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It only took a smoky, dimly lit lounge and a few glasses of adult beverages after work for a group of otherwise professionally conservative corporate folks to drop their inhibitions and launch into the mother of all discussions. A discussion about the age old question that seems to always come up when men and women are hanging out together, “what do men really want from women?”
It seems no matter how many times this question gets asked and answered in magazine after magazine, including this month’s Essence, it continues to be one that never fails to strike up a spirited conversation. This time was no different. In true blogger fashion I took the opportunity to jot down a few responses from this diverse group of men. Just to be clear, the men ranged in age from early 30’s to mid 40’s, majority African American with one Caucasian American, and all had different marital statuses including married with children, divorced with children and single without children.
So when asked the question, “what do men really want from women?” here’s what these real men had to say:
- It’s All in the Details – Men like a woman who cares enough to pay attention to the details when it comes to her appearance. Do the best with what you have to work with. Translation…heels, toes and nails done ladies. They went on and on about the appeal of a woman with a mean shoe game and were ready to stage a collective beat down on whoever it was that invented the ballet flat. (Side note: All the women in the group were wearing heels but had a pair of ballet flats in our bags!)
- Break from the Group – Apparently (in my sarcastic voice) a group of more than three of us is intimidating for men to approach. So they suggested we should break from the group during the night to give a guy a fighting chance to get to know us away from our girls.
- Carry-on Sized Baggage – No man wants to pay the price for your past hurts. So ladies, do the work to unpack that baggage and get it down to carry-on size.
- Let Us Know We Matter – A man wants to feel like they matter, like you’re happy to be with “them” in particular. Little gestures like a hand on the knee, rubbing their head, or laughing at their jokes are how we can demonstrate that they matter to us.
- Professional but Keep it Real – This group of men took a page out of rapper Ludacris’s book. They say every man wants a “lady in the street but a …” you finish the rest. They also want a woman they can basically take anywhere, whether its out with friends or to a business function.
- Don’t Try to Fix Us – How many times have we heard this one? Stop trying to “fix” a man. No more projects ladies. They are who they are and while maturity and experiences may prove to change them over time, we should put a period to trying to actively be the catalyst for that change.
- Profess, Protect, Provide – They all unanimously agreed with Steve Harvey’s statement from his “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” best selling book. The statement being that if a man really loves and cares about you, he will profess it outwardly and unabashedly when asked about you, he will do all he can to protect you (including things like taking care of your car, etc.) and he will want and try to provide for you.
As I was writing this article, I had an “a-ha” moment. My “a-ha” moment was this, while all of these answers came from men, the reality is they could have very well come from women too. I don’t know any woman who doesn’t want these same things. A man who cares about the details of his appearance, who is confident enough to break from his gaggle of guys, whose baggage doesn’t crowd his relationship with us, who let’s us know we matter, who can rock a Brooks Brothers suit or a pair of Timberlands, who will let us be who we are without trying to fix us and who will show his love by professing, protecting and providing for us.
So the question becomes, if we all want basically the same thing, why is it so difficult for us to give it to one another? Vyne readers, let us know what you think!
There’s nothing like being out in New York City on a holiday weekend with your girls at a swanky spot. Such was the case last Labor Day weekend when we had drinks at Ink48 with our girl Danielle and a few other friends. The fancy (and might I add expensive) drinks were flowing and so was the conversation. At some point Danielle remembered an article she came across in GQ about “The Sweet Spot”. Here’s an excerpt:
Somewhere between puberty and Cialis is that perfect moment in a single man’s life when he can date the broadest age group, when he can [date] 23-year-olds—and their mothers—without being called a creep. …[The] Sweet Spot, when suddenly you find yourself free to date anyone from recent college graduates to near re-tirees. It begins sometime after your thirty-fifth birthday, though the precise moment is impossible to identify. Suddenly, the pool of available women you can feasibly [date] expands to include everyone—and her mother.
Naturally, this spurred a larger conversation which prompted us to ask the question, is there a “sweet spot” for women? Last we checked, when women reach their “sweet spot” (according to this definition) they’re considered pumas (30’s) or cougars (40+). On the surface, there’s nothing sweet about a prowling, predatory animal but perhaps on second look, maybe “puma” is in fact our sweet spot. If that’s true, then turning 35 should mean that the dating world opens up to us, technically making it possible to date a wider range of guys (and their fathers…so to speak). So what do you think Vyne Readers…is anyone actually experiencing the female version of the “sweet spot”? If so, tell us about it!
Heartbreak. We’ve all experienced it. That feeling when your mind and body simultaneously realize that the man you’ve invested significant time and energy in and fantasized about the future with is no longer a part of your life. It’s that visceral response you have when you begin to imagine how your daily routine will change now that he is no longer a part of it. Often times the sadness of heartbreak can be so overwhelming that it paralyzes you. While there’s no cure for heartbreak, there are a few things you can do to get yourself back on the mend. Consider these six “heartbreak repair tips”:
1) Cry – Give yourself permission to have a good ol’ fashioned ugly cry. Whether by yourself or with your friends, having a good cry can do wonders for preparing your body to release the person and the relationship in order to begin the grieving process. So go ahead…let it out!
