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Mirror Mirror: Dr Linda’s Body Image Revolution
Copyright 2005 by Dr Linda Papadopoulos
First published in Great Britain in 2005 by Hodder and Stoughton
The right of Dr Linda Papadopoulos to be identified as the Author
of the Work has been asserted by her in accordance with the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form
or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, nor
be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that
in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed
Hodder Headline’s policy is to use papers that are natural,
renewable and recyclable products and made from wood grown in
sustainable forests. The logging and manufacturing processes are expected
to conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin.
Q. I like somebody, why isn’t he making a move?
Q. Why doesn’t he call when he says he’s going to?
Q. Why does he want to rush into sex so quickly?
Q. Why is he so jealous of my male friends?
Q. Why does he want to sleep with me but
Q. I’m in love with my best friend. How do I
Q. Why is he such a flirt when he says he likes me?
Q. My new boyfriend may be cooling off. Help!
Q. Why is he so cagey when I try to talk about
Q. He’s still best friends with his ex. Should I be
Q. He and my best friend hate each other. What
Q. He’s crowding me! How do I tell him I like him,
Q. How come his friends seem more important
Q. Why doesn’t he share my passion for shopping? 142
Q. How come he finds it so difficult to be
Q. Why is it taking forever for him to introduce me
Q. He was really into sex at the beginning, but he
isn’t any more. Does he still find me sexy?
Q. Why does he need female friends when he
Q. We keep having the same arguments. How do
Q. Why does he put me down in front of his
Q. I think he still has feelings for his ex, what
Q. We dated and now he just wants to be friends.
Q. Why have I started to feel trapped in this
Q. I don’t find him attractive anymore – why?
happily ever after (but not with him . . .)
Q. How can I find out if he loves me without
Q. Why does moving in together scare him so
Q. Why does he have such a high tolerance for dirt? 226
Q. We’ve just moved in together. Why do we
Q. My partner’s been unfaithful. Is this the
Q. My boyfriend is watching porn. What should
Q. Why has he become so withdrawn and moody? 243
Q. He says I’m smothering him and I feel we’re
never close enough. How can we resolve this?
Q. How do I tell him I want to take this
Q. I love him but I just don’t see us together forever.
This book is dedicated to my father Andreas andmy husband Teddy, the two most important men in mylife . . .
Thank you to Helen and Amy and everyone at Hodder forthe great feedback and all the laughs throughout the wholewriting process. To Jaine for being a great agent and a greatfriend, to Helen Brook for all the ridiculous anecdotesthat arrived via my e-mail and gave me much needed breaks.
To my wonderful family, especially you, Mom, for nevercomplaining when I needed to make the time to write andfor supporting me in each and every way. To my gorgeouslittle Jessica who makes my world a magical place and, espe-cially, to the men in my life – my father Andreas and myhusband Teddy, whose integrity, love and selflessnessreconfirm my faith in men and humanity every day . . .
What do Ikea flatpacks, microwaves, home hair-dying
kits and mobile phones all have in common? They
all come with instructions. They all come with handy littlebooklets explaining how to get the thing set up, how touse it and, if all goes the way of the pear, how to fix it.
Orange-juice cartons come with instructions just in caseyou can’t work out how to open them. Beautiful em-broidered silk shrugs come with instructions to stop youhauling them in a sixty degree wash with your manky bedsheets. (As if.) You can’t even buy a packet of crisps withoutbeing told where to dispose of the foil bag once you’re done.
Nearly every investment you make in life, from a mascarato your first car, will come with instructions. It makes usfeel assured, safe and in control. We know that the best-before date is on the lid, but it’s nice to have a little noteon the side reminding us. We know that we should stop atthe entrance to a dual carriageway, but it’s good to have itscrawled on the road just in case. CD players, frozenpizzas, trainers, printers, in fact pretty much everything youcan think of that a modern woman would need in her
life, comes with instructions. But there’s one exception.
