by Gabriel Valdez
Over at Glamour, Jillian Kramer wrote an advice column called “13 Little Things That Can Make a Man Fall Hard for You.” Obviously, it’s chock full of wonderful advice, and I had so many thoughts in response to it that I can’t help but share them. I’ll list her thoughts in bold, and then mine:
Glamour: “1. Stocking the fridge with his favorite drinks. Bonus points: Bring him back to his fraternity days by handing him a cold one as he steps out of the shower.”
Great, now I have to put this beer back in the fridge. I’ll get the floor all wet if I do it now before I dry off, but if I don’t, then I’ll forget it in the bathroom and have warm, bathroom beer that nobody wants because it’ll be known from now on as that bottle of warm beer that got left in the bathroom.
Glamour: “2. Making him a snack after sex. It doesn’t have to be a gourmet meal – a simple grilled cheese or milk and cookies will do.”
Omelettes with cheese and peas are the best…but everyone except for me (and LL Cool J in Deep Blue Sea) is brainwashed into thinking that you have to add milk when you scramble your eggs, which makes no sense whatsoever and cuts the taste of the eggs themselves. And don’t steam the peas because that’s going to make them release water when you bite into them, and nobody wants a watery omelette. Sautee them in butter with just a little bit of browning – in fact, go back to bed, relax, and find a good show you enjoy. I’ll deliver you a late night snack in bed in 10 minutes.
Glamour: “3. Emailing him the latest online gossip about his favorite TV show. You don’t have to have a BFF at HBO. Just share applicable links from your Twitter feed and pat yourself on the back.”
No. God no. My job is as a critic. That’s why I have researchers and editors and cowriters.
E-mail me about the things that interest you, because you know what I don’t know about? Those shows I never watch that you think I should. Convince my ass to watch them. Or be like, “Here’s the latest online gossip about this hike that we should go on instead of watching TV all the time. If you forget the bug spray, I’ll kill you.” That’s hot.
Glamour: “4. Bragging about him to your friends, family, the stranger on the street corner – whomever. Proclamations of pride will make his chest puff out and his heart swell.”
This would get weird fast. Especially the stranger on the street corner; why are you giving out personal information about me to people on street corners?
Everyone likes to have good things said about them, but if it’s not natural or it’s one-sided or you’re sitting up late at night to come up with new wonderful things to say about me like it’s homework, then I have officially become school and you saying nice things about me has turned into your having to handwrite the Preamble to the Constitution 20 times because a teacher heard you say a cuss word and all of a sudden our relationship is essentially a form of 7th-grade social studies and you’re the student looking at the clock all day and I’m only sticking with this gig because I don’t want to lose my union benefits.
Glamour: “5. Answering the door in a negligee – or, better yet, naked.”
I mean, like, for the mailman? That wouldn’t make me happy. That wouldn’t make me happy at all. How long have you been seeing the mailman? Were you going to tell me about this? Were you – oh god no – were you going to send me a letter about it? Was he going to deliver it? Was he going to deliver the letter wearing a negligee in order to make me happy? WHY HAVE YOU CO-OPTED THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE AGAINST ME?!?
Glamour: “6. Being open to what he wants to try in the bedroom and out. An open mind is attractive no matter your playground.”
Well, sure, but that should go both ways. Like, if you’re all like, “Let’s try this crazy thing,” and I’m all like, “Oh god, no, hide the butter!” then let’s talk about it first. And if you’re like, “I’m not in the mood, let’s watch Netflix,” and I’m like, “Oh god no whyyyyy?” isn’t it keeping an open mind on my part if I respect what you want just as much as you respect what I want, and we watch one of the things you’ve been e-mailing me about instead. Wait…why are we watching The Postman Always Rings Twice ???
Glamour: “7. Letting him help solve your petty work problem. Many men don’t do gossip, but they do like to fix things.”
