Single on Valentine’s Day?

12 Feb

So Valentine’s Day is coming up and it can be a rough holiday for some of us. We here at the Yale Men’s Guide know there some of the single men of Yale (some, not all – we know that not everyone out there is a fan of hand-holding) will suffer throughout the day. Here are 10 things that you do to ameliorate your single night:

  1. Rent Love Actually and buy yourself a box of chocolates. Lament the fact that you will never have a love as great as the one that Colin Firth has for his maid. Or Hugh Grant for his secretary. There is one copy left in Bass and one at the Film Studies Center.
  2. Alternatively, take out your anger at being single on that idiot who lost the second copy of Love Actually supposed to be housed in Bass in the beginning of February. The BYWFYM Ladies know you’re out there and we’re not pleased – give the Yale community back our favorite rom-com. NOW.
  3. Lock yourself in your bedroom with a box of tissues and a Victoria Secret catalogue. Need we say more?
  4. Go to Toad’s? Oh wait, it’s not Wednesday…Ok, never mind, do that on the 15th.
  5. Go to Bass and ogle all the other single people in there. Take comfort in your shared single-dom. Time to make a new friend (and a very special kind of friend?)
  6. Find a single friend (female or male) and cuddle. The one day that cuddling rules are vaguely suspended. Unless that female friend you’re cuddling with is the one you’d also like to have as a Valentine, in which case, go to number 10.
  7. Wear all black and refuse to smile in protest of the commercialization of emotion. Why do we need a holiday to show someone we love them, anyway? You’ve become a conscientious objector (and a hipster). Congratulations!
  8. Light a bonfire in the middle of Cross Campus. When asked what you’re doing, reply that you are reverting to the pagan traditions of the holiday.
  9. Stand on the top of SSS (or a similarly tall building) and throw confetti on to the heads of couples down below while yelling bitter, snarky comments (Just don’t go too near the edge, please).
  10. For heaven’s sake, grow a pair and ask her out already! If you’ve really wanted to, there’s no better time.

Can we still be friends?

11 Feb

It can be tough to go back to being friends with someone, especially if you’ve known him/her intimately for a long period of time. So how exactly do you manage to get back to a place of friendship with some one? Here are some basic things to keep in mind:
1. Are you really sure that you want to be just friends? Is there lingering sexual tension? Because if so, you might want to rethink the whole break-up thing. And if you really think that you should just be friends, for whatever reason, you’re going to have to shut down any sort of tension because if you do start hooking up again, the second break up is going to be worse/more awkward than the first (trust us, we know).
2. It’s a good idea to let the person who was broken up with make the first attempt at friendship. Give it a couple of weeks before offering the proverbial olive branch. If she contacts you, that’s great, but don’t make the mistake of assuming that if she gets coffee with you, she wants to hook up again. She’s not crawling back, she just wants to be friends (we hope).
3. Avoid talking about your newest hook up/girlfriend. Awkward, for obvious reasons. That being said, if you do have someone new in your life, you might want to mention it, depending on good of friends you are – just don’t wax lyrical about how your new girl is making you the happiest you’ve ever been or something stupid like that.
4. Avoid cryptic references to the past. You both know that you were in a relationship/hooking up at one point in your life, so you might as well be up front about it. The more honest you are with each other, the less that awkwardness will linger. There’s nothing like “So, um, yeah, when, we were, um, together?…and you, um, were in my…room?”to bring conversation to a screeching halt.

If you had a friendship beforehand, it might take a long time to get it back to what it was, and it quite possibly will never be the same. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to try, and friendship certainly is better than pulling out your phone each time you’re about to pass each other and pretending to madly text everyone in your contacts.

Three Little Words

9 Feb

I love you: Don’t say it unless you mean it. Sometimes you should say it first.

How to Fight Productively

8 Feb

No relationship is perfect. Realistically, you are going to have disagreements once in a while and that is perfectly normal. Couples who agree all the time about everything are just creepy in our opinion. That said, there are a few things you can do to air and discuss your grievances in a way that doesn’t end with the pair of you standing at opposite ends of the room, yelling and ducking to avoid flying shoes.

