forward momentum

February 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

We’re all waiting for the same thing, the same moment, the same emotional epiphany that’s not coming. Moving somewhere new, meeting new people, changing lifestyles. It all does nothing. If you have a void you need to fill it yourself before your life will feel complete again. Heal yourself, stop waiting for someone else to do it.

You aren’t going to be the same person. You’re not fixing yourself to become the old you. Please relish in the fact that you are no longer who you once were. Isn’t that the purpose of life? Keep the parts of you that you love, grow in them. Let the pain that consumes you make you stronger and smarter. Don’t hide from what hurt you but confront it head on and absorb all you can from it.

So I’m begging you, break my heart. Tear me apart and show me where I’m weak. I want to feel everything. I’m still broken and I wouldn’t have it any other way. When I do love again it will only be greater because of the pain we caused each other. Stop blaming and start thanking.

Because really, what’s the point in being mad anymore? We are all exactly what we are supposed to be and while these petty experiences will change how we feel they will never change the underlying person. I’m not changing, and neither are you. We can stop trying now.


The Three Stages of Intimacy

January 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

Adapted from Intimate Communion By David Deida.

How do you respond to the extreme expressions of Masculine and Feminine energy? Your response to the exaggerated play of sexual polarity can give you a clue to the stage of relationship for which you are most ready.

Imagine you happen to discover a videotape beneath a tree while taking a walk through the woods. Curious about it, you bring it home and pop it into your VCR. There on the screen are a naked man and woman having sex beneath the very tree under which you found the videotape. You feel strange about watching it. The woman makes a high-pitched screaming sound. The man pulls back her head by her hair, exposing her neck which he licks and kisses. The woman seems to be struggling–or is she writhing in ecstasy? Just then, your child walks into the room so you quickly turn off the TV and remove the videotape.

You think about what you have just witnessed for the rest of the day. Were you watching a videotaped rape, or a passionate couple at the peak of sexual rapture? That night, as you are lying in bed trying to sleep, images of the videotaped sex scene dance through your head.

Part of you may want to make love in such an abandoned and passionate fashion. Another part of you may be queasy, wondering if the “passion” was actually forced against the woman’s will. Or was it just the couple’s ravishing sexual play with one another? You decide to watch the rest of the tape in the morning and then either show it to your intimate partner in the hopes that it will evoke deeply passionate lovemaking between you, or show it to the police so they can get started on the case.

You wake up in the morning and as soon as you are alone in the house, you pop the videotape back into the VCR and turn on the TV.

The woman seems to be resisting, but it’s hard to tell. Suddenly her back arches and a long moan slides from her throat. She begins to claw the man’s back, her fingernails digging deeply into his skin and muscles, dragging and scratching their way down to his buttocks. He kisses her neck, her breasts, and her nipples, at first gently nipping and then biting. The videotape ends.

How you respond to this videotape depends on which stage of intimacy you are ready for.


By understanding your current style of intimate relationship, you can understand the next step you need to take. Which of the three styles is most like your current, or recent, relationship: Dependence, 50/50, or Intimate Communion? Each of these three styles is also a stage that you can grow through, if you are willing to be lovingly humorous about your own patterns in intimacy.

1. Dependence Relationship

“Men are men and women are women.”

In the imaginary video, were you viewing a man and a woman in the abandoned throes of sexual ecstasy, or was the man subjugating, biting, and penetrating the woman against her will? In a Dependence Relationship, sex and power are often painfully mixed up; partners often confused some version of the master/slave relationship with real love. They are engaged in some kind of power play. In a Dependence Relationship, one partner often needs to feel in control while the other partner often gives up his or her authentic power in order to feel loved and accepted.

A Dependence Relationship involves partners who become dependent on each other for money, emotional support, parenting, or sex. Although the sex is sometimes good in this style of relationship (especially during the making-up period after a fight), partners often end up feeling limited by old-style gender roles or by an imbalance of financial or physical power. So they attempt to transition to the next style of relationship. To do so they learn to build personal boundaries and take care of themselves, rather than always catering to the needs of their partners.

2. 50/50 Relationship

“Safe boundaries and equal expectations for men and women.”

Partners in a 50/50 Relationship want to feel safe, so the videotape might seem harsh and violent to them. On the surface, they might seem completely turned off and react as if any form of forceful and passionate sexual ravishment is an act of rape. Deep down, however, they might be wistfully turned on, reminded of the depth of sexual loving that may be missing from their safe but lukewarm love life.

The 50/50 Relationship is the “modern” style of relationship which is based on two independent people coming together and working out an equitable partnership. Each partner is expected to shoulder half the responsibilities, more or less, right down the middle. Each often has their own source of income, and together they negotiate a 50/50 plan to divide household duties, parenting, and financial obligations. To accomplish this, they attempt to strike their own inner balance between Masculine and Feminine qualities, both at home and at the workplace.

