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Oct 31

I am woman, hear me ask for help

Posted on Monday, October 31, 2011 in Advice, Happiness, Honesty, Kat, Men, Relationships, Self image, Women

I was in line at the supermarket when a 30-something woman talking on her cellphone wheeled up behind me; I could hear everything she was saying. She was talking about a breakup, or at least it had all the hallmarks of a specific kind of breakup — she was guessing, second-guessing, making excuses, sounding hopeful and teary-eyed all at once.

It was a “He’s Just Not That Into You” Moment if I ever heard one. And a uniquely gal moment.    

I tried to focus my attention on the magazines at the checkout stand, but those were even more depressing — Cosmo wants to boost my confidence and clue me in on guys’ top sex secrets, O magazine wants to tell me how to try my true calling and how to be beautiful.

I know women can’t be the only ones who have self-doubts, but I don’t think guys obsess about it as much as we do — nor do they have such of barrage of messages coming from all sorts of media. I mean, would a guy ever pick up a book like “Why She Disappeared?” Yet, we have “Why He Disappeared” (written by Evan Marc Katz, whom I admire. Hey, I’ll take relationship advice from a guy over a woman any day!).

Are women innately more insecure than men are? Or, do we seek self-awareness more than men do?

Not to say that men don’t look at themselves and their relationships critically; I’m sure they do. And there’s advice for men out there, too, otherwise you wouldn’t see the thriving PUA movement.

It’s just that most of the self-help and relationship books are geared toward women and we’re scooping them up are like crazy. Would all those “Mars and Venus” books and seminars be around if it weren’t for women? Would Oprah and Dr. Phil be who they are without women? Not a chance!

I don’t think it’s because we’re insecure; I think it’s because women blame ourselves when things go wrong and look to others to help us, while guys try to fix things themselves.

So how can we, uh, fix this? (No, I’m not asking for your advice!) I think we need to teach our daughters to be less other-directed, stop blaming ourselves and give them the knowledge to figure things out for themselves first before looking for help. And we need to teach our sons that there’s nothing unmanly about asking others for help and to create safe places for them to express their emotional vulnerabilities.

OK, now I am asking for your advice:

  • Why do women blame themselves so much?
  • Why would men rather go it alone than ask for help?

 

Apr 18

What to do if you’re in a sexless marriage


This should probably go in the What Would Kat Do category, but since that page doesn’t allow comments (as if!), I decided to post it here.

A fan (and I still have problems with that; shall we just call him a reader) recently wrote to me, and after a few back and forths, he agreed to let me tell his story. It isn’t a happy one.

“Jay” is a 46-year-old man, fit (by his definition), kind (ditto), smart (ditto) and, self aware (and given the exchanges we’ve had I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt on that). Jay isn’t happy because his wife of 20-plus years — whom he loves and with whom he has kids with — is no longer interested in sex. The problem is, Jay is — very much so. In fact, he thinks about sex a lot, especially since it happens so infrequently. And he’s wondering at some point if women lose interest in sex entirely.

Good question, Jay. And the answer is … yes and no.

But, before I get ahead of myself. Let Jay put it in his own words:

Dear Kat:

I’ve been reading your blog for a while now a one thing I really appreciate is that you seem to be a woman who loves and enjoys sex.Boy , do I need to know that exists! It gives me hope that there are middle-aged women (and please don’t take that the wrong way) who still like sex.

The problem is, I’m a middle-aged man who enjoys sex, too — very much. But my wife doesn’t — although she did in our early years — and that has created a lot of stress in our marriage. I’m not ready to give up sex yet, but I can’t seem to get my wife to feel the same way. She’s just not interested in sex — in any variation— but I still am. And I’m attracted to her, even though she’s put on a few pounds; at 45, she looks good.

I asked her to go to couples counseling with me; she says we don’t need it (she suffers from depression, but doesn’t like the way meds make her feel). I asked her to talk to her doctor about it, but she says there’s nothing wrong with her. I’ve tried getting her to watch porn; intimate nights of just touch and cuddling; romancing with candlelight, soft music and her favorite food. I’ve done the “daddy porn” thing — cleaning the house, doing the laundry and taking the kids (11 and 14) out so she can have time alone. You name it, I’ve done it.

Not even a blowjob.

I’m not asking for crazy sex like the “rear door” (not that I’d mind); just the old missionary would be fine.

I don’t want to get a divorce, but short of having an affair , which I’m morally against, and pleasing myself (which I do, but it can only go so far), what can I do? It’s making me feel a little crazy. And very, very frustrated.

Signed: A normal sexual man.

Dear Jay:

Thanks for writing. Wow— that’s one of the saddest stories I’ve heard in a long time. But, you know, not all that uncommon. A lot of women lose interest in sex, but I just don’t understand that! What’s with you gals?

I can tell you that an affair isn’t going to make things better; oh, sure, it will be fun and exciting, but it won’t help your marriage.

But rather than me tell you what to do, Jay, I’ll let my readers — who are infinitely wiser than I am — offer their advice.

Readers, what say you?

Jan 17

How honest are online dating profiles?

Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 in Advice, dating, Honesty, Kat, Men, Relationships, Self image, Singles

“I need you,” Sara said with a certain sense of urgency on the cell phone.

“I just love when someone says that to me, but, you know, usually a guy.”

“Well, perhaps you just need to broaden your perspective, Kat.”

“Ha! What’s up?”

I’m ready to try online dating again. Help me come up with a profile.”

And that’s how I found myself on a recent weeknight at Sara’s house, each of us in front of our laptops, some hummus and a glass of wine looking at the profiles of other 46- to 52-year-old women to see what Sara was up against. No  problem with a SexyMama smackdown,  but Cook4U (she’s cute, too) could
be problematic.

“OK, so, what’s your philosophy on life?”

“You know it — every day’s a blessing.”

“Sara, you can’t say
that. I mean, you just can’t. What a cliche!”

“But, it’s the truth! You know that’s me.”

And it is Sara, 100 percent. So are these
energetic, bubbly, fun-loving, loves to travel, lives life to the fullest, good friend,
sexy
. Yet she just can’t say any of that on an online profile. Well, actually she could, but I would never tell her to do that. Because it wouldn’t work in her favor. At all. It’s a total turnoff and people read more into a simple statement — “loves to take off on spontaneous trips” could mean high maintenance.

And as we went though the rest of Sara’s dating profile — interests, movies, etc. — I realized that there was a lot of things she just couldn’t say. Or she could, but …

Bummer.

That’s the weird thing about online dating — you can’t be totally honest.

And coming from an online dating fan who couldn’t even care less about a guy’s cliche online dating username or header — let alone his income —  that’s saying a lot.

Most people think online profile dishonesty is about age or using old pictures. But even if you’re trying to describe yourself honestly, there are certain … buzzwords … that make someone sound inauthentic. If you truly are comfortable in jeans or jammie pants while watching a DVD on the couch and also happen to be totally comfortable in a LBD (that’s little black dress, for you guys) and f-me heels (self-explanatory?) at a social event — as I am — well, do you actually say that? No, of course not!

Even though it’s the truth.

Kinda weird.

Unless you look at creating an online profile as a challenge, which it really is. It forces you to say those things but in a more creative way. And, when you think about it, it forces you to think about yourself in a more creative way, too. That’s not so bad.

But for the people who aren’t able to do that, it’s all about the picture. Or is it all about the picture regardless?

  • What do you pay attention to in an online dating profile?
  • What words turn you off or on?
  • How do you describe yourself online?

Photo © Milan Stanic – Fotolia.com