The Seven Habits of Highly Compatible Couples
by Michael McKee
This book is dedicated to all girlfriends and wives past, present and future without whom none of this would have been necessary.
All men are different, but in exactly the same way. - Sintheya Segue (Exotic Dancer)
Women are the same in that they are all different. - T'zu Li (Buddhist Monk)
To Begin at the Beginning
My first real experience with a woman was in the 6th grade. I had a girlfriend named Yvonne. She was my girlfriend because we had kissed several weeks earlier during a game of spin the bottle in her parent’s garage. At some point Yvonne came down with a case of the chicken pox and was out for a week or so. When she returned I was surprised to see the small faded red marks on her face, remnants of the pox. Rather than being the consoling boyfriend I should have been I, for whatever innocently playful reason, called her “spot”. She proceeded to grab me by the hair and beat the crap out of me in front of the entire class. Kinda poetic, isn't it? Although we broke up soon after I stopped bleeding, I consider that to have been one of my more successful relationships. Successful in that individual needs, interpersonal interaction, an honest exchange of feelings were clearly communicated by the swift administration of constructive criticisms. Considering the outcome of my first relationship, I have no doubt that you’re wondering what would give me the right to write a book of this nature. What specialized training or lucrative vocation gives me the right to convey to others what amounts to advice on relationships? Is this not the domain of those functionaries who appear daily on network television repairing the tattered and desiccated relationships featuring tube-topped, chainsmoking Arkansas waitresses taking issue with their lovers and brother’s - sporting nubbins, webbed toes, tongue studs and a surprisingly small number of teeth - because of jealousies which have recently surfaced over a hunting dog? The answer is yes, or maybe no...I'm sorry I forgot what I was saying. Let me begin again. I can say that, at this point in time, I am currently in a compatible relationship. In fact, it’s a very compatible relationship. And once she gets divorced from her estranged husband, it will be a perfectly compatible relationship. Fortunately, I’m here to discuss compatibility and not perfection. If it’s perfection you're searching for there are plenty of books available on that particular subject such as; most religious books, anything by a college professor, virtually all spiritual texts and sexual manuals.
And while I’m on the subject, let me also state what this book is not. This is not a sex manual. Now, having said that, some of the exercises described in here could be considered foreplay. So for those of you who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you’ll like. Bottom line is that, you’re likely find little to drool over within this book, other than some of my saucier stories which took place way back when I was young, foolish and randy as a stoat! I have, over the years, been in about a dozen real relationships. Here I’m defining a real relationship as one in which her stuff is in your bathroom. In each of my previous relationships, as well as my current one with a married woman, I have learned many important lessons. A veritable bucket-load of wisdom it is which I’ve decided to share. It is the compilation, correlation and distillation of these lessons which is contained within the Seven Habits described herein. As well as an overview of each of the habits I have also provided a number of exercises which have been created in order to help in adopting these habits. That’s right, this book is about adopting new habits. Replacing old habits with new habits. Is that going to be fun or what? Actually, many of the exercises are simply things to think about and consider. No real effort to be expended other than in contemplative reflection. An opportunity to see things in a new way or to think about things differently as it were. Some of the habits, however, will require quite the nasty expenditure of both time and energy.
What’s it all about, Alfie?
So, what is the goal of this book? I wrote this book initially as a 'Relationship Field Guide' for Guys. Sort of an outdoor survival guide, but for relationships rather than the Brazilian jungle (which is equally frightening, but far less dangerous). Within those original pages, men could learn such useful skills such as; how to spot the elusive signs of a developing relationship, how best to weasel out of going to a chick-flick, and how to survive when lost in the Woman’s Wear section of Nordstrom’s. That guide was simply intended to convey useful information so that men would not need to reinvent the wheel. This would allow others to avoid pitfalls into which I have taken the proverbial tumble during past relationships. Or at the very least, to give men an idea of what to expect. Standing on the feet of Giants – isn’t that what they say?
What this has evolved into over time, however, is a bucket-full of useful information as well as a variety of exercises designed to demonstrate to both sexes, men mostly, how people can learn to work together toward compatible relationships. So, what does it mean to be in a compatible relationship? There are many, many definitions available so choose your favorite. Here’s one of my favorites; A compatible relationship is one in which both people are truly happy, have a great deal of respect for one another, enjoy and look forward to the time they spend together, have interests in common, and good communication with one another. Oh yes, and of course, a great sex life is imperative. Say what you want, I got all the friends I need.
Who helped, and why.
Once I had completed the first draft of this book I showed it to my sweetie who was kind enough to proof read it for me. Upon completion she promptly called me an idiot and further stated that I knew absolutely nothing about women, nor men for that matter. Well, you can imagine that I was fairly pissed at that point, having put so much time and effort into this book. However taking my own advice, I smiled and simply said to her, “OK, then you’re welcome to change what you think is incorrect.” And, God help me, over the next two weeks she did. So, although she refuses to be added as a co-author (“I’m not getting near that train wreck”, were, I believe, her exact words), I decided to dedicated this book to her - more or less. I did make several minor updates after her rather extensive edit, but most of what she had changed has been left untouched. Each of the sections in this book contains one of the Seven Habits. Each of these habits contains two different parts, one meant specifically for the male in the relationship, one for the female. The text at the beginning is for both; for “all y’all” as my Dad would say. I’ll not make any assumptions as to the make-up of your particular relationship, other than to say that, typically, the yin & yang energies tend to somehow define themselves within each partnership. So, given this I will refer to these energies as male and female (or men and women) since I suspect those of you in relationships have already decided which energy belongs to whom. If it’s still not clear let me put it this way: Basically, one person watches Monday night football and drinks beer while the other does the dishes and then crochets.
It’s up to you to decide who’s who. So, you are hereby warned to only read the genderspecific section which belongs to you. Now, if you do choose to read the text of an inappropriate gender, then don’t blame me if you don’t like what you read - I told you not to do so in the first place. There’s a reason for each section being very gender-specific. I know it’s not an easy concept to understand, but information concerning the opposite sex is processed and understood differently by men and women. But why should this information be any different? Pretty much everything is processed and understood differently by men and women. And it’s because of this fact that the gender-specific sections have been written with your mind in mind.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
Let’s get right to it, shall we. From my perspective, typically, woman are a bit better at relationships than men. Come on guys, we have to admit at some level that they often do the lions share of work when it comes to the care and feeding of the relationship. This is not meant to imply that women need not work on improving their relationship skills as well, but simply that most of the exercises will necessarily be directed toward the men. Within this book are a number of exercises which anyone can do if desired. They have been designed to help in communication and understanding within the context of a relationship. Some are just things to think about, no real homework you have to turn in. But, of course, before we begin anything we must deal with the Disclaimer. Anytime you do anything these days you need a Disclaimer. I wonder what the Disclaimers for those stupid reality TV shows look like? You know, those shows where they dump a frightened load of people, whose idea of the wilderness is a vacant lot, onto some God-forsaken island to see what happens. If you ask me they should do it right and put eight random people in a life raft in the middle of the ocean for a month. They would each have only a quart of water, six small packets of catsup and a fork. Let’s just see what happens now!
The first thing I want to make clear is that there are many generalizations within the text of this book. Of course, these generalizations may or may not be relevant to you and your situation. Many men and women will exhibit few of the traits I discuss, while others may demonstrate many of them. Just want y’all to know that I’m often just talking about the average man or woman, not anyone in particular. You folks out there reading this are, no doubt, way above average. Yeah, way above. If you’re already in a relationship, and you’re a man, then you’ve likely already screwedup somewhere along the way. If, however, you have not screwed-up then a hearty congratulations is in order. You, wise sir, may find some interesting tidbits within these humble pages, but if you’re doing fine on your own you probably don’t need anyone else telling you what you should or should not be doing. That’s your woman’s job. If, however, you have already screwed-up then depending upon what it was you’ve done there might be little hope of your regaining any love or respect she may have, at one time, had for you. If, in fact, you have lost her respect then you best get-your-shit-n-get because it’s likely to get much worse. If you’ve lost her love then you best get a fire extinguisher because your stuff may be burning on the front lawn. A quick note about the exercises: Many of them are just things to ponder and think about. No actual effort is required on your part, unless you consider pondering to be an expenditure of effort. A piece of advice before you give this stuff a try though; don’t bother with any of this unless you’re truly in love with your partner. Some of these exercises require significant investment of time and energy which could, in my opinion, be better directed toward finding someone with whom you are in love. Might sound cruel, but it’s much better for you as well as your partner to be up-front and honest about this. If it’s not right, then don’t spend time trying to make it right; get up, get out and get on with your life. Also, if kids are in the equation then that throws a bit of a spanner into the works. Kids require attention - lots of attention. A relationship between two or more committed adults also requires a great deal of attention. In my opinion, you can realistically do only one or
the other successfully. This is why, I believe, many problems tend to rise to the surface once children enter into the relationship. If this is the case, then these exercises may be even more important. Learning to relate to one another in a caring and supportive fashion is imperative if you parents are going to get through those difficult child-rearing years with your sanity and relationship in tact. Not to mention your responsibility to society for not sending out into it yet another maniacal nutcase. Like we need more. Anyway, bottom line is I make neither claims nor guarantees concerning the efficacy of the exercises or the accuracy of the information contained herein. Also, any similarity between any of the characters in the stories contained herein and real persons living or dead is purely coincidental. That is unless I happen to use their real names and the story did, in fact, happen to them. Then it’s not such a coincidence is it? So, you are hereby warned.
Here, there bee Dragones
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Once I had decided to write this book many years ago, I knew that I needed to get away from all of the people I knew and all of the influences that influenced me. I needed to get away from all of that so that I could clear my mind and focus upon the basis of this book: Relationships. So, I went camping to clear my mind. I had no preconceived notions about the contents of this book other than to relate what I had learned up to that point in my life: Women are complicated, men are simple. And so it came to me at some point during my mind-clearing activities that much of what we do, particularly in relationships, is simply out of habit. What I mean is that we don’t usually put a great deal of thought into our daily activities; making toast, doing the laundry, picking the crap out of our toe nails. And so too with the things we do in our relationships. I think that the manner in which we treat one another tend to become just another one of our daily activities - just another set of habits we get into and with which we become familiar. OK, so what exactly are habits? Being that I’m not a lexicographer, we’ll need to consult the professionals on this matter. My trusty dictionary says here that a habit is a “Settled or regular tendency or practice that is hard to give-up.” Interesting, a practice that is hard to give-up. Does it have to be hard to give up? What if it were something easy to give-up? Is any habit easy to give-up? I can’t think of any, except for the habit I once had of calling my wife by the name of an ex-girlfriend. That unfortunate habit was finally broken early one evening along with two of my toes. Maybe that should be the definition; a habit is something that's not easy to give-up. For example, cigarettes. Are cigarettes a habit because they’re hard to give-up or because they’re just so damn yummy? And what about unusual cases, such as people who eat dirt? Yes indeed, a medically recognized condition causes some folks to just want to up and eat soil. But apparently that’s not really considered a habit, more of a “unique personality trait”, it says here in this personals ad. So, it’s not really clear, is it? What about eating in general - a habit? I’d say so. Wouldn’t want to mess with that habit, would we?
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What about things that don’t really make a difference, like changing the hand you brush your teeth with? That’s a hard habit to break - try it if you don’t think so. But is that really a habit or a handedness trait? I think a habit can also be something that you do just because there’s no reason or motivation to change. Like the way you dry yourself off with a towel after a shower, or tie your shoe laces. You probably do it the same way each time because there’s no reason to do it differently, but now that you’ve done it the same way for so long these habits would be very difficult to change. These are really the sorts of habits I guess I had in mind when writing this book. The sorts of things that we do in relationships, not really conscientiously, just sort of out of habit. The stuff that we do because we got into the habit of doing it without really knowing, or usually caring why. I think that almost everyone has a tendency to fall into these types of habits when it comes to relationships to some extent. Men, I think, seem more likely to exhibit these tendencies than women. So it stands to reason that some of the relationship-related habits we, both men and women, fall into would be acceptable to your partner (putting the toilet seat down, pronouncing her parents names correctly) while others would not (explaining to the inlaws how their political views are a joke while clipping your toenails at the dinner table). So, given the possibility that some (or all) of your habits might be unacceptable to your partner, we may want to consider modifying one or more of our habits which we’d always thought uniquely define us. Now when anybody talks about changing people’s habits we Americans look for the easy way toward enlightenment. Something along the lines of a patch or gum or maybe even a suppository to cure what ails us would be more in keeping with what we had in mind. Anything actually involving the expenditure of effort exceeding that of pressing of a button or walking to the refrigerator would likely not be a big winner here in the US. So, maybe we can make this easy. What about, rather than going to all of the trouble of removing a habit, we simply replace it with a different one? Why exactly would a person want to replace one habit, with another? Well, ask any woman responsible for the care and feeding of a man and I have no doubt that she will
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have some very specific opinions concerning those habits she would like to have him change or adopt. Now whether or not he decides to adopt said good habits are anyone’s guess - my guess is he won’t. I’m not saying that a man can’t change, I’m just saying that the odds are he probably won’t. It is said that change starts from within, but like a store dedicated solely to moisturizers, creams, lotions, notions, potions and cosmetics, we men don’t go there. Now, let’s say for the sake of argument that a man has some interest in wanting to change a habit. To exchange a bad habit with a good one. How would someone go about doing this? That's where the exercises can be helpful. They can aid in understanding why we do the things we do and how we can change them. So, of course, the question remains as to just exactly why we do the things we do in the first place? I asked everyone and obviously nobody knows so, as a result, my best guess about why we do the things that we do has been boiled down into one of the following four reasons: • • • • It feels good It doesn’t hurt It pisses someone off I don’t know
So, there you are. All of the answers to any question you may have concerning human habits and their nature. Well, OK, so I could have spent more time on the analysis part of this effort, but I think that you get the idea by now. And so I present to you, the remainder of this book and the Seven Habits contained herein. While that may seem unnecessarily trite, it’s actually politely curt.
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Try To Be As Proactive As Possible
You are no doubt asking yourself: Why should I be proactive? What does proactive mean? How can he read my thoughts? How do I make the voice in my head talk? All good questions worthy of my admiration and attention. First of all, proactive simply means “taking the initiative”. That is doing something which you know needs to be done, or you should know needs to be done, without having to be told to do it. This can range from the simple (taking out the trash when overflowing, washing the dishes when dirty, taking her out to dinner when bloated) to the very complex (somehow sensing that she's going to need a pint of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food as well as someone to listen to her about the bitch at work who’s trying to ruin her life, when she gets home). So, getting back to being proactive. Women appear to be proactive by nature, they are always thinking ahead. It doesn’t seem to matter if it's birthdays, anniversaries, or planning the entire day around kids, meals and a crisis or two, women are always one step ahead. This is in stark contrast to men who, left to their own devices, would live like a wild animal with a credit card; ordering pizza when hungry and maybe remembering to wash on occasion. This is not a pretty picture as a man buying a 6-pack of beer for the evening, is about as proactive as most men get. So for this habit we have quite a few exercises for the men and only three for the women.
* Men *
The following exercises are geared toward understanding of those things which you can do so as to appear that you are being proactive. Notice I say “appear”. I don’t expect you to get carried away with a great deal of effort here. Still, some of you men may be wondering why being proactive is so important, I’ll tell you. It’s because women expect you to be psychic. Did you know that? They believe that you have the ability to read their minds. They won’t actually come out and say it and may not, in fact, realize it themselves;
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but on occasion there will be the unspoken expectation that you have psychic powers. She also believes that not only do you possess these powers, but often utilize them poorly.
Guys, we must deal with this head on. We must stand firm and let them, our women, know in no uncertain terms that we’re not simply going to allow ourselves to be treated in this manner. And then we’ll say “yes dear” and do our best to become psychic. I can hear the women who have just read this, even though I said they shouldn’t, saying, “I do not expect guys to be psychic.” Well, ladies, I respectfully disagree. I think you do and so decided to prove it. I took a poll and asked, “Do women, on occasion and without actually meaning to, expect men to be psychic?” On this the women [my mom, my sister and a cashier at the market] all said, “No, we don’t expect men to be psychic and what the hell is wrong with you asking a question like that anyway? You should know better!” While the men who were questioned [my dad and the mailman] said that they didn’t know what psychic meant. So, I feel it’s pretty cut-and-dried on this one. Women, without actually meaning to or without even realizing it, do occasionally have this expectation. And we, as men, have little choice but to cope with this affliction. Note that my sweetie crossed out the word “affliction” and wrote an expletive next to it, but I added it back in with the hope that she’ll not reread this section. God help me if she does. I can hear the men now, “OK, smart ass, I love my woman. I want to be a proactive kind of guy. So what do I do? Maybe there’s something about it on the Discovery channel? Is there some kind of pill I can ask my doctor about? Should I try to throw a football through a tire? I want to get back into the swing of things too!” No, it’s unfortunately not that simple. This is going to take some effort as this is the most difficult of the Seven Habits to master. This will take time, but the more you learn the easier this will become. Learn about what, you ask? Well, specifically, about your woman and your life together (if you have one). What? Is that all there is to it? Well, no. While that’s not quite all there is to it, this is where we get the biggest bang-for-the-buck, so it’s here where we’ll concentrate our efforts. There are, of course, additional subjects and activities which are not covered within this Habit we could take on when it comes to being proactive, but
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that’s more of a long-term effort. I think that if you can become proficient in these exercises, which stress activities in and around the house, you’ll have it made. I have also done my best to be realistic about the effort you’re likely to put into these exercises. Now it’s time to discuss those things you can focus upon in order to begin your new proactive habits. First, we will have some exercises to help you keep an eye on things in and around the house which you might not normally notice. Then we’ll have some exercises to help you keep an eye on her, who you hopefully do notice. You will soon notice that there are a great many things to notice.
Exercise 1.1 - The Trashes
This is not a difficult one unless we take into account any of those little bathroom or bedroom trashes. The first problem with these little trashes are the size, they are simply too small to deal with unless you happen to be that small. The next problem with these doll-house sized trash cans is that simply turning them over does not, usually, dislodge the trash within. Which brings me to my tirade with respect to these things. You have to reach your hand in there to get the trash and you don’t know, or want to know, what the hell is in there and more importantly what’s making it stick to the bottom of the can. Anyway, I just needed to get that out of my system. There are usually several aspects to this trash issue. Typically, the woman tells the man when it’s time to take the trash out of the house. The man, knowing exactly what to do here, will take the trash out trailing coffee grounds and a brown liquid from the bag. He will then place the leaking bag into a somewhat larger receptacle. The man is solely responsible for these larger trash cans as well as the trash bag itself. Realize that anything which should be in the garbage but is not, is also yours with which to deal. This may sound simple, but the problem you will have is deciding what should be thrown away and what should not. If you’re not sure, ask her. Better to be annoying than to be thought of as someone who’s deliberately trying to hurt her by throwing away something she really loved, wanted, needed, treasured, etc. The man’s only other responsibility is to make
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sure that the large trash cans get out to the gutter and back on trash day without serious incident. As far as trying to be proactive concerning the trashes, my suggestion here would be to simply take a look at the trash can in each room when in or passing that room during your usual activities. Emptying the trashes on occasion without having to be told to, however, may not get you the desired response. Realize that her reaction could very well be, “What are you doing you weasel. You’re wasting trash bags, that’s not full-up yet”. But if nothing else, this new behavior of yours will keep her off-balance wondering what it is you’re up to. If you wash out the trashcans as well it will cause your woman to wonder who’s stolen your brain, but not enough to actually expend the energy to find out.
Exercise 1.2 - Clothes (Part I)
Clothes are not quite as easy as they sound. At first blush, one might consider the possibility that any article of clothing which is not in a drawer, hung on a hanger or neatly folded on a dresser would be a good candidate for the Dirty Clothes Hamper (we’ll get to this beastly thing in a minute). Well, this is not the case. You, as a man, will have no idea if an article of clothing is clean or not without first asking her. But let’s take this from the top. Don’t worry about her stuff, you simply need to have a really good idea about your own clothes. Make sure that she does not have to pick up [your clothes] after you. Deal with this on your own by placing your clothes into a “Dirty Clothes Hamper”. The Dirty Clothes Hamper: This is usually a brightly colored wicker thing with a cushioned lid of some type. Don’t ask, just dump your soiled clothes into it as soon as you take them off - preferably in the garage so you don’t mess up the rest of the house. Be careful though, there may be different hampers for different colored clothes and white clothes and maybe even different material types and number of buttons per acre for all I know. It’s just out-and-out
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segregation, if you ask me. I have always washed everything together without regard for ethnicity, which is why I don’t do the laundry any longer. While this may be fine for a man’s clothing, it is certainly not sufficient for a woman’s wardrobe. As far as I know neither water, sweat nor any other liquid should ever touch any article of a woman’s clothing - which often includes her bathing suit. These articles of clothing are likely cleaned in the same way in which shoes are made in a cobbler’s workshop when he’s taken ill just before an evil banker is to foreclose on his family home: Elves do it.
Exercise 1.3 - Clothes (Part II)
Unlike clothing which is simply dirty, this category of clothing includes that which is in need of repair. This would include, but would not be limited to, clothes having any of the following; missing buttons, any tears or rips, any visible stains, shrinkage or stretching, puckering (I don’t know what this is), hems coming undone, unpleated pleats, missing sequins or rhinestones, etc. To make this easy, we can just say that if you notice anything different about your clothing, this might be cause for concern. This exercise will actually be easier than the first part which, I know, gave some of you nightmares. This will be a two-step process the result of which should be your receiving a reward of some kind for your vigilance. So, the first step involves simply identifying the problem. This should be fairly straight forward as I’ve mentioned, since you simply need to notice anything different about your clothes. While I say this should be straight forward, of course, for a man it is not. He wouldn’t notice, for example, if his plaid pants were properly matched with his Hawaiian shirt. This is one reason why women are so very important. All you need to do is to have any woman (at work, the market, wherever) look you over quickly. They are trained to spot anything out of the ordinary. The second, and thankfully last, step in this process is to point out the problem or concern to your woman. This does not need to be detailed and
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simply calling her attention to the issue would be sufficient. In fact, if you attempt to go further and try to identify the problem yourself, you might end up incurring her wrath as you’ve likely wasted her time having to prove you wrong again. So, don’t bother with the details, just hand her the garment. Oh, good point. Make sure that you’re not wearing the piece of clothing in question. She’ll just make you take it off, and then you will have wasted even more of her time. Finally, you can walk away proudly knowing that you have done more than she has ever expected of you.
Exercise 1.4 - The Dishes
Getting the dishes done is simple in theory, but difficult to master in practice. The reason is not that dishes are a difficult concept (rinse and place into dishwasher), they’re not. The problem is that when you, the man, take it upon yourself to do the dishes several things are likely to result. The first being that your woman will think that she’s died and gone to wherever it is that wives who have done all they can for their ungrateful husbands, but are still underappreciated, go. The second, and more important, is that she will probably intervene once she realizes what it is you’re doing. Picking herself up off of the floor, she will closely examine the dishes; those either done and drying in the rack, or all ready to go in the dishwasher. You know what she’s looking for don’t you? Any sign that you’ve screwed up by leaving something on the dishes which she would not have. And regardless of your skills, she will likely find something. Now is the true test of your manly manliness, stand there and take it like a man . Don’t be a wimp and start whimpering. Steel yourself for what’s to come knowing that there is little chance, unless you’ve scrubbed the pattern off of the plates, that you’ll get a passing grade here. But know this, regardless of what she says you’ll have the quiet satisfaction of knowing that she’s damned impressed.
Exercise 1.5 - The Floors
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Here’s the deal with the floors; this is where everything eventually settles so they get very dirty very quickly and they’re not easy to clean. This is why your mom had such a fit when you walked on her freshly mopped floors you little brat. Anyway, there are three primary phases to floor care; picking things up, vacuuming things up, and wiping things up. Notice that everything having to do with cleaning the floor involves the “up” direction. This is a good thing to remember because simply by picking things up you are doing more than would typically be expected of you to keep the house clean. We’re going to make this easy for you as far as being proactive. If you do see something on the floor which probably should not be there (such as; food, clothing, anything on fire) just pick it up and put it on any table or counter, if appropriate. Note: if something is on fire, picking it up and putting it onto a table would probably not be appropriate. So, I guess the bottom line here is unless it’s on fire, pick it up and place it on a flat surface. By flat surface I do not mean back onto the floor, choose another flat surface. Now that you’ve actually picked something up off of the floor and placed it onto a table or counter, you must now tell your woman. This is a very important step in the process and one which, if skipped, will result in your being blamed for the new location of the object (or fire). So, make sure that you tell her what you’ve done. It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to show her as well. Then just sit there and wait for praise, and maybe a biscuit.
Exercise 1.6 - Making the Bed
If the bed has not been made, and there is nobody in the bed, then make the bed. This may seem relatively straightforward, but like everything else in a relationship, it isn’t. Making the bed, in this instance, is simply a gesture of how much you want to help rather than actually making the bed to her satisfaction. And by satisfaction I mean specifications. Realize that she will probably undo what you’ve done and remake the bed herself.
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Her resulting freshly-made bed may appear to differ little from your version, but there will likely be one very important difference; the sheets. A man is missing that part of the brain which helps to determine whether or not sheets need to be changed. So men learn to use a calendar. “Let's see, it’s October. Well, then it’s 'bout time to change the sheets”. A woman, on the other hand, will typically change the sheets if anything other than perfectly clean flannel, satin or silk has touched them. Regardless of what you think, the bed, like pretty much everything else, is her domain. She will fluff, fold and tuck her domain just exactly the way she wants. And the fact that you, an uppity male, would take it upon yourself to make the bed is, in her view, a cute if inept attempt to once again do something too important to leave to a man. Good try though.
Exercise 1.7 - Light Bulbs
Again, this should not be difficult, but it is. Only because within the home the wattage of each bulb is, for whatever reason, very important. Men do not understand this concept, but there it is so we need to learn to live and deal with it. The best thing to do when you observe a bulb has burned out is to replace it with exactly the same bulb of exactly the same wattage as quickly as possible. Tell no one. Should you somehow get away with this, consider yourself fortunate and speak no more of this unfortunate incident. Don’t make the same mistake my Dad once made. He replaced a burned-out light bulb in my Mom's bathroom with one of a different wattage. This new bulb was not well received as the output of the new bulb was not quite that of the original bulb. The ensuing discussion somehow resulted in all of the bulbs in the bathroom being replaced with 200W bulbs as well as the ceiling fan being removed from the ceiling leaving only 3 bare wires and some tattered insulation in its place. If you knew my parents you would understand how this makes sense. After eight years my therapist finally does.
