Archives for posts with tag: relationships

Broken Heart on Dice Risking Love Relatioship Hearts

I’ll never understand why the word “player,” when discussing male-female interaction, is exclusively used to describe men. The truth is: Women come to the table with a fully loaded deck of cards, and they make much larger bets.

As early as our teen years, we’re are warned about the player who’ll buy you dinner to get you into bed. And later, thanks to advances in digital gamesmanship, he’ll do things like send artful images of his nether reasons to … wait. Why does he do that? “That’s easy,” a guy friend confessed. “To get you to send a dirty picture back.” Obvi. We all know that no one really wants a picture of the P.

Those games, and many like them, have quick pay-offs. When women get themselves dealt into the game, the stakes skyrocket. And when there’s no ROI on these bets, the loss is devastating.

Take the girl who pretends to really love watching football all day on Sunday. She picks up the six packs, makes her famous seven-layer dip, wears her hair in cheerleader pigtails and ignores all the beer being sloshed around on her new Ethan Allen rug.

Sure, she does this in hopes that her guy will adore her. But there’s more to it. She’s also hoping he’ll reciprocate by acting enthused during a six-hour mall-hopping session to find the perfect pair of pointy-toed booties that she’ll only wear once.

Yet, here’s his read on the football slobfest is: That’s how all Sundays are gonna be from now on, and wasn’t that cool? That’s about it. He’s still going to pout when you’re on shoe fitting No. 3. And he’s authentically puzzled by your extreme belligerence when the next big game day comes around. What? No bean dip?

But the game really changes when she ups the ante … as well as her anticipated payout:

• If I cook him dinner at his house and do all his laundry, surely he’ll invite me to move in.

• If I take care of his kids as if they were my own, he’ll definitely want to have children with me.

• If I say, “I love you” and hold my breath long enough, I’m positive he’ll say it back.

That poor chick has probably passed out.

I got myself into a similar situation with a guy I really wanted to date. We’d flirt over text or Facebook messaging for hours. Sassy banter turned into full-fledged sexting to the point where I got uncomfortable. Mostly because I was coming up with all the dirty text.

He’d ask for more and more, insisting I was so good at it … “But you’re the writer,” he’d whine. And I’d oblige, despite the growing “ick” it was giving me, because I was still hoping for more.

“Wow,” another guy friend messaged me. “You’re his jerk-off buddy!” (If there were a snickering emoji, it would have accompanied this message.) Great. I wasn’t winning anything with this, er, hand.

We change who we are and try so very hard because we think there’s something on the other side that looks like the big love that we want. But sadly, it typically isn’t coming. And here’s the kicker: It’s not his fault.

I’ve heard so many women bitch about their man because, after everything she’s done for him, he didn’t come through. However, she’s never laid out the rules of the game. She just expects him to know what he’s supposed to do because, duh, it’s so obvious.

OK. Here are words to remember, live by, make a meme with, whatever: Unexpressed expectations are dream crushers.

A girlfriend of mine had spent years learning the hard way, so when she found herself in a new relationship, she set the rules: “I told him: I’d be chill whenever you go on skiing and golfing trips with your buddies. In fact, I’d help make reservations and book rooms … just so long as you plan trips with me, too,” she explains. “When he never did, there was no question as to why I was pissed.”

Can you look your guy in the eye and tell him your endgame plan, or are you’re high-rolling for the “1, 4, 3” or a shiny new ring that you need a souped up playbook to win? If so, it may be time to take a wider look at what you’re playing with.

Is he in it for the long haul, or have you just made his life so comfortable that he doesn’t have a reason to leave … or invest further? Have you given him the milk without even knowing if he wants to buy a cow? If he really likes you and wants to take it to the next level, you’ll know. And if he knows what you want and he’s down to deliver, he will. No game plan needed.


When coaching friends about their relationships, there are three ManCard Chick guidelines I start with: 1. You’re more attractive when you’re just living your life and not obsessing about “where this relationship is going;” 2. If he likes you … really likes you … he will undeniably let you know; 3. You cannot force your will on him. And if you do happen to succeed at this, it will be fleeting and you’ll be more unsatisfied than ever.

I’ve come up with these suggestions after many chats with guy friends on what drives them nuts, and after hearing countless girlfriends carry on and on … and on … and on some more about the slow pace of their relationship.

So I was thrilled when a close friend relayed a story about how her guy brought up that the two of them were at a critical turning point in their relationship, and he even said the “m” word. Let me put it this way: He wanted to have “the talk” with her. Not the other way around. And how did this happen? After months of agonizing, she decided to stop freaking out about it, stopped scowling and fretting and start loving her life with him in it, while trying to put aside the “where is this going” question for a while.