There’s one asset that we invest in with absolutely noguidance and no handy manual. Men. Blindly, we put timeand effort into a relationship, often to end up completelybaffled by the output. It’s a fact. Men do not come witha manual. Until now . . .
Because that’s exactly what The Man Manual
is (in case
the name wasn’t enough of a giveaway): a handy guide toaccompany that man you just picked up at the store, orat a bar, or at work, or at the laundry . . . (What do youmean, ‘that would never happen’? Don’t you rememberthose Levi ads?!) The Man Manual
is a instruction bookletto exactly what is going on in that mind of his, and whatyou can do to make him come round to your way ofthinking . . . sorry, reach a compromise
. Often the way wedeal with men and the little dilemmas posed by theirbehaviour is completely wrong, because we don’t under-stand the problem in the first place. The Man Manual
willhelp give you some insight into why these things are happen-ing, and then go on to help you deal with them in a prac-tical way. It’s divided into three parts, which correspondroughly to the stages of a relationship: the beginning, themiddle and the happily ever after (or the end!). But beforewe get to that stage, it’s important to understand a fewof the basics about men. And before we do that, we needto think about ourselves. Because understanding relation-ships isn’t just about understanding how the boys work.
It’s about working out the motivation behind our ownbehaviour. A good way to do this is to take a look at ourown experience of relationships. So, [insert your namehere], this is your (love)life!
Let’s start at the beginning. Ever since we dressed Barbie
in her very best legwarmers and puffball skirt combo forher first date with Ken (come on, it was the eighties – evenBarbie made fashion mistakes), women have appreciatedthe importance of a strong, healthy, romantic relationship.
From the school playground, the rules of Kiss Chaseencouraged an active, hungry pursuit of the perfect partner.
OK, so perhaps it never materialised into the love of yourlife, but who can forget the moment of pride once you’dcornered gorgeous Jason from class 4C into a two-secondsnog in the sandpit.
And then there are the school discos. ‘It doesn’t matter
if nobody asks you to be their date, darling,’ assures yourmum. ‘It’ll be fun to go with the girls.’ No, Mum, it won’t.
It’ll be about as much fun as getting dropped off in a vanemblazoned with a ‘Sad and Lonely’ slogan, and wearinga dress sponsored by ‘UglyandRepulsive.com’. Nothingcompares to the desperate, sinking sensation as slowlyevery single one of your girlfriends is bashfully asked tothe school social event of the year. You begin to regretunmercifully bullying that geek in maths, as even hemanages to snag a date. You start to plan intricate methodsof escaping the country – now, where does Dad keep thepassports . . .
And then we hit the magical age of full-time jobs and
full-time mortgage payments, or at least a hefty rent out-come. And suddenly summers are full of wedding afterwedding, where of course we’re put on the awkward left-over table with the children and that aunty with the badbreath. Or we find that ‘nights out with the girls’ increas-ingly become ‘about the boys’, involving argument-by-argument accounts of your friends’ relationships. They tryto muster up an interest in you, of course – ‘So, how’s
work going then?’ – but once you’ve exhausted the officegossip you can’t help but feel that a summary of the out-come of your negotiations with a neighbouring firm is notquite what the girls were looking for. Dinner parties,birthday gatherings and the inevitable children’s birthdayparties become perfect opportunities to reinforce the feelingthat not only have you been left firmly on the shelf butthat everyone else has emptied the shelf, turned the lightsoff and left the room.
We put ourselves through virtual torture to remedy the
situation, enduring silent dates, excruciating matchmakingintroductions and painful chat-up lines, but why? Whenwe finally find a man who makes it past the first date,whose monobrow and naff dress sense we can overlook,we spend as much time trying to figure out what he’sthinking, why he’s thinking it and then as much time againtrying to pretend we haven’t even thought about histhinking. We exhaust ourselves with creating the illusionof nonchalance, disinterest and aloofness only to checkour voicemail sixty-five times a day and try to break intohis email account.