However, as many of us have discovered, there is a potential problem with this ideal of a 50/50 Relationship. We begin to lose our aliveness. Sexuality loses its passion. Our inner fire begins to fade. And we feel an incompleteness at our center. Why? Because many of us have a sexual essence that is naturally more Masculine or Feminine than it is equally balanced or Neutral. Thus, a side-effect of this effort toward 50/50 is the suppression or starvation of our naturally more Masculine or Feminine sexual essence.

For some of us, a cooperative partnership which emphasizes communication and shared responsibilities is sufficient. Others in this situation eventually suffer a feeling of incompleteness and develop a yearning to touch and be touched far more deeply and more passionately than a 50/50 Relationship often allows.

3. Intimate Communion

“I relax into oneness and spontaneously give my deepest gift.”

If we have grown beyond a 50/50 Relationship, we are no longer cautious about giving our love to our intimate partner. At moments we might beg and whimper; at other moments we might aggressively ravish our partner in love. Still at other times our loving is serene and sweet. But whether shouting, screaming, pleading, pushing, pulling, biting, or hugging, we are gifting our partner with our uninhibited and free love, flowing directly from our sexual essence without fear or doubt.

If we have grown into the practice of Intimate Communion, the imaginary videotape does not pose a dilemma since we understand that the fundamental difference between rape and ravishment is simple: love. Is love the motive of every squeeze, shriek, and nibble, regardless of how forceful, aggressive, or passionate? Or is it a motive of need–the need for sex, the need for power, the need for control?

Most importantly, in the practice of Intimate Communion we learn that love is something you do, not something you fall into or out of. Love is something that you practice, like playing tennis or the violin, not something you happen to feel or not. If you are waiting to feel love, in passionate sex or safe conversation, you are making a mistake. Love is an action that you do–and when you do it, you feel it. When you are loving, others find you lovable. Love is an action you can practice.

Therefore, in Intimate Communion we learn to practice loving, even when we feel hurt, rejected, or resistant. First we practice love, and then our native sexual essence blooms, naturally, inevitably, because we are learning to give from our core, which includes the root of our sexuality.

Stages of Love

January 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

Stage 1 – The Romance Stage

This is also known as the Courtship Phase or the Fantasy Stage, and can last anywhere from 2 months to 2 years. This is when you and your partner have just met, and everything is absolutely amazing. You can’t get enough of each other. Neither of you can do any wrong in the eyes of the other… mainly because you’re both still on your best behavior. The focus in this stage is on commonalities – you have so many common interests, you could practically be the same person! You show your partner your absolute best self, and you try to please each other as much as possible. Conflict is seen as “bad” in this stage, and is avoided at all costs. You can’t imagine living without this person, so you begin spending as much time together as possible. This is the stage when our defenses are down the most, which allows you to be open to and fall in love. You and your partner are building an important foundation in this stage, so your relationship can grow. There are biological effects as well. When you’re in this stage, your body is producing enormous amounts of endorphins, which makes you feel unusually happy, positive and excited about everything in your life (this is that “head over heels in love” feeling!). This is the stage most often portrayed in movies and romantic novels, for obvious reasons. Bottom line – you are happier than you’ve ever been, and can’t imagine ever feeling any differently.

Stage 2 – The Disillusionment Stage

This stage is also known as the Familiarization Stage, or the Adjusting to Reality Phase. This is where you begin to realize that your partner is actually a human being (horror of horrors!). You get to know each other more and more, and as a result you start recognizing their various flaws and shortcomings. You see your partner in relaxed situations, and you become more relaxed as well. Since your body cannot possibly continue to produce the same levels of endorphins that it was in the beginning, those feelings of being on top of the world start to decline. Your partner’s little habits aren’t quite as cute as they used to be, but there is still enough goodwill from the Romance Stage that you’re willing to overlook them. This stage can start to trickle into your relationship slowly, as you begin to see your partner for who s/he really is. Or sometimes it happens all of a sudden, when there has been some sort of dishonesty or deceit. This phase can be confusing and discouraging, since you’ve just experienced so much openness and connection in the Romance Stage. However, at this stage, your main job is to learn how to communicate and resolve conflict with this person effectively, which is an important skill if you want your relationship to continue.

Stage 3 – The Power Struggle Stage

This stage is also known as the Disappointment Phase or Distress Stage. As the characteristics from the Disillusionment Phase intensify, they become harder and harder to deal with. You will most likely begin to pull away from each other in this stage. At this point, you both still believe that conflict is a “bad” thing, but you are increasingly aware of your many differences. You fight to draw boundaries in the relationship, and as a result even small annoyances become big issues. This is the stage where you define unacceptable behavior, and most couples have occasional or frequent thoughts of leaving the relationship. More and more often, you start to feel like your partner is self-centered or un-caring, or even worse, that they simply can’t be trusted. Deep resentments begin to build if you’re unable to resolve your issues in a respectful and mutually agreeable way. Many couples get stuck in this stage, because this way of interacting becomes normal in their relationship. This is when it is absolutely necessary to learn to manage your differences effectively – to communicate and work together as a team, even though it’s tempting to believe that your partner’s sole purpose on Earth is to make your life difficult. Not surprisingly, this is the stage most couples are in when they decide to break up or file for divorce. However, if they are able to negotiate all of the landmines during this phase, they’ll move on to….

