Desperate Times Do NOT Call for Desperate Measures

QUESTION: I am 23, recently dumped (over some B.S. if you ask me), independent, caring young woman. I graduate in December and I read something one of you said that you shouldn't share your twenties. I agree with you but that's if I think and rationalize using my mind, but my heart tells me different b/c while I want to enjoy the single life, I HATE dating! There are so many politics to dating and even in dating, I have realized that a good one is hard to come by and I still have to go home alone afterwards.

I have been told that I am still young and have a lot of time to find someone, but at this point I'm don't see it happening (I have one foot in the artificial insemination clinic). I feel like I have a lot going for myself so I shouldn't have an issue finding a man, I guess its keeping one (who's in my zip and area code) that I haven't mastered. I'm not perfect and don't profess to be, however, I fear that when Mr.'Right' does come along, I won't notice because I'm so used to shielding myself from the clowns.

Recently I met a guy who in my opinion was touchy feely a bit early (after only knowing me for a few days), which led me to believe his intentions were only physical ones. In addition, I get a 'player' vibe from him; kinda of like I know he's popular with the ladies, all he does is text me (which is annoying), and right now his car is inoperable so I can only see him if I go to his house or pick him up. I spoke to him about it and he tried to assure me that it wasn't the case about him just wanting me physically. He also told me other women have also thought him to b popular w/ the ladies, and he doesn't know why. I understand that it is natural for a man to b attracted to a woman, but I need a man to b able to control himself and I want more than attraction. As I said I recently got out of a 'relationship' (that was anything but that) and didn't expect to be diggin anyone so soon, but I'm worried that this dude is just another clown. I've decided to give him a few more weeks to let his true colors show. He has a lot of potential and I'd hate for him to be a waste of how do I find out? I just want someone who has a genuine interest in that too much to ask? I know all the good ones can't be gone, so where are they? (I've lost hope that he may be in [my town], so I'm cool, but when is he gonna find me?)

GARLAND: Thank you for your question. And, that was ME who said you shouldn't share your twenties - I think my comment was more like "you should get to know yourself in your twenties, enjoy your freedom, see the world, date [not neccessarily sleep with] a lot of people, and NOT tie yourself to one specific person, boyfriend, husband."

All I can say is - what the heck is the rush? Everybody is all about instant gratification, everybody wants everything now, now, now! The best meals aren't made in a microwave! You don't need a wireless headset sticking out of your head, your friends can wait one more ring while you get your phone out of your purse! You don't need a baby with gas, screaming and crying and refusing to go to sleep at 3:15 in the morning, at least not right now... you don't need to give your precious time to a needy, text messaging, playboy... You are at the best time in YOUR life - the dawn of true adulthood - and you're stressing to get married or rushing to get artifically insemenated.

Trust me here - just slow down a notch and stop being in a rush! If this dude you are dating is giving you vibes like he's a needy bum - dump him and roll out! You are special and deserve nothing less than a dude that blows your mind and makes your heart sing - and no I'm not [just] talking about sex! That RIGHT guy you speak of, is going to come when HE IS SUPPOSED TO! And honestly I have no idea when that is going to happen. But until then, you need to listen to YOUR BRAIN and not neccessarily to your heart. Wait until your heart MATURES later in your 20's, I promise you that your heart will lead itself to get broken more times than it ought to. Follow your brain!

And that whole artifical insemenation thing - I'm no expert, but in my personal opinion I have two thoughts - FIRST, I think it's unfair to that baby for YOU to create him or her and start out their life with just a mom because YOU want someone to call your own. EVERY child needs and deserves TWO parents, and people should do all they can do to assure this to unborn children... just MY opinion.

SECOND - Speaking as a parent... ARE YOU CRAZY!?!?!?! You are 23 and a few months away from a college degree!!! The WORLD is about to become your oyster, girl! Find yourself a great job, do some traveling, make and save some money, play the stock market, hang out, stay up too late, date that cute guy you see at the gym, start your Roth IRA account, sample some good wines, perfect your grilling technique, write a book, drive across the country... JUST LIVE YOUR LIFE AND STOP TRYING SO HARD TO GIVE YOURSELF TO ANYONE ELSE!

