And Advice to Men

Being that I am a man, not a woman (or at least I keep telling myself that), I figured that it was only right for me to follow up my advice to women with some advice to men. Some of my advice for both groups is the same, but a lot of it isn’t.

1) Read Rudyard Kipling’s If: I’ve referred to this poem several times in the past, and I honestly think that it is one of the best short guides to manhood ever written. Kipling’s poem strikes at the core of existence, and of what it means to actually be a man, instead of being a boy pretending he’s a man. Read the poem, memorize the poem, live the poem. This is also good advice for Psalm 1.

2) Stop Looking for Easy Fixes: We all want to find the easy way out. Water follows the path of least resistance and people tend to do the same. However, the easy option often isn’t the best option. Roll of your sleeves and get yourself ready for some hard work, because life is a dirty business and it doesn’t play fair. For that matter, stop worrying about what’s fair and start worrying about what is. In the long run it really doesn’t matter why you didn’t get the job or why the girl turned you down, it happened. Learn what you can from it, get back on your feet, and start moving forwards.

3) Do Something!: In a fight the worst thing you can possibly do is stand there and think. If you are doing something, then you’re losing the fight. Life is the same way. What you do might not be the best thing, it might not even be the second best thing, but its not the worst thing. The worst thing you can do is absolutely nothing.

4) Be Willing to Wait: This isn’t actually contradictory to the last point. You should be doing something, but know when you need to go and do something else. Sometimes there is nothing you can do in a given situation. This means that you have to wait, so you need to wait. Go do something else for a while. Apply to a school, get a job, write a novel, whatever, but fill your time waiting with something, even if it’s just relaxing.

5) Be a Gentleman: I know that it gets you nowhere. I know that women don’t appreciate it, and some of them even get mad at you for it. I understand that being kind, courteous, respectful, and thoughtful isn’t the way to get laid or to get rich. Do it anyway. Do it because it’s right. Do it because, even if she doesn’t thank you for it, you will make her feel better about herself by treating her with gentility and respect. Do it because you want to make her happy, not because you want to get something from her. This is a big part of being a man: stop thinking about yourself.

6) Get Your Priorities Straight: We live in a culture that doesn’t value men. We are taught day in and day out that men are either pathetic wimps or mindless thugs. We’re taught that men are evil and need to be civilized. We’re taught that what makes you a man is the size of your dick, the scope of your fame, of the contents of your wallet. None of this is true. Real men aren’t brutes. They are gentle, kind, and care about others. However, they aren’t wimps either. They will stand up for the people they care about, even when they wouldn’t stand up for themselves. Real men are defined by their understanding of themselves. They aren’t goaded, don’t need to prove themselves, and think highly of others. Focus less of what you have and more on what you are.

7) Commit: I don’t care if its to the girl you’re dating, the career you’re pursuing, the church you’re attending, etc. Commit to something, and make a habit of commitment throughout your life. Don’t be afraid to leave if you have to, but don’t leave just because you want to, or because you’re afraid. Commit to something in life, and keep committing to things.

8) Stop Looking for Perfect: Chances are you’re not going to marry a supermodel. Stop looking for the perfect girl and start looking for the girl who is there. This isn’t to say that you should date/marry someone you don’t like or aren’t attracted to. I’ve done that, it doesn’t end well. However, stop obsessing over little things that don’t matter. Find that women in your life who you do get along with and who are attractive and pay attention to them. Give them a chance before you go back to mooning over… whoever, I don’t really follow modeling. Heidi Klum… she’s still hot, right? Stop mooning over Heidi Klum. She’s probably married anyway.

9) Deal with Porn: You probably look at porn. If you don’t yet, then don’t start. Run far, run fast, and never look back. If you do, you might be struggling with porn or you might just enjoy porn, either way you’re not doing yourself any favors. Understand that it’s wrong, just like any other sin. Don’t defend it, don’t excuse it: hate it. Hate porn with everything that’s in you and fight to get away from it. However, understand that it is a struggle, just like any other struggle. It’s not okay to fall, but you probably will. When you do, get back up, ask forgiveness from whoever you need it from, and start the fight all over again.

10) Treat Her Well: If you have a special lady in your life, then treat her well. Treat her like she’s the queen of the world. Heck, either treat her like you love her, or break up with her so she can find someone who will. I don’t care if you don’t see much reciprocation from her. Do it anyway.

