she was speaking up.  I was so intent on things going well that I chose to ignore our issues. Now here we were, picking each other apart.

For a relationship that had so many highlights, it’s incredible to me that it lacked open communication.  I took such a leap in letting myself fall in love and then played a vital role in wrecking it. I can’t help but wonder if things could have worked out differently if I’d acknowledged the cracks before we were at the breaking point. Perhaps I’m just missing her, but I still believe there was more good than bad and I wonder if it really is over forever.  If I figure out that it’s not, this time I’ll be sure I tell her.

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Romancing a Man

June 29, 2012

Webster’s defines “romance” as trying to influence someone with personal attention, gifts, or flattery.  I’m guessing a woman wrote that because any man I know would have said “stuff that feels good but isn’t sex.”  Sure both sexes enjoy thoughtfulness (my favorite remains the ex who found one of those Carvel ice cream cake with crunchies in the middle for my birthday, knowing these were the staples of every party I had growing up) but the romantic commonalities end there.  And since your guy might not be as forthcoming about his softer side I’m here to fill you in on how to romance a man…

Get him far, far away

For a man, traveling has the same effect as putting on a tuxedo— we get to act like someone else… or at least a more refined version of ourselves.  Changing up the scenery allows an escape from the routine and, in turn, time for things that get cheated by that grind– like romance.  My “good” relationship went to “great” after a week in Ireland.  Once away, we seemed more in tuned and attentive to each other… plus there’s just something about staying in a hotel that makes everything (and everyone) a little more fun.  Even better, we brought some of that energy home as a souvenir.

Don’t ask, just do

My brother had been cooped up in his apartment all weekend working to meet a deadline when he received a text from his girlfriend: “look outside ur door”.  He did, and found a basket filled with all sorts of snacks and energy drinks.  She was long gone and when he called to tell her to come back, she refused, saying, “Get your work done so we can play later.” People always use the ‘if you need anything let me know”’ line, but she (literally) delivered. He says it’s the most romantic thing a women’s ever done for him.

Make us feel like a stud

One thing that makes us feel like a real man is the belief that we’re keeping you content in the bedroom– so anything that affirms this is romantic, at least by the guy definition. References to how well we kiss, looks of satisfaction when the subject of sex is broached… they all prop up our ego.  And if things aren’t going so great in that department (perhaps you’ve been together a while and sex is getting routine), feeding him a little reinforcement may be just the jolt he needs.

Support his foibles…

My old classmate, Brian, lives a little in the past.  He still talks about the time he scored three touchdowns in a high school football game and his girlfriend’s heard all about it, too.  But at a recent party when she mentioned what a great athlete her man was, Brian couldn’t stop beaming.  It mattered to him and she knew that, so she took pride in it as well.

… and his indulgences

My friend, Dom, lives for the soccer. He even adjusts his work schedule and wears an Italia jersey to watch soccer games.  His fiancée could care less about any of it so when she called him to find out how his team did, he thought she was being sarcastic. Turns out Dom’s beau had genuinely reached out– but declined an invite to a rowdy sports bar for the semi-final.  Hey, she’s not Mother Theresa.

Wake him up naked

Nothing beats seeing you naked so imagine the impact when it’s the first thing we see… but this is supposed to be a blog about romance, you say?  Believe me, you, naked in the morning light will make him swoon.  And then he’ll want to have sex.  Ok, maybe you’re right.

Note:  I’ll be on vacation next week, back with a new blog July 12th.  Happy July 4th!

A Man’s Body

June 21, 2012

Last week I got out of the shower and was going through my 30 second get-out-the-door routine (deodorant, any hair product within reach and a swig of Listerine straight from the bottle), when I caught a glimpse of myself in mirror.  I stopped for a moment and kind of stared– it had been a while since I really looked at myself naked.  “So this is what women see?” I thought.  God bless them, I wouldn’t want that body coming at me but thankfully some women have been open to the idea.

In fairness, I tend to be a hard on myself when it comes to physical appearance– partly because I’m human but also because working in entertainment I am constantly surrounded by attractive people.  Even the most confident person would get a little down.

