DANNY: I like to think of myself as a genuine, straight-shootin’ kind of woman. Especially in relationships, where things are best kept simple, I have no hidden motives, no mystery meanings behind my words, and I keep all game-playing to an absolute minimumfor the most part.
I generally assume that every guy I date is on the same playing field and quickly dismiss the ones who aren’t. And usually, I can figure out without a whole lot of trouble whether I’m wasting my time. But much like the police, who have speed guns that won’t set off radar detectors, something out there is messing up my super-sensitive bullshit detector: Maxim magazine.
I’ll allow that Maxim has a good thing going. It’s a cool mag graphically, and it has great ads and a tongue-in-cheek style that almost makes me ignore the flagrant misogyny. Almost. With cover tag lines like “Sex, Sports, Beer, Gadgets, Clothes, Fitness,” and hot chicks on the cover, I can understand why any creature in possession of a penis would pick one up. The problem is this: the large number of articles devoted to molding America’s twenty- and thirtysomething men into full-on, card-carrying, Milton Bradley-grade mind fuckers.
For example, in the recent October issue is an article called “The Game of Wife.” The game is a Wheel of Fortune of sorts, in which the number of points you score with a chick can be redeemed for prizes like “late-night drinking session with guy friends followed by sex upon arrival home,” “appearance of actual interest in your theory of why Marino was better than Elway,” or an “admittedly not-so-innocent dinner and drinks with ex-girlfriend after which you ‘forget’ to come home and sleep over at, um, a friend’s.”
Here’s how a guy scores: You get 1,000 points for giving her an orgasm, then telling her, “That’s OK, baby, just enjoy it,” instead of expecting one in return. You score 800 points for every day her psycho family visits and you act like you’re enjoying it. Gain 500 points for confessing the “wacky things you did to win her over.” Another 500 points can be had for nursing her back to health, and add 600 for slipping her a love note. Now, call me old-fashioned, but aren’t guys supposed to be doing these things anyway?
This brings the things women have to worry about (i.e. obsess over) to a whole new level. Sure, we’re generally worried that guys’ motives are strictly sexualbut a man who’s willing to bring us orange juice and chicken soup when we’re laid low with the flu is released from suspicion based on effort alone. I can just hear it now: “I know he really loves me. The other night, we were snuggling in bed in the dark and just talking. He was so sweet, telling me how he felt when he first saw me and how he knew he had to have me.” Little does she know, that alone accrues enough points to get him “an acceptable display of affection: approaching her from behind, swinging an arm around her, and briefly fondling a breast.” Ack!
So how are we supposed to differentiate between the ones who are doing nice things for payoff and the ones who are just really nice? Now that every male is under suspicion, this damn magazine is posing a threat to the few good ones left out there. The worst thing about Maxim, other than the four clams men are shelling out for this sarcastic smut, is the traitor women contributors. That’s rightsome of these articles, like “Score at Will: How to turn first-date sex into a sure thing,” are written by our own kind! Selling secrets to the enemy!
Why can’t we all just agree to stop playing games? If you’re only interested in a woman for sex, say so. It’ll save you a lot of mascara-stained shirts in the long run, and she might keep you around anyway. If you’re a pig, be the best pig you can be: Drink lots of beer, talk about cars, treat women like hell, and slobber every time you see a set of big titties. Just be real. And leave the good-guy act for the few out there who don’t have something up their sleeves.
BEN: It’s taken several weeks for me to respond to this, for I have been indisposed. When I read Danny proclaim that in relationships she had “no hidden motives, no mystery meanings behind my words,” and keeps “all game-playing to an absolute minimum,” I was thrown into a laughing fit so vicious it gave me a hernia. After all, this is a woman who once told a boyfriend that she was only interested in him for sex and then proceeded to bitch him out two days later for not calling.
When I got to the emergency room, the doctor asked me what happened, and I told him the story of what Danny had said. He was propelled into a laughing fit so severe that he got a hernia. From what I understand, this was the beginning of a Monty Python-esque domino effect that laid waste to several physicians and insurance adjusters.
Danny’s indignation couldn’t be more hypocritical. Let’s see, a magazine that gives insecure people suggestions on how to manipulate the opposite sex into doing what they want. Cosmopolitan, anyone? Here’s a topic from the current copy of Cosmo: “Be an Amazing Kisser: Our sensuous smooches will make him addicted to your lips.” God forbid your actual personality be the appeal. The Web site tries to sell subscriptions by stating matter-of-factly that the magazine will help you “land that man, ace your job, and look your sexiest ever.” Do you gals really need a magazine to tell you how to be personable, work hard, and buy nice clothes?
Maxim is only playing into concepts: Everybody in America wants a shortcut, and when it comes to the genders, you have to compromise to appease the other side. Maxim knows that most guys don’t have the slightest clue what women want us to do or say. The motivations and instincts of men and women are about as divergent as humanly possible. The magazine is just making a joke out of the ludicrous things females expect of usthings that just generally aren’t in our instinctual makeup. The difference between the fantasy world of men and the reality of women is quite hilarious. The idea that any man could go out on a drinking binge with his buddies and expect to come home to a warm reception of open arms and legs is hysterical.
Maxim’s lessons in deception and manipulation are nothing out of the ordinary. Everyone walks into a date or relationship subconsciously sizing up how to get what they want and whether the person is worth the compromise and challenge. There’s never anything genuine, and non-game-players are just playing their own type of game by trying not to play games. And this isn’t something that stops when you find the right person. Without even thinking, I can tell you 10 things that, if timed and executed properly, will either guarantee or prevent my getting laid. So lighten up, Danny. Maxim’s just having a good time poking fun at the unending gender wars, and it makes me giggle just fine.
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