Thursday, December 3, 2009

Men vs. Women, Part 10

In light of the Tiger Woods scandal, which seems to get worse minute by minute, today's blog will be about infidelity -- and privacy. Again, this is for both sexes, though statistics say that 1 in 4 men will cheat. This is also directed towards married couples, though in my opinion, this applies to anyone in a committed relationship.

First, in order to understand it, we must define infidelity. Merriam-Webster defines infidelity as "marital unfaithfulness or an instance of it." Okay, but what does being unfaithful actually mean? One definition, again from Merriam-Webster, is "not faithful to marriage vows." Traditionally speaking, marriage vows are basically as follows:

Will you take (Bride’s name) to be your lawful wife, love her, honor and keep her in sickness and in health and forsaking all others keep only unto her so long as you both shall live?”

Wow. With that definition, I dare say I don't know one single person who hasn't been unfaithful. Most of us, as imperfect human beings, don't honor our spouse every single second of every single day. While we love our partners, it is very difficult (perhaps impossible) to like and respect them at all times. People do stupid crap all the time, and sometimes we don't like each other. I dearly love my husband, but sometimes I don't like him.

In addition, keep in mind that each couple has their own set of "rules" regarding infidelity. For example, some couples are swingers and engage in sexual acts with other people with the full knowledge and support of his or her spouse. So while I would consider that an act of infidelity, others would not. As a couple, we mutually agree on what is acceptable in our relationships and what is not. Further than that, in the event there is a marriage breakdown and separation, some people believe it is infidelity to develop a romantic relationship with someone else. I do not believe this is infidelity-- unless both parties are actively and wholeheartedly working to repair and renew the marriage. Some will disagree with that, but again, definitions vary from person to person.

So I asked what your personal definition of infidelity is, and strangely, most men and women polled are in complete agreement. I was really shocked by this, though I am not sure why I was so surprised as I know some pretty smart people. With the exception of two men and two others who overanalyzed the question (yes, Kael, you are one of those overanalyzers), every person said there are basically two types of infidelity: emotional and physical.

Most people agree that sex with someone other than your spouse is cheating. While one guy said infidelity is "sleeping with someone other than your spouse stone cold sober," the vast majority don't add the alcohol caveat.

Only 3 described infidelity as purely physical. Everyone else agrees that there is emotional infidelity as well, and usually, the emotional infidelity precedes the physical infidelity, and overwhelmingly, we believe the emotional infidelity is far more hurtful than the physical.

I personally believe infidelity consists of any and everything you would not want your spouse to know about and will lie to prevent the act being discovered. (Obviously, I don't mean gifts, surprises, etc.) If you lie to your spouse about money, that's unfaithfulness, plain and simple. If you lie about where you are or are going to be, that's unfaithfulness. Denying you are married or involved if asked by a hot guy or girl is infidelity. Not wearing your wedding ring when you go out is infidelity, too, and 1 in 3 married men take off their rings when they go out. In addition, to me, lies of omission are exactly the same. Clearing your history so the average spouse can't see you've been looking at porn or are visiting a matchmaking site is infidelity. If you have promised to have no more contact with someone in your life, and either continue to have contact or renew contact behind your spouse's back, you are committing infidelity. Sending a friend a text and asking if he or she is naked is infidelity, not a joke as someone once asserted. Again, if you wouldn't want your spouse to know about it, it is infidelity.

What consitutes emotional infidelity?

One person I asked said infidelity is when you confide things that should remain between you and your spouse. I am *bad* about this. I have more male friends than I do female, and for the past three years, I have consistently confided in Matty and James. I realize now that was wrong of me. I did/do confide in both of them because they know my husband better than I do and I didn't/don't know how to approach things with him and actually get results (which, in itself, is tragic), but our marriage should be our business and no one else's. So I have been unfaithful. Honestly, that kills me. I have failed both of us.

Other examples of emotional infidelity I received are as follows:

Flirting with others
Sexual talk/innuendo with someone other than your spouse
Exchanging personal e-mails or text messages
Buying intimate gifts and presents for others
Chatting online with someone else
Developing a crush or feelings for another individual
Sharing their most private thoughts and feelings with someone else
Not being loyal to your partner
Holding another man or woman in higher esteem than your partner
Anything that takes away your focus from your bond with your partner (ie., internet porn, video games, cars, friends, family, etc.)
Any act that threatens your spouse and your relationship
Spending time with someone of the opposite sex and lying to your spouse, either outright or by omission

While I don't agree with one of these, as I am a harmless flirt, I agree with every other one. I can also say I have violated one or two of these "rules" in a couple of my relationships. I can also say, without hesitation, every person I have ever been involved with has emotionally cheated on me in one or more of the above (not including flirting). There is a line with flirting, as well. Someone I love crosses this line all the time, to the point that his girlfriend gets practically homicidal every time they're in public. Let me tell you - it is not fun running interference so no one gets hurt.

While I believe if both people try hard enough, any marriage can be saved, how do we prevent infidelity in our relationships? First, we must close the door to emotional infidelity as it will lead to physical infidelity.

1. Stay true to your word, especially your vows. Forsaking all others means forsaking all others.
2. Realize if you wouldn't want your spouse to know about it, it is wrong.
3. Do not engage in inappropriate and/or sexual conduct with anyone else.
4. Communicate. If your needs aren't being met by your spouse, you have a duty to tell him or her that and mutually agree on your plan of action. Refusing to communicate will cause your spouse to look to others for acceptance, support and understanding.
5. Steer clear of friends and family who lead you astray by deliberately causing issues in your relationship. Family or not, these people have no place in your lives.
6. Respect and honor your spouse's feelings ~ whether you agree or not.
7. Don't lie. About anything. Because when you get caught in your lie, the distrust begins. Especially when you lie about little things. If you will lie about the small stuff, we know you will lie about the big stuff.
8. Make time to do things together, just the two of you, at least once a month.
9. Keep the focus on your marriage and each other.
10. Pay attention to each other and compliment each other regularly.
11. Talk about your goals, hopes, fantasies, dreams, etc.
12. Surround yourselves with people who have healthy relationships. Too many single friends threaten a marriage.
13. Do not take each other for granted. Remember, there are hundreds upon hundreds of people out there who will give your spouse the love and support he or she is craving.
14. Accept responsibility for your own actions and feelings.
15. Don't stop having sex!

So what do we do if our spouse has an affair, physical or otherwise? The firs step is to have a very frank discussion about how this happened. You need to know how your spouse was feeling when he or she sought out another. You must both take responsibility for your actions. It is very rare that a spouse strays without reason or warning. While you absolutely should not accept responsibility for your spouse's infidelity, you do have to accept responsibility for what you did to destroy your marriage to the point that your spouse strayed. And if you are the cheater, you have to be honest with your spouse and yourself. You also have to accept the consequences.

Your next step is to determine whether you want to divorce or try to repair the marriage. Initially, the betrayed spouse is going to be angry and want the divorce with every ounce of his or her being. I caution you not to make your decision rooted in anger. DO NOT do what I did last year and just leave. Truth be told, absence doesn't make the heart fonder. Absence means you can't work on your marriage. Absence also means one or both of you is going to start acting like you're single and doing all the stuff that you can't do all the time when you have a family (like partying). Also, do not repress anger and hurt. From the time we got engaged to the time I left, I let a lot of anger and hurt fester and simmer and I couldn't let go of it. Some of it I still haven't let go of, and I will probably never let some of it go. In order to let go of hurt that runs really deep, you have to have love and support from your spouse. If you don't, you won't be able to shake it.

You have to tell your spouse when something hurts you. And when your spouse comes to you and tells you that you've hurt them, then you need to be sorrowful and make a conscious effort to ease the pain you have caused. Dismissing his or her feelings is relationship suicide. Ignoring him or her because you don't like confrontation causes complete destruction.

If you choose to stay together, then you must both work on the relationship. Whether or not your marriage can survive depends on whether or not you are both willing to seek therapy, work and move forward. You have to forgive. People respond differently to being wronged and although they are hurt, they often want their relationship back. This is why you need therapy; a professional can help you learn how to forgive.

You have to respect your spouse's wishes. If you both decide to make your marriage work, you are going to have to be held accountable. This isn't to say the wronged spouse gets to dictate everything, but if you catch him or her checking your text messages, you have to suck up and deal with it. I am a snooper, and I always will be. Once you betray me, I will be all up in your business until we are able to restore our trust in each other. If you continue to betray me, I will continue to snoop. If this means checking your texts and phone calls and e-mails, then so be it. And if this means you have to allow your spouse unlimited access to your facebook, cell phone, e-mail, etc., you must suck it up and do it.

And remember two wrongs don't make a right. Should you both stray and then agree to make it work, you don't get to keep your lover around as a friend just because he cheated first. It doesn't work that way. Two people I love have experienced this recently. One of them strayed, and they are trying to put their lives and marriage back together. It irks me to no end that other so-called friends consistently invite the former lover out with the couple. While it doesn't seem to bother the husband, the wife is less than thrilled. Having that constant reminder shoved into her face at every opportunity is extremely difficult. Further than that, it is a respect issue. If your friends respect you -- and your marriage -- so little that they constantly show up with your spouse's former lover, they are not your friends.

Most importantly, do not fool yourself into thinking things will go back to the way they were because they will not. It is up to you as a couple to forge a better, stronger bond and recover from the infidelity. One person cannot fix the marriage. Neither can five others fix your marriage. It's going to come down to you and your spouse. You have to respect each other individually, and respect your marriage. Do not fool yourself into thinking all your friends will still be your friends. Unfortunately, when we are wronged, we talk about it to our closest friends. Then they talk about it with other people, and before you know it, half the city knows and has an opinion. My personal favorite is the people who haven't been around in years who suddenly crawl out of the woodwork and want to spout off pure vitriol -- as though they have been affected in any way.

