Sunday, December 21, 2008

Online Dating Dilemma

Question: This gentleman expressed interest in me via email and we began emailing to get to know each other. 3 weeks into the emails – we decided to meet. The night before our “date” – his Dad had a heart attack…needless to say the date was cancelled. We continued emailing for a couple more weeks and talking about meeting but he was different and then he just said he couldn’t do this anymore. He said it wasn’t anything I did…did he just run away…was it dealing with family issues? I just don’t know and it really shook my confidence because we had gotten very close thru our emails. Thoughts? ...Robin

Answer: From what you have told me, I see two possible reasons for your gentleman friend to have acted the way he did: 1) His whole world was thrown into an uproar because of his father’s heart attack, which caused him to re-evaluate his life, loves, career and direction. Unable to come to terms with the sudden emotional upheaval in his life, he decided to withdraw from interpersonal interaction until he could “put the pieces back together” and make sense of his current situation and his future; or 2) He enjoyed your online relationship/flirtation, but was either afraid of or uninterested in taking it to “the next level.”

Of course, both are reasonable explanations – two perfectly plausible motivations that precipitated his actions. That said, if I were a betting man (which, by the way, I am), I’d be going “all-in” on reason number 2. Why? Because I find it a bit too coincidental that his father’s heart attack occurred the night before you two were supposed to meet. Sure, it may have happened, but I believe the timing is a bit suspect. It seems far more likely that he came up with a very strong excuse to cancel your date, and then realizing that re-scheduling was an inevitability, decided to make himself scarce before he had to once again deal with actually meeting you in person.

But why would he act that way, when online he seemed so interesting and interested? Well, there are several possibilities. Perhaps he is not what he represented himself to be. Online, he could be handsome, tall, and athletic – the perfect male specimen. In person, he might be three hundred pounds, missing a few teeth, and reeking of body order and Old Spice. Online, he could be witty, insightful, and articulate. In the flesh, he could be painfully awkward, unable to string together a cogent sentence, let alone participate in meaningful conversation. Other possibilities abound. He may be significantly older or younger than he let on. He may be married or otherwise involved, and online romance is fine (in his mind, anyway), but actually meeting you is “crossing the line.” He may be having these kind of communications with many different women and is completely fulfilled by his email adventures. He may be in prison. Or he may not even be a man. The bottom line is this: Online relationships allow the participants to be whoever they want to be. In person, you are who you are. I believe that, for whatever reason, he just didn’t want you to see who he really was. Of course the irony of it all is that had he been honest with you from the start, perhaps you would have been just as attracted to the man as he actually was, warts and all. Unfortunately, you and he will never know.

On a positive note (I always try to find one – cockeyed optimist that I am), this truly appears to be a case of “it’s not you, it’s me.” It doesn’t seem like you said or did anything wrong. Thus, there is absolutely no reason to beat yourself up or lose one iota of self-confidence. He ran away – not from you, but from the truth. And that’s not your fault; it’s his…and his loss, as well.

© 2008 David M. Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, December 8, 2008

What Men Don't Know About Condoms Can Kill You

Several weeks ago I wrote a column on “Men’s Dirty Little Secrets” and spilled the beans on the fact that most men don’t know much about condoms, except that they’re a mood-killer, sensation-duller, and overall huge pain-in-the-ass. At that time, I didn’t elaborate, but judging from your emails, I piqued a number of readers’ curiosity. Thus, I am responding with a short treatise on “The Proper Care and Feeding of a Prophylactic.”

Before I begin, however, I want to address a few questions that might understandably be crossing your mind, such as: “Why is he giving instructions to women on condom usage? Shouldn’t he be giving this info to men? Don’t we have enough birth control methods to be in charge of - can’t guys be responsible for one thing?” All fair questions, to be sure. But the bottom line on this subject is: Despite readily-available instructions, guys are woefully unaware of their lack of knowledge in this arena. And if men are ignorant about how to properly apply, use, remove and dispose of a condom, women are the ones who are going to unwittingly pay the price. And with the price being unwanted pregnancy or contraction of a potentially-fatal disease, the need for you to be educated becomes imperative. It may not be your job, but if your guy is ill-informed or clueless, you will still have to endure the consequences.

The first thing to know about condoms is that they were not originally developed to stop pregnancy. In fact, when they came into existence, their mission was to stop the spread of STDs which were apparently running rampant in certain parts of “civilized society.” Their usage as a contraceptive device didn’t come into play until more than a century later when scientists finally figured out that providing a barrier to those sneaky, resourceful little spermatozoa bastards could effectively limit the number of legitimate and illegitimate offspring who would ultimately be fighting tooth and nail for their share of said sperm producer’s estate. And so it was, that this pesky penis protector, then made of animal intestines, found its way into the hearts, minds and vaginas of our sexually-active ancestors.