Even once he’s firmly in our grip, once he’s become ‘the
other half’, ‘my partner’, ‘him indoors’, we haven’t got itall sorted. Because then there is a whole new set of issuesto be handled, a whole new list of arguments to be argued.
From his page-3 ex-girlfriend, whose breasts keep poppingup all over the place, to the scars on your feet from treadingon his Scalextric, which he refuses to put away properlylike a good boy – the fun is just beginning. He hates yourdad, you hate his mum. He hates the way you spend, youhate the way he dances. He thinks using your toothbrushis acceptable, you think using his to clean the toilet is a
suitable punishment. He wants to turn the spare room intoa games room, you want to paint it pale yellow becausein your head it’s the new nursery. You want to get engaged,he won’t even engage in a conversation longer than fiveminutes (particularly when the rugby’s on). It makes youwonder why we bother.
So why do we? Why do we put ourselves through this cata-logue of disasters? Why on earth would we want to hurlourselves into arguments in pubs, bed and selected furni-ture stores? What makes us strive for relationships whenthey’re so hard?
The Mating Game
Thousands of years ago, being an independent womandidn’t really cut it. The fact is that hanging out by your-self, appreciating some ‘me time’, was all very well untilsomebody or something decided you were that evening’sdinner. Once a great grizzly or a prehistoric diner decidedyou’d go brilliantly with a side of onion rings, no amountof throwing your hands up at Destiny’s Child would saveyour bacon. ‘Safety in numbers’ had an entirely differentmeaning. Also, our predecessors figured pretty early onthat the best way to survive as an enduring species was toreproduce. The more the merrier, and you weren’t muchgood as a baby-maker if you were too busy sat on a rockcriticising Caveman Colin’s excess nasal hair, or frettingover whether or not he’s been displaying ‘commitment
issues’. No, the point was to get together and make babies.
Pairing up was essential to keep the species going. It wasn’ta fun way to spend a Saturday evening or a dating game.
It was a matter of survival, like sleeping, breathing andeating.
Evolutionary psychologists say that this primeval need
to procreate is the real reason that we long for that specialsomeone. Essentially, our purpose on this planet is toreproduce, and they say that this underlines our desperateattempts to find the perfect relationship. So, when wethink we’re looking for someone to put a name to that‘and guest’ space on all our invitations, or just someoneto choose lampshades with in Habitat, really we’re scoutingout a prime mating partner.
According to evolutionary psychologists, the other
reason we strive to be half of a couple, in addition tomating, is just because deep down we still possess thebasic need to be around others. To an extent that no otherspecies demonstrates, humans are social beings who needto be around one another. It’s one of the reasons that soli-tary confinement is considered a pretty tough punish-ment. OK, when in a busy supermarket on a Saturdayafternoon, surrounded by your fellow human beingsshouting, screaming and swearing, it might seem like apreferable choice, but in the long run humans crave com-pany. It’s why we talk about having somebody to growold with. It’s why so many love songs lament lonelinessand being alone. Humans need to be with other humans.
And this need, coupled with another basic need, to repro-duce, is the reason that evolutionary psychologists claimthat we long for relationships.
The (Peer) Pressure’s On
Ever felt like you’re surrounded by love, romance andsickly-sweet couples? Perhaps you’ve sat down to enjoy aloaded BLT at lunchtime to find yourself greeted by a sexy,skinny couple writhing around all over each other in thename of a new Gucci perfume ad? Or perhaps you’ve lefta family gathering, battered into a state of mental break-down after a barrage of questions that begin ‘How’s thelove life?’, ‘Any wedding bells yet?’ or ‘So, is there a specialsomeone yet?’ According to social psychologists, theseseemingly daily occurrences are the type of triggers thatpersuade us that we should be striving for a relationship.
These psychologists say that the world around us con-
vinces us that we are only valid if we are part of a couple.
And anybody who’s ever been single has felt that pressure.