11) Turn Off You’re Damn iPod: This goes for everyone. The world is filled with more lonely, hurting people than at any point in history. Turn off your iPod, take out your headphones, close up your computer, and say hi to a stranger. We tell children not to talk to strangers, but you’re not a child anymore. Grow up and act like a human being instead of a cyborg. Introduce yourself, talk to people, make friends, and act like you give a fuck about someone else.

12) If She Runs, Don’t Chase Her: There’s a difference between a girl who’s letting you chase her, and a girl who’s trying to get away. Learn that difference, it’s really important. If a girl’s letting you chase her, then chase her until you catch her. However, if a girl’s running away, then let her run and don’t expect her to come back.

13) Hygiene: Take a shower. Wear deodorant. Change your underwear. Don’t spend an hour fixing your hair. Stop getting mani-pedis. Clip your nails. Get some exercise. This isn’t hard people. Wearing a suit everyday doesn’t make you a man. However, neither does being a stinky brute covered in animal skins. Take care of yourself and do you best to present a pleasing appearance.

Again, that’s it for now. Hopefully some of this will sink in.

Advice to Women

Not that I figure that any of you are likely to listen to me. Honestly, I’m not really sure that any of this advice is actually worth listening to in the first place, but some things that I’ve noticed in the women that I’ve dated, and women that I know well.

1) Be Courageous: relationships, good ones, are about commitment, and commitment is scary. Women today, just like men, often pursue things that are easier, safer, and less panic inducing. I can’t count the number of women I know who have pushed off one great guy after another in order to focus on a job, a move, something that they thought was fun and exciting. A friend of mine tried to tell me today that extended adolescence is a male issue. I had to correct him. Many of these women are single, living with their families or with roommates, and saying they want families as they push off relationships into their thirties. This isn’t to say that there’s never a good reason to walk away from a guy, but plans a year down the road aren’t a good one. Stop making excuses, take a risk, and commit to building a life with someone.

2) Stop looking for Mr. Perfect, Mr. Right, Mr. Right Now, etc: You are never going to be the ideal woman and you are never going to find the ideal man. These people don’t exist. People are messy. Relationships are messy. A good relationship isn’t about being perfect for one another, it’s about being there for one another. It’s about accepting the other person’s flaws, and helping them to see what they need to work on. If you think that you can fix the guy you want to date, then you’re wrong. However, you can help him see where he needs to strive to be closer to God. In line with this, and guys generally need this advice too, stop mooning over that guy that doesn’t give you a second look or the one that treats you like crap and start looking around at the guys that are showing interest in you. If you don’t share that interest, fine, but give them a chance before you write them off. You might be surprised how much you’re missing.

3) Domineering and Passive are Two Sides of the Same Problem: Both types of women are extremely attractive for the first couple of dates. Domineering women are attractive because they’re obviously interested. They make everything easy and a guy doesn’t have to do much work. However, if you’re trying to make all the decisions, do all the pursuing, and control the relationship then he won’t ever have the chance to lead and you’ll either wind up with a wuss who you don’t want, or he’ll get fed up and walk away. Passive women are attractive because they project the need to be protected. They make a guy feel strong and manly, and they encourage his natural instinct to pursue and protect. However, if you don’t do anything, then the man pursuing you is either going to get bored, or he’s going to realize that you’re asking for everything and offering nothing. This leads into the next point.

4) A Great Relationship is about Mutual Pursuit: If either partner is doing all the pursuing then the relationship is doomed to failure. Let him lead, follow him, keep up with him, etc. However, if he isn’t pursuing you, then move on. Similarly, you need to be pursuing him just as hard as he’s pursuing you. If you can’t keep up with him then let him know (see my next point), but if you can, then do. You want someone to make you feel special, and if he’s a decent guy then he wants to make you feel special (if he doesn’t then run away). However, he wants you to make him feel special just as deeply. Find ways to do that and do it often.

5) Communicate!: If he asks, great, but if there’s something you need him to know don’t just expect him to ask about it. Men are not telepathic. We cannot read your mind. If you need him to slow down, then tell him that. If you think he could maybe pick things up a little, tell him that to. Don’t try to take over the relationship (remember the whole domineering thing), but let him know what’s going on in your head. We do not think the way you do, and most men aren’t that good at reading signals. You actually have to talk to us about things. Women are supposed to be the one’s that talk more, you should try using that skill. Also, if you want something, tell him. This goes back to point 1. Yes, if you tell him your fantasy and he doesn’t do it that will suck. However, I promise that he’s more likely to do it if you tell him what it is. You want to wake up to breakfast in bed every now and then, let him know. The first time it happens you might not be surprised, but it’ll still be special, and I promise that by the third or fourth time he does it you won’t even remember that you had to tell him in the first place.