While I realize Tiger and Elin's marriage will keep the tabloids in business for months, the truth is repairing a marriage after any type of infidelity is a private matter. Unless you are the husband or the wife, your opinion doesn't matter. In fact, your opinion isn't even necessary. It isn't your place or your responsibility. This especially goes for those of you that have never even been engaged, much less married. It's easy to be righteously indignant and place the blame, but the truth is, you don't have the slightest idea what happened. It's not your marriage. You weren't there. I assure you that it takes two to screw up a relationship, and your knowledge is limited. If you haven't talked to both parties, you know nothing. And of course, even if you have talked to both parties, you can throw out about 50% of what each person had to say.

The best thing you can do is mind your own business. Because you should never, ever forget that it could be you going through this pain, and if it were, I highly doubt you'd be so eager for everyone to tell you all about your business.

Marriages can be repaired. I know of at least seven marriages that have survived physical and/or emotional infidelity. The only guaranteed end to a marriage is death.

I honestly hope Tiger and Elin can work it out. They have two beautiful children, and the children deserve for their parents to try. If it can't be worked out, at least they really, truly tried. Fortunately, Tiger seems remorseful. Remorse is the first step. He also doesn't know the meaning of quit, so I bet he works very, very hard to restore her trust and their marriage. If only everyone would do that - we'd be a much more stable country.

I promise the next one will be funny. I'm taking suggestions for lighter men vs. women topics. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Men vs. Women, Part 9

As Mary said in the movie Hancock, "call me crazy. . . one more time."

What does every man, without fail, say about any one of his exes? "She was crazy." In fact, someone just yesterday said I've lost my mind. Have I? Of course not. Was I even angry with him? A little, but I was more hurt and flabbergasted that we'd had a conversation a mere two hours earlier. . . and because he wanted to do what he wanted to do, caring about whether or not I could take care of things didn't matter to him. I didn't even yell at him; I cried. But sure enough, I've lost my mind, at least in his pea brain.

Have you ever listened to men tell stories about an ex and ever wondered if she really was crazy? Or did he make her that way? It's easy for people to listen to what our friends tell us about the person aggravating us and for us to take sides. But often, I listen to my guys and my cousins and my brother talk about how crazy so-and-so was, and I've thought, "What the hell did you do to her to make her act that way?"

I have theories on this, so men, this one's for you. Sit down, shut up and hang on for the ride.

As men, certain things are expected of you. Your role in society isn't that difficult. We expect you to support the family. We expect you to fart, scratch your balls, stare at the waitress' ass, belch in public, watch nothing but ESPN for the entire year, sit on your dead butt and play video games while we do all the housework and parenting and everything else, go out and get drunk with the boys, go to strip clubs, pee on the toilet seat and/or the bathroom rug, have no manners, etc. These days we don't even expect you to be able to maintain the cars or the house because those skills went out the window for most "men" about the same time my daddy turned 21. Your mothers have pampered you until we're lucky if you can hold a job, but that's another issue. We expect you to be inattentive to us and the kids. We expect you to "forget" our birthdays, anniversarys, etc. We expect you to treat us like dirt in front of your friends.

As women, our role in society is, at the very least, ten times more difficult. Back in the Leave it to Beaver days, Mrs. Cleaver took care of Ward, Wally & Beav, the house, all the grocery shopping, all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, clothes shopping, charity work, errands, etc., all in a dress, heels and hose. Most of you gents haven't ever worn those three items, but let me assure you, it isn't comfortable.

Now, not only are we expected to do all of the above, we now also work full-time, make sure all the bills are paid, take off work when our babies are sick, take them to the doctor, and do 98% of the parenting, including discipline, we do all the Christmas/birthday shopping, even for your family, and let's be honest, we don't like every member of your family, and we're supposed to do this with a big fat smile on our faces, while you guys sit around and do whatever you feel like doing and screw up another generation of boys by leading them to believe it's okay for you to be selfish assholes because someone is always going to come behind you and clean up your mess after you have a tantrum. And let's not forget that thanks to Xbox, we now get to do ALL the work in our relationships, too. Or at least we try, but remember, you aren't listening.

So guess what happens? We get more and more and more fed up with you until we start screaming. And how do you react? "Whoa. . . stop acting crazy!" And just like Mary said, all we can think is: call me crazy. . .One. More. Time. And I'll show you crazy, you jerk.

The truth is that we aren't crazy in the slightest. There is not one single thing wrong with getting mad. You push us and push us and push us some more until we hit the ceiling and yell and slam doors (there is something SO satisfying about slamming a door) and cry. Just like you, we can only handle so much. The difference is that we tolerate a lot -- A LOT -- more BS than you ever will because while you're blowing off steam with a first person shooter game for 17 hours straight, we're pulling the weight for the entire family. And while we're pulling our weight and yours, instead of being showered with love, attention and having you thank us for our hard work, at the end of the day, when we can't take your BS, your mother's BS, your friends' BS, you just call us crazy.

Thanks, guys.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Men vs. Women, Part 8

It's been a while, I know. I've had a lot of stuff going on, but I'm back and hope to pick back up to my weekly schedule.

In continuation of the men vs. women blogs, today's post will be about loyalty in relationships. This one isn't attributable to men or women only. We all do this. This one won't be as humorous as the others as this is a huge issue in a lot of relationships, and when one isn't loyal to the other, it completely devalues the other person not only in his or her eyes, but in all others' eyes.

When we take a husband or a wife, we have vowed that we will put him or her above all others. In fact, while the vows differ from couple to couple, we stand before God and our friends and families and promise to us all "to take you as my partner in life and my one true love. I will cherish our union and love you more each day than I did the day before. I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, loving you faithfully through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles we may face together. I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward for as long as we both shall live."

That's crap. As any husband or wife will tell you, some days you just DO NOT cherish your spouse. When she's got PMS or he's being a lazy ass, sometimes the other spouse just wants to shake him or her until the head pops off. We don't, of course. . . but we think about it.

To be loyal is defined as "unswerving in allegiance." Now let's think about that. Unswerving in allegiance. Steady devotion. Unfaltering dedication. That's pretty serious stuff. With the exception of my son, I can't think of one person for whom I've had unfaltering dedication. I did with one other person at one point in time, but because his loyalty was elsewhere (from the beginning), I lost it, though I did try and try.

When a couple first begins dating, they have certain loyalties to their friends and family and career, etc. After they have been together for a while, their loyalties gradually change, until we are steadily devoted to the other person.

As adults, we all realize there are both good and bad forms of loyalty. When we are loyal to a friend who is committing an egregious act, we're exhibiting a bad form of loyalty. Society agrees this is bad and therefore, we have exacted punishment on those who remain loyal in the face of a crime, for example, with accessory crimes.

Personal loyalty is okay to a point, but in marriage, we *have* to be loyal to our partner even when it is contrary to our own self-interests. Sometimes, loyalty to your spouse is going to make others angry, especially those that don't have YOUR best interests at heart, so you're going to have to deal with some confrontation and hurt feelings from someone else. Some of you are saying, "So what? Who cares if someone else doesn't like it?" and some of you are saying, "But that's hard. I shouldn't have to choose." In a perfect world, everyone would love everyone else and everything would be sunshine and roses at all times. But for those of you that haven't noticed, we aren't living in a perfect world. Any world where adults exploit children on a daily basis is anything but perfect.

Women tend to be fiercely loyal to our families. Why do you think there are so many mother-in-law jokes? We have all heard complaints about meddling mothers-in-law. . . and the spouse who refuses to confront her. Historically, this issue has been with women and their mothers. Just like with childrearing, we don't get a textbook when we get married. Naturally, when a problem arises, women go to our mothers. And let's be honest, our mom's experience is from her own marriage(s). So unless you married someone EXACTLY like your father, she can only tell you what worked for her. What worked for her might infuriate your husband. Or it might be too subtle for him to even notice.

Men tend to be fiercely loyal to their friends. As I said in an earlier post, women do not make time for themselves like we should because we are keeping the house together. Men run off at a moment's notice to go hang with the boys. So who are men talking to about problems in your marriage? That's right, they're talking to the guys. Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. At least you are talking to someone, though it does make sense to talk to someone who has at least been in an an adult relationship before, or even better, someone who is or has been married. At least they have some experience!

Where this loyalty becomes an issue is if all you do is bitch about your spouse to your mom/friends. . .all they hear is you bitching. . . they form negative opinions of your spouse. We're all guilty of this. For whatever reason, when we are happy, there's nothing to talk about with anyone. Maybe this is because no one wants to hear us gush on and on about our husband/wife like we are newlyweds. It's just not as entertaining when others can't give unsolicited advice. At any rate, once you open that door with your family/friends, then allow them to comment upon the person you have chosen, whether in public or in private, without repercussion, you cannot get it closed again.

In other words, you chose your spouse. You chose that person, over everyone else you have dated, because you find him or her to be special. Marriage is the only relationship we go into of our own free will that can't be duplicated. Think about that. You have one husband. One wife. When you said "I do," you promised her your loyalty. So letting your friends talk about what a bitch she is in a public forum, or even allowing your mom to say what an ass he is in private is unacceptable. And sure, your best friend is going to tell you that your husband is acting like a complete douchebag. And sure, you're going to say OMG, I know. You shouldn't, but you will. But when it is taken to another extreme, and your sister calls your wife an inappropriate name on her facebook, or your friends write long blogs about what a jackass your husband is, you absolutely cannot allow it. Not only are they insulting your partner, they are insulting you. And if you do allow it, the door is open and here's what is going to happen. I know this from experience.

1. You're showing your partner you have no respect for him or her, nor will you command respect from your "people."
2. You're showing your people you have no respect for your partner, so why should they?
3. You're showing your partner you have no respect for your people, so why should they?
4. You're showing your people you have no respect for yourself.
5. You're showing your partner you have no respect for yourself.
6. You are destroying your partner's trust and faith in you.