It might be because of the ticket-seller at the cinema. It’s aThursday night. You can’t persuade anyone to come andsee the new Brad Pitt blockbuster so you decide that, afterall, the point of the cinema is to watch the film and whydo you need someone to go with anyway? You play yourrubbish Power Ballads Sung By Men with Bad Mullets com-pilation CD on the way to the cinema, and you sing alongwith Michael Bolton et al because there’s no one to tell younot to. Empowered, liberated and emboldened you stroll upto the ticket booth. ‘Just one ticket please!’ you demand,head held high. Then it begins, the fifteen-year-old servingyou first of all asks you to repeat yourself. So you do. Then,still convinced you would never be so stupid and sad to goand perve on Brad on your own, he begins to check behindyou for the signs of a man, or at least a couple of girl-friends. Nope. Suddenly, that single self-confidence begins
to drain away. And there’s no sympathy from the smugcouples surrounding you, who are also baffled by your oddpredicament.
And it doesn’t get any easier once you make it into the
film. Because nobody can name a romantic comedy wherethe end result isn’t a blissfully happy couple. Even actionfilms usually try to incorporate a little ill-fated love betweena gangster’s moll and a guy from the wrong side of town.
In movieland, happiness equals being with someone,whether that manifests itself as a big romantic weddingscene or a life-threatening gesture of lifelong devotion. Nowonder that every time you walk out of a cinema you feellike declaring your undying love for someone, even if it’sthe damn car park attendant.
Social psychologists would also use the advertising
industry as further evidence for their theory that it is theoutside world that conditions us into thinking we need tobe in a relationship. Strangely, the cynical bunch don’tquite believe that a shower gel can turn you into a lovegod who will be worshipped, or that a certain chocolatebar can lead to cosy nights in with a male model by a logfire. The fact is that most adverts operate along a set narra-tive: if you buy this product, you will be more attractiveto the opposite sex, and therefore you will have your pickof the bunch, and therefore you will find the perfect partner,and therefore you will become complete. Lucky you. Andall for the price of a lip gloss.
And those who don’t buy into the race for a man? Sad.
Lonely. Bitter. To say the least, of course. Just as the mediaportrays the happy glow of coupling in an established andpredictable way, it also portrays single girls in a rather tried-and-tested manner. You can be scatty, snivelling and
searching, à la Bridget Jones, or the alternative is feistyand fast – think Jordan, who is consistently portrayed asa rather cheap, sad example of what will happen if youjust can’t settle down. If you’re not prepared to slot neatlyinto the couple box, then, ladies, these are your options.
If you’re going to go it alone, then you’re going to haveto develop an affinity for neurotic diary writing, or PVCknickers and furry dancer’s boots.
Social psychologists say that friends can also be part of
the machine that persuades us that we need to be in a relation-ship. When everyone you socialise with appears to beattached to someone else it can be hard. It takes guts tobe the only single person at a dinner party or to arrive ata wedding reception alone. And it can be a soul-destroyingmoment when you realise that your friends actually feelsorry for you. Sure they tell you that they admire yoursingle lifestyle, but every now and then you can tell thatthey’d never swap their comfy sofa on a Saturday nightfor your raucous nights out on the town.
So, in short, social psychology argues that rather than
being a basic need or urge, in fact being in a relationshipis something that we are conditioned to think we need.
The world around us convinces us that we need to dateand eventually become a couple with somebody, anybody.
It’s All About Sex . . .
The biological perspective has a far more straightforwardexplanation for our desire to be part of a couple. Accordingto the biologists, our need to be a ‘him and her’ is notabout pressure from our parents or about bullying fromsociety. It’s not even about longing for companionship. No,
they say it really is as basic as a need for sex. As humanswe all possess a sex drive to some extent and in some form.
Our attempts to be with somebody else are simply anattempt to fulfil that sex drive. And in a crude sense, asidefrom hanging around dirty nightclubs with dirty men,having a serious relationship is the surest way of guarantee-ing that physical contact. Psychologists say that the pursuitof that kind of pleasure is part of a healthy humanattitude. However, men and women can view it verydifferently.
