The Hairy Primate's Guide to Women
By Amy Alkon, "The Advice Goddess"
AUGUST 4, 1997: The average guy's home audio system may rival the technological advancements of NASA, but when it comes to understanding women, he hasn't progressed much since the days when his hominid brethren were running after their dinner with spears.
Admittedly, the emotional havoc wreaked upon women by the modern-day Hairy Primate has been good for commerce. In fact, the entire women's magazine industry is based on the idea that guys are a mess. The articles they publish usually fit one of three categories:
2. How to get men to (fill in the blank)
3. When should you stop trying to make men (fill in the blank)?
The blanks are always filled in with words and phrases like "commit," "listen," and "call when they say they will." But, no matter how often editors run and rerun the same types of articles, things never change. For that to happen, one must go right to the source of the "problem." So here it is, guys, the answer to that eternal question: What do women want?
For example, women who are confident that they are loved, desired and accepted by the man they're seeing tend to be much more willing to be sexually adventuresome than their less-secure sisters. They also tend not to need to "discuss our relationship" when you're 10 minutes late for the playoffs.
If this happens to you, keep your track shoes in the closet. Remind yourself that the leash she's trying to put around you exists in name only; you can leave any time. Do your best to ignore those butterflies in your stomach until you have spent enough time with her to figure out whether you'd like to run with (or from) her definition of what the two of you are doing.
You shouldn't, however, allow a woman to push you into a long-term commitment -- the kind you make before a rabbi, priest or justice of the peace -- if that's not what you really want. If you start dating a woman who is clearly on the accelerated Mommy Track or who appears to be hell bent upon getting married long before you are ready, be open and honest about the difference in your goals. Getting the facts on the table may mean the painful (and immediate) end of a relationship you enjoy, but in the long run you'll save yourself and your girlfriend a lot of agony.
When applied regularly to your relationship, these three steps can be a form of happiness insurance. Keep in mind that sincerity is a key ingredient in their successful application. Also know that you should extend yourself in each area to realize maximum benefits. On number two, for example, don't ramble about the weather; reveal your fears, your ambitions -- even silly thoughts that fly through your head.
While we're on the often-painful subject of communication, try this one, boys: call when you say you will! In a town like New Orleans, you really don't want to leave in your wake a trail of angry women contemplating voodoo.
The following should further assist you in your communication with women. Cut it out and paste it on your refrigerator.
Things not to say to women:
And take note: foreplay shouldn't just happen in the bedroom. Beyond those times when you expand upon the recommended uses for your kitchen table, a different kind of foreplay should regularly take place at times when you're not about to have sex. This kind of foreplay should include rubbing your wife or girlfriend's feet, massaging her shoulders, caressing her hand or face, and letting her know how beautiful and sexy you find her. Trust me. Engaging in this kind of foreplay will bring you long-term benefits, both in bed and in day-to-day life.
The trick for you is not to become a Jerk. Instead, borrow a few of his trusty tools -- mystery and unpredictability. Keep in mind that when a woman can predict your next move with near-atomic precision, she's probably getting bored. That's the time when you should stop by her house unexpectedly, make her drop whatever she's doing, and whisk her off to some mysterious location.
Men are understandably confused about how women expect them to behave. They heard women in the '70s and '80s complaining that they didn't want to be seen as pieces of meat -- they wanted respect. Well, respect alone will probably guarantee you a lifetime box seat at the girls' afternoon tea, where you will be privy to sad stories about their encounters with men who don't know the meaning of the word. While women do want respect from men, it's not all they want. They also want to see a bit of that Hairy Primate that so many of them claim to loathe.
Jane, 33, notes, "I'm not unattractive, but I find, a lot of times, that I have to be the aggressor with men, both sexually and in getting dates. If a guy who seems interested doesn't make a move on me, it makes me feel like he thinks there's something wrong with me."
Anna, 29, adds, "If a guy makes the moves, you feel wanted and flattered. Even if he's a bit of a geek, it's better than these guys who just stand around waiting for women to chase after them."
When deciding how to treat a lady, many men are still unsure about where the blurry line between chivalry and sexism is drawn. Here's my take on it: go ahead and open doors and do all of that other gentlemanly stuff that a small minority of fat, hairy, angry radical feminists profess that women despise. While a few women will be upset when you do such things, most of them are not the ones with whom you would wish to be seen in public or private.
If you are taste-blind, ask for charity. Invite a woman friend with very good taste on a shopping mission to make you look "girl-friendly." If you're short on cash, invest what wardrobe funds you have in the staples -- a great haircut, fashionable glasses, and good shoes.
While we're in the shoe department, let me tell you that no one looks sexy in Birkenstocks. No one. If you own a pair, melt them down into personalized rubber jar openers for all of your friends or donate them to your dog, and pray that he buries them far, far away so you'll never be tempted.
A word of caution: If you bring her flowers or gifts too infrequently, she may assume you are trying to repent for an affair or some other crime. In this, as well as in other areas, it pays to get regular.
By the way, forgetting a woman's birthday, Valentines Day, or your anniversary is a cardinal offense, usually punishable by a renewed acquaintance with the living room couch. Ask your mother to write important dates on her calendar and remind you incessantly about each the week before it comes.
In those areas in which you grudgingly agree with your wife or girlfriend that change is needed, remember that a sincere and valiant effort counts almost as much as a mission accomplished.
In all of this, please keep in mind the big picture: While women do spend a good deal of their free time protesting the male animal's uncivilized nature, they really don't want men to be totally evolved and domesticated. Such an ascent of man would not only cause a half-dozen magazine empires to crumble, but it also would leave women with nothing to talk about but golf and the playoffs. And no matter how much you think we want to "invade your space," there are a few territories we prefer you keep for yourselves. . ____________________________________
Amy Alkon, a.k.a. the Advice Goddess, writes a syndicated weekly advice
column premiering in the Personals Section of this week's issue of Gambit
Special thanks to actor Ron Williams for modeling. The tuxedo was
provided by Porter-Stevens Men's Wear, Lakeside Shopping Center,
Metairie, 834-3771. The silver evening gown and wrap was provided by Savvy
Clothier & Footwear, 200 Metairie Road, Metairie, 833-7000. The lovely
but coy mannequin was courtesy of MW Display, 2726 Toulouse St., 486-5701.
Special thanks to actor Ron Williams for modeling. The tuxedo was provided by Porter-Stevens Men's Wear, Lakeside Shopping Center, Metairie, 834-3771. The silver evening gown and wrap was provided by Savvy Clothier & Footwear, 200 Metairie Road, Metairie, 833-7000. The lovely but coy mannequin was courtesy of MW Display, 2726 Toulouse St., 486-5701.
(c)1997, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved
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