Then you have this vicious cycle that starts with one nasty comment from someone important to you and in the end, what happens? Everyone hates everyone else and you are stuck in the middle trying to make everyone happy. Had you been loyal to your partner and immediately confronted the offender either face to face or over the phone, things would have been much, much different. And maybe if you didn't know to do it then, if things continue to escalate the way they did in my relationship, you realize ignoring the situation isn't going to make it go away so you step up and put your foot down and stand by it. Trust is built on consistency and observation; if your track record doesn't change, your partner will not trust you. Nor should they, and believe me, kids, that hurt runs deep.

Eventually, the fact you have destroyed that trust will destroy the rest of your relationship. Oh, sure, it will seem like there are other issues because he or she will gripe about other things, but under the root of it all is that there is no trust, and without trust, there can be no marriage.

Do we chalk it up to a loss and divorce and hopefully move on without dragging this extra baggage with us? I guess that depends on what kind of person you are, or even what kind of person you want to be. The more time I spend thinking about marriage and people, the more I believe there is no transgression in a marriage that cannot be healed, if both parties are committed to saving the marriage. Most people are going to need therapy to get past things, but it can be healed.

Ladies and gents, in summary, there are two things about this post you need to take with you when you go:

1. If you cannot put your partner before your friends and family, do not get married. It is unfair to your partner and what if you bring a child/children into the world? You've now managed to screw up three lives.

2. If your partner cannot put you before his or her friends or family, do not get married. No matter how much has already been spent on a wedding, how much you love him or her, etc. We all deserve someone who makes us the number one.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Men vs. Women, Part 7

As promised, gents, here's a list of all too common bad habits of yours.

Bad Habit #1: Your powers of observation are. . .well, you don't have any. For example, I dyed my hair black sometime in March, I think (prior to that it was red). My doctor, who has seen me monthly since July, said last Monday: OMG, I LOVE the black hair! Holy damn, Dr. Lane. You just *now* noticed???? Unfortunately, stuff like this happens ALL the time with you guys. Especially if we're in a relationship with you. You *should* notice when we've done something different with our eye makeup. . .and especially our hair. If we are working hard to lose weight, you damned sure better notice and say something. You can spot a bad guy a gazillion yards off, hiding behind a building, on Call of Duty, but you can't notice our hair? Learn how to pay attention to something other than yourselves!

Bad Habit #2: Your manners and etiquette are atrocious. WHY must you ALL pick your noses? All the time? What is THAT about? I understand if you are three, but grown men? Keep your fingers out of your noses unless you are behind closed doors and have no witnesses (i.e., we do not care to see you pick your freaking nose). Further, forks are not back scratchers. It is inappropriate to lick your knife -- or your plate, for that matter. Use your knife rather than your finger to get that last bite on your plate. Chew with your mouth closed. Don't blow your nose at the table. Keep your feet off the furniture. Spitting is unnecessary, especially that nasty loogie suck and spit. You know what I'm talking about, and it is just disgusting. Also, for those of you that blow your noses and then look into your tissue like diamonds are going to fall out of your nose, STOP IT. O.M.G. Revolting. If you just need to look at your snot, don't do it in front of people. Belching and farting at the dinner table is inappropriate (and y'all know I think it's hilarious, but most women aren't amused.) Also, no one wants to see the foot long turd you just pooped except, perhaps, your moronic friends. Do not drag us into the bathroom to look at it.

Bad Habit #3: You constantly make jokes at our expense. You joke about our intelligence, our driving skills, our weight, etc. Guess what? You aren't funny. Brad used to drive me insane, talking about what a bad driver I am, when he had three accidents in a year! Did I have any? No. I am not a bad driver; I am an aggressive driver. There is a difference. You wouldn't appreciate it if we made fun of you -- in public or not -- and told you your bedroom skills were mediocre or that you had a little package. Stop making fun of us. And frankly, if you are dumbass enough to make fun of a woman's weight, you deserve to wake with your buttcheeks waxed shut.

Bad Habit #4: You are The Biggest Whiners EVER when you are sick/hurt. O.M.G. You are suddenly rendered even more useless than normal when you are sick or hurt. But if we're sick, we get "shake it off, darlin'." We are forced to cater to you, and I know one girl who even gave her man a bell so he could summon her as needed. After my tubal, my ex left me by myself, on an Ambien, WITH THE BABY. When he did return, he let me sleep but played xBox until I woke up - he never got my pain pills. If I'd done that to him, he would've shot me the second I returned. And you are such babies about every tiny cut unless you got it in a manly way. Yet you adamantly refuse to go to the doctor? No wonder women got saddled with the whole childbirth experience. You wusses couldn't hang. So man up, for heaven's sake. No one wants to see her man whine his way through a pedicure or a cold.

Bad Habit #5: Selective hearing. You wonder why women act crazy? This is why. When we need to talk to you about something important or when we need you to do something, you don't hear us. But the second we stomp all the way upstairs and mutter "jackass" under our breath, we'll hear you yell, "What was that? Huh? Jackass, you say?" I can tell you from experience it is a serious battle not to stomp back down the stairs and scream in your face. And it doesn't always have to be an angry situation. "Hey, honey?" "Mmm, hmm," with eyes glued to the TV, which is on a commercial. "How about we get your dad cigars for Christmas?" "Mmmm hmmm." "And let's get my dad a new scope." *grunt* "Or how about (tiny squeaky fart). OMG, EXCUSE ME! I am so embarrassed." Man is now laughing himself into hysterics. If she says right now, "So you'll pick up those gifts for us, right?" he isn't going to have a freaking clue what she's talking about because he heard nothing of what she said; he just heard the tiny little fart. If you can't listen and do something else, then stop trying to multi-task. Pay attention, for the love. You cannot expect our undivided attention (which you most certainly do) and refuse to give it to us, too.

Bad Habit #6: Underdressing. Gentlemen, a t-shirt, cargo shorts and flip flops is not date attire. Unless we're going to a water park or an outdoor concert/BBQ. Put on a nice pair of jeans. A collared shirt. Shoes that don't show your toes. And shave, for heaven's sake. For those of you that wear ripped up jeans and a wallet on a chain, unless you are a biker or 18, it's time to let that "fad" go as it is absurd. It isn't going to kill you to dress nicely. We don't expect you to wear a tie out unless it's a big occasion or a wedding, but we do want you to look nice. Sloppy and grungy 100% of the time is not nice. Oh, and for you gents with plumber butt issues, invest in a belt!

Bad Habit #7: Gawking. Okay, seriously, put your eyes back in your head. And stop pointing, you are embarrassing us! If the waitress is hot, please do not pretend you weren't looking at her. It is also unnecessary to fall in the floor trying to get a better look at her butt while she walks away. Alternatively, yes, honey, I see her hair. No, no, I do not know what possessed her to leave the house like that, but pointing is rude and embarrassing. Let's just giggle to ourselves and not ensure the entire restaurant knows and is now laughing at you for having the manners of a goat.

Bad Habit #8: If we make plans, and something happens that makes it so you are unable to go, 1. let us know as soon as possible. Don't wait until we ask you what time you'll be there to tell us. This is unbelievably rude and inconsiderate. You know damned good and well most women doll up before we go out. The last thing we want is to get all fixed up then have you tell us five minutes before the appointed time "oh, hey, I got tied up at work." 2. Have the stones to CALL us and cancel the date. Texting? It's definitely not okay. Again, you pansies, cowboy up.
3. Stop waiting for us to ask before you tell us. Unless you are trying to prove you aren't interested. Which is cool, because just about every woman I know will mark a man off the list after this.

Bad Habit #9: "I forgot." This is your excuse for everything. From "forgetting" that we asked you take the garbage out, to "forgetting" our anniversary, to "forgetting" to pick up diapers for the baby, and everything in between. There is absolutely no way -- no way in hell -- you guys truly forget as often as you say you do. Unless you have early onset Alzheimer's or adult ADHD. And if you do forget that often, take your ass to the doctor and find out what is not working properly in your brain because it isn't normal to forget things like that. And for those of you that don't actually forget, stop procrastinating and just do what needs to be done.

Bad Habit #10: Omitting things. You might either not feel it is important or feel it is none of our business, but when we're in a committed relationship, it's our business. For example, you get reprimanded at work and don't say anything. You screw up again, get fired, and we're totally blindsided because you didn't tell us you got in trouble! Or, friends invite us out and you automatically say no because you don't want to go -- instead of us making a decision together. Have any of you seen the movie Obsessed? That man's lies of omission got his child kidnapped and his wife almost killed. I realize that's severe and not likely to happen, but the possibility is there. We don't need to know what you ate for lunch, or if the post office girl flirted with you -- but we do need to know if someone acts completely inappropriately. Another example: last night Matt got up and said he'd be right back. After he left, Christa started talking about how hungry she was. I said hey, I thawed some chicken, how about I make stir fry? She agrees and I go start dinner. Matt comes back when I am about half finished -- with groceries. He went to get something to cook for dinner. But he didn't tell me, the other person who cooks the most.

Bad Habit #11: Tardiness. WHY are you always late? Get a watch. Set an alarm. Put down the xBox controller. And be on time.

Bad Habit #12: Fat men, fat women. (This one drives me absolutely insane.) Scenario: You are 50-100+ pounds overweight. You have a gut so big, people are convinced you are going to give birth to an elephant. Yet you absolutely refuse to even glance twice at a woman who also has a weight issue. Why? "I don't date fat women." Well, most women I know aren't automatically interested in a man so fat that you can't see his business for the beer belly, but we certainly don't mind some fluff on a man. If you are fat, you do not get to discriminate against fat women (grossly obese is something altogether different, unless you are also grossly obese). There are plenty of sexy, beautiful, larger women out there that you'd be lucky to be with. Charlotte Coyle is stunning. Kate Dillon is a gorgeous, gorgeous redhead. Queen Latifah is fabulous. Crystal Renn will make your jaw drop. Mia Tyler, Liv Tyler's sister -- also a looker with some chub. Granted, the afore-mentioned women are all models. I'm considered plus-size and I *know* I'm pretty. And I can't tell you how many times men (round ones 'cause we know that's my type) have looked at me with utter revulsion because I've got hips. Their loss, of course. But you don't get to expect a beautiful, skinny, stunning woman to want to be with you when you're a lard ass. Stop being shallow jerks and look around you.