Research has shown that when pursuing a relationship
and, more specifically, sex, women are often craving theemotional connection that it can bring. So, the minute justafter, when he looks so helplessly into your eyes before hefalls asleep, or the gentle stroking of your hair in themorning – that’s what the girls are after. Conversely, withthe boys it’s far more about the physical contact. Hairstroking and deep, powerful speeches about everlastinglove and your undying commitment to him (admittedlyperformed in your underwear) are probably rather lost onhim immediately after the deed itself.
Most women have experienced this fundamental differ-
ence in the way men see sex first-hand. Some of us havefelt the rather disappointing realisation that, actually, thatamazing, bonding, soaring connection you just made inthe bedroom didn’t mean quite the same thing to him.
And you know it didn’t mean quite the same thing to himbecause while you lay awake reflecting on it for hours andsecretly wondering if it was just the tonic you needed tomove your relationship forward, he’s fast asleep, snoringat a volume that is threatening to cause a seismic earthtremor. Lovely. And more than that, the experts have found
much the same thing. The makers of Viagra have com-pletely abandoned their attempts to prove that the maleimpotence drug can have the same effect on women.
Because, you see, we’re just more complicated. Scientistshave found that in men arousal always leads to desire, solibido can be improved by improving a man’s ability to getan erection. Makes sense, right? Yes, but in women thelink between arousal and desire is far more complicated.
We can be physically aroused yet, mentally, more psycho-logical factors come into play. Physiologically, our bodyreacts to sex in a far more complicated fashion, and psycho-logically it does too. This could explain why fewer thanhalf as many women are likely to have extramarital sexas men. We simply find it harder to divide sex and ouremotions.
So, the biological perspective asserts that we look for
relationships because we need to communicate physicallywith others. The manner in which we seek relationshipsand the attitude with which we view them can be greatlyaffected by external influences. For example, if your familyhas taught you that sex is wrong and dirty, then you maywell have problems feeling that you have the right to anactive and enthusiastic sex life. Equally, if your man hasbeen brought up in a family that does not show physicalaffection, then he might find it hard to bridge the gapbetween that non-contact and sex.
An understanding of the male body explains a few psycho-logical features of the male mind. So, ladies, if you would
be so kind as to turn to page one of your textbooks, letthe lesson begin. Let’s start at the top.
The male brain is entirely different from the female brain.
For example, take multitasking. We can all remember atime when we’ve cooked the evening meal, plucked oureyebrows and put rollers in, while selecting an outfit.
Meanwhile, he can’t answer a question as simple as ‘Whattime is it?’ because he is ‘concentrating’ – on washing atomato! Baffling. Likewise, we manage to type a letter tothe bank while speaking to his mother on the telephone.
You could put him in an empty room with your mother,with no other distractions, and he’d still struggle to con-centrate on exactly what she’s saying. And there mightactually be a genetic reason for this, although you prob-ably shouldn’t let him in on this nugget of information –he’ll be citing it for years to come as an excuse.
Research has shown that men have a less efficient ver-
sion of the gene that controls how easily we can switchour attention. And as well as genetic evidence there is alsoa school of thought that suggests that his inability to multi-task springs from ancient history, years before the phrasehad even been invented. When primeval females watchedthe children, organised the community and threw anotherpterodactyl leg on the fire for hubby when he came homefrom hunting, they probably didn’t describe it as multi-tasking. But that is exactly what they were doing.
Meanwhile, her mate’s objectives were far more straight-forward. Find, chase, kill, carry, eat. This history, althoughit doesn’t bear much resemblance to modern life (well,
apart from the bit where he comes home and wants toeat), could have a big impact on the way men still func-tion today.
