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The real dirt on how to catch your man

What do you think a man is – some kind of game animal?

When I was young my mum told me that you had to let men pursue you.  Your role was to act as if you didn’t give much of a stuff, and that would make them pull out a ring, eventually.

Robert Wright says, in his controversial tome Why We Are the Way We Are, that women instinctively know where they are on the Great Ladder of Desirability, and that girls who know they’re hot will hold out, while girls who know they’re not will grab it where they can.  Reading this, I instantly recognised myself as a girl who grabs.  The only men I hold out for are the ones I don’t want, and the ones who don’t want me (this last, obviously, involuntarily).

Moral ANimal

But after fifty-one years of puzzling over the correct way to catch a man, I think finally I’ve come up with a few nuggets of wisdom, and they are these:

  • It doesn’t matter if you sleep with a guy on the first date.  They don’t care.  If they like you they’ll still want to get serious, and if they think you’re a slut, you wouldn’t have wanted them anyway.
  • Every man is different.  You can’t apply the lessons you learn in one broken relationship, to the next one, because each one is its own challenge.  One man might be a rabid cheater, so alright, you decide never to tolerate another flirt – but the next one will inevitably be something else entirely.  Different shit happens.
  • Men are romantic.  They’re more romantic than women – who, let’s face it, are often scarily pragmatic at bottom.  They like buying roses and whispering sweet nothings and the thought that one day you might be seen together in Harvey Norman looking at couches.  Try telling one all you want is his body for the night, and you’ll see what I mean.
  • Some men, like some women, get anxious when they have to chase you around.  River God seems to blossom on assurances of everlasting devotion and availability – and he gets very upset when I don’t text him something nice at least twice a day.  It’s hard for a girl that was brought up on ‘whatever you do, don’t show them you like them’.
  • I haven’t met a man yet who really likes the fact that I’ve had sex with lots of guys before him.  I’ve met guys who say they do ‘oh that’s great, that just makes you more experienced and sexy!’.  I’ve met guys who say they don’t care.  But inevitably, it makes them nervous, and then they either get jealous ‘But can you REALLY just give it all up…for me?’ or competitive ‘I too can rack up double figures of meaningless bodily interfaces, if I want, so there!’.
  • There’s no hurry.  You don’t have to ‘catch’ a guy when you’re young.  Lots of guys like women more or less their own age (although I will admit they tend to have a bias to 5 years younger) and I personally know of many romances which have blossomed in the nursing home, so relax, do what you want with your life, and pay no attention to The Princeton Mum (instead, read the Other Princeton Mum).
  • You don’t have to be beautiful.  There are all sorts of men and they like all sorts of women.  Some of them even like me, and I’m not remotely beautiful.  If you are beautiful, it doesn’t really help, anyway.  Men leave beautiful women broken-hearted too – you only have to read Who Weekly to know that.
  • Men are not the Buyers and women are not the Product (or vice-versa).  It’s more like an op shop kind of arrangement – you go in looking for a black jacket and come out with a purple silk shirt, and that’s all good.  Don’t think you have to sell yourself – you’re a person, not a used car, for chrissake!

There are three slogans it’s pretty useful to have up on the wall above your bed, as you embark on your quest for lurve.

One: Be Happy.  Don’t let him interfere with that.  If he’s bringing you down, go watch a funny movie.

Two: Chill.  If you feel yourself getting into a tizzy, take a deep breath and sit on it.  Now is (probably) not the time to have a tanty or make big decisions about make or break.  It will probably look different in a day or two.  If Romeo and Juliet had just chilled…we would never have heard of them.

Three: Everything that is wrong with your guy, is going to be apparent in the first three weeks – if not to your cerebellum, to your gut.  If you’re like me, you’ll probably go ‘oh yeah, whatever, I can deal with that’.  Ok, but don’t say you weren’t warned.

And never EVER darken my doorstep again, you evil bitch!!!

Yes, tis the season for receiving long scorching letters of disgust and disapproval from disappointed suitors…am I the only one who gets these? Am I really the baddest ass in town?

I seem to do romantic disengagement really badly.  For instance, years ago, I told a guy I was dating/sleeping with that I didn’t see it going any further.  We were in bed at the time – not the best choice of venue – and he’d just given me a red rose to symbolise…whatever red roses symbolise.  But WHY, he asked.  Tell me, I really want to know! Well, after a while, I did – I didn’t find his body shape attractive.  He was nice about it.  He got out of bed and went home.  He slid into a state of serious depression which lasted about two years and nearly cost him his job. Nice work, evil bitch.