Thankfully, past girlfriends have generally liked my body.  Among the traits they appreciate is my 6’1” height.  I like being tall– I was only a foot and half when I was born and, having been all the heights in between, I like 6’1” the best.  I can always see at parades and getting things off the top self is never a problem.  Moreover, there’s a perception of authority that comes with height–  I’ve never felt particularly authoritative but I don’t let on.

Another piece of the Michael package that garners positive reviews is my curly, blonde hair.  “Its so fun” has been uttered by everyone from girlfriends to random women at bars who feel entitled to just walk up and touch it.  Women love my hair.  As a result, so do I.

But the parts of my body of which I’m most proud of are never the things women pick out.  I work out in hopes of having strong, masculine arms yet women never mention them.  I remember lying in bed with my then-girlfriend and, as she ran her fingers up and down my arms, I subtly flexed my biceps to solicit a compliment.

“I like your hands.” she said.

What? Who likes hands?  Turns out, women.

One summer I decided I wanted abs.  I practically starved myself, skipped carbs and pounded out every stomach exercise under the sun.  After five intense weeks, I unveiled the results of my toil by asking my lady friend to help me apply suntan lotion (ok, sunblock) at the beach.

“I like the back of your neck.” She announced, while dousing my pale, Irish skin with SPF 50.

I lied there all afternoon, stomach pointing in her direction at all times, and not one mention.  I went out that night and ate an entire pizza.

Alas, I probably think about these kinds of things more than the average man… or do I?  I decided to ask some guy friends how they feel about their bodies (that sentence sounds as odd as the experience turned out to be).  Getting them to talk was no easy task but after promising to change their names and, in some cases, plying them with beer, they opened up more than I expected.  What I learned was fascinating…

“Women find my belly ‘cute’ and I hate it.”, says my friend Kevin, after three beers.  Kevin is a little overweight, always has been. “Sometimes they rub it and make a wish.”  Ironically, Kevin has no idea what he weighs.  “I don’t own a scale.  I just have different size pants in my closet and if I have to wear the biggest ones, I know it’s time to hit the gym.  Or break out the sweatpants”

My other buddy, Gary, required no booze to announce the fact that he likes being a little heavy.  “Extra weight actually makes you appear more powerful, both in business and bars.  Its a lot easier to push through a crowded bar at 220 than 180.”

Both, however, agreed to being a little self conscious during sex.  “Lighting becomes very important.” says Gary. “I prefer none.”

Kevin agreed, “Especially when I’m with someone new, I’m sucking in my stomach and flexing everything. It’s exhausting.    That’s half the reason I like doggy style, I don’t have to hold in my stomach ‘cause she can’t see me.”

The touchiest subject among men, however, was hair. Or, more accurately, losing it.  While I can’t relate to this one, I have a new appreciation for how lucky I’ve been to maintain my curls.

“The hard part is not being bald, it’s going bald.” says Brian.  “For a woman, imagine your breasts getting a little smaller every day until one day you wake up and their gone.”

Along with his hair went his confidence.

“I never had trouble meeting women, but when my hair started to go, so did my self esteem.  I thought, uh-oh I better develop a personality…”

It was right around that time Brian was lucky enough to meet Sarah, a super funny woman who loved Brian’s personality and could care less about his hair.  They’re now engaged. Brian admits, given the choice, he would still take hair, but the whole subject now seems much less important.

So if putting on weight and going bald are the male Achilles, what about those guys who won the gene lottery? I called my friend Matt, who is so good looking women describe him as “beautiful”– a distinction that totally gets other guys’ attention.  (We’re used to hearing the usual descriptors “handsome” or “hot”– but when a dude is so attractive that women have to use a word normally reserved for their own gender, we get rattled.)

Matt was uncomfortable with the premise of my inquiry, which was essentially, “What is it like to be physically perfect?” But I assured him it was for a good cause. And bought him beer.

The biggest surprise was when he confided to me that he actually has trouble meeting women.  “Before I even open my mouth I’m considered a player so they stay away. Meanwhile my roommate– who’s just an average dude— hooks up constantly!”

While Matt does have a heartbreaker look about him, he is truly one of the kindest people I’ve met in New York.  I was almost ready to sympathize with him when I noticed every woman at the next table staring at him. Tough luck, Mr. Beautiful.