  1. Don’t fight at night. We know that disagreements are most likely to arise when one or both of you are tired, and that here at Yale, tired is most people’s default setting, but trying to have a serious conversation at 2am is never going to end well.
  2. Don’t fight drunk. Alcohol makes you honest, sometimes a little too honest, or at least a little to blunt. And Culpability of Intoxication only goes so far in convincing her that you don’t actually think she kisses like a seal trying to swallow a trout.
  3. Don’t fight on her period. As much as we might try to deny it, we women really are just an emotional battlefield that week, and you really don’t want to step on a landmine. So it’s probably best just to nod and agree as much as you can and return to the subject at a later, less explosive, date. Also, for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT under any circumstances tell her that she’s overreacting due to PMS, unless you want the relationship equivalent of the H-bomb to explode in your common room.
  4. Don’t be mean. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something you’ll regret and she’ll take to heart. Tempting as it might be to ‘win’ by bringing up that thing you know she’s really sensitive about, don’t. She will remember and she will trust you less because of it.
  5. Don’t interrupt. Try to give each other a fair hearing. Going into a discussion already convinced that the other person has nothing useful to contribute and you already have everything exactly right is never a good idea, especially in relationships. You should both be able to give your view in full and then hopefully:
  6. Compromise! It really is the best thing ever.

Opposites Attract?

7 Feb

So everyone knows that old saying that opposites attract, but what if you and your newest pal seem to be polar opposites? You support the Red Sox and she grew up with the Yankees? You’re part of the Yale College Republicans and she reads the Dems’ emails religiously? You’re a practicing atheist and she’s a devout Wicken? You would rather eat General Tsao’s tofu for the rest of your life than analyze Ulysses and she’s an English major? You spend your weekends reliving FOOT in East Rock and she doesn’t own a pair of shoes without a four-inch heel? Whatever your differences are, we think that you can have a relationship in spite of them (although if she believes in being completely nocturnal and you stick to a more diurnal lifestyle, you might have problems).

So how exactly do you work a relationship where you’re so different? The first thing is not to ignore those difference – talk about them (but remember to be nice and reasonable). Acknowledging the fact that she likes smooth peanut butter and you like chunky makes sure that there’s not elephant in the room whenever you are together. You shouldn’t have to tiptoe around subjects just because you disagree – in order to have a working relationship where you’re on opposite ends of any debate, you need to understand where the other one is coming from.

A great way to avoid any awkwardness is to make a joke out of your differences. You love Hugh Grant movies and she’s a die-hard Bruce Willis fan (pun intended)? Look at you two, defying gender norms! Joking and (gentle) teasing alleviates the need to avoid topics. A solid relationship shouldn’t have taboo subjects, and by giving your great debate a light-hearted tone, you learn to laugh at yourselves. And other people won’t feel as if they have to avoid certain topics when they’re around the pair of you, which helps. Teasing is good for the soul.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you should always listen to what your significant other has to say whenever you’re talking about your divergent issue. Let her explain why exactly she prefers Sterling to Bass and don’t cut her off in the middle. Everyone hates being cut off, so don’t do it. Respond to what she’s saying, don’t just deliver your own point of view (this shows you were listening…but now we feel as if we’re giving instructions on how to participate well in section…but anyway). Conversely, she should listen and respond to you. Yay for civilized discussion! (and debating can be sexy, so hey)

So whatever the matter at hand, whether serious or silly, you can make it work, you’re just going to have to work at it.

Friend zoned or Relationship Potential?