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Now that we’ve proactively dealt with some of the fun-filled activities around the house, it’s time to get to the [sic] heart of the matter. That would, of course, be your woman. The love of your life. The most important person in your world. If, in fact, she is not the most important person in your life, then you’ve got problems far beyond my meager capabilities. If, however, she is all that and more, then learning all you can about your woman will go a long way toward your appearing to be truly proactive. Even to the point of truly being psychic (“Oh Kenneth, you just know me so well”). Sexy, eh? So let’s give it a go shall we?
Exercise 1.8 - Her Potions
This exercise is related to her mysterious female lotions, potions, oils and creams. Most of the items will be located in the bathroom or the shower. I’m not going to spend too much time on the details of these potions, lotions and notions since I honestly couldn’t begin to identify most of them. But after spending about an hour pouring over more than 30 different bottles of things I never knew existed, I have a much better idea of what’s going on here (and you didn’t think I did actual field work). Here’s what we have, although the outer labels and suggested uses of these things may differ, virtually all of these potions and lotions and whatnot consist of the same 12 ingredients. I think that they simply use different proportions of these ingredients to make the resulting liquid more soapy, cloudy, clear, lemony, coconutty, freshening, refreshening, vitalizing or revitalizing. Her mysterious potions and lotions may include; various face or body lotions, face or body potions, skin creams, powdered shades, fluffing liners, silky oils, fragrant soaps, feminine sprits and sprays, foundations encasing her in concrete and steel, Egyptian over and under-liners, camouflage-colored concealers, a large variety of pads whose distinctions you couldn’t begin to understand, etc. You’re never going to learn all about these things, so don’t even try. But this is not to say that you should admit defeat either.
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Here’s how I handle the problem. What I do is to make a list of all of her things. Don’t laugh, it works. It works because a woman will rarely change the brand or type of thing she uses. So, basically just write down the information which is on the front label of the bottles, jars, boxes or whatever. Don’t screw-up the details. One potion or pad may look similar to another, but that is usually where the similarity ends. Imagine her having to use the wrong face cream, or something with wings which should have been flightless. I shudder to think of the resulting consequences. Anyway, I keep this list in my glove compartment. It comes in very handy when she calls and wants me to pick up her pore-enhancing soap, anti-glare forehead liner, cinnamon butt paste or the sanitary napkin variety pack. So, if this happens to you, you’ll be ready and she’ll be amazed.
Exercise 1.9 - Her Cycles (don't cringe)
You, yes you the man, can actually participate in her menstrual cycles. How great is that? Not very? Well, what I mean is that you can make yourself useful during those days when you are typically not. What can you do, you ask other than staying out of her way? What you can do is to make sure you know what sorts of things she uses during these times so that you, yes you again dorkhead, can purchase these things while standing uncomfortably in line with all of the other men staring at the floor, purchasing similar things for their women. Now as important as these pads and plugs and such may be, chocolate is even more important. Preferably dark chocolate. You might want to stock up on a few pounds every so often. This is very important, don’t take it lightly. Women don’t just like chocolate during these times, they need chocolate. I remember the story of my neighbor whose wife locked herself in the bathroom with his Playboy collection and a pair of scissors and didn’t stop until dark chocolate was slipped under the door. This will put the fear of God into you, eh? So, once again don’t forget the chocolate, or to paraphrase a popular 70’s
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saying; “Chocolate will get a woman through times of no men, better than men will get a woman through times of no chocolate.”
Exercise 1.10 - Her Moods
You may have thought that we covered this topic in our last exercise, or the one before that, or the one before that, but no. Every man on Earth who has had any interaction at all with females knows about mood swings. To be fair, this is something which affects all women differently. Some women have little in the way of mood swings during any given period of time, while others may be Cinderella one day and a wicked stepsister the next. The mean one. Some of this may be based on hormonal fluctuations, however most of what we men term “mood swings” is likely attributable directly to you, the man. You have no doubt, once again gone and done something to piss her off. Whether sweet, cute, loving, happy, irritated, irked, petulant, snappy, sullen, winsome, grumpy, carefree, glum, crabby, joyful, miffed, peevish, surly, sappy, saucy, sulky, slinky, sloppy, sleepy, sour or deadly, you should always remember to try to empathize and have compassion for her. Do your best to understand that life is tough for everyone and you make it even more so for her. She’s doing the best she can, but sometimes it’s all just too much. But you can help. Just exactly how depends upon her mood and about a million other things on which super computers around the globe continue to work feverishly. If in fact her mood happens to be on the negative side, you’ll want to either do something to turn that frown upside down (do not say this to her), or get the hell out of the way. If you decide to attempt to do something, there’s not much in the way of a generic panacea for whatever it is the problem may be. This being said you can usually not go wrong with dark chocolate and a good foot massage. If you are really adept at the art of foot massages then she just might fall asleep. This will afford you the opportunity to have yourself a few beers to get ready for when she wakes up.
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* Women *
And now for the women. What can I say that you don’t already know about being proactive? Nothing. Not a thing. Nada, the empty set, bupkis. Well, now if you’re going to give me that look then I’ll mention that there are a few things that you may not be aware of, which I’d like to relate. Let us begin with some of the more basic concepts in the understanding of the male gender and then we’ll work our way into the...oh, who are we kidding. When it comes to men, there are only basics.
Exercise 1.11 - The Basics
When seriously in doubt, show up in a string bikini with a 6-pack under each arm. This will be about as proactive as you will need to get for most men. Once he gets his “medicine” and a really good meal afterwards he’ll want to just sleep for awhile. If a football game is on when he wakes up, that should just about do it for his basic needs. If you want to get any more complicated than this, you certainly can knock yourself out. But remember that there is every chance in the world that he won’t appreciate it. It’s not that he’s being cruel or uncaring, that’s just the nature of the beast. You may as well expect a bee not to sting, a snake not to bite.
Exercise 1.12 - Extracurricular Activities
On occasion, you will want to get him out of the house when he would otherwise just be hanging around getting in your way. Make this about twice each week or more if desired. Maybe poker with the guys on Friday nights and golf Sunday afternoons. This will allow you to rest, relax and get some things done without having him underfoot. Crank-up Aretha, get out all of those files you’ve wanted to go over for months now, get yourself a wine cooler and have yourself a good old time without him around.
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Now, of course, you are more than welcome to go out with any of your girlfriends at anytime. That is provided that you let him know where you’re going. That’s all you need to do, if only because it’s the right thing to do. If you’ve had enough of him for awhile and can’t get him out of the house, then head on out yourself. There's no law that says you need to stay home with him if he doesn’t want to go out. Realize though, that if you do go out without him, he will probably resent you for doing so. Attempting to get him to explain to you why he’s mad and hasn’t talked to you in three days will likely be difficult and will only result in a rambling proclamation of how you done him wrong. You’ll shake your head wondering how the same man who will think nothing of riding a crazed 2000 pound bull, can be so fragile. A mystery surrounded by an enigma, wrapped in a paradox it is. Aside from those times when you send him away because if you hear him talk to the TV one more time your going to stab him in the eye with a crochet hook, make sure he knows you want him at home with you. That is when he’s not working his ass off to buy you houses, yachts, diamonds and emeralds. Sorry, got carried away there. Anyway, make sure you talk about this because some concepts are difficult for men. If you really intend to get your point across to him, then you’re going to want to make sure that the television set is off. If you don’t understand why this is, then the next exercise was designed just for you.
Exercise 1.13 - The Television
The television is another one of those things which means something completely different to men and women. For example, women see TV as an entertainment portal and information resource. An experience to be shared in those quiet evening moments with a loved one. Men see the TV as a combination personal refuge and Fantasy Island. It’s his world where all of his dreams involving sports, power, women, beer and large powerful trucks can be lived out vicariously through the actual participants on the screen. This is something which is particular to men because they are so visually oriented.
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Women do not succumb to the tube to nearly the same extent. They simply see a picture on a screen, and continue to wonder if their mother wasn’t actually right about you. Knowing how important TV is to a man, you, his woman, might want to learn more about his favorite baseball and football teams. Forget basketball unless you live in Dallas in which case you ain’t got nothin' else. However, if he has a favorite curling, hurling or caber tossing team then don’t bother. If this is the case, then he’s probably European and, if that’s the case, you’re definitely on your own here. Talk about your never-ending projects. However, if he is just a standard, regular kind of guy then surprising him by wearing only a team jersey, helmet, mouthpiece, cap or cup may just get him in the mood for a real sporting event. Don’t make it a long game though as he’ll tire easily. If you attempt to talk to a man during a sporting event you may as well be talking to your oven for all the good it will do. To get anything into his head which has any hope of staying there without flying right out the other side will require that you turn off the TV. But be careful here, you can’t just pick-up the remote, push a button and expect that a serviceable conversation will ensue. It likely won’t. Attempting to turn off the TV during a sporting event may result in unpredictable consequences. In fact, depending upon the timing of this action, it may be a story your 60 cats will enjoy again and again in some 20 years or so. You’re much better off waiting until the game is over as you are likely to have a larger portion of his quality attention at that time. Trying to squeeze in a conversation during commercials certainly offers unique opportunities for the rapid exchange of ideas, thoughts, barbs, hopes, jabs, accusations and insults. However depending upon the subject matter it may required more of his attention than several sequential 60-second commercials might afford. Once he has been disengaged from the TV and you are in the process of actually talking to him, make sure that he’s really looking at you, or in some other fashion acknowledges your presence. Just because the TV is not
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necessarily on, you cannot assume that he is paying attention to you when you are talking to him. Men often have TV shows, short films or bits of songs going through their heads. It is quite possible that while you're engaged in a deep discussion concerning your most private fears, hopes, needs and feelings, he may well be thinking about the episode of Green Acres where Mr. Douglas hired Mr. Haney to paint his house and Mr. Douglas had to buy a “Pore Key” from Mr. Haney who then couldn’t find the “Pore Key Hole”. This is why men will occasionally appear to laugh quietly to themselves for no apparent reason. One good way to keep him engaged in the conversation is to ask relatively simple questions. Forming these questions so that his responses are kept to a minimum might help facilitate the conversation as well. You want to make sure that he not feel pressured to form complete sentences or to expend a great deal of effort in actual conversation. This, sadly, is your best bet.
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Begin With Something In Mind
The old saying, as I remember it, is “Begin with the end in mind.” Sort of like “keep your eye on the ball”. Actually, that’s not it at all, is it? Let me begin again. What this habit is all about is having something in mind when you begin a task, a thought, a journey. A plan as it were. This is vital because from a woman’s perspective, men often get going on things without much of a plan, let alone a destination, in mind. We men want to divest our women of that woefully uninformed opinion. We want to be able to demonstrate that we can create and follow a plan to completion, but really just having something in mind would be a really swell place to start. The exercises associated with this habit will have some interesting aspects for men and women alike. In order to illustrate some of the more subtle aspects of this habit I will relate a story which took place many years ago. I’ll give you the moral of the story first: He did not begin with much of anything in mind.
This is the sad but true story of Tom, a present day stay-at-home Dad. He was once a factory worker who was now on the type of disability which seemed to be in remission while on a golf course. He spent a good deal of his time taking care of the kids, puttering around the house, pretending to vacuum and, oh yes, surfing the Net for porn. And all this while his none-the-wiser wife worked during the day, bagging groceries for Safeway. So as is typical with these sorts of things, all was well until one point after which all was not. His loving wife, Carol, upon detail examination of her Visa bill one day noticed several rather odd charges which she did not recognize. After several increasingly irate phone calls she quickly realized that her oh-so-wonderful husband was using her credit card to access an interesting variety of pornographic websites. A frank and open discussion ensued, as you just knew it would, after which Tom decided that he needed to get back to work. Apparently the pain resulting from - 29 -
his disability was preferable to that of his wife’s continued ire. The removal of the household computer was another of the changes which have taken place in that particular household, I am led to believe.
You see folks, this was an example of beginning something without having much of anything in mind. Tom clearly did not consider the likely outcome of his actions. Now what could he have done here rather than foolishly use his wife’s credit card which is so easily traced? Tom could have had a plan. And it didn’t need to be at all complex in form or function. He could have simply made his own money to use in any way he saw fit. Tom could have utilized the vision of a developing entrepreneurial spirit He could have done something along the lines of setting up his own web-site. A simple computer, a web-cam, a mask of President Bush, a feather duster and some book: He’s all set. Tom could have made plenty of money by charging people admission to access his website. This low-key, non-assuming site might have featured Tom, naked, except for an athletic supporter, the mask of Bush on his face and the feather duster stuck up his butt prancing around his living room while reading books by Dr. Seuss. I easily can picture his rendition of “Hop on Pop” becoming very popular with the Baby Boomer crowd. Using the resulting income to access his favorite pornographic web-sites Tom would have little fear of being discovered. Ah, but for the lack of such a vision, Tom might still be happily puttering around the house and whatnot. This is just one example of how embracing and practicing these Habits could have helped Tom, and how they can help you too. Excited? I have no doubt. Can’t wait to get started? I thought so. Ready for the exercises? All right already, shut up and let’s get going.
* Men *
Now it’s time for one of our more important exercises. It involves angering your woman and my ardent suggestion that you try your best not to. Now a man, being something other than the sharpest tool in the shed, is often quite likely to ignore my suggestions and go right ahead and piss his woman off. He will soon discover the truth behind the old adage: “If she ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. You want to be happy, don’t you? And
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you want her to be happy don’t you? And you want to go on living your relatively happy life together, don’t you? Ok, so don’t piss her off! The question, realizing that it has been asked in many forms throughout the ages, is how does one go about accomplishing this at times seemingly insurmountable task? Well, I have spent years tracking down the greatest historical texts on the subject. I have sat at the edge of mist-shrouded Himalayan cliffs and pondered the question. I have walked the shorelines of the oceans of the world lost in thought. Sometimes just lost. Finally, in the most desolate part of the vast Ethiopian desert, within sight of King Solomon’s lost mines, it came to me. There before me shown two distinct paths. Yes, nature has revealed to me the paradox: These are two different paths which we men must travel at the same time. What? How can a person travel on two paths at the same time? That my little Locust, is the imponderable answer. Perhaps it was the imponderable question which was not clear. Regardless, here now the two paths shall be revealed: • • Don’t do anything to piss her off. Don’t say anything to piss her off.
Exercise 2.1 – Don’t piss her off
Don’t do or say anything to piss her off. These should be your primary goals with respect to your woman. So, how to go about accomplishing these goals? Well, it really helps not to say anything stupid. Now, I am well aware that this is likely not possible for most men. Guys, for the most part, can’t help saying something stupid once in awhile (this is likely a daily occurrence). The reason is this: During any given discussion a woman will have, oh say, 10 or more relatively completed thoughts swirling around in her head just waiting to come out as fast as she can talk. While a man during this same discussion will typically have no idea how the sentence he’s just started will end. As a result, things just sometimes come out of a guys mouth without having gone through the “should I really be saying this” filter.
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What I’m getting at is that it is important to get into the habit of thinking through what you’re going to say before you say it. Men are not usually good at this, because if they do attempt this they will forget what they were going to say in the first place. It’s easier for a guy to actually say something first and then listen afterwards to see if it sounds good. So, this exercise is concerned with the process of thinking about what you’re going to say before you say it. Now understand that this exercise won’t be of much benefit unless you listen to that voice in your head to see if it’s actually saying something you’re really going to want to say. The result of practicing the art of thinking about what you’re about to say first will be two-fold. You will find that you are talking less often and thus less likely to say something stupid, and you will be surprised at how much less often you piss your woman off. Why is your woman pissed off less often? It’s because things that you once thought were a good idea to say to her, you have recently discovered, probably were not. Case in point: My friend Frank came into work one day looking rather poorly. I said to Frank, “What’s wrong punkin?”. He looked at me with bloodshot, sleepless eyes and related the following story (pay attention here):
Frank and his wife, Rhonda, were getting ready for dinner with Frank’s parents last night. Rhonda was upstairs getting ready and Frank was downstairs wrapping a present for his mom as it was her birthday. They were going to meet his parents at a restaurant in the city. When Rhonda came downstairs Frank, wanting to do nothing but compliment his beautiful wife said, “You look really good with make-up”. No apology could persuade her to speak to him the remainder of the evening, though she was civil to his parents during dinner I was led to believe.
Frank then related to me through a shattered spirit, the pain of a back aching from a night on the couch and tired bloodshot eyes, one of the single greatest proverbs ever uttered:
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“Anytime you say anything to a woman, it’s a crap shoot” An incredible flash of insight into the female psyche, this was. From the depths of his despair, Frank may have hit upon something interesting here. Sometimes it may not be what you say, as much as when you say it. Now in Frank’s case he could have uttered those unfortunate words to a woman in 1500 BC or 800 years from now and the reaction will likely be the same. However, some things a man might say which might make a woman angry on one particular day, may not receive the same reaction on another. This brings up an interesting point. Sometimes men, having the awareness of a bag of rocks, will not even know their women are mad at them. Of course it’s easy to figure out she’s upset when dishes or crockery are whizzing past your head, but on other occasions you may not have the luxury of these external signs. Take, for example, the possibility that you have forgotten yet another birthday, Valentines Day or anniversary. She’s waited the entire day for you to surprise her with a gift demonstrating your love for her as well as your capacity to remember important occasions. Instead, you inform her that you’re on your way out to play poker with the guys and not to wait up for him. Without looking up she will say, “fine”. You the man will think to yourself, “Great, she doesn’t mind that I’m going out to play poker with the guys tonight.” Wrong! Of course she does, you idiot. You need to understand that often her saying something like “fine” implies that things are anything but. Now getting back to Frank and his unfortunate compliment. What could he have done here to make his life a bit less miserable? Right, he could have said nothing, He would have, of course, still been in trouble but significantly less. If Frank had, however, practiced the exercises he would have scrapped that original compliment for something less specific like, “You look lovely” or “You look beautiful”. Don’t go running off into the weeds when it comes to compliments, you never know where you’ll end up. Since this is such an important topic, I’ll give y’all another real-world example, this time from my own brain-damaged experience:
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It was the morning after the first night my girlfriend and I had spent together. I was living in Redondo Beach, California and had a small place by the ocean. My girlfriend, Cindy, and I were having a romantic morning-after breakfast at one of the local hang-outs. She was sitting next to the window with the rising sun behind her. It was all very romantic and she looked very attractive. So I lovingly, and with only the purest of intentions, said to her, “I Love the way the morning sun sparkles through the fine downy hairs on your upper lip.”
That was a memorable morning, yes indeed. Twenty years later and my foot still aches when the weather changes. Now realize that even if I had run this through my addled mind beforehand I would likely not have flagged it as something which might have made her angry. The problem was that I had no idea how women felt about facial hair, and in particular their own. So as long as we’re on the subject of not pissing off your woman, let me state here and now that if you were to completely ignore any hair on her face, you’ll be way ahead of the game.
Exercise 2.2 - Compliments (basics)
Again, my advice would be to stick to tried and true compliments. Use only those which have proven their virtue time and time again. Going out on your own here risks being ignored for the evening at best and being written-up as a Darwin Award with your head paraded around the internet on a virtual pole at worst. So you say, what are the standard compliments which I can use with relative safety? Glad you asked, here’s the complete list: • • • • You look beautiful. You look lovely. Your hair looks great (be careful with this one). I love those shoes (make sure she’s wearing shoes).
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So, that’s about it. These can be used interchangeably and at virtually anytime of the day or night. I have heard that there may be one or two others which might actually belong on the list, but I would approach them with the greatest caution. However, for the sake of completeness I give you these other two as well: • • Have you lost weight? I've been thinking about you.
These compliments may sound good on the surface, but extreme caution should be used. Consider the first: “Have you lost weight?”. Any man who does not see the obvious problem with this one within one minute should be hit in the face with a large frozen sea bass. Any implication that she may have, in any way, gained weight should be seriously avoided. In fact, any talk about her weight at all should be avoided as completely as any discussion concerning her facial hair. The second compliment above, “I've been thinking about you”, will likely cause her to wonder what you may have done to be thinking about her? Is he hoping that I don’t find out about something or someone, she wonders? What’s he hiding, she continues to ponder? You do not want this to happen. So please be careful if you do choose to utilize these compliments. I’ve heard through the Poker-game grapevine that there may also be unintended and delayed reactions with their use. I’ll let you know if I hear more. Another compliment which may seem innocuous is the all purpose: “Is that new?” This will only work if whatever it is she is wearing is in fact new (note: if she's not wearing any clothing this compliment may still be applicable in some instances). It is far more likely that she’ll be wearing something she’s had for years that you simply had never noticed. Remember the old saying; “Tis better to keep quiet and be thought a fool, than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.” Again, this is a very dangerous compliment, so use with caution.
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Exercise 2.3 - Compliments (her hair)
Now as to the compliments concerning her hair. This is very important. Never, never underestimate the importance of her hair. A good hair day for a woman is as important to her as are her children. All of them. Although a woman may be swayed in other areas by an obviously undeserved compliment, this is not the case with her hair. If her hair does not look good do not say a thing. To be safe, a simple compliment just before she goes out in public would be appropriate. You’re pretty well assured that if she is about to go out into a public setting, her hair will have been sufficiently dealt with so that this compliment should be warranted. But still please be careful here, you’re playing with fire. Also, and this is very important, make sure that whenever she goes out to get her hair done that you compliment her on it as soon as she gets back. Even if she’s crying. Believe me, this happens more than you would think. I’m not kidding here. Regardless of what she thinks about her hair at this point, you MUST say that you think it looks wonderful. Repeat this no matter how hard she cries. Never agree with her that it looks bad, you will regret it for a very long time.
Exercise 2.4 - Compliments (her clothes)
You should be able to tell the difference between an everyday outfit and one meant for a special occasion. This will be the difference between saying something like, “You look nice darling” and something along the lines of “Oh my God, you look incredible!”. Again make sure that you can tell the difference between the two types of outfits. Don’t mistake one for the other. Again, you’re much better off saying nothing than the wrong thing. Case in point:
My sweetie had just come home from shopping. I was sitting in the living room minding my own damn business munching down guac and chips and watching the game. She entered the room - 36 -
and immediately started in on conversation while digging into the boxes she’d brought home, effectively drowning out the game. She was so excited, she couldn’t wait to show me what she’d bought. And all I could do, what a lunkhead I was, was to sit there without one fully-formed thought in my thick head watching Dallas losing yet again to the 49’ers. So, she wriggles into this thing which she’d spent no less than 2 hours trying on and stressing over, smoothed it down the sides, stuck one leg out in a fashion magazine pose and asked me what I thought.
I looked over at her and said, “It looks fine”. Turning my attention once again to the game, I failed to notice her once joyful expression degenerate into instant anger. Instant karma to be accurate. Rookie move, dude. She, of course, thought that I hated the dress. I, of course, did not hate the dress. I really didn’t care one way or the other about the damn dress. But at that point none of that really mattered. She was upset for about a week before I finally figured out what I had done.
If this ever happens to you, please do not attempt to explain your way out of it, just apologize. Even though this incident was technically not my fault (you should now be laughing uproariously, of course it was my fault) apologize immediately and sincerely. To conclude this story I, afterward, felt the need to demonstrate in some fashion how much I really did love the dress. Well, that didn’t work out as she had already taken the dress back, a dress that she loved by the way, because I didn’t like it. She never let me forget that incident. Sure, why should that be any different than any other incident she never let me forget? Just be careful, that's all I’m saying.
Exercise 2.5 - Lying
Don’t lie; you will get caught. In the same vein, don’t accuse your woman of lying. You won’t catch her in one. Even if she is lying, she’s so far ahead of you in hiding that lie that you’d never find out. She’ll have girlfriends already
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set-up to corroborate any story she’d need to crush your accusations, like she’s crushed your spirits. So don’t even bother. This goes for affairs as well. Don’t bother with accusations, she’ll nail your ass to the wall and hang a picture of her parents on it. Now, when you do lie and you do get caught, admit everything and apologize immediately. What, you say? Admit everything and apologize? Are you crazy? Hold on now. I am well aware that others in the industry state emphatically: Never admit anything! Make her prove everything! Deny it even if she can prove it! I’ve heard this time and time again. My friend Duane in Compton used to say, “Don’t never cop to nothing. Even if she got pictures, even she got a witness, even she catch you in bed with the bitch – don’t never cop to nothing!” Well, I think I’d have to respectfully disagree there Duane. This may sound like a dramatic departure from the accepted standard, but I believe that for the most part a woman will forgive a man who is truly and sincerely repentant. She will, however, not usually tolerate one series of lies followed directly by another. Anyway, this is my best advice Habit-wise: Get into the habit of simply telling the truth about everything. It’s so much easier than lying and you won’t need to remember anything other than what actually happened. This is provided, of course, that you can remember what had happened. Be aware however that prior to getting into the habit of always telling the truth, you may have to get into the habit of not doing things you’ll need to lie about. That is going to be the hard part, isn’t it?
We’ve seen some of the habits which we men can adopt in order to keep from angering our women. However, this is just elementary stuff. What we really want to do is much more difficult. We want to remove obstacles which keep her from being happy, from
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talking freely and expressing herself. Such as being pissed at you. It’s alright if she’s pissed at someone else. In fact that’s the best of all possible worlds as you’ll gain points here simply by being sympathetic with her. These are important concepts as are those detailed within our next exercise. You may be of the opinion that because she is talking that you actually need to be listening. Well yes you do, but only to the extent required.
Exercise 2.6 - Keep her talking
She needs to talk until she is finished talking and your job is to listen and pay attention to her. It is important to realize that she knows that she will have only a certain amount of your attention. That’s fine as long as it’s in proportion to the importance of the conversation. For a really important conversation you will need to pay close attention, and probably participate as well. But for the most part, for most conversations, you don’t really have to say much. A relevant comment or question now and again is probably all you will need to interject. You may, if you’d like, simply employ the following in a loop while she’s talking:
Really, no way, un huh, yeah, I know, she did, that bitch, Really, no way, un huh, yeah, I know, she did, that bitch, Really, no way, un huh, yeah,...
This should work for most women for most conversations, which are not relationship-related. That’s because your required participation is for the most part limited. Just as is should be. Men talk when they have something to say, which as we’ve seen should be sparingly. This is not the case with a woman. Women will often be talking without realizing that they are doing so. Either that or they just always have something to say. While I’ve concentrated on the man’s part in all of this, what this conversation does for the woman is very important. She will not feel close to you unless she can tell you all of those things she wants to tell you, which is pretty much
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whatever it is that comes into her head, for whatever reason, concerning any subject, at any time.