Stage 4 – The Stability Stage

This is a restful and peaceful time, compared to the last stage. This stage is also known as the Friendship Phase or Reconciliation Stage. Some couples never make it to this stage, but the ones who do find that they have deeper feelings of love, connection and trust with their partner. You now have history together, and most people begin to rely on the predictability of the relationship. As you enter this stage, you begin to realize that your partner isn’t perfect, but your personal differences aren’t quite as threatening as they used to be. You’re able to resolve most of your differences, at least to some extent, and you become more confident in the relationship. Some people feel a sense of loss in this stage as they learn to accept their partner for who they truly are, since this means they have to let go of the fantasy that was established early on in the relationship. But for the most part, the deepening sense of friendship and commitment is a good trade-off for those early feelings of butterflies and excitement. This is also when you begin to re-establish your own outside interests and friendships, which were given up in the Romance Phase. There is some danger that you may begin to drift apart from or become bored with your partner in this phase, so you should try to maintain the connection that was created in the Romance Phase. Overall, this is the stage when you finally begin to feel comfortable and happy with your deepening relationship.

Stage 5 – The Commitment Stage

This stage is also known as the Acceptance Phase, the Transformation Stage, or the Real Love Phase. It is estimated that fewer than 5% of couples actually make it to this stage, according to The Relationship Institute. This is the stage when both couples have a clear notion of who their partner is, faults, foibles and weaknesses galore… yet they make a conscious choice to be with this person in spite of all of those things (and in some cases, because of those things). You are no longer with your partner because you need them, but because you’ve chosen them, which means the level of resentment you felt in the Power Struggle Phase has decreased, if not disappeared. If you’ve made it to this stage, you and your partner are a team. You genuinely love your partner, and you look out for their best interests just as much as you look out for your own. Your partner is your best friend. There are few surprises about your partner’s habits or character in this phase. You’ve collaborated to overcome many challenges together, and have grown to accept and support each other without restriction. Your vision for your relationship is in congruence with who you are and what you both truly want. You have discussed your future together – you have similar life goals, and you feel encouraged to define your relationship further. Many couples decide to make a formal or public commitment to each other in this stage (such as marriage) to demonstrate their intention to continue their relationship. This is the stage in which your relationship becomes a true partnership.

Why Men Marry Bitches: A Woman’s Guide to Winning Her Man’s Heart

December 5, 2009 § Leave a comment

By Argov, Sherry

Chapter 1

Chapter One: Throwing Out the Rulebook. Why a Strong Woman Wins His Heart

Let us now set forth one of the fundamental truths about marriage: the wife is in charge.
Bill Cosby

Society’s Guidelines for Good Girls

Imagine a world in which roles were reversed and men cooked for women, picked up socks, and couldn’t wait to get married. Pretend you had a boyfriend who owned a hope chest with six lavender bow ties inside that he wanted his groomsmen to wear at the wedding. Picture him getting choked up every time you strolled past a Baby Gap. And that he greeted you at the door wearing silk boxers and cowboy boots, so he could do a pole dance for you. Then add a few ultimatums:

”Where’s my ring?
”Why won’t you marry me?”

Chances are, you would assume the guy wasn’t firing on all cylinders. And then you’d start planning your escape. ”It’s not you, it’s me. [Translation: It’s definitely you.] I’m too busy with work. I love you but I’m not in love with you.” Then you’d blow out the door…like TNT.

As scary as it sounds, this is precisely the approach women are taught on how to catch a husband. It’s the plight of every ”nice girl” who puts everyone else first, puts her own needs last, and doesn’t think she is worthy of touching the hemline of her man’s pants.

When I polled men, they all said confident women are in very short supply. And that a confident woman is what they find sexiest. Is it any wonder that confident women are hard to come by? Look around. The average fashion magazine tells women to act like a servant, as if dating were a labor-intensive, blue-collar-job application: ”Can you serve a cold beer in trashy lingerie? Do you leave razor-sharp creases in his shirts like employee-of-the-month at the Jolly Roger motel? Do you wear cellophane for him? Are you gardening in stilettos? Are you giving it up doggie-style? If so, he’ll drop to one knee and propose…”

What women are learning from all of this is how to behave desperately. When her attitude is ”Pick me! Pick me!” she hits the kill switch on his desire. It’s human nature. You’d be just as turned off by a guy who brought two dozen roses to a first coffee date and told you he felt like the luckiest SOB on the planet in the first five minutes.

It’s human nature. Telling a woman to work harder to please is like telling a little kid to walk up to a schoolyard bully on the first day of school and say, ”Here, take my lunch money. And you can have my cupcakes too. I’ll even throw in my lunchbox since you don’t have one.” Or, in a dating situation, ”Here, take my body. And I made you a cake. Please be nice. Please marry me. I’ll even jack my butt up nice and high like they do in yoga. It’s so comfortable being upside down. Really. I just love it!”