“How much better is it that he came to this conclusion on his own?” I asked her. “You’re so right!” she gushed. “You’re a genius!”

Well. Yeah. Um. I’m blushing. And I’m truly glad he came through so I don’t have to beat him up. He’s a big guy, and I’m not sure I could take him.

While my buddy basked in the glow of this realization, I was questioning my real genius, being that I’d been backsliding into some pretty treacherous territory that nearly put my man card in jeopardy. I was not applying my own knowledge and instead let my girl brain take over and go past the point of rational thought. A serious ManCard Chick fail. But hey, I’m human, too, and at the end of the day: I’m still a girl.

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Lots of guys get labeled as a “player” because they date around, use pick-up lines and techniques or simply talk a big game. But these dudes are obvious and easily identified. What you really need to learn is how to spot the ones who are so masterful that “player” won’t even enter your vocabulary.

Everything about him seems legit and honest and intriguing. There will be no lame moves, and you will feel like the only woman in his world. There are a few key giveaways that he’s not the Mr. Right you’re looking for. How do I know? I’ve seen these guys in action, talked strategy with them and maybe even borrowed a few of their tricks.

They are a rare breed. I equate the numbers of true ninja-level players with serious female gold diggers. There are not that many of them, but enough to give the rest of us a bad name. Earnest, thoughtful men suffer in the same way that independent, generous women do thanks to these, um, standouts.

These guys play the dirtiest game because they study us and tap into our deepest subliminal triggers. We have to put our ego and wishful thinking on the shelf to figure out how to get past one of these guys.

Here are four surefire clues that he’s a ninja-level player:

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restaurant scene
So, ladies. Have you had any good chats about your guy lately? Bent your friends’ ears over a bottle of wine for a few hours? Why am I even asking? Of course you have! This is what we do. We talk about our fellas. And we talk and we talk and then we talk some more.

But what is it that we’re talking about? During a few illuminating conversations with friends over the past few weeks, it dawned on me that we’re not discussing that great steak he grilled last night or how he drove back home from work because you locked the keys in the house … again.

Be honest: What was the topic of the last exhaustive discussion that you had about your guy with your girls? A few guesses:

• He hasn’t introduced you to his mother

• He hasn’t said those three magic words

• You can’t get a commitment on moving in together

• It’s been three years, and he hasn’t popped the question yet

• He doesn’t seem to want to have sex anymore even though you keep reminding him that your clock is ticking!

There’s nothing really wrong with these conversations, but are you discussing anything else about him and your relationship? What is it that your girlfriends are taking away from your, er, rantings? Anything good in there at all? I hear crickets …

A close buddy of mine once gave me some stellar advice. He said: Don’t be that girl who bashes your friend’s boyfriend/husband, even if she’s giving you lots of ammunition to do so. You’ll always be remembered as the one who didn’t believe in their relationship, and you’ll never recover from that … you know, like when they’re walking down the aisle, and you’re sitting there wondering why you’re not her maid of honor.

That was certainly wise advice, but are you making it too hard for your friends to do anything other than hate this guy?

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So you might have seen a recent discouraging study from the University of Kansas about the art of flirting. Apparently, when placed in a face-to-face situation and asked to chat, college men and women were really bad at recognizing when the other was working his or her moves. In fact, only 36 percent of the men and 18 percent of the women picked up on flirting cues.

Sigh. How have humans survived for so long? You might be surprised at the answer.

There are plenty of books, blogs and advice columns on how a gal should get a guy’s attention by making those sexy eyes over her shoulder, batting those plumped-up lashes and “casually” touching his arm. However, the reality is: Guys are reading the instinctive things you do more than your intentional moves. That’s actually good news if you’re shy or think you suck at flirting — and probably why men scored twice as high in the study.

If you’re attracted to a guy, you’re going to lean in, touch or bite your lips and arch your back without even realizing it. It’s like your body propels you into the mating ritual practically against your will. That’s what guys pick up on. “Most women can’t hide or fake these cues,” a guy friend tells me. “They’re like tells in poker.”

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Question for you: How many hours, days even, do you think you’ve spent breaking down the meaning of every text, glance, grin and utterance of the guy you’re attracted to? I’m guessing it’s quite a lot. You know — equivalent to the six months the average person spends standing in line during their lifetime. And just about as useful, really.

I’ve been there. I once crushed on a co-worker whose desk was positioned on the other end of our vast warehouse-like newsroom. Every time he stood up from his desk and just happened to turn his head north, I had an emotional spasm, thinking he couldn’t spend another moment without looking my way. If he caught my eye and smiled, I was sure he was covertly signaling our future wedding date.

Truth is: I wasn’t picking up the signs of his (casual at best) interest in me. Or worse: his obvious interest in other women at the office. I brushed those aside and made excuses and looked for more clues. And I mean, I looked really hard.