And that is all for now.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Men vs. Women, Part 6

Let's talk about bad habits. And I'm not talking about a nun's clothing, either.

All of us come into relationships with bad habits, or, rather, behavior patterns, and men and women have completely separate lists of bad habits. We acquire these habits by repetition of the behavior until it becomes involuntary. Like smoking. Or cussing. Bad relationship habits often start out as a belief. "If I tell him I don't want to go out with my friends, he will think I only want to be with him, and his feelings won't be hurt." Every man reading this right now is shaking his head, muttering, "This is CRAP." I'll get to why that is crap later.

Today's post will be about bad habits that are generally attributed to women. Again, I realize not all women do all of these things. I realize some men do these things. For my purposes, I'm sticking to generalities. (And if BAP is reading this, yes, yes, I know I have done some of these things in the past.)

Bad Habit #1: Taking too long to get ready. Yes, yes, I realize if we're going out, we want to look perfect or close to, but it is not necessary to make yourselves an hour late because you either didn't start early enough or you couldn't decide what to wear. You are never going to find a man who is content to pace the floor, checking his watch ever five seconds, because you can't decide which shoes to wear. And, if you ask him to pick a pair, put that pair on your feet and go. Don't ask him seven times if he's "sure." Don't ask him if you don't value his opinion.

Bad Habit #2: "Does this make me look fat?" NO MAN wants to ever hear these words come out of your mouth. Especially because we all know it's a Catch-22. If he says, "No, you look fine," chances are you're going to be miffed because he didn't use "stunning," "fabulous," "gorgeous." If he says, "You know. . . " you're going to be pissed because you do, indeed, look fat. And who gets to suffer? Your man. And let's be honest. We all know you've been staring at yourself in the mirror for hours. If you think you look fat, 97% of the time, you're right. Just change your clothes!

Bad Habit #3: Neediness. Ladies, neediness is not sexy. You were able to fend for yourself before he came along, so find your independence and start again. There is no need to be financially, emotionally dependent on ANYONE else after you leave your parents' home. When my grandfather left my grandmother for a much, much, much younger woman (RIP Grandpa, but you were a jerk), she didn't know how to drive. She'd never even tried to learn. She just depended upon him to take her where she needed to go without a second thought. And how many times have we heard about women who allow the husband to be in control of the finances? This is a terrible, terrible idea. Not only will you not know a thing if something happens to him, but you won't know if he is driving you into bankruptcy. I once had a friend who had to ask her husband before she was allowed to spend any money. I am not talking about spending $300 on clothes; she had to ask before she could get gas, groceries, haircuts, etc. Why? Because he was spending her ENTIRE salary and some of his gambling. They had to file bankruptcy and it is my understanding they even lost the house. Take charge of your life. Stop being/playing the victim. And what is it with you women who constantly ask "do you love me?" Uhh, he married you, right? He tells you daily, right? You've now effectively turned your relationship into a job. We should never, ever, ever put someone else at the center of our universe. 'Nuff said.**

Bad Habit #4: Talking too much. Y'all know I talk waaaaaaay too much. But there is a time and a place for that. Talking during a football game (or any sport they enjoy) is not the time or the place. My sister is the World's Worst about calling me in the middle of a football game with nothing to say. WTH. And I can't tell you how many times I've heard men pissing and moaning about how "she" won't shut up during the game. Ladies, he does not need to focus his attention on you 24/7. So shut your mouth, let him spend the whole game admiring his heroes without you nagging or chatting or whatever. Either wait for a commercial* or make a list to discuss when the game is over. Everything you possibly need done or to talk about can wait. And for those of you that either attempt to or actually force your hubs to go shopping with you during a very important game (as they all are when your team is playing), you should be publicly flogged.

Bad Habit #5: Cereal is not dinner. Sure, once in a while is fine, but every person, male and female, should know how to cook. I am not expecting anyone to be a gourmet chef, but you should at least be able to whip up a quick stir fry or chicken enchiladas or something just as easy. In fact, you should know how to make at least five meals. This is especially relevant to those of you that are my age and younger. Just because we are career driven does not mean we shouldn't know how to cook. Cereal might work in your single days, but man cannot live on cereal alone. It's not at all difficult to throw chicken breasts in a baking dish, sprinkle with lemon pepper and bake until done. If you're looking at recipes that are too complicated, go get a copy of A Man, A Can & a Plan. They're usually healthy recipes, few ingredients and they're pretty tasty.

Bad Habit #6: Constant dieting. I understand the weight struggle. In fact, I'll bet no one understands it better than I do. I am not telling you to throw your diet out the window completely; I'm telling you once a month, it isn't going to kill you to eat something other than rabbit food. Trust me; men like that you are trying to be healthy and keep yourself in shape, but they really, really, really want you to just turn it all off sometimes. Have ice cream for dinner. Eat a big greasy burger, with fries. Forget the grilled chicken salad, hold the dressing. Men are strangely fascinated by women who actually eat. Maybe it is because we're letting our hair down, so to speak, which shows them we are willing to step outside our boxes. Carl's Jr. didn't make a bunch of these commericals for no reason.

Bad Habit #7: People pleasers. One of my dear friends is the worst kind of people pleaser ever (and yes, she knows how I feel). I'm all for not rocking the boat if it doesn't need to be rocked, but denying yourself and your true feelings to "protect" your spouse's feelings is like a Category 5 hurricane headed straight for your house and your house only. It's not going to end well, and it's going to leave a mark. I've heard other women say, "Well, if he's happy, I'm happy." Sure, I can get that. What I don't get is living your life for the sole purpose of making someone else happy. Not only are we responsible for our own happiness on a daily basis, your relationship is now nothing but smoke and mirrors. You've denied yourself the things you really want, for fear of upsetting someone, and the end result is that he loves someone else, not the real you. How unfair is that? To both of you?

Bad Habit #8: Talking on the phone too long. If you live together, chances are most telephone communication is unnecessary. Sure, sometimes you need him to pick up milk on the way home, but calling him to tell him every minute detail of your day when you are going to see him later that night (and regale him with every minute detail of your day a second time) is a huge waste of time, not to mention it is annoying. The majority of men I've talked to admit that multi-tasking isn't a strong suit. When you call him and expect him to listen while he is in the middle of something else, he is going to get annoyed. Then he is going to get angry. Leave the man alone, for Pete's sake.

Bad Habit #9: It ain't all about the kids, folks. I love my son with every single ounce of my being, but my life doesn't revolve around him. Yes, I e-mail pictures every month or so. I am excited beyond belief that he is walking. But I am not going to let life fly by because I am so busy protecting him from the world. Yes, yes, yes, OF COURSE, he needs to be protected from a lot of things, but sometimes, the only way for him to learn is to let him fall. Kids are going to get hurt. As one of the guys so wisely put it, sometimes you need to let them learn what happens when they do that to the cat. They're going to put things into their mouths they shouldn't. They're going to get skinned knees, black eyes, broken bones, etc. I love him, but much like the person I'm involved with, I need some time away from Connor. And guess what? He's going to be just fine. He needs some time away from me, too. Being a parent isn't all there is to life. To treat our children as though it is only creates more irresponsible, spoiled children for the world to tolerate.

Bad Habit #10: Too much jealousy. Women are going to check your man out sometimes. And you know what? This is a compliment! It says that she notices how good your hubby's butt looks in those jeans. It says she notices his sexy little dimples. Unless she's trying to get him out of his pants, realize that yes, your hubby *is* that handsome. Also, you don't get to be jealous of all women from his past. You have a past, too, and wouldn't you be annoyed as hell if he acted the same way? I know I would be. Unless he has specifically blamed her for some bad relationship habit he has, she's his ex for a reason and you need to get over the fact that someone else was with him first.

Bad Habit #11: Most relationships have little things happen that you can tease each other about later. For example, my ex was nicknamed "Crash" because he'd had so many car accidents. In fact, in the first full year we were together, he had three more accidents. So yeah, I teased him about it. I am not a graceful woman. He often teased me about falling down in public (though he's not any better!) However, there's a fine line between funny and hurtful. I know this because I cross it ALL the time. I don't mean to, of course, but I still do it all the time. Ladies, you have such double standards about this. If you pick on him, you're only playing, but when he picks on you, he is being "mean." It's either playing or it's mean. If he tells you you've hurt his feelings, then you apologize immediately. Never try to justify with the "I'm only playing" line. It's no different than them telling us they "forgot" everything important to us or that we've asked them to do. Attempting to justify in this situation only shows them their feelings are inconsequential to us. It saves a lot of time and effort if you immediately apologize and/or make it right.

Bad Habit #12: Stop asking him what he's thinking about all the time. Seriously. He's probably thinking about sports, or cars, or fart jokes, or beer, or boobs. I guarantee you that he's not thinking about what you want him to be thinking about, which is how fabulous/smart/beautiful/fun you are. Half the time, he's just totally zoned out, with nothing on his mind. I promise. And when you ask him, he gets the deer in the headlights look because he doesn't know if he should say wow, I was totally thinking about Megan Fox's boobs or lie to you. Frankly, he should totally tell you he was thinking about Megan Fox's boobs. If you asked, then you have to accept whatever is going on in his mind. Period. So if you think the answer might possibly hurt your feelings, don't ask. Ever.

Gentlemen, you're up next.

*The exception to the commerical rule is the Super Bowl. Half the time men don't care about the outcome of the game; they only watch for the commericals.

**I agree that actions speak louder than words. Some men do nothing but hand out platters full of lip service. It doesn't mean you get to be needy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Men vs. Women, Part Five

Rather than this post addressing one gender or the other, this one will address both groups. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "The most important thing in any relationship is not what you get but what you give." Only 7% of communication is verbal. It stands to reason if your spouse is talking, you should be listening with your undivided attention.