Yeah, news flash – men gossip. We’re just societally trained to gossip about sports and TV shows instead of, say, the interpersonal relationships that effect your life and career on a daily basis. You’re trained to call such important things “petty” when you write advice columns. But yeah, learn to enable my not dealing with emotion by asking me to solve problems that are part of your life while pretending the ones in mine all revolve around football. That’s sure the recipe for something healthy. Awesome segue:
Glamour: “8. Spitting out sports stats for his favorite team. Showing an interest in his favorite players will earn you points on and off the field.”
Oh, you know about Person X? Awesome, let me use your moment of rote memorization as an excuse to monologue at you for the next 30 minutes about all the things you’ve heard me say about sports 20 times before but that you’ll politely listen to me say again while you imagine tearing your hair out by the roots and shoving it down my throat. By the way, have you heard of our lord and savior Tom Brady?
Glamour: “9. Making a big deal of his favorite meal. Does he like hot dogs cut up into his boxed mac-and-cheese? Serve it on a fancy tray in bed to really see him smile.”
Boxed mac-and-cheese is a pristine experience. Maybe if it’s Annie’s Mexican, you cut up some fresh avocado into it, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go. I mean, I’m willing to experiment, but this is Macaroni and Cheese we’re talking about, have some respect. Plus…hot dogs. Cut up? In bed? Is that like a metaphor or something? Oh god, find 5 exits and rank them according to likelihood of escape in case she comes back with a knife. Freud was right about everything! Dear Tom Brady, I know I haven’t prayed to you in three days, but…
Glamour: “10. Treating his friends as well as you treat your own. If you win their affections, you’ll win his heart.”
As opposed to what, treating his friends worse than you treat your own? Is this how to “Make a Man Fall Hard for You” or is this “Not Being Keith Olbermann on a Daily Basis?”
Glamour: “11. Sitting side-by-side while he watches his favorite TV. It may not feel like quality time to you, but it’s the best time to him.”
No, it’s not. Look, if I’m not capable of watching TV on my own without feeling like I’m being ignored, then I’m probably not old enough to be dating. Let’s find something we both like watching – there are only 8 million TV shows on, or we can watch one thing you like and one thing I like, or I’ll leave the light on while I watch this so you can knit or play video games or study or do your lifting regimen.
Glamour: “12. Giving him a massage – happy ending completely optional. In fact, a foot rub works just fine.”
Hi, I’m the magazine Glamour, and this week in our “Things to do in a relationship” column, we’re going to recommend – listen closely now: sex. You may have heard of it, but we’re pretending the column is educational this week, so instead we’ll be coy and use language to tell women what to do that’s often reserved to describe brothels! How exciting. Next week, we’ll tell you what a good hourly rate is. Listen to all our good advice!
Glamour: “13. Taking him back to third grade-”
OK, wait, stop- what? Did you just read what you recommended in #12? And you’re going to start the next tip with “Taking him back to third grade.” OK. Sure. Let’s see where this goes:
“13. Taking him back to third grade with a gentle tease over anything from how you’ll dominate him on the basketball court to the weird way he just styled his hair.”
Hi, I’m the magazine Glamour, and this week in our “Ways to Flirt” column, we’re going to recommend flirting. You may have heard that flirting is a key component to flirting, but when flirting, please remember that flirting is involved in flirting.
The other way to take this is that they’re recommending that women start negging, which isn’t really equalizing as much as the suggestion that men stop negging might be.
Also, if you can dominate him on the basketball court, then please do it so that stupid articles like this thing from Glamour can stop reinforcing gender stereotypes that demand women hide their physicality, minds, and emotions behind trained behavior that makes everybody more dependent, less honest, and less interesting.
None of this is to call out Jillian Kramer as a writer. Looking at her articles at Glamour, she sneaks meaningful ones into the relationship listicles she’s required to write. That’s just the nature of the modern writer. My problem is with the perspective offered in her article, not with the writer herself, because that perspective is backwards, harmful, and needs to disappear.