With good health, you should live to be at least 80 years old - don't you think the first 30 or so years should be all about YOU? I do! I think they should be all about you! Validate yourself by being yourself - not by being the girlfriend of a needy dude or by becoming yet another single mother, getting too little sleep, getting too little rest, earning too little money, and having too hard a life.

Please remember this is my opinion. I'm hardly an expert on this stuff - I just tend to see the bottom line in a lot of things and just try to speak from the heart. Kids and family are major undertakings, and I think you owe it to yourself to be as free and uncommited as possible during one of the most unique times in your life. Best wishes to you.

CHUCK: I don't adopt as narrow a view as Garland. Every child may deserve two parents, but these days, with so many growing up in group homes and foster care, they're lucky if they have even one. I don't think your twenties are necessarily "for" certain activities. Everybody's different. But I do believe that your reasoning for trying to settle down at 23 is faulty.

To me, society sets up unfair and unrealistic standards for women. You need to be married before you're thirty. You need to have a kid soon after that. Keep to the program. While men can do what they want, when they want. I think you're feeling this pressure because of things you're SUPPOSED to want, rather than things you genuinely do want.

Otherwise, why would you be giving this guy another couple of weeks to disappoint you? If he doesn't let you down, I'd be very surprised. I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but a grabby guy who's "popular with the ladies," that will only text you and you have to ride around in your car is a prize worth waiting for only on Bizarro World. But go on, wait him out, he might surprise me. COUGHCOUGH!

I agree with Garland completely when he says that we live in an age of instant gratification. And it's not just 20-somethings, either. If some women could buy a package that contained a husband, that all you needed to do was to add water to, that cost, say, $800, it would sell off of the stands in hours. Even if the instant husband looked like Flavor Flav.

Slow your roll. I'm fully confident that you will get the things you desire out of life. Just maybe not in the next fifteen minutes.


Flesh for Fantasy

QUESTION: Do you guys ever compare the women in your life to images you see in the media or perhaps to other women that you might see or meet in public?
This is something I'd like to know.

Sure, I can recognize handsome men when I see them, but I don't compare them to my boyfriend like, "oh I wish he had biceps like that" or anything.

Do you men compare women?



CHUCK: So, anyway, the other Saturday, I was watching that Live Earth concert, and Alicia Keys was onstage. And for such a hot day, she had chosen to glam it up. She had a form-fitting burgundy mini-dress on, with some high-heeled pumps. And after observing how thick she was in the legs and thighs, I thought how cool it was that she hasn't taken to heart all that body-image crap that famous women fall prey to. And then I thought, she's doing a pretty nice version of Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Me." Then I thought, "She's sweating a little now. Interesting how it's collecting a little between her breasts." And so on...

Anyway, the point of that recollection is, mentally, I'm all over the place. I don't know about Garland, but that's me. My mind wanders a whole lot. And when it wanders onto women other than my wife, I tend to keep her out of it. That woman is my partner, my lover, the mother of my children. I have too much respect for her to involve her in any errant daydreams that I might have featuring Rosario Dawson, Vida Guerra, or the random Hip Hop Honey.

Basically, although I may might wish my wife was in the shape she was in five years ago (she'd probably say the same thing about me), I don't find myself making any Frankenstein combinations featuring her and any girls from Show magazine. I mean, fantasy's cool and all, but I've gotta live in the real world.

GARLAND: I'm a people watcher... and I love women. So, to me - I think I would have never been able to keep a girlfriend or get [and keep] a wife if I constantly wished they had Janet's abs, Alicia's eyes, Beyonce's smile, or Serena's ANYTHING. I would have never been happy and would have eventually gone crazy.

But that's me.

Some guys probably do look at famous women or women they see on the street and wish their ladies had this or that. Frankly, I think that's a little juvenile and stupid. Like Chuck, I live in the real world.