Main Entry: com·mu·ni·ca·tion Pronunciation: \kə-ˌmyü-nə-ˈkā-shən\ Function: noun Date: 14th century1 : an act or instance of transmitting2 a : information communicated b : a verbal or written message3 a : a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior ; also : exchange of information b : personal rapport 4 plural a : a system (as of telephones) for communicating b : a system of routes for moving troops, supplies, and vehicles c : personnel engaged in communicating5 plural but sing or plural in constr a : a technique for expressing ideas effectively (as in speech) b : the technology of the transmission of information (as by print or telecommunication)

Communication. It should be so simple, right? It should be so easy to say, "hey, that hurt my feelings" or "I feel. . . . "

But it isn't. For whatever reason, as much as we talk, when it boils down to important relationship stuff, we fail miserably. I am not certain why we have such difficulty telling someone how they've made us feel (good and bad) or sitting down to talk out an issue, but some of us -- in fact, most -- are riding the short bus when it comes to communication.

Conversation is a must in any relationship. You need it to be connected to each other. You need it to have your feelings respected. You need it to sort through issues and problems and find solutions. You also need it to truly know someone. If you aren't communicating, chances are your spouse doesn't know who you really are.

Ladies first.

1. Men are not mind readers. I agree that if you are stomping around, slamming cabinet doors while doing the dishes he should have done, that he should at least have some clue as to why you are mad. Unfortunately, he's sitting there thinking "What in the Sam Hill is her problem?" Will he get up to find out? Rarely. Why? Because he knows asking is going to cause a fight and he'd rather sit in the recliner and play on myspace, thanks.

If you have a problem with your significant other, spit it out. Do your best not to be accusatory or whiny or vicious, but do tell him what is going on so he is not sitting around clueless and then blind-sided when you explode like a sleeve of Mentos dropped into a 2 liter of Coke.

We are all guilty of this. What I am now realizing is why on earth would I think someone can read my mind when he has already proven he can't manage to do things when he is specifically asked to do things? He can't. Period. It is unbelievably unfair to expect him to do so.

2. WHY, when a man does have the stones to ask us what is wrong, do we ALWAYS say "nothing?" Again, they are not mind readers. I understand it is uncomfortable to open up and talk about what is bothering us for fear of being ridiculed or dismissed. But if you trust your spouse the way you should, then you will know he or she will listen with his or her whole heart and work towards a solution with you. Unless they're jerks, and we will discuss this one further along.

When I say "nothing" it means one of two things. I am mad because he hasn't read my mind (which just makes me a moron) or I do not want to talk about it right now. So I must learn to say: I do not want to talk about it right now. When I am ready, I will let you know. We should *all* learn to do this. And if we say nothing for my first reason, we deserve to be unhappy for a bit because that is just foolish behavior.

3. If we want something, we must say so. As we have already discussed, they can't read our minds. However, let me tell you what else they don't do. They do not do subtle hints or mind games of any sort.

I have noticed we have a real problem telling him we need him. Why, I am not sure. For example, a wife doesn't feel well. Hubby is out goofing off with friends.

Wife says: I don't feel well.
Hubby says: I'm sorry, baby.
Wife says: The kids are driving me crazy.
Hubby says: Oh, honey, I am sorry.
Wife says: No one is here to help out.
Hubby says: Do you want me to come home?
Wife: It's up to you.
Hubby says: I will come home if you want me to.
Wife says: No, it's clear you don't want to come home.

I *know* why she is irritated, but he doesn't have the slightest freaking clue. She is irritated because she feels like he should have immediately volunteered to come home, because that is what she would have done if he were the one feeling poorly. Plus she feels like crap. However, now *he* is irritated because she has snapped at him after she told him it was up to him, and so now we have both parties angry with the other.

It would have been so much simpler if she had said, "Honey, I really feel horrible and I wish you would come home." Providing, of course, that he said, "I will be right there." I've had this exact conversation with someone and after ignoring me for about 20 minutes, I sent another text and said, "Are you coming home or what?" At which point, he replied, "You didn't ask." This person is just being purposely antagonistic.

If we want something, we must let go of this insane idea that he will just *know* what we want and do it. I blame romantic comedies. While I do love a good chick flick, the guy always seems to just *know* what she wants in the end. So now all women are thinking if our spouse/partner know us well enough, they will just know what we want. *insert eye roll here*

Yeah, right. Losing that misconception in five, four, three, two. . . one.

4. Do not tell him it is "fine" to go do something if your intent is to punish him for the next week. If you don't want him to go, say so. But have a valid reason. Don't say no just because you feel like it. If you've been following along, you know men need their guy time, and if you deny it, it better be a valid reason. Because if your inclination is to say no every single time, it is past time for you to have some self-reflection about your control issues or jealousy issues or whatever else is going on with you. Also, guy's weekend is just that -- guy's weekend. You cannot go. Bachelor parties are for the guys -- not for you. Unglue your hip from his, take off the choke collar and leash, and let him go play. He's going to love you even more.

5. Women (some men, too) communicate loudly and forcefully with one simple activity: the heavy sigh. It conveys so much when one partner is trying to talk. You are telling your husband that you don't give a crap about his point of view, you think he is ridiculous and you wish he would SHUT UP. Let's look at this from the other person's side. How livid (and hurt) would you be if someone did this when you were talking? You have to show respect to someone else's point of view. Especially for your spouse.

6. You do not always have to agree – and that is okay. You are two different people. Of course you aren't always going to agree. That doesn't mean you can't reach some compromise or agree to disagree.

7. Leave the emotions somewhere else when you talk to your hubs. The absolute least productive thing you can do is start sobbing uncontrollably. Yes, your feelings are hurt. But hysterical sobs do one of two things to men: a) they feel guilty and will agree to whatever you want because you are crying and they hate it; or, b) they get angry because you aren't being logical and rational. If you know you can't be rational, then don't have the conversation. There is absolutely nothing wrong with agreeing to postpone a "discussion" for a day or two. Now, before you misunderstand me, I am not saying you cannot cry when you are having a discussion. Things are said during arguments/discussions that hurt. Some issues are very emotional for us. You must focus on being logical and rational because you are far more likely to come to an understanding or agreement when you are acting like a normal person. Men (usually) respond to logic better than anger or tears.

8. Nagging. Okay, I am guilty. So very, very, very, very guilty of this one. It never
occurred to me until recently that the reason nagging doesn't work is because nagging about what he's not done or done "incorrectly," comes across as demeaning and belittling. Not to mention if you do it in front of other people (again, BIG fault of mine), it's downright embarrassing. Try and focus on the positive. Looking only at the negative behaviors in your spouse can be self-fulfilling.

So Bradley, if you are reading this, I sincerely apologize from the bottom of my heart.

9. Stop bringing up past faults/arguments. Man, this is hard to do. I try and succeed sometimes and fail spectacularly others. In the past three months, I have *really* failed spectacularly. I am hurt, I am angry, I feel used, deceived, ignored, and controlled. However, that doesn't mean I need to take every opportunity to remind people what a POS Brad has been to me. Griping about it doesn't change it, and it only makes me look like a bitter, spiteful, scorned woman.

The bottom line is that what happened in the past should stay in the past. You deal with it, and you move on as a couple. If you've got a lurking issue that hasn't been addressed, you need to do so – as a couple -- and then move on. Bury the hatchet, but don't, as Garth said, leave the handle stickin' out.

Gentlemen, your turn.

1. Staring at the floor while we are telling you how we feel is disrespectful and childish. Get your head up. Look us in the eyes. Listen to us. Interact. Show us you are listening.

2. Do not sit there, thinking about what you are going to say whenever I finally shut up. You are so busy thinking about what you want to say that you are missing everything else. And definitely don't sit there and think about things unrelated to the discussion at hand.

3. Remaining stubbornly silent when we are finished is also disrespectful and childish. Act like a man. Show you are worth her love. Tell her how you feel and show her that you understand or are trying to understand how she feels. Clamming up is counterproductive and will destroy your relationship. Try to come to an agreement or concede when you've never thought about things her way. Sometimes I wanted to take Brad by the shoulders and shake him until his teeth rattled because he would not show passion about anything related to our relationship. Argue with me, for Pete's sake! Show me you care!

4. Give her your undivided attention. Continuing to watch TV or text or play your game or clip your toenails is ridiculous. Again, act like an adult. Most of us have kids and are going to get to go through that crap with them. We did not, however, give birth to you. Think of this as a business partnership. I'm pitching an idea that could make or break our company. You'd pay attention then, wouldn't you? Marriage is no different, and definitely more important than your job.

5. Immediately becoming defensive and angry instead of listening needs to stop. So do temper tantrums. You're how old? Sure, no one likes to be criticized or be made to feel they are doing something wrong. But guess what? We aren't perfect. We hurt others. We anger others. When we are in a committed relationship, the person we've chosen to be with is going to see all of your nasty habits and faults and if anyone is entitled to criticize, it is her. If she is trying to be gentle, give her some credit and pull your head out of your butt. Also, trying to intimidate her into giving up is only going to make her hate you, stupid.

6. STOP INTERRUPTING. We aren't finished! Shut up and let us finish. Most of the time, you are jumping to some conclusion without listening to the entire thought process, and you are probably interrupting for no reason. Perhaps if you would shut your piehole and let us finish, you would realize there is no reason for you to throw your two cents in as the issue you *thought* was an issue isn't really. Also, talking at the same time to drown us out only gives us fleeting visions of your mouth + Duct tape.

7. Stop stonewalling. We *know* you don't want to talk about it. We *know* you'd rather play dead. Stalling a discussion serves what purpose? Rip the Band-Aid off, gents, and cowboy up. The issue isn't going to go away and stalling only makes her angrier. Refusing to answer questions is another form of stonewalling (not to mention passive aggressive), and it is unacceptable, too. We know you can think for yourselves. You proved that when you picked us. Flat out refusing to cooperate with your wife shows her you are rejecting her and trying to drive her away. Eventually, we will leave you. Because who wants to be rejected every time she opens her mouth?

