Archive | January, 2012

Navigating the Friend Zone

31 Jan

So you’re pretty convinced she’s perfect: not to sound like a certain Taylor Swift song, but she gets your humor, you like all of the same things, and you can talk all night. Everything should be simple, except for the problem that you’re best friends. If the numerous Yale FML posts are to be believed, there are many men out there seeking how to move from the friend-zone to the relationship-zone. With successful members of relationships that began as friendships, we hope to help you young men in a similar quest.

If you’ve gotten to the point that you’re considering a relationship with your female friend, chances are you’ve already tried to gauge her interest. You might have asked that mutual friend you have to do a little investigating. If you’ve heard back from said mutual friend that she has no interest, do not despair! We assure—from our own disavowals no less—that she might not be telling the truth. Instead of relying on a go-between, look for signals that she might like you: does she respond to your texts with excessive emoticons, smile at everything you say, initiate hugs often, try to cuddle with you (see the earlier post about no platonic cuddling), drop by your suite with some regularity? More importantly, do you feel like there is a sort of palpable sexual tension in your interactions? That means you have chemistry as more than just friends, and it might be time to make the next move. These are no foolproof cues to determine whether or not she likes you back, but they can help you gauge your next move. The only way you are going to know for sure whether or not she’s interested is, in fact, asking her right out.

If you’re hesitant to make the first move—as many posters on Yale FML certainly seem to be—you are not alone. If you’re in a close-knit group of friends, chances are you’re probably nervous about changing the dynamics of the group or the possibility of losing the friendship if love should go awry. However, if you want something to happen—and for an actual relationship to blossom—you cannot wait for a drunken hookup; she’ll just think you’re in it for the sex. No, you’ll have to have a real conversation, maybe even—gasp—talk about feelings. You don’t need to ask her out to dinner and make a grand pronouncement, just invite her over for a movie one night. There’s nothing like a good rom-com—and there are more than enough of those to make both genders happy—to make her start reflecting on love (May we suggest: When Harry Met Sally, Love Actually, 500 Days of Summer, Pretty in Pink, Annie Hall, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Shakespeare in Love, Notting Hill, 10 Things I Hate About You, You’ve Got Mail, About a Boy, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, She’s All That, Serendipity, Drive Me Crazy, Kate and Leopold, Never Been Kissed, Moulin Rouge, 2 Days in Paris, Footloose, A Knight’s Tale, and just about anything from the ‘80’s.) When the movie’s done, it’s time to ask her about moving beyond the friendship barrier. Here are some questions you could pose: “What would you say if I asked you to dinner tomorrow night?” or “Yale Woman, I really like you, have you ever thought about being more than just friends?” And if you’re cuddling in your bed/couch, maybe even, “Would be alright if I kissed you?” (Warning: only use this one if you’re pretty sure she likes you back, otherwise things could end up awkward) Whatever words you’re able to put together, it’s better to ask than to live forever in agony. You’re never going to know unless you take the initiative (the same goes for you, Yale Women. Take the initiative to ask!).

Even if things don’t work out the way you hoped, at least you know the answer and you know how she feels. You can absolutely still be friends even if she turns you down; she may even begin to consider you in a romantic light, which may make her end up pursuing you.

If your quest goes well, congratulations! Relationships with someone who used to be your friend can be the greatest thing: there is none of that awkward-testing-each-other-out period, you already know each other.

Love-struck men of Yale, sally-forth! While she should take the initiative just as much as you should, nothing is going to happen until one of you makes the move. Take the chance to make that great friendship into a solid relationship.

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The Yale Man’s Guide to Texting

30 Jan

Ahh, texting. The past 10 years have brought us this glorious additional layer of technological relationship complication, and even if you are one of those fogies who swear it’s not important, believe us, it’s important. Texting is an intricate practice, and no one should go into this jungle of uncertainty and smileys without the proper machete. So here it is, the official Yale Man’s Guide to Texting:

Lol – We’ll start with the basics – the lol. Now, in general, the lol is a good thing. If it’s at the front of the text, it signals that your previous text made her laugh. Score! However, lols are not only used for laughter. They can also be used to diffuse tension or say that you shouldn’t take seriously what she just said (even though you should).

Good lol: lol! Yeahhh hamsters would look cray cray with bowties!

Bad lol: YEahh I totally didnt even want to go to that thing lol

Read: Oh yes I did, you lazy biz-nitch

And with lols, as with nearly every texted word, more letters = more betters.

Lolllllll || lololololol > lol

Ha – This texting convention can be a little confusing, because even though it may seem like it implies a laugh, it really signifies more of a sigh, or an attempt to make you think you’re funny. As with the lol, placement matters; at the front says she’s sighing at you, and at the back is a self-sigh.

