Ella: How do guys feel about girls initiating interest? I hear so many say that they feel so pressured to always be the one to make the first move, but then I also hear a lot who feel like it makes a girl seem desperate. Is there a middle ground here?
Rob: I think girls initiating interest is fantastic because guys worry so much that they’re just reading into things and don’t want to make a move then feel like an idiot when the girl is like, “wow no I have a boyfriend and definitely do not look at you that way.” She doesn’t have to get down on one knee and propose or even ask him out. If she makes it clear that she’s interested, he should be able to take over the pursuit responsibilities from there.
Rob: What do you feel like is the appropriate amount of time after getting someone’s number to text or call them?
Ella: I think there’s about a 48 hour window of acceptability — any longer and you look less than genuinely interested, but if you call 10 minutes after getting the number, you kind of look like you don’t trust that they gave you their real number or you’re a stage 5 clinger in the making. The best bet is just to text them your name when you get their number so they have that immediate recognition, and then possibly text them the next day asking if you could call them. It shows you A) respect their time, B) are into them, and C) are old school. (Nobody calls anymore, which is a shame, and I am personally all for reclaiming the phone call.)
Ella: Do guys actually care about sexy lingerie, is it like unwrapping a Christmas present, or completely irrelevant and just fodder for the Victoria’s Secret catalog?
Rob: I don’t think any guy has ever walked in and saw his girlfriend or wife wearing sexy lingerie and said, “hmm seems like a waste of money. We could have paid the water bill with that cash.” However, it’s not like it’s a necessity. If your relationship is depending on your order from AdamandEve.com, it’s probably not a good sign. That being said, I think more than lingerie, roleplay is fun especially if you’ve been in the relationship for a while. It doesn’t have to be crazy stuff, but making sex more of an event than a 20 minute sweat session is awesome.
Rob: I know it seems like a cliche, but so many girls date terrible guys that are so awful to them. Why are girls often attracted to that type of guy?
Ella: Honey, if we knew, we wouldn’t date them, either. (I’m only partially kidding here.) The thing about relationships is that so often, both men and women get blinded by the things they think is so great about the person they love, that they either ignore or can’t even see the bad stuff. Why someone dates somebody who treats them like crap is sad, and nobody should stand for it, but you also have to remember that you’re looking at their relationship from an outsider’s perspective, and there might be something else going on that you can’t see because you’re not in the relationship. (Though, speaking as someone who has given my fair share of “you can do so much better!” monologues at brunch, I admit that’s easier said than done.)
Ella: What’s the protocol for knowing when it’s okay to ask a guy to attend a work function with you or a friend’s wedding as your +1? Is there a way to know when you’re reading too much into things?
Rob: If you’ve been seeing each other and you want him to go to an event with you, I would definitely ask. Now if you guys have been on two dates and you ask him to go to a wedding with you in six months, that’s probably not a great idea. If he’s into you then he would definitely want you to show him off to your friends, but if he acts weird about it at least you’ll know where he stands on the relationship.
Rob: What’s the best way for a guy to find out what sexual things a girl is into or willing to do?
Ella: Ask her what she wants to do — but don’t do it because you want to see how far you can push her into doing something, but rather that you’re genuinely interested in making it fun for her. Also, if you’re really not comfortable about asking a person to do anything in bed — from ‘can we use a condom’ to anything freaky — should you really be sleeping with them?
Ella: Is there anything you think pop culture has brainwashed girls to expect? What projections and demands should we be checking?
Rob: It really feels like pop culture has pushed girls to pursue guys that constantly push them away because “deep down he has a heart of gold.” Also I know people think it’s lame to blame problems on porn, but the flood of it has deeply changed the way people look at sex. If you’re not comfortable with something sexual, then don’t do it. You don’t have to let a guy cum all over you in order to show interest. If you want to do it, that’s fine, but if you don’t want to Sasha Grey it up, that doesn’t make you a prude.
Rob: What are some little things a guy might not think about but instantly turn a girl off from him?
Ella: I know this is more of a matter of how men and women communicate, but the short answers of “k” and “yeah” and “haha” when having a conversation (via text or otherwise) often feel like you’d rather be doing anything else than talking to us. Trying to make an effort to be a little less Hemingway-esque helps. Also, just trying to tell her everything (you know, kind of like mansplaining) is the worst, but it’s very possible that you’re not even aware when you’re doing it, so if she tries to assert her opinion, sometimes it’s best to just let differences be differences than trying to convert her to your frame of mind.