6 Feb

Every woman is different. Surprise! So there is no sure fire way of knowing what those signals you think you’re getting actually mean. Does she want to hook up? Be your friend? Your girlfriend? Something in the murky in-between? Believe us when we tell you, we know it’s frustrating. We feel the same way about guys. In an ideal world, everyone would just come right out and say what they want, but alas, the rest of the world is not the Man’s Guide and don’t quite seem capable of that. So you must do your best to puzzle out just what it means when she texts you at 2am on a Saturday for no apparent reason or asks you to have lunch, hopefully with a little help from us.
There remains a large portion of the female population who (wrongly, in our opinion) believe that it is up to the man to make the first move. So she manoeuvres and manipulates the situation to give you every opportunity to make that move without ever indicating that she wants you to. Women, huh? Who’d want one? Well you, apparently, so listen up. Just do it if you want to, make a move that is. If you think you’re getting signals, but you’re not sure, it is okay to ask. If you don’t want to ask her directly, do some scouting with a close friend of hers.
You are allowed to some situation manipulation of your own. Invite her over to your suite to hang out and watch a movie or something and reach for her hand or put your arm around her. Her reaction is going to tell you pretty much all you need to know. If she pulls her hand away, she’s not interested (or just really hates hands, it’s a thing, we swear). The arm on the shoulders is a little harder to judge but a good rule of thumb is: if she pushes your arm off, she’s not interested; if she snuggles closer, you’re in with a shout. There is an annoying in between possibility where she doesn’t remove your arm but also doesn’t react to it, might be she’s trying to figure out what you mean by it.
Next step goes one of two ways, basically. She’s snuggled in and you move in for a kiss. Or, you tell her you like her and have a massively awkward conversation about how you both feel. We suggest the former, it’s much more romantic that way and then you can talk about what it meant, when there’s something to talk about.

Texting Etiquette

5 Feb

Now that you know how to write a text properly, let’s talk about actually sending those texts. People like to text. People like it when their texts get responses. This is something very basic  you should probably have learned by now. We’ve seen a lot of relationships, and we’ve come to the conclusions that most (but certainly not all) men are rather poor communicators, especially when their significant other is not immediately before their eyes. Ok, so you were busy, but it might be nice if you spared five seconds of your time to send her a sweet, thoughtful text that told her that you were thinking about her. Living at college in very close proximity to your significant other means that you should probably have some sort of communication every day. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend four hours together every night, but the very least that you can do is send her a text in the afternoon so that when she gets out of class, she knows that you care.

So what exactly counts as enough? It doesn’t have to be something sappy like, “I haven’t seen you in 10 hours, I miss you.” Just something like a memory, or “I was just thinking about you and wanted to see how you were doing” or “How’s your day going?” or a random observation on your life. Better yet, ask her if she’s free to hang out later so you can actually see each other. A relationship cannot survive on texting alone, and we therefore recommend that you see each other regularly. On the other hand, texting throughout the day demonstrates that you are letting this relationship exist even when you are not together. It is a way of showing that she can be in your life even when you two are apart.

Now if she sends you a text in the middle of the afternoon, you are expected to respond. Even though there might not be an explicit question in there, you are still expected to respond. And you should do so within an acceptable amount of time. Eight hours to send something back is a bit too much, and she’s probably been checking her phone for the last two of them, hoping for some sign that you are still alive. You don’t have to be an insta-texter (that’s an intant-texter, the kind that replies immediately to any text received. We’re talking like a couple of seconds), but two to four hours is a reasonable stretch. Did she say, “So I was just thinking of the time when we climbed to the top of Phelps” or “The radiators in the L and B room are so annoying” or “My TA is really mean”? These are not random observations. The sub-text is: I want to talk to you about the things that are happening in my life, but since you’re not here with me right now, I thought I would text you instead and it would be nice if you offered an observation/sympathy/condolence/even a ‘haha’ but especially nice if you suggested that we go get coffee later so I can actually see your face. Yup, all of those emotions were in that really short text. Short texts can be a sign that she is being passive aggressive, especially in they end with a period. Did she text, “fine.” in response to a question? That’s not good. In general, longer responses are better. If you are the type that has your phone growing out of your fingertips, she’s probably noticed, and if you fail to respond in a reasonable length of time, she’s going to think that you are purposefully ignoring her. You’re going to have a lot of explaining to do in that case.

Another note on texting is that when you two are together, back away from the phone. Put it down, don’t look at it. Out to dinner with the lady? Keep your phone in your jacket pocket, not on the table, not in your pants pocket (where it will distract you). You’re supposed to be spending time together, so focus your attention on her, not on the people that are interrupting your together-time. Of course, these rules apply to her as well. Take a time out from your smart-phone, Apple-product, Google-laced, Reddit-sponsored lives and experience the real world for just a little bit.

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