But that’s enough digression. Let’s talk about modern condoms and their usage. As you know, when used correctly, today’s latex condoms are touted to be about ninety-seven percent effective as a contraceptive device and offer one of the best defenses against STDs this side of keeping your legs tightly crossed (animal skin condoms, while purportedly offering similar pregnancy protection and more sensation to the male, are a less effective method of stemming the flow of organisms that cause sexually transmitted diseases). So how are these condoms properly used?

1)Always check the expiration date on the condom, something guys generally neglect. While sometimes difficult to do in the heat and low-light of passionate encounters, it is nonetheless vital to the process of effective usage. I mean, you wouldn’t drink expired milk, and the worst that could cause is gastro-intestinal distress. Expired condoms can cause babies and death (a bit dramatic, but still true). 2)The condom needs to be put on before any close encounters with your lower lips. The pre-ejaculate fluid that loiters at the penis tip early on in the erectile process can contain sperm and transmittable microbes if your partner is STD-infected. So “no rubbin’ without a rubber.”

3)The penis needs to be erect before you cloak it in a condom. If your guy optimistically wrapped his manhood before he even picked you up for dinner, demand he re-apply a brand new one (the old one may have been compromised and why take the chance) when he is at “full attention.”

4)Take the new, unexpired, condom out of its packaging. Squeeze the tip, to force out any accumulated air and create a space for the seminal fluid that will certainly be forthcoming (Do this even if the condom is manufactured with a “receptacle tip,” and especially if it is not). Failure to provide adequate room for the impending geyser, significantly increases the likelihood of condom breakage. That spurt of “manseed” has to go somewhere, after all. And if a proper “holding area” hasn’t been created, the expelled semen may actually bust through the latex, making a mess, both literally and figuratively. 5)Next, smooth the condom all the way down the penis. The condom is like a homeowner’s insurance policy, and you’re looking for complete coverage. Why? Because once you get to bumpin’ and grindin’ you want to make sure that sucker is firmly anchored in place, and the more grip-able surface, the better. 6)Now to the matter of lubrication. Those of you who have read my book, “Every Man Sees You Naked,” already know what a lubrication advocate I am. And plentiful lubrication when using a condom is absolutely essential. I am not talking about the warm, organic fluid that naturally moistens your vagina and indicates arousal and penetration-preparedness. I am talking about the kind of lubricant you purchase with mild discomfort at Walgreens, all the while hoping you don’t run into your boss, your elderly aunt, or your pastor. This lubricant should be water-soluble, like KY Jelly or Astroglide. Lotions, butter, or petroleum-based products should never be used with condoms, as their chemical reaction with latex may compromise the condom’s structural integrity. In other words, avoid these unless you want to get knocked-up or infected. Why lubricant? Because sexual activity creates friction and friction can rub you and your condom the wrong way. And though you may only suffer a little soreness, too much friction can increase the risk of condom breakage (Hey, maybe they should make these things out of something a little more durable – like titanium, perhaps). In any case, the more lubrication, the less friction. The less friction, the more effective the condom usage. And it goes without saying; the lubricant goes ON THE OUTSIDE of the condom. Lubricate the inside, and you may later find yourself on a scavenger hunt of your womb.

7)Now a quick word about spermicides. Use of this stealthy sperm assassin can enhance the contraceptive effectiveness of the condom. It may be discreetly purchased online or at your local drug store. And some condoms are even “pre-lubed” with a spermicidal agent…a definite plus. Whatever your choice, if you’re serious about putting off parenthood, a spermicide is an effective complement to other contraceptive measures.

8)So he properly put on his non-expired condom prior to contact with your private parts. He glazed his completely-sheathed erection with the recommended lubricant and then (finally) insinuated himself inside your hospitable environment. Then you two went at it like rabbits. Now, if you don’t want to have bunnies in your future, there is still one more thing he needs to do. Very soon after he has had his orgasm, he must grip the condom at the base, near his testicles, and carefully extricate himself from the warmth of your loins. In plain English, he should cum and go. You see, as soon as your guy ejaculates, he begins to slowly (and sometimes not-so-slowly) lose his erection. This gradual “shrinkage” causes the condom to fit less snuggly and allows for the contained seminal fluid to begin slithering down his shaft and out the bottom of the condom. And if your man is still imbedded in you, all his escaping swimmers may breaststroke their way into your lower passage, searching ever vigilantly for a receptive egg to cozy up to. And you don’t want that to happen, right? So, gently but firmly, insist he “vacate your premises” (your vagina, not your house) soon after he’s done his thing. 9)Once he’s safely withdrawn, he should dispose of his condom in the trash. Suggest to him that he not flush it down the toilet, as it may clog your pipes (and not in a good way). He then should wash all remaining remnants of his “love-juice” off his member before rejoining you in bed to revel in the afterglow (still keeping his penis and your vagina at arm’s length, lest a few stray but potent drops of his discharge be lurking at his penile tip, ready to make their assault on your now unprotected womanhood).