8. "I don't know" isn't a freaking answer. I've told you how I feel, then I ask how you feel about it and you say "I don't know?" That's horse pucky, and you and I both know it. You know how you feel. You know what you are thinking. Saying you don't know is thoughtless and selfish. You are telling her you have a complete lack of concern and in fact do not care about her feelings and what she has just said to you. It's just rude and irresponsible. You are married now! You don't get to be irresponsible anymore.

It is also a cop out. You don't want to discuss the problem, so you are going to say "I don't know" in hopes she will get discouraged and quit the entire discussion. Unfortunately, with me, this usually works. Man, I hate being controlled.

9. "Because" is not an answer to any question. Period. You can't spend the majority of our married life trying to get us to mother you and then pull this move. Not only does it tick us off, it shows you have so little respect for us that you think you can treat us like your word is final. For me, my knee jerk reaction is "screw you, buster."

Both men and women:

1. Show appreciation. When he has done something sweet/special/helpful, tell him. I know it is annoying when a man puts a cup in the dishwasher and starts it and then acts like he "did" the dishes, but thanking him for starting the dishwasher is something we should do. Men, say thank you. It's not going to kill you to tell us you appreciate all we do for you. You notice that your drawers miraculously stay full of socks and underwear and t-shirts. Say something about it. Regularly.

For example, I am a huge fan of cards. I love giving and receiving them. I have sent cards to my ex on numerous occasions and it was very rare that he even acknowledged them. Is it any wonder that I felt unloved? It would have taken five seconds for him to shoot me a text that said, hey, I got your card, thank you, I love you. But you guys send pictures of your poop instead.

2. Don't place blame. It only creates defensiveness. It's really hard to do when you are *convinced* the other person is at fault, but if you want to resolve the issue, you must refrain from saying, "This is your fault, you jerkface." Tempting though it may be, the point is to communicate and resolve problems.

3. Stop being passive aggressive. When we bring something up that upsets us, "Sorry I've disappointed you AGAIN" and "I can never make you happy" is your attempt to twist things around and make it somehow our fault for failing to find you perfect. "Fine, you're right, you're always right" in a shitty tone is also unacceptable. Oh. And pretending you are asleep to avoid having a discussion is unbelievable. Grow some stones, for the love of Pete.

4. Get to the point. I am not sure why people do this, but we tend to hem and haw and delay getting to the point as long as we can. By the time you get to your point, you've lost your audience. I like to make a list. That way I can start off with my number one complaint and work my way down, without forgetting to tell him something so that I have to come back and mention something else later. Not only do I get it all out, he doesn't hear new issues every day.

I am sure all of you have communication issues you wish your partner would or would not do. If I've not addressed them above, then please, leave a comment.

Any way we can better ourselves as individuals and as a couple is worth the time. As couples, we have to be unified. There are many ways the outside will scratch, claw and bite at our relationship. If we're unified, we will survive. If there is infighting, we don't stand a chance in hell.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Men vs. Women, Part Four

Let's talk about sex, baby/let's talk about you and me/let's talk about all the good things/and the bad things that may be/let's talk about sex ~Let's Talk About Sex, Salt N Pepa

This one is directed to the ladies. Gentlemen, breathe easy. Sit back, read and enjoy. You guys should love this one.

Girlfriends. Simply put: you aren't giving it up like you should.

I realize things change. I realize when you're working all day then taking care of the kids and the house and all the cooking and cleaning, the last thing on your mind is having sex. You're tired. I get that. If you've been following along, you *know* I get that. A lot of you are reading this and thinking, "Well, if he'd get up off his dead ass and help me, maybe I'd want to do it more often," And for you gentlemen following along, that is absolutely true. However, for you women who are thinking it -- since when did two wrongs make a right? Just like it is wrong for him to sit on his ass and not help, it is equally wrong for you to give it up once every 6-8 weeks. Here's your opportunity to be the better person.

Sex is integral to a relationship. For women, it's an emotional thing (and a pleasure thing). That's why when it's really, really, REALLY good, some of us cry. We cannot help it, and you should not freak out. In fact, getting up and beating on your chest Tarzan style would be appropriate. This is also why we need some cuddle time. Get over it. You can give us five minutes (anything longer than that is excessive, ladies). For men, not only is it a pleasure thing, it is primal. They *need* it. And for both sides, it reminds them that you think they are sexy and good at it and that you love them and want to keep them happy. Either way, both people need the connection. So ladies, by refusing to do it, not only are you doing your spouse an injustice, you are doing yourself one, too. You need the connection. Because if you don't have sex to look forward to, all you've got is a lazy stinky man sitting on the couch playing video games. How are you supposed to stay in love with that???? I am sure it can be done, but it's going to be a heckuva lot easier if you're getting the Big O several times a week.

Women, stop complaining that you don't feel like it. Stop complaining that your libido is gone. That's utter crap. Remember that old Frito Lay's commercial? You can't eat just one? Sex is the same way. Get it once, reach the finish line. . .and you'll be surprised the next day when you are ready again. So what do you do? YOU DO IT AGAIN. Every time you're in that mood, DO IT. Remember back before you had kids and reality hit you like a Mack truck? Remember how you wanted to do it all the time? Remember how you could be at work and think OMG, I want him NOW? Remember the freaky little text messages you'd send? Your libido was out of control then -- because you were doing it regularly. If you don't do it for a while, it becomes less and less and less. It's like any gift -- if you neglect it, you eventually lose it.

So how do you crank your libido back up on your own? Well, the hubs helping around the house would *definitely* help, but take matters into your own hands, so to speak. There are all kinds of fun lotions and potions and lubes, etc., out there for you. Start by molesting your hubby. If you need help getting turned on, figure out what works. As something to note, women are usually auditory, meaning that what will turn most of us quickest on is sound, rather than a visual (men, naturally, are visual).

And make no mistake -- sex is a gift. NOT a chore.

Personally, I don't think it is unreasonable to want it 3-4 days a week at the minimum. Sometimes it doesn't work this way, and I know that. But it should most of the time. And I do not believe we've got to do it at midnight every time. In fact, with me, 10 p.m. is when my nether regions turn into a pumpkin -- usually. Don't wait until I am in bed half asleep to even mention it. And sure, you can wait until the kids are asleep. Or you can park them on the couch with a video and go get it on in the shower. Or you can get up half an hour earlier every morning. Or here's an idea -- lunch hour. If it is feasible for you to meet at lunch, then do it. You don't have to do it in the bedroom, either!

And not to be crude or anything (although if you are reading this blog, you probably know me pretty well), but what is it with you ladies skipping the oral activities all together? I realize it takes a lot longer to warm up our engines, so to speak, but dang. He needs some foreplay, too. Not every time, but certainly more than just on your anniversary! I realize sometimes you are so hot for each other, there is no foreplay whatsoever, but most of the time, unless you are very, very fortunate, it doesn't work that way. Just because he can salute you within seconds of seeing you naked doesn't mean he wants you to skip his fun parts.

Another issue: why rush? The "climb on, do your thing, get off me" attitude isn't scoring you any points with him, nor is it helping you at all. Sure, if you can both win a gold in seven minutes flat, go for it. Just not every time. Nor is it acceptable to fake or not even try to get yourself there. If you are someone who truly has issues achieving the Big O, then you need to see a doctor. If everything's copacetic, then you have to be willing to try other stuff out. Because just like it sucks for you not to be able to get there, again, your man probably isn't impressed with it, either. He probably feels like a failure to some extent. Sometimes you've got to send the kids to a sitter's and take your time with it and play. To hell with dinner. Light some candles and get naked! Relax and enjoy. That's what it is supposed to be about, you know. Enjoyment for both of you.

The benefits of having a regular sex life are phenomenal.

1. You will be in a better mood. Who can have an orgasm and *not* feel like a million bucks?
2. You will feel sexier as a woman.
3. It can also be quite powerful. In the beginning, I could bite my ex in one particular place on his neck, and he was ready to go NOW NOW NOW.
4. He'll be in a better mood, which totally affects you.
5. You will be closer as a couple.
6. Ladies -- it's exercise. No matter how you go about it, you're working your abs, hip flexors, thighs, etc. I don't mind sweating on a treadmill, but for those of you that do, this is a much more enjoyable way to do it, no?

So stop saying no every time the man gets frisky. Do you know what you are doing when you say no? You are rejecting him. Oh, yes, I said it. You are rejecting him. I am sure you remember what it feels like to be rejected. Now think back to how many times you have told him no about sex. How on earth do you think he feels? This man is the love of your life. You made babies with him. And you're rejecting him? I hope you perpetrators of this crime feel guilty as hell. You should. In fact, you should feel so guilty that you go home and attack him. Twice for good measure. *

No one wants to be rejected. And never, ever, ever, EVER forget that there are buzzards and vultures out there, disguised as women, just waiting to steal your man. Why open that door?

Now, before you get all huffy, I know that sometimes you just cannot bring yourself to have sex. Migraines, for example. Regular headaches? Not a good excuse. You know why? Because sex will get rid of that headache. No kidding. If you are truly, physically ill, then you are excused. If the kids are ill and you've been home with them all day, you are excused, too. However, if you want to, then do it. Stop squelching that urge!

In addition, I do not know where it is written in Woman Law that we cannot initiate sex. We can, and we should. This isn't the 1900s. We've discovered the G spot, for heaven's sake. If that doesn't give us the right to be wanton, I don't know what does. It might be the man's job to carry out the garbage, but it is certainly not his job to initiate every single time we have sex.

I also do not know where it is written in Woman Law that we must *only* do it with the lights off. Okay, okay. We are uncomfortable with our bodies (thank you, Playboy and porn). I get that, and I empathize because I've been the same way. But when you are in a comfortable, loving relationship with someone, why is it so hard to believe he loves you just like you are? He doesn't care about your stretch marks from the baby or the dimples on your butt. He loves you because you are a real woman. So turn the lights on. Light some candles. Whatever. But let him see you. And take the opportunity to see him and pay attention to him. I promise you'll like what you see.

