Dear Mouthy Housewives,
How do I become more manly? Or at least manly enough for women to stay interested in me? I am, by nature, an extremely shy person. I have also been mugged a couple of times. I am a child of a single mom who did everything better than I did, including anything physical and I am bad with my hands. I stopped playing sports years ago, in high school (I was a persistent benchwarmer), so that isn’t a selling point, either.
How do I attract women?
Not the Alpha Male
Dear Not the Alpha Male,
Oh, dear. This is a tough one. Personally, I like to think that there are a handful of distinct life experiences that fall into the old if-it-does-not-kill-you-it-will-at-least-put-hair-on-your-chest category. Obviously, I avoid them like the plague, as my chest has recently undergone laser hair removal, but that’s neither here nor there. I’d suggest any of the following, or perhaps even a combination of two or three:
1. Juggling chainsaws.
2. Signing up for that new Discovery show, Naked & Afraid.
3. Cuddling with grizzlies in Alaska. (Or, anywhere, for that matter.)
4. Swimming with sharks (that are equipped with LASER BEAMS.)
5. Befriend that Most Interesting Man in the World fella…and steal his identity.
6. Hot coals.
7. Puma essence.
8. Marlboro Reds.
9. Scorpion-infused tequila.
I KNOW, I KNOW. I realize that I sound like my mother, but the truth is that I am fully convinced that any ailment from which you may possibly suffer can be cured with either a few glasses of water or a good therapist. What I’m wondering with you, kind man, is whether you feel that you are somehow stifled and intimidated by the world around you, or if you are simply feeling unaccepting and unaccepted for who you truly are. In either of these situations, a great therapist can help you work through whatever is holding you back. You don’t need to be anything other than yourself to be deserving of love and affection, but you do need to love yourself in order for others to do the same.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I like this guy and he likes me back. He asked me out about a month ago and I said, “When I get to know you better.”
I really want to go out with him, but I’m going away with him and a whole heap of friends for 2 weeks and I think that things might be awkward if we break up before/during the vacation. I also think that if I go out with him all my other friends will judge me.
What do I do?
Hmmmm. From the sound of your letter, I’m guessing that you’re not a 40-year-old woman. Because if you were, you’d sound a lot more sure of yourself and also include many colorful swear words. So, let’s assume you’re 25 or under.
Now, you like this guy and he likes you. That’s Step Number One. But you say you don’t want to date him until you get to know him better, which confuses me. How will you get to know him better if you don’t spend any time together? Do you mean you only want to be around him in large groups? That you want to read his unpublished memoirs? That you plan on a few months of texting emojis to each other? I don’t understand why you wouldn’t at least go out for coffee or bubble tea or whatever it is you millennials enjoy these days. Monster Energy Drinks?
You are, however, wise to not start anything with him before the trip. That’s a good call on your part because the last thing you need is a lover’s quarrel while you’re backpacking through Ohio with a bunch of friends. Maybe use this time to hang out with him a little more, but in casual settings.
That said, I’m curious about the “all of my other friends will judge me” sentence in your letter. Is there something different about him? Is he an ex-con? A real estate agent? A professional clown? Because if you like him and he likes you, who cares what your friends think. Take your time, get to know him casually, then see where it goes. You’ll figure it out on your own.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I recently found out that my very first boyfriend is getting married again, and I cannot quit obsessing over it.
We dated when I was very young – my senior year of high school and freshman year in college. I was sure at the time he was “the one” for me. As it turns out, he wasn’t, and we went our separate ways.
After college, I moved home and we started seeing each other again. Naively, I believed we were on the way to getting back together. It took me seeing him out one night with another girl to realize that I was only a booty call to him, not a serious relationship prospect. The last time I spoke with him was over 20 years ago, when he called to invite me to come over for the evening. I was dating a new guy, who would eventually become my husband, so I turned him down.
He has had a string of failed relationships – at least two divorces that I know of. I, on the other hand, have been married, more or less happily, for nearly 20 years.
The fact of the matter is, it was never going to work with this guy. We came from two different worlds socioeconomically, and we live in different worlds now. Think Lexus Soccer Mom and Tattooed Harley Man. I am in middle management with a 6-figure salary, he has held the same blue collar job since the 1980s. We wanted different things from life. We had little in common 25 years ago beyond teenage hormones and unlimited time together, and we don’t have a thing in common now besides two years of history.
So tell me, if you can, why I even give a damn about this? It wasn’t meant to be 25 years ago, I’ve been happy for 20 years without him, and I cannot understand what is driving me to be so interested in him now after all this time.
Do I need therapy? Is my marriage a sham? Is this standard 40-something behavior for a woman to look back and wonder what might have been? Is it okay that I think his new wife looks like a hooker, and not the pretty kind?
I can’t imagine discussing this with my husband, although I’ve thought about it. Honestly, there isn’t anything I’m missing at home. My husband loves me, respects me, takes great care of me and our kids. We don’t argue much, and while our life isn’t the most exciting, we have a happy home and activities we enjoy. It would kill him to know I’m even thinking of the other guy, much less obsessing over him.
I really would like someone to tell me what I need to do to shut the book on that chapter of my life. Can anyone help?
Make Me Stop
Dear Make Me Stop,
Let me type something that may put this whole thing in perspective. I do not know of one woman in this universe who upon hearing that her ex-boyfriend of whatever vintage is getting married, doesn’t stop whatever she is doing, Google the hell out of everything related to the ex, his new wife, their alma maters, pets and astrological signs.
