| || || | Good news! You can skip the monthly waxing apppointments and faux love of foosball. Our promise to you: After reading this, you'll have hours of your life back — and a guy who's more into you than ever!
It's not your boobs. Or your butt. Or even your bank account. Sure, we men like all of that. Ultimately, though, we're in it for exactly one thing: you. As a sometimes sucker of a boyfriend myself, I'm well aware of how tempting it is to try too hard. But I'm tired, and I'll bet you are as well. So consider this a to-don't list, and chill.
- You don't have to miss out on creme brulee.
"I kept inviting this woman over for meals, and she'd just pick at what I made. She finally told me she wasn't 'into' food. That kind of ended it." —Alex, 25, Darien, Conn.
No need to inhale a steak on a man's account, but we love women of all shapes — with bodies and legs and soft things to hold on to — and it takes food to get that way. (By the way, your ribs? They're meant to protect your organs — please don't make seeing them a fitness goal. Thanks.)
- You don't have to make his hobbies your hobbies, and his life your life.
"My ex always dropped little SportsCenter references, and her ring tone was the Monday Night Football song. When we broke up, she admitted she never even liked football." —Ted, 32, Telluride, Colo.
Doing everything together is a tried-and-true path to resentment (and breakups). My most recent ex made an effort to be friends with my friends, which I appreciated, but it got to a point where she expected to be invited when we went out. The problem wasn't her interest in my life — your guy probably loves it when you stop by his boxing class or help with work problems — it was that we hadn't figured out how to set limits. That's why my new model couple are my buddies Jasmine and Tyrone. They know totally different people, but instead of one cramming their life into the other's, they go out separately — and catch up over breakfast.
- You don't have to become Jenna Jameson when the bedroom door shuts.
"Sometimes the best sex is missionary — no chandeliers, no tricks. It's honest and passionate, and it feels like we're really connecting." —Brian, 39, Atlanta
Sex isn't some game you win by constantly pushing yourself and your (or his) boundaries. Says Charles, 28, from Boston: "My girlfriend was really into trying this move from the Kama Sutra. In order to get it done, all of my focus turned to balance, abdominal clenching and other nonsexual, lifesaving things. Not fun." What about all those porny bedroom antics you think we daydream about? They boil down to just that: antics.
- You don't have to look perfect.
"My girlfriend puts on tons of eyeliner and blush and gloss, and it hides her best features, everything I love." —Luke, 21, Gardnerville, Nev.
I would never pretend that we don't care about the way you look. That said, a couple of things either get totally lost on our radar or completely freak us out (eyelash curlers?!). Exhibit A: beaucoup makeup. No man in history has ever complained that a woman wasn't wearing enough makeup. As for hair, good luck finding a guy who notices "chunky, buttery pro highlights." And perfectly executed blowouts? For us it's not about whether your hair is curly, straight or wavy; all we're concerned about is whether or not we'll be running our hands through it at midnight.
- You don't have to be the daughter my parents never had.
"After our breakup, my ex sent my mother a birthday present. My mom was like, Whaaaaat?" —Edward, 28, New York City
No use in upsetting a family's delicate balance by going overboard with affection or baked goods. I've made the mistake of playing along with family jokes: It's one thing when they teased her grandma, but when I did, it became "Why does Whatshisname hate Gammy?" Play it safe. Save the grand gestures until after the nuptials.
- You don't have to spend $$$ on lingerie.
"No-frills cotton underwear says that a woman knows she's hot and she doesn't have to convince me of it." —John, 29, Gainesville, Fla.
I could write this entire article about how much I like boobs. I just like saying the word. Boobs, boobs, boobs, boobs. I like them in a sweater. I like them pressed up against me. I like them just sitting there, all awesome and booblike. Please quit it with the accoutrements, the corsets, the push-ups and definitely the cutlets. And in recessionary times, isn't it nice to know there's no need to break the bank? We're already sold.
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at MetroSexual LA