RelationHints! If There’s Going To Be A Bloodbath, Let It Begin Here

November 25, 2007

As Rene Descartes once said, breaking up is a grand pisser and a half. But sometimes it just has to be done. Either you’ve drifted apart, or you’ve met someone new, or the court order was renegotiated to 100 yards. While circumstances differ—and do they!— you probably want to formulate some sort of exit strategy, so when the end does come, you won’t be caught in a violent, sectarian mess that teeters on the brink of a bloody civil war.

So here are some tips to minimize the sloppy, disgusting mess that is the aftermath of a once-glorious but sadly-faded relationship, the obvious parallels to old war heroes, the network of historical New England lighthouses, and the career of Robin Williams best left unstated.

Force Your Partner’s Hand:
Sometimes, when you want to break up, force the other person to do it. This is a time-honored trick dating back to the Garden of Eden, when Adam kept making casual remarks about how lovely the apples on that tree looked but gosh darn it, there just wasn’t anyone around who loved him enough to risk chomping down on that tasty, forbidden fruit.

Often, the best thing to do is to set your significant other up with one of your friends. For a twofur, make it that friend who “forgot” to return that hundred bucks you lent him. Then you’ll have a good excuse to ditch both the heartless nag and the freeloader at the same time, or at least extract a promise to come over and play the Wii whenever you feel like it.

Another good tactic is to move the goalposts, and by “goalposts” I mean “become a completely different person since the time you put out on the first date.” For most individuals, this actually happens as a matter of course, and usually ends up in a mutual severing of ties or a mid-life crisis, whichever comes first.

Men and women are different! Both genders approach the breakup differently. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time—which, of course, for your purposes, is the right thing at the right time!—will give you casus belli to skedaddle in time to make those dinner reservations with that blonde clerk down at the gift shop in the hospital.

For women, you may want to take a small, insignificant detail that never bothered you before and blow it completely out of proportion, making it the functional equivalent of knifing Ron Goldman or Hiroshima. (Please note that this is above and beyond the normal things you should blow completely out of proportion on a regular, daily basis.) Here are some good sample ending starters:

“Why do you always have to open the car door?!”
I want to be the one to flip on the light switch. Is that too much to ask?”
“I guess I’ll never be the one who chooses which mechanic to go to.”
“If you ever sleep with my mother again, we’re through.”
“I love you.”

For men, you only need a well-timed statement to set off the slow, elaborate descent into the inevitable:

“Would you stop talking like that?”
“Cosmetic surgery isn’t that expensive.”
“Would you stop talking?”
“The Holocaust never happened.”
“I think your sister’s pretty.”

Different individuals react different to such drastic changes. Some people simply take it in stride and assume that the world is full of change and they adapt. These people are called “men.” Everyone else will use this as a basis to never let their partner do anything ever again for any reason until they transform themselves to the exact same thing they were when they first met, including but not limited to their income, personality, and wardrobe.

Call in the cleaners.
Don’t be selfish with your entrance into the single world. Recently trashed individuals are vulnerable and irrational, and this is the time they need to have meaningless, soulless sex. And emotional support, as well. I guess.

The rebound is a tried-and-true method of getting over an ex, and it’s one of the few romantic transactions that have the ability to be mutually beneficial to all parties involved. The ditched, or ditchee, needs a brief respite from relationships and romance, and just needs a friend to talk to and, if drunk enough, take advantage of. And there are plenty of individuals out there perfectly willing to be taken advantage of without all the fuss and feathers of romance, relationships, or last names.

Broken relationships can leave a fairly damaging mess—it interferes with existing friendships, it creates immense amounts of ill will, there is plenty of secondary collateral damage to other parties, and it makes holiday dinners and weddings somewhat uncomfortable. The important thing to remember is that it will all end up being better in the long run if you both can’t simply get along. Unless there was a gifting of jewelry, in which case the guys are screwed.

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RelationHints! How to Engineer the Perfect Bath of Hell-Blazing Fire

September 27, 2007

All relationships are built on a foundation. At least part of that foundation is trust, and trust is what converts mediocre relationships into great relationships. This foundation also has several key ingredients, most of which are related to love and happiness Well, unless you knocked her up on the third date. Then it’s mostly about money and not catting around.