Then there was the mad guy I dated a couple of years back who was already planning our honeymoon after two meetings, and who got very annoyed indeed about having romantic phone conversations cut short by phrases such as ‘but now I have to go and cook dinner.’  That ended in an email so excoriating I had to put it behind a firewall for several weeks until it was safe to touch, and a threat that if ever he saw me again he couldn’t be responsible for the demonic fury which would then be unleashed.

And now, there is the letter tucked in my bottom drawer at work, of which so far I’ve only dared to read the first two sentences.  I’ve been dating this man for eight months, and so far we’ve held hands, kissed (with our mouths closed), and walked a few blocks clasping each other’s waists awkwardly.  Enter my beautiful river god, and I soon realised that this dalliance would have to end.  But I don’t know what got into me – instead of just sending a Dear John email, I had to accept the guy’s invitation to dinner and a movie, and then – sitting in his loungeroom clutching his specially bought fizzy grape drink – come out with ‘I’m sorry but I’ve met someone’.  The atmosphere turned in a second from cozy to icy.  And no wonder.  In the ensuing silence, I felt impelled to add that things had been going along rather slowly between us, and so, um, and so…Yeah, quite.  Anyway now I am the Hitler of interpersonal relationships, and serve me right.

It hurts.  I normally think of myself as a nice person.  But clearly, on these occasions, something goes badly wrong. I break rules, I behave with ill-considered callousness – to tell the truth, I get hopelessly embarrassed and then my limbic system takes over and woe betide!

Phew!  Clearly, there is a right way and a wrong way.  But what are they?  Come on, I need a crash course!!

Screw the six month rule

Read any book on how to develop a lasting relationship and it’ll say, wait till you’ve thoroughly checked him out before you fuck.

Fucking, they say, leads to emotional connection, and you don’t want one of those until you’ve established you are intellectually, spiritually and culturally compatible.  So if you meet a guy you like, give it six months before you do the deed – then you’ll be sure you’re mating with the Right Person.  Right?

WRONG.  I mean, not wrong if you like that sort of thing.  Nothing much is.  But some of us – by which I mean me – like good sex even more than we like good conversation.  So if I meet a guy who presses all the right buttons, conversationally and intellectually speaking, but doesn’t press the one button that counts ‘down there’ as that Shades of Grey chick would say – we will never a great relationship make.

Whereas, if I meet a guy who wows me in bed, and is somewhere between 5 and 10 on the ‘other compatibility’ scale – that is, he may not be utterly brilliant, he may not like to have long conversations about death (my favourite topic), he may not read a hundred books a year, he may not understand the basic rules of Socratic dialogue – but hey, he’s cuddly and delightful – then this is what we call a Real Candidate.

And how do we pick a Real Candidate?  Not from a hundred paces, over coffee, locking gigantic intellects – but from up close, with all our clothes off, in the Scientific Laboratory of Love (otherwise known as bed).

And maybe it doesn’t work out.  Maybe he just pulls too many dumb faces on facebook, or believes in the Great Cosmic Cheese Monster, or likes to listen to Elvis (he does).  But the alternative – two people who like one another very much, stuck in a bedroom together with a micro-penis and a sexual connection that would re-freeze the Antarctic ice-caps – is worse.

Making love on Olympos

His tongue is a flame on my skin.  He begins at my ankle, soft and cool at first, tracing the narrow bones, a circlet of silver, and as he moves up the back of my calf, I feel his touch burning, burning.

But I’m strong, my skin is feather-light, hard as diamonds.  He kisses the back of my left knee and I laugh and call out – it tickles and arouses me, both.  His fingers are on my golden thigh, drawing patterns of lust in my skin.  I sink my fingers into his white silk hair, rough, tearing.  Not even a thread comes loose.  He stops, and looks to me.  His eyes are blue-green, deep and cold as a lake.

“Don’t stop.”

But he grins, and skims my hips with his snake tongue, around and about, wavelets that don’t make the tide line.

“I’ll change, just see if I don’t,” I whisper, though he’s driving me to desperation.  Me, an immortal, a goddess – but in this I’m just female, full of desires, weak as a woman.

“Like this?”  His white hair turns tawny, his blue eyes golden, he’s a tiger looking down on my naked body, warm breath at my throat.

“Like this.”  I dissolve beneath him, laughing, and become a river of air, so that he crouches on emptiness.  But empty is what I am, and what I don’t want to be, so I take again the form of a woman, honey-skinned, voluptuous.