So there it is. Everything you and your guy need to know about how to properly protect both of you from unwanted pregnancy and the spread of nasty illnesses. And although you may think he already knows all this, if he uses a condom and doesn’t strictly adhere to all of the above-mentioned procedures, he really is putting both of you at risk. But if you don’t feel comfortable broaching the subject with him, feel free to literally take matters into your own hands. You can then turn applying, “lubing,” and removing his condom into a sexy, positive experience. He’ll likely appreciate your efforts without ever realizing that your motivation was his lack of knowledge. You protected his ego and your health. And what could be better than that?

© 2008 David M. Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Men And Oral Sex

Question: Most of my life I have wondered why men have this pre-occupation with the almighty “blow job“. It can be a subject of great contention for some women. My husband has told me on numerous occasions that this is a subject that men discuss AND one of his fellow associates stated one day: “Women would rule the world, if they would just give their husband’s the blow job that they want.” Hmmmmmmm…why is this? What is the fascination, the pre-occupation…the importance of it? Even the women’s magazines like Cosmo and Glamour are trying to convince us women that this is something that we should be doing on a regular basis. If all you want to do is see naked and press the flesh…why is this such an important thing also? Do men really talk about this with each other?

I know that my younger counterparts do not have as many hang-ups about this act…but as a woman who was born in the late 1950’s, I and others of time period were trained by our mothers to never consider this…this act was one that prostitutes and bad girls did. So, what do we do now that it is common practice?

Answer: You ask a very good question, Denise, so let me respond to it in a direct and succinct manner…men are wild about getting their whistles blown. And there are quite a few reasons for this. First of all, it feels really good. There’s something about being enveloped by the warm wetness of an insistent mouth that really gets our blood boiling. “But don’t you get the same sensation being nestled inside a moist vagina?” Yes…if your vagina has a tongue. You see, oral sex is more of an ensemble piece than is vaginal sex. A good blow job requires the mutual cooperation of lips, tongue, saliva, hand, and on very rare occasions, a receptive gullet. Tough for your nether regions to compete with such a well-oiled oral team.

Secondly, oral sex is virtually stress-free for us. Unlike regular sex where we have to be concerned about being hard enough, big enough, and long-lasting enough, “lingual love” carries with it no such angst-inducing pressures. We are literally free to relax and enjoy ourselves, knowing that our orgasm will arrive at the appropriate time, no matter how soon that is.

Thirdly, in oral sex, the voyeur in us really has a chance to come into play. Unless we have mirrors or video recording devices in our bedroom, we never really get to visually experience “normal sex” when we are actively participating in it. But with oral sex, we have the opportunity to see you work your magic on our private parts. We get to watch you pleasure us, which only further enhances our enjoyment of the act. It’s like we’re starring in our own little pornographic film…and you know how much we enjoy our dirty movies.

Fourthly, oral sex is all about recreation, not procreation. The goal is pleasure not progeny. In other words, it’s an opportunity to have a good time without the risk of eighteen years of financial commitment. It’s orgasm without a price tag – and we really like that.

And lastly, your willingness to unselfishly “service us” in this manner makes us feel good about ourselves. You’re catering to our needs without demanding anything in return. Thus oral sex is a treat, of sorts, a little bonus given lovingly to us by someone who wants nothing more than to make us feel good. And what’s not to like about that.

I am not, however, saying that you must engage in this sexual practice in order to satisfy your man. If the idea of engaging in such an act repulses you, and your vagina has been sexually doing all the heavy lifting for years without complaints from your man, then “why fix it if it ain’t broke?” On the other hand, if you’re looking to spice up your sexual repertoire with a performance piece that’s sure to earn you a standing ovation from your man’s sexual apparatus, then a blowjob is the ticket. It’s the perfect gift for all occasions, and there’s very little chance he’ll want to exchange it, re-gift it, or return it for store credit.

© 2008 David M. Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Men And Breasts

Let’s talk about breasts. Most guys love to, so why should I be any different? Like it or not, this anatomical accoutrement receives more than its fair share of attention from the male of the species. And while someone with a doctorate might be able to explain the underlying psychological motivation, the simple truth is that men love boobs.

“Duh,” you say, “Every woman knows of men’s almost obsessive surveillance of this particular part of the female topography. Tell me something I don’t know.” Okay, I will. Regardless of what you believe, men don’t just love big breasts. We love ‘em all: Large, small, medium, extra-large, firm, floppy, perky and pendulous. All boobs are welcome. And regardless of their size, the more we see of them the happier we are. Hence, we are ecstatic about the current padded, pushed-up, on-display style bras which go out of their way to showcase whatever you’ve got.