Just because a man sleeps with you doesn’t mean he’s thinking about the future. For him to think about forever, there has to be something he respects within you. Like a strong wit…and a strong mind.

Relationship Principle 1
In romance, there’s nothing more attractive to a man than a woman who has dignity and pride in who she is.

In addition, you have to know your own mind. The more you focus on elevating yourself, the more he will work to be at the top of your priority list. He considers you a long-term prospect when you’ve added the key ingredient: respect. And respect is the glue that holds everything together.

Kara is a perfect example of why smart, confident women come out on top. Very early on, her fiancé tried to give her his two cents on how she should dress. She was leaving for a meeting, and he told her to wear a dress instead of the pantsuit she had on. Then he told her she was wearing too much makeup. What the nice girl would have done is run out and buy a new wardrobe. But Kara playfully put him in check: ”Listen here, Versace. This outfit has always been fine. And I haven’t had any complaints about the makeup either. But if you’d like, I’ll let you know when I’m wearing this in advance. That way, if you don’t want to see me in it, you don’t have to come over.”

In order to be looked at differently, you have to think differently. He has to see that you call your own shots and that you don’t need input from anyone about how to put your socks on. This says, ”I am secure.” The biggest attraction killer is neediness and insecurity. The bitch doesn’t audition or try to be the ”best in show.” Instead of ”where’s my ring” or ”why won’t you marry me,” she’s thinking:

”What’s the advantage of having this guy around?”
”How do I feel about myself after I’ve been in his company?”
”What’s in it for me?”

And then a funny thing happens: He falls all over himself to be with her.

Kim Basinger said something interesting: ”I don’t have time to be classified as difficult, and I don’t have time to care.” Men tend to feel at ease with a woman who doesn’t care so much because then he doesn’t have to be fully responsible for someone else’s happiness. When a man sees you are happy with him but you can be just as happy having nothing to do with him, that’s when he won’t want to leave your side. When you are happy, you are sexy.

Not only this, bitches have more fun. My friend Angela had a date with a guy on a Friday and they went out for Chinese food. They tried several dishes and had plenty of leftovers, so Angela took home all the doggie bags. The following evening, she had date with a different guy and decided to be the ”hostess with the mostest.” She reheated the Chinese leftovers, ”reorganized” a medley on a pretty plate, and served it to her guest of honor. The fortune cookie said: ”The catered din-din was a smashing success.”

Of course, I would never recommend that you choose such a quick and easy meal over three hours of sweating and slaving in the kitchen. However, I would be remiss if I did not include this one expert gourmet cooking tip: Don’t keep the parsley. (If it gets soggy in the microwave it will be a dead giveaway every time.)

Notice what Kara and Angela had in common: Neither one of them felt the need to overcompensate. This earned the man’s respect. Why? It was expected that they knock themselves out because the rulebook says women are supposed to. When they refused, a light bulb went off over his head. The message ”I am worth something” is what turns him into a believer.

In a music-channel documentary, Tim McGraw said something very intriguing about his wife, Faith Hill: ”She’s a straight shooter, that’s for sure. She doesn’t take any sh*t from anybody.” He didn’t choose to comment on her talent, success, beauty, fame, or any of the other things society celebrates. Instead, he commented on the attribute men respect most: a backbone. Do you think he’s proud that his wife doesn’t take B.S. lying down? I’d bet that he is.

Relationship Principle 2
He marries the woman who won’t lay down like linoleum.

This brings us to the definition of a marrying bitch — aka a strong, spirited woman who can stand up for herself. The bitch is not rude or abrasive because she’s smart enough to know that being considerate is more effective. But she won’t compromise herself to be in a relationship. She won’t work overtime to ”catch a husband.” Because of this, he doesn’t classify her as a mindless woman he can take advantage of. She has a certain moxie about her. Sugar and spice…and not always so nice — that’s what his dreams are made of.

Since many ”nice” women mistakenly believe that being a strong woman (aka a bitch) is a bad thing, let’s explore some of the criteria of the so-called eligible woman. Then we’ll find out from men what they really think about women who behave this way.

Myth 1: You Have to Be Perfect

Think about the last time you were madly in love. Chances are, the guy wasn’t a millionaire or a brain surgeon with six-pack abs who was hung like a barnyard animal on Viagra. Chances are, he didn’t get you off five times before he got his. But there was something special about him. He had a couple of features that did it for you and a certain magic that made you tingle. Men who want to fit in a relationship are looking for that same magic.

Relationship Principle 3
He doesn’t marry a woman who is perfect. He marries the woman who is interesting.

This is one of the biggest myths perpetuated by the media: If you are perfect, beautiful, and rich, you will get the respect and love you crave. So they say. (And now back to reality.) When a man meets a woman who seems too perfect, too sweet, or too agreeable, he tends to become bored very quickly.