To me, I love the sexy legs and beautiful bodies of many of these celebrity women in the media today. I do! But, I'm a realist, and that is as far as the attractions go. I need far more in a woman than just a pretty face or a hot body, I need brains, integrity, a sense of humor, a sense of purpose, ambition and everything else that makes a woman special. It would be an insult to the women in my past and the Woman in present to wish them to be anyone or anything other than who they are. Shame on any guy that would.


Homeland Security Issues...


Recently, I've run into a problem with my girlfriend; maybe the problem lies in me, or maybe it's in her, I don't know. We are going on to our 18th month in this relationship.

Hmmm.. recently, we went to this big event (a camp) as councilors which lasted for a week in school (but that's not the issue here).

Her guy friend (a freshman) turned up for the camp too, but he's in a different group as us.

Now, the story goes: MY girlfriend, is going overseas with THIS particular guy friend, B, together with another female friend, C to another country at the end of this month (3 of them together). It's not that I don't want to let her go, but the thing is that, I don't know anything about the guy, and I don't feel safe at all.

My girlfriend had 5 days to at least introduce him to me during the camp, or vice versa. But she didn't feel the need to. Maybe I'm just someone who needs lots of assurance. After all, they are going overseas together (though it's 3 of them). By the way, B is much closer to C than he is to my girlfriend.

Though my girlfriend told me that I can actually know this guy friend through this camp, she didn't make any efforts to make it happen. Call me petty, but I simply can't bring myself to walk up to this guy whom my girlfriend is going overseas with, and say "Hi my name is _________. You are...?".

Until this day, I know who that guy is (his name ONLY); I think he knows me too.. (name ONLY?), but we are definitely NOT friends. Jealousy is kicking in. Maybe the combination of Jealousy and the lack of sleep contributed to my grumpiness during the camp. But I can't simply hide how I feel inside.

Am I worrying too much? Maybe I do not have enough confidence in my girlfriend, or maybe I don't trust the guy. But the feeling really sucks when my girlfriend does not introduce her guy friends to me (especially when she's going OVERSEAS with one of them). What can I do now? :(

Thanks, and looking forward to your reply.


GARLAND: Great question! A lot of guys don't have the heart to be this open, so I'm going to be extra candid in MY answer.

The issue isn't the fact that you may not have enough confidence in your girlfriend, the TRUE issue is that you don't have enough confidence in yourself. Hey - trust me, I UNDERSTAND that having your girlfriend on the other side of the globe with Mr. X, might not sit too well with you. A lot of guys might not be happy with that, you're human like all of us, and humans, while impressive, are flawed sometimes. We get jealous, we worry, we get insecure, and yes sometimes we cheat.

But listen to me - you mentioned "school" and "camp" and "freshmen" so I'm assuming that you don't mean high school and you're probably around 22 or so, that's REALLY not the issue, I'm just letting you know MY assumption.
As a man WHO HAS BEEN THERE, I want you to know that this is largely a matter of SELF-CONFIDENCE! When I was 22, I had this girlfriend who I could have sworn the sun rose and set around and I had ZERO self confidence when it came to myself and my relationship with her. After 12 or 18 months, I was so insecure and so worried about losing her that I drove her AWAY! I was so afraid of her leaving me and so afraid of not having her that I pushed her right out of my life. I did that... not her. My insecurities pushed her right out of my life. This is where I see you headed. And I want to help.

As a Man - I want you to spend some time in the mirror... YES, REALLY - IN THE MIRROR! Tell yourself all of the Good things about you and be honest and BELIEVE THEM AND BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! If this is your girlfriend and you all have been together for 18 months, then OBVIOUSLY she saw something special in you. Believe in YOURSELF! Don't BELIEVE that she is just dying to be with whats-his-face. BELIEVE that you are worthy of her faithfulness. And BELIEVE that if she does do something with ANYONE on this trip, then it will be HER LOSS, and the sun will rise on YOU the next day just as it did this morning!