6) Accept a Compliment: If I walk up to you and tell you that you’re a lovely woman I might be hitting on you or I might not. In fact, whether I am might depend on how you react. Either way, the correct response is not to suddenly assume that I’m a predator. When someone gives you a compliment say ‘Oh my, thank you so much’ or ‘Hey, thanks, that really made my day’. Don’t assume that what I mean is ‘I want you in my bed tonight’, because even if I am hitting on you, this isn’t what I mean. Also, don’t assume that I’m lying. If I’ve taken the time to compliment you then I’m not lying to you. I know American culture makes men out to be either pathetic wimps or vicious beasts, but American culture is full of crap. Men are not the enemy. It would be nice if you would stop treating us like we are.

7) Know Yourself: I don’t care who you are, there is something beautiful about you. You beauty might be only skin deep, or it might all be on the inside, but there is a clear beauty in you and if you don’t realize that then you won’t show it. If someone points out something beautiful that they see in you don’t assume that they don’t know you or are just trying to get in your pants. Take some time and give that part of yourself a good long look. Decide for yourself whether its beautiful and why. Also, remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If he sees something beautiful in you that you think is ugly, take some time and ask him why he thinks it’s beautiful.

8) Trust: I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Trusting God means trusting people. It doesn’t mean being stupid. If a guy invites you up to his apartment at midnight and one of you doesn’t normally work night shift, then there’s a good chance that he’s after something. However, trust people. Give them the benefit of the doubt. You don’t like being judged as first glance. Neither does anyone else. Take the time to find out who people really are.

9) Turn Off You’re Damn iPod: This goes for everyone. The world is filled with more lonely, hurting people than at any point in history. Turn off your iPod, take out your headphones, close up your computer, and say hi to a stranger. We tell children not to talk to strangers, but you’re not a child anymore. Grow up and act like a human being instead of a cyborg. Introduce yourself, talk to people, make friends, and act like you give a fuck about someone else.

10) When Someone Likes You, Don’t Run Away: Yes, men want to pursue, but there’s a big difference between letting yourself be chased and bolting because you’re scared. If a decent guy likes you then its a huge compliment, even if you don’t return his affections. Things are only as awkward as the two of you make them, so stop being skiddish, woman up, and tell him what you think of him. Tell him the good, tell him the bad, tell him the unsure and the confused. Treat him like he’s a real, live human being who has feelings. I promise you, he is and they’ve been crushed before. Even if you aren’t interested at first, you might give him a chance. If he actually is a decent guy then he might really surprise you.

11) Choose the Nice Guy: I have yet to figure out why women seem to fall in love with assholes. If you find a guy whose willing to treat you well, love you well, and pursue you well, then do the same in return. Love is a choice, not a feeling. If you’re picking your relationships based on which guys give you the most butterflies then you’re making a mistake. The guy you wind up with might not be the most exciting guy in the world, but he will be the one who keeps loving you over the long haul.

12) Be Good: This is a twofer, but the first is much more important than the second. Just like men aren’t vicious monsters, women are little angels. Actually, an experiment done in the 90s, based off of Stanley Milgram’s famous obedience study, showed that women were significantly more likely to harm others and less likely to show empathy if given leave to do so by an authority figure. You all know that you can be pretty horrible people sometimes. This means that you have to practice virtue. Learn to be good and to do good on a regular basis.

13) Looks Matter: I know they shouldn’t. I know it’s not fair. I know it makes us shallow. However, for guys (even the really good ones) looks matter. The good thing is that there are guys out there that like just about everything. There are guys who like big women, guys who like tiny women, guys who like tomboys. There are guys who like manly women, guys who like prissy women, guys who like goth women. However, looks do matter, so don’t tell yourself they don’t. This doesn’t mean that you need to look like a 90 lb supermodel. Sure there are some guys that like that, but there are others who want a girl with some size to her. However, it does mean that you need to take care of yourself. Go out of your way to look good, and make sure that you go out of your way to look good for the guy you’re with, not for complete strangers.

I’m sure that I’ll have more eventually, but I’m guessing that this is enough for now.