Beauty pageants are a good example of how women are misled into thinking that the most important pursuits in life are beauty tips and ”man catching” skills. Granted, they offer educational grants and scholarships, which is very ironic because the only men watching are the ones who like really stupid women. Intelligent men think it’s embarrassing for a woman to pose and smile like she’s always that chipper. Everybody knows the losers want to strangle the winner, and the Southern Belle who wins Miss Congeniality is dying to tell the judges: ”Fuck all, y’all…you ugly summabitches.” All of them pretend to be virgins until marriage, and all are do-gooders for the poor:

Second runner-up: ”I am a fifth-year junior at the local college majoring in pottery. I plan to end world hunger and find a cure for cancer. And once and for all, I intend to put an end to the global shortage of flower pots.”

First runner-up: ”I plan to feed the starving, the homeless, the unemployed, and the destitute. That way all my relatives can eat.”

Queen bee: ”Before I visit poverty-stricken villages in Africa, I’m fixin’ to get my toes painted. Invite the press. I’m wearing my thousand-dollar Manolo Blahnik shoes!”

If you’ve ever noticed, beauty pageants are a lot like county fairs. The farmers show the cows the same way. They walk their prized Jersey cow across a stage in front of an audience with judges, and maybe the cow even twirls around a couple of times. Then the winning cow gets a satin ribbon draped over it, which has the title and the year on it. They even have twelve-month calendars featuring the ”cow of the month.”

So let’s try to apply this Barbie-like behavior to a first date to see why it goes over like a lead balloon. Picture a woman trying to be that ”perfect girl.” She walks into the room like she’s on a catwalk. The handbag matches the shoe button. She giggles on cue. For dinner, she orders two olives with low-cal dressing (on the side). Without realizing it, this woman has already marked herself: temporary. In his mind? ”Deposit and go.” He may have sex with her, but from there on it’s a downhill slide. Why?

When she’s artificial, he becomes wary of who she really is and what her real motivations are. Usually, he figures she’s putting on a show to trap him. So it never goes to the next level. This is why some relationships never shift into second gear. By trying to be something she’s not, the woman automatically gets marked with the ”insecure” stamp. ”This one will need constant attention and nothing I give will ever be enough. She’ll sap me of all my energy.” Before he’s spent any time with her, he is mentally on to the next.

Not only this, but when a man thinks a woman is weak or insecure, he won’t feel the need to work at the relationship. It becomes ”male entertainment” at that point. The relationship becomes a sideshow. He’ll kick back, crack a beer, and think, ”She’s trying so hard, I’ll never have to break a sweat in this relationship.”

Relationship Principle 4
When a woman is trying too hard, a man will usually test to see how hard she’s willing to work for it. He’ll start throwing relationship Frisbees, just to see how hard she’ll run and how high she’ll jump.

Men are used to this. So they try to bait you into this behavior. He may tell you on a second date that he likes red toenail polish. Or that he likes a particular item of clothing. If you immediately begin to ”work” to be what he wants, it lessens his respect.

To better understand, let’s take a sneak peek at a page inside the male rulebook. This is the hush-hush highly classified stuff.

A page from the male rulebook
The definition of unforgettably sexy: A woman who can function on her own and take care of herself. She won’t let me always have the upper hand. And, she can tell anyone to go jump in the lake whenever she feels like it.

That’s the woman he’ll work harder to be with. Whenever you are too worried about someone else’s approval, that person loses respect for you. When a man sees you knocking yourself out from the jump start, you are setting yourself up for a lopsided relationship, because you reinforce every guy’s unspoken belief: ”If you ignore her, she’ll seek your validation and reassurance.” Approval then becomes his only ”contribution.” When you need his approval, it blinds you and you quickly become the vulnerable one in the relationship. Adopt the philosophy of ”approval neither desired nor required.”

After all, there will always be someone there to tell you that you aren’t attractive enough, perfect enough, or that you didn’t come from the right side of the tracks. True confidence is born when you…
Relationship Principle 5
Don’t believe what anyone tells you about yourself.

Sophia Loren said, ”Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.” This is what makes you gorgeous to a quality man, because now you arrive complete. And that makes him say, ”Gee, I wonder, what is that special magic she’s got?”

How does this affect long-term relationships? When a man can’t crack your code, or figure out where your insecurities are, you are no longer readable. That’s when he doesn’t have a 100 percent hold on you, and he has to put in his 50 percent share to win you over, keep your interest, and maintain a reciprocal and viable relationship.

Myth 2: You Have to Be His Sex Toy

Men love to tell colorful stories that sound just like the ones they read in men’s magazines. According to him, all his ex-girlfriends are supermodels and had sex with him ten times a day. Clearly, a figment of his imagination. To prove it, all you have to do is take a quick look at a photo of his ex-girlfriend. If it is true she gave it up ten times a day, there will be visible signs. The back of her head will look like a rat’s nest. Her ankles will be permanently affixed behind her ears. And she’ll be so emaciated, someone will be tossing her a cheeseburger.