I can't say 100% that she WON'T cheat on you. Only she can say that. But, I want you to keep your sanity and I want you get good nights of sleep while she is gone. YOU can't control her SO DON'T TRY! BELIEVE that you are special - have CONFIDENCE in yourself! BELIEVE that you are a good boyfriend and ENCOURAGE her to have a great time when she's out of the country. Use this time apart to benefit yourself!!! Go to some new places and check them out; pick up a new hobby; shoot some pool; drop a few pounds [or hit the gym and build up the bod]; hang out more with your boyz; read a few good books - just DON'T SIT AROUND STARING AT THE CLOCK UNTIL SHE GETS BACK!!!

Don't make a big production out of her leaving. Be positive and supportive, and let her know that you'll be thinking of her - but don't be weak and wimpy - no crying and begging and no necklaces made of daisies! Don't promise her a daily poem or song on your freakin' MySpace page either! Be a Man. Be her Man! Maybe she'll wonder a little about what YOU'LL be doing when she's gone.

And as far as this Mr. "B" goes. STOP BEING A JEALOUS WORRY-WART!!! The next time you see him, whether your girl is around or not, walk right up to him (I don't care what is going on) extend your hand and give him a firm manly (RESPECTFUL) handshake [none of that BS macho knuckle cracking stuff - give a good handshake!] look him him the eyes and smile confidently and say something like, "Hey, you're Bob, right? I'm Frankie. You excited about going to Germany in a few weeks?" You don't have to introduce yourself as Susie's boyfriend, he already knows that. And besides... "Susie's boyfriend" is a mere title, YOUR NAME IS FRANKIE! Make polite conversation about the trip, the country, travel and anything else relevant... ANYTHING EXCEPT SUSIE. After a moment, wish him a safe trip and walk away without looking back. You just let him know that Susie's Man wasn't some weak, timid, punk. You also showed him that you are a self-confident SOB. Don't shy away from this guy! If you do, then he'll definitely make a move on your girl - BE CONFIDENT, act as if you can't wait for her to leave. Be affectionate, respectful and most of all be Manly and Confident. Trust me... ALL WILL END AS IT IS MEANT TO.

CHUCK: Garland's pretty much correct here. A lot of the worries you're experiencing seem to be coming from you, not from her. You've seen this guy, you apparently know his name, you've been told that it's actually Girl C he's into, not your girlfriend. But you are obsessed and filled with jealousy over this trip. There are things that you can do to ease your mind here. You can swallow your pride? ego? insecurity? and talk to this guy, feel him out, and get an impression on whether this is the kind of creep who's gonna try to take advantage of a situation.
But if you really want something to worry about, think about the guys that are already there. Whereas Dude B might show some restraint with your girl, if for no other reason than she has a American boyfriend who might whip his ass, a guy from say, Spain, or Italy, or Nigeria, is not going think twice about trying to seduce your girlfriend. Some of them have plans to do it. And unfortunately, as far as a one night stand with a foreign womanizer is concerned, her embarassment and your hurt feelings could be the least of her problems. I'm just saying.
I'm not going to rail against what could be perceived as your lack of self confidence. But I will tell you this: Jealous, needy guys don't appeal to women, at least for very long. Ask yourself, do you trust her, and move from there. Has she tried to put your feelings to rest? Have a good talk with her before she goes and tell her how you feel. Hopefully, she can put your feelings to rest.


Virgin Territory


First thank you for the site. It's been helpful and interesting hearing your advice. If you have time to answer my question I'd appreciate it. (sorry it's long!)

At what point should a girl let a guy know her wishes regarding sex?

Some background on me: I'm 29 and a virgin. I was raised in a fairly strict Christian and didn't really date until I got to college. I had a serious boyfriend for quite a while where the abstinence thing was okay, he was as religious as I was. Eventually we broke up and I was heartbroken for quite a while. I casually dated after that and focused on my career. Now at 29 I find myself wanting to seriously date and have a long term relationship, maybe even eventually get married. I'm now far more stable, emotionally and financially ready for a serious relationship than I was in my early 20's.