There is an effective way of measuring this trust. To do this, partners in a relationship can engage in childish and petty tests that outside of the realm of emotional infatuation would have been considered creepy and ineffective, but when romance is involved is practically an establish branch of the scientific community.

There are, in fact, several ways to test a relationship:

The Always-Hilarious I’m Late Speech
Nothing says “I want to take this relationship to a higher level” than faking a pregnancy. By forcing a life-changing decision into your boyfriend’s existence, you can open up their soul and find out their true intentions by painting a fake white stick blue on one of the ends and crying for like six hours. Granted, if there ever turns out to be a real pregnancy, things may get slightly awkward. Note: This is quite difficult to pull off if you are male.

The Gradually Increasing Annoying Personal Habit Gambit

If you really want to know how your partner feels about you, take one ingratiatingly small personal peccadillo—leaving the cap off the toothpaste, leaving dirty dishes on the bed, sending money to Obama for America—and continue to do it even after all pretense of sanity has been drained from its original purpose. If your mate puts up with it, they probably think you’re worth it. Or else they’re going to use it to justify their own, worse habits, which is actually a pretty decent idea.

The Sudden Change In Eating Habits Test
Nothing throws your significant other off more than changing your daily routine, and nothing is easier to change than your dietary habits. By suddenly forcing a lifestyle change into one of the few normally recurring activities that are necessary to sustain life, besides breathing, sleeping, and checking your fantasy football scores every fifteen minutes, you can witness how much your soul mate can take. Become a vegan and watch him or her wither in a sweaty pool of awkwardness when they order an Egg McMuffin. Starting pouring Red Bull on your mashed potatoes for “added flavor” and watch the concern grow on their face. Continue this until the unfortunate effects of an all-broccoli diet manifests itself into having them not want to ride in the car with you anymore.

The Take An Extraordinarily Small Detail And Blow It Way Out Of Proportion Maneuver
This one has the advantage of being easily implemented, since small things are pretty much found throughout normal conversation, such as how much you dislike the current state of the weather, the recent state of the local professional sports teams, or how you slept with his brother. They key is to latch on to one reasonably insignificant detail and blow it up into a crime worse than the Son of Sam, and then call your mate on it in the most inconvenient time, such as riding in the passenger side of the car when they can’t escape, or a bris.

The Introducing A New Friend Into The Circle Strategy
You have your friends that she hates, and she have their friends that you hate, and there are a lucky few of those friends who overlap, and those are the people who you will drive absolutely insane by arguing in their presence all the time. Of course, no one wants to upset the status quo, because everyone is used to it. Invite a new hot young lady into your friends, or some dude with a six figure salary, and watch the dynamics change like the Havana once the checks from the First Bank of Moscow stopped showing up in the mail.

The Sudden Death Strategy
This test is often best executed at the tail end of a large-scale grade-A class-1 argument. (In fact you may want to use the Take An Extraordinarily Small Detail And Blow It Way Out Of Proportion Maneuver to reach this end.) Declare that your relationship is over and you will have no more talk of marriage, family, or the redemption of tontines. The resultant screaming, pleading, and preparing of packages of the other’s belongings to be dropped off at the doorstep in the dead of night will show your potential spouse’s true colors.

The Move Out Of The City, Get A New Job, Change Your Name and Phone Number Ploy
To truly find out how the person you love feels about you, moving away and changing all of your contact information is an excellent and efficient way to gather this information. If you truly want to know what is in the deep recesses of their soul, you should meet someone new in your latest home city, forge and develop a relationship with that person, marry and raise a family with them, and die holding their hand. That’ll show them!


RelationHints!: Dress for Sexcess!

July 28, 2007

If you’re trying to attract that special someone of the opposite sex, it’s highly important that you look the part—a sexy, smart outfit is one of the keys to making a good first impression to further your search of another like-minded individual. A shallow, soulless individual.

While there are plenty of other important factors concerning your appearance, such as hair, makeup, and not pulling up your shorts until you’re certain that urine has ceased to be produced and ejected from your body, today we’re specifically going to look at your attire and what it means for your romantic prospects. That, and make fun of metrosexuals.