2) Soundtrack Your Heartbreak – Music is so healing. Try making four playlists for your iPod. Start by creating a “lovey dovey” playlist with all the romantic songs that make you think about him (e.g. Pattie LaBelle’s “If Only You Knew”). Next make a “you make me sick” playlist with songs expressing your anger about the situation (e.g. Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know”). Then make a “It’s time for me to get over you” playlist with songs like Mariah Carey’s “Shake it Off” and finally make a “I’m over it, happy and moving on” playlist with songs like Mary J. Blige’s “Just Fine”. Listen to the “lovey dovey” playlist until you’re ready to move to the “you make me sick” playlist, and so on. You’d be surprise how the music helps you through your grieving process.
3) Plan Your Thinking and Crying – If you find that you keep thinking about him and crying throughout the day, try planning your thinking and crying. Sounds odd I know. But if you tell yourself, I’m only going to think/cry about the situation after 5pm it gives your brain a way to make it through the day and the part of you that wants to grieve will have something to look forward to. Eventually you’ll find that you can shorten the timeframes to “after 7pm” or “just before bed time”. Soon, you’ll find you’ve gone a whole day without even thinking/crying about the situation.
4) Keep Busy – You may not feel like talking and hanging out with your friends but do it anyway. It will keep your mind occupied so that you don’t spiral further down.
5) Pamper Yourself – Do something to take care of yourself. Your mind, body and spirit are going through a rough time right now. And since all three are connected, doing something for your body (like a massage) can instantly raise the harmony levels in your mind and spirit.
6) Ground Yourself – Take the time silent time at the end of your day to ground yourself. Whether it’s through prayer before bed, chanting, meditating or just being silent. Make it a habit to ground yourself in the reality that while your heart may be broken, you are not…and this too shall pass.
Not long ago a good girlfriend of mine, whom I affectionately call “Gordy”, loaned me a book she received from her sister. It’s a self-help dating book called “Temptations of the Single Girl: The Ten Dating Traps You Must Avoid” by Nina Atwood. Lately, most dating self-help books that hit the market are some comics entertaining rendition of trite advice wrapped around a punch-line (no judgment). So I was eager to see what this book had to offer. I was pleased to find out that the author is indeed a licensed therapist, so I commenced to reading. And boy am I glad that I did.
If you can get past the ridiculously cheesy cover, what’s great about this book is that it’s told in a story format, centered on the main character, a woman named Kelly. Kelly is your typical single woman who’s fortunate in all areas of her life with exception to dating. She get’s offered the opportunity to work with a “dating coach” and the story unfolds as she continues going through her dating life and meeting with her “dating coach” regularly for insight, reflection and guidance on her decisions related to the men in her life.
You’ll find that each chapter is like sitting in on a real counseling session. Having been trained as a psychological therapist myself, I can say that Nina Atwood (the author) does a great job of offering meaningful self-help tips in such a way that provokes you to think about your own situation.
Here’s an exert from the back cover of the book:
Meet Kelly, a charming, pretty everywoman. She’s successful, intelligent, financially secure – and notorious for making bad decisions when it comes to men. As Kelly travels the bumpy road back to self-care, she sidesteps one emotional rut only to land squarely in another. But every time she dusts herself off and gets back into the groove, she comes one step closer to being an emotionally healthy woman who is ready and able to welcome true love into her life.
As with any self-help book, you apply the learnings that fit with your life and whatever doesn’t you take it for what it’s worth. The book is written in such a way that you get to accompany Kelly on her “journey of self-discovery” and get tips from an actual therapist along the way. Additionally, threaded throughout a few chapters in the book are a few subtle spiritual nuggets of advice, but nothing overwhelming or judgmental if you’re not a Christian. So if you’re looking for a practical, relatable self-help book for dating, give this one a try.
By Keesha Boyd
It must have been an optimist who said “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. To which a pessimist replied, “out of sight, out of mind”. This topic hits home for me. I’ve done the long distance thing and have several friends who have been or currently are in a LDR. Some stats: The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships (Director- Dr. Gregory Guldner) reports that 1 in 10 marriages are long distance not including military marriages which are an expected but still astounding 2 out of 3. It’s harder to track dating relationships but The Center reports 1 in 7 as long distance relationships.