I'm not necessarily stuck on abstinence now, but I'm not going to have sex casually. Ideally I'd like to date someone and develop a relationship with them for several months before we take our physical intimacy to the next level. Reading a question/answer from another one of your posts, I agree with not explaining my preferences regarding sex on a first date, but I'd like to have a good idea of what point I should be letting a guy know? If things go well and he wants to see me again should I be telling him by date number 3 or date 5....?

I don't want to lead anyone on, but then again this is not something I want to compromise on. Considering how some of my friends who aren't necessarily sluts are giving up booty within a couple dates, I'm rather at a loss on how to when/how to express my wishes regarding sex without coming across as a prude, weirdo or some kind of 'challenge'. Nor do I want to scare a guy off because virgin at 29 screams commitment.

Any suggestions on how/when I should be having this talk? Thank you for your help! :)


GARLAND: Thanks for your question and thanks for checking out our blog! Hopefully we can give you some good insight and advice.

I think, as a woman, you've got all of the sexual intimacy cards stacked in your favor - so you REALLY call all of the shots! Any time and place you want can be met with a few simple words.

Now, for ME - when I was single, I never really pressed a woman for sex, and I don't think any guy should. It usually happened when it was meant to happen, sometimes after a few dates sometimes after A LOT of dates. I think for guys, if sex is all they want, by our nature we're only going to hang around for 3 or 4 dates. But, if a guy is still interested AND excited about spending time with you and he's still calling and taking you out after 7 or 8 dates, I think that's a good sign that he's about MORE that just 'gettin' some.'

Now, keep in mind that these are MY numbers. And they may not be the norm. But, considering that you have stuck to your guns and maintained something very unique and special for 29 years - move slowly towards giving it up. Make sure that the guy you choose doesn't make you feel rushed or pressured to sleep with him. Don't be afraid to talk to him about your being a virgin - HE SHOULD, ABOVE ALL - make you feel special and respected - and this is not exclusive to virgins! All men should make the women who share their intimacy with them, feel special. But TALK to him about it if you consider HIM to possibly be The One - listen to him and try to gauge his true thoughts about it. Sadly - a lot of guys find a dark thrill and challenge when an opportunity with a virgin comes along. If he focuses more on you The Woman and less on your body The Virgin, then the time may be right. Trust me, all you have to do is tell him [face to face, or over the phone, or in a letter, or in an E-Mail...] that you want to be with him and let him know when and where and he'll be there.

Be smart... BE SAFE!!!!!!!

Good luck on your decision and thanks again for such a special question!

CHUCK: C, my dear friend, I have news for you. Whenever virtually any woman, anywhere, is ready to have sex, she can have it. The quality of that sex may not be what she hoped it would be, but sex can be had. While womens' pay may lag behind mens', and they may be under-represented in Congress, that is one advantage that women retain: the Right to Say Yes.

Seriously, though, there is a standard that I stuck to when I was single, and I believe it still applies, even to virgins. It goes like this: After three dates, a man or woman knows whether or not they want to be intimate with the person they're dating. Some people call that the Three-Date Rule. I just call it common sense. It doesn't necessarily mean that on Date #4, clothes will be ripped off... but by that time, a person knows whether they want to pursue a deeper relationship. Whether things progress further after Date #3 is up to you.

Like I believe we've said before, there is nothing wrong with sticking to your guns, in terms of not rushing into ridding yourself of your virginity. You've kept it this long, so there's no reason to lose it to the first bum you encounter. But you know that already. By the same token, I think it puts men off when women present that kind of information as if it were a dare or a challenge: "I'm a virgin at 29. Bet you don't wanna go out with me now! Do ya?"

Once you start seeing someone, you should make your views known when the subject comes up. Let him know that intimacy isn't completely off of the table, even though you're not rushing into it. You seem to be very good at expressing yourself. I don't think you'll have a problem. Thanks for the question.