Now this is not to say that a man won’t be wowed by a particularly prominent set of boobs. To be truthful, most will - because larger objects tend to more easily catch our attention. Nonetheless, we are still almost fanatical in our affections for more modest endowments. And if we spy even the slightest hint of nipple, regardless of the fullness of flesh of the surrounding neighborhood, we’re happy as clams. It’s not unlike many women’s fascination with diamonds. Big ones catch your attention and may cause a chorus of “oohs” and “ahhs,” but a smaller-caratted cut of equal brilliance will still illicit its fair share of complements – since you have an enthusiastic appreciation of diamonds in general. But the similarity ends there, because even though your love of diamonds is only equaled by your disdain for cubic zirconia and other “fakes,” we feel no similar animosity toward breasts that aren’t 100 percent original equipment. Spruce ‘em up, plump ‘em out, enhance or condense ‘em, we’ll love those puppies as if they were just the way nature made ‘em. What can I say, when it comes to breasts, we’re very accommodating.

So what does all this mean? Simply put - regardless of what you have on your chest, men will be craning their necks to get a peek, or dare we dream – a grope. Such is the allure of your boobs. They are the mountains, hills or speed bumps at which we worship, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. So don’t spend a lot of time being concerned about what you have or haven’t got in the boob department. As far as we’re concerned, as long as they’re less-hairy than what we have, they’re sure to appeal to our simple tastes. And it is a bad pun, but nonetheless heartfelt, that on behalf of men everywhere, I say, “thanks for the mammaries.”

© 2008 David M. Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Men's Dirty Little Secrets - Part 2

As promised, here is the second installment in my exposé on men’s dirty little secrets.

As I’m sure many of you know, men are visual beings. We are motivated to action and stimulated most by our sense of sight. As such, when we see something provocative it can have a profound effect on us. And by profound effect, I mean, we get an erection. It’s automatic, we think very little about it and are fairly accustomed to it, as we have regularly had to deal with this “affliction” since we were but mere lads. And all of this is pretty common knowledge to the world at large. What is less well-known, is the dirty little secret that in addition to being turned- on by unclothed women in our presence, in photos or on film, we are also aroused by the sight of naked cartoon characters. Yes, you heard me right. Jessica Rabbit doing a slow striptease will bring our blood to a boil. Hard to believe, I know, but any image, real or animated, of a fetching female form scantily clad or bare-ass naked stimulates our, uh…imagination. Of course, this revelation, though startling it may be, hardly impacts your everyday life. But it is kind of interesting, don’t you think?

But on to more serious topics – like what really gets to a guy? “Nothing,” you scowl, “Men are insensitive slobs with barely a feeling among the lot of them.” Hogwash. Men often feel very deeply, but they have just been socialized to keep their feelings to themselves at all costs or be exposed as something less than manly. And we hate that. But unfortunately for even the most stoic among us, sometimes our emotions still make a bold, unexpected dash for the surface, despite our best efforts. And thus we come to our next dirty little secret: We may have been unmoved by “Titanic,” the plight of Elian Gonzalez, or the clubbing of baby seals, but most men get misty-eyed watching “Field Of Dreams.” It’s not because of Kevin Costner or baseball – the only feelings “Bull Durham” evoked in us was lustful anticipation that Susan Sarandon would treat us to a peek at her peaks. No, this movie tugs at our heartstrings for another reason. It could be because it deals with fathers and sons and unmet expectations, redemption and forgiveness. Or maybe it’s because it takes us back to a simpler time when nothing was more satisfying than a game of catch with Dad. Or perhaps we just get all sappy at the idea of turning our backyard into a revenue-producing sports venue. Whatever the reason, the one thing you can be sure of, is that we’ll blame our tears on eye-strain, cat dander or even global warming and we’ll die before admitting that this film is our “Steel Magnolias.”

Even as I write these words, I know you may find this next revelation most distasteful of all. Nonetheless, I am bound by my desire to reveal even the most disconcerting truths about the men in your life. So here goes: One of our dirtiest, dirty little secrets is that if your mother is attractive, chances are your man has fantasized at least once about having sex with her. I can almost hear a collective “Eewww” escape your disgusted lips. But alas, it’s true. Despite what you’re comfortable believing, your mother is a woman, and as such qualifies for the same treatment we give all other women. I mean, come on, she’s not our mother. She’s yours. And maybe she even looks like a hot, older version of you. And you know how much we like having sex with you! So it only stands to reason…In any case, unseemly as it may be for us to fantasize about the woman whose womb you once called home, be comforted by the fact that we are not likely to act on our prurient flights of fancy. But if you invite your mother to come visit you and your significant other for any length of time, you might want to suggest she dress modestly and bring a long, terrycloth bathrobe. No use tempting fate.