By nature I’m an optimist so I do believe that LDR’s can work. However, the people involved have to be very deliberate about making it work. LDR’s need constant and consistent nurturing, like a plant. You can’t leave it for dead then dump a gallon of water on it hoping for a spontaneous resurrection (shout out to George & Wheezie…my former plants…whose life with me was surely the equivalent of plant hell). Whether you’re in a committed long distance relationship, a marriage where one partner travels more than the other, or are starting to date and you live in different states, be deliberate about prioritizing each other and making whatever time you spend together, quality time. Here are a few tips and resources for those of you in LDR’s. Stay positive!
· Be Creative– Think out of the box when it comes to staying connected with your partner. Leave a sentimental card in their luggage so they find it when they unpack. Send a care package of their favorite snacks/foods.
· Communicate– Lots of ways to do this! Don’t just tell each other about your day. Watch a t.v. show together. Talk about how you’re feeling. Play the 20 questions game. Text message each other throughout the day. Invest in a webcam (shout out to K&J for this suggestion). If you suspect that you have miscomnunicated, check with your partner to see if the impact of what you said, lines up with what you intended.
· Quality Time– Get on a schedule for spending time together and try to stick to it. Make sure your time together includes not only something fun but also some down time to just “veg out” with each other.
The Center for Long Distance Relationships
The Complete Idiots Guide to Long Distant Relationships
Leslie Karsner, Ph.D. Author on LDR’s
Work life balance. You’ve heard of it. You know what it means. But does anyone really have it? I recently had appetizers with my line sister, a neurosurgeon and avid Vyne reader. We talked about how easy it is to get wrapped up in work leaving considerably less time for the “life” side of work/life balance. Not to mention, if you’re a single, successful woman, the “life” side of the equation often includes your dating life, quality time with your friends/family and general peace of mind.
Work/life balance is more than just a notion. The lack of balance could mean unnecessary strain on what were once quality, reliable friendships. It could also mean added stress to a current relationship or the inability to find and explore new relationships due to being tired, agitated from work or busy with work obligations. If that’s not reason enough to get a hold of work/life balance in your life, then how about the fact that work stress can cause irregular sleep patterns, high blood pressure, issues with your immune system, unsightly problems with your skin and <gasp>…the dreaded belly weight gain.
That said, for all of you successful, educated, multi-tasking power women out there…it’s time to make work/life balance a reality for you. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Calendar Commando – Your Microsoft Outlook calendar at work can often be the co-conspirator of poor work/life balance. Every Friday if you can (or at least once a week) block time on your calendar from 3:30-5:00pm. Use the first 30 minutes of that time to plan your “to-do” list for the next work day and then leave work by 4:00pm. You’d be surprised how leaving an hour early can help you get a restful start to the next day.
- Buddy System – Decide on an activity you like to do and recruit one of your friends to sign up for the activity too. This will ensure you have quality time with a friend and a standing appointment AWAY from work.
- Mini-cation – Once a quarter (every three months or so) take an extended weekend, Thursday through Sunday. Use the time to rest, relax, take yourself on a date or pamper yourself at a spa.
- Dateless No More – If you’re single and want to amp up the “life” side of your work/life balance equation with dating, try letting your girl AND guy friends know that you’re open to being set up. Watch how the random date suggestions start rolling in! So they may not all be prince charming, but the idea is to increase the dating activity so that you can increase your odds of finding your Mr. Right.
- Set Goals – Set a couple “life” goals for yourself each month and hold yourself accountable to achieving them. They can be simple goals, for example: Get back in touch with my good girlfriends (shout-out to my girls Natalie and Gina!!), plan a date night for yourself or pick a new hobby and start it this month.
Have more to add? Share your tips by posting a comment below!
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Brunch with the ladies never ceases to disappoint. Amid the backdrop of Manhattan city life on a Saturday afternoon, Kailei (of The Vyne) played hostess with the “most-est” to several of us who gathered at her place for food, fun, conversation and fantastic homemade sangria. At some point, after catching up on our careers, random daily happenings and current pop culture hot topics (a la the Tiger Woods apology) the conversation turned to men. Specifically, as we popped bacon wrapped dates in our mouths (so yum), we began talking about who were the “Big(s)” and “Aidan(s)” in our lives. If you’re a fan of Sex and the City then you know exactly where this is going. What’s funny is that we all had at least one story to share about the “Big” in our life. You know, the man you have effortless chemistry with who swept you off your feet, drove you nuts, loved you, left you or wouldn’t leave you alone? Likewise, it was equally easy for us to recall the “Aidan” in our lives. That man who was average to handsome looking, super nice, cared for you, and treated you like the apple of his eye but the chemistry was nothing to write home about. Probably the most ironic observation was the fact that everyone spoke of their “Big” in the past tense. Which had me thinking, does anyone other than Carrie end up with their “Big”? Clearly the “Big” in our lives served some sort of purpose. But perhaps, as we get more comfortable with who we are as women and what we want and need in a relationship, the allure of a “Big” pales in comparison to the stability and reliability of an “Aidan”, or does it?
Tell us what you think Vyne readers!