Good evening, Dr. Ali – I’m Tabitha. Nearly 40, 4 kids, divorced twice, great career, living in the Midwest. I like to say I have an AMAZING dating resume (some sarcasm, but NO APOLOGIES)! Best of all, I fully believe myself to be a modern goddess (who happens to adore orchid ice cream!) I’ve been seeing a gentleman my age for a little while, he has warrior potential. We’ve enjoyed 4 very long dates…and they are long because of how much we’ve enjoyed them! The last two dates have included intimacy, with the hope for some of that ice cream. Unfortunately, while fulfilling many of my needs, this gentleman appears to have erectile dysfunction. Having an active sex life is important to me, I believe it is important to him, and based on some recent advertising, I’m pretty sure it’s still a possibility! I’m also pretty sure it’s not very goddess-like to suggest a visit to the doctor (and SURELY he’s noticed)…but what exactly does a modern goddess do in this situation?
Thanks for the note, Tabitha!
A modern goddess is also a grownup, we hope. Which means — you can talk about it! The same way you would say ‘wow, your shoelaces are untied’, you bring up the topic. Ask with curiosity and empathy, but in a straightforward way. If it’s a dealbreaker for you, tell him. If it’s not, tell him. Do NOT try to solve his problem for him; that’s his job. Any time you tell a guy what to do, the goddess risks tumbling down from Mt Olympus.
But you can share how you feel and what you want. It’s only a big deal if you make it a big deal — no need to get all tongue-tied and embarrassed about the whole thing. ED is not a character flaw just like a twisted ankle isn’t a character flaw. Just tell him you want to get something straight between the two of you (ha), and get the dialog started. The more comfortable you are discussing it, the more comfortable he’ll be.
Ladies. Let’s play a game, shall we?
I invite you to imagine a special kind of ice cream. It’s orchid-flavored. It tastes exquisitely good. Moreover, the deeper you dig into a scoop, the better it tastes. So much so that the last spoonful is almost orgasmic.
Not only does orchid ice cream taste good, it also seems to be good for you. It keeps the body healthy and balanced, and has particularly salubrious effects on the mind. After a scoop of orchid, you feel refreshed, relaxed and energized at the same time. And whatever was weighing on your mind before the scoop seems to magically evaporate afterwards. It’s almost as if you’ve exercised or something. Oh, and people who regularly eat orchid ice cream sleep better and rarely get depressed.
There is a catch: you can only order orchid ice cream if you intend to share it. Luckily, it tastes even better when it’s shared. Moreover, you forge a lasting bond with the person you share it with. Some people report having lifetime friendships even from just one scoop! And the more scoops you share, the stronger the bond.
Now you may be worried that orchid ice cream is fattening. But here’s the crazy thing: it’s not! It even (more…)
Hi Dr. A:
I had a second date with a guy on Sunday that I think I could possibly like–I certainly admire his work and his work ethic. BUT on our second date, we had a make out session but then suddenly he turned into octopus man and actually found out what color bra I was wearing! I wasn’t prepared for that and now am feeling slightly resentful and guilty and angry and wondering what I did. Yes, I kissed him passionately for minutes at a time. Was that it? Now that it’s done–I won’t see him for a couple of weeks (he’s away working.) That doesn’t bother me (yet.) My question is: How can I tell him I’d like to take things more slowly. I don’t want to cut him lose but he’s moving a little fast.
What’s the nicest, most encouraging thing I can say to him to get my message across without hurting his feelings or chasing him away–which I don’t want to do. I suppose just being honest about my feelings (in a nice way at the right time) would probably be the way to handle this. Just wondering what you think?
Thanks from a big fan, Jessica
Good question, Jess! Your inuition is correct: tell him that you’d like to take things more slowly — y’know, as opposed to just thinking about telling him. Communicate!
For difficult conversations, I like to use the Praise Sandwich: start with praise; say what’s on your mind (usually less pleasant than praise); end with praise. People tend to remember the first and last items in a list best (primacy and recency are the technical terms), so he’ll leave feeling good about the whole thing. In the meantime, you deliver your message successfully.
Also, in the letter it sounds like you’re blaming yourself for his ‘octopus’ behavior. From here, it sounds like he did it, and it’s probably because he thinks you’re hot, which is a good thing. Some day you’ll be 90yrs old and wrinkly and wish guys would make passes at you. Resentment, guilt and anger would be (more…)
I’ve decided to add a new feature to the blog: your letters! Well, okay, I’ve been doing letters for a while. But usually I would edit them down to their essence, extract one solid lesson from it, and present it to the world.