Let’s move down a little now, so on to the heart. Now, forall their macho bravado and boy talk, everybody can spota man who is genuinely in love. All right, you might haveto wrestle with him to make him actually say those threelittle words, but deep down you know he’s smitten. There’sa common misconception that men just aren’t as emo-tional as women. After all, he doesn’t cry at pictures ofstarved puppies, he didn’t look even remotely moved whenScott and Charlene finally made it down the aisle inNeighbours
, and getting him to talk about his feelings islike asking a footballer to talk about fine art. However,it’s not that men don’t feel the same emotions as us. It’sjust that they feel less comfortable expressing them. Soperhaps he had a little snivel in his room about Kylie andJason – OK, so he probably didn’t. But when it comes tomore serious matters he feels emotion just as strongly asyou do. Evolutionary psychologists argue that the differ-ence in communication is because women, historically, havealways had more opportunity and, incidentally, time totalk about their feelings. (Chitter chatter about yourdeepest insecurities doesn’t sit well with a race to see whocan spear the biggest boar.) This has developed into aculture where children are told ‘big boys don’t cry’, and,perhaps consequently, suicide rates are highest amongstyoung men. Women have been socialised into expressingtheir feelings far more readily than men. So, when you feel
that he hasn’t told you he loves you enough times in oneday, rather than blaming yourself or him, it makes moresense to just remember and accept these basic links betweenemotion and gender. You’ll know how he feels becausehe’ll find other ways of showing you.
Now, let’s move down and out a little to the arms. Paycareful attention to these because hundreds of years agothose arms were used to protect, to hunt and to guard.
Now, they’re more likely to cook a fried-egg sandwich (forhimself) or hold a video game controller for hours andhours on end. And now, of course, you’re more thancapable of providing for yourself, thank you very much.
Traditionally, men have been providers and protectors:guarding the family, who are raised by the mother. A pat-tern was established whereby people were assigned rolesdepending solely on their gender. If you were a man, youwere handed a spear and told to go find food, no matterhow fast it runs. If you were a woman, you were used asa breeding ground for nine months before beginning thetask of rearing your children. And this pattern continueduntil relatively recently.
The suffrage movement was one of the first initiatives
to challenge these historic stereotypes. The feminist move-ment of the 1960s took things a little further, boastinggroups such as the National Organisation for Women.
And finally, in the early part of the twenty-first century,women are playing on a field that is more level than everbefore. Women and men are free to go to the same places,do the same jobs and earn the same amount of money. So
where does this leave the boys? Every part of his historytells him he should be providing and protecting. But howcan he provide for you if you’re earning twice as much ashe does? And how can he protect you when you don’t evenwant him to open doors for you? This shift in gender-assigned roles can cause conflict because we are socialisedinto believing that certain situations are desirable, evennormal. This puts unrealistic pressure on you and him.
You feel guilty about your success because your motherthinks your man should earn more than you, and he feelslike he isn’t fulfilling his duty to you because he alwaysfelt that he would provide for the woman in his life. Dealingwith and challenging these norms can be an essential partof any relationship.
Now down to the tummy. He probably prefers you to callit his ‘stomach’ because it sounds more muscly, so we’llgo with that for argument’s sake. This area symbolises therelationship men have with food and their bodies. Thechances are that whether he is the proud owner of a tightsix-pack or a rather more rounded keg he’s probably fairlyhappy with his body. While you squint, squirm and makemock-vomit noises in front of the mirror, he strolls past,has a quick glance, pats his hairy, wobbly little gut andgrins, before polishing off the takeaway you deprivedyourself of earlier. Men really do have a much healthierrelationship with their bodies than women. Again, this islargely due to the way we have been socialised. For years,women were valued solely for the way they looked, andwe were subjected to some pretty unrealistic role models.
Men have always been valued and assessed predominantlyfor their achievements and their successes, so the way theylook has consequently been less important. Admittedly,recent years have placed more emphasis on male vanity,and the boys have had a few media-marketed role modelsof their own, take the Chippendales or Peter Andre’snineties six-pack. But in general, looks have always beenless important for men, so they don’t feel the same pres-sure as women to look perfect.
