Massaging the Male Ego

dreamstime_3687565-300x300When it comes to sensitivity to guys’ feelings, women can act, well, like men. We just didn’t get the proper training to deal when a guy asks, say, “Does this make me look fat?” We asked writer/comic/guy Mike Standish to tell us how to handle things when dudes get defensive.

Body Issues
You’re getting hot-and-heavy in bed with your lovably doughy dude and he starts to feel a bit self-conscious. Maybe he even utters the words “I feel totally fat”—or at least, “I wish I had a Brad Pitt six-pack.” Your natural instinct is, of course, to tell him to shut the hell up and get back to the business of doing the nasty. He reminds you of the last 100 times you asked if a certain pair of pants made you look fat. Um, yeah, mood-killer.

Guy Advice: If any guy’s in the sack with a girl, we can assume that he’s attracted to her and that she, likewise, finds him attractive. That much is obvious. So the fat guy who’s about to get laid is only thinking one thing: “This is awesome! This hot girl thinks I’m hot and I’m gonna have sex with her!” If a guy, fat or skinny, has anything else going through his head at that moment, you shouldn’t feel obligated to baby his ego. In fact, there could be something wrong with him–possibly something so twisted that you should dump him. Why? Because you don’t want to be with a guy who’s terminally shy when the clothes come off–you don’t need to stick around to find how why he’s that warped. Virgin? Mommy issues? Run! And, besides, you don’t want to be with a guy who’s too stupid to understand when a woman finds him attractive. If he can’t figure that out, how’s he gonna keep his shit together over the long term?

Hair Issues
One of the sexiest thing on a guy is his hair (sorry, guys who fall into the next group below). When your man changes up this all-important trait so drastically that you miss the old ‘do, what should you say instead of “why’d you change it, and how long before it grows back?”

Guy Advice: There’s nothing wrong with pointing out that a guy has made a fashion faux pas. In fact, we need that. There’s a reason I don’t go shopping without my girlfriend–she helps me not look stupid when I go out in public. So go ahead and tell us that bleaching our hair wasn’t such a great idea. Just do it in a way that you’d want to hear from us if the tables were turned. Good-natured, flirty teasing drives the point home without hurting any feelings, because, unless you’re dating an oblivious jackass, there’s a good chance he knows he’s made a horrible hair mistake, too.

Lack-of-hair Issues
Women are so acutely aware of the impending signs of aging–wrinkles, sagging, cellulite, et. al.–that we go to extreme measures and spend thousands of dollars on preventative treatments. So why’s it such a big deal when we casually suggest to our guy that he investigate some of those new hair preservation methods out there?

Guy Advice: Every balding guy knows he’s losing his hair. And every girl dating a balding guy knows it, too. So you may as well talk openly about the big, hairless elephant sitting in the corner. And take it from a guy: Tolerate Rogaine use, obviously (just make sure he’s not using some weird over-the-counter snake oil). However, feel free to immediately stop anything that’s designed to cover up baldness, rather than slow it down: toupees, plugs, combing whatever’s left too far forward.

The point is simple: Unless you’re completely shallow, you’re not gonna dump a guy because he goes bald. Just as he’s not gonna dump you if you don’t magically keep the body of a 20-year-old your whole life (if he does, he’s a complete ass, and you’re better off without him). So make sure he understands that you’re still gonna want to screw his brains out, even when he’s a chrome dome. I’ve got little hair left, and my girlfriend’s always told me that she thinks bald guys are hot. Even if she’s only saying that because I’m bald, it totally works.

Skin Issues
Not every guy’s a metro these days, and sometimes we forget this. Just like we prevent signs of aging, it just makes sense to prevent, treat, and abolish breakouts in adult life. So we think our gift of super-awesome exfoliating acne wash to our breakout-prone guy was pretty damned nice! He just got offended. Sigh.

Guy Advice: If his breakouts aren’t too bad and it’s such an awesome exfoliating acne wash, you should tell your boyfriend to suck it up and use the damn stuff. Seriously. But if it’s a medical thing that he can’t really do anything about—save for taking those weirdo shots that occasionally drive people insane with hormonal imbalances–then you probably just need to shut up and deal with the fact that your guy has zits.

He’s slaving away at the office, bitching about his unfair boss, and clearly in need of confronting said boss about a raise. So you casually suggest he just go and ask for one. This hits him in the most dramatic of male ego soft spots: The ability to provide. Now he’s pissed that you’ve called his manhood in to question and there’s nothing you can do to dig out of this particular dog house.

Guy Advice: Guys really do feel the pressure to provide. But we’re not exactly 1950s dads either. If your boyfriend has been working the same crap job for six years, with no raise, and does nothing but bitch about it, don’t make him feel any worse by nagging him about getting a promotion. Instead, start by asking him if he’s truly happy at work. Find out if he has plans to move on up or is considering a career change. Chances are he’s given the issue some thought already and might just need a pep talk. Which, in the end, might be all he really needs when any of these issues come up. That, and a well-timed blowjob.