So there it is, still more revelations from the seamy underbelly of the male mind. I hope our little journey allowed you to gain some insight without grossing you out too much (a little grossing out builds character). Perhaps at some future time, I can be convinced to revisit this subject and ‘spill the beans’ some more. I mean, there’s so much more to reveal. Maybe I should write a book about how men think. Hmmm….

© 2008 David M. Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Men's Dirty Little Secrets

Although, as I have stated in the past, men are fairly simple creatures, there is still a side of us we try to keep to ourselves. And while it may seem we are hiding something in an effort to increase our mystique, we are, in fact, simply concealing a number of dirty little secrets that we don’t particularly want you to know. However, since you are nice enough to have taken the time to read this column, I will divulge a few of these heretofore hidden truths, so that you might have a better understanding of what’s really going on inside a man’s head (an area you may have erroneously thought was a barren wasteland).

First and foremost, you should know, that every man sees you naked (which is, not so coincidentally, the title of my most recent book). And when I say every man, I mean just that. Your brother, your dentist, your uncle, your clergyman, your father, your son, and your eighty-five-year old grandfather have all pictured you in the buff at one time or another. And whether you find it gross, disgusting, inappropriate, or downright despicable, it is still the way we’re hardwired, and like it or not, it’s not going to change. On the plus side, since we don’t actually know what you look like under your clothing, our image of you is almost always quite flattering. We men are an optimistic bunch, and therefore endow you with the best possible, most flawless features we can reasonably imagine you might possess. So regardless of what you really look like, in our mind, your body is as smokin’ hot as your relative frame allows.

Dirty secret number two is: Men don’t need romance. Ever. That is not to say we don’t do romantic things on occasion. Many of us do, with varying degrees of frequency. But for the most part, we do those things completely for you. It helps us get you in an amorous mood. And we’re all for that. But men don’t need anything, including romance, to get us in the mood for love. We’re almost perpetually “ready for action,” (and when we’re not, there’s Viagra). Soft music, low lighting, scented candles, and chocolate-dipped strawberries do little to enhance our passion. We’re kind of no-frills when it comes to getting down and getting funky. Just say you want to jump our bones, and that’s about as much romance as it takes to get us to shuck our clothes and get down to business.

I am sure that many of you have found yourself at some point in your past, asking your boyfriend where your relationship was going. And it seemed like a fair question, given that you had perhaps been dating for quite awhile. But you may have noticed that your guy seemed particularly uncomfortable when you posed this question to him. And the reason for this is dirty secret number three: When it comes to their personal relationships, men under the age of twenty-nine generally have absolutely no goals. They know they like spending time with you, enjoy having sex with you, and would like to continue doing both, but that’s as far as it goes. They have no idea “where this is going,” and more importantly, don’t particularly care. It’s not until they reach their late twenties and have what some sociologists have referred to as “the dawning,” that men think much past tomorrow when it comes to the trajectory of their intimate relationships. Apparently it just takes men longer to mature, than it does women. Big surprise there, huh?

And then there’s the matter of condoms. And while it’s no secret that a large percentage of males consider them a somewhat necessary pain-in-the-ass, it might surprise you to know that most men have no idea how to properly use one. Oh sure, they know where it goes – but that’s about the extent of their knowledge. They are blissfully unaware that just “rolling on a raincoat” only marginally reduces the possibility of pregnancy and the spread of venereal disease. Knowing exactly how and when a condom should be put on and taken off is key to their effectiveness, and most guys are clueless to this (to be fair, in this instance, guys are not trying to hide their lack of knowledge from you - they simply don't know what they don't know). And while I won’t go into specifics about the actual protocol for this contraceptive device (I’ll save that for an upcoming column), suffice it to say, condom usage is not particularly intuitive. So, since guys have generally not read anything on “the proper care and feeding of your condom” (if such a tome exists), and men are loathe to swap helpful hints on prophylactic etiquette, ignorance and thus accidental impregnation and disease dissemination proliferate. But ask a guy how to play the latest XBox 360 game and he’ll be able to give you explicitly accurate instructions. Go figure.

So there you have it - a sampling of hideous, hidden truths about the male of the species. Are there more? Absolutely. And I’ll be happy to share them with you…in my next column (It may not be much, but that’s as close to a cliffhanger as you’re going to get from me).