* Women *
As for your part women, your primary goal is to keep your man well fed. A well-fed man is a sleepy man, and a sleepy man is a good man. This is the best of all possible scenarios as he is at home, quiet and is not making a mess in the house. Remembering an old 1950’s advertisement imploring housewives to make sure that their husbands where made to feel as comfortable as possible when they got home from work, to wait on them hand and foot and not to bother them with unimportant details as his problems were much more important than hers, makes me wonder if women really ever embraced this concept. I would hope not, but I believe that many men actually feel this way. A man who believes this tripe is someone up with which you should not put. Though they’d never admit it, most men have a deep-rooted desire to be taken care of. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to make sure that he can take care of his own damn self, that he clean up any mess he’s made and that he get his ass in gear and help out with housework. The problem, of course, was his mother. She treated him like a minor deity, he could probably do no wrong in her eyes. She likely did everything for him for the first, what, 20 or 30 years of his life. And now he expects similar treatment from you? Yeah, right. So, clearly you’ve got a lot of work to do in order to erase any traces of his mother’s influence. I’d suggest you get up and get after it because he ain’t getting better on his own. Something to Remember: If he gets pissed-off, for whatever petty reason, and won’t say a word to you or even acknowledge your presence, then there’s not much you can do but to wait it out. It may take a day or two before he comes around, sometimes even more. Unfortunately, there's really not much you'll be able to do but to just go about your business like it’s no big deal. Because really it isn’t. Women think it’s a serious problem when a man clams up, but it’s just a man's way of coping with things which can not be successfully dealt with using conversation. Note that food is often a good ice-breaker after about a day, and sex after two.
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Exercise 2.7 - Keep Him Fed
Women, as has been mentioned, your primary goal should be to keep your man well fed. A well-fed man is a man that is easy with which to deal. While the well-fed man thing is probably not the most important goal with respect to your man, it is often the most useful and the easiest on your back. Fortunately, men can be trained to eat and survive on virtually anything. There will be a section later which will show what they have likely eaten as bachelors, it’s horrifying. Once you see this list you will understand how easy it would be to get them to eat things like tofu, bran flakes, vegetables, or fruit. Let us take a real world example where you’ve slaved over a meal for him which doesn’t turn out the way you have planned.
Several weeks after being married, my wife made her first real dinner for us. It was turkey meatloaf with vegetables and smashed potatoes. Really a nice feast. Halfway through the meal, she asked what I thought of dinner since I’d been too busy eating to say anything. I said without really thinking, “It’s good, it’s not like my Mother used to make”. She, of course, heard “Well, I’ll choke this crap down if I have to, but I sure do long for the days of my mother’s wonderful cooking”. Whereas what I was actually thinking was, “Geez, this is really good. My mom’s cooking was terrible. She would cook everything for 2 hours at 350 degrees”. I, of course, did not say this because I am an idiot. My next memory was of a stinging sensation somewhere near the back of my head where my wife had just slapped me and a ringing in my ears that, when I focused on it, sounded like her saying, “...and that's not all I'm going to do differently than your mother”. To this day I really wished I would have listened to the beginning of that sentence.
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Exercise 2.8 - His Ego
As necessary as the care and feeding of a man may be, the more important goal might be the never-ending effort of keeping his frail ego intact. Though this is a difficult undertaking, realize that damaging his ego can be disastrous for a relationship. So, understanding the male ego is important. OK, how do we tip-toe around that frail ego thing of his anyway? It’s a paradox of nature is what it is. He’ll gladly kill a giant spider (although he’ll need a gun and a shot of tequila to get the job done), but when it comes to anything which may dent his fragile ego, he’s just a little kid lost in a big department store whose mom left him and didn’t come back for a long time. So, what we want to keep in mind here is the likely outcome of not keeping his frail ego intact. That being an injured man who feels he’s been unjustly offended or verbally abused and who is probably going to clam up and not say anything to anyone until his master plan to bring the entire world under his domination, at which point his enemies will be dealt with properly, has been realized. Either that or he’ll eventually get hungry having found that bread, mustard and pickles are satisfying only to a certain extent, and ask you to make something for him to eat. He should be fine again after a good meal.
Belittling him. Don’t belittle him in public, particularly in front of his friends. Though his friends will love you for it, he will be pissed and likely resent you for having done such a thing to him. So as tempting as it may be, it’s just not worth whatever entertainment value may ensue. Of course, in private, you're more than welcome to put him down in any manner you see fit. But consider his possible defensive reaction to this versus that resulting from a more loving form of constructive criticism. Constructive criticism such as sleep training. A training tape in a small tape recorded hidden under the bed can do wonders for all sorts of things you’d like repaired.
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Do you know the way to San Jose? When he’s driving, it is important that he be allowed to navigate. Even if you get lost and it takes you twice as long as it should to get anywhere. If you want to drive then, as annoying as it may be, it’s a good idea to let him navigate. This is because that is what men do, this is why we were born, To explore new worlds, route the indigenous peoples, drive them from their lands and exploit their vast resources. That’s what men do. They sail ships to the farthest reaches of distant lands only to somehow find their way back home again. It's a genetic thing, it’s nature and a calling which is simply beyond our control. The worse thing you can do to a man with respect to his navigational skills, or the lack thereof, would be to skid to a stop by the side of the road in frustration, grab the map from him and figure it out for yourself. You will have at this point, accomplished two things: First, you will finally figure out how to get to where it is your going and second, you will have completely emasculated him. You will have, with this thoughtless action of yours, caused a mutiny in a very real and practical sense. His shipmates have essentially deemed him unworthy of the duties entrusted to a navigator and so he has been unceremoniously replaced. And by a woman no less. Realize that this is one of those man things that will likely get worse before it gets better.
The Manly Man. Ask him to open jars, even if you can do it yourself. Asking him to perform those simple tasks which you could do just as well or better yourself will allow him to demonstrate to you his usefulness. Men love to feel needed and useful. If you can manage to find something for him to do involving strength or bravery, so much the better. Try to make sure, however, that whatever it is you have him do is not critical to the smooth functioning of the household of any of its members. Giving him a task or chore which will keep him busy for hours and will not cause you to become upset should the outcome be less than ideal, is a good habit to get into on weekends.
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So toward this end, some things which you might have him do around the house to make him feel more useful would be; turning the mattress, moving furniture, removing bugs and spiders, lifting boxes up onto shelves, getting boxes down off of shelves, cleaning out the fireplace, building a fireplace, cleaning the Bar-B-Que grill and protecting your honor. Note that as far as the Bar-B-Que is concerned, men will say that the grill should never be cleaned. Although he’s right, make him do it anyway. It’s good to keep in practice.
Good boy. Keeping in mind that men love praise, even if undeserved, it’s a good idea to praise him when he actually does something without screwing up. Particularly if it’s something unexpected. Men live for this and will occasionally do their level best not to screw-up. Also, if you can make the praise (or better yet reward) commensurate with the thing he actually did correctly, well you’ve got yourself a whale of a training mechanism there. So, for example, the successful turning of the mattress without breaking anything in the bedroom may result in a pat on the head and a kiss, whereas the successful installation of a dishwasher might result in his favorite meal followed by his favorite bedtime activities. Yes, yes I know but come on, it is a dishwasher for God’s sake! Now if he has screwed-up something, praising him for it will only confuse him. In this case you may feel the need to swat him with a rolled-up newspaper or rub his nose in it but please refrain. He had probably done his best and things just for whatever reason didn’t work out. Regardless of how you’d like to handle these touchy situations, if you want to have him continue doing things for you in the future it might be best to occasionally keep your thoughts to yourself - regardless of their relevance.
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Hey baby. Don’t tell him he’s good in bed if he’s not. He’ll never get better this way. Don’t fake it either. Men would rather that you tell them they’re inept than to deceive them. Although others will say differently, men really do want to learn to please you. Too often, however, this is more important to you than it is to him. We all know that he is likely to, how shall we say, reach the promise land pretty much every time. To you, however, it may be just a hazy memory in the distant past. Is this the way you want to live your life? No, I didn’t think so. If he’s not good in bed, then help him learn. In fact, learning together has great benefits. Get yourselves a book, a video, a surrogate (well, maybe that’s going a bit too far), anything which will help him learn more about you. Help him learn what you like and what you want. Realize that he probably has no idea about your needs. He barely has a clue about his own. He’s yours, dammit, train him! If you don’t you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. That’s not what you want is it? Again, I didn’t think so.
Exercise 2.9 - Understanding His Lies
Women need to understand something about men. A man can not typically get through an entire day without lying to you at least once. They don’t mean to and certainly have no intention of hurting you, but they can’t help themselves. It’s like a religion for guys. No, more like an addiction. No, actually it’s more like a disease. That’s it, it's like a disease and we have little if any control over what we say sometimes because, well, because of this damned disease. You have to forgive us because we need help. Medical help. Yeah, that’s it, we need some medicine. No, I’m lying. We need neither help nor medicine. See how easy it is? It’s just that if we tell the truth all of the time then as a result there will be questions, inquires, discussions. It all becomes very complicated and so to be avoided. If, however, we make things simpler, then there is less to question.
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Take for example, the standard female question, “Where have you been for the past 3 hours”? This question would likely elicit one of the following standard male responses: • • • • • I was at Jim’s. I was at Fred’s. I was at work. I was stuck in traffic. I thought I was having a heart attack and so went to the hospital, but when I got there I felt better and so I guess it was just indigestion and then I stopped and had a quick drink just to make sure I was OK and then I came right home. Guys are not born liars as many women would suspect. They learn to lie. They learn that lying to women is often easier than answering questions. And y’all do ask lots of questions. Take bachelor parties, for example. I have been to only one in my life, and mine was not one of them. I couldn’t make my own bachelor party – don’t ask. Anyway, the one I did attend was innocent enough (I was led to believe) as far as bachelor parties go. There wasn’t anything overly lewd or lascivious. Although there were these two girls that had this...well, let's simply say that it was a tastefully done performance. As innocent as this party was, when I arrived home, at a very reasonable hour mind you, I was immediately and mercilessly bombarded with questions, accusations, suggestions, and innuendo concerning my activities. Well, I thought this was completely uncalled for and so I protested saying to her, “What gives you the right to ask me how my evening was”? She feigned some surprise at my clever retort to her, what turned out to be very innocent question, laughed, shook her head and walked away. I showed her no mercy and demonstrated just who the boss was by sleeping on the couch for a week.
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So, we’ve talked quite a bit about why men lie and some of the ways in which they do so. It is my hope that women out there now understand that men use lies in essentially the same way that women use chocolate: as a crutch. We don’t really need it, we can get by without but our lives would really suck. I have not, up to this point, touched upon a females capacity for generating lies of their own since it doesn't happen too often. Women tend to be more truthful than are men. I think this is because they have a better memory. However, if a woman does lie it tends to be a biggie. Something along the lines of; “Yeah sure, I’m 18” or the ever-popular, “The batteries are for the remote, you idiot” is more in keeping with the sorts of lies which a woman might conjure-up. Yes, what they lack in quantity they certainly more than make up for in quality.
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Do Something Else First
My grandmother once said, “Whatever you want to do, you always have to do something else first”. Well, she was right. I wanted to get married but had to find a woman first. Age old wisdom is amazingly wise. While grandma knew a good saying when she heard one, she didn't go far enough. The more accurate version, I think, would be, “Do what needs to be done in the proper order.” This, I think, gives one a better perspective on the situation. Here’s the thing of it, in order to get from where we are to where we would like to be (your goal) we need to figure out how to get there. The best way to do this is to find a nice quiet place somewhere and start drinking until it comes to you. This might take 3 or 4 stiff drinks, so don’t give up. Once you do figure out what you need to do (get divorced, married, pregnant, sober) and you’ve furthermore determined how to achieve that goal (get a lawyer, a relationship, a donor, some coffee), all you have to do is to put your plan into action. This means that you, yes you Mister, must now get up off of your butt and get to work. Man, Woman or somewhere in-between, bottom line is that you need to become an active part of your relationship or the relationship ship is going to sail without you - nautically speaking. You and your partner need to determine what you want your relationship to be like and work to achieve it as best you can. This may take quite a bit of effort and planning. That being said, I'm not one to get carried away here with the planning and all. You can plan as much and as finely detailed as you’d like, but odds are whatever it is you’ve planned either won’t work as planned or simply won’t work at all. That’s my experience anyway. Maybe it’s just me. As a result, I’m not big on planning but preparation is another matter. I definitely support the concept of being fully prepared at all times. I was once a Boy Scout don’t you know. Well, if you want to get technical about it, not actually a Boy Scout but a Weblow. A Weblow (what an odd word) is the limbo state adolescent boys are mired in until they can perform some secret ritual which proves them somehow worthy of joining the Boy Scouts. I never quite made it - washed out - 4F. Not big on rituals, I
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guess. And let me tell you, being unceremoniously drummed out of the Weblow's doesn’t look good on a resume. Where was I? Ah, planning; this Habit is all about planning which I said I wasn’t big on, but we’re going to do it anyway as my sweetie has recently explained to me that, yes, we do want to do this. So, there it is. Welcome, weary traveler. If you have done some of the exercises so far you are now a much more conscientious partner or are well on your way toward becoming one. Very good, very good. Now you’ll need a way in which to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself. Did I mentioned that you should set some goals? Well, if I haven’t, you should set some goals that is. So, let’s say you’ve done this and that you have goals you’d like to achieve. What we need is a process, a set of rules as it were, designed to take us from where we are to where we want to be without pissing off our women. This is where planning comes in which I said I didn’t want to do, but have recently seen the light. If you remember the basics of the previous exercise, you’ll want to have a goal in mind when you go off and start doing something. Now we can discuss the means by which we might reach those goals: the Plan. Consider this Plan kind of like a roadmap you’d use to get from where you are, which is probably either lost or in trouble, to where you want to be, which is not. Think of it like a connect the dots game. Along the way will be things you will need to do or say in order to get to the next point on the map. Let us not confuse this connect-the-dots plan we have with other types of Gender-Specific maps. These other maps are specific to each sex. Some example would be:
Language map. Women have an innate ability to create language maps in their minds when it’s related to discussions and / or debate. Don’t ever try to debate or argue with a woman. In the first place you will likely not win, and in the second even if you win, you lose. Women travel these maps effortlessly while arguing which is why we men have trouble in arguments; we tend to take the scenic routes.
Roadmap. Men seem to be better at roadmaps such as those you’d fold-up and put away somewhere until you’re so lost that it wouldn’t help had you remembered where it was when you needed it in the first place. That’s what men are good at. That and forming needlessly convoluted sentences.
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* Men *
Ah women, what would we do without them. Likely die off within a generation one would imagine. So, thankfully they put up with us. Let’s face it, we’re not easy to live with. We don’t usually think of anyone other than ourselves, we leave a mess wherever we’ve been and often have little tolerance for others. This is a testament both to the lack of awareness in most men as well as the saintly nature of most women. I think that only because of these basic attributes of each sex has the human race managed to propagate itself. It’s clear that we men should have the wherewithal to better ourselves in some small way so that we’re not so very difficult to live with, and a little lesson in planning should be just what the doctor ordered. The goal of these exercises is to focus how to get from where you are, which is probably in trouble, to where you want to be, which is probably not in trouble. When working through these exercises keep in mind that you’ll want to appear to keep her and her needs first and foremost in your mind. In reciprocation, she will concern herself more and more with your needs as well. This is known as a win / win strategy.
Exercise 3.1 - How to Plan
It has been said that failure to plan is a plan for failure. I'm guessing that this is only true if you have a goal or destination in mind. If not, then any result is probably just as good as any other. Like the sailors used to say, “If your not picky about your harbor, Matey, then any wind is a good wind”. If, however, any wind is not necessarily a good wind and you do have a goal in mind then the question becomes just how to go about creating a viable plan to achieve that goal. This is the question this exercise purports to address. Now, as to whether or not it addresses it any sort of useable manner is anyone’s guess. Let’s say for the sake of argument that you do manage to create some kind of plan. At that point the issue of its actual execution becomes relevant. This is usually where everything falls apart. When it comes to any plan involving women, things just don’t seem to work out for us. It’s true, men over the
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millennia have struggled with these issues with little success. As evidence of this I would point to the distinct lack of progress in this area. What this means is that I searched the internet and found nothing relevant. As a result of this lack of available information, I have recently decided to apply advanced scientific principles to the problem of planning and execution and have come up with what I think is the answer. Or at least an answer. I have looked at thousands of potential situations and have found that they all fall into one of several simple categories. Well, this was great. All I needed to do was to come up with a simple plan for each category, and the rest as they say, was history. In theory, then all you would need to do is to figure out which category your particular situation falls into, and simply execute the plan associated with that category. Could it be any easier? Well, I guess that someone could do all of this for you while you sit on your butt watching TV. But since that's not going to happen then, no, it couldn’t be any easier. Category: You want to get out of the house. OK, so maybe there’s a game that you want to watch with your buddies, or maybe you just want to go out for a drink. Hoist a few down to the local pub as it were. Well, that may work in boring English sitcoms, but women these days are typically none too thrilled with their men spending the evening, not to mention the household funds, on beer at the local pub. However, we as guys need to get out once in a while and have ourselves some real fun. And I’m not talking about shopping here. We need to go to sports bars and cheer on our team with others like us. We want to watch the game with the guys and have a few drinks, or shoot some pool and have a few drinks, or play some darts and have a few drinks. Regardless of the reason, the need is the same; to get out of the house for a few hours on your own. Plan: Make her think it's her idea.
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Realize that sometimes she wants you out of the house just as badly as you want to get out. Hold on now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Shoot, all I need to do is to make such a pest of myself that she won’t ever mind if I go out”. Yes, well chances are you’ll be out on your butt for good if you try that - our goal is to make sure that when you get back, you can get back in the house as well. Now often this is not such a difficult task and saying something to her like, “I'm going over to Kurt’s to watch the game.” is sufficient provided that you also tell her what time to expect you back home. So adding, “I’ll be back in before 4 my sweet darling. Is there anything I can pick up at the market on my way back?”, will make this a nobrainer. You have successfully provide her with all of the information she’ll need to make plans for what she’ll do when you're out. Now you’re wondering just what she’ll be up to when you’re gone, aren’t you? Well, forget it – it’s none of your business. However, if this is not the case and she’s actually not so keen on you’re going out, then you’ll have to do something clever. So, here’s what I would suggest. Pick yourself a friend from work (let’s call him Tom) that she knows of but does not know that well. Have Tom call you about an hour before you want to go out. Make sure she hears your conversation. Say to Tom something like, “Nope, sorry buddy. This is something you’re going to have to get through on your own. Yeah. Bye.” She’ll inquire as to the content of the conversation. Let her know that Tom is have marital problems and wanted you to come over so he could talk about them. You might want to build this up over several days or weeks if you really want to be proactive. Mention that your not very comfortable with the concept. Your wife will be so shocked that another man has come to you as a confidant, as someone to whom he can turn to for marital advice, that she’ll probably encourage you to help him. In doing this she is thinking that this is an excellent opportunity for you to exercise that unused
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comforting, emotional side of yours while also giving you an opportunity to reflect on your own wonderful relationship. She’ll practically be pushing your ass out of the house. Of course, for the three hours that you’re watching the game with your buddy the bulk of the conversation is along the lines of, “Dude, want another beer?”, but she doesn’t need to know that. Also, do your level best not to come home drunk. You’ll wind up doing something stupid like calling her a dame and throwing up on her shoes. Take it from me, chicks hate that. Category: You want to buy something for yourself. Let’s say your walking through Sears minding your own business and there it is, the 2,500 piece Craftsman Professional tool kit complete with metric and standard socket sets, color-coded spanners, Allen wrenches, shivs, shims, taps and dies. All 100% guaranteed for life for only $159.99, what a great deal. Now being that Christmas is 8 months off and your birthday was last month, there is little chance that you'll be getting this magnificent tool set anytime soon. Or worse yet, imagine you see that beautiful Ranger Bass Boat you’ve always wanted heading down the freeway. It’s completely decked out and some little runt of a pipsqueak with a tongue stud is towing it with a green '74 Vega Station Wagon. What the hell is this world coming to? Anyway, the clever implementation of the plan described below may help you gain what should rightfully be yours in the first place. Damn, a Vega! Plan: Make her think it’s her idea. Unless you can convince her that a big floods a-comin' you’re not likely to get that Bass Boat anytime soon. Especially on your income. Your best bet here is to inherit a boat from some relative who, unlike you, had an investment strategy which included something other than
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lottery tickets and selling cans of “Billy Beer” on eBay. The Craftsman toolset, however, is much more likely. You see, what your going to need to do here is to, in some way, demonstrate the utility of those items you want to buy. You want to show how much better and easier your lives would be with this thing. The tool set is relatively easy since there are always things to be done or fixed around the house. She will ask however, why you need so many tools and wouldn’t a screwdriver and a wrench suffice. Simply begin by discussing the different types of drills you will need for different types of materials until her eyes glaze over. She will walk away toward the women’s clothes section leaving you with a credit card and her with the beginnings of a headache. If you cannot figure out a utilitarian use for whatever it is you want to buy (like a pool table) simply figure out another way in which it can be used to make your lives better and easier. Note that Americans define better and easier as having to push fewer buttons (“...now with onetouch cooking”). If it is a pool table you’re after then showing how it could also be used as an extra dining table for those Thanksgiving holidays when family invades, or as an extra bed for those guests who want to stay the night and need a nice firm mattress, might just do the trick. She’ll wonder why not just get another table or bed. You’ll have to explain how difficult it would be to play pool on a table or bed. Although you might think that something like a new set of metal drivers would be out of the question unless you had the forethought to first ply her with jewelry, this is not necessarily the case. She will see something like a new set of drivers as a useful item. It is a device which will aid in getting you out of the house occasionally. She sees this as a good thing, because sometimes you just drive her nuts. Category: You want something Special for your Birthday.
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For about 2 or 3 weeks prior to your birthday, she’ll be attentive to anything you might have your eye on, or something that you may mention in passing. This is not the time to get carried away with unreasonable or unrealistic requests (example, if she didn’t do it on your wedding night she’s not going to do it now). Let’s take a realistic example of something attainable. How about that Bass boat you’ve always wanted? The hell, you say? How am I going to get a Bass boat for my birthday? What you need is a way to get results. How, you ask, again growing weary of this? Well, one way is to threaten her with something like, “If you don't buy me a metal-flake red Range Bass boat for my birthday, I'm going to sleep with your sister.” This will definitely get you results. They are not likely, however, to include that Bass boat you wanted. So if your goal is to acquire a Bass boat rather than to have your ass thrown out of the house followed by all of your shit, then read on, seeker of knowledge, read on. Plan: Make her think it’s her idea. What you want to do is to again be a bit proactive about this and do a bit of planning. So, several months before your birthday start looking into Bass boats. Leave some catalogues around, access appropriate web-sites, go to a boat show or two. A week or so before your birthday she’ll be attentive as to what it is you might want. When you detect this, just say that basking in the glow of the hearts and hearths and his family is all that any man would ever need. And furthermore that your life would be so much more complete if you were able to actually provide for your family by, oh I don’t know, catching, cleaning and cooking fish for the family meal on occasion. But how to go about doing that...yes, how would one actually go about catching a fish? How indeed. Now it the time to startle her out of her waffle-stompers. Get out the calculator and start those fingers a-flyin'. Some graph paper might also
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help as well. With some sleight-of-hand and the magic of mathematics, you'll need to demonstrate to her how this Bass boat will pay for itself in just 15 short years. Yes indeed, given an average of 15 fish caught per day for 15 years compounded annually and adjusted for inflation, this will save enough in food purchased at the store to pay for the Bass boat. Make sure the graph paper is completely covered with lots of numbers and percentage signs. Women hate percentage signs. Note, the bigger her headache at this point the more likely it is you’ll get your Bass boat. Category: You don’t want to visit her Mother. It’s Sunday and you’ve got both the National and American League playoff games to look forward to - one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. You have beer chillin' in the fridge, chips and salsa ready as well. This is going to be great as you clear away everything on the coffee table to make way for your upcoming feast. This is about the time your woman will come in and ask just what the hell you think you’re doing (she will neither wait nor be interested in an answer) because you should be getting ready to go to her Mother’s in less than an hour or did you forget? Remain calm. In the first place, no you did not forget. Don’t hesitate, make sure you say this quickly as if it’s been on your mind all along. In the second place, you’d better read the plan on this one or your going to be spending the rest of the day looking at 50-year-old pictures of her long-departed family, drinking lukewarm dead flower tea and choking down biscotti. Plan: Make her think it's her idea. Remember you’re a sensitive guy. You want to make sure that your woman is getting everything she needs nutritionally, physically and emotionally. And you want to make sure that she is aware that it was just recently that you were listening to Dr. Phil discussing relationships
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(her eyebrows should be way up on her forehead at this point) and that several women had called in to say that the advice of their Mothers was often a great help and benefit to them. And in particular, the time that they can spend alone with their Mothers to talk and share feelings seemed so very important to these women. You also want her to know that her well-being is very important to you and if that means having to forgo a visit to her Mothers now and again in order to allow them both the time they need together, well then so be it. Let her know that you are willing to make that sacrifice. This will go over well, if you have actually listened to Dr. Phil and can quote him on occasion.
Exercise 3.2 - You, Before and After
This exercise is just something to think about and reflect upon. When a man comes into a woman’s life it’s as if she’s just received a square 200 pound, 6foot tall block of granite on her door step. She sees this big lump of a thing sitting there taking up space on her porch and in her life. Well, she can’t very well deal with this thing as it is, so what does she do? She does what every good woman does. She drags this thing in the house and cleans it up, wipes it down, picks the crust out of its eyes and basically prepares this thing for the onslaught to come. Next she gets out her hammer and chisel, metaphorically speaking, or sometimes not, and starts chipping away at this poor slob of a guy to see what’s really under there. And that’s pretty much what actually happens. She’ll begin chipping away at you with subtle nagging, thinly veiled suspicion, vague characterizations concerning your family, doubts about your manhood until there’s nothing more left to chip away. Then, when your standing there naked and defenseless, she’ll decide whether or not she actually wants to keep you. She may not, so be prepared to rebuild your soul quickly because there’s more date’s awaitin' out there.