So, while guys are probably still more accepting of their bodies than women, they proved far more aware than I ever anticipated.  For my part, I’ve decided next time I’m standing naked in front of the mirror I’m only going to say nice things.  And next time your man is subtly flexing in the hopes that you’ll swoon, throw him a bone.

Sexy Things That Aren’t Sexy

June 14, 2012

Not that long ago, sexy was subtle and usually a variation of something we already knew.  Like the toe ring.  We were used to seeing rings on female fingers so women changed it up.  It was different, simple and fun.  And we liked it.

Lately, however, sexy has gotten way more overt.  Jeans are riding lower, skirts keep getting higher and thongs have become the norm…  as I wrote that, a woman walked into the coffee shop wearing a loose tank top and no bra.  I am pretty much looking at her entire left breast.  Suffice to say men are getting spoiled, not that we’re complaining.

And it’s not just outfits– my gym offers a pole dancing class where women can shake their money makers in the name of exercise.  Some of the women even dress in layers so they can actually strip.  And to think wearing a skirt above your knee was once considered risqué.

But while women continue to knock sexy out of the park in innovative ways (boy shorts, oversized shades), the line between sexy and not so much is smolderingly thin. So if you’ve found yourself doing any of the following you’re not alone… but odds are guys aren’t digging it.  Sure, you’ll always find someone who appreciates this stuff (there’s a reason women still do them) but I bet there’s a far longer list of guys who will thank me for finally spilling the beans.

Animal prints (underwear or outer wear)-

When I encountered a woman wearing cheetah themed underwear at the end of successful date last Spring I giggled to myself— where am I a brothel?  I think these might have been hot in the past but now, well, let’s just say there’s a reason you see this pattern most on Halloween. You’re not a leopard and it’s not 1975.

Jello shots, Screaming Orgasms and other “crazy” drinks –

When my friend Mark’s date ordered a “Sex on the Beach” and shot him a flirtatious look, he got uncomfortable. “She looked at me like this sudden vixen.” He recounts.  “If that’s what you like great but it doesn’t add to your appeal. Want to impress me with your order, do a shot of whiskey.”  It’s true, while fun for guys to watch a girls night out do shots topped with whipped cream, we’re not looking on thinking “now that’s sexy”.  Oh, and everyone in the bar hates when women belt out “wooooo!!!” after.

Breathing into our ear –

There’s nothing sexier than an incidental female breath in your ear but when my last girlfriend intentionally unloaded directly into my eardrum I felt like I was in a wind tunnel. Plus it hurt.  And mixing in fake moan doesn’t help– that’s actually kind of funny.

Playing with our chest –

The male chest is not a sex part so when you spend time kissing that area we get kinda bored.  In fairness, we spend hours licking and kissing things that do nothing for you so I guess we’re even.

Fishnet stockings –

I think these were popular during prohibition.  My old roommate, Gregg, agrees: “They remind me of those 40’s films where a lady is sitting on the piano with a long cigarette.”  Fishnets are a little too vintage for some and for others too brash, “Its like she’s banging you over the head ‘notice me!’” according to my buddy, James.  “I get it, I get it. You’re proud of your legs. For me sexy should be more subtle.”

Not wearing underwear –

This one’s circumstantial– incredibly sexy when it’s just for us but when we find out you spent the whole day that way not so much. See, when you go commando we think you’re ready for action with the snap of a button.  But if you’ve been al fresco at work for 10 hours, it means some other dude was just a snap away.  And that’s not hot.

Happy Birthday to Me(n)

June 8, 2012

Tomorrow is my birthday.  As always, I’m excited about the prospect of spending an entire day celebrating the existence of me but also long for the days of childhood celebrations.  I’d invite the entire school over, we’d play whiffle ball, eat ice cream cake and give presents to me.  My parents planned everything, I reaped the rewards.

Birthdays as a male adult aren’t so festive— an assembly of friends is your responsibility and can feel a tad pathetic (“I’m throwing a party… for… myself.”) Plus friends never know their role– bring gifts? Can I just buy him a shot?  As a result, a lot of guys I know tend to do nothing on their big day as it’s just easier.  And that’s perfectly ok with us.

