From Colleen, who needs a male figure to guide her through her love life with his tough talk and wry commentary:
For the most part, I consider myself in charge of my life. I’ve never needed a man to to feel validated intellectually or physically and I’ve never had trouble fixing a toilet or mending a rip in my dress. I know what I want to drink at the bar (whiskey), how much I should pay for it and how much of it is too much. No one babysits me. In other words, I take care of my business.
There is, of course, one thing that I will can't control: I absolutely cannot talk to men. You see, I’m a woman with a decent IQ who can’t forge healthy romantic relationships. I'm Mindy Lahari-ish in the sense that I’ve dated some goddamn winners in the past, but I'm also Liz Lemon-y because I’m less romantically capable and more career/food-obsessed. I call it Female Comedy Writer Syndrome (FCWS).
In relationships, I’m easy to deal with. I have an active, busy life so I'm low maintenance. I take pleasure in what free time I have. My friends and family rave about my cooking. I’ll host anyone in my home so his friends are definitely invited to the potluck. Platonic friendships never bother me (my best friend of 15 years is male) and, now that I’m not 13, I get along with most girls. Again, no babysitting necessary.
The problem lies in the courtship phase. Women like me with FCWS need a Male Spirit Guide (MSG), an arrogant male to disagree with me on everything. No, seriously, everything. Want to send my crush a text about that cheesesteak I just drunk-ate at three in the morning? Want to divulge my dirty little boxed wine secret to the guy I've been out with twice and looks promising? Nope. Not without consulting my MSG. I need that MSG.
I’m fortunate to have several MSGs in my life: my aforementioned bff and my roommate’s boyfriend (who, coincidentally, was a close friend of mine for many years). I have particular qualities in mind when I go looking for a MSG because not every man makes for a good candidate. There are rules you need to keep in mind while vetting him. For instance:
1. He needs to know your dating history. When I sit down with clients for the first time, I ask them about what they've already done with their business. The same idea applies here. Your MSG needs to know how you work. He’ll help you weed out glaring incompatibilities that perhaps you are too rosy-lensed to see or what you’re obviously missing (the nice guy at your office who occasionally buys you a drink, for instance).
It’s important to note that your MSG should have some 3rd party knowledge of your romantic accounts. Your friends’ boyfriends are perfect MSGs because they’ve been receiving little whispers-down-the-lane about your most recent endeavors. Don’t kid yourself, some of that zaniness really was your fault.
2. You cannot be even remotely attracted to one another. I can’t stress this enough. If you want an objective opinion on whether or not that last email you sent was a little too much, it can’t be from someone that would have liked to receive that email. You don’t want any Cyranos here. (Sorry, bff. I still think you’re gross even though other women find you charming.)
3. He needs to have a sense of humor (and so do you). Here’s the thing: you need to have a sense of humor about yourself. Your MSG is probably going to laugh at you. A lot. It’s only natural.
There’s going to be a lot of banter about your odd behaviors. Don’t shy away from these teaching moments. Your MSG is just preparing you to handle these not-so-delicate situations with grace.
They say that laughter is the best medicine and, if that’s true, you’re going to need to laugh it off. Making light of your latest conversational blunder is the only thing keeping you confident and away from the cat lady abyss. Confidence is sexy. Giving up is not. And, if the guy really is being a douchebag, you’ll have a whole new well of comebacks to draw from.
So go out there and find yourself an Alec Baldwin to tell you when you’re slouching like a man, you devil, you.