So at what point in the whole dating process are you allowed to point out pet peeves to your squeeze? I’ve been going out with a fine lady now for several weeks, and things are moving along pretty quickly. We really dig each other, but there are a couple of things she does that not only drive me up the wall, they gross me out. For one thing, whenever she thinks I’m not looking, she starts picking her nose, and I don’t mean polite pinkie-jabbing, either. She’s in there digging for Yukon gold. Not only that, she’s anything but shy about passing gas. I find all of this to be pretty disgusting, and yet I love everything else about her. How do I bring this up without completely upsetting her?
BEN: Humans are filthy, disgusting, dirty creatures. We sweat, salivate, excrete, and make odd noises, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. Ironically, we want the objects of our affections to seem entirely inhuman. All unusual smells, noises, habits, and textures must be kept hidden from our sight. And why not, dammit!? No one wants to be reminded that the opposite gender has the same filthy habits as we do.
For men, this is especially tough, for we’re usually the greater offenders. In the company of male compadres, we think of our bodily functions in competitive termswho can offer the biggest, the best? A belch is not contained to a minimum of noticeability; it is amplified to its loudest volume, so as to assure others that we have eaten, drunk, or indulged more than everyone else and have the indigestion to prove it. Gas is not a shameful odor to conceal, but a weapon with which to roust our opponent from his complacence and let him know that the game is still on.
Unfortunately, shifting gears when around our ladyfriends can prove difficult. Just as we forget that we can’t leer at any woman in the vicinity when you’re around, we sometimes forget that you are not interested in playing the game with us. During the early stages of a relationship, we will be on our best behavior; but once a man’s had the crackerjack prize a couple of times, he thinks all bets are off. You care too much by that point to ditch us due to rude behavior.
Asking a man to stop being crude, though, is a sticky situation for a woman. If you say, “That’s gross, please don’t do that,” it will only trigger a need in the male to do it more. For some reason, irritating the girlfriend doesn’t trigger sympathy, it inspires deep guttural laughter that we cannot contain. Nothing pleases a man more than amusing himself, and to this end you will never succeed in getting him to quit.
If you want to stop a man from grotesque belching, rooting, and whatnot, the thing to do is to do it yourself. It may go against your better instincts, but most men can’t deal with a woman cutting the cheese. It reminds us all too well that women have the same functions we do, and it kills all sexual impulses, because deep down all men are wusses. If you keep this up and tell him you won’t quit until he does, I guarantee he’ll cut it out.
Barring that example, every woman should know that she should never do any of these things in front of a man if she can’t help it. I know it’s not fair, but that’s our shallowness. Just like you would be dismayed by buying a beautiful dress that has a huge rip you didn’t see, we’re horrified to find out the gorgeous woman we want to sleep with can rip a hole in the space-time continuum with her hind nether regions.
But if you ever do find yourself in such a situation, guys, I would advise that you approach your flatulent, nose-picking partner very delicatelyand only once you think she’s become completely comfortable with you. Telling a woman she has disgusting habits can be seen as a way of saying she’s ugly. You might want to start off by asking if there are any habits you have that she doesn’t like. This way, when you point out hers, you can make it seem like you’re initiating a compromise. There’s nothing chicks dig more than a compromise. It makes them feel like you’re working on the relationship. And believe me, in their minds, there’s always something wrong with the relationship.
DANNY: Love may be blind, but it does have a sense of smell. If you’ve only been seeing this girl for a few weeks, you’re not even ankle-deep in the ocean of things about her that are going to make you queasy. It’s hard to know how, or if, to bring up the subject. People are quirky about their quirks.
When you first start seeing someone, you’re on your best behavior. You take special care to look good, smell good, and contain all bodily functions. Inevitably, a couple of months will pass by and the salad days will start to wilt. Some bad breath here, a burp or two there, and you’re well on your way to the point of no return. But no matter how infatuated you are, you just can’t get past certain things.
I understand this completely and have found myself in a similar situation. As you might have guessed, I am not a shy girl. When my last relationship went zooming past the flatulence checkpoint, I could not contain myself. Imagine my surprise when he told me that I should be flattered that he felt comfortable enough to pass gas in my presence. I had to let him know that my joy was somehow clouded by being suddenly and intimately acquainted with the products of his digestive system.
Truth is, people get away with what they can get away with. I think he was somehow testing me to see if I was going to say anything, and then was a little embarrassed when I did. But girls are different. Ask yourself these questions: How important is it that you bring these things to her attention? Are you willing to risk hurting her feelings or embarrassing her just because you’re bugged by her boogers?
Remember this: It’s all in how you spin it. If you really must bring it up, start out with something that won’t immediately put her on the defensive. For example, try, “You know, we’ve been seeing each other for a couple of weeks now, and I was just wondering how everything’s going for you. Are you happy? Is there anything I’m doing that bugs you?” Girls love that kind of crap, and she might take the bait and reciprocate. There’s no guarantee, though.
Guys, if confronted, are likely to do one of two things: 1. Hang their heads and vow to clench their buttcheeks for eternity; or 2. take the “It’s Only Natural” argument and make you feel stupid for asking them to interfere with the inner workings of the human body. Women, in general, are horrified by such things. I have a friend who never once, in the two-plus years she not only dated but also lived with her boyfriend, did anything besides urinate in their home. She’d always take her business down the street to McDonald’s. But since you’ve got the kind of woman who’s literally putting it all out there from the very beginning, she might take it on the chin and laugh it off.
Think hard. Chances are good that you do more than a few things that have her gagging when you’re not looking. If you and your nostrils can stand it, save your breath until she starts in on you: That way it won’t be so one-sided. If she’s as nice as you say she is, you’ll be losing a temporary battle but winning the war. In the meantime, open the windows and invest in Kleenex.
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