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There is a much more devious manner in which women will chip away at that stubborn exterior of the male. It’s difficult to explain, but it involves the subtle manipulation of the male into situations in which he will likely fail or, at the very least, will become embarrassed. Or sometimes only for entertainment purposes. Regardless, of the motivation the deviousness of these actions cannot be overstated. Let me relate the following story which will illustrate what I mean:
Many years ago my girlfriend, Carol, and I took a trip to Big Bear for some R&R. As my car was in the shop we had taken her car, a Honda Accord. Before we left I told her that I wouldn’t be able to help her drive as it was not an automatic and I had never learned to drive a stick. She had no problem with driving the 3 hours there and back. Well, wouldn’t you know that on the way back she decided that she was just too tired to drive any further and so guess who was elected to drive. Yes, that’s right; the only person in the car who did not know how to drive a stick. She said that it would be easy for me to drive a stick and that once I got into 3rd or 4th gear I wouldn’t have to bother with that shifting thing any longer. So, what the hell. We had stopped at a deserted intersection somewhere near Apply Valley where we swapped places in the car. Immediately 4 other cars showed up at the intersection, including an impatient little guy in a big truck behind me. Carol said that since the car was still running I could just put the car in gear and get going. Well, I wasn't an idiot. I’d watched people drive manual transmissions before. I had a good idea of the basics. So I put the clutch in, shifted into gear, let out the clutch, moved forward about 2 feet and promptly stalled the car. I was slowly edging into the intersection trying to restart the car when Carol began laughing. I popped the clutch once again and started moving forward, but only a few inches at which - 58 -
point the car again stalled. The other cars began honking as I was now blocking the entire intersection. Carol was laughing so hard that she couldn’t tell me that I was trying to start out in 3rd gear. I was trying to get out of that intersection for almost 5 minutes. Giving up I just got out, walked to the side of the road and sat down. Carol regained her composure, came to her senses and finally drove us home. I didn’t talk to her the entire way back.
Exercise 3.3 - Apologies
I can hear you men now, “Why should I apologize to her? I didn’t do nothing”. Oh you fool, have you learned nothing? OK, let’s go over this slowly. Consider the all too common occurrence: She’s mad at you and you’re not sure why. All that you know is that something is bothering her. Sound familiar? So, what do you usually do. You end up apologizing to her without knowing why you’re doing so. Men make this mistake only once (or twice if you’re stupid). She will immediately ask why you’re apologizing. You will have to admit to her that you don’t know why you’re apologizing which will generate yet another round of apologies. A vicious circle, no? Now, had you been born a woman you would know what’s bothering her. And what’s bothering her is typically the fact that you, her man, her one and only partner in life, the person who is closer to her than anyone in the world, doesn’t know what's bothering her. That’s right, she often feels that you really know nothing about her and furthermore have no interest in learning. Since you are a man, you continue to have no idea why she should be upset because, well, it still doesn’t make any sense does it? Be patient, little Locust, one day you too may understand. Whether or not you understand the preceding Zen Koan, you will need to deal with this situation effectively. Of course, the best way to apologize to a woman is to apologize for something you’ve actually done wrong. At least here you know what you’re apologizing for, whereas in some situations you
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may not. Well, fear not gentlemen. I have here the cure for what ails ya. That’s right guys, gather around and sample Dr. Patience’ Generic Apology Elixir. Distilled from the finest phrases found throughout the world this tonic should work wonders for any situation in which you find you are confused, tired and lacking focus. And so without further ado, here you go: “Darling, I am sorry I have not taken the time to understand you and your needs. My desire to provide for you and your comfort has tragically robbed us of our precious time together. I promise to be more attentive to you in the future my darling sweetheart.” This, guys, is as good as it gets. The next best way to apologize is to apologize for something you’ve actually done wrong. Now, having said that, try not to apologize for anything she may only suspect you of, but has no proof. Only cop to something she can prove. However, once your guilt has been proven admit everything immediately. This may sound like a contradiction, but we’re not necessarily discussing something rational here so bear with me. The decision as to how to best handle this situation will involve understanding just what it is she thinks you’ve done wrong. You need to figure out why she’s angry regardless of the difficulty. Then, at least you’ve got some specifics concerning your transgression. You can sprinkle these specifics liberally throughout your subsequent apology to add credence and believability. Be sincere, though. A woman can see the lies in your eyes. Consider, however, the scenario in which you may be accused of something you had not done. This happens more often than you would think, particularly if you’re in the habit of actually doing things for which you end up in trouble. Given that this is not the case this time, and that you are innocent, you’ve got two choices here:
Prove her wrong. Yeah, this is a good idea. Prove her wrong thus exonerating yourself and pissing her off in the process. Present your evidence, call your witnesses, file your writ of Habeas Corpus and show in excruciating detail how and why she is wrong. This will gain
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you the day, but lose you the night - if you get my drift. You have to ask yourself, just what is it you’re after here anyway? To be right and alone on the couch, or wrong with her in bed. The choice, as they say, is yours.
Apologize. Yes, that’s right, apologize at once for whatever it was you’ve been accused. Ask for her forgiveness and make sure you sound sincere. Don’t sob and don’t whimper. Apologize like a man; on your knees, wearing nothing but an athletic supporter, a lobster bib and a jaunty cap. Try to make your eyes as big as possible, like a puppy’s.
Depending upon what it is you’ve done, one or the other described above may be correct. Try not to do both as she will take you apart like she took apart her Ken Doll when it didn’t call Barbie the day after she finally put out. Geeze, this therapy doesn’t seem to be helping at all does it? Well, anyway consider the following example:
My friend Jeff and a female co-worker of his went to a store during their lunch break to pick up a present for a colleague. A friend of Jeff’s wife happened to see them during their shopping excursion. She called and told his wife just what she thought she was seeing which, of course, was wrong. Jeff’s wife had the afternoon to ponder the situation. So when Jeff got home that evening he knew something was amiss, by virtue of his clothing strewn about the front lawn. I guess this is preferable to having ExLax secretly stuffed into ones dinner as had happened to another friend. Jeff instantly and immediately apologized for not telling her sooner about the shopping outing. Though it did take quite some time, as well as quite the number of shinny baubles, she did eventually forgive him. Jeff showed great poise and presence of forethought here by defusing a potentially difficult situation. - 61 -
Imagine what could have happened if Jeff were to have argued his case rather than apologized to his wife. Again, we need to keep in mind just what is the goal here? Do you really want to prove her wrong? This would likely require a great deal of energy and where will that effort likely lead? To a harmonious home life and a comfortable relationship with your one and only true love? I think not. Look at the big picture and ask yourself if proving her wrong is in your best interest. In my opinion, often it is not.
* Women *
Men are relatively easy to deal with since they’re fairly simple creatures which require no more than basic maintenance (oil, filters, lube, wash, rinse, repeat). Though most men need no more than this and the occasional heaping plate of barbecued ribs to get by, there are additional concerns with which you may want to familiarize yourself.
Exercise 3.4 - More Basics
The basics we speak of here are the absolute necessities in the world of men, though women, for the most part, have no concept of their place in his world. Women will see this as just another set of excuses for men to drink. While there certainly may be some truth to this do not take these basics lightly as their importance cannot be overestimated.
Sports. Men need sports like women need shoes. I'm serious. It’s a genetic thing and you, the female, do not necessarily need to understand but rather simply to tolerate. Most men do not need (or want) to play sports. Living vicariously through their sporting idols is more than enough. The real problem with sporting events (baseball, football and basketball are the favorites for the American male) is not that he’ll spend a serious amount of time laying on the couch stuffing his face with heavily-salted snack foods watching people with thyroid conditions running around like idiots, it’s that his mood will vary depending upon the fortunes of his particular team. You will likely not
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know how his team has done until after the game has ended and something tips you off as to his mood (like a fist through the wall or attempting back flips in the living room). If you have the sort of man whose idea of a manly sporting event includes snooker, darts or cricket then what you’ve got there is either an Englishman or some kind of European mongrel. An Englishman can be dealt with to some extent as long as he’s not a soccer hooligan. Soccer-crazed men simply exist to serve as an example to others. Not so much as a mentor as it is a 'Scared Straight' sort of thing. American men, in general, think that any sport which can be viewed while eating and drinking is just fine with them. However, if you got yourself one of those European types who think that bathing is a spectator sport, you might want to find the section on his hygiene and study up on it.
Alcohol, etc.. Men need to drink something. Men need to smoke something. Men need to prepare themselves for any and all upcoming female engagements. Note that alcohol, and such are even more important if there is no upcoming female engagement on the horizon. Men love beer, but will drink wine if there’s a damn good reason, such as there’s nothing left in the house but Drambui and Ovaltine (an attempt to mix the two is not a mistake men are likely to repeat). So, let’s discuss a man’s need for alcohol and the like. A man sees the world as it is: Rotten. It’s a tough world and it’s getting tougher. Nothing is easy for a man, and his surly demeanor reflects the trials he’s had to endure. This is why men drink. That and women. I’m not certain what percentage of a men’s alcohol intake is attributable to women but I’d venture to say upwards of 95% or so. Ladies, that’s how important you are. A woman sees the world as it should be: Lovely, filled with hearts, stars and butterflies. A place where animals don’t eat one another, but rather order out. If you doubt this, check out the difference between
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men’s and women’s prisons. A man’s prison is a hell hole, a hole in one of the lower levels of hell to be accurate. A woman’s prison is basically a quilting bee with discussion groups and daily support sessions led by a team of consoling consolers. It’s just how women are, it’s their nature. So women by their very nature have a pretty good view of the world, unrealistic as it may be, while men need something to give the world that rosy color. And there’s nothing like a couple of good stiff Zombies or Long Island Iced Teas to rosy-things-up some. Women, once he has reached this semi-blissful state, it is a perfect time to talk to him. He will pay attention better than he’s been able to before and will remember the conversation just as well.
Sports Bars. Combining the best of both worlds we have sports and alcohol in a smoky, mostly male-only environment. With scantly-clad waitresses serving the drinks, you have the male version of paradise here on Earth. This is an environment in which the male can get plastered with others of his kind while loudly rooting for his team. No, not just his team, their team! The entire place is typically rooting for one team or the other. A tip for the women out there. If you, a female, were to be stuck in a sports bar with no way out, just do what my uncle Jimmy in Texas does. He’s almost blind and when driving figures out when to go or stop by what the car next to him does. You can do the same thing and go along with the group. Simply cheer when everyone else does and say “crap” when they do as well. Regardless of the sport, you’ll be a real fan in no time. You should realize, however, that women other than waitresses are looked upon in a Sports Bar as bad luck. Just as on the ships of old, women are viewed with suspicion in these venues. So, if the home team starts to pull up lame, you may want to excuse yourself and slip out of the women’s bathroom window. Just something to keep in mind.
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Food (Pizza, Ribs, Burgers, Tacos, etc.) Anything other than pasta, quiche, fruit or vegetables. If it doesn’t contain meat, it ain’t food. It’s probably the stuff that food eats. My friend Fast Eddy once said that he had not eaten a vegetable in 20 years, “I think if I ate a vegetable now it would kill me”. In this, men and women differ greatly. My Ex wouldn’t eat anything with eyelashes or a face. I won’t eat anything that didn’t have a face. Men love anything that is deep fried, and it seems that you can deep fry almost anything. My Grandma was making deep fried okra and hush puppies for my Grandpa one day when I asked if she wasn’t concerned about cholesterol? She looked at me like I was insane and said, “Everyone today is worried about fat and cholesterol. Why, back in my day, we didn’t have cholesterol. Crap, if we did, we woulda just fried it up and ate it”. Food is about as important to men as is sex; depending upon the time of day, maybe more. You can, if you have your sweet little heart set on it, spend hour after hour making him a wonderful meal; perfectly braised lamb basted with caramelized carrots and new red potatoes, nice big bowl of greens, freshly baked sourdough bread (which you made yourself using your own starter), and a hot Granny Smith apple pie with melted Cheddar cheese. He will spend about 5 minutes stuffing everything down, belch loudly, wipe his mouth on the table cloth, go into the living room to watch TV and pass out while you sit there gaping like a trout, no longer looking forward to a wonderful meal and scintillating conversation. You can get mad if you want, but it probably won’t do any good. You have been warned.
His Things. Women like to throw stuff out. His stuff. Everything that is needed she already has and so his crap is no longer necessary. It may, however, not be as easy as simply tossing something of his into the garbage. He may have developed some attachment to that 30-year-old bean-bag chair, the broken and leaking lava lamp, or that hideous green vinyl couch. He will attempt to explain to you that his silverware is
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actually the tradition snowflake pattern in which every one is different. He will, of course, not be successful. You can start by telling him that all of his crap is crap and should be thrown out because it smells like someone’s feet. Make sure that you don’t give in here, this is not the place to compromise. His stuff is crap, I know it, you know it, he knows it. Just get rid of it.
Mute, deaf women. On occasion a man will need for you to be deaf and mute - probably at the same time. He will need you to be deaf in the sense that you pretend not to have heard the stupid things he’s just uttered, and mute in the sense that you won’t say anything about it to him or anyone else. This is technically known as a 'mulligan' and he will owe you one for doing this for him. Note: for the women out there. A mulligan is when you are on the golf course and you take a swing at the ball and screw-up so badly, that your friends choke because they’re laughing so hard. You get to replay that ball once without penalty. You usually get one mulligan per round. This is opposed to a 'dick-out' which is what happens if you don’t hit your initial drive past the woman’s tee. In that event you have to walk that hole with your dick sticking out of your pants - hence the term 'dick-out'. They never grow-up, do they?
His private cave. From the “Men are from Mars...” crowd we know that men will, on occasion, go and sit in their caves to be alone and ponder things. This is how men work things out and figure it out for themselves. They really don’t need to be alone during this time, it also works just as well if you just don’t talk to them for awhile. Many men will retreat to the garage or workshop to fire-up something electrical which makes a hellofalotta noise, throws stuff like sawdust or metal shavings several feet into the air and is probably somewhat dangerous. Men like to make a lot of noise while thinking. It help them think better and to make difficult decisions such as whether or not to have another
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beer. Typically, the initial decision would be to have another beer and consider the question in more depth.
Exercise 3.5 - Your Cat
OK, this is going to hurt. You might want to skip this section until you think you can handle it. Here it is: Get rid of your cat. That’s it - I said it! Someone had to say it and I said it. You need to realize that your cat is simply a surrogate partner. You’ve redirected all of the love, attention and affection you have to offer toward this critter which, trust me, does not love you back. Whatever you may think, your cat simply tolerates you as long as you feed it and treat it kindly. It would kill you and eat you if it thought it were possible. How well do you think your cat would tolerate you if you were the size of a mouse? To this predator, you’d be just another tasty morsel once it finished playing with you. Men hate cats. Men will usually make a big production of being kind to your cat when you’re around, but once your back is turned he will scare the crap out of it. The real issue here is that, while a man will not necessarily demand all of your attention, he does not want you to have any other focus for your affection. Note that if your man relents and allows you to keep your cat, you’re going to need to revise your relationship with this animal. Best, at this point, to count your blessings and make it an outside cat. Feeding it occasionally should give you both a few minutes together. On the off chance, however, that the man brings his own cat into the relationship, then run. Run fast, run far and do not look back.
Exercise 3.6 - Be Flexible
When dealing with a man it is imperative that you learn to be flexible. This is because you are going to have to put up with a lot of crap. As my Grandma used to say, “No matter what, if it's got tires or balls your going to have trouble with it”. Oh that Grandma of mine; crude but correct. The following
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are some reasons why a certain amount of flexibility on your behalf should make for bucket-loads of relatively happy memories together:
Short Memory Span. He’ll forget what you just told him. Yes I could remind him in his section to write down the things you tell him, but he would just forget. You, however, could gently remind him of some of the more important things with which he will need to deal. You could even go as far as to write things down for him. You may also need to tell him the same thing over and over a few times before it really sinks in. You need to understand that he has a lot on his mind. Baseball statistics and songs whose lyrics he can’t quite accurately recall most likely. Understand that there is only so much that will fit inside a man’s head, so you need to decide beforehand what to leave in there and what can be deleted without causing you even more grief.
He will Stretch the Truth. This is a given; men have to lie like fish have to swim and birds have to fly. At the cellular level it has been shown that there is a gene on the 'Y' chromosome that causes men to make things up. Actually, I just made that up. See? Even when there is no reason to, men will often lie. Just understand that it’s not our fault - honest. The need for men to lie, I believe, initially came about as a mechanism to attract women. Picture this: The very large, very hairy cave man comes back to his village empty-handed. Now, if he tells everyone that he got bombed on fermented figs and has been sleeping for the past two days under a tree rather than hunting, he will not be looked upon favorably. However, if instead he tells everyone a harrowing tale about the “…bigass Mammoth…” that somehow got away, the women will be so impressed by his manliness that they will all want to sleep with him regardless of his overwhelming stinkyness. Imagine the first man who thought up the concept of lying. The women he must have had....
Not the Brightest Bulb... He will do or say something stupid. Yet another given here. Please be patient, we honestly had only the purest of
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intentions and the noblest of goals in mind. We did not mean to screwup. How were we to have known, for example, that inflammable meant flammable? Yes, well sure if we would have actually read the instructions. Realize that often he is making a valiant attempt at doing good. It could be something as simple as a really nice compliment which just, well, didn't come out right. Usually there will be others around when he does or says something stupid. When this happens, and it will happen, nobody will notice the man behind the stupidity as he is pretty much expected to behave in this manner. All eyes will, however, be on you, his woman. Other women will nod their heads and sympathize knowing that it could as easily have been them, while others, like your Mother, will be firmly entrenched in the “I Told You So” camp.
Not the Sharpest Tool... He will do or say something to piss you off. Yet, another high possibility on this one as it’s similar to the previous issue, yet with subtle differences. OK, he’s done something, yet again, to make you angry. Now there are two possibilities here: Either he did whatever it is he did on purpose, or else it was simply a man-moment. Let’s take these one at a time. If it was just a man-moment, then please refer to the bullet-point above for more information. In this case this is likely something which he began with good intentions and then ran off into the weeds somewhere along the way. If, however, he actually did something on purpose which angered or pissed you off, well then have at him. He deserves whatever he gets which, depending on the severity of the act, might be a frying pan to the forehead, a ride to the local 'Y' or an irate call from your lawyer.
His Wandering Eye. He will look at other women, you’re going to have to live with this fact. There is every chance that your man will be looking at other women any time he is out in public, regardless of whether you are with him or not. As my Ex had said many times, “Men are dogs”. Actually, I'm a chicken hawk (yes, this is what happens when you grow up watching cartoons while eating sugar-coated cereals). Back
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to men and their wandering eye. You can castigate him for this if you see fit, but it probably won’t do any good. Notice that I said ‘castigate’ and not “castrate’, which wouldn’t do any good either. If he has read this book, he’ll probably just say, “How would I know how beautiful you are unless I compare you to other women which, I must say, simply don’t compare?”. Oh, he’s good.
Exercise 3.7 - Your Faithful Man?
It has been said by those wiser than I that a man is only as faithful as his options. This is certainly not true for every man, but it definitely is for a large percentage of us. Why should this be so, you ask yourself? “Don’t I slave day in and day out to give him everything he wants, everything he needs? Isn’t my every waking thought about him, his concerns and his comfort? Doesn’t he know I love him? Doesn’t he know that I care? That bastard! I'll kill him!!!” OK everyone, let’s just calm down, take a deep breath here and get some perspective. Now I could say that it’s only natural that a man have the desire to mate with as many females as possible thus maximizing the chances that his subsequent offspring will....blah, blah, blah. I can see many of you out there conspiring as we speak to track me down so that you can feed this book to me through my butt. Well, hold on a minute ladies. I have another, and I think less potentially painful, explanation. Of course, your man is probably faithful. Statistics I've uncovered from 1973 say that less than 25% of men (as well as 15% of women) in committed relationships cheat on their mates. So chances are, or were back in '73, that you have nothing to worry about. Contrary to what you might think, men do indeed have a conscience. They know the difference between right and wrong. Why, then, do they seem to have so much trouble in doing what’s right? My belief is that it’s not “any other woman” which a man seeks but rather just “another woman” on occasion.
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This may sound like I’m nuts, but bear with me here a minute and let me try to explain. I think that most men would be very happy and comfortable with the concept of having 3 or 4 wives or girlfriends. This concept, which seems to work well in many cultures, is that a man would have multiple partners in a relationship. Have these other cultures discovered the solution to a long hidden truth about men? Has the development of this sort of socially accepted relationship between 3 or 4 adults operated in some way to preclude the sorts of problems we find in our culture? Have they found an effective solution to a cheating partner? Have they found an effective solution to the fact that a man would have 3 or 4 mothers-in-law? Am I asking too many questions? I think the answer to all of these is a resounding, yes! In these polygamist cultures, the husband would spend 2 or 3 days with each wife and then move onto the next, eventually rotating around to the beginning again. In this way, his need for variety is satisfied and his interest is maintained by the different women in his life. This would, if nothing else, tend to keep him occupied. I think that, since our society allows only a single partner, men are driven to look for affairs because of just those needs which other cultures have addressed. The questions is; would a man with 3 or 4 wives ever cheat on them? I think the polite answer is no. I think the accurate answer is, who would have the time or energy? Regardless of what other societies deem acceptable, ours is pretty much based upon the one man one woman concept. I have no doubt that you’re now thinking, “Am I to understand that I simply have to put up with this sort of behavior from him? Is there nothing I can do to make him realize that I am the one and only woman he needs in his life?” Well, you can certainly try your best at convincing him of that fact, but I’m telling you here and now that you may be disappointed in the results. Alright then, what to do? My best guess on this one is to simply trust your man. That’s right, there’s nothing more to it. If you have the sort of relationship that you want to last, then you need to have implicit trust in your man that he will do what’s right.
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If, however, you cannot bring yourself to trust your man once he’s out of your sight then you might just want to consider calling it quits. You’ll always be suspicious of him anyway. If you don’t have trust in him then you don’t have anything to build upon. Trust is like the foundation of a relationship. If trust does not exist between you and your partner, then your relationship is nothing more than a house of cards constructed on the slippery back of a drowning turtle. Right? OK, I think it’s time for another beer.
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Think “She’s Going to Win”
One of the other Habits in this book, I forget which one exactly, talks about striving for a mutually beneficial relationship. I think this is a very good idea and once you learn more about the concept, you will as well. So, just what is a mutually beneficial relationship? It’s one in which most of the time she’s happy and you’re not in trouble. As we all know if she ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. So, we want to get into the habit of doing things that make her happy, or at least that don’t piss her off. This is known as a win / win situation and is what we will be aiming for in these exercises. This is opposed to something like a win / lose situation which may be characterized by your mate being happy, and you not so much. Or worse yet, a lose / lose scenario in which nobody gets what they want. One of the main topics within this section will concern the ever-popular argument. Arguments are an important part of any relationship. We do all love to argue, don’t we? Well, some of us do and some of us don’t, and some of us live for nothing else. So let’s talk about an average argument between you and your partner. In an argument of any appreciable length (say, of more than a minute or so) you, the defenseless man, probably won’t have a chance. This is because women are really good at arguing whereas men are usually not. What happens during an argument is that a woman will have about 10 distinct thoughts swirling around in her brain concerning any given topic, while a man typically doesn’t even know how the sentence he’s just started will end. This gives women a distinct advantage in the art of arguing. Now, men, does this mean that we should just give-up and not even bother to argue? Absolutely not! Quite the contrary. We need to get back in there and give as good as we get. Got it? Good. We’re not going to take this lying down. No, at some point we will not. So, we’ll hit the snooze and sleep on this a bit longer but once the alarm goes off again we’re going to get up, get going and get after it. We just need to sleep a bit longer.
* Men *
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The exercises within this section are some of the more challenging and rewarding in the entire series. They will allow you to learn how to win while appearing to give in to her irrational demands. You will become a clever practitioner of the art of male subterfuge. Male subterfuge you say? What the hell? Let’s take a simple example; the act of screwing up the laundry or the dishes by shrinking one and breaking the other. She will, of course, never let you deal with these household activities again. Question is, did you screw up by accident, or...? Take, however, a more subtle approach. This scheme required forethought as well as planning and practice, but it was well worth it. To begin with, I secretly learned to fake a sneeze. And I mean a really good fake - you couldn’t tell it from the real thing. Next I let my partner know that I had a variety of allergies including cats, dust, molds, relatives, etc. and that I would get asthma if it got too bad. And furthermore, that I would die if I didn’t do something to remedy the problem. I am allergic to cats, but none of the rest of that was true. Although, it is true that if someone were to tie a cat to my face, I just might expire. So what you say? So here’s what; when I find myself in yet another situation that I want to get out of, such as an afternoon with her relatives and their 10 screaming kids when I would rather be at home watching the playoffs, I simply begin my fake sneezing attack. Making sure she and others take notice and ask about it, I would wheezingly reply that all that would be needed would be for me to get my butt back on the couch for the remainder of the afternoon. Now what do you think? Diabolical, no? Understand that this sort of thing takes planning, practice, timing and flawless execution. I wouldn’t expect the novice to conjure up nor successfully execute such a scheme. Years of patience and practice, little Locust, years of patience and practice.
Exercise 4.1 - Should I Argue?
Should you argue with your woman? No, not unless it’s really quick. Don’t get into a protracted argument with your woman. She will win, or to be more accurate, you will lose. After many years of experience, my view is that for the most part it’s just not worth the effort. If, however, you are dead set on an argument, make it short and sweet. Don’t pull any punches - get in there, say
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what you need to say without beating around the bush, and get out. It’s like a boxing match, you’ve got at most one good round in you so make it count. If you can’t wrap it up within that first round, best take a dive. You ain’t got the legs; I know it, you know it, she knows it. You are simply not going the distance, so don’t even try. Whatever the outcome, just know that you’ve done the best you could - provided, of course, that you’ve really done the best you could. While I’ve stated that my view is, for the most part, an argument is simply not worth the effort, many other men have a different opinion. They are of the opinion that they can, in fact, win an argument. Now while that is true in theory, it remains tantalizingly elusive in practice. The reason is that it is difficult to determine just what exactly the spoils of victory are when you’re sleeping in your car because you’ve been locked out for the night yet again. Case in point:
In March of 1994 my Ex and I attended the wedding of our friends Peter and Donna. We had not seen them since moving away about a year earlier, but had keep in touch off and on. We arrived a bit late, to find the potential Bride and Groom arguing. They were standing in the parking lot of the restaurant where the wedding was to be held. We had thought it an odd location for a wedding and reception, but who were we to talk. We were married by a blind, barefoot Native American shaman deep in a mist shrouded redwood forest (guess whose idea that was). Upon approaching the arguing couple we quickly learned the reason for the heated discussion. The kitchen of the restaurant was apparently next to the location of the wedding ceremony, separated only by a thin wall. The Bride had asked (told) the Groom to tell the restaurant personnel to keep quiet in the kitchen since the banging of pots and pans could be clearly heard through the walls.