Women also get confused about what men want from observing the magazines men read. For example, nudie magazines. I don’t know about you, but I don’t regularly sit on a bale of hay in the middle a cornfield, butt naked, in order to catch a sunset. No matter how freezing it is, the model is usually sucking on a finger while hanging upside down from a tree, and is quoted as saying, ”I love being naked. It makes me feel so close to nature.” Then comes the first-rate literature.

Turn-ons: Twinkies, Popsicles, and sunsets.

Most influential person in my life: My puppy.

Favorite sport: Naked kayaking.

Proudest accomplishment: Tying both shoelaces in under five minutes.

Naturally, women see these formidable influences and think, ”This is how I have to behave. If I am a freak in the bedroom, and I cook a mean meat loaf, he’ll run out and buy me a ring. Right?” Doubtful. When a man comes home from a hard day’s work, the last thing he wants is to find his wife naked on the front porch, licking a multicolored lollipop, wearing her hair in pigtails, and watering the tulips. He’ll be thinking, ”She’s two sandwiches short of a picnic.”

I asked one guy if this is what men fantasize about. He wanted to answer my question but couldn’t stop laughing. Then he said, ”Definitely a turn-off. She’s not really being herself.”

A smart, together guy won’t build a life with a woman he feels doesn’t have her feet firmly planted on the ground. Men do not marry the ”little girl” types because they don’t want to feel like they are adopting a young child. The only reason men like stupid women is so they can take advantage of them — in the short term. A quality guy worth his salt wants a partner who is competent and multidimensional. Someone who can handle things when he’s not around.

That doesn’t mean men won’t break their necks to look at a woman who is showing a lot of skin. But at the same time, they’ll pass judgment: ”Short-term only.” And once a man categorizes you as ”sex only,” he won’t see anything beyond that.

Relationship Principle 6
Men see how you dress, and then make assumptions about your relationship potential.

A man named Doug explained, ”It makes a woman more attractive if she’s showing less skin. It makes you want to find out what’s underneath. A guy doesn’t want to get to bed and think, ’No big deal. I’ve already seen this.’ You want her birthday suit to be a surprise. That’s half the excitement.”

When women look at clothing, we see colors, fabrics, and styles. What do men see? Whether or not you are a mental challenge. That’s why you hear men talk about nurse fantasies or the girl-next-door or librarian types. If a woman wears something that doesn’t ”show all her stuff,” like jeans and a sweater, what a guy reads is: ”It’s not here on display for you. You’ll have to work a little to get this.” When a woman shows a little but not all, a guy infers that the sexy parts of her are ”privileged” areas. And her stock goes up.

Evan is a classic example of how quickly men categorize women. He met Blair at work and asked her if she’d like to have drinks that evening. She was wearing a silk blouse that showed a little, but not too much. Then she ran home to freshen up. Thinking she was going to ”wow” him, she put on a cropped T-shirt that showed tons of cleavage and a belly ring, with large lettering across her chest that read NOT EVERYTHING IS FLAT IN KANSAS. He recalls, ”I knew it wasn’t going anywhere from day one.”

If he wants a serious relationship with a woman, he’d rather see less skin in public and keep the freak show private, for his eyes only. He’d rather see a formfitting blouse than a plunging neckline. Or a sundress that shows a hint of her silhouette. He’s much more fascinated by a long skirt with a slit up the side than a micro-mini that shows the whole leg. Why? The peek-a-boo element. Not knowing when her leg will pop out triggers his imagination. And once you get him curious and thinking about you, that’s when his thoughts turn to the future.

Relationship Principle 7
When a man sees you wearing very revealing clothes, he’ll usually assume you don’t have anything else going for you.

Once he reduces you to one dimension, he’ll keep you there. He’ll never take you seriously or think of you as having enough worth for a long-term relationship. Men want to marry a woman who is the whole package. News flash: If men were to explain this to women, they’d never get laid.

According to the media, it’s hip for you to invite a girlfriend over and have a ménage à trois. And it’s cool to break out the naughty-schoolgirl outfit or jump up and down on a pole wearing a wig and a Little Bo Peep costume. Some fitness centers even have classes that teach women how to dance like a stripper. Women begin grinding their chairs and crawling across the floor on their hands and knees while ”Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” is blaring over the loudspeaker.

While it might be really comical to watch as you look on from the treadmill, you can’t be thinking, ”Uh-oh. I better give him a lap dance in the La-Z-Boy to keep him happy.” (Slap yourself, before I do it for you.) If you use sex to catch him, you will be guaranteed immediate contact and he’ll put you in his little black book. But you won’t get the rice…the ring…and the nonstick cooking set.

Whom would you see a long-term future with? A Chippendale’s dancer wearing a neon-yellow thong with singles inside his jockstrap, and plenty of wiggle in his jiggle? Or a nice-looking guy in a three-piece suit, with a 401(k)? Likewise, men want the whole package. They fantasize about having a quality woman they are proud of, whom they’d cuddle up with next to a fireplace. Another news flash: A quality guy won’t marry a woman who cheapens herself.