Front ha – Ha you should really pursue this bowtie-hamster thing

Back ha –  And then we kind of passed out ha

Haha – Haha essentially serves the same purpose as the lol (though with a bit more maturity, in our humble opinions). It most commonly means that what you said was funny, or she wants to signal that what she’s saying is funny. Generally a good thing.

Hahaha – Generally a great thing! If haha is the courtesy laugh, hahaha means you ACTUALLY made her laugh. Congrats! And, as with the lol, more ha’s are even better. YOU WANT MANY OF THESE.

… – ellipses are tricky, because based on their placement, they can mean completely different things. In the middle of a sentence, ellipses can simply be a segue into a different thought. At the end, they can mean uncertainty or judgment. If she sends a text which consists solely of ellipses, you messed up biiig and she is pissed at what you just said.

Middle ellipses: Im not going to the show… why do Sikhs carry a knife if they believe in nonviolence?

Back ellipses: umm the KIRPAN is used as a defensive weapon…

. – Periods full on suck because there’s no standardization in their texting usage. Some people think they should be used at the end of every sentence, but we here at Men’s Guide think that periods at the end of a text look unnecessarily harsh. Hopefully you know a girl well enough to know her patterns, but in general, an end text period means pissiness to follow. Just look at the difference between these two examples:

I’m feeling chill right now: Ok

I’m feeling like a pissy she-monster: Ok.

SO HARSH. Avoid this punctuation at all costs.

:  ) – And now to the emoticons. This particular one is fraught with ambiguity, because it can easily signal friendship or flirtatiousness. If a girl’s already your friend, it’s best to err on the side of caution and take it as friendly. But at least you make her smile! Oh, and as a side note on your own texting etiquette, it is acceptable for guys to use the smiley, but you probably shouldn’t overdo it, because it is a fairly girly emoticon, and you might come across as a little gay. And as an (ostensibly straight) Yale man, you probably don’t want another reason for girls to think you like the dudes.

: ( – The opposite of smiley: the frownie! No real subtext to this one; it means she’s sad. GIVE HER CANDY. SHE PROBABLY LOVES CANDY.

And finally:

; ) – SHE WANTS YOUR BODY. WHAT ARE YOU DOING AT YOUR COMPUTER GET IT GET IT GET IT

Out in the open

30 Jan

Once you’re in a relationship, you will probably want to show some signs of affection. This is highly encouraged, not only because it shows the person that you’re with that you not embarrassed by her, but also because it can make others feel awkward if two people who are ostensibly dating act with extreme formality around one another. However, we DIScourage certain types of public displays of affection (PDA, for those of you unfamiliar with the acronym). Extreme PDA, while generally thought to be cute by the couples engaged in it, is, in fact, not. It is awkward for those watching. It reminds single people that they’re single. It makes people in relationships feel like they should show extreme PDA too. It just doesn’t look good. Go ahead, hold hands (aw how cute), link arms (aww how dignified), put your arms around each other’s waists (awww how in love). These are fine because they’re not terribly intimate gestures. However, too much public intimacy is a bad idea. Do not make out in front of others (ewww). No, absolutely not. A quick peck or kiss on the cheek is totally fine and adorable, but there should never be a full on make-out session going on in the view of others. Do not feed each other at dinner. Ugh, what are you, a two year old with your mommy? “Open up for the airplane!” She does not need to spoon-feed you your soup. You should know how to use a fork and knife by this point in your life. And never engage in behavior that looks like you’re about to have sex. Just no. Sitting in a room surrounded by friends? Keep it to an arm around the shoulder, a hand on the knee, or hand-holding. Don’t feel each other up, please, for the rest of us. You don’t have to act like complete strangers, but remember that there are others watching. A good rule for what constitutes acceptable PDA is to think of your favorite Disney movie (we’re talking the animated type, and we assume that you’ve watched them at some point in your life). Do Pocahontas and John Smith ever do more than hold hands, really? Do Cinderella and Prince Charming do more than dance? And just how long is that kiss that Prince Charming plants on Sleeping Beauty? Go ahead, re-watch the Disney movies and see for yourself. Keep it rated G and everything’s all good.

On behalf of the rest of the world, to you in your love bubble, thanks for keeping your relationship appropriate for all audiences.