© 2008 David M. Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Little Q & A

Question: I just got back into the single life again after 12 years of marriage. Though I am much better off for it, this whole single scene is really confusing and scary to me. My friends & family are encouraging me to move on and get back out there. When I did, I met this very attractive man who currently works at a jazz club I hang out in/play drums for. Each week, he kept watching me from a distance with what seemed great interest. At first I tried to act like I did not notice, but when I would start to look his way and catch him, he would smile really big, blush, look away, only to look my way again a few seconds later. As I would come into the club, he would greet me with a big smile, and hold my attention with a long welcoming glance.

He would come up to my friends/band members to get to know them as if he was trying to learn/show interest in my world. As he would talk to them he would look at me with a big smile and gleam in his eyes. Soon he would approach me, and start flirting with me (paying me complements on my hair, dress, etc.). After a month of doing this, he would then reach out for my hands and hold them for a bit and kiss them before either he or I would leave for the night. Yet, he did not ask for my phone number (much less my name) after all this time and effort. Nor did we really talk about personal things, just made small talk.

So one night I stopped in on my own to see the band play on my night off and he happened to be there with his folks for dinner and drinks. I caught him in his casual attire of shorts and a tee-shirt (which I am not accustomed to seeing), but still thought he looked nice. Though he waved me over, he acted very nervous and asked what I was doing there. Though he did informally introduce me to his folks, I felt he did not seem comfortable with this scene. So I tried to respect this and just politely said hello to them instead of trying to start up a conversation like he would have done with my friends. I then chatted with him briefly and before I went to go sit down, he flirted with me right in front of them. Yet, by the time I came in 3 days later to play in the band, he did not welcome me. In fact, he completely ignored me! It was not until 20 + minutes later that he approached me and he was very formal about it. The smiling stopped, the flirting stopped, etc. I then invited him over for a drink after his shift to talk for a bit (in hopes of getting to know him and find out what his game is).

We talked for a bit as he rushed through his drink. He was telling me his plans for the future and what is going on with him, then mentioned that he had met a girl a month ago (Thinking he meant me at first as we met around the same time). He proceeded to say, “We’ve just been talking mostly, but it looks to be serious.” I then realized it was not me he was speaking of, but someone else. When I asked him about it, he confirmed my suspicion that, yes, he had a new girlfriend. Yet after telling me this, he proceeded to tell me where he lives, what shift he works, what his goals are and some of his interests, which are some of the same as mine (which he knew).

If he was so interested in this “girlfriend” and it is “serious” as he stated, then why was he flirting, telling me all about himself and his future plans? Did he really have a girlfriend or is he making this up? If he is making this up, why and what did I miss?
...Jennifer W.

Answer: In general, men flirt with a woman for several reasons: 1) They are attracted to her ; 2) They are flirts and get off on the attention; 3) They are attracted to her and they get off on the attention; 4) See #1. In other words, generally speaking, except for the random fatally insecure attention-whore guy, men flirt with women because they are interested in them. However, and this is a big "however," having interest in a woman does not mean they have interest in having a relationship with that woman. More often than not, their interest is in getting to know her in the biblical sense. Then, if things go well, their interest in having a relationship might develop.

I believe the guy you wrote about was attracted to you. And as long as it was simply a flirtation everything was cool for him. It seems that the turning point came when he encountered you unexpectedly when he was with his folks. After that, you said, everything changed. Here is what I think might have happened: If, in fact, he was seeing another woman, perhaps he had mentioned it to his parents. Maybe after you left, they questioned why he was so obviously flirting with another woman (you), when he was involved with someone else. Perhaps they made him feel guilty for not only treating his girlfriend with such disregard as to openly and very publicly flirt with another woman, but also for being insensitive to your feelings by misleading you as to his true intentions. After that, his disclosure to you about his girlfriend and his personal information, was his was of clearing the slate, "doing the right thing," and making you aware of the truth about his intentions. In other words, he told you all of that so that you would be discouraged from pursuing him in a romantic way.

OR, maybe he does not really have another "girlfriend," and was enjoying what he considered a harmless flirtation with you, until his parents called him on it. Maybe they could sense how into him you were, and felt that his ingenuous behavior was reprehensible. So, to save face, he came up with the girlfriend excuse so that you wouldn't be further misled.

Of course there is always the possibility that he is gay, and that the whole flirtation thing was a way for him to assert his "straightness" in a very public way so that his "secret" might remain safe. You were his unknowing "beard," until things went too far and it appeared to his parents (or him) that you might actually be developing feelings for him. I do not think this is the case, but I would be remiss if I didn't consider this as, at least, a possibility.

The bottom line is: When a guy who has previously been flirtatious, starts telling you personal details about himself and his girlfriend, he is sending out a not-so-subtle message that he has taken romance between the two of you off the table. He is making it clear that he is unavailable - and the pursuit of unavailable men is a frustrating, painful exercise in futility. Avoid such endeavors at all cost. Your heart will thank you.

