The Advice Goddess
By Amy Alkon
This guy I met online seemed so perfect when we talked on the phone. We then had the perfect date, talking into the wee hours and ending up in bed. Then, poof! He was gone. Not even a return phone call. I’d understand if we’d had a so-so time. But, we had great fun, the most I’ve had in ages. So … was he on a different date than I was … or what?
Here’s a man you could’ve been with forever, if only you’d taken the liberty of cuffing him to the chair in your front room.
But, it seemed like the perfect date! Well, maybe his idea of perfection is romancing the hell out of a woman, getting her into bed and getting outta Dodge. Or maybe, he decided to never see you again, but figured he’d see you naked first. You want to believe “This is love!” not “This is yet another guy who wants to get some while his girlfriend’s on business in Boston.” But, because of a common human cognitive error called “confirmation bias,” you’re prone to pay attention to stuff that suggests “We’re meant for each other!” and ignore stuff that suggests he’s thinking “For about five-and-a-half hours.”
The human brain is a shifty little critter. Some evolutionary psychologists believe early humans would’ve been paralyzed by a clear picture of harsh (sometimes saber-toothed) reality, so we evolved the ability to shut down information-processing accuracy in the face of scary or ugly. So, you take in information, wow, funny guy … nice Mercedes! … hmmm, 11 a.m. and he smells like gin. Your brain arranges the positive stuff in lit glass showcases in the front of your consciousness and dumps what you don’t want to know behind boxes in some dusty storeroom … leaving you shocked when you finally hear “those three little words,” and they’re “That’s All, Folks!”
Beyond your brain’s tendency to say “Gee, that’s depressing. I think I’ll believe this instead!” if you’re like many women, finding love isn’t enough; you need a great story behind it: “We were childhood sweethearts, then we never saw each other again until that day in the Peace Corps when we literally bumped into each other in the jungle.” When your story’s something like “He ‘winked’ at me on AmishMatch.com,” and especially if you’re on the lonely/desperate side, it’s tempting to fab it up with “Love at first sight! We just knew!” As opposed to “We found lots to like but thought we’d get to know each other before calling it more than a consistently good time.”
When things get really intense really fast, it can feel like you burned through the entire relationship in a single date. The faster things move, the more likely a guy is to feel you’re just dates away from fitting him with his electronic dog collar. Plus, it’s a downer to a guy if it’s no work to win you, if he immediately has you eating out of his hand like a deer. Now, if you don’t care if you ever see a guy again, and think it’s unlikely he buried his last date behind his garage, go ahead and have sex on the first date. Otherwise, cross your legs for at least a few dates, and swap use of the P word, as in Mr. Perfect, for the other P word, Mr. Perhaps. Look only to have a good time, and you’re less likely to find yourself “On a date with destiny!” while the guy across the table from you is on a date with … wait, is it LuvNLife777 or gurl4u29?
Likes It Soggy-Style
My boyfriend has a strange fetish: He gets very turned on seeing me in soaking wet blue jeans and likes me to wear them in the tub. My sister says I should dump him and find someone normal. However, he treats me great and sex is great … just add water.
“Just add jellyfish,” and you’ve got a problem. Yeah, it’s a little unusual: “Honey, I’m drawing you a bath. Wanna get dressed?” But, if it doesn’t creep you out or cost you your job, what’s the big deal? You’re consenting adults. It’s not like he’s demanding you hold the cat underwater while he’s filling the tub. In relationships, people do all sorts of things to please their partners: change their religion, drive a hybrid, regrout the bathroom. It’s when the request is sex-related that other people get all eeked out. Frankly, with the crazy letters I get about where people are putting spikes in other people’s bodies, your boyfriend’s fetish is most noteworthy for how G-rated it is. Just go into any sex shop, ask for their rack of pre-shrunk, boot-cut Levis, and they’ll laugh you out of the place — all the way to that famous sexual fetishwear purveyor, otherwise known as The Gap.
Amy Alkon is a columnist and author. Her book “I See Rude People: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” was released by McGraw-Hill in 2009. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com).