How to be friends

29 Jan

After all this talk about dating and hooking up and stuff, we’ve forgotten a really important category in relationships between men and women: friendship. Men and women at Yale can and should be friends with one another, otherwise they’re missing out on a pretty big part of the Yale community. So how exactly do you turn a girl into your friend without appearing like you want to sleep with her as well? Girls are actually quite receptive to the idea of being friends with men – that’s the good part. First step is meeting the girl in question you would like to befriend – maybe she lives in your entryway or she is in your class. Second step is to introduce yourself. For those of you who’ve been living under rocks for the past 18 or so years, this means you say, “Hi, I’m Yale Man, what did you say your name was?” Hopefully, you possess some skills in the art of chitchat, and we suggest that you employ them at this point in time so that after you’ve learned her name, you don’t just stand there awkwardly. Saying things like, “what did you think of the lecture” and “what college are you in?” are perfect ways to start something off. You’ve now both established the fact that the other exists, congratulations. Say hi to her when you pass on Cross Campus or end up next to each other on the Blue State line. After a while, ask her if she wants to grab a meal – dining halls this time, please! Going out will give the wrong impression. Lunch says quite definitively that this is not sexy time. It’s as simple as saying, “Hey, we should grab a meal some time. How about next Tuesday?” (this would also be a good moment to exchange numbers). If you’re truly as charming and witty as you think you are, you’re probably well on the path to friendship. Now, was that really so hard?

On the flip side, a girl can always befriend you (and in our experience, the girl is the more likely person to initiate the friendship). You’ll know that she just wants to be friends if all of your meals take place in a dining hall. If she’s telling you her deepest, darkest, innermost secrets, she probably just wants to be friends (a girl interested in sleeping with you is more likely to hold that stuff back).

Once you’ve got a friendship going, you’ll have to expend some energy to make it last. Especially if you’re living in different colleges or off-campus, you’re going to have to put in some time to see each other to keep the friendship going. The jury is still out on whether or not men and women can truly ever just be friends. Harry and Sally’s verdict that it only works as long as they don’t find each other sexually attractive might just be the case. Haven’t you ever seen My Best Friend’s Wedding (if you haven’t, you really shouldn’t because it’s terrible, that is, unless you want to see Julia Roberts running around in 80’s style hair and too-short shirts)? It didn’t work. Pretty in Pink anyone? Emma? Clueless? Made of Honor? Just Friends? No Strings Attached? (Ok, now we’re just getting into bad movies). Sexual attraction is the death knell of the friendship. So, to keep it at the friends level, we suggest just a bit of distance, so that you’re not spending every single moment with each other. Watch movies, text, chat, and hang out all you want but NEVER cuddle. There is no such thing as platonic cuddling. Period. End of story (well, if one of you has a significant other, there are some extenuating situations). Once you start cuddling, you’ve passed into dangerous territory. Unless, of course, you’ve decided to go the way of Peter Parker and make Mary-jane into your lady. In which case, cuddling is a very good idea.

The Best Places to have Sex on Campus

28 Jan

Got a roommate who just never seems to be out? Want to keep your relationship a secret? Just feel like a change of scenery? There are a bunch of places on campus which provide the ideal (or close enough, anyway) environment for some illicit sexy time.

  1. So everyone knows about sex in the stacks. It’s right up there on the list of things to do before you graduate so we’re not going to spend too much time on it. Just a few words of advice: Go about 45 minutes before the library is due to close. Wednesday’s are usually fairly quiet. For goodness sake, make sure there isn’t some poor, hard-working soul on the other side of that shelf (unless you’re into that). The view of York Street from the seventh floor is amazing. So amazing, in fact, that you can clearly see the people at the window tables in Yorkside. This means, no lights. If you can see them…
  2. Old Campus is awash with places to sneak off to for a quickie. If you’re early enough, you can ninja into LC and commandeer a classroom (pick one with no window in the door), just remember to push a table up against the door first. But if you’re going to go for the classroom, we here at Men’s Guide prefer Phelps. It’s less busy, there are no windows in most of the classroom doors, plus, there’s an elevator. Next up is Bingham basement. A risky choice given the constant stream of people coming down to do laundry but if you’re lucky enough to find the seminar room unoccupied, there’s nothing to stop you (Although courtesy would expect that you not go at it while the Muslim prayer room next door is in use). Lastly, and this has been up to now a closely guarded secret so consider yourselves lucky, CT Hall. Always open so no frustration when you can’t get in and people tend to be exclusively in the computer cluster so the likelihood of being disturbed is minimal. Head up the faculty bathroom on the first floor landing (there are mirror images on each side). These are single bathrooms, so there’s a lock on the external door. Plus, they’re huge, really clean, and have an enormous countertop and a bench seat type thing.
  3. Dunham Lab is almost entirely deserted at night and there are so many rooms in far away corners. Definitely worth a visit.
  4. If you’re more adventurous still, there’s always Bass Library. We’re not talking about hooking up in the weenie bins, although if you’re into being seen, they are the ideal location. No, we’re talking classroom. It’s risky, so not for the fainthearted, but if you time it right, you should be able to get away unseen. The biggest variable is obviously the security guards and their regular patrols, so avoid the rooms with the little barcodes they scan on their way around. We recommend going after the circulation desk had closed but before the library shuts to minimize the chances of being interrupted. Also, high chance of carpet burns.
  5. As a certain master admonished in an email lately, your college basement contains a myriad of places to get it on, especially if you have a key to the music practice room. But if you’re in your own college, be discreet, the chances of encountering someone you know are way higher and the last thing you want is to end up sitting opposite someone at brunch who just last night glimpsed your naked butt.