And though you may have the urge to question what you did wrong, in this particular case, I believe you are completely blameless. You didn't misread the signals - he was pretty obviously showing you special attention. You simply assumed that his showing you attention meant he wanted to do with you what most guys who show you that kind of attention want to do with you. But in this odd, very uncommon instance, that apparently was not his motivation. Or even if it was initially, something changed (again - not your fault or reflective of anything negative in you) that caused him to rethink his pursuit of you.

All that being said, do not let this one confusing and ultimately unsatisfying experience sour you on "getting back out there." I assure you that most of the men that show you attention and flirt with you want to kiss more than your hands. On that I would stake my reputation!

© 2008 David M. Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Short Comment On Long Hair

Men love long hair…on women, that is. No matter what your husband, lover, boyfriend or significant other may say, all things being equal, your guy would rather see your hair long and luxurious than short and stylish.

This may not be exactly what you want to hear (especially if you just coughed up a ton o’ cash on a fashionable, cropped do), but it is nonetheless generally true. From the time we are little boys, along with “sugar and spice and everything nice,” long hair represents to us femininity at its most basic level. And as we grow, we come to associate long hair with such words as “beautiful” and “sexy,” while with short hair, best you get is “cute.”

Why is the length of your hair such a big deal for us? Because we are visually oriented, and like it or not, how you appear is a primary factor in what attracts us to you. In other words, long hair gets us hot. And short hair gets us…lukewarm. So it is a source of great frustration and disappointment to American men, that unlike their European, South American, Polynesian, and Asian counterparts, American women have a tendency to cut their hair as they age. And what choice do you have? If you don’t trim your mane, you are subject to the ridicule of your peers who chide you for trying to look younger than you are (isn’t that also the purpose of makeup, hair dye, Botox, and plastic surgery – all things that are much more generally accepted), or for looking ridiculously age-inappropriate (who exactly wrote the guidelines for what was age-appropriate – and what were their credentials?). And then, strangely, after you’ve succumbed to the pressure of your short-haired sisters, you quickly join the chorus of derision aimed at others who have not yet seen the error of their long-haired ways.

The bottom line is this: You may have simply given in to peer pressure, or actually find your low-maintenance, new quaff, “chic,” but either way we are bummed. In our minds, short hair makes you look more like the thing we generally find least sexually attractive…us.

© 2008 David M. Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Men Are Simple

I think it is appropriate that my one of my first few columns should deal with the most fundamental truth about men, and that is this: Men are simple.

I know some of you may be thinking that I’ve completely sold out my brethren in an effort to pander to my female readers and gain their trust. But that is just not true. Because “simple” is not bad, or inferior, or lacking value and substance. “Simple” means simply…not complex. It does not mean devoid of emotion or intelligence or empathy. No, men are quite capable of deep emotion, tremendous empathy and stunning feats of intellectual prowess. It’s just that men epitomize the axiom, “what you see is what you get.” You may try to credit us with great depth and complexity, but truly you are “barking up the wrong tree.”

It is quite understandable, however, why you would believe that there is much mystery and intrigue bubbling just under our hairy surface. That is the way you are (minus the hairy surface, usually). Because, unlike men, women are amazingly complex creatures. When you speak, your words are often filled with subtext and deeper meaning, which other women inherently understand. But men are oblivious to the subtle nuances of your conversation. Sure, they understand the words, but they fail to grasp the hidden messages, the unspoken emotional underpinnings. They take your words at face value. Why? Because men are simple.

I know this may be hard to believe, but consider this: How often have you asked your male significant-other, “what did you mean by that,” only to have him stare blankly back at you as if you’d just spoken to him in ancient Aramaic? From your point of view, your question is perfectly valid. He said he doesn’t feel like going to the beach today, but you know that what he really meant is that he’s noticed you’ve packed on a few pound and is ashamed to be seen in a public place with you and your flab. And you know this because you “read between the lines,” and ferreted out his true meaning. Thus, you are justifiably indignant. How dare he comment on your girth, when the last time he saw his toes, Paris Hilton was just a luxury hotel in France. And your assessment of his contemptuous comment would be absolutely accurate, were he a woman. But he’s not – he’s a man, and he’s clueless about subtext. So, when he said he didn’t feel like going to the beach, what he really meant was he didn’t feel like going to the beach. Nothing else. No underlying meaning. No couched insult. And he gazes helplessly back at you and your indignation, mind-racing, trying desperately to figure out how his lack of enthusiasm for surf and sand have provoked your ire.