Have you ever noticed that even strippers don’t like the word stripper? Oops. Excuse me for being so insensitive. I respectfully confirm they are indeed ”exotic dancers” earning an honorable living while paying their way through medical school. And my neighborhood crack dealer is an exotic pharmacist. As soon as he finishes his undergrad in the chemical arts, he is pursuing a doctorate in pharmacology.

Remember, if you show up wearing a rhinestone thong pulled up to your hips on the first date, and on the next date you’re sporting a miniskirt that could double as a tube top from the children’s department, he’ll see you as community property: ”Any guy can get to it so I’m not special if I can get to her.”

Not only this, but men are extremely insecure about how many other lovers you’ve had, especially if they’re thinking about marriage. Men even admitted that they have a magic number in their heads when they ask how many men you’ve been with. (Anything more than what can be counted on one hand is too many.) And it takes very little for their imaginations to run wild.

If you see him in an old pair of underwear that has a large hole next to little lefty, you assume he hasn’t had a good woman in his life to buy him a new supply of ”tighty whities.” With men it’s the opposite. If he sees you wearing a sexy panty but the elastic is a little frayed or tattered, he’ll see it as evidence of a recent humping. The same goes for that black lacy see-through bra you were planning to wear for him. If it’s missing a hook or the hook is bent sideways (heaven forbid), he’ll think it’s been violently snatched off your body a time or two.

Relationship Principle 8
When he sees you scantily dressed, he is not reminded of how great you look naked. He immediately thinks of all the other men you’ve slept with.

For this reason, hold fire on the five-piece triple XXX crotch-less outfit with fishnets, rubber, metal studs, and fifteen straps. It will have an ”everybody’s girlfriend” feel to it. What most men said they find sexiest is a woman in one of his shirts with a sexy pair of panties underneath. This has a ”mine only” feel. If you change into sleepwear, wear something silky that looks like you’d wear it for yourself when he’s not around. This is more likely to make him appreciate the sex, and appreciate you also.

Stated or not, most guys want to feel like Farmer John plowing new turf. (And your job is to keep that illusion going.)

Myth 3: You Have to Be Whatever He Wants You to Be

This is one of the key differences between a bitch and a nice girl. The nice girl meets a guy and acts like she joined a cult. If he’s a Grape-Nuts and berry-eating spiritual type, she’s eating berries with her morning chants. If he’s Italian, she’s making meatballs. If he’s Jewish, she’s rolling up matzo balls. If he’s a fan of boating, she subscribes to Power Boat magazine. If he’s an environmentalist, she’s hugging trees, sucking down wheat grass, and trading in her SUV for a hybrid.

This is why when you see a man who is madly in love with his wife, usually she’s a woman with a mind of her own. She doesn’t ”suffer fools gladly.” The lights are on…and the bitch is home.

When Michael J. Fox met his wife, Tracy Pollan, they were taping an episode of Family Ties. On a lunch break, he walked over to her and made a rude remark about her breath. ”Man, did you have the scampi for lunch or what?” She immediately told him off and walked away. To this day he recalls, ”I had a crush on her from that point on.”

If Michael J. Fox is like most guys, what impressed him is that his wife wasn’t a pushover. She checked him like a sweaty hockey player when he stepped over the line. And he liked it. They’re married with four kids, and twenty years later he still talks about how beautiful he thinks she is in TV interviews.

Self-respect is a one-punch knockout to a guy. When you are confident enough to wield your power and you show that you aren’t fearful of losing him, he becomes fearful of losing you. ”Wow. She’s quick. This one is quality. I will need to mind my p’s and q’s to show her my finer qualities in order to keep her interest.” And just like that — Domino’s pizza and beer will be upgraded to red roses and Cristal champagne.

Case in point. Roger and Cheryl are as different as night and day. He likes the finer things in life. Cheryl loves the 99 Cent Store, a place where he wouldn’t be caught dead. (He says, ”That’s where peasants shop.”) When she goes into thrift stores, he waits in the car, ducking behind the wheel to avoid being recognized. But that doesn’t keep Cheryl from going. She’ll make a sandwich for Roger, and after he eats it she’ll harass him: ”Pretty good, huh? And all the ingredients came from the 99 Cent Store.” The man adores her so much, he’d lie down in traffic for her.

When a man likes you, he will be interested in finding out what you like. If he makes you happy, he feels more secure. Everything men do is intended to impress women — whether it’s going to the moon, becoming a rock star, or driving a nice car. The Taj Mahal was built for a woman. The toys, the homes, the power suits…it’s all designed to impress a woman. Be that woman.

When he asks what kind of food you like, be honest. It’s a good thing for you to tell him how to please you because pleasing you keeps him engaged in the relationship.

In the beginning, a guy might ask a woman what she likes. The nice girl makes the mistake of shrugging her shoulders. ”I like anything you like. Whatever…I’m easy.” She thinks she’s being considerate, but what she’s getting across is, ”I’ll take you any way I can have you…even if you give me crumbs.”

So let’s dispel a couple of nice-girl myths.

