Tag Archives: relationships

Not single on Valentine’s Day?

12 Feb

Congratulations, you’ve found someone you can call your Valentine. Since we’re no longer in fourth grade, she’s probably going to expect a bit more than just one of those cute paper cards (although we really like those cards with cute animals or movie stars). Anyway, the date is approaching fast (aka Tuesday) so here are a couple last minute ideas about what you can do to make the day a little bit more special (although both of you should show that you appreciate each other on a day-to-day basis and you shouldn’t have to wait until a holiday to do that). Whatever you do will probably be clichéd – the whole day is formulaic, so there’s no point trying to fight it. This is the most clichéd holiday. Ever.

  1. Make a reservation at a nice restaurant. You might want to get a move on that, um, and soon. Because in case you haven’t noticed, a lot of couples go out to diner on Valentine’s. Everyone loves dinner, and this is a perfect excuse to skip a meal at a dining hall.
  2. Gifts – small gifts are nice. Like flowers and chocolate (duh). But also what about her favorite type of tea that she just ran out of? Or a new mug because her roommate broke hers? Or a book that she really wants? A nice piece of jewelry? Small, thoughtful gifts are sometimes better. Cards can be nice, but post-Valentine’s Day, she’s left with the awkward predicament of what to do with the card. Hang it on the wall? Put it in a drawer? Throw it out? If you go the card route, better make sure it’s a good one.
  3. Become a poet and write her a sonnet. Actually, never mind, that’s a bad idea. Unless you’re a really good poet. Because nothing is more awkward for her than pretending that she actually likes your verse when it’s really crap.
  4. Surprise her with a singing Valentine. Except she might be embarrassed if you give her said singing Valentine in the middle of a 400 person lecture.
  5. Have sex.
  6. Put a movie on and don’t watch it. Cuddle.
  7. Build a blanket fort and snuggle all night. Everyone loves a blanket fort.
  8. Just show her that you care about her.

And then of course, you could both have midterms on Wednesday and may feel like celebrating on a different date. That’s ok – taking the time out to celebrate your relationship is always a good thing. You don’t have to set off fireworks in the middle of Old Campus to show her that you care (in fact, that’s probably a bad idea). On the 14th, heartfelt wins over creativity (especially if that creativity potentially endangers the lives of fellow students, re fireworks).

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.

The Art of Conversation

3 Feb

As a fantastic conversationalist and all-around good generator of words, many people have asked us, hey, Yale Man’s Guide, how do you do it? How is it that you can seem to talk to anybody, about any given topic, and trick them into thinking you’re interesting? Well, there’s a simple answer, folks: there’s a system! You can’t just go into life unprepared – you need to have a game plan. Much like the machete that you must you for texting, a new bit of rainforest equipment is necessary for entering the danger field of CONVERSATION. We speak, of course, of the Indiana Jones fedora (don’t front like it’s not useful; tell us of one mosquito bite Indy got on his noggin). This particular fedora is our special list of conversation-starters, topics to talk about that no Yale man can be without (Disclaimer: you can totally be without this). Edited to make them a bit more appealing to the ladies, and here we go:

  1. Have you been to the steam tunnels? (This works best if you’ve actually been to the steam tunnels. Alternate delivery, which must be done in the deep Batman voice: I’ve BEEN to the tunnels)
  2. What do you think they do in Skull and Bones? Like, kinky stuff?
  3. Have you ever been to a (A Different Drum show/Shades concert/ Shabbat dinner)? They sure can (dance! / sing! / eat challah)
  4. Want to grab lunch? Let’s go to Berkeley; it probably won’t be crowded.
  5. What do you think of Ronnell? Like really THINK about him? Do you think he’s a family man? I bet his wife really loves him… he’s cool.
  6. Marry, boff, kill: President Levin, Provost Salovey , Dean Gentry.
  7. Have you seen that sports game? Ha! Neither have I.
  8. Have you seen this fine blog called “By Yale Women for Yale Men”? Very useful. And witty!

And then there’s the one thing we suggest you DO NOT talk about, based off our very scientific poll of ourselves. MUTUAL FRIENDS. You’re never going to learn about the person you’re talking to if you are talking about other people. And this conversation can get really awkward, especially if one of you doesn’t like said mutual friend/ acquaintance. It usually goes,

1st person, who likes mutual friend: “Oh, do you know Lamp McThermos???”

2nd person, who thinks mutual friend is a bitchy cheese-for-brains mouthbreather: “Yeah… she’s… interesting…”

And then our good friend Awkward Silence pays a visit.

Seriously guys, you can do better…. with this fedora.

The less-than-fun (but very important) side of sex

2 Feb

While the Yale community may be full of talented and bright individuals, this does not mean that we’re exactly as, um…healthy, as we should be. There are a couple things that you should bear in mind before you embark on any type of sexual adventure:

STI’s: they’re real, they exist and they’re on the Yale campus. (Sexually transmitted infections, for those of you bad at acronyms.) Ok, now that we’ve got that fact out of the way, we can have a more rational discussion. No one wants one, and no one wants anyone else to know that he/she has one. It is your responsibility – and maybe even your duty – to get yourself tested and to make sure that you are clean, so that when she asks you if you are, you can respond honestly. DUH offers free STI testing to all Yale students, even if they’re not part of the Yale Health Plan – so go and get yourself tested, especially if you are sexually active with a variety of people. What could be a better mood-booster during a stressful week than a negative test result? They don’t even show up on your bills, so your parents will never know. You don’t even have to go to DUH to get your test results back – they call you. What could be easier?! Best-case scenario, you know you’re clean and you now deserve to have a little extra spring in your step. Worst-case scenario, there is probably a way to treat whatever you’ve got, it’s ok and don’t be a dumbass in the future. Bacterial STI’s like chlamydia and gonorrhea can be cured while viral infections like hepatitis B and herpes can only be treated (i.e. they’re never going away). Therefore, it’s a good idea to get tested so that you don’t spread it further.

