Asheville Daily Planet
RSS Facebook
The Advice Goddess: November 2017
Wednesday, 01 November 2017 21:42

Pay pal?

Q: An older male friend keeps paying for me -- buying me meals and clothes. Am I making a mistake in accepting? I’ve repeatedly made clear that I have no romantic interest in him. I’m a struggling artist, and he’s highly successful. We’re basically BFFs, talking and laughing every day. He occasionally jokes that I should be “giving up the sugar to the sugar daddy,” but I roll my eyes and say, “Hush!” I think he’s teasing me, but could he be playing the long game? 
— Worried
A: Welcome to the “never say never” school of hope. My Chinese crested, Aida, is also enrolled — hoping with all her tiny purse-doggy might that rare metal-eating termites will make the kitchen table leg collapse, causing her to be caught in a brief but intense hailstorm of bacon. 

There are some asymmetries between men and women in the effort required to get some action out of the opposite sex. Some men will engineer elaborate plots to try to wear a woman’s “nuh-uh, never gonna happen” into a “maybe just this once.”

A woman, on the other hand, doesn’t have to plot. Assuming she’s reasonably attractive, she can probably just make extended eye contact with a man while eating a banana.This difference reflects what evolutionary psychologist David Buss explains as men’s and women’s conflicting evolutionary goals.

It’s in a man’s evolutionary interest to, as they say, shoot and scoot (possibly passing on his genes without putting out any further time, energy or resources). However, because women can end up all “baby on board,” they evolved to look for emotional commitment and the ability and willingness to “provide.” (A woman’s psychological bottom line: “Can this wild man be turned into a minivan purchaser with a dad bod?”) 

Buss notes that these sex differences in evolved mating psychology show up in the different ways men and women try to deceive each other. Scammy men tend to exaggerate their “resources” (probably a sizable chunk of the Ferrari rental business) in hopes of suckering the ladies into the sack. Scammy women, on the other hand, tend to feign “willingness to have sex in order to secure nonsexual resources” — as in, “Sorry, Bob. I had my knees welded shut recently. I guess I forgot to mention that. But thanks for the $300 dinner!” In your situation, however, nobody’s deceiving anybody.

You’ve repeatedly made clear that there will be no sexcapades. He’s got an amusing dining companion and a dear friend. When we care about people, we do nice things for them — offer them a bite of our sandwich or our disposable income.

Sure, he’s probably still clinging to wisps of hope. But in time, he should accept that if the day comes when you suddenly grab him in your arms, it’ll be because he’s got a small piece of chicken caught in his windpipe and he’ll die unless you give him the Heimlich maneuver.


Check, mate!

I’m a 28-year-old guy, and I read your column on how men and women are clueless about who’s supposed to pay and when. I’ve had dates be insulted when I wouldn’t take their money and others insulted when I did. Is there an optimal strategy for the first few dates? — Lost


Meet the flexible feminist. She can do an hour and a half straight on why we need to “smash the patriarchy,” but when the check comes, she reaches in her purse and pulls out a tube of lip gloss.

As I pointed out in that column you mention, sociologist Janet Lever and her colleagues find one striking commonality between men and women: intense confusion about who should pay and when. For example, nearly 60 percent of women said they “always” offer to help pay, even on the first date.

Meanwhile, 39 percent of women wish men would reject their offer to pay — but 40 percent say it bothers them when men don’t accept their money. Argh, huh? Because female emotions evolved to push women to feel bad when they’re with a man who shows no signs of being a “provider,” I think it’s wise for a guy to pick up the tab on the first few dates.

The researchers concur, explaining that “men who fail to pay risk being viewed as lacking economic resources or as being uninterested, unchivalrous, or — worse yet — cheap.”That said, your investment should be more symbolic than substantial, and you keep it that way by following my three-point advice for the first few dates:

Make them cheap, short and local. This means, for example, getting to know a woman over happy-hour drinks — as opposed to the kind poured by a sommelier (flanked by his two assistants) who comes to your table right after the team of loan officers helps you finalize your paperwork. 



Who will stop the wane?

I’m happily married. My wife is beautiful. She used to put a lot of effort into her appearance, but she now wears sweats and T-shirts everywhere and she never wears makeup or does her hair. I felt really bad about this on our recent date night, when she just put her hair in a ponytail and wore a slouchy army jacket. I want her to keep making an effort to put herself together for me. How can I offer her constructive criticism without making her mad? — Bummed


You come up behind a ragged, disheveled person standing on the corner and put a dollar in the Starbucks cup they’re holding — and then you realize your error: “Oops! Hi, honey!"

I suspect the term “constructive criticism” was coined by someone who went through life without ever encountering another human being. As I explain in “Good Manners for Nice People...,” here in the real world, “criticizing people doesn’t make them change; it makes them want to clobber you.”

That’s because our ancient fight-or-flight system is a little one-note — juicing us to respond to a verbal attack as if it were an attack by some dude running at us with a bloody spear. So, though it isn’t unreasonable to want your wife to make an effort on date night, you should focus on what you do want to see rather than what you don’t.

For example: “Honey, you’re so beautiful, and when it’s date night, it would make me so happy if you did your hair and wore a dress. And I’ll wear whatever you want.” And to get her to make more of an effort day to day: “I love you so much, and I want to be sure we keep the romance alive.”

Make clear that you aren’t expecting her to do the dishes in an evening dress and a tiara. You’d just be thrilled if, from time to time, the thigh-highs could be fishnets instead of, well, hip waders.

(c.) 2017, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (advicegoddess.com). Weekly radio show: blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon



 



 


contact | home

Copyright ©2005-2015 Star Fleet Communications

224 Broadway St., Asheville, NC 28801 | P.O. Box 8490, Asheville, NC 28814
phone (828) 252-6565 | fax (828) 252-6567

a Cube Creative Design site