Body image can be important within a relationship if
there are massive differences in how you each feel aboutyour bodies. He might not understand why you insist onmaking love with the lights off, or why you burst into tearsevery time he makes a joke about your ‘cuddly tummy’.
(When will they understand that we do not, repeat, do notlike words like ‘wobbly’, ‘cuddly’ or ‘squidgy’?) Also, theway we feel about how we look is inextricably linked toour general self esteem, and this can have a big impact onhow we conduct ourselves within relationships.
The Crown Jewels
Next, on to that boxer area. And no, you can’t just scootback a few pages and reread the ‘Brain’ section. We canlook back to our ancestors again to explain a little bitabout how his ‘other brain’ works. Ancient man cottonedon to the fact that the survival of the species was heavilydependent on reproduction. Therefore, sowing seeds allover the place was the way forward. Putting all your eggsin one basket or seeds in one field was not the most effi-cient way of ensuring you produced numerous offspring.
Therefore, random sex with random women kept the
species going without the hassles of what evolutionarypsychologists call ‘pair bonding’. If you zoom forward afew thousand years, getting every girl that they sleep withpregnant might sound like a young man’s worst night-mare. In fact, for most of them it is. But the basic urgeto spread the seed is still there, even if the desired resultis different. It is just an ingrown feature, like the urge toprovide or the urge to spend every Sunday down the pubwith his friends. But don’t let that be his excuse for flirtingwith every female within ten metres or ogling page 3 withan enthusiasm that you’re sure is unhealthy. If he pointsto FHM
and cites genetic make-up as his justification fora rather, ahem, crowded
lovelife, then suggest that thespecies has evolved, and if he disagrees then perhaps hewould like to revisit some other ancient caveman rituals.
Like wearing animal print. (And we’re not talking Guccihere . . .) And catching his own dinner. (It’s slightly moretesting than popping to Waitrose or waiting for you torustle something up.) And administering foot rubs everynight. (OK, so we made that one up, but try it, you neverknow . . .)
However, this could conflict with the way you see sex.
Men typically attach less emotional importance to sexand view it in a far more functional manner. This can begreat for getting a sense of reality and taking the pres-sure off both of you. But if he sees it as just sex when toyou it’s something more, then it can be disastrous for yourself-esteem. To you, sleeping with him for the first timemight be a symbol that you trust him and are willing tolet him into your life a little more. And that’s great, butnot if to him it’s just another notch on his seriously erodedbedpost.
And finally, we move on to the feet. Big, smelly, hairy andthe best metaphor there is for his commitment issues.
Because those feet can make the difference between himdigging his heels in and staying put, or doing a runnerand sprinting away from any sign of commitment. It iscommon for men to have problems with commitment.
We’ve all encountered that man who won’t hold hands inpublic. Or the man who won’t call you his girlfriend eventhough you’ve been going out for three years. Or the manwho doesn’t think snogging girls in nightclubs is cheating,as long as you don’t find out about it. It’s easy to thinkthat men just want to have their cake and then eat it, butthere are actually some deeper reasons for his fear ofcommitment.
Commitment means different things to men and women.
Bachelorhood has long been glamorised and dressed up tobe sexy, stylish and the epitome of a cool, single lifestyle.
A long-term girlfriend who you refer to as ‘snookums’doesn’t really fit into this picture. Conversely, being a singleyoung female, or worse a single aging female, has alwayshad an entirely different stigma attached to it. Bridget Joneshas always been seen as a little bit of a laughing stock inher desperate attempts to snag a man. The boys got JamesBond, we got snivelling, diary-obsessed Bridget. For women,commitment is about gaining something; for men, commit-ting can often mean losing something. And this can causemajor disagreements about where your relationship isheading.
So there you have Diagram A: The Male. And we’ve
pointed out a few of his weird and wonderful features.
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