Money en-us catherined at cosmopolitan dot co dot za Copyright 2009 The Truth About Sexting Lucy consoled me the next day. ‘You know what those tortured artists are like,’ she said. So I was pleasantly surprised when Dan messaged me that night. In fact, he messaged me every night that week. But texting was all he did. The distinct lack of ‘meeting-up’ talk from him was starting to concern me. Was he just looking for friendship? On day eight my question was answered in four little words.
I was performing my bimonthly DIY hair-dyeing ritual and while I was waiting with a plastic bag on my head for the colour to take effect, my phone beeped. It was Dan: ‘What are you wearing?’
If I had been honest with him, the conversation would have gone like this:
Him: ‘What are you wearing?’
Me: ‘A Snoopy T-shirt, Pick ’n Pay bag and a pair of rubber gloves.’
Him: ‘What are you doing?’
Me: ‘Rubbing milk into my head – to remove hair-dye stains.’
Him: ‘Are you wet?’
Me: ‘Yes, there’s milk and red dye all over the place.

White Lies
But texting isn’t necessarily about the truth, is it? I’ll spare you the details of the conversation but let’s just say the words ‘milk’ and ‘head’ were replaced with ‘baby oil’ and ‘breasts’. And that marked the start of a beautiful textual relationship. I was too busy stressing about my hair to get any physical satisfaction but I certainly got some satisfaction from the knowledge that I could turn a man on with just a few words. It was the perfect post-break-up ego boost I needed.
It did the trick for Dan, too, because from that moment we were ‘virtually’ inseparable – for an hour at bedtime, before work, in my lunch break… And as our textual relationship grew, so did our confidence. The more experienced we became at talking dirty, the more addictive it was.
Dan had a vivid imagination and a way with words. More importantly, he made me sound like a goddess, because in his mind I was a goddess. No cellulite or streaky fake tan – imagination comes with an airbrush facility. In our fantasies, he had the stamina of Superman and I had the moves of a pole dancer.

Truth Be Told
Of course, when we agreed to meet up after two months, the reality was very different. Dan turned up at my place and pulled me straight to the bedroom but he was clearly embarrassed about his descriptions of his vital statistic, and the sight of me looking nervous in a pair of slouchy vintage boots didn’t quite match his vision of a dominatrix in thigh-high boots. The sex was pedestrian, and so our first date marked the end of our relationship.
That’s not to say I didn’t regret it – if you’re over the worst of a break-up and dipping your toe in the dating pool again, no-strings-attached texting is perfect for indulging your sexy side without any messy mixed-up feelings.
But before you reach for the phone, take heed of some textual wisdom: one – ‘Dan’ is one letter away from ‘Dad’; two – ‘lick’ comes up as ‘kick’ in predictive text; three – SMS sex in your lunch hour is a tease but SMS sex before a meeting is torture. And lastly – cybersex is best kept in cyberspace.

Mon, 25 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Dealing with Bedroom Etiquette Sure, we fight a little over the remote control or where to go on holiday but, for the most part, our lives are without friction – until it comes to sleeping. In fact, it’s a subject I’m close to seeking UN intervention on, or at least contemplating some form of demilitarised zone for. A partition wall should do it. The snoozing woman upstairs enjoys sleeping at least eight hours at a time and she likes to get this under way well before midnight. The conditions have to be right. The room has to be totally dark, the bedding should be able to withstand Arctic temperatures and there must be absolutely, positively, no noise whatsoever. On the other hand, I choose to stay up until the last possible minute watching TV.
When I do settle down, in the early hours of the morning, I like to keep the light on and read or listen to my iPod until I drop off. With such opposing sleep patterns, it’s not hard to see that we have an entirely different view on what exactly REM means in a bedroom. For ages, she’d ask each morning why I felt so unable to entertain the idea of climbing the stairs, brushing my teeth, saying goodnight, switching off the light and counting sheep until dawn. To be entirely truthful, she did this while bleary-eyed and threatening to throw a breakfast bowl at my head. ‘I’m just not made that way,’ I protest. There’s a serious point in my creaky defence. Rather than toss and turn at night fretting about what I forgot to do at the office, I’d much rather, with a head still on pillow, check e-mails at 2am via my cellphone or dial into my voicemail. I don’t see this behaviour as a sad indictment of the modern age, but as a valuable use of otherwise wasted time.

A low point happened recently when I’d forced myself to go to sleep next to my partner, only to have a disturbing dream about my planet being invaded by killer insects from Mars. I dealt with this by attacking one of the alien’s head-on, then woke up to find I’d punched her square in the nose. For a long time after that, she didn’t care where I slept – as long as it was nowhere near her. Sanctions were lifted only when a good friend of hers, who recently became a mother, pointed out that my all-nighter alertness would be a godsend if we had kids one day. I think she realised she might be on to a good thing after all. My nocturnal habits may be very different from hers, but they are, as it turns out, shared by lots of friends. Perhaps it’s a peculiarly male disease to resist quiet time, lying there with nothing to do. I guess we don’t know how to relax or give in to rest. In a recent straw poll of all our friends, I was quick to point out to my partner that we are one of the few couples without a TV in our room. There are many things a bedroom is for – and I understand enough to know watching late-night rubbish together is not one of them. To be fair, she only complains about the effect my solitary activities have when they disturb her – she couldn’t care less if I don’t want to sleep. Annoyingly, however, I know that when I close my laptop and creep up the stairs, she’ll manage to stir, regardless of how quiet I am. Well, if the room wasn’t so bloody dark, I might be able to find the bed.
Sun, 17 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Moving in With the Girlfriend
We all dealt with it differently. Jon, the eldest of the bunch, got his work to pay for ‘business’ trips around the world, but then the Frequent Flyer points started running out and, last I heard, he was trying to contract swine flu so the authorities would quarantine him. I went for a less extreme option: moving in with my girlfriend and her flatmate.

I adore my girlfriend but, as the eviction was sudden, I hadn’t had time to prepare for the shock of now living in a female environment – much like a monkey snatched from the jungle and put in a zoo. If you’re thinking of asking your partner to live with you, please read on to understand the mind-set of your new housemate/captive as they undergo the harsh process of domestication.

The first thing I noticed was that everything is clean. Even things that could quite easily have been saved until later to be washed have already been washed, which is extremely odd. (Somewhere in the back of my brain, a small voice is trying to tell me this makes sense and is what you’re supposed to do. The voice sounds like my mom, but I’ve drowned it out with the crunching of the cereal I’m eating in bed – another no-no apparently.)

The abundance of non-useful yet pretty objects is also a shock to a man’s system. We’re not used to having so many items around that have no other purpose except to look good. Right now, I can see four decorative boxes sitting on a windowsill, and they’re a complete mystery to me – like owning a decorative whisk, or a surgery having a set of ornamental stethoscopes. The boxes are empty and, despite my insistence that they’re the perfect size for spare batteries, they shall remain empty, as these containers are ‘too adorable’ to actually be used to contain things. My girlfriend says it’s normal, but I find it pretentious that these boxes think they’re better than other boxes, and I lie awake at night fantasising about putting old receipts and keys in them (or, more accurately, old receipts and keys handed to me by Gisele Bündchen, since it is my fantasy, after all).

Then there’s security. It had never really occurred to me before, but girls obviously feel quite vulnerable living on their own. There are two locks on the door to their apartment and these are to be kept locked at all times. It’s been difficult to remember to do this – at my old house, it was not uncommon for one of us to come home and find all the doors unlocked and wide open, sometimes with housemates home (possibly even asleep inside) and sometimes not. Once we found Jon asleep in the garden, advertising to the world that as long as you were a thief who was capable of stepping over a slumbering man, you were welcome to all of the household contents.

I’ve been here a week, and every day I learn something new from this odd new world. No longer are bowel movements to be celebrated in the house – in fact, they’re to be kept secret; wrestling is less common place; I can’t find the mandatory Top Gun DVDs; there’s more than just beer in the fridge (there’s couscous!); and cooking magazines abound… It’s crazy. During a moment of weakness, I tried to rebel and told my girlfriend it was pointless to expect me to adapt, and she should just think of me as a cat: I’ll eat, sleep and cuddle, and everyone will be happy. When she pointed out that at least cats make themselves useful, by catching mice, I told her I’d go and buy some cheese immediately. I needed to get out of the flat, anyway.

Thu, 17 Oct 2013 12:00 +0200
Super Sexy Surprises
1. 'When I'm on top, keep your stilettos on. I love using the spike heels like joysticks to control where I position your legs.' - Derek*, 24

2. 'My ex used to put on red lipstick, then use it to rouge her nipples. I like to think she was drawing a bull's eye for my mouth.' - Michael*, 25

3. 'Rub your belly against my manhood. Your skin there is so smooth, I might blast off right then.' - Carl*, 26

4. 'My sex drive will go from 0 to 60 in an instant if you allude to a previous time we did the deed and how good I made you feel.' - Peter*, 30

5. 'In the middle of bumping and grinding, hold my body still, then slowly clench and release your vaginal muscles. Smile naughtily.' - Randall*, 21

6. 'I dated a woman who would ask blunt things like, "How about if I swallow?" I get rock hard remembering her sweet voice uttering those dirty deeds.' -Wesley*, 26

7. 'I can't be the only guy who loves when a woman licks that soft patch of skin in front of my ears.' - James*, 23

8. 'An ex once came to bed in a soaking-wet white T-shirt. The sight was jaw-dropping.' - Nick*, 30

9. 'Make two fists around my shaft and twist them in opposite directions as fast as you can.' - John*, 30

10. 'Wet your lips and moan that you can't wait to taste me.' - Sam*, 22

11. 'While you're straddling me, lean over and place your hands against the wall so your breasts hang invitingly over my face.' - Dave*, 24

12. 'One night, I came home to find a trail of photos leading up the stairs. Each one showed my girl… minus one piece of her clothing. When I finally got to the bedroom, she was taking one last picture of herself, totally naked.' - Ben*, 27

13. 'Bend your knees and spread them wide when I go down on you. You'll feel more open, and I'll get to see every sexy inch of you.' - Seth*, 19

14. 'During doggie-style, put a big pillow under your stomach. My last girlfriend did this, and she said the angle it created allowed me to stroke her G-spot.' - Adam*, 23

15. 'My girlfriend and I play the "dirty dice" game: We connect sexy acts to a number. For example. If I roll a seven, she has to give me a demo of how she touches herself.' - Rob*, 21

16. 'My fiancée will blindfold me and rub her body across my face. I can only use my mouth and tongue to identify what I'm feeling.' - Colin*, 29

*Names have been changed

Tue, 16 Apr 2013 12:00 +0200
4 'Sexy Moves' To Skip
As you've probably figured out by now, men aren't that complicated. All we really need to be seduced is a ready-and-willing look on your face. It is nice, though, when you do special things like light a candle or put on slow tunes. Unfortunately, not all your tactics have the desired effect. Here's what can backfire when attempting to get a guy fired up.

When you go overboard hinting at how much you love a good 'hot dog' or slurping the 'head' off your beer - wink wink - it can come off as scripted and forced. 'Every time my girlfriend starts teasing me with porn-star talk, I know she's doing it because she think I want her to,' says Adam*, 27. 'But it's way more of a turn-on when she says sexy things spontaneously.'

*Names have been changed

Mon, 25 Mar 2013 12:00 +0200
Hold His Attention

We know you want to tell us every last detail about your day all at once. But your one-sided deluge will have him looking for something, anything else to occupy his mind. The solution: Engage him in conversation on his favourite subjects - sport, travel, and him. 'I was on a blind date at this bar that was packed with beautiful people,' recalls Aaron*, 30. 'Normally, I'd have been checking out the scene, but my date was asking me all these thoughtful questions about my life and job, and the surrounding crowd faded.'

*Names have been changed

Tue, 12 Mar 2013 12:00 +0200
Has He Got Your Number?

Five is the amount of one-night stands you should have had. He's prepared to accept you're not squeaky clean, but a habitual bed-hopper is a worry. If you've had more than his ideal five, wait - certainly until you have some damning evidence on him - before mentioning it. (Tip: try looking in the 'My Pictures' file on his computer.)

Thu, 24 Jan 2013 12:00 +0200
What's Overrated... And What's Underrated
1. Overrated: Elaborate anniversary celebrations. Underrated: Giving gifts for no reason at all.

2. Overrated: A rushed dinner, then a movie. Underrated: A movie followed by a relaxed dinner.

3. Overrated: Romantic evenings. Underrated: Romantic days.

4. Overrated: Ballroom-dancing lessons. Underrated: Surfing lessons.

5. Overrated: Love letters. Underrated: Sexy messages.

6. Overrated: Make-up sex. Underrated: Not fighting in the first place.

7. Overrated: Dousing yourself in perfume. Underrated: Smelling your hair.

8. Overrated: Fussy picnics. Underrated: Laid-back braais.

9. Overrated: Moonlit walks. Underrated: Sunny runs.

10. Overrated: Staying at a bed-and-breakfast. Underrated: Staying home to avoid small talk with 60-year-old relatives.

11. Overrated:
Double dates. Underrated: Going to parties as a couple.

12. Overrated:
Sending you roses on Valentine's Day. Underrated: Bringing you flowers on random days.

13. Overrated: Discussing the house you'll live in someday. Underrated: Discussing the trips you'll take someday.

Wed, 05 Dec 2012 12:00 +0200
Things Guys Keep Private
What with social media and instant access, you might not think men have many secrets anymore. Well, ha! We have a whole mess of undercover behaviour you should know about. You'll respect us if we're honest, right?

Yes, men think about sex, well, constantly, and that drives us to lengths that might surprise you. Maybe it's in the morning, while you're showering. Or before you get home from work. Or even while you're asleep and we're still up, watching TV in the next room. This isn't due to a flaw in our sex life, it's just part of our routine. 'It's a relaxation technique,' says Aaron*, 26. 'My girlfriend has a glass of wine after work, and I masturbate my stress away.'

*Names have been changed

Tue, 11 Dec 2012 12:00 +0200
Perfect Your First-Date Mojo

Most men out there are genuinely looking for love. We're just not very good at finding it, and sometime, we need a hand - literally. I love it when a woman touches my arm on a first date. It feels so good - it's like a boundary gets broken, a wall gets knocked down, and suddenly, it's less uncomfortable; we're friends. Marissa*, a primary school teacher, was that way. When I sat beside her at a bar, she touched my knee while she told stories. I remember instantly letting my guard down.

So lean in, and break that boundary. Remember why we're attracted to you: Not just for sex, but because you look, sound, feel, and smell a million times better than we do. When you add touch, you have our senses working overtime. We want to smell your hair, your lotion, and your perfume.

Wed, 21 Nov 2012 12:00 +0200
The Best Times To Impress Him

If your female friend suffers a breakup you bring over Sex and the City DVDs and talk about how she 'feels.' If your guy's male pal gets the axe, however, he has only one job: to help the guy get some action. So give your man the green light to spend more time than usual acting as a wingman when out with the boys. Or better yet, help remind the guy yourself that there's life after a breakup. 'After my friend was dumped, my girlfriend had me invite him along during a night out with friends,' says Jeff*, 27. 'Just being around girls cheered him up. It was really cool of her.'

*Names have been changed

Wed, 07 Nov 2012 12:00 +0200
What He's Hiding From You

You probably suspect that your man turns into a different person around his buddies. He knows you think this, so if his friends are a bunch of booze-chugging, skirt-chasing delinquents, he has absolutely no incentive to reveal it to you. 'I love my friends despite their faults,' says John*, 27. 'I also love hanging out with them, but that doesn't mean I engage in all their less-than-wholesome behaviour.' If you trust him to behave - you don't interrogate him about his nights out and avoid bad-mouthing his friends - he'll trust you enough to explain how Titty Tom got his nickname.

*Names have been changed

Fri, 07 Sep 2012 12:00 +0200
What He's Judging You On
When a guy first meets you, he knows you are on your best behaviour and will be for a while, so he's looking at certain characteristics that give him quick insight into what you'd be like with your guard down. Here, four things that tell him more than you think.

You can work your butt off to come across well - hot outfit, big smile, witty conversation - but you can't do the same for your friends. Guys know this, so if you're out with friends, men look at them as representatives of all your personality traits - including the not-so-good ones. 'I met a girl who seemed sweet at a bar. We chatted, and she invited me to hang out with her friends,' says Simon*, 26. 'Within 10 minutes, I realised they were all gossipy drama queens, and I bolted.' lf your besties aren't on the same win-him- over page as you are, head to your own corner of the bar.