The Fuck-Buddy Relationship

28 Jan

The fuck-buddy, or friends with benefits, relationship can be very mutually rewarding, but it should not be entered into lightly. No matter what you tell each other (or yourself), your friendship is not going to stay the same. There’s just something about seeing a person naked that changes things. We would also recommend choosing a friend outside of your immediate friend circle if possible in order to avoid any future awkwardness between the two of you, and among the rest of your friends. If you do end up with a close friend, don’t delude yourself into thinking you can keep it a secret. At the very least, your suitemates will know (and, depending on the girl, think you’re a total boss or a complete idiot).

Also, don’t be surprised if it ends badly. We here at the Man’s Guide have yet to see a fuck-buddy relationship end without either party getting hurt. The way these things usually play out goes something like this: you two have been having sex for a while, one of you thinks it’s going great, the other has developed feelings and wants to have a relationship. Cue fights, tears and awkwardness. Or, you just end up in a relationship eventually, whether you want to be or not.

But if you’ve decided it’s worth the risk, there are a few things to keep in mind. Sex with a fuck-buddy is not just a hook up with the same person multiple times. There is a difference, and that means the sex should be different. In a hook up, it’s not really expected (or encouraged) that you be particularly adventurous, but with a fuck-buddy, there is greater opportunity to explore and experiment. A fuck-buddy relationship can be the perfect opportunity to discover or indulge your sexual interests and/or improve your skills. You are going to be with the same partner multiple times and it is important that you consider and accommodate their interests too. This isn’t all about you, be generous, often. After all, you want her to keep having sex with you, right?

Both of you should also respect the other person’s feeling and have a conversation about what you expect of the other. Is it okay to hook up with other people? Will she mind if you go to screw with someone else? How much time should you spend together outside of the bedroom? Having good communication – both about feelings and about sex – is essential to having a working sexual relationship.As best you can, keep your relationship confined to the bedroom (or bathroom, or classroom). Try to avoid allowing the intimacy you sometimes share from spilling over into your non-sexual interactions. That’s how feelings get confused and people get hurt.

Why it’s not okay to hook up with her best friend:

27 Jan

Sometimes it happens that you hook up with a girl and it’s just not going to go anywhere. As long as she’s not terribly hurt, that’s fine. However, this means that her friends, especially her best friend, are off limits. Always. Forever. It’s not ok even if the best friend is throwing herself at you. Yes, best friends should know better, but sometimes they’re stupid too. We’ve been asked many times at the Yale Man’s Guide why exactly women have such a problem with their hook ups getting with their best friends and we’d like to offer the following illumination of the female psyche (or at least some female psyches. There are women who simply don’t care about this situation, but many do).

To the average woman’s mind, the friend is the confidant, the one who knows all of her hook ups and all of her secrets. By hooking up with the friend, you instantly create a tension in the friendship. The first woman begins to wonder if her friend actually cares about the friendship and how much her friend can be trusted. Even though you may not necessarily be the one at fault (you may not even have known that they were friends!) you’re still going to be blamed. Yes, we know, it’s not fair, but neither is life. Hooking up with the best friend is an act of betrayal, pure and simple. You’ve created a situation in which two people who know each other intimately now know you intimately and they will gossip about you forever. Trust us, two friends will NEVER forget that they’ve hooked up with the same guy.

While hooking up with the best friend may seem like a good idea at the time – especially if it’s late at night and you’re intoxicated – there’s the potential for you ruin their friendship forever. If you’re simply looking to hook up, this is a terrible, selfish thing to do and we simply do not advise it. However, if you hooked up with one friend and are deeply in love with the other, you’re in a tricky situation. In that case, it’s a good idea for the best friend to handle negotiations and let her make the decision. It must be her choice on how to handle her relationship with her friend and her relationship with you.

There’s also the EWW factor. Crudely put, two friends hooking up with the same guy is comparable to them sharing a toothbrush (yes, we just compared a man to a toothbrush). Although there may not necessarily be anything wrong, there’s such a thing as sharing TOO much. It’s just icky, plain and simple.

Just another thing to keep in mind: if you now understand why hooking up with two friends is a bad idea, don’t even consider hooking up with two sisters. That’s just never going to be ok, ever. You thought the saying was Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? Just try a Yale woman, her sister, and her best friend. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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