Also, last but not least, it is not against the rules to "direct traffic," so to speak. If something doesn't feel good, then speak up. There is no need to be hateful or embarrassed. A simple, "you know, try it here" or "that other thing felt better" is fine. And if it does feel good, say so. You ladies have got to stop making the poor guy run blind. His anatomy is pretty simple. Yours is like a Rubik's cube with half the stickers missing - and everyone's is different!

Now, gentlemen, a word of advice for you:
1. Please, for the love of Pete, if you've been working manual labor all day, shower before you try to get frisky. And brush your teeth. We have no desire to taste what you ate for lunch or smell your sweaty butt.
1. Grabbing our boob is not foreplay. Look it up.
1. You can get creative, too, you know. Your woman might not be ready to go at it outside in the backyard, but I bet if you throw a towel down, you can convince her to do it in your rocking recliner. It's a start, right?
1. Compliment us more. Again, it's an emotional thing for us. Make us feel pretty, and you're going to get it more often.
1. Go back and read the post about laziness. Now read it again. Bookmark it. Read it every day. Now take what you've learned and change the way you behave.
1. If you are the one holding out, stop it. Unless you are gay. And if you are gay, let her go. No straight man should ever turn down sex. If you seriously don't want to do it and you are seriously not gay, take yourself to the doctor. Something could be wrong physically or mentally. Go and have things ruled out.
1. Take your time. I realize every man's goal (and mine, too, shutup) is to beat your fastest time, but you have to remember in this case, someone else is along for the ride and you need to focus there.
1. And if, by chance, you launch over the finish line and leave her still climbing the hill, DO NOT STOP. I don't care if you are hungry. You finish what you started; a sandwich can wait. You've got hands and a mouth. Use them. Heck, let her do it herself because she knows better than you do, but you stay with her. Help her finish.

And yes, I realize those are all labeled number one. They are all equally important.

Next week? I'm not sure yet. But it will be a continuation of Men vs. Women!

* This goes for the male hold-outs, too.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


In the past seven months, I have written seven blogs on myspace in which I talk about the things that are wrong with me. I've written about my anger issues; my poison pen; my depression; my ability to hold a grudge; etc. A former acquaintance said yesterday: Reading through your blog re-illustrates that you still don't think you did much wrong and once again, it is only one side of the coin.

I guess I could re-post all those other blogs from my myspace to here, but that seems like a lot of work to prove someone I don't even like wrong, you know? Plus, he's proven he cannot comprehend what he reads, so he wouldn't get it anyway.

So let's talk about my issues.

1. Anger. Boy, do I have a problem with this. In the past, I've exhibited what my therapist refers to as a "hot rage." I lash out, usually verbally, and pile on the abuse for whatever poor person managed to anger me. If someone insults me publicly, it used to springload me to the pissed off position FAST. In fact, said person from above has seen that with his own two eyes. I have one hell of a poison pen. Now, unfortunately, I have "cold rage." This is when you turn the rage inward instead of outward. Instead of lashing out at others, I mentally lash out at myself. Until I cry for hours. Before we got my meds straightened back out after having Connor, it would get so bad, all I could think about was killing myself. I am working on finding a happy medium. I have faith I will get there. I just hope I do it in time to not teach this behavior to Peanut Man.

2. Grudges. This goes right along with anger. I will usually give you three chances to screw me over, then I'm done with you. And I mean I am *done* with you. Sometimes this isn't such a bad thing, depending on the offense. But if I cut someone off in the hot rage phase, I figure I need to revisit the issues. Like a girl who my best friend and roommate and she lost her mind (she owns that this was her fault). I cut her off for two years. Now we are close again. This has happened with several people -- but only people I liked. If I didn't like you from the beginning, AND you screwed me, yeah, I'm still done with you.

3. Logic. I am always logical. This is a great trait, in that it means I rarely run on emotions (except that pesky anger one) and I have great problem solving skills. On the other hand, I am too logical. I do not just play. I keep myself grounded, never use my imagination or creativity or play games. Can you imagine how boring I am going to be as a mom if I don't stop this? OMG. We've started playing board games (like nightly, seriously). I am having a blast, and it feels really, really good to just play. I think I can get the hang of this. :)

4. Mean. When someone angers me or hurts me, I tend to be as mean as a snake. I say anything and everything that comes to mind. I am also an expert at sarcasm. Unfortunately, I am truly good at it. And then, after the fire is out, I am positively ashamed. O.M.G. WHY do I do this? What possesses me to be so damned hateful to those I love? I will let you know what the therapist says about this. I've got to get this one knocked out before Connor gets much older as well. And holy damn, I have a knack for writing nasty things. My old blogs were naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasty about people. I don't write like that anymore. For a long time, I stopped blogging altogether because they were always used against me. That was a bad, bad idea for me because that is where I could let it all out without fighting with my husband. When I stopped blogging, we suddenly fought every day. Coincidence? I think not. If I have something nasty to write out, only select people (if anyone) get to read it. I can't tell you how many shitty responses I have written out to Josh and Michelle. Like 100, at least. I just have to keep reminding myself they don't know anything about anything and they are beneath me. *I* don't have people like that in my life. I do have standards.

5. Apologies. Ooooooo, I *hate* having to apologize. I really, really, really do. Ugh. But if there is anything I learned with my ex, it's that sometimes, not only do you have to apologize when you do wrong, sometimes you have to apologize when you did nothing wrong, too, just to keep the peace. Boo.

6. Pride. Oh yes. I have WAY too much of this. It's one of the seven deadly sins, you know. I am way too proud. There isn't a whole lot to say about this.

7. I am slightly obsessive compulsive. I type my grocery list, by aisle, for heaven's sake. In chart form! One of the things I had to do while I lived with Brad was loosen my standards. I had to relax about clean. I bent as far as I could without breaking. Our pastor told us that we had to compromise. I needed to relax, and he needed to raise his standards. So I did what I could. In the end, he broke me. We never reached a compromise. I'd ask him to help and he'd throw a tantrum. So yeah. I did as much as I could. Anyone who ever visited my apartment and then visited my ex and I later will tell you that holy damn, did I ever relax as much as I could. So see? I can work this one out. It's cool.

8. Have you ever tried to reason with me when I am angry? Good luck with that. I am an obstinate ass. I refuse to listen. I cannot comprehend anyone else's point of view. Only mine. I figured out how to deal with this one, though. I walk away. Usually, I take a drive, until I cool off. If it is a huge offense, you're probably going to get the silent treatement for a couple of days. Then I will sit down and talk with you, when I am no longer angry and I can talk without saying something in anger that would make me have to do number 5. Most of the time, I can make it through it. Sometimes I cannot. But I am definitely getting better with that one.

9. I talk way too damned much.

10. I have a horrible penchant for falling for a man who needs saving. Heck, I do this with people in general. I pick the broken, wounded ones. I can see it in their eyes, and I'm a goner. I want to protect, shield, defend, fix. I am everyone's mom. I am the one people come to when they need help. It is very hard to do, but I am only nurturing and protecting Connor now. No one else. The rest of you are grownups and can do it for yourself. I will help you if I can, but when I start losing myself to you, I quit. That is what happened with my ex and I. I was so busy taking care of him that I forgot to take care of myself.

11. Failure. I have an irrational fear of failure. I think that is why this has been so terribly hard on me. Because I feel like I failed. I feel like I failed Brad, myself, my parents, our friends, and most importantly, our son. Is it all my fault? No. Is it all his fault? No. But I'm the one who feels like I failed. I'm the one who can't eat. I'm the one who cries daily. I'm the one whose heart was broken. No matter how many times I am told this isn't all my fault, and no matter how many times I am told I'm not a failure because I did try so hard, I still feel like I am. And it's killing me.

And as the waterworks just started again, I think that is enough self-reflection for the day.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Men vs. Women, Part Three

I realize I said the next episode would be about sex, but a comment recently posted on my first blog enticed me to change my mind. Danny said: "It's what typically goes UNsaid in relationships that hurts them the most. This is something that should always be said early, and adhered to. If someone changes their mind halfway in, then they either didn't give a shit about you before, and they do now... or vice versa. Either one is deceptive, and deception in a relationship is always wrong. Being wrong is okay, but being misleading is not. Nice work, Amy..."

This blog will be about deception.

Ladies and gentlemen, pretending to be someone you aren't in order to keep someone interested in you is BEYOND screwed up. Do you have such little self-esteem that you cannot comprehend someone could love you knowing all your flaws? Or is it some sort of power trip, knowing that you can completely con another person into loving you with all they have?

Women. You play this foolish game all the time. You find out a man likes football. What do you do? You pretend you like the game. You buy jerseys, t-shirts, etc., all of his favorite team. Now he thinks OMG, how cool is she? But you aren't cool. You're just playing a mind game, trying to get him to like you, based on deception and lies. And you expect a relationship built on this to actually work? WTH is wrong with you??

Frankly, the women who do that absolutely disgust me. I *do* love football. Do not be blasphemous about my game. And while I never cheered for the Bears before I met my ex, I'm pretty impartial about pro ball (other than the Broncos). It wasn't a stretch for me to cheer for a team whose line up is made up of a ton of former Sooners. I'll probably still cheer for the Bears, to be honest. But at least I love the game and never used the Bears as some sort of jacked up leverage to make him like me more. Personally, I know I am fabulous just like I am. If you don't like me, too bad for you.

Here's another thing: sex on the first date. WTH. You barely know the man. Granted, you can live with someone for two years, and still not know who the hell he is, but at least there's some sort of relationship there. There are so many reasons you shouldn't do it on the first date:

1. He ain't taking you home to Momma since you're a slut.
2. You start the relationship off, making it about sex. Relationships based solely on sex will fail EVERY time. This is why booty calls don't work.
3. You have now become another notch in his belt, and don't think for a minute he isn't telling alllllll his guy friends about how he "banged" you first rattle out of the box.
4. You now have zero hope of remaining civil with each other when (not if, WHEN) your relationship goes south.