*Names have been changed

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 12:00 +0200
When He Needs To Be In Charge

Buying the meal every time you go out can be a bank-breaking endeavour for your guy. Always picking up drinks beforehand, however, is a more affordable way of taking the lead. And if it's a group outing with your pals, so much the better. 'I'll pick up the bar tab when I'm out with friends of my girl who I've just met,' says Bobby*, 28. 'It helps to break the ice, and it's a gentlemanly way of returning the favour of being welcomed into their circle.'

*Names have been changed

Wed, 04 Jul 2012 12:00 +0200
Why He Calls You a Nag
I grunted in response and carried on with the day. At lunchtime, she rephrased the request: 'Did that number work - the one for the kennel?' Then at dinner, my personal favourite: 'So, what did they tell you when you called about boarding the dogs?'

At this point, I had no choice - it was self-preservation. I pulled out my secret weapon, the one little phrase that's proven to drive her straight up the wall: 'You're nagging'.

I felt guilty… ish, but hey, as soon as I said it, she stopped asking me to make the call.

Here's the thing: In guys' minds, we already did everything a woman (ie. Mom) asked for 18 years, and it almost killed us. But now that we are (ahem) all grown up, we don't want to be told what to do. If we do everything our girlfriends and wives say, we will actually lose our manly status and turn into children again. Yes, we really think that.

Enter 'You're nagging'. We know this phrase will silence you instantly, and that's why we whip it out. We're well aware that being called a nag mentally morphs a woman into a 160-kilogram housewife in pink curlers and a hideous floral nightgown.

Men also know - though we'll never admit it - that we make your repeated requests necessary in the first place. Ugly guy truth: No matter how much we love you, we're only capable of listening to about 20% of what you have to say. As a result, we force you to repeat yourself, and then we call it nagging, and then... you get really, really pissed off.


Wed, 27 Jun 2012 12:00 +0200
Four Things Guys Hate To Do

When a guy awkwardly clutches a handbag, it's like he's cradling his amputated… ego. Yes, holding a handbag is like stamping 'Whipped' on his forehead in big red letters, and other men are obligated to ridicule him.

'I was at a festival with my girlfriend recently when she handed me her black patent-leather bag with big, shiny zips on it so she could go to the loo,' remembers Thabo*, 25. 'As soon as she left, a guy shouted, 'Nice bag, bro!' and everyone looked at me and laughed.' There's a reason bathroom stalls have hooks in them, girls.

*Names have been changed

Wed, 13 Jun 2012 12:00 +0200
What He Notices On a First Date

Look, not every guy is funny. But every guy thinks he's funny. When you appreciate his comedic efforts, he feels good about himself… and good about you as well. 'This girl I was out with kept laughing and smiling at my jokes,' recalls Evan*, 33. 'I liked being around her, and I'm sure it helped convince me that there was a connection forming between us.' Now, we're not advocating fake belly laughs, but a giggle can go a long way. What's even better? If you can crack him up in return.

*Names have been changed

Tue, 29 May 2012 12:00 +0200
What It Means When He Clams Up Understanding The Tin Man (Broadway). It doesn't help that when he sees that his silence is hurting you or making you angry; he just feels even more pressure to say the right thing… and becomes even less likely to talk. Luckily, you can break the cycle by understanding why he shuts up in the first place.

You're probably sick of asking him what he's thinking and being told 'Nothing.' Well, you may want to stop and consider how you'd react it he actually told you what was going through his head. 'Often, a man will think that talking could result in his losing more points,' says Dr Warren Farrell, author of Women Can Hear What Men Don't Say (Tarcher). So, he keeps things to himself, which makes it impossible for him to participate fully in the relationship.

Let's say you describe a fight you're having with a co-worker and your guy doesn't respond. You think he's zoning out, but it may be that he has weighed the situation in his logical mind and is siding with your co-worker, not you. Based on past experiences, he knows that admitting as much will only get him in trouble (because, let's face it, you're looking for emotional backup, not rational input)… so he just stares at you like a deer in headlights. The only way to get him to stop censoring himself is to let him know that you'll take his opinion in stride, even if it's not what you want to hear. 'If he has reassurance that you'll listen and respond more positively than in the past,' Farrell says, 'he'll feel safe enough to talk.'

Fri, 08 Jun 2012 12:00 +0200
Dating Coach Tips

The Fix: Women rarely get that what's cute to their friends is usually the opposite of what guys think is sexy. In a bar or on a first date, your goal is to lure him in. That said, there are a few key things you should avoid: babydoll dresses (they make women look heavier than they are… or pregnant), boyfriend jeans (we'd like to see the shape of your bum, please), and flats (I get that you wear them because they're comfortable, but so are tracksuit pants, and you wouldn't wear those on a date. I hope. Put on some heels).

Thu, 24 May 2012 12:00 +0200
What He Can’t Get Enough Of

Your flatiron and eyelash curler look like medieval torture devices to men, yet watching you work your beauty magic fascinates us. ‘There’s something so endearing about a girl standing in Front of the mirror in a towel, putting on makeup,’ says Wes*, 31. Part of it is seeing the lengths you go to in order to look hot for us. But mostly it’s the sneak peek into your private world that we find intriguing. So, before a date or in the morning, leave the door open and let him watch you transform from wet-haired cutie to stunning goddess.

*Names have been changed

Thu, 03 May 2012 12:00 +0200
What His Pad Says About Him

What It Means:
He's not lazy. He's a time-management genius who knows 20 minutes are better spent giving you an orgasm than filing these.

Thu, 10 May 2012 12:00 +0200
4 Member Mysteries - Solved Why Are Some Penises Bent?
It’s very common for a man’s penis to bend a little, but a severe bend is often caused by a common condition called Peyronie’s Disease. It’s caused when scar tissue develops on either side of the shaft. Doctors don't know why it happens, and the curve often decreases in severity without treatment.

Why Do Men Need To Rearrange Their Package All The Time?
He has something hanging between his legs, and it can get sweaty and uncomfortable, especially if it’s caught up in his underwear or he sits on it. So guys shift their package around so it hangs to the left or right. There’s no rhyme or reason in their choice… it’s just about comfort.

What's With The Whole Shrinkage Thing?
When the temperature around the penis and testicles drops, like if he jumps into a cold pool, the muscles that support his package retract to keep the area warm.

Can Guys Do Kegel Exercises Too?
Absolutely. For some men, building those muscles not only improves their ability to hold
off climaxing, but it also makes their orgasms more intense.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 12:00 +0200
His Biggest Dating Turn-Offs

Guys convince themselves that you think about them non-stop, but they don't want evidence of it. When a girl starts obsessively checking in, it spells S-T-A-L-K-E-R. Worse, we don't want to look like we're tied to a leash if the constant calls happen when we're with the boys. The deal is, if you resist dialling his number quite so often, your guy will actually look forward to your calls. And you'll have something left to talk about.

Tue, 10 Apr 2012 12:00 +0200
20 Things Every Guy Wants To Hear
1. 'A two-carat princess-cut Tiffany diamond set in a platinum band? Ew, who'd want one of those?'

2. 'I need you right now.'

3. 'Wow - that's an orgasm!'

4. 'I feel safe when I'm in your arms… except for the worry that you'll crush my spine with your massive biceps.'

5. 'I really like the way you smell when you sweat.'

6. 'George Clooney, Robert Pattinson and Taye Diggs are fine, I guess… But honestly, those guys aren't exactly my type.'

7. 'This is the only pair of shoes I'll ever need!'

8. 'Oh, you can just leave that toilet seat any ol' way.'

9. 'Gosh, you're almost too big.'

10. 'On second thoughts, I'll go to Mr Price Home alone.'

11. 'Baby, it's sooo funny when you fart like that!'

12. 'Blah, blah, blah - can we please just have sex?'

13. 'Of course I'll completely support you while you pursue your dream of becoming the world's first professional fantasy rugby player.'

14. 'Is there anything you can't fix?'

15. 'The only thing that could make our sex hotter is including my yoga instructor, Debbie.'

16. 'More bacon, honey?'

17. 'My flat isn't large enough for this 71-inch plasma TV. Can we keep it at your place?'

18. 'A man wearing anything dressier than jeans and a T-shirt is trying too hard.'

19. 'Valentine's Day is a loathesome hoax dreamed up by greeting-card companies and flower-mongers eager to make a buck by preying on the insecurities women have about love.'

20. 'I want to march down the aisle to the theme from Rocky.'

Thu, 05 Apr 2012 12:00 +0200
Be a Pro With His Privates
'Getting hit in the balls hurts so bad that men get sympathy pains - my sack will ache just hearing about an injury. Even from far away, we can sense it. - Graham*, 25

'Mornings are difficult for guys. You have to wee, plus you have the inevitable morning hard-on. The combination is not pleasant. It can take a good five minutes to force urine through an organ that has other things on its mind.' - DaIe*, 28

'I don't care if boxers are sexier. Large packages need tightie-whities like large breasts need bras.' - Thabo*, 31

'To appear bigger to a girl, I'd go into the bathroom and sling my bat around by gyrating my hips. The increased blood flow makes my willy almost as big as he will be when erect.' - Alex*, 33

'Don't sneak up on the penis like you are trying to arrest it. Instead, work your way toward it. It's always ready to party, but not always prepared for a surprise attack.' - Jim*, 26

'When it comes to manscaping, flattery won't get you anywhere. Please don't embarrass your guy by mentioning what an adorable trim job he's given his pubic hair.' - Scott*, 32

'The area on a man's body that surrounds the base of his penis is incredibly sensitive and way underutilised. Gently push down around it and watch your guy get all googly-eyed.' - Alan*, 36
'Go ahead, squeeze it and pull on it. Don't be too cautious. You should see the crazy things we do to it.' - Khaya*, 24

'While giving a hand job, you need to concentrate on head friction. Just rubbing on the base is about as pleasurable as pulling on a finger.' - Omar*, 31

'The sexiest thing in the world is my girlfriend looking into my eyes while my package is in her mouth. It drives me absolutely wild.' - Chris*, 36

'Contrary to appearance, the penis doesn't have an eye. So if he has a hard time finding his way, give him some guidance.' - Michael*, 35

'Every sex position - doggie-style, missionary, facing us, facing away from us - creates a slightly different sensation. In that way, penises are just like men: They like variety.' – Frank*, 28

'If l feel like my boy is about to blast off too early, I just imagine that I'm a porn star: The camera is rolling and it is my job - nay, my duty - to perform to my full potential.' - Matt*, 31

'Right before I let myself explode, I squeeze my penis three times. The added pressure makes it feel like a million orgasms all at once.' - Josh*, 26

'If I come really quickly please, please take it as a compliment.' - Ben*, 26

'After we ejaculate, our man-units can be almost painfully sensitive. Imagine the penis as a nuclear reactor: While it's generating power, it's safe and fun. But after it blows, you better stay away for a while.' - Jermaine*, 33

'I have no problem wearing a condom, but excuse me if I rip it off as soon as I finish. As my willy wilts, the tight elastic rim of the rubber strangles it… and hurts like hell.' - Nathan*, 27

'Just because the penis seems exhausted after sex doesn't mean we are. He's a brave soldier, willing to go into battle again. Be patient.' - Nick*, 37

*Names have been changed

Fri, 16 Mar 2012 12:00 +0200
His Idea Of Girlfriend Material
Get The Bill Relax, we're not saying you have to cough up for every meal. But if you reach for the bill, he'll know you're a self-sufficient woman who's not just looking for a free ride. 'If a girl looks away or suddenly gets distracted when the bill comes, I feel taken advantage of,' says Justin*, 25. 'When a girl insists on picking up the occasional tab, though, it shows she's interested in me as a person, not in what I can give her.'
Have Friday-Night Plans
Love His Guy Stuff
Unleash Your Lust

*Names have been changed

Tue, 28 Feb 2012 12:00 +0200
Make Him Die For Date Two
You Aren't Mute A woman can sit across the dinner table looking bored as hell, but if the only time she opens her mouth is to insert her fork, we're going to lose interest. A guy wants a charismatic girl who has something to say. 'I went on a date with a nurse, and I was nervous because we had nothing in common, but there were no awkward silences,' says Paul*, 27. 'She told me all about working in the ER. She was so interesting that I asked her out for a second date before our first one ended.' Bottom line: You don't have to pontificate on politics to be a good conversationalist. Just be open and enthusiastic.
You Ace The Bitch Test
You Say Thank You
You Make It Clear You Want a Second Date

*Names have been changed

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 12:00 +0200
Signs He's Sizing Up Your Pad
Disastrous Picks Your music collection speaks volumes about your taste, and naff choices can be grounds for a diss. Jeremy*, 32, recalls meeting a girl he really liked - that is, 'until I went to her flat and inspected her CD tower. It was like a sound track to my own personal hell - Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, and the original cast recording of Les Miserables,' he says. 'I thought, this is a girl who likes to cry herself to sleep.' On the flip side, certain music choices will grab a guy's attention for sheer coolness. Hip-hop gets major props. Atmospheric music (translation: good sex tunes), and Radiohead are also guy favourites. 'The best is when she has a little of everything - pop, rock, jazz,' says Thabo*, 23. 'It tells me she's open-minded and doesn't follow the fads.' Hint: You still might want to hide that Clay Aiken CD.
Freaky Eats
Photographic Evidence
Bed Bummers
Baffling Beauty Loot

*Names have been changed

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 12:00 +0200
Turn Him Into a Sex Genius
In my 14 years as a sex therapist and author, I've asked thousands of men where a woman's clitoris is, and more than half of them believe (incorrectly!) that it's located deep within the vagina. That may not be a shock - chances are, you've been with a guy who couldn't conceal his clitoral cluelessness. But you might wonder where the puzzlement stems from. Well, you can blame it on everything from tall tales told in changing rooms to ex-girlfriends who faked it to the boggling female body with its small, sometimes, hidden parts. Even if a guy makes it into the vicinity of this important pleasure zone, he could still miss the mark because he is too nervous to really check you out down there or doesn't get how to stroke you right. Or logistics, such as the room being too dark, prevent it. But if your man's what I call 'ill-cliterate', don't write him off as a lost cause - there are ways to school him gently on the techniques that cause your toes to curl. Try these:

Fine-Tune His Touch During foreplay guide his hand to your clitoris, and show him how to touch you with the rhythm and firmness you like. Men are goal-oriented, so they often figure the faster and harder they work it down there, the more powerful your orgasm will be. Of course, it's not that simple, which is why it's important for you to set the tone. Try pressing and releasing his fingertip against your clitoris several times, then use his finger to make small circles in either direction to hit all of your nerves. For a twist that will turn you both on, lie facing each other, take his penis, and use the tip of it to demonstrate how you like your clitoris to be touched (you might want to apply a water-based lube first).
Improve His Oral Skills
Manipulate His Main-Event Moves

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 12:00 +0200
Guy Pal Advice
'My friend's boyfriend never talks to her when he's upset, and it really bugs her. What she doesn't realise is that most men tend to handle problems by sucking it up - otherwise, we're called wusses. Instead of trying to pry into out of him, give a guy room to breathe. Look, if he needs your advice, he'll find a way to bring it up.'
- Tim*, 25

'My co-worker complains that the men she dates seem into her, drop off the face of the earth for weeks, and then reappear as if nothing happened. They blame it on being busy or use some other pathetic excuse, but honestly, guys don't disappear when they're into to you, since sex is always number one on our to-do list. If he vanishes for more than a week, odds are he met someone he liked better or who required less work to get into bed. If he pops up again, you can bet that girl didn't work out and he's back-tracking through his black book. My advice: Don't seem too eager early on. When he thinks you have other options, he'll be less likely to put you on hold.'
- Ben*, 24

'The guy my friend is seeing talks to his ex about once a month, and she's stewing about it. I understand why she's annoyed, but it doesn't mean he wants to get back with his old flame. The fact that he admits they're in touch is a clear sign that nothing is going on; otherwise, he'd be secretive about it. Here's the deal: if their friendship is out in the open, he's probably turning to his ex for advice about you. If he only brings her up when he compares you to her during a fight or you catch him sending her an SMS on the sly, then there's reason to confront him.'
- Shane*, 26

'One friend hits men with the 'Where is this going?' speech within the first month of dating. She doesn't want to waste time with the wrong guy, but trying to label things so
soon can scare him off. A guy is usually a few months behind a woman when it comes to his feelings about a relationship. That's because many women start sleeping with a guy only after they have decided he has potential. But we don't start wondering if you're a keeper until we've gone to bed with you and things simmer down enough for us to know if we like you for more than just sex. When you're ready to take the next step, wait three months before asking if he's on the same page.'
- Darryl*, 27

