Ask the Advice Goddess 15

How do I get my boyfriend to go shopping with me? --Valley Girl in Washington StateConfine your shopping to strip bars, Harley retailers and football stadium concession stands.It's about time somebody erected a monument to "The Unknown Boyfriend," that poor guy suffering on a cement bench at the mall while his girlfriend tries on "a few more things."Asking a man to browse the mall with you is a little like inviting a fish to go hiking. It's just not what nature intended. Unlike women, who tend to meander around stores until some bauble or garment strikes their fancy, men usually shop with a mission: "eight pairs of black acrylic socks or die." As soon as they get what they came for, they get out with military precision. In another words, for a guy, twenty minutes meandering through "The Wild Pair" is nineteen minutes and fifty seconds too long. It's a bad idea to try to force a man to do something he hates. Remember...a happy boyfriend is a well-behaved boyfriend. Have your girlfriends accompany you when you spend the afternoon foraging for shoes and clothes. Buy what looks great on you and model it at home. Chances are, your boyfriend will be much more excited about helping you remove your slinky new dress than he is about whiling his life away outside the fitting room as you try it on. ***I'm quite the boring man. Yes, I am attractive -- often described as sleek and exotic looking at 6'1" and 155lbs, with long hair and dark features -- but I in no way deserve the attention I get, good or bad. I am heterosexual, but a bit eccentric -- just standard stuff like extreme politesse and dressing fashionably in women's clothing. I don't consider myself a cross-dresser because my thighs are a bit thick to look good in a mini. Anyway, I get a lot of attention, despite being boring, stable, calm, secure, gentle and serene.I am puzzled because of the manner in which relationships unfold for me, which must be related to how I look. I have never approached a woman with prospects of dating. I simply get "picked up" -- about 47 times in my 23 years. Eight times these very attractive girls have come home with me and stayed...for months, and once, even years. You know, the first date just never ends. Why?Even more puzzling is that just when I think these arrangements could last forever, they find me unbearably boring and move out while I'm at work to find someone exciting...never to be heard from again until they decide that I am beyond compare, boring or not, and try to reconcile with me. Wasn't it my stability, security, polite mannerism, and intellect that first made them want to stay? Surely, pure physical attraction couldn't have endured so long, so often, and I don't need to be reformed or "fixed." The point is, I was never Mr. Excitement, so why did they abandon their individual existences for me after one evening, if they didn't know what they were getting? I miss all of them and still don't know why it all happened. --Mr. SmithIt might seem that a man who slips into size twelve ladies pumps every now and again would have little in common with strait-laced guys whose idea of a fashion adventure is pulling on a new pair of Dockers. However, many of those guys share your relationship problem.Like you, they often get involved with women who are wrong for them; usually because they haven't defined what they want. In such relationships, conflicts are buried land mines; a step in the wrong direction can lead to an extremely unpleasant explosion.The women you write about moved in before they knew you, then decided that you weren't what they wanted after all. Perhaps the ones who came back found "boring but safe" a little more appealing after a walk on the wild side. Instead of letting women follow you home like stray dogs, (as tempting as that may be), assume control over your relationships. First, determine what kind of woman would best fit into your life; what qualities and values she should possess. Then, don't just stand around looking pretty; actively seek out a woman who has most of what you're looking for. When you meet a nice one who doesn't fit the bill, keep moving.In the future, don't share your towels with strangers. Just try that age-old way of getting to know a girl -- going out on dates. Once you take a more active role in choosing the women in your life, you'll probably have better luck keeping them around after they realize that the monthly deliveries from Club Lingerie aren't meant for them.Got a problem? Ask Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, box 280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com

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