1. To a guy, a ”whatever girl” is the same as a ”yes girl.”

A classic example: Picture a guy taking you to a bad movie and then asking what you thought of the movie. If it’s horrible and you say, ”Great special effects!” he’ll respect you a little less than if you say, ”Good company, but the movie sucked. And here’s why I thought it wasn’t that good….” When a man can depend on you to shoot straight and speak your mind, he will view you as a more legitimate candidate.

What men read from the ”whatever” or ”okeydoke” agreeable woman type is: ”I’m not confident enough to make decisions.” This is one of the ways men evaluate whether you are ”relationship material” and ”marriage material.” He doesn’t marry a Stepford Wife or clinker-top toy that nods its head with every movement. This brings us to the second nice-girl lesson:

2. The fastest way to become boring to a man is to always ”do as you are told.”

There were many times I interviewed married men who specifically said this attribute would make or break the relationship. One married man said, ”There were a few women I dated but couldn’t bring myself to marry. They were always the women who were willing to drop everything and do anything I wanted.”

Relationship Principle 9
Every guy knows he can find a girl who is simply satisfied with satisfying him. They are much more turned on by a woman who cares about her own pleasure as well.

What a quality guy secretly longs for is a lover who is also a best friend. And an equal partner. When I interviewed men, I was always stunned when they talked about ”an emotional connection.” One of them surprised me when he said, ”A man wants all the things a woman wants. If you really care about her, you’ll wonder what kind of wife she’d be. But most men don’t admit that because they don’t want the woman knowing he cares that much. It’s safer to express sexual interest only, because it’s still considered ’manly.’ But deep down, men want an emotional connection as well.”

Not only this, but being too agreeable prevents you from learning key things about him before you commit to a long-term relationship. One of the key things you want to learn about a man is how much he respects your opinion.

Relationship Principle 10
You can tell how much someone respects you by how much he respects your opinion. If he doesn’t respect your opinion, he won’t respect you.

When you ”go along to get along” or are too agreeable and passive, you invite his disrespect.

Cynthia was on a date and Jon asked, ”What do you do for fun?” Cynthia responded, ”I bought a high-end riding lawn mower. Last weekend I had fun mowing my front lawn.” Then she described a few other hobbies. Here’s what he observed: ”She didn’t care that I might think it’s stupid or quirky. That is her thing and that’s who she is. The fact that she was proud of it was a complete turn-on.”

He didn’t have to like it. But he respected it. This is why you hear happily married couples say, ”We really adore each other…even though we have nothing in common.”

Whenever someone is telling you to be different than who you are, they are stifling you. There’s a kind of bondage that comes with being in the mainstream.

Think of the classic scene from American Beauty. At the end of the movie Angela, the pretty, blond cheerleader, gets into an altercation with her dowdy girlfriend Jane. At one point, Angela says to Jane, ”At least I’m not ugly!” Jane’s boyfriend says to Angela, ”Yes you are. And you are boring. And you are totally ordinary, and you know it.”

This is the exact opposite of what women are taught. Some women aren’t lucky enough to have a parent, teacher, or other role model who tells her to develop a skill set, a career, or to believe in herself. The unspoken message is that women should invest in their man-catching skills instead. ”Someday a man will come along and take care of you.” Does he? Yes. He rolls out the red carpet when you don’t need him to. In other words, when you act like you’re associating with him because he’s cute and you have some free time to kill. Not because he’s the ”end all” of end alls. Men pick up on how much you need them and they instantly feel pressured and back off. The pressure is lifted when you become passionate about your life, don’t give yourself away, and stay focused on pursuing your dreams.

Men used different words, but overwhelmingly they all said the same thing. The pressure becomes unbearable for a man when a woman is overrun by obsession with the relationship, when her whole worldview boils down to him. ”What if he does X. Should I do Y? What if he says this?…Should I say that?” Men assume the woman is sprung or obsessed when she stops giving her opinion and becomes afraid to say, ”No, I don’t want to do that.” Or, ”No, I won’t go there.” The end result? A crash landing.

Ever wondered why men are intrigued by redheads? It’s because they’re different. Men like anything different, that everyone else doesn’t have.

Relationship Principle 11
It is better to be disliked for being who you are than to be loved for who you are not.

In the movie Closer, Natalie Portman asks Jude Law why he is so madly in love with the photographer, played by Julia Roberts. ”Is it because she’s successful?” Jude Law quips, ”No. It’s because she doesn’t need me.”

To better understand why it turns a man on to feel like you are a ”cat of a different breed,” let’s refer to another page from the secret male rulebook.

A page from the male rulebook

It’s a man’s world so we are used to getting our way. But when a woman has her own way of doing things, she becomes very intriguing. Even though we seem a little confused when we don’t get our way, we secretly respect it. Suddenly, we get to see things from a different perspective. And then we spend the rest of our time trying to figure out how we can fit into her spicy world.

Now, let’s talk about how to introduce him into…your spicy world.

Copyright © 2006 by Sherry Argov

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