'My friend points out her flaws so whoever she's seeing will disagree. Whether she does it to feel attractive or score attention, she doesn't realise that most men are blind to a woman's imperfections because they're too busy checking out her assets. Bringing up your shortcomings may land you compliments but, over time, it makes a guy focus on them. Keep them to yourself and we'll probably never notice.'
- Gershwin*, 32

'This guy dating my friend hates it when she goes out with her friends. He says hanging out with them cuts into their alone time, but if a guy forces you to choose between him and your girlfriends, it's for one of three reasons: He's selfish and wants all your attention; he doesn't trust you around other men, or he's afraid your girls will convince you he's not good enough. Whatever it is, he's not worth losing friends over.'
- Taariq*, 27

'When my friend gets her heart broken, she goes through a denial period where she'll keep contacting her ex. She thinks he'll eventually want her back, but she's setting herself up for more pain. Reaching out to a guy after a breakup shows you're hung up on him, so you'll be the one he turns to for a booty call when he's horny. If you want him to rethink what he's lost, be scarce. The harder he works to find you, the surer you can be that he cares.'
- Mpumi*, 30

'Every time my friend goes out with someone who doesn't pay for the first few dates, I know it's never going to work out. Unless he's living in a cardboard box, a guy will want to make a good impression by picking up the bill early on in a relationship. If he doesn't grab the bill when it comes - or if he suggests going dutch - he's trying to slide through however many dates it takes to get you into bed while spending as little as possible.'
- Frank*, 28

'My roommate's boyfriend always tries to fix her problems - at work, with her family, etc. She feels like he thinks she's incapable of fighting her own battles. But men are protective of people we give a crap about, and it's easier to express his affection by coming to his girl's rescue than actually saying it out loud. The next time you want to deal with an issue on your own, tell him you have a handle on it but are glad he has your back. He'll feel useful; plus he'll know he's gotten across the point that he loves you.'
- Nathan*, 26

'I have a smart friend who doesn't understand why men pass her over for ditzy girls. But being brainy is a defence for avoiding players - most men go for dumb girls only when they want to get some. If a guy blows you off for a space cadet, it's usually because he thinks you'll see through his game. If he knows you are smart and hits on you, it means he's into you instead trying to get into your pants.'
- Matthew*, 25

*Names have been changed

Tue, 15 Nov 2011 12:00 +0200
His Love Freak-Outs
Your Long-Term Potential In the beginning guys aren't exactly planning your future together. But, on occasion, a woman does something that shoots up a red flag and makes a man wonder if he should get out now. Take Glenn*, 33: 'A girl I was dating told me that she hated camping, but I love outdoorsy stuff. I started stressing about how we could possibly work out. From then on, every high-maintenance thing she did made me take a step back until I just had to end it.'
If The Sex Is Good
His Earning Potential
If You'll Go Crazy

*Names have been changed

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 12:00 +0200
What He Notices About Sex
If You Premeditated The Action Candles, fresh sheets, frilly underwear, condoms: Their presence tells us you want your sexual encounters to be as pleasurable (and safe) as possible. You don't have to break out every accessory on night one, but just knowing you're stocked up and ready to go is turn-on.
Your Signature Moves
Your Body Confidence
The Noise Level

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 12:00 +0200
Will He Ever Marry You?
Women assume that a guy will pop the question once he finds someone he's compatible with, i.e., The One. But that's not enough to push him over the edge, according to clinical psychologist Dr Alon Gratch, author of If Men Could Talk (Little, Brown and Company). What, then, does it take?

'Being ready,' says Gratch. 'In my 25 years of experience working with men as a relationship therapist, its 49% the right woman, 51% his readiness to commit.' That means that compatibility is hugely important. But if he's not in a 'marriage mindset' yet, he's not going to commit to anyone... not even Gisele. In fact, 81% of the married men surveyed by the National Marriage Project in the US said one reason they decided to wed was because it was the right time to settle down. 'Of course, even if a guy is ready to walk down the aisle, he still needs to find the right person,' says Gratch. 'But he is more likely to meet her once he's in that marrying state of mind.' To help us figure it all out, we asked Gratch to explain. Here, he divulges the five factors that make a man want to take the plunge:

Commitment Factor #1: The Capacity To Love No matter how head-over-heels your guy is during the initial honeymoon period of the relationship, it doesn't mean he's ready to commit. A man might fall in love, which requires the capacity to idealise. That means thinking and feeling like his partner and the relationship are uniquely special, enabling him to ignore imperfections which, in turn, makes him feel valued and special. Loving, on the other hand, involves connecting with the other person, understanding her and wanting to be with her for who she is, not who he'd like her to be. While it might be difficult to decipher the difference between the two, one clue is the test of time. Falling in love happens early on in a relationship, when a couple barely know each other. Once they become more intimate and learn more about each other's positive and negative traits and the initial 'love buzz' is gone, a man who is only in love will lose interest. If he truly loves, he'll stay.

Another major telltale sign of real love is selflessness and the ability to care. Does your man make sacrifices for you? Is he able to put your wants and needs before his? Relationships are all about give and take, but love is more about giving.
Commitment Factor #2: Being Able To Accept Imperfections
Commitment Factor #3: He Truly Believes In Commitment
Commitment Factor #4: He's Sure He Can Be The Man
Commitment Factor #5: He's Tired Of Playing Around

Tue, 27 Sep 2011 12:00 +0200
Get Past His Bouncers
Bouncer #1: His Best Friend It's a myth that men are stunted emotionally - we actually rely heavily on our best friend's judgement, especially when it comes to love. Impress his friend by being open, and he'll be loyal in return. If you're not right in his eyes, you'll soon know.
Bouncer #2: His Mom
Bouncer #3: His Boss (and His Boss's Mrs)
Bouncer #4: His Niece (Or Worse, Daughter)

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 12:00 +0200
The Ideal Woman Interview (Part Two)
If you missed Part One, click here and find out what six more influential SA men have to say about their ideal woman...

To see what these six guys had to say, click on their pics below.


Fri, 26 Aug 2011 12:00 +0200
The Ideal Woman Interview (Part One)
Check out Part Two next Monday, the 29th of August and find out what six more influential SA men have to say about their ideal woman...

To see what these six guys had to say, click on their pics below.


Fri, 19 Aug 2011 12:00 +0200
Reasons He's Not Talking
He's Feeling Guilty Women are smart - like, Nancy Drew smart - and guys know it. When your man has committed a minor crime (like casually e-mailing an ex), he may get quiet to avoid incriminating himself. Brendan*, 29, admits to that kind of behaviour. 'I went to my girlfriend's place after going out for happy hour. Since I had lied and told her I was working late, I just stared at the TV all night because I was scared I would let something slip accidentally.' Don't worry - the occasional silence of this kind is usually only indicative of a small faux pas, not a major offence.
He Feels Undermined
He Wants You To Quiet Down
He Had a Hard Day

*Names have been changed

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 12:00 +0200
Wow Him On Day One
Ask Questions Most men assume that girls love talking about themselves more than anything else. So he'll be pleasantly surprised if you inquire about his life, whether it's his career ambitions or his fantasy team.
Tell a Secret
Own The Awkwardness
Bring Up Day Two

Thu, 04 Aug 2011 12:00 +0200
Love Questions Every Guy Asks Himself
On a First Date What's she like in bed?
If I don't get laid tonight, will this end early enough for me to meet up with friends?
But... will I get laid tonight?
Is that a super-ultra-Wonderbra or are her breasts that incredible?
Does she think I'm funny?
Do I tell her she has a piece of lettuce stuck in her teeth or do I hope it works itself loose before she looks in a mirror and completely freaks out?
Does she always wear this much makeup?
Are Iulls in the conversation first-date awkwardness or a sign that she has nothing to say?
Would doing this again be worth the time and money?
Before Getting Serious
Before Getting Married

Tue, 12 Jul 2011 12:00 +0200
Lines He Wants To Hear
'I'll give it a try.' Whether it's sampling our exotic drink concoction, hopping on a kite board on holiday, or spicing things up between the sheets, guys love a woman who's ready to try new things. It shows that you're confident enough to let us see you outside your comfort zone and that you're not about to let the relationship get stale.
'It's okay. You don't have to explain.'
'Wow! Where did you learn that?'
'I need your opinion…'

Tue, 05 Jul 2011 12:00 +0200
Secrets He'll Never Share
He's Imagined Doing It With Your Friend… ...and your sister, and then there's that fantasy about a threesome with you and your roommate. The fact is, these racy visions are uncontrollable. Hey, biology is to blame. We're not responsible for the way our brains are built. Relax, just because our minds wander doesn't mean we will.
He Lied About His 'Number'
Update Your Criteria
He Masturbates…a Lot

Wed, 29 Jun 2011 12:00 +0200
Sorry, What?
1. Decorative Mirrors
Why would you hang up a mirror that's surrounded by sunburst ironwork when you could just adorn that wall with a classy picture of dogs playing poker?

2. Slouchy Boots
Talk about fashion all you want - these look like you're wearing Grandpa's jowls on your feet.

3. Vases
If we bought you enough flowers to fill up all the empty containers of varying shapes and sizes in your house, we'd bankrupt ourselves.

4. Massive Jewellery
Liking huge diamonds is one thing, but why are you into giant necklaces that weigh as much as toddlers and could be lethal if caught in a revolving door?

5. Decorative Pillows
If we're not allowed to rest our heads on them and you're not using them to playfully beat your cute yoga instructor, Amber, during a slumber party, there's really no point.

6. Potato-Sack Dresses
You spent 12 straight hours shopping to buy a dress that does, in fact, look like a potato sack. And yet, you wonder why we have trouble knowing what to get you.

7. Flannel Pajamas
They're about as feminine as a steel factory. Let us keep you warm! They make even slender people look like malevolent space-alien insects.

8. Upper-Lip-Hair Bleach
Uh, it makes hair white, not invisible.

9. Leggings
Tights are hot. So why wear fake tights that cut off at the ankle and make us think of bursting sausages and 10-year-old girls? Because we know you don't want us to find either of those things attractive.

10. Bathroom Scale
You never use it, but thinking about it collecting dust under the sink makes you cranky. It'd be like us keeping a bag full of our fallen-out hair.

11. Wedge Heels
Come on, ladies - no cheating.

12. Thank-You Notes To Close Friends
You already told them thank you in person. Alternatively, your phone is right over there.

13. Foot Lotion
ls what goes on your face or hands not good enough for your feet?

14. Micro-handbags
No, we will not hold your wallet, keys, brush, and cell phone. You chose to carry that useless bag.

15. Eyelash Curler
lt looks like a medieval torture device. Besides, aren't eyelashes already curly?

16. Boxes Of Cards
You save every single hastily signed greeting card your friends - many of whom you haven't spoken to in several years - send out to 300 of their closest pals.

17. Nude-Colored Underwear
We don't care if it's the only thing you can wear under white pants. It makes you look like a shop mannequin who's eerily come to life.

18. Bowls
So, this one is for cereai, and that one is for ice-cream. This other one is for salad, and that one's just for decoration. This one is for… actually, never mind. We're not hungry anymore.

Fri, 24 Jun 2011 12:00 +0200
So That's Why He Didn't Call
'Why Didn't He Call?' It's the question that's long plagued womankind but the answer is simple. Either: a) he's not interested, or b) his plane's crash-landed on a desert island. Unfortunately, the first reason is much more likely. But don't panic, there is a third one - he may be playing hard to get. That said, if your man hasn't called in three days and you haven't spotted his picture in the newspapers under the headline 'Man Kidnapped', he's probably just not interested.
'Why Does He Say He Finds Revoltingly Tarty Women Attractive When He'd Never Date Them?'
'Is He Really Less Emotional Than Me?'
'Why Does He Take a Day To Reply To a Simple E-mail/SMS?'
'Does He Honestly Prefer Me With No Makeup On?'

Tue, 21 Jun 2011 12:00 +0200
Tell Him This...
You Go Commando Of course, you may simply be skipping your skivvies to avoid unsightly panty lines, but there's something about your liberated lower region that gets a man revved up. It might be the idea of easy access, the fact that you could 'accidentally' expose your bare derriere, or the nod to your body confidence. Or, according to Joseph*, 19, all of the above: 'I love when my girl whispers in my ear that she's not wearing underwear because it feels like we have our own private, kinky secret. Not only does it make me think about getting it on wherever, whenever, but it also shows she's comfortable with her sexuality.'
You Have Fantasies
You've Peeped at Porn
You Pleasure Yourself When He's Not Around

*Names have been changed

Fri, 27 May 2011 12:00 +0200
How Guys Show Their Love Intimacy: A 100-Day Guide To Lasting Relationships (Siloam Press). 'Instead, a guy's brain is task-oriented. He's more likely to demonstrate his feelings via action.' Translation: If you want to decipher the depth of your man's devotion, pay attention to what he does, not what he doesn't say to help you get a read on your romance. We've outlined seven signs he's fallen hard - behavioural clues he may not even realise he's sending you.

1. He Lends You His Most Precious Possessions It's true: A guy who's gone gaga for you will happily hand over his mountain bike, laptop, and even his iPod because he sees it as a chance to show that he's into you. 'He knows it's possible you could lose the item, but he's willing to make that sacrifice because he wants to demonstrate how deeply he trusts and cares for you,' says relationship expert Susan Quilliam, author of Body Language (Firefly Books). And, as any chick who has ever watched her guy spend hours grooming his ride or rearranging his comic-book collection knows, men tend to consider certain objects part of their identity; they view their most beloved things as extensions of themselves. 'So, if he freely offers you something that you know matters a great deal to him, in a way he's also offering himself,' adds Quilliam.
2. He Wants To Protect You When You're Apart
3. He's Always Ready For a Photo Op With You
4. He Wears The Clothes You Compliment
5. He Sits Beside You When You Eat Out
6. He Shares His Food With You
7. He Brushes The Hair Out Of Your Eyes

Tue, 24 May 2011 12:00 +0200
Little Touches He'll Love
The Arm Lock That casual way you lace your arm through ours as we walk side by side might seem subtle, but it's one of those traditional, old-school gestures that makes us feel strong, protective, and desirable - even if we're actually more skinny than studly. 'I love knowing my girlfriend feels safe around me,' says Andrew*, 23. 'And when she grabs my arm, it's like she is excited to be seen with me and wants other women to know I'm hers.'
The Stealth Caress
The Whisper
The Bum Grab

*Names have been changed

Thu, 05 May 2011 12:00 +0200
You're Not In The Same Relationship
'Assumptions,' says counsellor Christine Northam, 'is the mother of all relationship cock-ups. The fact is, for men and women, the way we view relationships is created by our experiences. It's cumulative, so the more relationships we have, the more we get set in our ways. To be fair, men are becoming more articulate and, equally, some women lack the skills to be open about the relationship they're in. But this all results in couples full of assumptions as to how this relationship is or will be, without anyone confronting reality. From a personal perspective I can honestly say that, no matter how I feel about who I'm dating and where it's going, just talking about a relationship can be terrifying. Men understand that women want to know upfront, yet don't want to scare us away. And why do you think you will? Because overdo it and men will, probably, run for cover.

For one, men are convinced there's such a thing as too much relationship talk. I once had a girlfriend for whom close analysis of the way we got on took up so much time there wasn't much room left for anything else. Men like to think of themselves as all action, and we'd rather be having the relationship than talking about it. Of course, for some that's just a cop-out: they're scared of how they'll look if they tell the truth. Call them The Mutes - they want to express their feelings but don't want to be considered wet. Or worse, grown-up.

As Northam puts it, 'Some men just stick with that old 'strong, silent' stereotype - he'd rather bury his feelings than risk losing face or revealing that he's emotional. Also, men's relationship behaviour is largely shaped by their family background. If you've only seen what you believe to be strong relationships lead to long-term partnerships, then you have no reason to think yours will be any different. But if he's been brought up to believe that, until a certain age, every relationship should be taken lightly, that's the attitude he'll have. 'Of course, we don't tell each other this useful information,' says Jason*, 31, whose irate girlfriend ran her keys along the side of his car when he recently told her he needed to discuss something important. She thought he was popping the question. He was, in fact, bursting her balloon.

'Men and women speak different languages,' adds agony uncle, Phillip Hodson. 'Men are "lawyers" about relationships while women are "therapists". What this boils down to is that he says, 'Technically, I never said I loved you' while she says, 'But your behaviour all pointed to that.' The fact is, if a guy is having good sex, buying presents and calling her all the time, he's in a relationship. The solution is to stop playing games. So where does that leave you? Well, there are some glaring signs that while you may be planning the exact shade of magnolia for the lounge you've yet to buy together, he sees you as just another name on his Blackberry. Read on and learn...