Disclaimer: Please note that the below information is primarily for the two genders to impress each other. I am fully aware that there is a latent subculture of women who dress specifically to compare themselves to other women, a concept that is frightfully humorous to men who really could care less what they look like to other men, but don’t say anything to women since, hey, let’s face it, who’s really benefiting from all that competition?

What You Wear Says A Lot About You: Your appearance gives hidden, nonverbal cues to your potential mate. With only a glance, an individual can compute how much they are attracted to you, what kind of respect you have for yourself, and exactly how many drinks it’s going to take to get you to stare at the ceiling for about forty five seconds or so.

Men will want to put on an impressive effort to show that they don’t spend most evenings in navy blue boxers and the same Pearl Jam T-shirt they’ve been wearing since that totally awesome weekend back in ’97, which of course all men do. This usually requires removing most of the beer stains from their shirt and pick out jeans that don’t look like they’ve been left at Michael Vick’s basement overnight.

Thankfully for men, styles don’t change very often. Sure, sure, sure, clothing lines and fabrics will tend to change over time, and certain decades trot out outfits that were apparently conceived by blind second graders, but there’s a fairly limited range of actual designs. This makes things easier and, more importantly, cheaper.

Women, on the other hand, have to balance their appearance through a variety of styles. They want to look attractive while, at the same time, don’t want to look like a whorebag or, worse, wear something that went out of style six weeks ago. Usually this involves an intricate blend of modesty and sensuality, which can often be accomplished through a combination of tight denim, loose necklines, and about sixteen hundred ounces of eye shadow.

Super Secret Special Tip For Women: Don’t spend too much time on certain accessories. You could be wearing horseshoes as earrings and men would neither notice nor care.

What Color Is Your Power Suit? While texture and coordination are important, most people are going to notice the colors you are wearing first. Psychologists at a university I just made up have run laboratory tests to determine what people think when they see specific colors, and it may be helpful to know what kind of vibe you want to display:

Blue: You eat the same cereal every day, take the same route to work each day, and have no imagination whatsoever.
Green: You are Irish, or it is St. Patrick’s Day, or are colorblind.
Brown: You are a UPS driver.
Black: When you were sixteen you went to a Natalie Merchant concert and have never left.
White: You are unafraid or unconcerned about blemishes appearing on your outfit through eating, drinking, moving, or doing anything at all for any reason.
Teal: You have recently lost a bet.
Red: You are an advocate of the collectivization of the means of production.
Pink: You are either overcompensating for your lack of femininity, or feel like you must prove your testosterone level. In either case, get a hobby.
Magenta: You are a monitor for a Commodore 64.
Purple: You think it is 60 BC and you are a prince.
Burgundy: You have recently been shot by Harvey Keitel.
Mauve: You are performing penance.
Lilac: You wear your Christmas gifts instead of returning them.
Orange: You think you are either a traffic cone or 1979.
Yellow: You are twelve years old.
Formica: You cannot tell the difference between a hardware store and a clothiers’.
Maroon: Your hand-eye coordination becomes increasingly unreliable the more wine you drink.
Beige: You do not know how to properly separate your laundry.
Gray: You are either an actuary or my ex.

Men and Women Are Different! Both genders dress for different reasons. Females actually enjoy the act of coordinating accessories: jewelry, purses, shoes, hair color, bloody stilettos removed from each other’s backs, etc. In fact, entire magazines, retail stores, and basic cable stations are devoted to exclusively promoting a clothing-coordinated lifestyle, a highly humorous fact for those females who scoff at certain individual’s roughly equivalent devotions to, say, golf, or Nascar.

Men, on the other hand, dress for comfort. If they’re going to be impressing someone, they aren’t competing with each other. If that were the case, most men would simply draw up business cards with their annual salaries and hand them out at nightclubs. Which, really, should be the most important thing. Why spend all this effort on dressing up for the sole purpose of not being dressed up later?


RelationHints! Getting Over Those Primae Noctis Jitters!

May 1, 2007

The most difficult part of any relationship, besides the soulless burden of constantly maintaining a debilitating façade of ever-increasing demands to keep the relationship civil, the emotionally empty trivialities of building a life together, and developing a workable furniture-purchasing consortium between all parties involved, is that very first date, the first time you lay your eyes on that shining jewel that you will call your soulmate and think silently to yourself, “I’d love to get into their pants right now, but I guess I have to buy dinner first.”