You see, men talk in an overtly literal manner. For us, words are merely tools of communication (pretty much all things are tools to us – you know how we love our tools), which we employ, with no great pleasure, for their utilitarian benefit in attaining a specific goal. We want something, so we ask for it. We like something, so we praise it. We hate something, so we denounce it. Very practical…and very simple. Consequently, we don’t understand the fact that you regularly dissect interpersonal intercourse, extracting information that completely escapes us. You are complicated. You are analytical. You are deep. We just want you to like us, laugh at our jokes, and have sex with us at the drop of a hat. See? What could be “simpler” than that?

© 2008 David M. Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Question: Okay, you self proclaimed guru, might be more than you wanna know, but my husband of almost 10 years recently ended an affair with a coworker. We're working through that, but- I was truly blown away by something he said to me a couple of days ago and you just might be the right guy to ask about it. One of the main reasons he was attracted to her, he says, is that she was positive and confident while I didn't seem to "care about" myself. This being evidenced, in his opinion, by the fact that I didn't care if I "fixed up" when I went somewhere.... Hmmm, and I thought that meant I was OK with me, but I guess not. So it's been about 5 months since we've started this 'work on our marriage' bit. I start nursing school in August and he made the statement that I'm prolly gonna run off with a rich Dr. (insert dumbfounded expression here-I'm not running off with a POOR one!) Anyway, I am trying to give the appearance of being confident and feeling good about myself when I tell him that "I'm gonna be so cute in my scrubs, they're ALL gonna want me!" To which he replies,"Don't think that highly of yourself Dana." Please understand, I'm not vain. I was joking. JOKING! And the truth of the matter is, he said he WANTED me to be more confident, even as he was pulling the rug out from under me with the epitome of "You're not good enoughs" by having an affair.

So my question is this:Why is it great for your girlfriend to be confident and present herself as thinking she's wonderful, but not your wife? Especially when you say that what you wanted?!?! Hope you can help me grasp the concept. Thanks SO much! Dana

Answer: First, you should know, Dana, that I while I don't condone your husband's infidelity, since you have agreed to move past it, I will not dwell on it. However, you should be aware that, different from women, men don't primarily have affairs because they are unhappy in their relationship with their significant others...they have them because the opportunity presents itself. While a man may be perfectly content in his relationship with his wife, the appeal of being physical with another woman is incredibly enticing. Why? Because men inherently crave variety in their sexual partners. The only thing they like better than sex with someone new. And no matter how wonderful you are in and out of bed, the one thing you cannot be is...someone new.

I mention all of this because it is likely that your husband straying has absolutely nothing to do with how he feels about you. It is far more a reflection on him, his desires and character. But what about his recent comments about you? How do those "fit in?" Very simply: It is those characteristics that she (the other woman) has that you don't that make her particularly attractive to him. Not that those traits are, by themselves appealing, but because they offer contrast to those he perceives you possess. In other words, it is this dissimilarity to you that make those differences especially appealing. So changing who you are (even if you wanted to), wouldn’t really accomplish anything.

But what about the fact that he said that you don't "fix up" when you go out? That actually may be related to another issue. And what is that issue? Quite often, as we get more and more comfortable in our relationships, we take less and less care with how we present ourselves to our spouse. It seems to be a natural progression and is equally common among men and women, with one significant difference. Men are primarily visually oriented. How you look is paramount to how much we are attracted to you. We're hard-wired to be stimulated by what we see. So if your "fixing up" makes you look more attractive to him, it is naturally something he desires you do as often as possible. And while this may not apply to you at all, if he perceives that in your 10 year together you have gradually "let yourself go," he may be harboring resentment that you no longer care enough about him to take care of yourself and make yourself desirable to him. And it doesn't matter if in that same decade he's gone from being a dreamboat to a gross, tub o' lard, he still associates your caring for your appearance as an indication of your love for him. Convoluted? Perhaps. But it's the way a man's mind often works.

Now, to a different, but related topic. Your husband's comments and actions indicate that he may, in fact, be feeling a little insecure about himself and his situation. Your entering nursing school may fuel within him some inner feelings of inadequacy. He may be feeling that rather than being a boon to your joint financial success, your newfound career will make you need him less. And it will put you into contact with upwardly-mobile, intelligent, attractive men who share a common interest with you. Your innocent joke may have inadvertently tossed gasoline on that fire, and his comment was his attempt to salve his singed ego by deflating yours. Also, nursing school is a big-time commitment. On some level he knows that for an extended period of time in the near future, you are going to be spending less time with him, making him less of a priority. It's only natural that would be the case, and intellectually he knows that. But emotionally, this may further add to his feelings of insecurity and abandonment. To offset this, I suggest that you reassure your husband that you're not interested in "talking shop" after a hard day's work in the medical trenches, so socializing with doctors is the last thing you'll be interested in doing. And while it's true that nursing school is going to require a time commitment on your part, your husband and your marriage are your priorities.

© 2008 David M. Matthews. All Rights Reserved.