He takes me by the throat, softly, and I hear him growl as he enters me.  I close my eyes and cling to his thick, soft fur, feel him purr as I constrict around him.

He comes as a man, and we lie together as male and female, and I kiss the perfect lips and know that we’ve made another, this time.

And that, my little god, is how you were conceived.

The Right Words

What’s the right thing to say when a guy goes limp?

You have GOT to be kidding!

Looks like the battery’s run out.  Time to throw the toyboy away!

I’ll take Viagra with that. No, wait, that’s you isn’t it?

No I promise I’ve NEVER said any of those things.  Instead I always say things like,

“Don’t worry, it’s fine.” and, “Oh well, maybe later then.”

Let me tell you a short story.  Woman meets man.  Woman goes out with man for some weeks, and they eye each other up greedily.  HOWEVER, Man says he doesn’t want to jump into bed too soon.  Woman thinks, ahhh, how sensitive! (and ‘come ON though, my uterus is aching.  Isn’t this sort of thing supposed to cause blood clots?’).  On the sixth date (is that a magic number)  Man and Woman end up in bed.  At the crucial moment, Woman pauses to seek advice about protection.  Man suddenly loses it.  Woman acts casual, kind and unconcerned – but to no avail.  Man disappears, never to be seen again.

So what IS the right thing for a woman to say when a man finds himself unable to do his thing?

More importantly, what’s the right thing for the MAN to say.  Here are some suggestions.

No need to look at the mantelpiece when you’re poking the fire – oops, I looked!

Sorry, the mind is willing but the flesh wants to get the hell out of here!

Looks like I’m just not that into you.

Nah, just joking.

What would you rather have – a real man or a robot?

The other day I got a free android tablet in the post.  Welcome to the 21st century, Rose!!!

I was pretty impressed by this little shiny black thing that pings when you touch it.  BUT –

I got to thinking, how much MORE impressed would I be, if I could have an android sex robot sent to me in the post instead! (or as well, even!)?

bladerunner

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Would I like a sex robot?  Hell yeah!  I don’t mean a sort of plastic shop dummy thing with a big dick that says ‘I love you baby’ when you squeeze its rubber balls.  No.  I mean the next generation of sex robots, the kind that look and talk and feel like a real man, only they’re not a real man.  For instance, when you turn them on (I’m talking buttons, not lingerie) they tune in to your mood and know straight away if you want a little romancin’,  a little hard luvin’,  or you just want the house cleaned up or the dogs walked.  Also, with this mind- reading app, they will also know if you like whatever it is they’re doing to you (or for you) and whether you want it right a little, left a little, harder, slower, or taken to the dry-cleaners – without you even saying a word!

With this man-robot, you will never be wrong.  He’ll give you all the information you need, and then support your decision one hundred percent.  He’ll never say I told you so.  When you take him to a party, you can set him on Flirt, Cling, Socialise or Life Of.  When you’re busy, you can stand him in the closet.   He also does your tax for you.

Some women will probably say at this point, yeah, but I want a real man, with his own opinions, his own life, his own delightful, unpredictable, annoying personality!  Really?  Some men will say, isn’t this just as sexist as wanting a blow-up doll for Christmas instead of a real woman?  To those men I say – yes it is.  But if people could easily buy sex/ companion/romance/friend) robots – would the REAL versions stand a chance?

Cause don’t we all just want a perfect match?

Boys will be boys and boys will be girls, it’s a mixed up messed up shook up world except for Lola…

L.O.L.A. Lola…aaah…

It’s one of my favourite songs, partly because of the gender bendering that goes on it.  When I was twenty and first met my future husband, I kinda identified as the super-confident Lola, with him being the virginal little blossom that sings the song.  You know the line, ‘she picked me up and sat me on her knee, and said little boy will you come home with me..”  Well that was us.  Sort of.

He (the husband) was round-faced and short and a bit shy and I was a sex-crazed predator in the body of an aloof, socially awkward young uni student.  I’ve always had a thing for men who arouse the more masculine side of my femininity.  Sometimes I shock my daughter by referring to some new squeeze as ‘a cute little thing’.  I know, we’re supposed to like men who are tall and protective and superior – but it takes a lot of man to be superior to me, so in the meantime I’ll settle for a sweet smile and an obedient disposition.

Anyway, when Bex Wild asked me to review her bisexual transgender thriller-romance, Mansworld, I thought, now is my chance to seriously check out love from a different angle.  I’m as straight as a hypotenuse myself, but pretty soon I realised that this was a tale of men mesmerised by other men’s rear ends and a beautiful woman who’s deeply, confusedly masculine.  The chat is flirty and gay, the setting very London-scene, but the love – seems to me to be much like love everywhere.