We, I mean, “they” do this because we are human. We do this because we are sentimental. We do this because sometimes it feels good to remember what we were like at 19. So while I think that your interest is absolutely normal, I am concerned that you are “obsessing” over this situation. You need to be honest with yourself- what do you think is going on? While you described your life now as pretty dreamy, I wonder if you feel that you’re missing some excitement of the Harley variety. You made it clear that you are from different socio-economic worlds and yet I’ve heard tell that people can be attracted and fall in love across income tax brackets. So while you recognize that you and the Ex have different life goals and plans, it does not mean that you did not find him crazy attractive in other ways. I believe the psychological terms for this Madonna-whore phenomenon for women is Joseph-Harley.
It would not hurt to have a few sessions with someone to talk this through. It may be just that you need to acknowledge the teenage attraction and to confirm that it did not feel good to be the booty call and not be treated seriously. And no, I do not think it is a good idea to discuss this with your husband at this point. It would be hurtful to use him as a sounding board and he may not have the tools to help you process what you are going through. And a therapist can help you focus on what is happening now in your own life that is making his apparently third marriage of so much interest to you. (I am assuming from your letter that you did not obsess about the first two.) Are your kids getting ready to leave home? Are they dating themselves?
I hope you get the answers you need soon.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I started dating a man about year and a half ago. When we met I had just come off of a 4 year man-hiatus, so I naturally said yes to the 1st man that asked for my phone number. The reason for my letter is because about 30 seconds into the relationship I started trying to break it off…..unsuccessfully. He simply will not accept the fact that I don’t want to be his girlfriend, wife, cook, housekeeper, cash-cow, etc. But, because I am in love with his animals, I do keep in touch and visit with them from time to time.
In a situation like this I think a PRO/CON list might be helpful:
PROS: He loves animals, he loves me (that’s all I got right now).
CONS: He has no bed and was sleeping on the floor when I met him (he has since upgraded to a couch on my suggestion), does not have a working refrigerator and doesn’t seem to mind, no screens on windows equals lots of bugs in the house, no dresser in bedroom equals lots of clothes on the floor, no money equals a lot of bills I have had to pay on his behalf and Christmas presents in the form of cash given in November so he & animals do not get evicted, he has terrible manners, is very clingy and needy which has a smothering effect, he drinks too much and smokes dope, chews tobacco which equals many many brown liquidy “dip” cups and bottles all over the house, overly attached to his mother equals no less than 12 phones calls to her each day, and he has a touch of OCD.
What should I do?
Did I Mention He Loves Animals?
Dear Did I Mention He Loves Animals,
Girlfriend, I love lists! For example, just the other day, I was at the grocery store when I saw a box of Tastykakes calling my name. I quickly made a list in my head.
PROS: They will taste like heaven, I will be happy for roughly 45 seconds, and they’re on sale!
CONS: I will have a sugar hangover because I’ll totally eat the entire box in one sitting, my husband will be pissed I didn’t share, and I’ll have to spend an extra hour at the gym tomorrow.
You know what, I did? I bought the damn Tastykakes. Why? BECAUSE THEY’RE TASTY AND THEY’RE CAKES! What am I, an idiot? So let’s look at your list. Do you see what I see? That’s right. A BOX OF TASTYKAKES WILL OFFER YOU MORE AS A BOYFRIEND THAN THIS LUMP ON A LOG.
Oh, I’m sorry, was I yelling? Ahem. Damn sugar buzz.
What do you want for yourself? Does your vision of happiness rest within a man who functions as a child, has no purpose or drive, and irritates the shit out of you? Of course not. (I mean, if it DOES, then maybe you are suited for each other. And/or a therapist.) You deserve better.
This man needs a nanny, not a girlfriend. If the animals are what keep you going back, then go to the local pound and get your own gaggle of pets. Or, you know what?! Just steal his! You would probably be doing them a favor, and while I’m no police officer, that argument sounds like it would totally hold up in court.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I live with my boyfriend, work for my boyfriend’s company which is run out of our house, and I am so sick of my life. I feel so bored, and unhappy with myself. What do I do?
If You Can Die of Boredom, My Life is in Danger
Dear If You Can Die of Boredom,
Just reading your question made me sick of your boyfriend and I’ve never even met the guy. He’s probably a charming chap. But seriously, when do you get a break from him? You work together all day, you probably hang out together at night and then you sleep in the same bed. Ugh. When do you get a chance to miss him?
So first off, you’ve got to get some breathing space. It’s like you’re a hostage for gosh sakes and there aren’t a lot of happy hostages. Go find a hobby, get drinks with some girlfriends or start exercising. Then you can delight your boyfriend with some funny stories about your time away – like how someone got kicked out of your yoga class for farting too much. That is the kind of priceless shit that keeps a relationship alive.
Second, what do you want to do with your life? I’m getting the feeling that whatever you do for your boyfriend job-wise is not your passion. What are your dreams? Once you figure that out, you can get started on your next moves… whether that means looking for a new job, going back to school or whatever. Even taking a few steps in that direction will make you feel so much better. And don’t let your boyfriend guilt you into working for him forever. If he’s the real deal, he will want you to fulfill your own dreams, not his.
We all go through phases of unhappiness where we don’t feel quite satisfied. This is normal. But you can either choose to be unhappy or take charge and change your life. And this is the time to do it because once you are married, with 4 kids and a mortgage, it’s much harder to make epic changes to your life. (Trust me on this.) So stop reading and go seize the day!