1. He's Never On Time You've been waiting nearly an hour and he hasn't turned up. When he does, he acts as if he's only five minutes late, not 50, and there's no attempt to explain his tardiness (again). Put simply, it's a form of disrespect. 'In the early days, I'm keen and on time,' says Anthony*, 29. 'But as the months roll by, I know I can get away with being less attentive.' If you're important to him, he'll be on time - or have a good excuse.
2. You're The Butt Of His Jokes
3. It's You Or The Rugby (And The Rugby Always Wins)
4. Nothing Worries Him
5. Rebel Without a Cause
6. He Goes Quiet. Death-ly Quiet.
7. You're a Stranger To The Rest Of His Life

*Names have been changed

Thu, 28 Apr 2011 12:00 +0200
First Date Red Flags
'I'm Between Jobs.' Don't let a line like this get lost in translation. When a guy feeds you this one, what he's really trying to say is, 'I have no freaking clue what I want to do with my life. Warning: This guy's mom still does his laundry, and there's a good chance you're paying for dinner.
'I Never Move This Fast On The First Date.'
'I've Never Had a Serious Girlfriend.'
'I'll Call You.'

*Names have been changed

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 12:00 +0200
Sweep Him Off His Feet
Suggest a Sexcapade We're not averse to a romantic roll in the hay; it's just that lighting candles and scattering flower petals on the sheets doesn't qualify. Instead, why not treat your guy to steamy circus sex moves… in costume? Okay, I tried. You don't have to be an acrobat in bed, but switch things up from time to time. Fulfil a fantasy, consult the Kama Sutra, try anything that's not routine.
Free Him From Family
Indulge With Him
Offer a Challenge

Wed, 13 Apr 2011 12:00 +0200
The Secret Tests He Sets You
Test Tactic #1: Together Forever? So you get on in the bar, but is the spark there when you're, say, walking on the beach? Paul*, 26, liked socialising with his new girlfriend, but was unsure how they'd get on, one-on-one, for longer than it takes to down three beers. So he proposed a day out fishing. 'I thought it would be a good way to test if she could put up with me. We had a great day.'
TRUMP TACTIC: Suffer it, smile, then force him into YDE. See how he copes.
Test Tactic #2: Money For Nothing
Test Tactic #3: SMS Healing
Test Tactic #4: Take The Initiative
Test Tactic #5: Get Friendly

*Names have been changed

Fri, 01 Apr 2011 12:00 +0200
The Girlie Dramas He Doesn't Get at all. Here, a few things that leave us scratching our heads.

Your Anniversary Obsession If a guy forgets the day you officially became a couple, he deserves the cold shoulder. But the five-month mark of the first time you kissed? Come on! That simply doesn't strike us as significant.

Just ask Thabo*, 21: 'My girlfriend called me, pissed off, and said "Do you know what today is?'' he recalls. 'I had no clue it was our year-and-a-half anniversary. And frankly it seemed ridiculous to me that she was tracking our relationship so closely.' Annual events are one thing, but you can't expect monthly Hallmark moments.
Your Waterworks
Your 'Fat' Days
Your Peripheral Pals

*Names have been changed

Thu, 03 Mar 2011 12:00 +0200
What He Won't Ask
'Do you want to wed me… or just bed me?' Despite all evidence to the contrary, men do wonder. But they won't say anything until you do. Jason*, 25, says, 'I love my girlfriend and hope we'll get married one day. But I'm terrified the minute I tell her, she'll want to settle down, like, now.' To find out how he feels, casually ask where he sees himself in five years time. If his plans involve you, there's a good chance you'll be in it for the long run (without having to name dates).
'Do you think about anyone else during sex?'
'Will you end up like your mom?'
'What are you doing with someone like me?'
'Would you freak out if I cheated?'

*Names have been changed

Thu, 03 Mar 2011 12:00 +0200
Communicating With Your Man
The answer: Because he's a guy. And guys don't show they're listening the same way women do. In fact, in general men don't communicate how women do... or at least the way women wish they would. You can blame biology, blame education, blame history, blame TV - just don't blame guys. 'Men are simply wired differently,' explains communications expert, Dr Sherron Bienvenu. 'They speak the language of logic and action, while women are driven by their emotions and feelings, and this can cause all sorts of misunderstandings.

So how do you get past those verbal roadblocks and reach a level of satisfying, stress-free banter with your man? Start by clueing in to his male communication style. The more you understand where he's coming from, the easier it will be for you to talk to him... and save yourself some major migraines.

GUY-SPEAK SECRET #1: They Aren't Ambiguous If you ask a woman what's up when she's silent and she mumbles back nothing, she rarely means nothing. In fact, most of the time, it translates as 'I'm mad at you, fool. Figure it out!' But while the language of females is layered and ambiguous, men just aren't that complicated. So when he answers 'nothing' when you ask 'Honey, what are you thinking about?' you can rest assured that he means nothing - as in nada, zilch, not a thought blipping across the brain. Or when you have a fight and later ask if he's really sure everything's okay after he's already said 'Yip, I'm fine,' there isn't some secret code that you need to decipher. He's over it.

'Men are much more direct and literal than women,' says clinical psychologist Dr Alon Gratch, author of If Men Could Talk. 'They use words strictly as a way of conveying information.' This is not to say that all men are straightforward and honest and all women are crafty and vague. It just means that guys like to put their cards on the table, make their point, and move on.

How To Deal: Stop trying to analyse his every response and just take them at face value. If you don't, you're wasting your time - and his. 'It may sound a bit harsh, but it's the plain truth,' says Bienvenu. 'Everyone tends to perceive appropriate behaviour based on what they do themselves. So if women put extra meaning into what we say we expect men to do the same. But that is not the case.'
GUY-SPEAK SECRET #2: They Don't Do Questions
GUY-SPEAK SECRET #3: They Use Humour To Diffuse Tension
GUY-SPEAK SECRET #4: Ask for Help? Yeah, Right
GUY-SPEAK SECRET #5: They Avoid Confrontation Like Chest Waxing

*Names have been changed

Fri, 25 Feb 2011 12:00 +0200
Men's Secret Sex Fears
Getting Naked Okay you'll never hear us bitch about a 'fat day,' but hell, we have our share of insecurities. Take it from Alan*, 26, who made the ego-crushing mistake of renting Troy with a date. 'After two hours of Brad Pitt's thighs bursting out of a leather miniskirt, I'm thinking, "How can I compete with that?" I was dying to put the moves on this girl, but I was afraid she'd be disappointed with my mere mortal measurements.'
Bringing Up Birth Control
Your Sex-pectations
Sucking In The Sack

Thu, 10 Feb 2011 12:00 +0200
His Below-The-Belt Fears Revealed
1. Girth Control Ever since women revealed that girth is just as important as length, men have had a whole new dimension to be stressed about. 'You know the worst part about sex with a new partner?' says Greg*, 24. 'When she first sees it. You're always terrified she'll laugh or run off.'

Prick His Paranoia: Just get on with it, without comment, and he'll drop his size issues like a hot brick. After all, you wanted to have sex with him, not what's attached below, right? Right?
2. All The Trimmings
3. Trigger Happy
4. Eau De Urgh
5. The 'Old Boys'

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 12:00 +0200
The Panic-Dump
Festive Fear #1: lf I Don't End It Now... lf he's already having some relationship doubts, the fact his bank balance is as red as Father Christmas's suit won't help. 'I wanted to end a relationship,' says Max, 31. 'And the thought of dragging it out over Christmas finally made me bite the bullet. I assumed she'd appreciate having the break with her family to get over it. It seemed to be the considerate cut-off point.'
DUMP ALERT: You spot 'do IT today' scribbled in his diary.
Festive Fear #2: The Theory of Relativity
Festive Fear #3: Spending Cash On You, Not Beer
Festive Fear #4: No Seasonal Sex
Festive Fear #5: He Might Want Kids!

Wed, 08 Dec 2010 12:00 +0200
Why Men Cheat
But while this theory might explain why men are inclined to stray, it doesn't account for why some men cheat and others don't. Not all men are dogs - at least, not all of the time. Some are capable of being faithful to their partners for quite considerable lengths of time.

Those who subscribe to the 'strange pussy' theory would say there are only two reasons such men don't cheat on their partners: a lack of opportunity and a fear of getting caught. According to cynics, if you present any man with the chance to have risk-free sex, even if his partner is giving birth next door, he'll grab it with both hands.

I put that theory to one of my oldest friends, a man who cut a swathe through the club scene a few years back but is now happily married. Surely, I asked, if a supermodel offered him a one-night stand, he would take it?

'No, I wouldn't,' he said. 'It's bullshit to think men have no choice because they're biologically programmed to spread their seed. That's just an excuse guys come up with to justify their infidelity. I'm genetically programmed to go and shit in the woods but that doesn't mean I'm incapable of using a toilet. Of course, I'd be tempted to stray (what man wouldn't?), but I like to think my conscience wouldn't allow it.'

He sounded convincing, until I remembered that his last relationship had floundered when his girlfriend discovered he'd been unfaithful to her. Not once, but twice. 'That wasn't cheating,' he said. 'I wasn't married to her.' Aha. I see.

When it comes to what behaviour constitutes infidelity most men set the bar pretty high (or should that be low?).

I once caught an engaged friend leaving a night-club with another woman. He explained that his fiancée was out of town. 'If she's not in the same city it doesn't count.'

The list of things that 'don't count', according to some men I know, includes oral sex, anal sex and full-on penetrative sex, provided you don't come. Well, at least, not inside her...

So why are men incapable of monogamy? My theory is that men are perfectly able to suppress their desire for 'strange pussy', particularly if they have a healthy pornography habit, but only for a finite period. After exercising restraint for 10 years or so, we resent our partners for forcing us to forgo what we flatteringly think of as countless opportunities.

Before you start tut-tutting, according to research, less than half of 30-year-old women want regular sex after they've been with a partner for four years, while the number of men wanting regular sex remains at 60%-80%, no matter how long they've been coupled up.

Men end up being unfaithful, if only to lash out at the person they hold responsible for curtailing their freedom. Perhaps the solution is to have an 'open' relationship. For most men, though, the glaring flaw in this arrangement is that they don't want their partner to sleep with anyone else. Men want to have their cake and eat it.

The arrangement they have on the Continent seems perfect. There, it seems, a man can have a succession of mistresses and his wife turns a blind eye. Needless to say, few women would tolerate this. I learnt this the hard way when I made the mistake of raising the subject with my wife. If I was allowed extra-marital shags, she pointed out that she was, too. And, she went on, it's far easier for a woman to find a man to sleep with her than vice versa. 'Why don't we go to the nearest bar and see who can hook up the fastest?' she said.

'You're overreacting,' I stammered.

'Then again, that wouldn't exactly be fair given our relative levels of attractiveness,' she continued. 'To even things out, you go to the bar now and I won't come in until one minute before closing time.'

I mumbled that she had a point.

'Why are you still here?' she goaded, 'you're wasting valuable time.' I fled, seeking refuge in a local café. Alone. My freedom suitably curtailed for another day.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 12:00 +0200
Gift Rap
Christmas is a relationship danger zone, which is perhaps not surprising when you compare the thought you put into what you’re going to get us with the rubbish we usually buy you. A previous relationship of mine didn’t quite make it to January because, much as l loved the Mont Blanc pen she’d bought me, the pretty summer slippers I gave her ‘didn’t count as shoes’, apparently.

In our defence, what you should grasp is this: women and men are worlds apart when it comes to the whole present thing. This is mainly because it gives you an extra excuse to indulge in your most (and our least) favourite activity – shopping. Come December, you’ll happily breeze into one of those pointless-looking gift shops and buy scented candles that smell like toilet cleaner, or one of those decorated boxes that’s too small to hold anything useful.

Men hate shopping at the best of times, but particularly at Christmas and birthdays, when there’s the added stress of having to buy something for somebody else. Normally, we work on the ‘if we need it, we buy it’ principle, making the idea of presents a little redundant. And we kind of assume (given the amount of time you spend in shopping malls) that you do the same. Which is why, when it comes to gift giving, our ‘practical’ head comes into play.

We know you like handbags and shoes but common sense (or a glance inside your wardrobe) tells us you already have more than enough of those. There’s always perfume – but then we’re worried that you’ll think we‘re only buying it because we don’t like the way you smell. And clothes? You spend most of the year buying the season’s must-haves, then hitting the roof if we suggest that new puffball dress might make you look pregnant. How can we be expected to make the right choice as we frantically sprint around Woolies at 5pm on Christmas Eve?

Even when we do use our initiative, we’re guaranteed to have it thrown back in our faces. My girlfriend took one look at the jacket I bought her from Mango last year – one I'd seen her admire several times – before asking for the receipt so she could change it ‘for another colour’. She then came home with a pair of shoes because ‘they didn‘t have my size’. Faced with this kind of reaction, is it any wonder you end up with something from us made by Margaret Roberts rather than Roberto Cavalli?

My friend Mike used to do surprisingly well with the chat-up line ‘Can I buy you a drink or would you just like the money?’ He now applies the same approach to present shopping and takes his partner with him. She gets what she wants, which – when it’s lingerie – has meant that he does too. Often right there in the changing room. Romantic? Perhaps not. Foolproof? You bet!

So this year, to avoid the usual letdown of a clumsily wrapped bottle of bubble bath, at least give us a hint. Point things out in the jeweller’s window. Tear out the fashion pages of COSMO and leave them inside the TV guide, where we’re sure to find them. Write us a ‘dear Santa' letter and slip it in with our Christmas card. Or, failing that, just tell us what it is you’re after. And even then, make sure we keep the receipt.

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 12:00 +0200
Why Men Crave Real (Not Perfect) Bodies
And I feel it in my gut – that curvy breasts are great, that strong butts are great, that broad shoulders are great. I mean, there doesn't have to be a motor in the back of her Honda. But, if there is, that's fine by me, just as long as it comes standard with the car.

I think if a girl is a natural size 14 and she's starved and Weight-Lossed her way to a size 6, then you can tell. It just looks and feels unnatural. So, too, if she's a natural size 8 and she's eaten through an Oreo store into a size 14. You can tell that, too.

We all remember the ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph from Grade 9 biology class – three shapes, one of which will describe the natural state of your body. I think in all three shapes, there is plenty of room for women to be sexy. In fact, all three have been my ideal female shape over the years. The interesting thing is that my preference has changed according to the shapes of women in my life.

My first girlfriend was short with killer curves and for a long time that was my ideal girl, even long after we broke up. Salma Hayek was my cinematic Viagra. My next girlfriend was tall and athletic and, sure enough, her 'type' became my type (and l watched less Hayek films and more starring Milla Jovovich). Now, my current girlfriend has the best of both worlds and she is the picture of the sexy woman for me.

Over the years we've been together she's had periods of fairly extreme diet and exercise. At those times her body must have changed a bit, but I never remember her being different. I think it's because my attitude to her hasn't changed, so neither has her picture in my mind's eye. I suppose that's why, and it makes me shudder even to write this, people of our parents' and grandparents' generation can have lived long, sexually contented lives.

It's an old one, but it's lasted because it's true: if you're happy and healthy, you're sexy. Especially to the man who loves you.

Fri, 15 Oct 2010 12:00 +0200
Why Do Men...
Because we’re busy! We could cook if we wanted to (many of the world’s best chefs are men, after all) but sometimes we’ve barely got a minute to boil a kettle in between that post-work beer and settling down to Modern Warfare.

It’s difficult being a man nowadays. Our masculinity is under attack everywhere: you want to be our bosses at work, get us doing the housework at home – and are even supposedly out-drinking us at the bar! Give us something, please? Let us at least hold the remote – even if we have no choice about what we watch.

Believe it or not, the big conversations, like moving in/marriage/children, don’t always scare the living daylights out of us. What does freak us out at the start of a relationship is, ‘My last boyfriend did it this way.’ Even if it’s just about making a cup of tea. We take it as, ‘You’ll never be able to satisfy me like he did.’ Then there’s, ‘Maybe you could take my dad for a drink?’ You’re thinking bonding; we’re thinking, ‘The old man wants to get us alone. He knows all the filthy things I’ve been doing with his daughter and might actually kill me.’


Because we’re thinking ‘How could she say that? Hang on, is she right? Damn it, she is right. Now what? Ooh, hold up, look at that girl over there! Could that skirt be any shorter? OK, concentrate, I’m supposed to be angry. Did she notice me looking then? No – phew! Right. Where was I? God, I hate it when she’s right...’

Two possible reasons. First, we forgot. Genuine mistake. Sorry. Second, we were never going to call. We just didn’t want to hurt your feelings. But that’s better than saying to your face we’re not interested, isn’t it? And what’s your obsession with waiting for ‘the right time to call’? Is there a right time? Why hasn’t anyone told us?