First impressions are very important, of course, and your first date with that special someone will be chock full of them. So you must be careful! Here are a few tips to help you get over your first date nervousness.

Don’t Come Across As a Prick! Make sure you’re creating an impression that fits what you’re trying to sell to the person you’re with. Your personality is the most important part of the total package, fourth only to your credit limit (for girls), size of your breasts (for guys), and willingness to put out (all of the above). So your personality is something you want to emphasize, since the other three factors are notoriously difficult to change in the short run (paying the mortgage on time instead of spending it at the Outback Steakhouse to celebrate major events such as coming home from work, months of expensive surgery, and increasing numbers of Jaeger shots, respectively).

But what kind of personality do you want to convey? Unless you’re Robbie Williams, you always want to be yourself, but that doesn’t mean you can’t emphasize your strengths and downplay your liabilities. Unfortunately, what may be liabilities to one person may be strengths to another. So you need to size up your potential mate and start creating that brief, shining PowerPoint of yourself.

Your Date: Emo Chick
Emphasize: Knee piercings, The Cure CDs you own, your ability to buy her absinth
Avoid: 2nd period English, Clear Channel Communications
What You Have In Common: You both say you hate American Idol, but you both secretly want to be on it

Your Date: That Cute Guy From Accounting
Emphasize: Your feelings about the undue restrictiveness of the corporate dress code, Janet from the mailroom’s unruly nose-blowing habit
Avoid: Pay Scale
What You Have In Common: “Boy, the printer on the south side of the second floor gets a paper jam error a lot, doesn’t it?”

Your Date: Country Girl
Emphasize: Dogs, Tennessee
Avoid: Japanese pickup trucks, Up!
What You Have In Common: Steaks rock, no matter what the animal.

Your Date: Latent Metrosexual
Emphasize: Highlights, Grey’s Anatomy
Avoid: His childhood priest, Bravo
What You Have In Common: You’re both wearing the same blouse

Your Date: Sorority Sister
Emphasize: The limits of her open-mindedness
Avoid: Past relationships, Dad
What You Have In Common: You both know the directions to the clinic

Your Date: Hippie
Emphasize: Your progressive position on the FMA, acid rock
Avoid: the fact that he’s 40 years old
What You Have In Common: You both have a ponytail

Men And Women Are Different! Both of you are looking to hit it off, but you’re both looking for different things. This is important! Women, for instance, are trying to make sure that this is a guy who they’re going to feel comfortable with; they are looking for an affirmation that this is someone who can be trusted; they are looking for signs that this is a guy who’s going to be fun to be with but also responsible with his life; they are hoping to determine if this is someone they will want to raise a family with; they are looking to make sure that this is not an individual that will hurt them, their friends, or their relatives; and they are looking to see if this is going to be the beginning of a relationship to spend the rest of their lives together.

Men want to get laid.

Try Hard Without Trying Too Hard! This may seem contradictory…but then again all relationships are contradictions! Isn’t that capital-W Wonderful! While you want to make sure that a first date is going to lead to a second date, you want to make sure that you don’t make the other person uncomfortable. If the other person involved isn’t sure if they feel the same way you do, they may feel pressured to either feel like they don’t want to string you along, or they may feel pressured to not tell you no even though they’re not interested. In either case, expect to have your heart broken! Seriously, you should. It makes things significantly easier. Also, diazepam.

In the final analysis, you can tell how the first date went fairly easily. A few short, common phrases can tell you quite a lot about how things went. Keep your ears open for the following:

Good Sign: “I had fun tonight.”
Bad Sign: “The fries were OK, but the junior bacon cheeseburger didn’t have that… je ne sais quoi.”
Good Sign: “This is a beautiful night tonight.”
Bad Sign: “How far a walk is it to the nearest turnpike rest area?”
Good Sign: “I can’t wait to hear your voice again.”
Bad Sign: “You don’t happen to watch Dateline NBC, do you?
Good Sign: “I’d like to see you again.”
Bad Sign: “I’d like to see you again.”