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The Groom dutifully had asked the restaurant folks to cool it with the dishes which they had apparently agreed to do, but only at the last minute since they still had customers to feed. The Groom agreed and left it at that. The Bride, still hearing the noises once the Groom had returned, was pissed. She wanted them to stop now, not later. The Groom tried to explain to his betrothed that they will stop as soon as the ceremony began. She was having none of this crap. It was her wedding and, dammit, she was going to have it exactly the way she wanted. The argument was getting loud, heated and ugly, when the groom finally said, “Look, that’s the way it’s going to be so just live with it”. She just turned and stormed-off. He said to us, “Well, I guess I showed her whose the boss”. I had to pinch my Ex to keep her from laughing. We next saw them at the ceremony. As she walked down the aisle the sound of the Wedding March mixed unpleasantly with the crashing of pots and pans being washed, apparently, by violently banging them together. You could see she was very, very upset. As soon as she got to the makeshift alter the music and dish washing stopped together as if on queue. The actual ceremony itself took less than 5 minutes after which the bride and groom did not kiss, but rather both simply turned to face the small strangely quiet gathering. After an uncomfortable pause the Groom said, “That’s it, let’s eat”. The banging of pots and pans instantly began once again. The Groom proceeded to get surprisingly drunk while the Bride locked herself in the restaurant bathroom and cried for the remainder of the evening. Her bridesmaid sat by the door funneling in strong drink, chicken wings and Kleenex for hours. All in all it was not that bad and certainly not the most unpleasant wedding I had attended in my time. I was the best man at a wedding in the mid-1980’s. I still have less than fond memories of the surprisingly quick training - 76 -
course, the subsequent ceremony and my spectacularly unsuccessful landing during one of the last legally sanctioned skydiving weddings in Baja California. Peter and Donna were married for a short, tumultuous 3 month period before being divorced. Winner!
Exercise 4.2 - Talking About It
Men tend to be as comfortable talking about their relationship as they are buying sanitary napkins in the supermarket on a Saturday morning, with a girl scout troop behind them - pointing, giggling and whispering. Oh, sorry. Now then, when it’s time to talk about your relationship, and make no mistake about it the time will indeed come, take a deep breath and steel yourself for the onslaught. This is not going to be your average conversation. You are probably going to have to listen, pay attention and maybe even participate in this discussion. You’re sweating, aren’t you. If you find yourself faced with the prospect of having to actually talk about your relationship, and you’ve already tried faking seizures, heart attacks and the uncontrollable channeling of Ward Bond - none of which worked - then you are likely to have to really do some actual talking. So, here’s what I would suggest - apologize. Yup, that’s right. Get the first punch in by apologizing. Say to her that you don’t spend enough time with her and that you feel you’ve been taking her for granted lately. This is good because even if you haven’t, she’ll feel you have. Add, sincerely, that you want to make it up to her by doing more of the housework as well as taking her out for a special evening - just for her. If you can manage to actually make that a perfect evening for her, you may never have to talk about your relationship ever again. Does this work? Well, it has so far. Was it worth the effort? Oh, you bet!
Exercise 4.3 - Where will Anger Get Me?
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Where will your anger and temper get you? Usually nowhere, depends upon your woman and her mood. Women typically don’t like to see anger in her man directed her way. It’s not a comfortable feeling and picks away at any trust and affection you have built up between you two. However, if you are not showing enough emotion, then she may actually demand that you get angry about something just to prove you’re not made of stone and that there is some feeling in you. So, there are times when you should get angry and times when you should not. Just exactly how to tell when you should get angry and when you should not is anyone’s guess.
Consider the woeful tale of myself and a date just after bowling one evening. We had bowled a few games and had ourselves a few beers. She had beat me all three games and was something less than a sportsmanlike winner. I, on the other hand, was an even worse looser and was getting really tired of hearing my date scream, "Girls rule, girls rule!" I just wanted to get her home and be done with this rather emasculating evening as I lifted the hood of my Ford Pinto to get it started. OK, I guess an explanation is in order here. The key broke off in the ignition which sort of implied that it would always be running, which would be true were it not for an odd electrical problem it also had. This problem would manifest itself by everything in the car stopping and dying at the same time. Wherever I happened to be at the time was where I parked. So, when starting the car it had to be in neutral and I would just touch a screwdriver between two terminals under the hood. With a shower of sparks it started right up, usually. This is what I was doing in the empty parking lot of the bowling alley that night. Problem was that I didn’t have the car in neutral and when I touched the screwdriver to the terminals the car started and jumped forward hitting the
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side of the building, and stopping with the front tire on top of my left foot. It sort of hurt, but not too much. Probably because I was drunk, but not too much. My date, on the other hand, was three-sheets-to-the-wind and laughing her ass off. I was so pissed I started yelling at her to get in the car and put it into reverse. This did not have quite the desired results. Rather than helping me as requested, she displayed a hand gesture which, I was to soon discover, meant, “Yeah, right. I’ll be right back. I just need to run home and get my camera.” Fortunately, a friendly cop happened by before she got back and helped me out of my predicament. And yes, he was laughing as well.
Exercise 4.4 - Cheating
Guys, please don’t cheat on your woman. She will find out. Let me repeat this - SHE WILL FIND OUT! Make sure you understand this completely. Good. OK, so when you do cheat realize that the only thing you’ll be able to think about afterward is not getting caught. While it’s pretty much a given you will get caught (mostly because you are a stupid man and would think nothing about having an affair with the next door neighbor, driving your own car to a motel, or using your wife's credit card to pay for an hour’s worth of depravity at your local Whore’s-R-Us), here are some tips for you anyway:
The Sniff Test. Your woman will give you the sniff test when you get home from work, or if she is at all suspicious of your activities. She will probably accomplish this by hugging you and quietly sniffing your neck. Most men would be mistaken as to why a women would do this. It is not, as one might suspect, to determine if you smell like another woman's perfume (which could happen anyway so watch yourself), but rather to determine if you’ve recently showered. You had better not have or you’re going to have some big-time explaining to do.
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So, you really don’t have a chance here. She will either detect the scent of another woman on you, or else you will smell like you’ve recently showered. You should now be aware of the fact that there is no way out. Men have always believed that simply taking a shower after an elicit affair will wash away not only their depraved sin but the scent of said sin as well. Well, it won’t. Never has, never will.
Protection. For God sakes, if you’re going to cheat, wear a condom. Nothing screams “Hey everyone, I’ve been cheating” like a good case of one of the more popular STD’s. But explaining this to the typical guy is all but useless. It’s got to be the woman’s responsibility (even though I know full well it’s not) because most guys, given the opportunity, will jump on pretty much any woman without a second thought. Guys pretty much see each sexual encounter as if it were the last chopper outta 'Nam. For all they know, this is it, this may be the last time this will ever happen so why bother with protection? An example of the lack of reasoning in the man who is having an extramarital liaison is the following slice of life: The cheating man asked his mistress, who was in the process of undressing, if her name was Victoria Dumont? To which she answered that yes, it was, and furthermore how he came by this information. He would say, of course, by the provocative initials on her knickers.
Location, location, location. Just where is it you intend to perform this illicit act? Her house? Your house? The park? You had better put a lot of thought into this question. The last thing you’ll want is to be seen and recognized by someone you and your wife know. I knew a guy in college who preferred the Bavarian Romantic Poetry aisle of the Linguistics Section at the college library. He had never, in 6 years, been interrupted at that locale until one day when an aged librarian happened by. He managed the unusual feat of staining both the carpet as well as his honor at the same time.
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Clean up your Act. Somehow you’re going to need to wash afterwards really, really well without her becoming suspicious. It would be preferable if you could do this before you get home, but never forget the pending sniff test. Therefore, try to only wash the crotch part of yourself. You don’t want to do this at home and have your wife become suspicious as to why it is you’ve been scrubbing your crotch for the past 20 minutes. Maybe a gas station bathroom would work for this activity. Try to use a good strong soap if possible. But don’t rub so hard that you chaff, or worse yet, become excited (honest honey, I was just cleaning it and it went off)
The Money, Honey. If there is any money involved with this reprehensible activity (dinner, web-sites, a fist-full of ones) make sure that its sudden disappearance is not noticeable. Lot’s of luck on this one, it’s not an easy thing to do. If you want to be proactive about it (hey, these habits do come in handy) you could save up little bits of money over time to pay for your depraved sexual malfeasance. But realize that this would clearly demonstrate intent and so could end-up getting you in even more trouble than if she were to believe that this was just some kind of spur-of-the-moment uncontrollable, stupid male weakness. So, as far as money goes, since you’ve already started ambling down that slippery path to hell, you may just as well rob a liquor store.
Don’t tell anyone. Though, you will likely screw-up each of the tips mentioned above, this is probably the one that will be the final nail in the coffin with respect to your getting caught. Your telling someone what you’ve done is as good as her having an eye witness. Remember, the walls have ears, the ceiling eyes. She has spies, snitches, slime who would drop-a-dime on their own Mothers for the price of a Whopper without cheese. So, if you intend to actually keep this affair of yours a secret, you absolutely cannot tell anyone - especially your woman.
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Yes, indeed. This is what some so-called therapists would recommend. It will aid in the healing for both of you to share in the process, they will say. The therapist would argue that the only way to face this headon would be to just come out and tell her what you’ve done. This is fine if you’re a therapist and get your money whether things work out or not. However, this is actually a load of crap. Let’s look at this from the perspective of your woman. Her view of this situation would likely be that you simply what to break-up with her. Why else would you have hurt her so badly by doing what you’ve done and then telling her about it? There’s no other possible explanation. You simply wanted to hurt her. So, in my opinion, if you’re going to cheat, and then afterwards tell her about it, be prepared to break-up.
Exercise 4.5 - Pay Attention
Notice anything new? These three words strike fear into the hearts of even the bravest of men. Raging storms in the South Atlantic waves 80 feet high, the horrors of hand-to-hand combat during the insanity of war, keeping an accident victim’s heart beating with your own bare hands; nothing will shake the rock-solid foundation of a man like the three words uttered by his woman, “Notice anything new”? Upon hearing these words medically detectable changes will occur in a guy’s physiology . The color will drain from his face as the fight-or-flight response takes over, tunnel vision and a panicked search for escape routes quickly ensue. Sweat beads on his eyebrows, his hands will become cold and clammy, his breathing shallow. Your heart feels like a jackhammer is pounding in your chest as you realize that there is no escape. In a panic you quickly scan millions of different things in the room, on her person, in the air, on the walls, IN HER DAMNED MIND, to try and determine what is different from the last time you were put through this torture. OK, stop. Breath deeply and take a few seconds here to calm down. You can deal with this; that’s why I went to all the trouble of
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writing this damn book. Look at her, smile and say the following, “Your hair looks wonderful and I just love your smile. My love for you seems to grow with each and every passing day”, while simultaneously praying for a heart attack. You could also try to bite off and swallow your own tongue, but that would require a much greater expenditure of energy and has been proven to be only slightly more effective.
Exercise 4.6 - Her Ex
One of the more perplexing questions men have asked over the years is how to effectively deal with her Ex. This is easy, as you usually don’t have to do anything. She is perfectly capable of defining whatever relationship they may still have, which they shouldn’t be having in the first place. But if she wants to stay in touch with an Ex I’ve found that it’s best not to push it. That is, however, unless the past tense nature of that relationship somehow escapes her notice. If she, therefore, spends too much time with an Ex, then this may be cause for concern. Though, what exactly you would do in that case is far beyond my level of expertise. I’d probably leave her before she throws me out, but that’s just me. You could try asking her what she’s thinking, but why? If there is occasion for you to have any contact with her Ex, make sure that you are always polite. Let him throw the first punch, this will demonstrate your preference for the high road. Your woman will appreciate this attitude since there’s really nothing to fight over. She’s already dumped (or had been dumped by) him and she’s now with you. If by chance you do happen to see her Ex. Don’t go giving him that “Yeah, that’s right. I'm doing her now” look in your eye. At best it will only make him nostalgic, at worse he will rupture an internal organ laughing so hard.
* Women *
The exercises in this section are designed to allow you to become a gracious winner. We already know that for the most part you’re going to win and get whatever it is that you want. And all through the use of your feminine wiles. Damn those feminine wiles! Well
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perhaps that’s as it should be but unless you allow him to think he’s won a significant victory or two, at some point he may just grow tired of your shenanigans and up and leave. Is that what you want? If so, then have at him and it won’t be long before you’re killing your own spiders, fixing your own car, mowing your own lawn and hauling in your own firewood. Otherwise, ladies, read on.
Exercise 4.7 - Should I Argue?
Don’t be ridiculous, what’s wrong with you? It's like asking if a pride of lions should bring down a lame deer. They were born to eat venison and you were born to argue. So, get in there and do what you do best. For the most part he won’t want to argue fearing both losing as well as winning, but if he does decide to give it a go realize that he is going to try for a quick ending. A knockout in the first round as it were. Be patient, use the entire ring. Move and jab, move and jab, you’re in this for the duration. You can easily tire him out, he’s got no legs. It won’t be long before you’re receiving accolades from the appreciative audience while he’s busy regaining consciousness. If, however, he’s a keeper and you’d like to have him stick around for awhile then you’re going to want to make him feel comfortable in expressing his thoughts, feelings and desires. As important as it is to allow him to express himself, you’ll want to make sure that he understands that he cannot just go and do whatever he pleases. So, this is a difficult balancing act in which you want to make sure that the steam of frustration doesn’t build up too much pressure in the ol' man-kettle, while at the same time making sure that he knows intuitively when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em, argument-wise. This may sound unnecessarily convoluted, but after all it is men we’re dealing with here for God’s sake. I guess the bottom line here is, would it really hurt to let him win a meaningless victory or two once in a while? If you could also make it seem, in some fashion, to have been a meaningful victory that would really help as well.
Exercise 4.8 - Where will Anger Get Me?
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Women are easily annoyed, angered, miffed, peeved; they heat-up quickly and cool-down slowly. I have no doubt that there are plenty of women out there who have just read this and are now pissed-off about it. See? But I don’t have to tell you women out there that anger is an effective way to get whatever it is you want. As the old saying goes, “If she ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. Realize, however, that there is only so much up with which a man will put. If your anger is too intense or lasts to long (like there’s no end in sight), he may just bail on you. This is why I would suggest crying as a practical alternative. Men feel very guilty about leaving a woman while she’s crying. Oh, they’ll still leave, but will feel guilty about doing so. Long ago there was a commercial for something or other, which has really stuck with me. Yeah, sounds like it you smirk. Screw you. I remember it started out with this guy, a biker dude, gazing longingly at a picture. The photo was of a beautiful Harley (chromed 1936 Knucklehead, if I'm not mistaken) and there was a tear in his eye. The voice over said something like, “Remember that bike you loved? The one you built with your own two hands? The one your Ex-wife made you sell?” That commercial always meant a lot to me and I’ll always remember it for reasons which are not presently clear. Regardless, consider the following:
Whilst between girlfriends in 1988, I decided to call in sick for 3 days and head off to Lake Mead in Nevada. Great party atmosphere and lots of women during the summer months. I rented a motel room on the water and spent most of my time drunk in one casino or another. In the room next to mine was a couple with a baby. It was an unusually quiet infant, which was great as I would usually get in after 4AM and sleep until about 2 the next afternoon. One late afternoon, nursing yet another hangover, I met the neighbors Ted “Just call me TJ”, his young and pimply wife, Alma and their sleeping baby, Image. Who would name a kid Image? Whatever. TJ did have a shiny new ski boat though. It was a metal-flake red one with a very big chrome engine. - 85 -
They seemed nice enough for married folks but I needed a shower and a drink, not necessarily in that order so I excused myself. Coming out of the shower I heard what sounded like twelve cats being tumble dried. It was coming from next door. It was coming from Image. She was making a nose like I’d never heard. I had to get away from there and was just out of the door when Ted, uh TJ, called to me. He asked if I wanted to head out for a boat ride. He apparently needed to get away as well. We headed to one of the many dockside bars upriver and proceeded to get butt-faced in just under two hours. During this time we had spent more than $200 and had collected an obscene number of souvenirs as there was a wet tee-shirt contest at this one particular bar. Who knew? It was dark by the time we headed on back to our rooms. The water was also very rough. It took quite a while to get back and I was pretty sick by then. So was TJ. Once we got back he asked me to just steer the boat because he wanted to get up on the bow so the boat didn’t scrape the dock. It was then that we could see his less than thrilled wife standing there waiting for us. OK, now I want everyone to know that I have no idea what I did next, so technically I’m innocent. The boat somehow lurched forward and smashed into the dock throwing TJ over into the water on the other side. A large sampling of our souvenirs, which included an interesting collection of women’s undergarments, also littered the dock. His wife just stood there and stared at her husband who was floundering and puking in the water. She just shook her head and walked back inside. I saw TJ and his wife the next morning before I left and went over to apologize. They were packing up to leave. Image was also quiet once again. I told Alma how sorry I was about what had happened. Without - 86 -
bothering to look up and said, “We're selling the boat”. She looked at her emasculated husband who shook his head in agreement. They turned and left as did I. And that was that.
Exercise 4.9 - Where will Crying Get Me?
There is little a woman can utilize from her complete arsenal of relationship weaponry which is more effective than crying. A man hates to see, or hear a woman cry. Particularly if the reason that she’s crying in the first place is his fault. It means, to a man, that things are just so bad that there is nothing left for her to do but cry. She’s at her wits end and her only recourse at this point is uncontrollable sobbing. You, the woman, however know that crying is only one of many and varied relationship-specific weapons which can be brought to bear on any particular situation. Most men don’t realize that a woman can go from being a helpless, sobbing lump to an angry, surprisingly season martial arts expert who can inflict severe pain, in a wink of an eye. You will learn this quickly little Locust if you are something other than completely sympathetic to her feelings, particularly when she is crying. You’ll want to make sure, though, that only he sees you crying. If anyone else were to see you crying they might think that something is actually wrong and, God forbid, attempt to help. Men wouldn’t understand what you’re up to because your actions would be taken out of context, while women would understand implicitly. Without having that relationship frame of reference, you become just another unhappy person in a sea of unhappy people. It is also important to make sure he understands that although he may not be the cause of your unhappiness, if nothing else he is at fault for not doing more to console you. Men have no idea. They know nothing, nothing I tell you.
Exercise 4.10 - His Ex
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He is likely paralyzed with fear and inactivity when it comes to his Ex. She, like his mother, has probably damaged him so severely that he either becomes a complete ass whenever she’s around, or else a whimpering, spineless blob of unflavored gelatin. Regardless of his pathetic reaction, it is up to you to define how he is to relate to his Ex. You let him know, in no uncertain terms, that she is no longer part of his life and that if he ever does see her again you’ll rip off his arm and use it to kill the bitch. That should do it. Men just love the prospect of a cat fight. If, however, he and his Ex share children, farm animals, clothing, hunting dogs or other property then they will necessarily need to be in contact at some point. In this event, you are going to want to make sure that you chaperone the Ex couple. You don’t want to leave him alone with her. You know how women are, they’ll stop at nothing to get what they want. And what they usually want is your man. So, though you may have a high level of trust in your man, this is not likely to be the case with his Ex. You know what she’s after. Just let her know that you know what’s going on and send her packing. If she won’t go then do not hesitate, just bitch-slap her into next Friday and be done with it.
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Seek First to Understand, Then Realize You Won’t
If everyone would just agree that men will never understand women and women will never understand men, then I think we could all just get back to what’s really important; dinner. Actually, I haven’t had anything to eat yet and I was getting hungry. No, what’s important is for each of us to understand how men and women differ from one another. It is often revealing to focus upon those things that men and women naturally think about differently. Learning about these differences can, to a great extent, help our partners understand why we do what it is we do. While this certainly won’t explain everything (why does he save his earwax?), it should cover most of your concerns. Here are some of the things which men and women look at differently:
Shoes. For men, shoes are almost strictly utilitarian. Sporting equipment such as ski boots, bowling shoes and flippers aside, men usually have two types of shoes. They typically have work boots (these are for working) and tennis shoes (these are for pretty much everything else). When our shoes get dirty we wash them off with a hose and let them dry in the sun. Women, on the other hand, see shoes as an extension of their bodies - the feet portion of the body primarily. One which can be dressed-up with all sorts of different styles and colors and, oh, the new fashions are coming out this fall and on and on and on.... Say what you want but when I see a woman trying her best to walk in something that looks like someone stapled a leather strap to a block of wood, it occurs to me that they have once again become foot bound. Only this time, it’s their own idea. If you watch women in a crowd, such as might be found in a mall or supermarket, they will always look at the shoes of other women who pass by. Women judge one another by their shoes. They can tell everything they need to know about another woman by her shoes. Men do not know this, whereas women understand it implicitly. Dogs smell each other’s butts, women look at each other’s shoes, men don’t have a clue about one another. I once had a girl friend who stated that she could look at a woman's shoes and from that tell what she likes in bed. If only this
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were a skill which could be taught, or bottled. Women typically have more than two dozen pair of shoes, most of which seem to be specifically designed for events which do not actually exist like cotillions and anniversary parties.
Chocolate. I could hardly find a better candidate than chocolate to illustrate how men and women think about certain things differently. For men, chocolate is simply a dessert item to be dealt with in relatively small quantities after a filling meal of steak and potatoes. For women, chocolate means so very much more. Chocolate acts on a woman’s brain in a physically detectable manner. It releases endorphins (or some such mysterious thing) which is similar to being in love. That’s probably more accurate; men like chocolate, women love chocolate. If a man wants a piece of candy it could just as easily be a heavily salted peanutbased candy bar (whose idea was that) as something with chocolate in it. A woman will almost always go for the chocolate. And the more pure, sensually resplendent dark the chocolate the better. I’ve noticed that at certain points in my girlfriends cycles chocolate is not just a good idea, it’s the difference between a pleasant evening with the person you love and one which ends in televised police action.
Children. Men relate to children better than they relate to cats, but not much. They have a certain level of tolerance for the little critters running about, but only to a point. Men, of course, feel differently about their own kids than others. Their own they can spank or leave at a truck stop without the worry of a subsequent lawsuit, usually. Men typically don’t know much in the way of detail concerning their kids. Nicknames, basic age ranges, annoying habits - these are the sorts of things a man would know about his kids. Women will pretty much take care of everything else. Men actually like having children for the same reason that the ancient Pharos liked having slaves. Yes, in his mind he has created his very own slaves. It seems to be the only way in which to procure slaves anymore, have them yourself. So as soon as they can walk, even before that in some cases, men will put these little slaves to work. Pulling their own weight as it were. I, too, was trained as a slave when very
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young. Actually, I was just helping my uncle deliver newspapers, but I was only 5. My uncle would pay me a quarter each day I would help him. But wait a minute, you say. You got paid, I thought you were bitching about being a slave. Well, let me finish. After my Uncle gave me my quarter he told me to put it into my “bank”. My bank was the floor heater in my Grandmother’s house. Once I deposited my earnings into my bank, my Uncle would go into the basement and, uh, make a withdrawal. I think he just used that same quarter over and over for years. Women tend to treat all children as their own to a great extent. I’m not sure if it’s some sort of motherly instinct, but I’ve noticed that women will usually take the time to help a lost, crying child, while a man would give it a wide berth fearing it might need to be burped or changed or something. Women know everything there is to know about her children and, as such, are the sole repository for this knowledge. Thus, if a man wants to know something about the kids, ask the wife. This makes sense because if you both were to retain all of this information, problems could develop. What would you do, for example, if your husband was certain that it was your daughter who swallowed the nickel when she was 5, and your son who put Sugar Babies up his nose while you remember it differently. See the problem? If there is only a single repository for this information, then everyone can agree that is was the husband who both swallowed the nickel and put the Sugar Babies up his nose. It’s like having more than one clock in the house, you never really know what time it is. My parents have 38 clocks in their house. They couldn’t get within 20 minutes of the actual time if their lives depended on it.
Personal space. If you watch people at a counter, such as one might find at a bank, you will notice something interesting about the use of Personal Space. At a bank counter (or in any locale which one might encounter a counter) people have a certain amount of predefined personal amount of space defined by the bounds of the counter itself. So, let’s first look at an example of how a man would utilize this space. A man will walk up to counter, putting down maybe at most his keys, present his paperwork to the teller and wait patiently with his hands folded in front
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of him. Perhaps a simple checkbook, if that, might join his keys on the counter next to him. Men realize that they are temporarily borrowing this space and that they will soon be vacating. They don’t want to have to go through a long process of packing things up once they are ready to leave. When it’s time to get, we packup and get. The typical female will approach the counter and immediately claim it as her own, metaphorically planting a flag on the hilltop by setting her purse on the counter and taking virtually everything out of it. She will tell you that she does this in order to retrieve what she needs which is always at the bottom of her purse. This is not true, she is staking out her territory. Simple as that. Although she understands on a certain level that her presence here is temporary, it doesn’t seem to make a difference. It’s a nesting thing, this is a woman’s personal space. In public this space extends out from her body half again as long as her outstretched arms. She will claim and use this space in any manner she sees fit and for as long as she needs it. Are there any questions? Good, I didn’t think so.
Arguing. Men see arguing as a means to an end, but only if arguing with another man. If arguing with a woman then all bets are off. Arguments can lead to physical confrontation between males, but this is usually a rare occurrence. This is, of course, unless a female is watching. Then physical confrontation is likely since, in the male mind, it will be the victor of this confrontation who will mate with the female. She, of course, probably won’t want either of you two knuckleheads after such a childishly idiotic display. I feel safe in saying that, over the millennia, men have settled more arguments with brute force than with an impressive display of logic, if only because of the existence of women. They make us do stupid things. Women consider arguing similar to making love. It’s an emotional connection for a women. Men wonder why women like to argue. It’s for the same reason they like making love to you, you idiot. It’s an emotional connection which strengthens the bond between you two. It’s not necessarily that she’s angry with you, though she may well be, so watch yourself, but rather that she desires the experience of that connection with you in a very tangible manner. If, however, she is pissed at you
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and an emotional bond is the last thing on her mind, then you’d best find the section in this book concerning the fine art of arguing and why it would be a really good idea if you, the man, avoided it at all costs.