You notice that? Oops!

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 12:00 +0200
The 'Other Women' Club
Before you reel in horror, it should be pointed out that my relationship with these other women is totally platonic. Even the really good-looking ones. Men and women can be friends without sex getting in the way. Men actually need female friends.

Imagine what we’d be like if we only ever hung out with other guys: arrogant yet awkward, swaggering yet socially inept, a cross between the worst kind of public schoolboy and the saddest kind of computer nerd. We’d play Dungeons & Dragons, listen to Queen and get our kicks at Teasers. Would you want to date us?

It’s ironic: these very women who make a girlfriend so uneasy are actually what make us great boyfriend material. If it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t want to know us at all. Really, you should be encouraging our ‘other women’ and introducing us to more!

The ‘other women’ in a man’s life can be split into three camps: sisters, old friends and colleagues. There’s Mom, of course, but a guy’s relationship with his mother is like a girl’s with her father – neither can do any wrong in the other’s eyes. There’s no logic involved and complaining about it is like bemoaning the fact your office isn’t in Barbados.

I’m lucky to have two sisters. We’re very close: we go out drinking, we chat on the phone and, in the past, I’ve sought their advice on girlfriends. Is this why women are so wary of their boyfriends’ sisters? Because they have the power of veto over their brothers’ girlfriends? Possibly. But neither of my sisters has ever disapproved of any of my relationships. It they had, yes, l would have thought twice. But then I’d have ignored them.

No, what really unnerves girls about a guy’s relationship with his sisters is that you know it’s going to take years before we’re as comfortable with you as we are with them. Even in families where the siblings aren’t terribly close, there’s a bond that comes simply from spending the first 16 or so years of your lives together. A new girlfriend is never going to compete.

The good news is, we don’t want a ‘sisterly’ bond with a girlfriend. We know our sisters almost as well as we know ourselves; the exciting thing about you is we hardly know you at all and the best bit about a relationship is getting to know you.

So what about our old female friends? Those women we’ve known since school, university or our first proper job? The women whose names pop up in our funniest anecdotes, whose faces are in our happiest photos and who, it seems, might be just as important to us as you?

There’s a very simple answer. Our female friends are not about sex. Even the really stunning ones. And before you ask, no, they’re not just our friends because they wouldn’t sleep with us.

Exhibit A. At university l used to know a guy called Simon ‘The Diamond’. He was clever, funny and good-looking, and always surrounded by the hottest girls – all of whom saw him as ‘just a friend’. His relationships remained firmly platonic, not even one-off, spontaneous sauciness. Why? Because they ‘didn’t want to spoil their friendship’. Hence ‘The Diamond’ – a girl’s best friend.

And he wasn’t friends with these girls because they were beautiful; he was friends with them because he enjoyed their company. And before you ask, he wasn’t gay, he was just, well... cool.

There’s an odd little process single men go through when they meet a funny, clever, attractive girl – she’ll either be put into the ‘dateable’ category and he’ll go for it, or into the ‘friend’ category – and once she’s there, there she’ll stay.

There are, of course, exceptions. There are some men who make a habit, a tactic even, of coming on to their female friends – and there are times when even the most sensible and platonic of boy/girl friends find themselves in a drunken clinch. Usually, if they managed to remain mates afterwards, it’s a safe bet it won’t happen again.

Of course, when it comes to exes, you know there’s been action, so it can be hard to believe there won’t be again. Especially as it’s an irrefutable fact that it does happen. Scott, 28, an estate agent, explains, ‘Quite often after a break-up you’ll end up in bed with each other a few times if you’re both single, especially if it’s an amicable split. But you’ll either drift apart, get back together or the sex stops. I’m still good friends with one ex from five years ago – but the idea of sleeping with her now seems ridiculous.’

It might sound like a paradox but it’s our exes and oldest female friends who pose the least threat. If anything were going to happen, it would have. And if it has, it will have been so long ago there’s no danger of it happening again. As one guy l know says, ‘Exes are exes for a reason.’

The same cannot be said of the random, peripheral women in our lives – the colleagues, the neighbours, the receptionist at the gym. These women keep us in the game.

Don’t panic! They’re not targets for our sexual advances but they are who we practise on. Even the happiest settled man doesn’t want to abandon his flirting skills altogether. And if flirting can liven up an evening course, think what it can do somewhere as dull as the office. Should you assume that an ‘x’ on the end of an e-mail to a female colleague signals the start of an affair? There’s no denying it can happen, but if every flirty e-mail ended up in physical naughtiness, the whole economy would collapse – there’d be no time left to work! And let’s be honest, when it comes to gratuitous flirting, you’re as bad as we are.

I once worked in an office where I was the only heterosexual male and, for the first few days, I thought I’d been miraculously transformed into a sex god. Offers to show me around, help me out... The girls were all over me. Then a female friend set me right. As the token straight man, I was target number one for flirting, a chance to twirl the hair and flutter the eyelashes. But none of it meant a thing. Was I gutted? Of course not – in fact, it made it easier; I could flirt outrageously too, knowing it was never going to come to anything.

We all need a flirt – it’s what keeps us sharp for the real thing and reminds us that even though we’re in a relationship, we still need to make a little effort.

So you see, the other ladies in our lives might be important but, ultimately, they exist to remind us how crucial you are. And whenever the subject of jealousy comes up, I’m always reminded of my dad’s plain-speaking view on the matter – ‘it doesn’t matter where you get your appetite, so long as you always eat at home.’

Wed, 21 Jul 2010 12:00 +0200
Why He Didn't Call
Every guy who takes a number from a woman is secretly wondering if he got slipped a fake one. Since it would be humiliating to have that fear come true, some guys won’t even risk picking up the receiver. The deciding factor: whether you seemed genuinely interested. ‘I was having fun with this girl at a bar, but she seemed blasé about everything,’ recalls Jim, 29*. ‘So I figured she was working me for a free drink and I never called, even though I got her card.’ Hint: Skip the ambiguous attitude and say you’re really looking forward to hearing from him. That is, if you really are.

Attached guys often wonder if they’ve still ‘got it’. So once they score your number and prove they’re The Man, the mission is accomplished. ‘Even though I have a serious girlfriend, I chat up girls and get their numbers,’ admits Rich, 31. ‘I’m not a dog – I’d never actually act on it, but it’s nice to know I’m still attractive. Besides, if my girl and I ever broke up, I’m not out of practice.’ Here’s a case where you can take comfort in the fact that the guy didn’t call you.

Sometimes we’re lucky if we can find our way home from the bar, let alone track down the napkin we scrawled your number on. Another viable scenario: He may have dropped his cell into the toilet during an ‘I scored her number’ victory dance. Trust me, it happens. Dave, 23, has had tech issues: ‘I put a girl’s number in my new cellphone and was trying to save a picture I took of her when I erased everything by accident,’ he says. ‘I couldn’t track her down because all I had was a first name.’ So isn’t it better to ring him (you got his number, right?) than to go to your grave wondering what-if?

Now the harshest reason: He only asked for your number so he could spare your feelings and slink away. It may sound inconsiderate and even cruel, but what’s the alternative – having an awkward conversation about how we don’t feel a connection? Sometimes initiating the information exchange is the only painless exit option. Just ask Jeff, 23. ‘I was talking to a girl at a party for two hours,’ he says. ‘She was cool and I liked her, but I wasn’t attracted to her. So I told her I’d call her sometime just to end the conversation, even though I never intended to call.’ Nobody said the truth was going to be pretty.

*Names have been changed.

Mon, 28 Jun 2010 12:00 +0200
His Win-You-Back Tactics
The Personal Touch
'I stupidly decided to skip Valentine's Day last year,' says Dan, 30. 'Big mistake – my girlfriend went berserk. Thankfully, a well-thought-out CD with all "our songs" burnt on to it fixed things.'

Why it works: Like fragrance, music can evoke good memories. Plus, this shows thoughtfulness and effort.
The 'Little Boy Lost' Act
The Grand Gesture
The Work-Based Treat
The Massive Overcompensation

Tue, 25 May 2010 12:00 +0200
'Why Are Women So Difficult To Understand?'
'I remember my first disastrous date. It was when I was 17 and I had just got my driving license. I took this really cute girl called Christine out for dinner. Unfortunately, she chose the most expensive restaurant in town, so I spent the whole night sweating that I'd have to wash dishes to cover the bill. But I ordered the cheapest thing on the menu for myself and scraped enough money together to pay. Funnily enough, the relationship didn't last.

'After that, I went a bit wild, especially when I hit 21. I was a young actor working in Hollywood, having a crazy time – and trust me, I made quite a few mistakes (none of which I can bear to have published in COSMO – sorry!). Let's just say I thought I knew everything about women, which got me into trouble. If only I'd realised then that I'd end up knowing absolutely nothing about them!

'As for it becoming easier to get dates when you're famous, forget it. You never know if there's a hidden agenda, whether a woman wants you or your fame, so you rely on gut instinct. It's a myth that women throw themselves at you, too. Most women have too much self-respect for that, thankfully.

'I'm a terrible cynic about love – but it's my challenge in life to work on it. I wish I was as idealistic about love as my character Will in Definitely Maybe. I do love romance, just not to the extreme where it's a sickness. I know guys who struggle to hold down relationships because they're addicted to the intoxicating feeling of falling in love.

'Relationships are complicated. I don't think it's women who confuse men – it's more a case of men trying to figure them out and failing miserably. The biggest lesson I've learnt – and it was the hard way I might add – is never to call a woman crazy. I did that once and the fallout wasn't pretty. You women confuse us, so we try to label your behaviour as irrational or crazy.

'It's in men's nature to want to fix things, but I've learnt in relationships that a bunch of flowers won't always work. Sometimes it's more productive to just listen.

'I've never understood how women tolerate men declaring their opinions on absolutely everything. They have a patience that men can only hope to possess on their best day. Men could learn from women when it comes to subtlety. We don't have as much emotional depth as you. I love that women can sit down with their friends and discuss the finer details of love – that's what solves half the problems in relationships. The thing to remember about men is that we don't want to get involved in three-hour emotional discussions.

'I love British women. You have a stronger sense of irony and humour than American women. I find your self-deprecating nature really attractive. What would really turn me off in a woman? Probably a penis. [Laughs] Seriously, though, vulgarity is unattractive. Saying that, I'm the most vulgar person I know, so it's terrible double standards.

'Finding The One is as much about timing as it is about the person. Some people aren't ready to settle down until they're 50; others find their soulmate at school and stay together forever. I'll know I've met The One when I feel really 'seen' by them – there's nothing better than being appreciated for who you are.

'The rule to understanding women – and I can't believe it's taken me 30 years to work this out – is that there is no rule. The mystery of women is what makes you seem so magical – and so unlike us. And that's what's so great about love. Just don't tell anyone I've let you in on the secret.'

Fri, 30 Apr 2010 12:00 +0200
Single-Guy Habits He Can't Break
He still has the after-work drink

The best thing about being single? His time is his own – he can even get drunk on a Monday. He'll often have a great excuse for it, too. 'My girlfriend doesn't understand that I make more contacts in the bar than in the office,' says Greg, 24, a sales rep. 'And getting on at work means we can afford the rent. Simple.'
Habit breaker: Get to know his colleagues, then gently extract him from them.

He considers his friends' couch a second home

All men are scared of losing life's finer rituals, such as curries and passing out to the gentle hum of MTV. Will, 28, a barman, says, 'Although I've been with my girlfriend for a year, l still spend loads of time with my friends. I'm usually so battered from a night out with the guys that I'd be no use to her, anyway.'
Habit breaker: Have a dinner party with his friends' girlfriends and you'll gain a few allies.

He views the weekend as a two-day lie-in

Single men only do the following at weekends: lounge in the pub, loiter at record shops, shout at rugby players or catch 'man flu'. Attached men want no more. 'When I've spent all week at work, I'm entitled to do what I want on my days off. And that doesn't include being dragged around clothes shops or Mr. Price Home,' says Micah, 30, a designer.
Habit breaker: Two words: sexual enticement. Suggest a dirty weekend away.

He sees the oven as just a huge cigarette lighter

The kitchens of single men contain enough grease to make a church-worth of candles and food tends to come out of the microwave. This might alter when you first get together but old habits die hard. 'My girlfriend moans about takeaways but l don't see her moaning about the lack of washing-up afterwards,' says Dan, 23, a sales assistant.
Habit breaker: A candlelit dinner followed by rampant sauciness will make him see the benefits of proper food.

He regards his overdraft as 'beer vouchers'

When he's single, money doesn't matter. But once he relinquishes his singledom, financial niggles are one of the biggest reasons for break-ups. 'I've split up with two girlfriends because they wanted a bond and l didn't,' says Jed, 26, a plumber. 'Girls never moan about money when I'm spending it on them, though.'
Habit breaker: Be totally transparent in your financial dealings and he'll gradually give in.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 12:00 +0200
Never Joke About These Things
His Future Hair Loss
With the exception of superrich Hollywood types like Bruce Willis, most guys with shiny chrome domes are not deemed the sexiest men alive. That's why many guys stress about potential future loss. And if there's even a hint of thinning, it's certain to be a really sore subject. 'I once had a date joke that I better grab a hat because it was chilly outside and she didn't want my scalp to catch a cold,' says Rich*, 30. 'Look, I know my lid is starting to look a little lean, but I don't need a woman reminding me... even if it's in jest.'

His Paltry Paycheck
Yes, it's a little Stone Age, but we men consider it our manly obligation to bring home the bacon. When our salary doesn't stack up, we feel totally emasculated. It's like we measure our worth in relationship to our wallet (or at least we think you do). So you can see why kidding around about your sugar-mama status isn't exactly our idea of stand-up. 'I know it's wrong, but I'm embarrassed that my girlfriend out-earns me,' admits Andrew, 28. 'She once made a quip about letting me stay home Mr. Mom-style while she supported us, and I lost it. We've since come to an understanding that until I hit the lottery or open my own restaurant, money is something that can't be taken lightly.' Bottom line: It's not that we don't appreciate your alpha-female status. We just don't want to be your beta boy toy.

His Mom
It's a rule that dates back to the playground: Once you start insulting a boy's mother, things are going get ugly. Sure, he's allowed to goof on her mommy jeans, burned malva pudding, and obsession with Cliff Richard, but when you chime in, it's a different story. 'I love my mom to death. She's a total character,' says Josh, 30. 'I bust on her nonstop, and she gives it right back to me. But if my girlfriend added her two cents, I'd find it totally disrespectful.' Bonus tip: Sisters are untouchable too.

His Member
In a nutshell, keep johnson jokes to yourself – especially if you ever want his penis to come out to play again. Our 'boys' are serious business. There's nothing comedic about commentary on any of the following: size (or more accurately lack thereof), shape, and colour. Just ask Bill, 26: 'I'm sensitive about the fact that my package is a shade darker than the rest of my flesh. I was once with a girl who took one look, giggled, and named him the Dark Horse. It made me so self-conscious that I couldn't perform.' Your best bet? Stay mute about his member, unless you feel compelled to characterise it as monstrous.

* Names have been changed ]]>
Wed, 17 Mar 2010 12:00 +0200
His Man-Tanties
The walk-out
He does this to avoid hearing your side of the argument. If it didn't look so silly, men would simply cover their ears and sing very loudly. Their alternative? Making a run for it while you're making your point. The walk-out may have the benefit of looking dramatic, but all it means is he knows he's lost the argument.
Anti-Tanty Move: Do not follow him. Go out and return hours after he has. That'll teach him…

The silent treatment
When they think there's a monster in the room, little boys hide under the duvet and pretend it isn't there. When there is a monster in the room [you], big boys close their mouths, avoid eye contact and go about their business as if you don't exist. It infuriates you, because carrying on with the argument seems pointless. And it panics you, because you don't know what he's thinking. Which, truth be told, is not a lot. And despite the cool exterior, inside he's a mess. 'You're sitting there, all stubborn, trying to look relaxed, and actually you feel terrible,' confesses Jason, 25. He really wants to make up. But, naturally, he wants you to make up first.
Anti-Tanty Move: You can be the grown-up and give him a hug – he'll melt pretty quickly. And if he doesn't, at least you get to watch Smallville in peace.

The throw-back
'It helps to have a good memory with this one,' says Robert, 29. 'It makes for fresh ammunition.' The skill is simple: he'll refer to a disagreement you thought was long forgotten. Naturally, this will have nothing to do with your current discussion. If he tries this one on, save your breath. He just wants a fight. About anything.
Anti-Tanty Move: Feeling kind? You can try to get to the bottom of his angst. Or tell him you have better things to do and then, in full view, do something really very unimportant.