Men, you are just as bad. You pretend to be fantastic and wonderful, so we will fall for you, when you're really just dirty, rude, lazy, selfish slobs. Some women like that. Most don't. But rather than mislead someone, why don't you do something to change yourself? Being a slob is *not* part of your personality. EVERYONE can improve themselves. Everyone. Just because you have a penis doesn't mean you don't have to evolve as a person.

If you have no intention of showering daily and brushing your teeth regularly or wearing deodorant, how about you start off stinky? Don't start off smelling yummy and then turn into Yuckmouth with BO. If you have no intention of doing laundry and cooking and cleaning after yourself, don't start off doing it in the beginning. If you have no intention of being thoughtful and kind and selfless, don't pretend to be that way! Just be stinky and selfish and lazy from the beginning. At least that way we can make an informed choice. And if you discover no one wants to be with you, then examine YOURSELF. Not the women who have left you. Fix yourself and someone will want to be with you. Otherwise, just stay away from us. You only make yourself look like a complete jerk when you con someone. Eventually, you will have no one left.

Why must everyone play games? BE YOURSELF. Be who you are. Don't have your mother come clean your house so your new girlfriend doesn't know what a filthy slob you are. Don't hide the fact that you are a WoW junkie. Don't be kind and considerate if this isn't part of your nature. Be who you are.

I am cranky and moody. I have anger issues. I can hold a grudge from now until the end of time. I'm bossy, mean as a snake when cornered, and I have OCD. I want things my way, and my way only, end of story. I fart like a pack mule, I have a problem with tequila, I have a potty mouth, I smoke too much, etc. I am sure I have many other bad habits. Who doesn't? My point is, if you know me, then you already know these things. I'm not hiding my true self from anyone. There are very few people who actually understand me, and while that is tiring, who cares in the end? You all know who I am, the good and the bad. There's no sense in hiding yourself from others. It's going to come out eventually, and it's going to be ugly when it does. No one likes being deceived.

And, as Danny said, it's the things that are left unsaid in relationships that do the most harm. You are so busy trying to hide your true self from him or her, and trying to be someone you aren't, that all sorts of things are left unsaid. Talk about your expectations from each other. Talk about your goals in life. Talk about your stance on marriage, children, divorce, religion, politics, everything. Give yourselves the ability to make an INFORMED decision about each other and go from there. And by the way, families are important. Even if your family isn't a big part of your life, they're important, in one way or another.

Bottom line: stop lying to make yourself look good. It's immature and just wrong. Either be yourself or stay away from romantic relationships all together. And if who you really are is such a turn off to the opposite sex, there are books for that. Therapy also.

Next installment: may or may not be about sex. :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Men vs. Women, Part Two

In continuation of last week's blog, I will now address one of the top three complaints women have about men (yes, it is my number one complaint about my ex, but nearly every woman polled had the same complaint.) Before I begin, and before I get hate mail, let me say this: this does not apply to all men. Nor does it apply to all women. Some men are clean freaks. Some women are slovenly. Some moms are fantastic and taught their boys how to be (my moms, for example). Yes, yes, I know all that. I am speaking in generalities. Also, please put on your sarcasm raincoat because this baby is dripping sarcasm.


Dudes -- you're frigging lazy.

Seriously. You are l-a-z-y. When we both come home from a long, hard day at work, what is it in your little minds that makes you think it is okay to park your butts on the sofa and sit, in a semi-catatonic state, until dinner hits the table? And then return to said semi-catatonic state the minute you've finished shoveling food into your piehole? Seriously?

"Well, I have a job that involves physical labor and/or working outside."

I honestly don't care if you have a job that involves physical labor or if you work outside. You chose that job just like I chose one that didn't involve a field or a factory. That being said, I WORK FOR ATTORNEYS. Do you honestly believe my job isn't just as hard as yours? Do you think because you swing a hammer that what you do is somehow more difficult than mine? I'd like to see you swing a hammer in a skirt and five inch heels. Or carry boxes of files up and down stairs in the same skirt and five inch heels. In fact, I'd like to see you have to put your brain to use on a daily basis. It doesn't take a lot of brain power to pour concrete. Come do my job for a day -- hell, half a day -- and I guarantee you after dealing with prima donnas (not my attorneys, of course) all day you'll be literally begging to get back outside in the heat. The first time you are asked to draft a pleading, you will panic.

Listen up. Women were not, contrary to popular belief, put on this earth to baby you. I, personally, wasn't put on this earth to do your laundry, do the grocery shopping, pay all the bills, cook, clean, and basically do everything while you sit on your lazy ass and watch television. I AM NOT YOUR MOTHER. I do have a son and believe me when I say this -- he's not going to be babied, either. He will learn to do for himself because (excuse me while I channel Scarlett O'Hara) as God as my witness, I will NEVER raise an ungrateful, spoiled, lazy, dependent man like most mothers do. You can bet your sweet ass on that.

And this, gentlemen, is why so many of us cannot stand your mother. Your mother created a demon and then turned him loose on the masses. Especially you guys under thirty. I don't know why, but for whatever reason, your mothers have done America a great disservice with you. If you manage to become a productive member of society, it'll be by the sheer grace of the gods. Some of you will actually have work ethic and a career. Most of you won't. Most of you will think your crap doesn't smell and be content to bounce around from meaningless job to meaningless job, never getting higher education, and basically screwing your life away because Mommy says it's okay. Even Bobby Boucher wanted to go to college and be someone important! Even Bobby Boucher stood up to his mother eventually, and she was a whack job -- and he was SLOW! (Can you tell I watched The Waterboy last night?)

I am sure it must be nice to have dinner magically appear on the table, to have your laundry come back clean and folded, to get to shower and poop in a clean bathroom without having to do it yourself -- but listen to me when I say this: it breeds resentment. So suddenly, your normally sweet and fun-loving wife has turned into Spawn of Satan. And you don't seem to put two and two together. WHY? It's not rocket science, gentlemen. And even if it were that difficult to figure out, when your wife/girfriend/etc. is in the kitchen, slamming cabinet doors and stomping around while you are sitting in your recliner watching "Grey's Anatomy," it is undoubtedly a sign that you are (again) messing up royally.

You guys have to understand. For most women (there are notable exceptions), our home is our "nest." The beauty of our home is a reflection upon us. For example, when I moved into my ex's home, it was a pit. It screamed, "I have no personal pride." I *do* have personal pride. Quite a bit of it, in fact. It is hard to be proud of the place you live when it is constantly dirty and in a state of disrepair. It is also hard for a woman to be proud of your tacky collection of boob shot glasses or stuffed animals. We realize you guys are going to be childish in some ways from now until eternity. We do not believe our homes need to advertise said childishness. Your time to advertise your childishness is addressed in Men vs. Women, Part One.

Further, how about you show a little gratitude? A little gratitude goes a LONG way. And I will be the first to tell you if you show me gratitude and make me feel appreciated and loved, I'll pick up your socks without another thought. It's when not only do you not do a damned thing to help around the house, you also show zero love, appreciation and affection. You ungrateful slobs. :)

How about you offer to do the grocery shopping? Pay the bills? How about you say, baby, you made dinner; allow me to do the dishes? How about you do ANYTHING house related that says you care about her feelings and what is important to her is important to you? Why you guys don't realize that the faster things get done and the more you help means more time to play is beyond me. It is not that difficult to help out every night. The majority of us do the major cleaning one day a week. That means for every other day, the things that must be done daily or every other day are the following: dinner, dishes, garbage, laundry, put things away. That's it. In fact, it is so simple that while one party is making dinner, the other party can be doing laundry, putting things away (especially the baby's stuff), etc. It is my practice to unload the dishwasher while making dinner. I also tend to load as I cook. So why is it so hard to put the food away and put the remaining dishes in the dishwasher? And why is it something you are going to put off until right before bed? We're taking ten minutes of work!

Recently, I saw a man absolutely throw a fit over having to do the dishes. He said several times: I'm not her bitch. WHAT? Let me get this straight. She got up, made you breakfast, and then had the sheer audacity to ask you to do the dishes, to which you actually agreed -- and then got mad because you let them sit there for three days? Really?

Further than that, *we* (typically) don't make those kind of messes. Sure, we'll leave hair products and/or makeup strewn over the bathroom counter in a rush to get to work (well, I don't, but some women do). But you are never going to find our fast food garbage in the floor in the living room. You aren't going to find the clothes we wore to work draped over the dining room table like it's decor. You aren't going to find dishes that have been in the sink so long they smell. Remember back when we were dating and you came over to our apartment? Remember what it looked like? We do. We think back to our clean and tidy apartments with longing. Dishes got put in the dishwasher immediately. The bathroom stayed clean. We spent an hour cleaning every Saturday and the entire place was spotless. We did laundry every other day, sometimes less, and then it was one load. Sure, sometimes there will be dirty laundry in the floor. Sometimes the bathroom trash will be overflowing. Personally, my biggest problem is ironing. You can almost always find a laundry basket full of crap to be ironed somewhere in my bedroom (except right now because I ironed it all yesterday, w00t!). My point is our messes are completely different from your messes. And you guys know it -- or should if you come equipped with powers of observation.

Gentlemen, another thing -- you whine and moan about us nagging. Why do you think we nag? Could it be *gasp* because you aren't helping us?

In short, we ain't your momma. If we were, we'd've had the sense to raise you better. So do us all a favor, and get your behind out of the recliner and help. It'll only make both of our lives easier.

Unless your goal is to make your wife hate you. In that case, sit there like a dead man and just wait because I assure you, every shred of love she had for you will disappear like David Blaine and then you'll be free to live like a pig in slop.

Next week: sex. Or lack thereof.