Driving. Men, being goal oriented, drive in order to reach a destination. While not exactly tunnel vision, a man will expend every effort to not detract from this goal. This is usually because there’s a game soon on which he doesn’t want to miss. Any mention of a side trip, unplanned excursion or spur-of-the-moment spree, therefore, should be quickly dealt with in one of the following ways; ♂ Ignore the comment and attempt to change the subject. ♂ Say there’s no time since you need to get home to feed the [dog, kid, bird]. ♂ Say that you were just there last week. ♂ Say it’s getting dark and statistics have shown that there is a greater danger of an accidents occurring when driving in the dark. ♂ Say it’s raining and statistics have shown that there is a greater danger of an accident occurring when driving in the rain. ♂ Say it’s Sunday and it’s a day of rest. One of the biggest time wasting activities one can engage in while driving, from a man’s perspective, is sitting in a car not going anywhere. Such a scenario might take place while looking at a map or asking for directions. These sorts of activities are not in any man’s plan. Can you picture it, your man saying, “Well, let’s just go for a drive and we’ll stop along the way to ask for directions.” It’s not going to happen. A man will drive to the ends of the Earth and back again to get where he’s going before stopping to ask for directions. Thankfully, he will usually need to stop for gas at which point the woman can hop out and simply ask someone for directions while the man pretends to be occupied with the petrol and whatnot. Women, being more process oriented, enjoy the trip along the way in a manner which is completely foreign to a man. She is more than happy to linger, peruse, saunter, mosey, and basically spend time on the journey, arriving eventually at the appointed destination. A woman will think nothing of stopping to ask for directions
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several times during an excursion. This is the reason that, as opposed to what y’all might think and everything else being equal, men and women tend to get to their respective destinations in about the same amount of time. It’s simply because men will spend the additional time driving around lost, while a woman will use that extra time to shop for shoes.
Sports. Some small percentage of both men and women actually enjoy engaging in sporting and athletic activities. They are the ones most of us watch on TV. The lion’s share of us, however, do not raft down rivers, skydive from 2 miles aloft or ski off of steep cliffs. Most women couldn’t give a fig one way or the other about sports. They get all of their exercise by doing everything for everyone all the time anyway. For most men, however, the bulk of their exercise results from flipping off someone on the freeway, reclining on the couch, waddling to the refrigerator or changing the TV channel using the remote. It is important for the woman to understand just how vital sports are to a man. Much of his outlook on the future has little to do with your relationship, potential financial status or his children’s budding abilities. It is actually based upon the fortunes of his particular sports team. The ebb and flow of a man’s life are intimately tied to how well his team is currently doing in the standings. If you understand this, you have a good chance of understanding men. Women do not usually care about or watch sports on TV. The glaring exception to this rule are the rabid female football fans in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This is a scary bunch. I have noticed, however, that some college-aged women seem to be very interested in Curling (I knew a broom-man, uh, woman once, uh, twice) and they will even watch reruns of the latest Curling highlights on TV. This seems to be an emerging trend - stay tuned for further developments.
Marriage. Most men are secretly happy to get married, even though they may appear otherwise. From their perspective they now no longer need to exercise, they now have someone to feed and pick-up after them and they now get more or less regular sex. All things which had been missing in his bachelor life. This is the mind set of the average man entering into marriage. It is not complicated and is
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relatively straight forward to understand. Women, however, even when faced with a veritable mountain of evidence, refuse to believe this about their men. She wants to believe that he feels the same way that she does. Trust me, he doesn’t. The woman is entering into the marriage in about the same fashion as the original engineers approached the building of the Panama Canal. This is going to be a big job. She’s got ideas, project plans, scale models. Your den has been designed, wallpaper patterns have been picked-out and matched to bedspreads, the garden visualized 4 years hence and on and on and on. To a woman, a marriage means that the work bell has rung, it’s time to put down that coffee cup, roll-up your sleeves and get your ass to work. This is why woman make great project managers. To a man, that same bell means that it’s time to clock-out, relax, kick the shoes off, loosen the belt, turn on the TV and have a few brewski’s.
Hair. Men will typically deal with their hair just once in the morning by toweling it dry and combing. That’s pretty much the end of it. Hair care products for a man are limited to shampoo and perhaps the occasional use of Rogaine®. Although this is the simple ritual of the man with hair, the man without will feel as though he is walking around all day with his zipper open. Men, for the most part, feel very exposed without a full head of hair to protect his delicate scalp. This is why they will spend thousands on those ridiculous hair plugs, toupees and the like. Men, being the incredibly self-conscious critters they are, would be just as happy if they could simply wear a hat all of the time. Since they cannot, their hair becomes all the more important. Women will spend a great deal of time and money on their hair. As important as hair is to a man it is even more so to a woman. The number of hair care products which are used by the average woman is staggeringly mind-boggling. I have spent a great deal of time studying the many and varied hair care products used by women. This is because I had a girlfriend who would not allow any reading material into the bathroom, and so I was relegated to reading whatever was at hand. Two of my favorites over the years have been “Sea Mudd” which had the bouquet of a well used rugby shoe and “Hair Salad” which provided me with loads
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of humorous material - until she up and left me that is. Before she left, however, the following event had transpired which I’d like to relate to you:
Years ago, back when I was dating, a hair-raising event took place which I had attempted to purge from my memory, but alas cannot. This was at a time when I did not own a car, and so my date was coming to pick me up. Long blond hair, young hard body, head full of hearts, butterflies and sparkly things she arrived skidding to a stop in front of my apartment. Seeing her reach up to close her sunroof, I rushed back into the bathroom to douse myself with an additional pint of the cologne I had purchased at the local gas station. I didn’t know whether to crap or pass-out as I waited in the bathroom for her to knock on the door. Hyperventilating I was still waiting for that knock some minutes later. Some wondering about the lack of her presence, I went over to the front window and saw that she was sitting in her car honking her horn. So, I went out to see what was up. Her door was open. I said, “Hi, what’s up?”. It was then I noticed her car keys on the ground next to my feet. Looking up I then noticed a fistful of her long blond hair caught in her closed sun roof. She had apparently closed the sunroof on her hair by accident and, startled by the tug when she tried to get out, dropped her car keys just out of reach. This was a new one. Let me give you a bit of advice here; doing anything in this situation other than rolling on the ground, laughing hysterically would probably be acceptable. Whether because of embarrassment or anger, she simply drove off once I had retrieved her keys for her, never to be seen again.
Tools. Men love their tools. And the more tools the better. With their tools they can do anything, build anything, fix anything, break anything. A man would rather settle things with tools than with conversation. It would be safe to say that just as language and conversation are useful tools for women, tools are useful tools for men. Wow, I think I need another beer. So, in order to understand a man, you’ll want to understand his tools. You will be able to tell how a man will care for you by observing how he cares for his tools. Doesn’t that suck? Well, yes, but then again you’re dealing with men here, so be thankful that he cares for anything at all.
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Now, getting back to his tools, observe; does he leave them just lying around on the workbench all greasy and unwashed after using them (where’s the afterglow dammit)? Or, does he lovingly wash and clean them after use and place them back safely and carefully into their storage areas? Here is how women think of men’s tools. I was fixing a cabinet door one Saturday morning when my sweetie came sauntering over and, for whatever reason, stuck her face into my toolbox. Nobody, to my knowledge, has ever done that before. She arose with a grimace and declared, “Your toolbox stinks”. I could not believe what I was hearing. This is something a man would have never considered. I stuck my face in there and guess what, my toolbox stunk! It smelled like a boat-load of 3-day-old mackerel heads. While this may be interesting, I’m just not sure what, if anything, to do about it. Empty my toolbox and wash it out? Absurd! Spray some deodorizer in there? I think not. Tools are tools, what can I say?
* Men *
The following exercises were designed to help you men cope with things that you could probably cope with just fine on your own if you had the inclination. It is quite likely, however, that you do not which is why we’re doing this. I’m talking about your home environment as well as your woman. The problem as women see it is that men just aren’t usually interested in what’s going on in his local environment. That, unfortunately often includes her. But the truth is that women just don’t understand. Men are looking at the big picture, they don’t have time to deal with the details. Men are worrying about big issues like global finance, space exploration, the mysteries of the deep sea. They don’t have time for the more mundane such as their Children’s birthdays, your wedding anniversary or the household budget. They have only so much room in their heads for useful information and so reserve that space for things like the lifetime batting averages for all of the New York Yankees through the 2003 season. If this were not the case, these exercises would not be necessary. Sadly it is, and so they are.
Exercise 5.1 - Listening
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Why do you, a man, need to listen to your woman? The short answer is so that you will know when you’re in trouble. The long answer is so that you will understand your woman better than any man has understood any woman ever before. Yeah, right. Just try to pay attention here. Listening to your woman is very important. The reason is that women love to talk. This is the manner in which women not only communicate verbally but communicate their feelings as well. Men can barely communicate verbally let alone effectively transmit anything associated with their feelings. That is, of course, unless they need to punch someone who really needs punching. In this manner, men feel comfortable in communicating their feelings to one another. However, as important as listening is, often observing can be an even more fruitful endeavor. The art of observation will allow you to understand what your woman needs, in addition to what she says she wants. And what she generally wants is jewelry. Are you listening? Another reason why the art of observation is often more fruitful than listening is because often you, the man, will not know what she, the woman, is talking about. There could be many reasons for this but some of the more common are discussed below:
Focus. You’re not paying attention. This is usually the case 99% of the time when you cannot understand what she is saying. You can determine if this is the problem by making an effort to pay attention to her and see if that helps. If it does then focus may have been your problem. For example, right now your probably thinking about the sword fighting scene with the skeletons in Jason and the Argonauts. Yeah, those skeletons. See, this is what I’m talking about; focus.
Message garbled. She understands what it is she wants to say, it’s just that sometimes it doesn’t come out the way she’d intended. While a man may be completely lost in this sort of conversation, another woman will usually understand what is being said without ambiguity. An example of this paradox is a conversation which occurred between two female co-workers in my office some years ago. One had just put
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an interoffice mail envelope addressed to HR into a mail slot outside our office door, when the other said she needed an envelope to send the same generic form to HR. The first then said to her, “I just put my thing in the thing, you can put your thing into my thing if you want”. She then went out and put her thing into the thing. I was lost.
They hit pause. Some truly remarkable women have the ability to begin a conversation at one point in time, get side tracked for awhile, and then return back to that original conversation without missing a beat. Now, while this may not sound like anything special, consider the possibility that the period of time between the point at which the conversation had initially paused and then had subsequently continued again could be days or weeks. If you are in a relationship with a woman such as this, then you’ve got your work cut-out for you. As soon as she begins talking to you, your first few seconds are going to be spent going back in time to see if this is a continuation of some previously unfinished conversation, or simply a new one. Eventually you’ll get really good at this and she won’t have to wait for you to catch up.
As I’ve said, it is very important that a man learn to listen to his woman. It is imperative that you not only listen, but pay attention and try to understand what she is saying as well. Women occasionally demand this - paying attention to them that is. What does it mean to pay attention to someone? It means to focus on what a person is doing or saying. If you don’t understand all of what she’s saying (and this does happen to us guys, sometimes we only get part of it), then make her start again and try to pay attention this time. She’ll be pissed, but in the long run it’s better than misunderstanding what she’s saying. Given that you have a large number of important things on your mind (why didn’t they just kill Gilligan and be done with it?) the question can be asked; while she’s talking to you, just how intently should you focus? Depends upon the conversation. For example, you’re on the couch watching the game and
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she is busy wrapping something and talking about a wedding present for some distant relative of hers. It doesn’t matter if anyone is listening or not, she is still talking away. It’s a good thing that she is talking, it’s a very good thing. In this situation you probably don’t need to do much in the way of listening. Occasionally smiling in her direction and saying, “Yes darling, I think that would be a wonderful idea”, would probably be just fine. However, if she is hell bent upon discussing something along the lines of your relationship then you’d better be paying attention. You might want to try to really make an effort. Here’s a tip; pretend that her eyes are breasts. That usually works for me. What you want is something just this side of burning a hole in her face with your laser-like, unwavering attention. I know this will be difficult, but you’re going to have to try and understand everything she is saying regardless of the rate at which it’s being conveyed. If she’s pissed, it’s going to be like drinking from a fire hose.
Exercise 5.2 - Shopping
She doesn’t necessarily want to shop, it’s that she must shop. That is just the way it is. Just as a shark must swim to live so must a women shop. Watching a man shop is like watching a polar bear riding a bicycle. Yeah, they can do it, and initially it might be entertaining, but you just know that this is not what nature had intended. Men, being the goal oriented critters they are, always have a destination in mind when they go to the store or, God forbid, the Mall. They are usually very direct in their approach toward shopping. Once in the store, and knowing what they want to buy, they locate the appropriate department and head off toward it looking neither to the right nor to the left at whatever merchandize may happen to be displayed. If it is clothing he is after then simply looking at the size on the tag is sufficient in order to determine whether or not the article of clothing will fit. All men’s clothing are of standard sizes (xsmall, small, medium, large , xlarge, xxlarge, etc.). All men’s clothing can also be washed together in hot water so
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you don’t need to worry about the various colors or materials. Just find something that suits your fancy (like yet another bright orange and green Hawaiian shirt to be added to your collection), find the right size and buy the sucker. No sense trying the thing on, it’s a waste of time. A woman may buy your socks and underwear in this manner, but little else. I don’t know about shopping for bras and panties, nobody will talk to me about it. Just as well I guess. When women go shopping they have many things in mind and cram in many more as the shopping experience continues throughout the day. They know that shopping is a marathon, not a sprint. Women can shop for hours. Men can watch sports for hours. Neither can figure out how the other does it. Much of the shopping experience for women is shopping for clothing. Women love to shop for clothes in the same way that men love to drink beer and watch football. Both are very satisfying and fulfilling experiences, for those involved. The difference, of course, is that after shopping what does a woman gain from the experience? Clothes? Food? Household goods? Whose measure of fulfillment does this satisfy? Now in a man’s world, if your team, for example, has just beat the crap out of your best buddies team, then for the next week or so life is just not going to get any better. This is fulfillment man-style.
Exercise 5.3 - Getting Ready in the Morning
If you can help her get ready in the morning by staying out of her way, you will have done good. Whoever she is and whatever she does, she will have a morning routine. It may begin by making and drinking 3 cups of coffee the color and consistency of 30 weight motor oil, but it’s her routine and likely does not involve you. In the morning she is pressed for time and the last thing she needs is you underfoot. In her view, anything you do in the morning is a potential problem for her to deal with, so if you can just sit quietly, watch TV and not make a mess, everything should work out just fine.
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If she asks you to do something for her in the morning; make breakfast, pour juice, crush-up 4 Mydol and stir into a tall glass of gin, it is your job to get it done without bothering her with lots of stupid questions. If she has to spend time going over every detail with you, she may as well just do it herself. Figure it up in your own head why don’t you? I still remember (or more accurately she will not let me forget) the morning I put the wrong type of lotion on her back. She couldn’t believe what I had done, “I’ll be itchy all day, what the hell is wrong with you?” I didn’t know what the hell was wrong with me. She had to take another shower and was late for work. Beware, the road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions made all the more slippery with the wrong type of lotion.
Exercise 5.4 - What Does She What From Me?
What does she want from you? Oh nothing just your undying love, your unwavering fidelity and your everlasting soul. Actually there is a real answer to this question. And it’s not all that complicated. Above all, a woman needs to respect her man. If you have already lost her respect, well then I’m not sure how to help you there except to say that you’ve clearly screwed-up somehow along the way. I know that’s not much help but it’s all I got. A woman wants someone she can learn and grow with, someone who she can trust completely, love deeply and can show-off to her envious friends. Think that’s difficult, try this: What she really wants is for you not to screw-up any of her hopes and dreams, but rather to make them all come true. I've heard it said that a woman wants one man to satisfy all of her needs, whereas a man wants all women to satisfy his one. I think that either desire is just as unrealistic as the other. The problem is neither gender will admit it. Men we know about, they’re all dogs. But women are more subtle. Women say they want a stable man with a good job and prospects for the future, but invariably end-up riding off into the sunset on the back of a Harley with the guy who doesn’t have a checking account. Go figure.
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* Women *
There is only a single exercise in this section for you women. There is really not much to do in this exercise other than to try your best to understand why men do those things they do. The reason is simple; it’s in their nature. You may as well ask why gophers have to dig holes in the ground and eat your garden. It’s in their nature. It is why the scorpion stings and the vampire bat sucks blood, that’s just the way it is. You can try to hold back the ocean or you can learn to live with what may seem like insane behavior. So, if you have decided to give insane behavior a go, then the following information may give you some insight into the dusty and cob-web encrusted recesses of the male psyche.
Exercise 5.5 - Why Men Do What They Do?
It is a thumb-sucker isn’t it? A head-scratcher if there ever was one. Men seem to do the strangest things for no apparent reason. Notice I say “seem”. While this may seem the case to the uninitiated, let me assure you that there are very good reasons for each and everything that a man does. Good, valid reasons. Yeah, very valid. So, sit back and relax while I take you on a tour of some of the more important events in a man’s world. Hopefully this will throw some kindling on that fire which has no doubt been smoldering in your brain for many years now.
Watching Sports. After the hell of working all week long in the salt mines (this works much better if you do, in fact, work in a salt mine) a man needs to unwind and relax. This period of relaxation, colloquially known as the “weekend”, is that uninterrupted span of time which allows a man to recover from the previous work week and prepare for the one quickly approaching on its heels. In order to properly unwind a man needs to watch sports on TV. For the woman who is contemplating this man-like behavior she may ask herself if the same would not apply to her? She is in need of R&R as well but the question remains, just what it is she would do all weekend? Watch sports and eat Cheetos? What kind of life is that?
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Well, from the male perspective it’s a great way of life. Pretty much what we pictured the Pharos doing in ancient Egypt on a Sunday afternoon. You need to realize that men are very visually oriented. So much so that each weekend, while his keester is parked in front of the TV, it is really as if he is out there playing along side of his sports heroes. He imagines himself tackling running backs, running the bases of the baseball diamond, catching those passes falling just out of reach of the worlds greatest receivers. It would be a sight to behold, no? Your 54-year-old, 192lb husband, who has not done a lick of exercise since the President’s Physical Challenge back in '74, running down the field, his pasty white legs glaring in the sunlight dodging hoards of tacklers the size of Buick’s. Dodging left, leaping right, looking like the super star he imagines himself to be, he plays both offense and defense the entire game. Afterwards he is, once again, carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates and awarded the game ball. You know however, as you look down at him sleeping on the couch, Cheeto dust powdering him a light orange from stem to stern, that he’s good for maybe 7 minutes or so, then he’s off to sleep as soundly as a newborn.
I don’t need no stinkin' help. He’s right - he don’t need no stinkin' help. He can break it all by himself. This is what men do, they work on things. They fix things that do not work and they break things that do. This is what men do, and he would prefer to do it all by himself. In the unlikely event that a man should need help then he’ll ask for it by either turning blue or by leaking blood. Women have a difficult time with this concept as they prefer to do things with others, in groups. Now lots of men don’t mind another guy watching while he’s working. That’s a guy thing. Men, however, do not typically enjoy women watching as they feel that there’s a criticism just awaitin' to be leveled. Guys enjoy learning on their own, which means that mistakes are just
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part of the process and, as such, are no big deal. That’s what plaster, paint, wallpaper, paneling, tape, bondo, siding, mastic, band-aids, stitches and glue are for. They’re for learning. Women don’t get this, they would rather have a plan, a design. They would rather do it right the first time. Well what the hell do you expect to learn from that? Planning like that is not likely to result in a lost finger tip or a missing eye brow. Before you can learn to do something right, you need to experience all of the ways to do it wrong. That’s what it means for a man to learn. If it’s good enough for my dad then it’s good enough for me.
Stand behind me woman, I'll protect you. Men protect their property and their women. That’s another thing that they do, they protect. If you’re his woman, then it’s his duty to protect you - even if it’s nothing more than running just a bit slower than you while trying to escape a pack of hungry wolves. Men enjoy the concept of protecting their home and family, but when it comes to the practice of protection it may be a different matter. It depends on the possibility that he may own a gun. Men love guns - most men, most guns. He may love his gun, but the real question here is if everyone wouldn’t be much safer if he just had a baseball bat. Though the sight of your protector of a man sneaking around the house in his boxers sporting a baseball bat may deter a would-be thief, remember that there is nothing like to noisy dog to get the job done right.
Dinner? Most men can manage with both breakfast and lunch (or what y’all in the south call dinner). Although they would usually prefer something along the lines of biscuits and gravy, ham and eggs, potatoes, juice and coffee, men can scrounge around in the fridge and come up with something for breakfast. The same is often true of lunch. This is because almost all men have had to live on their own at some point in their lives, and when needed that old bachelor imprinting kicks-in once again. His concern, first and foremost, is the question of
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who’s going to make him dinner. His expectation is that you, his woman, will be there in the kitchen just a-cookin' away. He wouldn’t at all expect you to be lounging your lazy butt around like he’s doing all weekend because if you both are laying around ain’t much feedin' agetin' done. This will likely result in a number of problems which are best avoided. From my vast experience as a bachelor, and having lived with many a pathetic bachelor in my time, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge as to what is edible and what is not. I will, thankfully, not delve into the subcategory of that which is temporarily edible. It may be interesting to note that at one point in my life I was very poor. I was attending college at UC Santa Cruz and at times literally had no money. Though I did always have a roof over my head, having a decent meal each day was often another story. I remember particularly one 3 week stretch during which I had nothing to eat but what I had grown in a small garden. Fortunately I had, some months earlier, planted Swiss chard, green onions, rhubarb, brussel sprouts and turnips. Imagine living on this bill-a-fare for 3 weeks, it was horrible. So, as my gift to the women out there, I give to you the standard secret bachelor menu for any man, for any meal, at any time: ♂ Ketchup on crackers. This is the basic bachelor breakfast when you’re a college student on financial aid and don’t have pickles. This is fast, filling (if you eat enough) and will keep that waistline of a 14-year-old girl on you much longer. Don’t skimp on the quality of the Ketchup. Trust me on this one. ♂ Mustard with relish on crackers. This is usually for special occasions such as a wedding. Get the little packets of mustard and relish when you buy a $0.99 hot dog at your local fast food oasis. Make sure you fill all of your pockets with the packets. These packets do not need to be refrigerated, they last
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virtually forever, they’re easy to transport and are filled with flavor. ♂ Ketchup soup. This is simply ketchup and hot water, but may be flavored with bread or small hard lemon-flavored candies. It has kept may men alive, but not for long and not happily. If you are really down to nothing but ketchup soup be aware that there are many other things which can be dissolved in water and, thus, make soup. Experiment, you’ll be surprised. ♂ Peanut butter on crackers. This is a special occasion food, a rare treat indeed. Peanut butter is actually real food, not just the makings of real food. As such, it is not cheap and so cannot be a daily undertaking. Also, peanut butter will require that you drink something while eating. This is an added expense at a point in time when pennies may be all that you have because of college tuition, alimony or child support. What you really want is a food that supplies its own liquid, like a tomato or a orange. As my Asian roommate once stated, “One stone, two bird”. ♂ Cheese on crackers. Although relatively inexpensive, cheese can only be eaten in quantities which may be insufficient to satisfy your hunger. Of course, you can woof down a hunk of cheese the size of your head if you really want. But if you do, you’re not likely to crap again until the sun becomes a lump of coal about the size of the hunk of cheese you just ate. So, that’s why this has been labeled as one of our ‘occasional delicacies’. ♂ Bread and crackers. These are interchangeable with respect to what can be put on or between them. Pretty much anything can be wrapped in bread and made into a sandwich. I have seen sandwiches made out of spaghetti and meatballs, space food
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sticks, dry potato spuds, frozen spinach, ½ stick of butter, Chinese food, oatmeal, unflavored cracklings, an Aba-Zaba and 12 broken taco shells. Bread and crackers can also be eaten by themselves, but they don’t provide the sensory satisfaction that something like, say Ketchup soup with pickles, does. ♂ Bread with chocolate. This is usually not within the domain of the typical bachelor as he would not likely have chocolate in the house. The belief is that if there is chocolate in the house then there is probably a woman somewhere in the vicinity as well. So, this is usually something to which a man must resort if his wife or girlfriend has simply gone to visit her sister for a few days and there is nothing else to eat. This also applies to chocolate cake as well since it is essentially bread, eggs, milk and chocolate anyway. ♂ Cup of Noodles. If you’re really on a budget, Cup-O-Noodles is definitely the way to go. Solid food pieces and a pasta-like material mixed with a relatively yummy liquid, makes for a very satisfying and economical meal. You can live for years, up to 4 it would seem, on nothing but Cups-o-Noodles. There are many varieties and flavors, they travel easily, the packaging also becomes the bowl. Clearly, I just can’t say enough. ♂ Macaroni and Cheese. Macaroni is a seemingly magical substance. When you combine macaroni and cheese you are inexplicably able to eat as much cheese as you’d like without ill effects. This is what I seem to remember anyway, or maybe I just dreamt it. I was going to test it out for you, but since I’ve not been single for sometime I’ve not had the opportunity to eat as much as I want. Sort of ironic that I couldn’t eat as much as I wanted to when I was unmarried, because I was poor. Now I can’t eat as much as I want because I’m married. I
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do, however, now get to have macaroni with two different kinds of cheeses when I do get to have macaroni and cheese. Pure heaven. ♂ Inedibles. There are some items that are sold in the markets which are actually inedible, but single men will actually attempt to eat. The only explanation for this habit seems to be that men, like many primates, will attempt to eat a great variety of things found in his environment simply to find out what can be safely ingested. Men quickly find that many items which can be purchased cannot, however, be eaten. For example; vegemite (which is just yeast and 3 different kinds of salt), tofu, spam, anchovy paste, green apples, sardines, beef melts, raw horseradish, beef tongue, okra, beef brains, silver cake balls and tripe have all been found to cause severe gastric distress and should be avoided.
Laundry? In a word, no. If you don’t know why by now, you will soon find out. You’ll want to keep men as far away from the laundry as possible. It’s not that men don’t know the difference between an article of clothing and an article in the newspaper, they don’t. It’s that given any two pieces of clothing, he would not have the ability to determine which one is clean and one which is dirty. Though his sense of smell is as good as anyone’s, the problem seems to be in the interpretation. Often something which is clean might smell worse to a man than does something which is not. This is another paradox of the male mind, don’t ask why let’s just deal with the issue. Now if by chance he does get the idea into his head to go and do the laundry, you just know it’s going to be a disaster. First of all, there is no concept as to the separation of white and non-white clothing. In a man’s mind, clothes go in, soap goes in, clothes get washed, clothes get dried, clothes get folded, job is done. This includes sweaters as
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well. What you will end-up with is a light pink or gray wardrobe for your Barbie-doll collection. Note that, for men, this same basic concept is applicable to dishes in the dishwasher as well. Dishes go in, dishes get washed. What didn't melt in the process gets put away. Finally, for men there is a distinct lack of understanding with regard to the uses of hot and cold water with respect to the laundry. Men believe that to truly get clothing clean the hottest water possible should always be used. Enough said?