The electric fit
For most men, the last resort is to do away with making any case at all and let the raw emotion pour out. We're talking finger-pointing, arm-waving, head-tossing fury. He knows it's unlikely to get him anywhere, but, hey, it looks impressive. 'Really, letting rip is like an extreme sport: exhilarating but stupid‚' says Nick, 31.
Anti-Tanty Move: Join in if you have the energy. Better still, play him at his own game and respond with Tanty Tactic #2. Nobody feels more idiotic screaming at someone who's just not listening to them. As you probably already know… ]]>
Thu, 25 Feb 2010 12:00 +0200
New-Love Freak-Outs
In the beginning, guys aren't exactly planning your future together. But on occasion, a chick does something that shoots up a red flag and makes a dude wonder if he should get out now. Take Glen*, 33: 'A girl I was dating told me that she hated camping, but I love outdoorsy stuff. I started stressing about how we could possibly work out. From then on, every high-maintenance thing she did made me take a step back until I just had to end it.'

After a period of being single, most guys are psyched to be getting sex on a consistent basis. Still, he might worry about how his skills stack up. 'When I've just started sleeping with a woman, I don't know what she likes, so I get really paranoid that she's not enjoying herself,' says Peter, 26. So encourage us when we do something right. And if we take a wrong turn, kindly point us in the right direction. It's the best way to ease his anxiety and the only way he'll learn.

If you were looking for a sugar daddy, you wouldn't be meeting guys at Student Night parties. Even so, a part of him stresses that you yearn for a high roller. 'I find myself listening for clues about what kind of lifestyle she wants,' admits Dave, 28. 'If she says she doesn't want to work once she has kids or talks about a fancy trip she took with an ex, I feel inadequate.' To curb his insecurities, keep the money talk to a minimum.

Call it false advertising. A guy meets a seemingly chill girl, one who comments on the waitress's nice rack and doesn't care what he did at that bachelor party. Fast-forward three months and, suddenly, her true crazy-chick colors start to show. 'I went out with this woman who seemed cool, but overnight, she changed,' says Sam, 24. 'She began breaking into my e-mail, accusing me of cheating. I was like "What the hell happened to my girlfriend?".' Yeah, you could swear up and down that you're not going to lose your mind, but that's what all the crazies say.

*Names have been changed ]]>
Tue, 24 Nov 2009 12:00 +0200
Rule of Thumb
Like belly dancing, flirting via SMS is something no man can be forgiven for taking part in. In both cases it's just not pretty. For one thing, spelling has never really been a priority with us.
Once, trying to mix business with pleasure, I sent a flirty SMS to a co-worker. Or so I thought. 'I have a cunning plan,' I texted her, followed by an invitation to sneak out and grab coffee before a meeting. Unfortunately somewhere along the line 'cunning' lost its second 'n' and gained a 't' – and my plan stopped being cunning and started being sexual harassment.

The English language is so rich and diverse. 'Come', for example, is a word with many different meanings. When a potential girlfriend's aunt died, I wondered whether I should go with her to the funeral. It was a simple enough thing to ask but it's amazing how much more, er, sticky it became when expressed incorrectly. 'l will come if you want me to,' I thought I wrote. Once again I was wrong. With a little help from predictive text, I actually sent, 'I will come in you. U want me to.' I think I may have sounded a little insensitive.

When drunk, men find it difficult to speak, walk properly and differentiate between a urinal and a washbasin – so what makes us think that we can write? Yet time and time again we make the mistake of texting while drinking. It should be a law for men, punishable by a fine and watching reruns of Strictly Come Dancing, that exes' numbers have to be deleted from our phones. Because when drunk, a nostalgic montage of memories set to an A-ha soundtrack tends to happen in the mind. Or at least it does in mine. 'l neva treated you rite, I wanna make your babies,' I sent to an ex after several shots of Stroh rum. I regretted it in the morning – but she'd forget about it quickly, wouldn't she? Not really. She showed it to all her friends, her mom and most of the car guards on Long Street. It was put into a Power Point presentation as visual material for speeches on her birthday. Her little brother had it made into a T-shirt... Let's just say I'm famous.

Don't you think it's great that they can make a phone the size of a credit card? Technology sure has come a long way. Unfortunately our hand-eye coordination hasn't. Long contact lists and tiny buttons can be a real problem. They can mean the difference between sending an 'I love BraziIians' text to Danielle, the flight attendant from Rio de Janeiro, and sending it to Danie, the camp interior decorator. 'GIad you love Brazilians, because I went for one today. I'm as smooth as an Asian 12-year-old,' he replied. It still gives me nightmares.

Well, I have finally learnt my lesson. The girl I currently want to get to know better is laid-back, doesn't expect lengthy SMSes and loves the fact that I'm a guitarist. So I keep it short and simple. 'Sorry I'll be late, was at band practice and broke a G string fingering A minor. Hope you don't mind,' I texted her last night. She couldn't possibly misinterpret that…
Wed, 28 Oct 2009 12:00 +0200
Un-PC, But True: Five Turn-Offs
Here's the deal: pubic hair anywhere outside of your panty line is scary as hell from up close. It's scary as hell from the other side of the room. It's so scary that we may have to leave, even though you're naked and we're normally okay with that. I understand that waxing is painful and shaving sucks, ¬but this is not the '70s anymore. Would you be dating us if we had a thick, lush moustache above our lips? Didn't think so.

When we see a woman with underarm stubble we think only one thing: if that's what her underarms look like, her pubic hair must be taking over everything from her bellybutton to her kneecaps. That's all I have to say about that.

Breast implants can sometimes look pretty good, as long as there was at least an attempt to make them look natural. But when you go from an A-cup to an E-cup, and now have stretch marks running perpendicular to your cleavage and nipples so squint we have no idea which one we're supposed to make eye contact with when we're talking to you, we get distracted. Instead of being turned on, we want to know whether your skin hurts when it's pulled that tight. We try to remember the name of that Dolly Parton song – you know, the famous one? And we wonder whether Hugh Hefner has problems such as this. See, now you've got us thinking about 80-year-old men.

Menstruation isn't nearly as scary as it used to be. In ancient times, people thought it was a curse, and menstruating women were shut in a small room for a week each month with little more than a crust of bread and some sour milk for company. These days it's not menstruation that scares us. It's tampons. I can still clearly remember sex education in Grade 7. We were warned never to go through a girl's bag uninvited, in case there were... Tampons In There. Suddenly, one cupboard in our bathroom at home was off limits, because my sister had... Tampons In It. When I stray down the wrong isle at the supermarket and see the range marked 'heavy flow', I still get the shivers. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure I've ever actually touched one. So you can understand that when we're all at the beach and a tampon string is sticking out the side of your bikini bottom, we're not thinking 'little white cotton thingy'. We're seeing a big flashing sign that reads, 'Warning, nuclear fallout from exploding crotch. Keep clear!' Or something similar.

And the ultimate turn off? The faded threadbare granny panties you insist on wearing to bed now that we've been around for a while. Yes, it's sweet that you're comfortable enough around us to wear them. And yes, we say that they make you look really sexy – but we're lying. We know that it's a small step from granny jocks to putting your Wonderbras into storage and 'forgetting' to shave your legs for six months at a time. It's quite simple, really: you didn't pull them out on our first three dates, so why do it to us now?
Wed, 09 Sep 2009 12:00 +0200
Let's Be Honest
'Dear Charlie [or possibly Madeline – I'm not sure yet].

Hi, it's Hamish here, but you can call me "Dad". Come to think of it, you probably already do. You're at that age when boys are no longer pushing you over on the sports fields – they're trying to talk to you. This is because they want to get their hands on you, my beautiful, special, precious daughter. You may be suspicious about this sudden change in their behaviour (and you're right to be), which leads me neatly to my first warning:

Common lies used by the male species include "You're the only one for me", "I've never felt this way before" and "Those other girls mean nothing to me." The tricky bit for you is, two percent of the time this will be the truth. (The precise percentage will increasingly frustrate you as your life goes on, but it'll stop doing so just before you turn to lesbianism.) You might find a guy who appears to be The One or, if not, at least someone who could be in the finals (if dating you were a reality-TV show, which it isn't). No doubt this punk (sorry) will seem reluctant to lock himself into a relationship. This is because there's a part in the male brain that fails to appreciate the good thing it has and wants everything else as well. You might have heard the saying "the grass is always greener on the other side" but the way that global warming is going, in the future you might not know what grass is. So, let me give you my next bit of advice:

I don't mean with a knife (leave that to Dad) but with ultimatums. Guys, like crows, will sit on a fence as long as they can until you kick them to one side – don't be scared to do it. To guys, I mean. Once you are in a relationship, I can guarantee things will be perfect. For at least two weeks. Then you'll begin to see certain things in your boyfriend that you hadn't noticed before or (much more likely) things he's getting sloppier at concealing. They may be big things; they may be little quirks that irritate you. Either way, you now face a tough question: can I change him or should I cut my losses? After seeing many of these cases, I have formulated this specific rule:

What I'm saying is, if a guy were a car, you could change the seat cover, wash it, and maybe give it some cool racing stripes and perhaps a new spoiler. But when it comes to things possibly outside your area of expertise, like the engine, it's time for a new model. Finally, sweetie, the only thing you really need to remember is this:

They'll forget about your R2 000 shoe bill when distracted by a R30 steak. Use the basic rules you'd use on a chimp with average intelligence and you'll go far. Hopefully you'll find a guy who sweeps you off your feet (like I'm planning to do with your mom).

Best of luck and lots of love, Hamish (Dad).'

Fri, 14 Aug 2009 12:00 +0200
It's Voodoo, Doll!
Men are a little simple. And that's okay. We're good in other areas, such as Putt-Putt, getting dressed quickly and accidentally scaring small children. But throughout history women have relied on this simplicity to perpetrate massive amounts of trickery on the male mind. The truth is, David Blaine has nothing on the amount of downright black magic that goes into the average female's day. From push-up bras to shampoo so advanced it can do basic algebra, women are masters of the art of illusion – and men are slowly waking up to this fact.

This isn't a good thing. We like to be dazzled by disappearing hemlines and sleight-of-hand lipstick application. So in an attempt to restore some of our faith in women's superiority, here are some of the most blatant female illusions that should be removed from your book of spells:

Wearing stilettos every day is great – if you're Brigitte the Scandinavian dominatrix. For everybody else, wearing stilettos to the beach or bowling alley is an attempt at fashion voodoo that just doesn't work. Guys now know that girls wear high heels to enhance their legs and butt, and to give themselves some height. The attempt to look lithe, leggy and sophisticated is appreciated but some days your legs and butt just have to fend for themselves.

There are a number of half-truths that women tell at clubs. Making small talk with guys at the bar is a trick as transparent as white cotton underwear in the pool. Rather than string them along, just tell it like it is: 'I think you're hideously ugly and you have about as much chance of sleeping with me as Lindsay Lohan has of being considered a serious actress, but I'd prefer not to pay for my own drinks.' With that out of the way, everyone can relax and dispense with formalities such as eye contact and conversation, and just get on with worthwhile activities such as glaring at ridiculously good-looking people and getting hammered.

Pole dancing is a hobby that has really taken off. Performing a sexy pole dance for your guy is a good idea – if you know what you're doing. However, as with meditation, masturbation and listening to your CD of mating calls of the Icelandic ice rhino, beginners' pole dancing is an art best practised alone. Attempting to do the wild pole rumba for a guy without the necessary skills is a magic trick that just doesn't work. Remember that time you walked into a pole while you were sending an SMS? That was sexier than your random muscular spasms to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

Telling a guy 'My parents really like you' after he's just met them for the first time is just silly. All guys know that unless you're an actuarial rocket surgeon, shop at Hilton Weiner and play golf at the same club as your girlfriend's father, it's mathematically impossible for a girl's parents to like you immediately. It's common guy knowledge that putting up with polite small talk such as 'If you ever break my little girl's heart, I'll hunt you down and gouge out your eyes with a Carrol Boyes spoon' is necessary until they finally give up and learn to tolerate you.

Finally, saying 'I don't really like chocolate' indicates untrustworthiness on a profound level. Not only is it obviously untrue but it also challenges a fundamental truth that men have relied on for centuries: all women will forgive even the stupidest male indiscretion with enough chocolate. To suggest that we may not be able to buy our way out of trouble with Lindt is ridiculous, and a little scary. So you see, in your daily routines and with your simple fashion choices and nonchalant comments you carry the weight of the fragile male psyche desperate to gape in awe and wonderment at the shimmering, effervescent female presence. Do not take these illusions lightly. To paraphrase Sir Walter Scott: what a tangled web you have to weave, when first a guy you practise to deceive.
Tue, 14 Jul 2009 12:00 +0200
More Than Friends
And nobody likes being made to feel like a naughty Jack Russell. So why do girls react this way? Why is it so wrong for a guy to make opportunistic sexual advances to his female friend? If you enjoy each other's company and don't find each other sexually repulsive, isn't it natural to take things a step further?

I mean, if you think about it, it's quite rude not to allow a friend to have sex with you.

Take my best friend, Olly. I'd do anything for him. I'll lend him money, let him nap on my sofa and cheer him up with booze when he's down. My only regret is that, during the times when he's felt lonely romantically, I haven't been able to offer him any carnal comforts. Mainly because, well, I'm not into men. Otherwise I would probably let him have sex with me, just to cheer him up a bit. That's the sort of thing friends are for. Growing up, I tried it on with every single female friend I had, from Tracey the blonde bombshell at nursery school to most of my mates at university.

To me, making a romantic move was as instinctive as offering them my last Rolo. I did it in the same spirit as I might compliment them on their haircuts. I wanted to flatter them. And what better way to do this than by trying to stick my tongue down their throats?

But I wasn't just trying to be nice. I fell for these girls big-time: I liked spending time with them; they were interesting, entertaining people. It was on these grounds – not superficial stuff like the scent of their perfume or the curve of their breasts – that I ended up fancying them. What better basis for a relationship is there?

Nonetheless, most of them made short shrift of me. They told me they 'valued me too much as a friend'. But the simple truth is, they probably just weren't that into me.

Not all guys are as noble as I am. Some aren't used to having female friends, and, when they find one, immediately mistake their platonic attraction for a sexual one – then mess the whole thing up. Like my friend Steve, who, just because the girl who sat next to him at work accompanied him to Vida e Caffé at lunch time decided he should write her a love poem and hide it in her desk drawer. She complained to their boss and Steve got an official warning.

Other guys just see a female friend as an easy target for a casual shag. But what's the harm in a one-night stand between friends if you're both honest about your intentions? It only gets awkward if one of you is expecting the random sex to blossom into some sort of long-term romance.

You girls always claim that having sex with a guy friend 'ruins the whole friendship'. Well, couldn't consummating things in the sack actually strengthen a friendship? There's something about seeing each other naked that forges a special kind of bond. Plus, you can't fall out with her, in case she decides to spread it around that you're a freak.

One thing's for sure – when friends get romantically involved, the stakes are high. You can either find your perfect partner or lose the best friend you ever had. So, while I'm not saying that you should shag all your guy friends out of a sense of duty, I urge you not to take offence when one of them tries to get it on with you. Just try to take it as a compliment. Or do what my best female friend of all time did to me: say no a few dozen times; then, when you are worn down by a combination of charm and persistence, spend the night with him and eventually marry him. Yes, when it comes to pulling your friends, it's a marathon, not a sprint.

Tue, 23 Jun 2009 12:00 +0200
Sorry Sods
Recently I went on holiday with my girlfriend, Anna, to one of those countries where everyone tells you not to drink the water or eat the meat under any circumstances – but you only remember their advice after your big meal of mystery kebabs has been washed down with a glass of the local beige water. So the inevitable happened. The following is a diary I kept to show how the male brain works in times of ill health.

Awoke to Anna complaining of a civil uprising in her intestines from last night's kebabs. Fortunately, I feel 100% fine – probably thanks to a secret belief that guys are invincible – and assure Anna she'll get over it by lunchtime. I explain that while it may be nice and safe in bed, we didn't come this far to lounge around sleeping, and that some of the world's best beaches are over the road – it'd be criminal not to frolic just because she foolishly ate parasites masquerading as food. She reminds me that I ate the same thing and asks why I'm not sick. I explain it's quite possible that I'm invincible.

Anna spends most of the day lying very still on the beach looking pale and refusing my gallant offer of a peppermint milkshake. I shake my head in disappointment and drink two of them. At dinner, she doesn't eat but suggest I don't have kebabs again. After a chuckle (the kind superheroes give before they throw bad guys into space), I ask whether I need to re-explain the fact that guys are invincible. I order two kebabs, giving her a wink to prove that illness can't penetrate my immune system of steel.