Above all, remember this: make every date your first date, and your relationship will never grow old. Plus, prepare to be broke.


RelationHints! Conflict, Strife, and Other Displays of Affection

March 21, 2007

Today’s RelationHints are all about resolving differences! Every couple has occasional spats, but it isn’t all that hard to determine what the causes are for this kind of conflict. Once we determine what the problems are, there are several creative and fun ways to fix it. And most of it doesn’t involve prescription strength Midol.

So here are a few ways to identify then resolve your incompatibility issues. Some things to keep in mind:

Men and Women are Different! One of the most important things you can do is realize how men and women approach relationships. They are incredibly different! For instance, the female approaches a relationship by adhering to the following rules:

1. Do you have any money?
2. Would he be willing to give me some?
3. It looks like he’s done giving me money.
4. We can still be friends!

Men, of course, follow a different set of criteria:

1. Boy, I’d like to get in her pants.
2. Maybe if I cry during The Notebook.
3. Yikes. She’s called me twice this week. Better ditch the needy attention whore.
4. I wonder what her sister is doing tonight?

For the proper relationship, you have to find the point where these two sets of rules meet. It’s not hard! Alcohol is a great way to find a converging point to a blissful couplehood. Why else do you think your parents are still together?

Agree on something! Conflict is an inherent part of any relationship—thank goodness! Conflict can help build a relationship. By resolving these conflicts, couples can explore their boundaries and come to mutually acceptable solutions to their problems. This, in turn, brings you closer together. The perfect couple is always an unhappy couple! At least if you want to get to sleep at night! Ahem. Anyway, let’s take a look at some examples:

Example 1: Brian asked Jill if he could go out with the guys to watch the game, and she said okay. That night, though, Jill changed her mind and wants Brian to stay home and watch HGTV with her. Brian complains that he received prior approval and promised the guys he’d be out.

Solution
: Brian should stay home and watch television! There are seven whole playoff games, but only four episodes of House Hunters on in a row. Besides, if he doesn’t, Jill will bring up the time he looked four seconds at that cute waitress without looking the same amount of time at her immediately afterwards.

Example 2: Tina has wanted Ken to fix the hand railing on the porch outside for months now. Ken knows it is going to be a chore; it’s going to cost at least $400; and it’s a barely noticeable wobble.

Solution: Ken should fix the hand railing! Clearly, thirty-two hours of toil over three weekends in February along with $400 in materials is a small price to pay to not have her mother make a three-second condescending remark about how the house needs fixed up.

Example 3
: Jenny wants to purchase a new set of pumps that cost $180. Paul thinks this is too much to pay for shoes that will be worn maybe twice until they are out of style, and, besides, they are two mortgage payments overdue.

Solution: Paul should let her buy the shoes! It’s certainly important that all of Jenny’s girlfriends know that Paul makes enough money to let her buy $180 dollar shoes. Besides, mortgage debt isn’t included in state law to calculate alimony payments!

See? It’s not hard to find solutions. It’s those small, trivial things that make relationships so interesting! That and the items on the creepy shelf at Spencer’s Gifts.

Find Common Ground! Although most couples enjoy finding out a lot about each other, it can be surprising how much you don’t know about your partner, like the favorite childhood hobby they gave up, or their middle name. There may be things you both enjoy doing that you never thought about before! It will be useful to explore these points of interest and participate in them. Sit down and discuss what you both like, and just see what you can discover!

Her: Coach bags are great.
Him: What’s a Coach bag?
Her: I’m into scrapbooking!
Him: No shit.
Her: I love dolphins.
Him: I kind of thought those forty ceramic dolphins in my bathroom were a pretty good indication of that.
Her: And I loooooove Grey’s Anatomy!
Him: Eh. I’d rather watch The Sopranos.
Her: I don’t love you anymore.
Him: What?

Even if you can’t find any common points of interest, it’s not hard to create some. Try some adventurous activities that will bring you closer together, like skydiving, repelling, or shopping for drapes. Life was never so full of living life!

We’ve covered a lot of ground today. The most important thing to remember is that, for good or bad, all relationships are built on negotiation and trust, if by “negotiation” we mean “craven capitulation” and by “trust” we mean “we do whatever she wants.” Happy coupling!