Ella: Is there anything girls do that makes guys automatically interested in them? Like the glasses-coming-off makeover in 90s rom-coms, but less Clark Kent archetype-y?
Rob: It varies from guy to guy, but a girl can become much, much more attractive if they share the same interests or if their sense of humors are similar. If a guy is big into basketball and this girl is going on and on about her favorite teams and has a genuine interest instead of just pretending to like something, it’s a huge plus because now you have one more thing in common. On the opposite side of that, there are things that can turn a beautiful girl into someone completely uninteresting. If your facebook posts are 9 paragraphs about how terrible your ex is and how everyone in your life causes drama, that’s going to seriously cause me to reconsider. Mainly because I’m afraid that’s going to be me in a few months if we break up. It sounds cliche, but being yourself is a great way to let a guy know if he would be interested in dating you longterm or not. Don’t pretend to like something just because you want his attention. You’ll either let him down later when you reveal you weren’t being honest, or you’ll have to pretend to enjoy something you hate FOR THE REST OF ETERNITY.
Rob: Does it bother you if a guy has close friends that are girls?
Ella: It really shouldn’t be an issue if a guy has close girl friends, just like it shouldn’t bother a guy if the girl he’s seeing has close guy friends. You can be friends with people without being attracted to them. The thing that’s uncomfortable is if the guy starts telling his girl friend everything about our relationship, because then it feels like she’s in on it, too. Some things should be sacred between the couple. Asking a question for perspective every now and then is fine, but if something’s bugging you about our relationship, tell me about it so we can hash it out, not your BFF Jill so she can tear me down.
Ella: Are there any little romantic gestures guys wish their girls did for them? (I refer to Chelsea Fagan’s opus on things that girls would swoon over. What’s the male equivalent?)
Rob: I actually learned my go-to move from a girl I dated. We were walking to a restaurant and I wasn’t sure if she was actually into me or not, but out of nowhere she slid her hand into mine and made a perfectly natural move where we were holding hands together. It seems simple but if you do that he’ll dig it. I can’t believe I’m giving up my move, to be honest.
Rob: Would you consider it a red flag if a guy you were dating had a password on his phone that he wouldn’t give you?
Ella: No, because that’s his phone and I’d probably be just as willing to hand over the password on my phone — not like I have anything to hide, but that’s like asking to borrow your hand to do something. If my phone was very clearly dead and he wouldn’t let me use his phone to look something up or message someone, that would be a red flag, or if he acts weird AS he’s answering his phone, that’s a bigger indicator than something like a password.
Ella: Why do guys always say they like “the natural look” when the natural look takes upwards of 5 products to actually achieve?
Rob: There’s a fear that when they see a girl wearing a ton of makeup, when they see her with it off she’ll look like Shrek. I think a lot of makeup is more for girls than guys, which is perfectly fine. Not everything has to be a form of seduction. However, if you’re going out and looking for a guy he’s probably not looking for clown makeup and eyebrows that look like they were drawn on by a drunk child with a paintbrush. Some dudes may be into that, but I think most guys want to know that what they’re seeing out in public is closer to what they’ll be seeing if they’re just hanging around the house. I get it though, it’s so time consuming to look like you just got out of the bed and look radiant. I spend more time trying to make it look like my hair just naturally comes out this way than those dudes in Axe Body Spray commercials that look like surprised puffer fish.
Rob: Do girls really judge guys by how they treat their mom or children?
Ella: Yes and no — the way you treat everyone from the waiter to your grandmother is a big indicator of who you really are, no matter how kind and chivalrous you are to our faces. But there’s also a big caveat there — maybe your mom was a genuinely crappy mother or human being, and we don’t know that (and that’s a pretty tough piece of baggage to unload). So that one has to be taken with a grain of salt sometimes. But if you’re dismissive or weird around your kids, or you’re not even trying to see them, then yeah, there’s a huge red flag there. Kids are innocent, and maybe you didn’t plan on having a child, but at a point, you have to step up and try to be not just a man, but a father, too.
Ella: Why are guys so quick to pull a 180? If a girl declines a guy’s advances, it always seems like the shift is immediately to “Well, you’re fat anyway!” I understand trying to protect your pride, but if you thought that, why were you so game to go on a date?
Rob: First of all, if a guy does that he’s acting like a 12-year old. Of course it hurts to get rejected, but that doesn’t mean you have to tear them down for not wanting to date you. You nailed it, though, it’s 100% a pride thing. “If I can convince myself she has these terrible flaws then it won’t hurt so bad to know that she’ll never be a romantic part of my life.”