I'm dying. In fact, the pain is worse than how dying must feel. I try to explain the feeling to Anna, and she nods and says it's exactly how she felt yesterday. She's so wrong. This is a billion times worse; there's a cartoon-like baboon in my stomach and he's tearing it apart. She says she knows it'll only last 24 hours, because she feels fine now. I tell her not to waste her false confidence on me. This isn't what she had at all. It's clearly a superbug, probably bird flu, maybe the Ebola virus. Either way, call the embassy and tell them to get a body bag ready. At the very least, let me die in peace or pass me a crayon so I can summon up the last of my strength to write my will on the bedside table. What I really need (what all guys need when we're sick) is for her to dote on me.

I realise I may not actually be dying but continue to express this theme to her, hoping she'll spring into action like the nurse in The English Patient. She doesn't. She stares at me and says, 'It may be nice and safe in bed but we didn't come this far to lounge around sleeping. Some of the world's best beaches are over the road – it'd be criminal not to frolic just because you foolishly ate parasites masquerading as food.' Her words have an eerily familiar ring to them. She lets me fret about the possibility of having to die a public death on the beach with various fluids leaking from me, before telling me she's joking. I'm suddenly aware that I feel something else churning in my stomach apart from poisoned meat dating back to 1973 – guilt.

I spend most of the afternoon lying around and whining but Anna stays with me, stroking my hair. I realise not only do I really like it but I need her to keep doing it – it's exactly what Mom used to do. Guys would never tell you this (let alone write it for the world to see), because, as I've said, we're invincible. But once I'm confident my mouth is no longer being used as an escape route for semi-digested poison kebab, I do manage to open it and squeak out, 'Sorry.'

Fri, 22 May 2009 12:00 +0200
Great Expectations
When it comes to a boozy dinner out with my girlfriend, it’s not the thought of a juicy ostrich fillet that gets me salivating. It’s what goes on between courses, over a few bottles of Merlot. And no, it’s not the animated conversation.

I’ve frequented (and, sadly, worked in) plenty of restaurants and bars in my time. As a result, I’ve seen enough inebriated women with their hands fumbling beneath the tablecloths, or pawing their equally inebriated boyfriends indiscreetly on the couches, to know that I’m not the only guy who likes to sample a bit of tipsy tart before the dessert menu arrives.

Ask any man and he’ll tell you that there’s something exhilarating about feeling his girlfriend’s dexterous hands unzip his pants when he’s ordering drinks in a crowded bar, or while an oblivious waiter is topping up his glass in a trendy restaurant. It’s frivolous, uninhibited fun and a very risqué, very welcome departure from the norm. To put it bluntly, it kicks the crap out of smooching in the back row at the movies.

However, there is an art to plying your partner with alcohol, teasing him all night long and then taking him home to seal the deal. It may seem simple on paper but be warned: many women have blazed this path to pleasure and come a cropper.

So before you hike up that little black dress – that’s right, the one that hardly needs hiking up as it is – bear in mind that drunken sex can go pear-shaped at the most inopportune moment. Your man’s ego is at stake, ladies, and if you want him to measure up to your requirements after a long night of light--hearted conversation, heavy petting and even heavier drinking, a little self-control and expert timing are required. The last thing you want is for him to lose his sexual momentum on the way home because you recklessly ordered a round of shooters instead of two espressos.

Go ahead, laugh – but a ‘penis malfunction’ can ruin a man’s self--confidence, never mind your evening. Scientifically put, after a hard night out, the alcohol surging through the average guy’s bloodstream wants the cerebral cortex to call it a night, not go for gold. There exists a critical period between the Jäger bomb he downed as you were leaving and the point of no nooky, and as a rule, the act of coitus must be initiated as soon as humanly possible. Failure to do so and there will be no foreplay, no hot monkey sex and certainly no orgasm. Instead you’ll be faced with his embarrassment, awkwardness and one severely bruised ego. You work it out.

Many men will admit that losing the lead in their pencil is their greatest fear. Not a nuclear holocaust, not a beer shortage, not even another season of Everwood. Performance anxiety has become one of the gross misfortunes of the modern man, on almost every conceivable level. It ruins our golf handicaps, wreaks havoc with our careers and, just when we think things can’t get any worse, after a few cold ones it creeps into the bedroom and kicks us where it hurts the most. And you thought you were getting the short end of the stick… How insensitive.

So please, next time you’re up for it and your man suggests another round of Flatliners or requests the wine list again, do yourself and his ego a favour. Grab him by the hand, pay the waiter and get the hell out of there. It could mean the difference between the Big O and the big ‘oh dear’. Or so I’ve heard.

Thu, 23 Apr 2009 12:00 +0200
Bed Hog

The first thing you need to know about men in bed is that, in terms of body mass, there's generally more of us than you, so naturally we're going to take up more space. However, I will acknowledge that sometimes we do inch across the mattress during the night like human glaciers.
A firm pinch works well – if you can get us to leap into the air, it's easier to shove us back in place.

Guys are generally scared to emit a certain greenhouse gas for roughly the first six months of sleeping with you. But after that, the Kyoto Protocol goes out the window. We'll tell you that it means we're getting comfortable with you so it's really 'a kind of compliment'. But I'm here to tell you it's not a compliment; it's what it seems like – a pollutant. Basically it means we can't be bothered waking up with hernias any more from holding it in.
Unfortunately, aside from bawdy jokes involving corks, there isn't really a solution to this one. All guys do it and you just have to hope it's more of a Fiji than a US, in terms of greenhouse-gas emissions.

The important thing to remember with spooning is that both sides have needs and wants. Sometimes you want to feel the strong embrace of a man holding you as you drift off to sleep and sometimes we don't want all your hair in our mouths stopping oxygen from entering our lungs. Also, there's the age-old question faced by men: 'What's our bottom arm going to do while spooning?' 'Falling off' is the answer if we leave it squashed under your neck or body all night.
Most guys will be fairly happy to cuddle for a finite period of time, but sooner or later we have to stop cuddling to sleep. So please don't be offended when we move. Either that or invent a hair-proof facemask for us, and a bed with a hole we can put our mattress-side arm through. (We'd invent it ourselves but unfortunately we're suffering from sleep deprivation and can't think straight.)

Like mattress space, the duvet is a precious commodity. Take a random person like… my girlfriend. While she takes up very little space in the bed, she mechanically rolls the duvet around her, a bit like a human roller door. But a lot of men are duvet thieves too – a great annoyance in colder climates; I'm convinced it's the cause of most Eskimo murders.
Little bells to indicate duvet movement would be effective but disruptive. 'Anchoring' the duvet under your body works well, because when we pull the duvet over to our side, you'll come with it. And then we'll think, 'Uh-oh, cuddle alert, must move away,' and you'll be left alone to sleep.

That's my advice and I'm sticking to it. I guarantee it will make your nights easier. Well, that's the bed I've made anyway, so I have to lie in it (in the middle).
Wed, 11 Mar 2009 12:00 +0200
Bar Debacles
Does it ever really happen this way? Not on your life. Yet I've squandered more money, time and friends on keeping this dream alive than on all other entertainments combined.
Why? I don't know. Somehow, I actually believe the scenario to be a possibility. It's much like playing the lotto. Winning the millions is supremely unlikely, but you're definitely not going to win if you don't buy a ticket. Same with picking up girls in bars – the possibility is absolutely zero if you don't go into a bar in the first place.

The myth of picking up girls in a bar is perpetuated because of certain men out there. Men who are spoken about in voices hushed with respect and awe. They are the sort of men who glide up to the girl of their choice, engage in flirtatious repartee and then swoop her off for sweaty pleasures the rest of us can only imagine. And imagine we do, lying alone between our sweaty sheets. Because of these legendary lovers, we believe bar pick-ups are possible. We believe the myth to be true.

The reality, of course, couldn't be more different. The hopes of meeting a beautiful bar babe are usually dashed by annoying drunks and demonic DJs. In trendy nightspots the music's always loud enough to drown out your finest one-liners and your pearly witticism. Then again, the lame things you mumble often improve in the mishearing. If she shouts 'What?' over the din, it's a good sign, because she's trying to listen. As for the liquor, it's both the cause of and the solution to bar-talk problems. The lesson I'll never learn is that cold beer will not necessarily make us more interesting but it will surely make us drunker.

In foreign parts, such as London, where there is a culture of the bar pick-up, there's also a getting-together infrastructure to facilitate it, such as trains and taxis. In London, the 'Which way are you going? We could share a cab,' comment gives everyone the chance to assess their commitment to the evening's partner and the opportunity to get to know them, or bits of them, in the back seat. In SA, the lack of after-dark public transport is a huge problem. If you meet someone in a bar and there's interest, odds are you're both in your own cars. That's one too many cars. The 'Your place or mine?' question is just a precursor to the subsequent 'Your car or mine?' question. And what do you do with the second car? Yes, you could agree to follow your brand-new babe home, but how creepy is that? Even if you do follow her, there's the hurdle of where to park. More often than not you have to leave your car on the street. With that comes the horrible feeling that the price of getting laid is going to be a broken window, if not a missing car. Sex in some countries seldom goes unpunished.

Having debunked the notion that nookie can be found in bars, you have to think about where indeed it can be found. Perhaps in bars where girls don't have cars or places to have sex. The idea? Mention you have both to the girls who have neither. These will be girls who live in student residences, backpacker lodges or with their parents. The only problem is, they live in student residences, backpacker lodges or with their parents. Haunting such places to get laid is definitely way up there on the creepy list.

So we do what we can. We go down to the latest hip spot, get drunk with our buddies and ponder the difficulties of getting any action, because, after all, that's what bars are for.
Fri, 30 Jan 2009 12:00 +0200
What Guys Wish You Knew 1. Wearing double the amount of makeup you usually have on and your hair up doesn't make you look any hotter than you usually do.

2. In fact, you're at your most attractive first thing in the morning, when you're still half-asleep and have pillow creases on your cheek.

3. Unless you downed a bottle of tequila all by yourself the night before.

4. And finished off all the garlic bread before you got into bed.

5. We also worry about what we look like naked. Yes, mainly because of our penises.

6. No, not because of the size but the state. Erect penises look fine and flaccid penises look fine, but anything in-between just looks ridiculous. Especially when we're walking to the bathroom.

7. We like it when you step in and sort out our wardrobes, because we're never really sure whether we've got it right.

8. Unless you make us look like we're in a boy band. White pants and frilly D&G shirts are uncalled-for.

9. We hate it when you ask us what we're thinking, especially while we're cuddling after sex. If we're cuddling after sex and we haven't said anything in a while, we're probably asleep.

10. We sit waiting for our cellphones to ring.

11. We do listen, for the most part. Just try giving us bullet points once in a while.

12. We love it when you make us a meal and the fact that it's not quite Mom's lasagne doesn't matter at all.

13. H'mm, Mom's lasagne...

14. We're absolutely convinced that we're funny. It's an unfortunate design flaw that is entwined into every strand of our DNA. So please laugh.

15. Sometimes we cry a little, and not only when someone close to us dies. Some of that stuff on Oprah is just really... sad, you know?

16. We know full well that there's nothing on any of the other DSTV channels. But there might be.

17. Your tummy is sexy whether you think so or not.

18. Playing hard to get is okay for a week or two, maximum. After that you're just being arrogant.

19. When you're wearing a blatantly low-cut top we have absolutely no idea whether that means we're allowed to look or not.

20. We feel like idiots when you catch us looking.

21. We like it when you take the initiative and make the first move.

22. As long as you don't have the reputation of a crazed serial stalker who's just spent six months sitting outside our best friend's gate with binoculars, wearing an 'I love you, Tumi' T-shirt.

23. We're never 100% sure what we did to land such an incredible girlfriend.

24. We don't really mind shopping all that much, as long as we get to buy at least one thing for ourselves.

25. Shaving cream and socks don't count.

26. If you come to us with a problem, we will try to solve it. The fact that you only want consolation and a hug doesn't make any sense to us at all.

27. We love your pet names for us but please don't call us 'Lovecuddles' in front of our friends. They will never let it go.

28. Going for the testicles when we're play-fighting, even though you think you're joking, is as serious as our pulling a knife and jabbing it towards your eye.

29. No matter how evolved we are, we hate it when you ask us to carry your handbag.

30. If you don't actually tell us what we did wrong, we'll never work it out. Ever.

Mon, 22 Dec 2008 12:00 +0200
Why I Love Difficult Women
Then from out in the night sky, a voice cries out (it may as well belong to God): 'Phil? Are you asleep? Phil, are you asleep? Phil, turn off the light in the kitchen. The light bulb is making a buzzing noise and your nose is whistling and I'm too hot and I feel dizzy.' Thrown mercilessly back into the real world, I slip out of bed on a mission that should merely involve the flick of a switch. But there's more to come. Because she's a difficult woman and I know I'll be issued with three, even four more missions by the time I make it out of earshot.

In between fetching her a glass of water, Fritos from the petrol station, checking the cats are still breathing and performing some pointless task, like taking an accurate tyre-pressure reading from the neighbours' cars, I'm wondering how I managed to end up with a woman with the ears of a bat. But the strange thing is – and this is something most men won't understand – I love this lifestyle. (Although I am always amazed how someone so small and of such a polite demeanour can possess the forcefulness of a drum-thumper pushing galley slaves to row themselves to death in the bowels of a Roman warship.)

You see, I grew up with difficult women. My mother couldn't be more neurotic if she lived in a paper house next to a match factory, and my sister, well, she'd have Genghis Khan picking his pants up off the floor, even after a hard day burning Russia.

There's something right about a woman who, after a full day's work, marches home and finds the energy to think up stuff to keep me occupied, to challenge me, to make a fuss and show she cares. I'd hate to have a partner who didn't threaten me with a rolled-up copy of COSMO (a formidable, weighty weapon) every time one of my flirtier female friends calls. The day I pick up the phone to find Minki van der Westhuizen wants to go to lunch and my woman doesn't consider it a precursor to a no-holds-barred slap-and-tickle session will be the day I realise our relationship is starting to fizzle out. She makes me feel I belong, like I have a home to go to, a place where I'm needed.

I'm not alone. My best friend wakes up every morning to find his partner has set him the kind of hip-breaking itinerary old folks endure on one of their 'Europe in 40 seconds' coach trips. Like me, he moans, emits silent screams, but realises he'd feel utterly lost without the fuss.

A man with nothing to fetch or carry, repaint or throw out is a man who has lost the hunter-gatherer instinct of his ancestors. In an age where work has evolved into largely undemanding tasks involving the blinking light on a fax machine and a bit of shouting, I've realised my job could be done by a spider monkey with a sharp stick. I need to go home and be utilised. I need to hunt and gather (Pick 'n Pay) and build the nest (Timber City).

So if you're a woman who knows what she wants – 'No! Not like that, Phil! I wanted to scoop my own vanilla choc chip. No, I don't want that scoop, I want to get my own scoop. Aw, there are no more chocolate bits, can I have yours?' – and your man complains about it, know this: he wouldn't have it any other way. But don't tell him I told you. More hassle is the last thing I need.
Mon, 22 Dec 2008 12:00 +0200
Three's Company Things were simple when we were teenagers. At least, when it came to women. Sure, we may have hated a lot of stuff – our parents, our siblings, school, life – but not girlfriends, our own or our best friends'. Back then, if you liked someone and they liked you back, you went out together. You pretty much did things you'd be doing with your friends anyway – going to movies, going to the beach, going to parties. She was almost like a new friend, except you had the bonus of kissing her and hopefully feeling her up once in a while. Then, one day, one of you stopped liking the other one (and started liking Johnny Clague, that bastard!), and you were no longer girlfriend and boyfriend.


As we got a little older, the complications arose. Just into university, the average guy with a steady girlfriend still socialised with his mates but he'd ninja-bomb with his missus at midnight. He might be ragged a little the next day for leaving the party early – but no guy really begrudges his buddy having sex.
Suddenly, bang, you've got a mate in a serious relationship. Now he's not leaving the party early, he's missing it altogether. Soon he disappears from society, ensnared in her web of friendless female evil. You've lost a drinking buddy and this is not on. When you do bump into them – together – he may make derogatory comments about his old social circle, using words such as "maturity" and "lacking". This is even less on.
At this stage of his life, a guy might look at his best friend's new girlfriend with the same suspicion you girls reserve for a fake "designer" handbag. In such instances it was often a case of waiting out the relationship. Give him a year, give him two even, and he'll be back. They always came back. There was Jim, who vanished in a haze of reefer to Observatory with the hippie girl in third year; there was puncher Smith, who disappeared with that Irish redhead around the same time; there was even Ned, who spent four long years in the wilderness. But they all returned with a vengeance, and when they did, we were there to shake our heads gravely and say, "Chicks..." Then: "How about a beer?"