Cleaning the house. Men know all about house cleaning, or Spring cleaning as we called it back in Bachelor training, and are actually fairly good at it. Cleaning will occur each Spring or just prior to moving out of an apartment. Particularly if we were required to put down a significant cleaning deposit. So, what men will typically do is to start by buying a pony keg and some cleaning supplies as he may not have had these beforehand. Next he’ll call some friends to get together for a kegger. You may wonder where this is going, but stay with me here. Men will begin this effort by getting all liquored-up (this, of course, is how many a man-adventure begins) and then get into the cleaning supplies. Any small voice in his head warning him about the possibility that things could get out of hand has long ago been found floating facedown at the bottom of his beer glass. They are there to have fun, and what fun they will have. Picture it: Drunk, unsupervised men. The concept is disconcerting to say the least. Several hours later a quick inspection will reveal quite a bit of paint rubbed off of the walls, large areas of bleached-out carpet, several broken windows, a cracked toilet bowl, a goat where there had been no goat before, a small smoldering fire, and a hole in the ceiling through which you can now see stars. This is what I mean by things getting out of hand.
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The Three Stooges. Finally I would like to say just a few words concerning the mystique surrounding a man’s fascination with the Three Stooges: Woo-woo-woo, nyug-nyug-nyug, a-cha-cha-cha. Hey Moe! You knucklehead! Ok, I just had to get that out of my system. What can I say, I'm a guy. The Three Stooges embody all that is good in a man’s world: Guys working together and slapping each other around. I don’t think it gets any more complicated than that.
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Synergize, then Compromise
I remember back when I was young my Mom saying to me, “Get out of the damned bathroom. What are you doing in there day and night? Give someone else a chance why don’t you.” Wait, no that wasn’t it. It was my Dad who said, “Son, remember this; women are crazy and men are stupid.” And I have remembered that, pretty much at the expense of everything else, ever since. So, being a male I must then ask myself, am I stupid? If I was, how would I know? Plenty of past girlfriends would, I’m sure, attest to the fact that yes I am. But what makes them experts? How would they know anyway, they’re crazy! Is this, indeed, true? At some basic level are women really crazy, and are men really stupid? I would say, based upon a page full of numbers I just wrote down here in two relatively neat columns, that yes these statements are true when it comes to relationships. Knowing this about your partner may give you a bit of insight into their mannerisms, mood swings, phobias, unique customs, off-beat habits and nervous tics. This insight can also help you and your partner to live in close proximity without killing each other. True Prozac is easier and a TV cheaper, and they will both accomplish the same thing, but they lack that 'personal' touch. If you intend to spend your life, or what remains of it, with your partner then learning to work together is imperative. This is where ‘synergy’ comes in. To synergize means to work together for the mutual benefit of both parties. This is not an easy thing to explain let alone accomplish, but the benefits certainly outweigh the effort expended in perfecting this habit. It has been said that a relationship begins with two people looking at each other and at some point they end-up looking in the same direction. Nice, eh? But, of course, none of this can take place without proper communication. The problem with communication is that it works just fine until someone begins talking. Then all bets are off. Though talking can solve many problems it can also lead to much confusion. Much of the confusion is rooted in the fact that there is usually no prior agreement of terms. This, I believe, is the basis for most misunderstandings between men and women. The fact that each simply use language differently. To each gender, words or phrases may have different meanings.
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So, in order to promote better communication between the sexes, I have developed a set of “Male / Female Translation Tables” which were designed in order to help each gender understand the other. To use these tables, simply find the appropriate word or phrase for your situation on the left, and find its likely meaning on the right. Note that there are often two possible meanings, their use dependant upon the situation. The likely meaning, which is the one used most of the time, will be accurate for almost all conceivable situations. There is also a less likely alternative meaning which is often reserved for those rare occasions in which one partner wants to confuse the crap out of the other. In the tables below only those words and phrases which are most often misunderstood by the other gender are included. This list is constantly being revised and updated, so if there are additional words or phrases which I may have missed or translated in error please do not hesitate to notify me and I’ll make the necessary changes. When a Woman says...
No. Yes. Maybe. You idiot. Where were you last night? Do you love me? I'm pregnant. We're pregnant. You're in big trouble. My parents are coming over. Your parents are coming over. I Love You. Marry Me. Buy me things. I'm going on a Business Trip. I'm leaving you.
She probably means...
No. Yes. Yes. Why did I marry you? I already spoke to a lawyer. Where were you last night? Marry me. We're getting married. I'm pregnant, you're the father and you should tell my husband. Stock-up on the Alcohol. Stock-up on the Prozac. Marry Me. I Love You. Buy me things. I'm going on a Business Trip. I'm leaving you, unless you shape up mister.
But, she could also mean...
Hell No. Maybe. No. You idiot. I already threw out your clothes. I'm pregnant. You might be the father. You're the father. Someone else is pregnant and you're the father. Find a movie to go to so I can tell them you're at work. I'll find a movie to go to. Buy me things. Buy me things. Buy me things. I'm going to the Islands to hangout with Sergio the cabana boy. You've had you're chance, I'm gone like your future paychecks.
And now for the men. Yes it’s true, men don’t always mean what they say either. Though not nearly as complex as the woman’s translation table, this has its surprises as well. So, it is to be used in the same fashion, find the word phrase which best reflects your situation in the left hand column and its likely meaning on the right. When a Man says... He probably means...
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But, he could also mean...
No. Yes. Maybe. I didn't know. Where was I last night? Do you love me? You're pregnant? We're pregnant? I'm in big trouble? My parents are coming over. Your parents are coming over. I Love You. Marry Me. Let me buy you things. I'm going on a Business Trip. I'm leaving you.
No. Yes. I'll ask my wife. You should have told me. Come-on brain, you can do it. Let's have sex. Bye. Wake-up, wake-up, wake-up. I'm in big trouble! I'm outta here. I hope they bring Alcohol. Let's have sex. Let's have sex. Let's have sex. I'm going off to have an affair.
Hell No. I'll ask my wife. No. I guess I should have known. Where are my clothes? Let's have sex. Bye. Who’s the father? I'm in big trouble! I hope they bring Alcohol. I'm outta here. Let's have sex. Let's have sex. Let's have sex. I'm going to Reno to hang-out with Cindy the Keno waitress. I've got a younger chick who's too Come with us and we'll live like dumb to see through my crap. Hippies in a commune.
Synergy. It comes in many forms and might be found in places you’d never thought to look. In the past I’ve had the privilege of living in an area where mushrooms where plentiful during the rainy months. Love them mushrooms, I do. Growing in that area were many examples of trees and mushrooms growing together, side by side. They had formed symbiotic relationships which was a benefit to both life forms. In fact, these relationships allowed both to thrive better than either might have done separately. Fungus aside, in most people-based relationships these sorts of co-operative partnerships are of great benefit not only to both parties involved, but to the relationship as a whole. This is all well and good, you say, but how does one actually go about accomplishing this sort of thing? I mean, how do you go about forming a synergistic relationship with someone who thinks that chewing tobacco is an appetizer or that shopping for shoes is the pinnacle of personal fulfillment. Well I’m glad you asked because, it’s exercise time.
* Men *
These exercises are not easy in that they involve actually interacting with your woman. I know that for we men it’s much easier (and far more preferable) if we can just go off by ourselves and ponder the mystery’s of the universe, solve them, and then at some point come back a wiser and more enlightened person. Not so with these exercises. Here we will be going against that basic nature of man. In these exercises you will get to do things together. Go on, tell me this isn’t going to be fun. I know you can’t wait, so let’s get to it.
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Exercise 6.1 - Doing Things Together
If you are to actually achieve some sort of synergistic relationship then it is imperative that you do things together and that you not wind up killing each other as a result. Every time I remember my mom and dad attempting to wall paper our kitchen together back when I was a youngster it gives me nightmares and sets my therapy back by about a year. All I recall was a blur of shouting and wheat paste resulting in a functionally unusable kitchen for some period of time. My advice would be to simplify the entire concept of doing things together and just go shopping with her.
Shopping. Go shopping with her. I don’t know any better way to ease you into this subject. There is no more useful time you can spend with her than shopping. You will learn everything there is to learn about your woman by going shopping with her. Now as far as men need to be concerned about there are only two types of shopping. Shopping for food and shopping for clothing. To her it doesn’t matter what she’s shopping for, she loves shopping. You probably see shopping as a necessary evil. This is going to be difficult unless you appear to change your attitude about shopping. Notice I said ‘appear’, nobody expects miracles to happen here. Now I wouldn’t expect you to actually enjoy shopping since it’s not a natural state for men. Killing something rather than pulling it down off a shelf is more in keeping with what a man would consider a fun-filled afternoon. Regardless of how you feel about shopping, you’re going to need to appear to enjoy it, because if you do not, then she will not want you to go with her. While this may sound like the best of all possible worlds it is not, trust me. She would really love it if you enjoyed shopping as much as she does, which is not going to be possible but it’s a nice thought. So, let’s go through each type of
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shopping experience so that you will know what to expect. It’s the Devil you don’t know, that's the one you have to worry about, right? ♂ Shopping for Food. Note that she might call this “Going to the store” as opposed to using the word shopping. Often the term shopping is reserved for anything other than food, which is usually going to be clothing or shoes. Food shopping is the best that the shopping experience will get for a man, and most men don’t even realize it. What I think most men fail to realize is that supermarkets are absolutely great! It’s because that’s where all the stuff is; the beer, the chips, the dips, all the BarB-Que makin's and fixin's. Everything you could ever want and it’s all in one convenient place. Wow, my eyebrows are sweating just thinking about it. But there’s a catch here. If you go shopping with her, and start piling the kind of crap you really want into the basket, she will make you put all of that stuff back on the shelves and wait for her in the car. So, consider another approach. When you’re walking down an aisle and come upon something that you really want (say the potato chips with extra salt and real fat), pick it up looking skyward and say to her, “You know, we haven’t had your parents over for a barbeque in quite a while.” She will be stunned for about 10 seconds during which you can quickly put the bag of chips into the cart. You need to quickly follow this up with additional planning for the meal with beer, ribs, dips, potato salad, etc. etc. Get the idea? You can pretty much have whatever you want as long as you say it’s for something that will really please her. ♂ Shopping for Clothes. This is real shopping. If you have never gone shopping with a woman who is shopping for clothes, then brother you haven’t lived. Here is what’s likely
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to transpire when you go clothes shopping with a woman. You will get into the store of her choice in which half of the clothing looks like it’s made of burlap and the other half from an old leather couch. You may see a sad cadre of men sitting or lingering waiting impatiently for their women, but more often than not there will only be other women in the store. If they notice you at all, it will only be to admire the woman to whom you belong. To begin with, do not comment on any article of clothing unless she asks you for your opinion. If she is not wearing it, ask her to try it on. She will love this as it’s a good indicator of your interest. You need to remember that much of what she’s picking out will be in hopes that it’s something you will like. It’s important that you like what she thinks you’ll like. Realistically, you probably don’t care about her wardrobe as long as she doesn’t leave the house looking like a hooker. Oh, don’t get me wrong, she can look like a hooker. She just can’t leave the house. You need to know up front that going shopping with her for clothing will be an all day excursion. Don’t expect to get back for that 1:00PM kick-off or even the 6:00 game. That’s right, you’re going to not only be with her the entire day, but you’re also going to spend a large part of it discussing her wardrobe. While shopping, make sure that you don’t whine and complain. If you do go with her, make sure it’s a pleasant experience for you both; get that in your head up front. To quote one of the greatest movies of all time, “You’re going to get your mind right.” Yes, this is quite the sacrifice on your part, but the good part is that she will understand this and will, in some uniquely female fashion, reciprocate.
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I would again like to suggest that you try not to engage in doing too much together other than shopping. My Ex and I used to do things together. Quite a few things in fact ranging from skydiving and rafting to arguing and fighting. It was almost always fun and exciting. Yeah, fun. Let me relate to you an event which occurred some 8 years ago.
During that impetuous decade of the 90's, we all said and did some crazy things. I was no exception. As I was losing my hair anyway, I decided to spend most of that decade bald. Yes, I had no hair. I enjoyed the ease with which hair care could now be accomplished, and my Ex liked the look. Plus she had some interesting and unexpected uses for a bald head. I can’t relate the specifics of that here, but if interested you can always pick-up my new Sex Manual for Real Couples called, “Ouch, get off my hair!”. So, back to the story. The way in which I would achieve this baldness was through a synergistic process in which we could both share. She shaved my head in the shower. Though this was not a time consuming process, she quickly tired of the fun and suggested an alternative. Her idea, which now looking back in retrospect still sounds good, was to wax my head. Wax my head? Sure, she did it all the time on her legs and arms. It was no big deal, just a little hot wax and off comes the hair - no problem. Well, it sounded good to me. I mean, a little hot wax? Come on I was a man, I could take the pain of a little hot wax. Particularly when here was this petite little woman, barely 100lbs. if that, who had certainly endured so much more pain than this all in the name of vanity, modesty or fashion. OK, hot wax out of the microwave, towel over shoulders, head over sink. Smelled and looked a bit like honey. She spread it on the top of my head with what appeared to be a thick Popsicle stick. It was very hot, but not agonizingly so. I had let my hair grow for about 12 days prior to the wax being applied. My Ex said that the wax needed something to grab onto. Sounded like solid logic to me. So, now the wax had been applied and it was time to - 118 -
gently peel it off. “No, you don’t peel it off. You rip it off”, she corrected. I couldn’t quite picture what she was saying and was about to begin to ponder the position I had gotten myself into when she added, “...and we’d better hurry because the wax is cooling.” Christ! She grabbed my head in one arm, latched onto some of the wax with the other hand, and yanked with all of her 100lb might. Approximately 4 hairs from the front of my head actually came out. The remainder staying firmly implanted in my scalp which may, I think, have separated from my skull. At least that was how if felt. The cold, hard wax felt heavy on my aching head. If there were feathers it would have been like getting tarred and feathered. I had to scrape the wax off of my head under warm running water using my fingernails. It took hours. My Ex laughed so hard she peed her pants. This is synergy.
Exercise 6.2 - Thinking about Her First
There are always struggles in every relationship. These often take the form of power sharing strategies, most of which are selfish, self-serving and ultimately destructive. Following the advice of these questionable philosophies, ones life ends-up being in a never-ending and unfulfilling power struggle. Well, what if we changed that strategy? What if both parties in the relationship tried thinking about one another first. Quite the concept, eh? Imagine the relationship resulting from this type of interaction. This is very difficult initially, as there is quite a bit of trust involved. You need to trust that your partner will be thinking of you and your needs first while you are, in turn, thinking of theirs. Though it takes a while to get into this, it will actually keep things in balance quite well. It actually only works, however, if you really love and trust one another. It doesn’t work well otherwise and the results often involve legal teams bearing writs and torts and other such annoyances.
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Her Birthday. Do not forget her Birthday. This is something you don’t want to screw-up. Consider the following: I remember it like it was yesterday. We were camping one summer; June as I remember. After a day of fishing, water skiing and swimming my Dad, Sister and I were sitting outside the camper waiting for dinner while Mom was in the camper cooking. There were few trees there and my Sister was complaining about how hot it was, when from inside the camper we heard an odd noise. We couldn’t quite place it at first, then it grew louder until we realized that it was Mom crying inside the camper. My Dad ran into the camper and the sobbing quieted down after a few seconds. After several minutes he came out of the camper, walked up to my Sister and I, pointed a stubby finger at us and said, “You forgot your Mother's Birthday”. And so we had. Though, it’s not possible to apologize for that particular transgression, time does heal all wounds. Did she ever forgive us? Yes, of course. Does she laugh about it now? Absolutely. Will she ever forget about it? Never. I need to repeat this once again: Do not forget her Birthday! I would suggest that you tattoo her birth date on the inside part of your ankle. We’ll deal with what to do about the tattoo, should you two eventually break-up, at another time. Also, make sure that you get her something romantic for her birthday. Do not, and I want to make this very clear, do not buy her an automatic garage door opener for her Birthday. I had to learn that one the hard way. This book is pure gold isn’t it?
Your Anniversary. As romantic as your birthday present is expected to be, the anniversary present should be even more so. Something along the lines of a trail of red rose petals leading to the bedroom where chilled champagne in a silver bucket and (really expensive) jewelry on the pillow await, would be sufficient. Just as in the birthday segment, let me issue a warning here: You’re going to want to make sure that you put a lot of thought into the gifts for her. Gifts such as; a lawn mower, a humidor, sheepskin seat covers, drill press, bag of golf
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tees, or a hand-made coupon drawn in Crayola for “Some Real Lovin” from her oh so thoughtful man, would only serve to make your life a living hell. Is that what you want? I didn’t think so. Let’s begin by taking a deep breath. We don’t want to panic here, women can smell fear. What you’re going to want to do is to prepare for your upcoming anniversary. Fortunately, what will probably happen is that several weeks prior to your anniversary, your woman will begin hinting around for something specific which she would like as an anniversary present. Pay attention! You’ll never know when it will come or what form it will take, but that hint will likely be there somewhere. Your only job is to listen, pay attention and purchase you’re best guess as to what it is she really wants (make sure you keep the receipt). Note: don’t come out and just ask her what she wants. This will only demonstrate to her, all too clearly, that you in fact know nothing about her. Your life will become a living hell until the Grim Reaper finally releases your tormented soul. Those who say that life is short had never forgotten an anniversary gift. It can be long, very long.
Birthdays & Anniversaries. This section involves the birthdays and anniversaries of other people, such as relatives. You are, fortunately, not required to memorize anything of this nature, this is pretty much a given. This is good news for you as you’ve got more important things to worry about anyway. Usually she will have a calendar somewhere with this information written down on it. If you do find this calendar, you’ll find it’s probably chocked-full of information concerning, not only birthdays and anniversaries, but also upcoming events in which you are likely to have to participate. While you may not be responsible for knowing the details of birthdays and anniversaries, you will be required to participate in the thoughtful gift selection. This is so much fun for the woman, men simply have no idea. Here’s what will happen. She has already decided on the gift you two are
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going to give for some upcoming event. Let’s say it’s a birthday for Aunt Rose. She’ll be 72 on Tuesday. Your woman mentions to you that Aunt Rose’s birthday is fast approaching. Your first thought is, “Who the hell is Aunt Rose”? But you don’t get a chance to ponder that as she then asks you what you think Aunt Rose would like for her birthday. You barely have a clue as to what’s happening in your own life, let alone what a 72-year-old woman would want for her birthday. But you are willing to make an effort and so you offer a meager attempt at an answer and stammer something like, “Maybe a toaster”. That’s it – you’ve screwed-up. It’s all downhill (or perhaps uphill) from there. You will now be required to defend your ridiculous gift selection. This is not what you want to have happen. Never offer an actual idea for a gift. What you want to say is something along the lines of, “Darling, you know her so well. Why don’t you pick out something she’d love from the both of us. You have such wonderful taste. I love you. Your hair looks wonderful.” Is that good or what? She’ll never see through this clever ruse.
Valentine’s Day. This is, for most men, a thoroughly forgettable holiday. Were it not for the occasional commercial and the surprising quantity of red and white hearts and flowers at the market, men would likely not remember this holiday at all and would, thus, spend the next two weeks wondering why his women is angry. Women typically would not remind a man that Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. They long for a romantic evening with the man of their dreams. So make it happen, you fool. You don’t have to deal with this but once a year, One would think that you could put the remote down for the time it takes to order flowers and make dinner reservations. Anything beyond this from her man would be almost too much for most women to comprehend, given that they know their men better than they know themselves.
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Notice New Things. This is going to be difficult, you’re not going to like it and you’re probably not going to practice anyway. I don’t even know why I bother. Anyway, if you can possibly manage it, try to notice and remember things about her. Her hair style, her shoes, eye shadow, moles dresses, scars, whatever you can think of. If any of these things change and you happen to notice, you might casually mention to her that you think the change is wonderful (even if it’s not). This may seem like a small thing to do, but you would be surprised how much these seemingly simple acts mean to her. She will feel that you are taking notice and paying attention to her. These are good things for her to think. She wants to be the most important person in your life and your taking an interest in her will go a long ways towards instilling these feelings in her. Again, this is not going to be easy, I know there are just so many things you’re going to be able to notice let alone remember. Just do your best, she’ll understand. She knows you probably don’t even remember what you had for breakfast this morning and will just be thrilled at your attempt to take a greater interest in her.
Exercise 6.3 - Why do we do it?
If we take this relationship concept to an extreme we may find ourselves, how shall we say, married. Just exactly how we get ourselves into this position is never very clear to the man who finds himself standing at the alter. His head is a swirling, foggy cloud of buzzing bees that won’t let him think straight. He feels nauseous and the last thing he can remember is being in bed with someone (this woman next to him?) saying, “I love you too”. And now he’s standing next to her about to say, “I do too”. So, why do we do it? Why do men actually go ahead and get married? A man will marry a woman in the hope that she won’t change. She will. Why is this the case do you think? Well, I think it has to do with the way in which a
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woman sees herself in the marriage. She now has responsibility. Lot’s of responsibilities - while a man, as soon as he becomes a husband, thinks to himself, “This is great, someone to do all the housework and cook and sew and sweat and toil and, not to mention, all that free sex.” First of all let’s get something straight buster, as far as a man is concerned sex is never free. In one way or another, you’ll pay. The second thing I’d like to point out is that women are not likely to be of the same opinion as to their upcoming role in the marriage. From the female perspective, marriage is a partnership. The union of two people who will be working toward the same goals, with the same hopes and desires for a shared future. This means that there's work to do. Lot’s of work. Especially for you, you lazy good-for-nothing. Her mother always said you would never amount to anything. This is important as your woman will do whatever it takes to prove her mother wrong, even if it means she has to take you apart and completely rebuild you into something of which her mother would approve. Sound insane? Well, now that you’re married it’s time to impart a bit-owisdom to you. I waited until you’re already married because this wisdom has sent many a man heading for the hills and now you’re legally bound to stay. While it may seem that women are at times somewhat irrational, the fact is that just below that thin outer layer of lunacy is a very solid foundation of rationality. A rock solid foundation of logical granite it is. That foundation, however, was seemingly constructed on an unstable gravel pit of insanity which, if even slightly jarred, will reveal its true nature by swallowing your pride and self-worth like a lioness on a sick gazelle. So, one of our goals once we’re married would be to not jar this gravel pit of whatever in any way at all. One way in which to accomplish this would be to make sure there is never an appearance or hint of any word, action or deed which she could misconstrue as “not being on her side”. Though as crude as that statement may be, I don’t think I could put it any more succinctly or
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accurately. I can’t underestimate the importance of always appearing to be with her, on her side. This is especially true in any public setting.
Years ago I ate fast food. Lots of fast food. I did this not only because I was poor, but because my girlfriend worked at Burger King and could get loads of food for free. I had no idea that this stuff was clogging my arteries and would be lodged in my colon until the Clinton is back in office. One day she and I decided to get ourselves some free burgers. She dropped me off at the front as I really had to use the bathroom. Once I came out of the bathroom I noticed everyone looking out of the front window. Looking out there as well I saw Leslie, my girlfriend, standing next to her newly dented Le Car. She was arguing with a very large guy standing next to a very large truck cover with lots of small confederate flags. I ran out there to see what I could do, which hopefully was nothing. Leslie immediately sized my arm, shoved my face into the redneck’s huge chest and said, “Tell this stupid ass that I didn’t hit him!” Well, alrighty then. Now we have a memory in the making. There are precious few times when one knows that no matter what happens within the next few seconds, you’ll remember it for the rest of your life. That is provided, of course, that you will be able to remember anything at all. So, here’s what I did. I apologized. Yup, that’s what I did. If my knees would have been able to bend I would have been down on them, but they wouldn’t and so I wasn’t. I did, however, ask this very large man’s forgiveness which was received in the form of a disgusted smirk, a mispronounced expletive and a cloud of exhaust. I attempted to explain to Leslie afterward that not only had I not seen the accident, but that I had no desire to have my dental work mucked with. This worked about as well as you’d imagine it would have worked which was not at all. She said that I should have agreed with her regardless of whether or not I had seen the accident. She said this while packing stuff to leave. I noticed that it was my stuff she was packing as I wondered where - 125 -
I was going. As it turned out it didn’t much matter to her where I went as my mutinous self was no longer welcomed. At that point in time I didn’t understand. A few nights at the “Y” cleared things right up for me.
* Women *
You’ve had yourself a fairly good life. Things were going fine, you had friends, hopes for the future, dreams of a better life to come. Then from out of nowhere this big lug of a guy comes into your life and, BAM, instant project. Your place is now a mess, you find empty milk cartons in the fridge, you have no time for any of your friends, there’s a new yellow stain on the bathroom floor, clothing is always cast about without regard to cleanliness, you’ve taken up drinking in the early afternoon and you’ve only been together for three weeks now. It will get better, trust me. That is, it will as long as you get up off of your butt and properly train this thing which now lives in your house. So, get yourself a rolledup newspaper and a shock collar and let’s get to work.
Exercise 6.4 - What Have I Done?
A woman will marry a man with the hope that he will change. He won’t. He can’t. He has no idea he should change and, even if he wanted to, doesn’t know how. Nagging will only reinforce bad behavior and that’s not what we want, is it? No, it isn’t. What we want is to turn this guy into something you can take out into public, someone with whom you would be happy to share your life. Now to be fair, it is likely that many of the things about him which you now find annoying or unacceptable might have been perfectly fine prior to being married. So, anything involving change will be a foreign concept to a man since, in his opinion, you wouldn’t have married him if he had not been perfect in the first place. Funny little man, isn’t he? The first thing you’re going to have to do is to decide just what it is about this guy that you want to change. Now realize, that once you really get into the details of this, you may find that it's just easier to start over rather than to fix this one up. That decision is yours to make, but remember: “The devil you
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know is often preferable to the one you don’t”. But before we get into the specifics of your man, let us delve a bit more into this generic thing called Man. Men, for the most part, are incased in a thick layer of uninformed rational foolishness. This essentially means that they think they know what they’re talking about, but of course they really don’t. Even if proven wrong they don’t usually care, and that’s typically what makes men stupid. Bottom line is that men think they know, but they don’t really know and as a result will resist any attempt at change. With respect to change, men don’t respond well to frontal assault. It’s much more effective, not to mention more fun, to get them to adopt new behaviors by virtue of your clever tactics and subterfuge rather than hitting them over the head with kitchen implements. However, as my Grandma once said to me while brandishing a flour covered rolling pin, “This here’s all the therapy Pa ever needed”. So, it would seem that there is some merit to tackling these issues head-on, but this would require a great deal of effort, arm strength and practice as hitting a moving object with a rolling pin is not as easy as one might think. So, assuming that you’ve decided to deal with your mans issues in a more subtle fashion, lets take a look at some examples of changes you might like to see in your man, and how we might go about installing these updates.