It’s not so ok, however, when you’re in a relationship.  In fact, most women I’ve dated have taken my birthday more seriously than me.

“What do you want to do?” the woman I was seeing a few years asked a week in advance.

“I don’t know, order food, watch a movie.”

“No!” she practically bellowed. “I want to go out!”

Whoa, whose birthday is it?  Her response threw me but I knew not to resist.  I got talked into some swanky lounge where everyone wore fancy jeans and pretended to listen.  A few of her friends stopped by as did two of mine and, while not normally my scene, I must admit I had a nice time.  Doing something completely different broke me out of my adult birthday malaise– score one for the girlfriend.

Then we went back to her place where she announced it was time for my gifts.  And that’s when the celebration waned.

“It’s a photo album so you can organize your pictures,” she told me excitedly as I opened my second gift.

“Thank you so much!” I said with forced enthusiasm, thinking to myself, “I can write about how this makes me feel in my first gift– a new journal.”

Raised politely, however, I put on a mini-performance about how I’d been meaning to sort through my pictures so this was the perfect gift.  The remaining gifts got no better- two books I suspect she wanted to read and a tweed cap I wouldn’t have worn for money.

I’m not trying to sound ungrateful but it didn’t seem like she factored me into the equation while shopping.  Perhaps she was buying for the boyfriend she wanted?  Regardless of motivation, I never used nor do I know where any of those gifts are today.  So, in honor of my birthday, here are some strategies when it comes to buying a gift for your man…

An upgrade

For three years, I cooked with an old pan that had no handles. (When it was hot, I’d pick it up with a bath towel.) None of this struck me as the least bit odd until the woman I was dating gave me a new frying pan and oven mitts.  The kitchenware made me feel pretty adult— and made cooking a whole lot easier.

Gifting the 2.0 version of something he already owns is nearly bulletproof— nicer wallet, soft towels, T-shirts without holes.  But caution: Don’t try to replace something that has real meaning. My friend Alex still uses the beat-up alarm clock that got him through medical school. When his girlfriend surprised him with a fancy one, he was torn between sentimentality and gratitude. Both clocks are now on display. Alex tells her he just hasn’t read the manual for the new one.

Time with the Boys…

Brian’s wife gave him the “greatest gift ever”— two tickets to a NY Giants football game.  Like a good husband, he assumed he’d be taking her to the game but she refused, insisting he’d  have more fun with a friend.  I was thrilled by her coolness, especially because I wound up being the friend.

They do a lot of stuff together, concerts, etc., but in this instance she played it perfectly.  Drinking beer and yelling is not her idea of a good time.  She has enough confidence in their relationship to know him having fun doesn’t mean she always has to be there.  Her move came back in spades as he must have texted her nine times from the game to thank her then stopped on the way home for flowers.  That’s a win-win.

Something You’d Hate

My mom still hasn’t forgiven my dad for the Christmas when he gave her a suitcase. (“She needed one!” he maintains.)  My pops failed but, when it comes to men, the more useful the gift the better. I’ve loved receiving added memory for my Mac, dry-cleaning gift certificates, but my favorite example comes from my friend Jeff. He used to save his junk mail in a bag and drag it to work to put through the office paper shredder until his girlfriend got him his own. “Now I sit at home watching baseball and shred away,” Jeff says.  He’s happy as a clam, she doesn’t get it at all.

Not sure what qualifies as a good, solidly practical present? If you’d be mad about receiving it, you’ve probably got a winner.

A Massage

There are few things better than a professional massage– someone whose sole mission is to totally relax you and wants nothing in return.  “The only problem…”, says my buddy Hank, “my always girlfriend thinks something sexual will happen.  Maybe at those sketchy places by the airport but a nice spa?”  Professional massages aren’t sexual at all, they just feel great.

And if you’re still not convinced do what my last girlfriend did, come along.  She booked “His and Her Chocolate Massages”–  we went into a room together, got completely naked (already a great gift) and then lied side by side as two masseuses doused us in chocolate.  I was skeptical at first but it was sexy, romantic and a nice prelude to the dessert she gave me when we got home.

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

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.