As with any good lesson, I couldn’t get out of my own way, and this one was best learned by watching my friends suffer, too. They cling onto every painfully vague promise of “where this is going” he might utter, and somehow read their vows between the lines of his wishy-washy words.

This realization led me to ask some of my guy friends a pretty common question: How do you know if he’s really all in? Their answer was a resounding: Duh! You won’t even have to ask. You’ll know. There will be no question about his intention.

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How could a television show about six single dudes in New York City who chase skirts, eat hot wings, sit around a smelly poker table and roll cigars possibly appeal to women? In many ways. Oh, so many ways.

Seriously, ladies. Turn off the “Sex and the City” reruns. Sexy-version Aiden isn’t going to build you a custom armoire anytime soon. You need to clear your schedule and get caught up on the Esquire Network’s new original series, “Lucky Bastards” — pronto.

In April, Esquire Network (the former Style Network that relaunched in September 2013) premiered the 10-episode series. The premise of “Lucky Bastards” is simple: follow six highly eligible and financially buff bachelors around Manhattan for a while and see what madness ensues.

The no-holds-barred, balls-out attitude of this posse makes for some great, entertaining television. When that’s paired with nothing-to-lose, guy-to-guy, wink-wink-nudge-nudge commentary, it’s a veritable overflowing fountain of insider intel that every single gal needs to take a nice long, hot shower in. Bring a loofah — you’re gonna need it.

The best way for modern women to find the genius in this show (besides the cute smiles and occasionally bare chests), is to realize it’s a celebration of men being men — unapologetically. Now at the halfway point in the series, we’ve seen that the situations are real and sometimes dirty, often crass and even distasteful. In a world otherwise filled with emasculating male-bashing, hate-filled blogs and television shows, I find “Lucky Bastards” refreshing and illuminating. But I’ve got thick skin and I’m open-minded; plus I want to learn. As they say: When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

My six new favorite professors are a group of old friends who range in age from 33 to 45. They’re not the ridiculous caricatures of men we often see on TV these days. They’re real, they’re savvy and they’re deal closers. Their personalities and business pursuits are quite varied, but their chemistry and camaraderie are undeniable and often combustible. There’s just enough douche-baggery to earn the “bastard” badge, but no one’s faster to call them out on it than one of their own — usually delivered in a swift, harsh, “don’t-be-a-dick” verbal swipe. The “lucky” comes in because they’re rich, well-educated, business savvy, good looking and well-spoken (proper grammar is always sexy). Here they are:

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I heard this question for the first time about six years ago. I was pursuing a guy I shouldn’t have been (fill in the reasons for his unsuitability … several apply). He knew he was wrong for me, too, but I was stubborn and persistent.

Until the day he asked me: “What’s your endgame, here?”

Endgame? What does that mean? I’m supposed to start at the end? Do I have to actually say it out loud?

It was time to bring in some help, so I asked my guy friends what this “endgame” was all about. “Well, what do you want to happen in the end?” is what they countered with. Starting with an endgame, they explain, keeps you on task, focused and purposeful.

Officially, this endgame term defines the final moves in a game of chess, and it also applies to battle strategy. Heck, Homeland Security even had Operation Endgame, an effort to deport illegal aliens and suspected terrorists in the U.S. by 2012.

If we’re honest with ourselves, women will concede that we look at every love interest as possibly THE ONE, even if he’s completely wrong for us. To put that in guy speak: Even if we know better, there’s a moment where our endgame looks something like Kimye in Florence, rose walls and all.

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ICYMI: This kid shows some early savvy with the ladies, but the best — and most revealing part — is listening to the announcers absolutely gushing over his strategy.


At the end of a sweaty night in a dark, hipster coffee house turned makeshift blues bar, a musician friend of mine laid down the royal flush of man card material. “It’s all about strategy, man,” he said.

This was in response to my gaping shock when he relayed a conversation with a much younger, quite adorable, band mate. The kid wanted to play more gigs because he was broke. Why? He’d spent all his cash on his drums and the hot, red car he pulled up in. He’d bought them for one purpose: To pick up chicks, he confessed. “Dude. You already play the drums,” my friend instructed him. “You don’t need BOTH!”

This cute guy had banged on the drums for several hours, seductively throwing his head back, completely lost in the music, or so I thought. If he had just made eye contact or said hello to me, I would have been a puddle, and I didn’t even know about his sexy red ride. But in his mind, he needed a shtick — or strategy — to give him an edge.

After getting hit with this strategy card, it dawned on me: In all of life’s worthy pursuits, guys instinctively go into this game-plan mode; with deliberate actions designed for a desired outcome. Chicks get grossed out at the thought of guys running game on them, but it happens outside the dating world, too. Read the rest of this entry »


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