His Hygiene. This is a real problem for some guys. If you have one of these, one who has somehow missed the basics and fundamentals of self preservation, then it’s up to you to correct this situation. Take some time out of each day to go over some of the more complex tasks with him like cutting and cleaning his finger and toenails (most men don’t know about the cleaning part), keeping his hair washed, the use of a very strong deodorant, using mouth wash before brushing (he does brush doesn’t he?), and dealing with the ancient mysteries of ear wax. Don’t let up on him here or he will quickly and happily regress back to the state of someone living under an overpass.
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His Friends. He has had his friends longer than he’s been with you. His friends will remind him of this fact when they’re at a bar and he’s drunk. He will sluringly agree with them. His friends will say things to him like, “Let’s go find us a couple of low mileage pit-whoopees and 'em help build a memory.” Although he may not be certain of the exact meaning, in a drunken haze this will sound like a good idea to your man. Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to remind him of just how useless his friends really are. You might consider getting this point across to him in a rather direct manner, if you get my drift, while in bed together. Here is my advice. You might consider doing something special for him, something that I know you thought you wouldn’t have to do anymore once you were married. It’s either that or continue to deal with his friends. It should take no more than a few minutes of your time and should result in your having no further problems. Also note that it would be rare to find that any of his friends are married. Married men have single men as friends, if only to remind them of what they had when they were single, which was Ketchup on crackers with a side of pickles, if I remember correctly.
His Bachelor Stuff. This is his dowry, the stuff that came with him into the marriage, which included his collection of Flintstone Jelly drinking glasses, his collection of NFL drinking glasses, his collection of glasses with beer logos on them, his matchbook collection, 8 tons of car parts, a stuffed and rotting armadillo, a stuffed and rotting moosehead, a stuffed and rotting fish, 12 small green and blue rocks, 3 gallons of barbeque sauce, 3 horseshoes, a deck of 50 playing cards, a broken toilet bowl and a brown towel. You were expecting perhaps a yacht, or maybe a helicopter spiriting you away to your mansion in Tenerife? No doubt those illusions were shattered as was his collection of NFL drinking glasses soon after being married.
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It is important to understand that men love to hang onto things. A man never knows which of several thousand rusted and corroded nuts and bolts might just fix something important. That’s why men keep all sorts of things in the garage hidden away in jars, small drawers, boxes and bottles. Men know instinctively that as soon as they throw away some seemingly unimportant bracket, bolt or spring they will need it a week later. This has happened to every man, so over the years they have developed a simple mechanism for dealing with this problem; they save everything.
His Sanctuary. This would usually be either the garage or a workshop. This is the place where he can go when he needs to think, when he needs to get away, when he needs to break something, when he needs an airtight room and an idling car. Regardless, this is his sanctuary. Look upon this area like his American Embassy, his Guantanamo, and understand that usually your presence is by invitation only. Other men can come and go into other men’s garages and workshops with impunity, it’s a guy thing. Women, however, are another matter. They are usually not welcomed and are often treated as spies without regard to the possibility that they are probably not. There are not many places he can call his own, so you need to give him this one. Everyone needs a place to go when they’ve got nowhere else to go.
His Mom. Oh Lord, where to begin. If his Mom is at all an issue in his life then you’ve got bigger problems than I can realistically deal with here within the bounds of this book. At some point he will have to realize that it’s either his Mother or you, his woman. He can’t have both and we don’t even think about it if he could. Know that whatever he is, good or bad, is due in large part to his Mother. So, hate her if you must or praise her if you will, but best to do either from a safe distance. There is nothing like a large distance separating
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him and his mother to help him focus on what is important in his relationship; you and your needs. Having bashed mom around sufficiently, let me say that his mom is going to be a wealth of useful information relative to the sorts of foods he likes and dislikes, ways in which to get him to do things he doesn’t want to do, and the locations of all those emotional buttons which moms do love to push. Moms know the locations of these, since they were instrumental in their installation. Yes, if utilized correctly, his mother can be a wealth of useful information. So, get to know her. You never know, you might just like her. Yeah I know, probably not.
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Sharpen the Saw, But don’t get Cut
The idea of this habit is that practice makes perfect. This applies to the exercises discussed within this book so far, as well as those to come in this, our final Habit. “Nobody was never born good at nothing 'cept cryin' and crappin'”, my Grandma use to say. And it appears she was right. In order to become proficient at anything, a great deal of practice is often required. There is, however, a significant difference when it comes to practicing something like, say, a musical instrument and practicing these exercises in a real relationship. Clearly, when it comes to music you have the benefit of practicing alone until you feel you are good enough to be heard by others. While in a relationship, though there are some things you can certainly practice alone, you pervert, you are for the most part pretty much out there on the stage, in the limelight, on your own. In a relationship, your screw-ups will be known by everyone. Well, everyone who matters that is, which means your woman, your family, your friends and everybody else that she tells. You, as a man, barely have a grasp on what you need to do just yourself from one day to the next, and now you’re expected to be an instant expert on relationships as well. Good God, could it get any more difficult? No, you don’t think so? Ha! You haven’t seen the exercises yet.
* Men *
As I’ve said, the key to the exercises in this, the final section, is practice. You’re not likely to get good at anything unless you practice. That goes for sex as well, of which I’m certain you will soon attempt to convince your woman. The Catch-22 with sex is that if you’re not already good, you're not likely to get in much practice, at least not with anyone else that is. Anyway, getting back to this section, there are a variety of issues to reflect on here. Issues such as you, you bumbling fool. How do you think, for instance, she feels when you touch her? Is she thinking, “Hey, just what are your intentions here, Buster?” or is she thinking, “There’s the soothing and comforting caress of my loving mate.” I’m guessing that your intentions will be called into question more often than not.
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Exercise 7.1 - Reach Out and...
If you take nothing else away from this book, listen closely to the following. Learn to touch and caress her often in a comforting, non-sexual manner. One of the biggest complaints heard from women is, “He only touches me when he wants sex.” Sad but true. This is not something which will come naturally to a man, particularly one who has played some college football; it’s going to take practice. Holding hands, a light tough at the waist, a simple caress of her cheek tells her how you feel about her with your having to actually say anything. Trust is slowly built up in this way. Though it may not mean much to you, it will to her and you’ll be surprised at just how much closer you two will become. This is something both you and your partner are going to have to practice. Only after concerted effort will any of this come naturally. The practice of a comforting touch may seem like a lot of effort for something which most men just consider foreplay anyway, but it’s vital for guys to understand just how important this is to women. Something as simple as this can make a huge difference in the comfort level of a relationship. A good place to start are massages, particularly foot massages. Women love foot massages, so you might think about reading up on how to give one properly. In fact, taking a course in massage is a great idea. What could be more relaxing than you and your partner sharing the gift of a soothing massage? Well yes, this while sipping champagne on the deck of your Yacht in the Canary Islands might be more relaxing, but it’s likely not within your price range. So, a massage it is.
Exercise 7.2 - Should I Cry?
Don’t cry. Women say they like men who cry, but they really don’t. Only cry if it’s really something worth crying about, like the death of a loved one, or Dallas losing another damned game. Some men think that crying occasionally in front of a woman will show her how sensitive you are. This is a fallacy.
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They will not fall for this ruse. They know that the only sensitive spot on you is located somewhere below several inches of dirt and brine. Heck, you didn’t even cry when your buddy lodged that treble hook deep into your thumb while fishing, though you did chip a tooth on the whisky bottle when they were cutting it out with that dull buck knife. Good times. This brings up the issue of injury and the associated pain it may cause. A good rule of thumb here is that if the bone has broken through the skin, then your buddies are not going to say a thing if a tear or two comes to your eyes. Remember Burt Reynolds in Deliverance? He had a compound leg fracture and never cried a lick. He didn’t have many lines after that injury other than screaming and moaning, but he didn’t cry. If, however, you find yourself in a situation in which there is a reason to actually cry, then make sure you cry like a man. What do I mean when I say you should cry like a man? Well here’s a short list of the different types of crying which exists out there:
Babies. Babies cry, primarily, to annoy their parents. Picture their sad situation. They were doing just fine in that dark little room of theirs for month after month; playing games, singing songs, writing their names on the wall. And then suddenly, for no reason whatsoever, they are pushed from this warm, cozy world into a cold, loud frightening environment in which alien beings prod, poke and otherwise annoy them. You would cry too if this happened to you. You probably did.
Woman’s. A woman’s cry can depend on the situation. If she’s pissed at you, the situation we like to concern ourselves with here in this book, then she will likely be sobbing. This is meant to impart the belief that she is at her wits’ end and can do nothing but breakdown and cry. My girlfriend used to say that when she was sobbing, “I’m at wits’ end with you” This implies that it is now up to you, the guy who probably screwed things up and got her all upset in the first place, to fix or otherwise solve the problem. How you might accomplish this is up to you. However, you will know that you have succeeded in solving the
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problem when she stops crying and is happy once again. Well, probably not happy, but at least not crying. Note that this transition can take place in as little as 15 seconds or as long as, well, forever. There is another type of crying women have in their repertoire of relationship weaponry. This is more vocal than simply sobbing because you’ve once again screwed something up. This type of crying is usually reserved for something truly tragic, like the death of a loved one or that you’ve used one of her shoes to pound a nail into the wall. If this is the case then all you will be able to do is to be there for her. You will, during these times, have the ability to be comforting in no other manner. The truly gifted women will have the ability to take a hearty cry to a full fledged wail, such as might be appropriate at a funeral. This becomes even more effective if the woman attempts to crawl inside the casket with the loved one as well.
Man’s. A man’s cry is not dependant upon the situation - it is always the same. Picture this: The man will stand, or sit if preferred, stone still and stare off into the distance. Slowly a small tear will form in the corner of one eye, and then the other. Once the first tear has dripped down his cheek, the upper lip may quiver slightly. A deep breath may be taken here if the reason for crying in the first place is particularly emotional. Men do not usually like to talk during this difficult period, but if required to do so it is important to make sure you have a drink in your hand. You can direct your conversation into the glass so that your words will bounce off the cubes, making them particularly icy.
Random Crying. There is a category of people who will cry for reasons which, though may be valid, escape the sensibilities of most of us. They cry for their own pathetic reasons honestly, deeply and without reservation. This group includes; little girls who feel they’re not getting their fair share, TV evangelists who’ve been exposed, exiled politicians, deposed heads-of-state, jockeys accused of doping,
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Chicago Cubs fans, Boston Red Sox fans, Danny Ange, indicted CEO’s, and all mothers whose children have disappointed them (this would include all mothers whose children who have either not become Doctors or have not married a Doctor).
Exercise 7.3 - Standard Man Things
Above all, let us not forget about the Standard Man Things for which you are, and will always be, responsible. And let me tell you, that’s a lot of responsibility. Fortunately, there is a place, a sanctuary where you can go to accomplish most of the Standard Man Things; the garage. Although there may not always be something to fix, or break, you can always go into your garage (or better yet a workshop where you can smoke cigars until you get into trouble) and pound away on some piece of metal with a hammer until everything works itself out. And with a big enough hammer, it will. The garage should be setup exactly the way you want, so that she won’t be able to find anything. The Standard Man Things are understood by women to be those things which she does not want to do and furthermore wants you to do. That’s what they are. The broad, but certainly not complete, list of these things would include;
Outside stuff. Anything which is located, or needs or be done, outside is your responsibility. This would include everything associated with trash, clippings, refuse, rodents and garbage in any and all forms. It’s all yours buddy. The garage is also included within this category as it is located outside as far as she’s concerned. The exception here may be a garden which will be her area of concern. If this is the case, you will still be expected to participate in it’s cultivation and maintenance by composting, mulching, digging, hauling, chopping, weeding, turning, and the never-ending tilling until you can’t till no more.
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Spiders. Spiders are great because they can make you appear to be “The Great Protector” without your really having to do much. The only exception here is if you happen to be afraid of spiders. In that case, asking your woman to kill the spider would be considered something less than manly. In fact, it’s probably just a notch above having a pedicure while discussing the fall fashions with the ladies and drinking chamomile tea. Be aware that there are many spiders which can jump, leap or otherwise scurry about very quickly. If you happen to be startled by the sudden movement of a spider you’re about to kill (for example, it jumps on you, attacking viciously, which is what happened to me one time) and you, without thinking, scream at the top of your lungs like a 5 year old girl, don’t expect your wife not to tell people. Also, don’t expect to have sex with her for awhile. I’m just warning you up front.
Tight lids. Here’s another big win for the expenditure of relatively little effort. Make sure though, that when you do open the lid of the jar, or whatever, that the crap in the bottle doesn’t fly out all over the place. This will quickly cast you from a hero to a villain in one swell foop. If you cannot actually open the lid, then bang it on something until you can open it, or it breaks. If possible, don’t let her know that you can’t get the lid open. She’ll be forced to try herself, open it easily, then you’ll never have sex again. Hint: When doing anything of a physical nature for her, grunt. Women love that.
Putting things together. This is usually only of value on or just prior to Christmas. This is also something which should probably be done in the garage in which spills, rips, gashes and other mishaps are not likely to piss her off. However, you’ll want to make sure that she sees just how handy you are with your tools, which in your mind translates into your also being good in bed, while in her mind translates into your fixing the kitchen cabinet doors next weekend. It is important that she
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see you working on your project during the complicated middle phase in which stuff is strewn hither and yon, and not during the final phase in which you will be required to exhibit something functional.
The Mattress. The turning of a mattress may not be an easy thing to accomplish on your own. Particularity if you have one of those very large, East Coast king-sized mattresses. Or maybe it’s the West Coast variety which is the larger, I can’t remember. Regardless, she will, for whatever reason, believe that you have always done turned the sucker on your own in the past and so you should be able to do it again now. You can try to explain to her that you’ve never successfully accomplished this task without the timely application of the jaws of life, but she’ll just scoff and tell you to do it anyway. Since you’ve foolishly decided to take this on, you may want to put some thought into exactly how your going to accomplish this task as it is quite possible that you will wind up underneath the thing requiring help to get out, again. Unfortunately, your wife will be laughing so hard that she will neither be able to help you nor to dial 911 and so, in this unfortunate case, you’re likely to expire. Hopefully, you don’t as I’m not sure that this sort of thing would be covered under your home owners insurance policy, whereas had you been crushed I think it might have been.
The Vehicles. Anything having to do with the vehicles’ maintenancewise is your responsibility. Upkeep is the big thing here. If she is out somewhere and something happens to her car mechanically, you will be blamed. I was once blamed for an accident a girlfriend of mine was in because her windshield was dirty and there was no water in the windshield wiper reservoir when she tried to clean the windshield, which smeared and so she couldn’t see the lake and...well, you get the idea. So, it is important that you take care of your woman’s car with the same fervor that you take care of your woman. Maybe more.
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There is also a subtle benefit resulting from your working on the cars during the weekend. Women love to look out the window and see her man working on something. Preferably on something which really does need to be worked on, but usually it doesn’t matter to her. He’s taking care of her by taking care of her car. Ah, hearts and butterflies fill the air. So, make sure the vehicles are taken care of, simple as that.
Miscellaneous. This involves doing pretty much whatever she wants, whenever she wants it done. Don’t argue, just get the requirements and get to work. Often a women will have you do something only to complain later that you didn’t do what she wanted. When you point out that even if you didn’t do what she wanted, you did in fact do what she asked you to do, my friend, will go straight to relationship hell. You will not pass “GO” nor will you collect $200. Have you learned nothing? She is always right. The problem may be that you had probably screwed-up the project by not asking enough specific questions up front. You need to find out, in detail, what it was she wants you to do. I’m sorry guy, there’s just no other way. Realize that asking questions up-front is likely to piss her off somewhat (maybe even a lot), but it won’t compare to how pissed you both will be when you have to do it all over again.
Exercise 7.4 - Being Decisive
Don’t be wishy-washy, women hate indecisiveness. Pick a direction and boldly go; go to where no man has gone before. Even if it’s moving west in a covered wagon directly into the heart of a desolate snow-covered wilderness in 1857. Even if it’s into the depths of a Baby Shower because you forgot your golf shoes. Even, God Bless this great Country of ours, even if it’s into the heart of downtown Baghdad! Oh, sorry, where was I? Ah yes, decisiveness. Again my point is, don’t be wishy-washy. Women hate that.
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So, once you’ve decided what it is you want or need to do, then go boldly forth. That is, unless she says otherwise. If she changes your mind for you, saving you from the bother of having to do it yourself, then you might want to hold off on that boldly going forward thing for a minute or so. Now is the time for discussion. Don’t give in immediately. If you do, this will give her the impression that she can walk all over you, when in fact you want to make her realize that there are only certain parts of you which she can walk all over. Once you’ve discussed the alternatives rationally and have both calmly decided to do what she says to do, then you can boldly go forth into the desolation....
* Women *
The single exercise in this section is simply an introduction into those things outside the realm of the home which are important to a man. This is, essentially, a collection of important activities and events which extend a man’s world beyond his domestic life. Ok, here’s the deal. He’s going to do all he can for this relationship. But don’t expect miracles. Just the fact that he’s trying should count for something. So, although not strictly required for maintaining the health of a relationship, you might find that taking an interest in some of his activities can help by bringing you closer together. If so inclined, you can learn to participate in those activities which he finds interesting or fun; dull, insipid or uninteresting as they may actually be. One important caution here, however, would be to make sure not to invade his space if he is participating in some activity with a man-friend. This is the rarely observed male bonding during which little is said, but much accomplished. This is an important event in a man’s life and one which should not be tampered with, or if necessary, tampered with in a very subtle manner. If, on the other hand, he is engaged in some outside activity with a female-friend of his (which should never under any circumstances exist) then there is a problem here. A big one and a severe ass-woopin' all around would not be out of line.
Exercise 7.5 - His Interests
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Ok, ladies you’ve gotten off pretty easy until now. This, however, is where it gets tough; this is where the rubber meets the road. The concept here is that you’re going to want to show him how much you love him by taking an interest in, as well as participating in, some activities of interest to him. What this means is that you need to identify what sort of guy you’ve got there. Do you have a guy who sits on the couch watching sports every weekend, in which case your participation will involve eating large quantities of Cheetos and drink beer while watching the game? Or do you have the kind of guy who likes to get out there and get into it hisself? If you happen to have a more sedentary sort of man, then this should be easy. Watching the game with him and asking questions is good because guys just love to explain the subtleties of whatever game happens to be on to his woman. And the more technically subtle the question the sexier. For example, if you were to ask about the “Infield Fly Rule” during game 7 of the World Series, he would instantly be mired in a quandary as to whether to finish watching the game or to ravage you in the bedroom. While the chances of this one weigh heavily in favor of game 7, a question like “What's a safety?” during a regular season football game would have little against which to compete. Now if he’s an outdoors kind of guy, chances are good you knew this going into the relationship. It’s probably not as if your geek of a software engineer husband came home one evening and said. “Honey load up the shotguns, duck season’s open tomorrow and weeze goin' huntin'”. If he is an outdoor kind of guy, and you’ve got an engine hanging from a tree in your front yard, his wallet hanging from a chain on his belt and a well worn leather skirt and tube top hanging in your closet, you don’t need to read this section as there’s nothing you’re going to learn from me. If, however, your idea of the great outdoors involves hotel reservations, clean sheets and dinner at a nice Italian restaurant, then you’re going to want to pay close attention here.
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Bowling. Men love to bowl because they can drink beer while they’re doing it. Bowling is a relatively simple pastime and most men, pretty much regardless of their physical condition, can participate at relatively high levels of competition. This is another big plus for male bowlers, absolutely no exercise is required. Bowling leagues, are also a great way to participate in something enjoyable together. Mixed leagues (males and females) are fun and people of all ages and abilities can compete. There are only three things you’re going to need to remember about bowling, besides just getting up there and heaving the ball down the lane. The first involves leagues; if you are in a league make sure you bowl poorly for the first 5 or 6 games. This is where they will determine your handicap (don’t ask, just trust me on this one). Of course, after that you’re going to have to get your act together and get really good because men love competition and the competition must be crushed into a moist paste in the ground. The second thing to remember is to let him keep score. Men love to demonstrate their mathematical skills, which will likely not exist beyond adding up a beer tab, by keeping score. Men also love to count things. As far as counting goes, the last thing to remember is that he’ll go through about 2 beers per game.
Hunting. Men love to hunt because they can drink beer while they’re doing it. Men will say they love to kill things, but when it comes down to it they really don’t. Hunting involves going out into the wilderness, wearing camouflage with a bright orange hunting vest over it so that you don’t get shot, drinking large quantities of beer and shooting at anything that is not wearing a bright orange hunting vest. This is what occurred on the one hunting trip on which I was a participant. Others have said, though, that there is more to it than that. Some people carry guns into the wilderness in order to shoot and kill real animals. Realize that, while this is a sporting activity for many
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men, it was in the past an actual means of survival. Men, retaining some of this old imprinting, may feel a sense of having to provide for his family by dragging home a shot-up stop sign. If this happens, try to see it for the sincere offering to you that it is. Your participation in the male hunting activity would be to cover your ears with your hands when he shoots at something (don’t worry he couldn’t hit the ground with his hat) and to get him another beer once he’s finished with the one he has in his hand.
Fishing. Men love to fish because they can drink beer while they’re doing it. Fishing, as far as women are concerned, is just a bit more humane than hunting, but still that would put it just below clubbing baby seals to death. But many woman don’t mind fishing as long as they don’t have to deal with the bait. Women don’t realize that for the most part, real fishermen use plastic lures rather than live worms or something that smells like 6-month-old cheese (which is usually 6month-old cheese). This is often a problem as the use of a lure involves some level of skill with the rod and reel. This skill is quite different than the simple bait fishing of days gone by where you dropped the worm down to the bottom, or better yet, used a bobber. Using a lure involves casting the lure out into the water as far as you can, and then reeling the lure back in. If you do this 6 or 7 hundred times, then you may just catch something. This activity is intended to entice a fish into snapping-up the lure, provided that the lure looks like something a fish would consider snapping-up in the first place. The problem is that casting and subsequently reeling in a lure requires practice in order to become proficient. If you, the female, attempt to engage in this activity with your partner, and have not previously practiced the art of casting, you are quite likely to sink a treble hook deep into his ear lobe. This may cause your man to drop his beer, and then there’s going to be trouble. So, unless
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you are already proficient at this sort of fishing experience, I would seriously reconsider bowling. If you have really made up your mind to go fishing with your mate, then prepare yourself for the full experience: Long periods of beer-drinking boredom interspersed with exciting bursts of unhooking garbage and other crap from your line.
Camping. Men love to camp because it’s something they can do while drinking. For a man camping is getting back to nature at its absolute best. In a big-ass Winnebago with a warm bed, refrigerator stuffed with beer, microwave, DVD, satellite TV which gets porn stations, shower, toilet and all the electricity you could ever want. But of course, this is simply for occasional comfort and that’s not really what camping is all about is it? No, it isn’t. It’s about you and your mate being together in the great outdoors. It’s about sharing the wonders of nature with the person that you love. It’s about this next story:
Back in the days when you could leave all of your stuff unattended in your campsite without concern, my parents would take my sister and I deep into the wilderness and leave us without concern. No, actually they would stay as well and we would all camp for two weeks each summer. On one particular trip, my dad had sold a large outboard motor to someone and so was lugging around some heavy bucks. He decided to hide it somewhere in the camper so that nobody would find it, should we be robbed by bears. So, he scurried into he camper alone only to emerge a few minutes later grinning from ear-to-ear. Well, of course, this was a challenge. My sister and I scoured the camper for hours but to no avail, couldn’t find the dough. Later that night we were all eating dinner around the campfire. My dad happened to remark about how hot and bright the fire was that evening. I don’t remember much of the intervening conversation until the part where mom - 143 -
said that the empty cardboard paper towel tube was also burning there in the fire. My dad seemed to immediately lose interest in dinner once that information had been revealed. So, guess what was in the paper towel tube? That’s right, my college fund up in smoke.
Sports Events. There are really only two events with which you will need to become familiar. The football finals known as the Super Bowl, and the baseball finals known as the World Series. From your perspective the only difference between these two is the outfits that the players wear. Let’s take this from the top. The entire day will be dedicated to this one event - it doesn’t matter which one, both will be treated in the same manner. We’ll start early with the fixin’s like beer, beef ribs, chips, burgers, more beer, hot dogs, potato salad, more beer, pork ribs, dip, more chips and more beer. Now we’re not idiots mind you, we don’t just start drinking beer first thing in the morning. We mix it with tomato juice. If there are other people at this event as well, then your participation can be limited to making sure that nothing in the house gets damaged, or at least gets damaged beyond repair. Understand that you will have only so much control for the better part of the day, so you may as well just rationalize it away however you need to right now. This will only occur twice each year, so you can just suck it up soldier. And you can also forget about saving your carpet. If, however, others are not involved and it’s just you and your sweetie, then your participation can be much more hands-on. While this scenario will require more of your participation, you will have better control of the overall spill and crumb situation. So, good with the bad.
Drinking. Men love to drink.
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I think that the best thing I can say at this point would be to practice the exercises. Not that this will necessarily work mind you; even my expertise is no match for natural male stupidity. Let me tell you about my evening last night. My fiancée and I were in the process of getting ready to go out to dinner when she asked me, innocently enough mind you, how her new slacks looked on her. Taking my own advice I immediately replied that they looked great and then, for whatever brain-damaged reason, added that I also loved the “panty lines”. Why I did this I have no idea other than the aforementioned observation that my brain had been somehow damaged. Well, you can easily imagine that the evening quickly went skittering downhill from there. Rather than immediately apologizing, which is what I should have done had I remembered my own advice, I stated that I liked panty lines because they were actually like the frame around a picture. I might just as well have kicked a puppy right there in front of her for all the good that comment did me. She looked at me as if I were insane, which I think I may have been. I can’t imagine any other explanation for that comment – I mean really, a picture frame? I ended the evening by stating that the dessert (yes, we did somehow actually make it out to dinner) was “too chocolaty”. Now this is a phrase that has likely never been uttered by any woman at any time in history, but leave it to me to come up with a comment that both blows and sucks at the same time. It was at about that point when I started drinking. That’s about all I remember of last night until this morning when I woke-up on the couch. Hope this helps. Bye!
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