Unlike men, who to almost a man love watching lesbian women get off with each other, women are supposed to be disgusted by gay erotica.  Still I have to admit that sitting there reading this stuff, I found myself getting the hots – so if you’re looking for something to warm the cockles of your, um, on a cold winter night, you might want to run off to Amazon and add it to your collection.  Add the mafia angle, and you have a light, fluffy, but quite interesting read.

Anyway, Bex offered to do a guest interview on my blog in return for the one-day course in diverse romance, and here it is!

Me: So, you’ve written a gay romance/mafia thriller.  Is gay romance different from straight romance, do you think?

Bex: For me, regards writing this book, not really. There are obstacles to overcome within any relationship as well as highs to be enjoyed, and I guess some will be less or more, depending on the lifestyles the individual lovers lead. When it comes to two people developing feelings for each other, I think its not so much about whether they are the same sex or not, but just about the particular people they are. I don’t believe all men are one way, and all women a certain other way, which therefore dictates the path of romance, it’s just the chemistry of the particular mix in question. I feel its more how we each perceive and deal with situations that arise around our relationships can change all the written ‘rules’, so to speak. The different romantic elements of this book, I feel have  a lot to do with the pressures that invariably get placed on relationships, which can be the make or break them, and are there to be worked through in romances of all sexual orientation
Me: When you wrote this story, was your main aim to entertain people – or does it have a ‘message’?
Bex: It was definitely written specifically to entertain, as I wrote it for my mother to read and hopefully enjoy.
That’s how it started in fact, just by handing her the prologue, with the emphasis on the characters more than plot at that point, and basically saying ‘would you like to read a story about these people?’ Obviously she did, and the book just took shape from there, as I delivered, page by page as she read, what I hoped was as entertaining for her to read as it was for me to write. If readers can gain their own understanding of any messages weaved into it along their way, I guess in a way that depends on the individual reader. I like walking the blurred lines between stereotypes, I grew up in the late eighties/early nineties in East London, knew those kind of characters both personally and through stories and my mother had been a big part of that whole culture for me, and so I wanted to create a mix that was both personal for us and out there on it’s own as something I had written. The intention, was for it to be light and frothy, composed, but still to hold you until the end.
Me: The book’s partly about transgender issues – particularly, about a woman who feels like a man, taking up with a man who’s bi (or gay?).  Is that from personal experience? (ie yours or people you know)  What DOES it feel like to be a sexually mannish woman?
Bex: Yes, it was. It was a leaning my mother and I shared and as I said it was written for her, it was as well as a lot of aspects of the book, included for her benefit, as a major part of our characters that we had in common. Having that kind of aspect to your personality, I think only adds to your perspective of your life and that which transpires around you, the larger your scope the more you see and feel. It has held its negative elements of confusion and that feeling of a square peg in a round hole, but I’ve always believed it’s not about changing your shape but just having to perhaps look a little harder to find the right shaped hole to suit you. It was something I wanted to explore in a character, but I also wanted to do it with an air of ambiguity and not just lay it out right there on the table, I wanted some of that character to be complex and concealed to the reader to work out and to what levels, just as much as she is to herself in that point of her life.
Me: What’s your personal reason for writing?
Bex: Just for the pure love of creating a story and most of all the pure love of creating characters. It has always been about characters for me, I love to see them grow, adapt, surprise, surpass, just simply deal with what life throws at them and develop their different coping mechanisms, survival strategies and such. I remember writing short stories around eight, and very, very long books in my teens, but throughout it was always about creating fully fledged characters and losing myself in where their actions took them. Escapism began for me with a very early love of reading, and writing just became the next level for me. I remember there being a particular point, When I watched Interview with the Vampire for the first time,  it was during a very bleak time in my childhood, and it struck me that I wanted to try and create worlds to delve into for myself, and that’s when I began to write on a major scale. The problem I always found in those days, was that I found it so hard to close the books on my characters and end the stories, Mansworld was my first determined effort to write something much more controlled and easy to relax into. 
Me: What’s the weirdest thing that ever happened to you – that you can put on a blog?
Bex: As for that, if by my standards based on a very weird life led, I would have deemed it weird … then it’s just not something I’d want to blog about!
Unlike Bex, I’ve led a very sheltered life, so if anything weird ever happens to me, I’ll be all too happy to blog about it.  Anyway, there you have it.  An author who writes a gay thriller for her mum has got to be worth a look!

Mansworld