On a further STI note, before having sex with someone for the first time, it’s better to ask BEFORE and not AFTER if he/she is clean. You should also note that you can get an STI even if you don’t have sex. Not only can oral-anal and oral-genital transmission occur, but herpes, genital warts, and hepatitis B are not prevented bycondoms (they’re spread through skin contact so if your partner has a sore outside the area covered by the condom, you can be infected). Before things get R-rated, you might just want to take a breath to ask, “You’re clean, right?” and hopefully she’ll answer, “yes” without hesitation. You can also ask “Have you been tested?” This should get the message across. Similarly, she should ask if you’re clean and you MUST answer honestly. Remember, Hell hath no fury like a woman who just got herpes.

So here’s the good news. There a thing called protection – use it because it works (most of the time). There are multiple types of protection, some of which are more effective than others. Some types protect against STI’s while others protect against pregnancy (we call these contraceptives). Condoms protect against most STI’s and pregnancy, therefore, it is often a good idea to use a condom even if your partner is on birth control. This will protect against the STI’s and ensure that your partner does not end up pregnant. Good news! Condoms are easy to procure at Yale and FREE (hooray!). You can find condoms in College entryways, from Peer Health Educators and from FroCos. Don’t be embarrassed, get over it and ask for the f—ing condoms, you’ll be happy that you did. Sex is great, so what’s the big deal (just don’t be that idiot freshman boy who stockpiles condoms in his room but never uses any of them)? In addition, lubricants, dental dams, and female condoms are available for free at DUH, which means that you have to walk. Same message as before, get over it and walk to the extra 15 minutes to get your supplies: you’ll be happy that you did because those 15 minutes mean better, safer sex.

Also, you people in relationships out there, this applies to you too. Just because you’re having sex with the same person regularly, it doesn’t mean you’re invincible. Getting tested in the early stages of your relationship is a great way to put her mind at rest. If you’re cute like that, you could even make the trip to DUH together. We know that sometimes you don’t realize that you’re out of condoms until you’re “past the point of no return” but suck it up. Just once can be all it takes to turn you from care-free college boy into daddy-to-be. And in case you’re that stupid, THE PULLOUT METHOD ALONE IS NOT AN EFFECTIVE CONTRACEPTIVE.

So now that you’ve been told for probably the millionth time about protection, let’s have a cheer for happy and safe sex!

Sex in a Relationship

1 Feb

Sex in a relationship is, in our humble opinion, the best kind of sex for many reasons. Sex with a person you trust and care about is so much more intense than a random hook up. Sex with a person who knows what you like and just what to do to push you over the edge…ooh, we’re getting all warm just thinking about it. Trust us, guys who don’t want a relationship cause they’d miss the random sex are dumb. There are plenty of reasons not to want a relationship but that is not one. So yeah, relationship sex is awesome now maybe we should give some actual advice…

TALK! We cannot stress enough that communication is key. We here at the Man’s Guide are big fans of being frank (can you tell?) when it comes to talking about sex. Don’t be shy and for goodness sake don’t lie. This applies just as much, if not more, to women, so don’t think we’re putting it all on you guys to start the conversation. Talk about what you like, what you don’t, what you’ve always wanted to try, what you’d never want to try in a million years. It doesn’t have to turn into a performance review every time you have sex but saying something like “I liked it when you did that thing with your tongue” increases the chances that she’ll do it again. If she’s doing something you don’t like but you don’t want to kill the mood, just move her hand or pull her head up for a kiss or whatever. And if you tell her afterwards that you weren’t really feeling it, she’s not going to get mad, she’ll just be glad you told her.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. If it’s a big new thing, it’s a good idea to talk about it first and find out if it’s something she’d be interested in trying. But if it’s something small, it can be exciting to surprise her with something new out of nowhere. Encourage her to tell you her fantasises, and tell her yours. You never know, she might just buy herself Leia’s slave costume as a special Valentine’s Day treat for you.

Sex is an important part of a relationship and it should be enjoyable for both parties. That said, if she wants to try something that literally makes your insides shrivel up with fear and/or disgust, you don’t have to do it just to make her happy. Compromise, find a middle ground. Offer to try out something else that you feel more comfortable with. Explain what it is that makes you uncomfortable and why because she’s not a mind reader but she should know.

Keep things interesting. There are many types of sex and one of the great things about relationship sex is that you can have them all on a regular basis. Today you both might just really want wild, animal sex. Tomorrow you might be more in the mood for something steamy and intimate. Or the myriad of adjectives in between.

Also, sometimes she might not be in the mood. Or you might not be. It happens. It doesn’t mean she’s no longer attracted to you or anything, she’s probably just tired. Just because you’re in a relationship, don’t assume that you’re going to have sex every single night. It is always okay to say no, always. We would take this opportunity to give props to the boyfriend of the girl who posted on YaleFML to say that he asks for consent every time. Good man.

Sex should be fun and it doesn’t always have to be serious (actually, fyi, if she giggles when you’re inside her, we are reliably informed that it feels awesome) but a frank conversation once in a while can work wonders.

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