These days, though, as we near the end of our twenties, the serious relationships are getting serious. I talk to my mate Pea and he tells me how his life revolves around his girlfriend's friends' engagement parties, Sunday lunches with his folks, Sunday dinners with her folks and at least one of her work functions a week. No wonder the poor dude just wants to chill on a Friday night.
Am I angry about Pea's state of affairs? Bitter that his girlfriend – sorry, she's his fiancée now – steals him away? Logically I should be. After all, until now serious has meant seriously complicated.
But I'm not really. Because here's the thing: Pea and his fiancée are great. His mates, including me, all think so. She's a lovely girl, they work well together and they make the effort to see us whenever they can. So why the change of attitude towards a girl who's technically stolen our mate?
It turns out that, since our younger, simpler years, we've all grown up a little. Mates' girlfriends aren't considered rivals for their attention anymore because, believe it or not, guys understand that serious relationships are inevitable and the only way to cope with "losing" a mate is to compromise and see him occasionally. When a friend settles down with a girl and they're right for each other and make each other happy – and we still get to see him every now and then – we think, "Good luck to him."
So what's the moral of the story? It's simple: be nice to his mates and expect them to be nice to you. The sooner you and your man's friends realise it's not a competition, the sooner you can all get on, which makes things a lot simpler for your man. And remember, a simple man is a happy man.
Sat, 20 Dec 2008 12:00 +0200
The Oblivious Bastard
By this stage, I'd hooked up with said woman, a spunky 30-something we'll call Bianca, on three consecutive Fridays for dinner – nothing fancy – and some rigorous bedroom action. On the surface it seemed a quite agreeable arrangement (weekly action with an attractive woman is not to be sniffed at when you're me) but by this stage I was getting that shifty male foreboding that pre-empts conversations involving words like 'future' and 'commitment'.

Having just come out of a long-term relationship, I thought it a good time to call it quits, so I rang her up and told her as much in as simple and straightforward a way as possible. She, however, was not as appreciative of my honesty as I'd predicted. Apparently I'd led her on, manipulated her, played her – I was, quote, 'a bastard'! I put the phone down in a state of didn't-see-that-coming perplexity. So much for being honest, I thought.

Now I am not accustomed to being called a bastard. In fact, I don't think I have ever been called one by a woman before. So it got the rusted cogs in my man brain turning over about the whole Bianca situation. And after a while it struck me, like a yacht boom strikes you when you are looking out to sea: I had been a bastard without even knowing it!

A bastard is someone who misrepresents himself in order to get what he wants – a con man of sorts, but one who leaves you feeling bad about yourself. Players are the bastards of old – the slick talkers who push all the right buttons, get the girl into bed, then sneak off into the night and never call. But women generally have well-developed player antennae. Spotting the oblivious bastard, however, is another matter entirely.

The thing is, one girl's bastard is another girl's handy, casual shag, which is clearly what I'd thought I was to Bianca. Guys love the idea of a steady shag on the side: no commitment, yet regular action. What's not to love? We also know that, from time to time, women love this too. And that's where things go wrong. Guys, I'll admit, are far, far too eager to assume that the sexy girl we've just hooked up with is only keen for some no-strings, Friday-night action. As a result, we'll convince ourselves that she's happy with that and no more.

So we go on believing (hoping) you're in it for the same reasons. But what if you're not? My advice to those of you who, like Bianca, are looking for a relationship with potential, rather than simply a casual shag, is: make him sweat a bit – with his clothes on. And, if at all possible, don't sleep with him on the first date.

If you have sex with a guy without letting him work for it he will assume you are a modern girl who has needs to be satisfied. Have sex with him again and he'll assume you are now a steady shag with no emotional commitments.

But no man can ignore the fact that he didn't have sex with a girl, and the morning after a passionate kiss that didn't end up as passionate sex, alarm bells will be ringing: to hook up with the same girl again would imply some sort of developing relationship. Hopefully – unless he's a real bastard – he won't follow things up unless he's consciously interested in pursuing you (and not just the sex).

A casual affair can be fantastic – whether you're a guy or a girl – but it really helps to know you are having on. ]]>
Fri, 05 Dec 2008 12:00 +0200
Weight Watchers What I do know is that your arrival in the weights area changes its appearance to a degree similar to the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photo in an advertisement for weight-gain formula. Supplement-fuelled athletic types gravitate towards you, while those whose elbows are the widest part of their arms move to the stretching section immediately. Conversations change, with guys who were just commenting to their gym buddies about how buggered they are loading on an extra weight or two and saying things such as, ‘Bru, I’m gonna pump this sonofabitch’ in a voice loud enough to carry the specified distance.
None of these reactions are anything to be proud of – hence the apology. On second thoughts, however, this apology is only aimed at some of you – specifically those who actually go to gym to work out, with part of your programme involving a stint in the weights section. You’re easily recognised by the fact that you’re wearing clothing designed for exercise, you’re not wearing any lipstick and your hair is in a ponytail. Another telltale sign is your slightly raised eyebrow when you see the man next to you thrust out his chest at an unlikely angle and look at you for a reaction.

Gym bunnies
There is unfortunately a breed of women who encourage this sort of behaviour, and they are at least partially responsible for the serious lack of intellectual ability you find in the weights area. They are known as gym bunnies. Each weights section is only capable of supporting two or three genuine gym bunnies, as long as none of them work out in the same area at the same time. They are recognised by the skimpy hot pants and sports bra they’re wearing, and the fact that, in the course of their work-out, their lipstick and hair remain immaculate despite it being 6am. Rather than actually work out, the gym bunny occupies a piece of equipment, from where she receives a series of fawning men with names such as Dino and Raul, all of whom are competing to see who can compliment her the most during their allotted three-minute audience. While this is going on, the rest of the men await their turn like obedient lapdogs, all the while commenting, ‘You know Leroy, that Dino oke thinks he’s such a legend with the chicks’. If it weren’t for gym bunnies, Dino and Raul might actually be fairly decent guys, rather than slathering idiots.

An age-old story
There is some justice in the world, however, as even gym bunnies must age – whether they admit to it or not. The ageing gym bunny is recognisable by the skimpy hot pants, sports bra and centimetre-thick layer of makeup she’s wearing. She’s deeply tanned. Her breasts are as perky as someone’s four decades younger. She has an undeniably great body for a woman her age but has missed one unavoidable truth – placing a 20-year-old’s breasts on a 60-year-old’s body is a little like sticking two Jelly Tots on a piece of biltong. There’s nothing wrong with Jelly Tots, and there’s nothing wrong with biltong. You just don’t eat them both at the same time. The beautiful thing about these women is that they prey on guys like Dino and Raul, squeezing their biceps and checking out their asses in the mirror. In turn, Dino and Raul wonder what they did to earn all this unwanted attention and raise their eyebrows as the aged gym bunny thrusts out her chest at an unlikely angle every time she walks past, looking at them for a reaction.
It’s like watching a badly choreographed ballet, and it truly makes going to gym worthwhile. Even if, like me, you’re watching it all from the stretching section.
Tue, 26 Aug 2008 12:00 +0200
We know nothing
There are still some things that women just expect men to know about. Like cars. Or surround sound systems. Or self-assemble furniture. But we don’t actually know anything about these things. All we know is that we should know. This isn’t the same thing as male to male know-it-all talk, like when a group of us are standing around the braai voicing theories about what’s wrong with Springbok rugby or how the new Bafana coach rates, even though we never actually played either games beyond under-16C level. We know we’re talking shit there. We’ve simply run out of things to say about lamb chops.
No, when you ask us our opinion on something we should know, it’s not an option for us to admit that we don’t know. It’s about male pride. In Caveman days it was simpler for our sex. We were strong enough to beat the mammoth with a club; you weren’t. So we had some value. These days you aren’t impressed by feats of strength, but rather intellectual ability, which obviously leaves us mildly panicked. So when you admit upfront that you’re clueless, by saying something like ‘My car is making the strangest noise, and I have no idea what’s causing it’, we can’t help ourselves. If you’ve already said you know nothing, why shouldn’t we suggest that it sounds like the gasket has blown, or the rings have gone? Or that it might need to be re-gassed? Oh wait, that’s what we say when the fridge breaks.

Girls have got it good
You’re onto a good thing really. One little ‘Oh my, I wonder what could be wrong?’, and we’re elbow deep in the toilet cistern prodding hopefully at that big floating thing that loos have, praying for a miracle. You could have prodded just as pointlessly at the floating thing before calling the plumber, just like you could have gotten grease all over yourself before pronouncing that the car needed to go to the mechanic, but the question is, why should you? Not only are we willing to do it for you, but our very egos depend on us doing it, even though we know we’re incapable. That’s why we never tell you about the leftover nuts and a bolt we’re sitting with after finishing the DIY TV cabinet, or the fact that we can only find four speaker connections on the back of the surround sound, even though there are five speakers in the box.
So keep expecting us to know about manly things. We need it. In fact, go and ask a guy what ‘FM’ stands for right now. He probably won’t know, but he’ll feel damn good about himself while he’s making something up. ]]>
Wed, 30 Jul 2008 12:00 +0200
Daddy's Girl
Meet the parents
While the only thing you’re worried about when we meet your parents for the first time is whether they’ll embarrass you by saying something stupid, we have to worry about a lot more than that. Moms usually aren’t too bad – as long as we don’t have safety pins pierced through our eyebrows and don’t look as though we have a drug habit, your mom is probably content to sit back and remember how she and her first love, Neville, used to sit in the back at the movies and hold hands. We can work with that. But fathers are a whole different ball game. Your father, no matter how old he is, can remember what it was like to be a single guy and so he knows exactly what goes through the mind of a single guy when he manages to find a hot girl who’s into him. He knows that no matter how decent and well mannered we seem, some of those thoughts are a little dirty. And the rest of them are very dirty. The last thing he wants is some little schmuck thinking those things about his princess.

The joke’s on us
This is something that doesn’t really change from the time you’re 13 to when you move out of the house, with the exception that he knows you can’t get up to too much when you’re 13, because with each of you having braces you run the risk of dying from extensive blood loss as soon as anyone even thinks about kissing with tongue. From 15 onwards, however, when the braces are off and the pimples have eased back a fraction is when your dad really kicks into gear. And he’s got two choices on how he goes about it – he can either go old school and meet every one of your prospective boyfriends at the front door with his shotgun and his ‘Do you feel lucky, punk?’ routine or he can take the more sneaky, devious route and pretend that he’s cool with us, by making jokes. And that’s far, far worse.
See, by the time we meet you, you’ve probably been dating for a while. So your dad’s got experience by now. He’s a clever guy. He knows that the second he goes the hard-core Clint Eastwood route, we become part of your rebellion against everything he’s ever told you. The fact that he doesn’t like us makes us hot. But by inviting us in with open arms, making it seem as if we’re the best of friends, and at the same time subversively undermining us with little jokes at our expense (knowing full well that we can’t really say anything back), he makes us seem like little more than one of his fat, balding golfing buddies. There’s nothing hot about any of his fat, balding golfing buddies. And he knows it.
Sat, 26 Jul 2008 12:00 +0200
The Games Men Play
I wondered what the dream meant, so I looked it up in a psychology textbook. "Repetitive dreams about a particular subject usually indicate an awareness of some kind of destiny that one must complete in order to feel spiritually whole," it said. "Spiritually whole?" I wondered. "But isn't that what espresso is for?" Then it dawned on me. Gaming is actually a crucial part of the male psyche. Shut in our lounges, the womblike, cavernous spaces that burn with the bright surrealism of the PlayStation, men learn how to be men. And how to rip out the heart of a ninja assassin. But that's just a bonus.

The dream reminded me of how I had learnt to play the games men play. Like generations of men before me, I learnt from a spiritual elder during my adolescence. Enter Jackson – panel beater, connoisseur of bright Hawaiian shirts and the Mr Miyagi of the gaming world. Jackson didn't know karate but he knew video games like Jude Law knows the hired help: inside and out.

"Son," Jackson used to say as we traded blows on the TV at the back of his panel shop, "the gaming instinct is buried deep within us. You can learn everything you need to know from video games."

Looking back now it's easy to see how many significant moments in my life were indeed made possible through the benevolent grace of the game console. The first naked woman I ever saw wasn't in the glossy pages of Playboy but on a small monochrome screen, while I was playing Strip Poker 3. I probably would have learnt to drive without Test Drive III but I wouldn't have learnt to drive with style. It's still comforting to know that, even though I drive a cheap Korean car, I've outrun the cops in a Ferrari with the top down and the pixels blowing in my hair.

Even intimacy – the ultimate male nemesis – can be conquered through the PlayStation. "My father was a distant man and, as a result, I've always had difficulty expressing myself in any forum other than drunken karaoke," Jackson confided in me one day, as he nonchalantly burnt a civilian village to the ground. "Gaming forced me to reach out. I only went to the Matric dance because I knew my date's brothers had all the codes for Doom II."

Right there and then I realised the truth in his words: games are a technology that informs masculinity. Under Jackson's tutelage and with the help of video games, problems in my life became elaborate – but solvable – puzzles. "What the hell is up with these bra clasps?" I remember asking myself in an awkward embrace with my second girlfriend. It was a clumsy two-handed puzzle that needed to be solved – and thanks to PlayStation, dexterity and a determined attitude, sex is now a one-handed affair. Wait, that came out wrong...

"Computer games don't affect kids. I mean, if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive music," British writer Gareth Owen once said. That accounts for most of the '90s – but what about the challenges men have to face in the 21st century? What kind of guidance can the PlayStation offer in our chaotic times?

I believe Jackson said it best. "Playing video games is a lot like having sex: the trick is to keep pushing the buttons until your girlfriend tells you to stop because she can't sleep." Words to live by.
Tue, 24 Jun 2008 12:00 +0200
Bush Warfare
Body hair wasn’t always a bad thing for me. You see, a man’s first pubic hair is actually a cause for quiet celebration, a consolation for the squeaking in our voice and the massive white head in the middle of our forehead. Next comes a sprout or two under the arms, and we proudly begin spraying Axe deodorant – stolen from an older brother – on our entire upper bodies three times a day. Even the first few chest hairs aren’t that bad, when you can still see some skin between them. If only it had stopped there.

Hair today, none tomorrow

The problem with body hair is that it is so 20 years ago. Remember David Hasslehoff in Baywatch, with his luxuriant chest rug glistening damply in the morning sunlight as he ran through the shallow surf in slow motion? In his mind he looked manly, hot, virile even. In our minds we wondered if, once the cameras stopped rolling, he shook himself off like a poodle that’s just had a bath. We all know what David doesn’t – body hair is gross, and now there’s research to prove it. A recent survey conducted by a shaving company has revealed that only 12% of South African women find hairy men attractive. What the survey didn’t say, but that I am sure of, is that the 12% was made up almost entirely of women over the age of 60.

In our generation, in order to look manly, hot and virile, men’s bodies need to be as hairless as a baby’s butt. The problem is, we’re not growing any less body hair than we were 20 years ago, which leaves only one option: grooming. And if you’ve seen the chest waxing scene in The 40-year-old Virgin, you’ll know why that’s a problem. There were no special effects used in that scene, and the blood spouting from Steve Carell’s chest, while he screamed in agony, was real.

Semi-metro man

I realise that as metrosexual men we’re supposed to suck it up and get on with it, but what happens if you’re only semi-metro? If you’re happy to exfoliate but think that toners really don’t do anything, or you moisturise fairly often but couldn’t be bothered to do a hydrating mask? For the semi-metro, booking an appointment to go and have your chest waxed is not an option. Shaving it at home does nothing but make it grow thicker and longer, besides the fact that chest stubble looks stupid. Trimming it with a pair of nail scissors is time consuming and, because depth perception and mirrors never go well together, often leaves the chest rug looking like a patchwork quilt. There are days when I’m tempted to simply leave it to thrive, even if I have to set my alarm clock a little earlier in the morning to make time for some blow-drying after my shower.

And then I see my dad. Not only my dad, but any man of his generation who has never fought back against body hair, and simply let it grow where it will. See, if you leave body hair to its own devices, it won’t stop at your chest. Nose hairs grow quietly for years up near your sinuses before suddenly launching a group rush for your top lip. Ear hairs sit unnoticed for half your life before growing a centimetre overnight. Eyebrows abruptly launch straight out in front of you like carport awnings. This won’t do. I’ve never seen my dad get eye from anyone younger than 65. I wonder if there’s a salon somewhere that offers a chest wax under local anaesthetic?

Tue, 13 May 2008 12:00 +0200