Well, real life is messier than that, and your letters reflect that. So henceforth I’m going to put up whole letters that you guys send me (identifying data removed), with my complete, unedited response. ‘Cause y’know what? I’ve got unlimited space on my blog!
If you’ve got a good one, here are the guidelines:
- Keep it short. Just ’cause I’ve got room doesn’t mean you should go bananas. Think about what’s going on before asking me, and distill it down to 100-200 words. Bonus: it’ll give you clarity on your situation.
- Tell me a little bit about who you are: age, location, work, educational background are useful for readers to relate to. And if you want to remain anonymous, leave out identifying information like blood type and credit card number.
- Make sure there’s a question in there. If you say “I’d like your feedback”, I may just respond with “Wow.”
- Remember that my expertise is in the dating and courtship aspect of things, not ongoing relationships. For that, there are much better qualified experts who can attend to your needs.
That said, here’s today’s letter (which you’ll see is too long by about 800 words):
Dear dr Ali,
I am a passionate reader of your tao of dating.
Whether i am a good progressive student of your ideas? i do not know. I know i love your way of approaching relationships and i have been learning from you so much. I decided to write to you because I need you perspective. I feel confused, disoriented. I am not sure If i am losing a good guy or it is just my illusion.
I have been in a relationship with Jonathan for 3 months. We met online and shortly after we met he wanted us to be exclusive. The relationship began in a beautiful way: great compatibility of our interests, easy to communicate. Great chemistry. I have noticed he definitely made more effort for this relationship to work. 3 weeks ago everything began to change. (more…)
Gifts rule. They elevate the gift giver, strengthen the bond of friendship, stimulate the local economy – and hey, they can make the recipient happy, too!
But what distinguishes the great gift from the merely commonplace?
While contemplating a departure gift for a friend who hosted me for a week, I looked back on the best gifts I ever received to come up with this mini-manifesto of kickass gift giving. Three principles emerged:
- Positive evocation: The gift must evoke positive feeling through its mere presence – it has to smell, taste, look, sound or feel nice.
- Mnemogenicity: The gift must remind you of the gift giver – regularly if possible.
- Longevity: The gift must be the kind of thing that you keep for a long time.
With these criteria in hand, why settle for a great gift when you can go for amazing? Here are some of the best ones I’ve ever gotten.
1. The extremely useful item of clothing
Actual gift: Red flannel Polo pajama pants.
These are the most comfortable pajama pants known to man. Seduced by its soft, warm fuzziness, many a college student has relinquished his membership in civilized society by wearing them all day long – even to class.
Why are these pajama pants an amazing gift? Because they last, evoke positive feelings, and every time I wear them to bed (often!) they remind me of my amazing ex-girlfriend Francesca, and how decadent, warm, soft and fuzzy she was. Wait, that was (more…)
Ahh, the plight of single men. If we wish to consort with the fairer sex, it’s up to us to approach women, charm them, ask them out, take them out, pay for the entertainment, go for the kiss, try to get to the next base — and risk rejection at every step. Every time you’re on a date, a cop might as well come up to you and say, “You have the right to screw up. Everything you say can and will be used against you in a court of public opinion of your date’s girlfriends.” You should probably avoid girls named Miranda.
At the same time, you have agency — you get to ask her out, instead of having to wait for the phone to ring. This is a good deal. With a little bit of caution and foresight, you can avoid these dating pitfalls and instead have a lot more fun and success in your love life. Here’s what to watch out for.
1. The postponed response, or the Almost Yes.
You call her up on Monday to ask her out for Friday night. She says, “That sounds great — let’s do it! Except there’s this one thing at work I may have to go to that night, and I won’t know until Wednesday if I’m free Friday night. Can I call you back on Wednesday or Thursday to let you know?”
Ooh. This has happened to many a man many a time. And if she’s some elusive hottie you’re really into, it may seem like you’ve hit the jackpot. She said yes, right?
Wrong. She said maybe. Which basically means you (more…)
Hi Dr. Ali, I just listened to your interview with Orna and Matthew Walters. I’m currently separated from my husband and looking for ways to become a more ‘surrendered wife’ and totally sink into my femininity. Do you have any books or resources you would recommend to help me with that?
We have had the modern 50/50 type relationship and our polarity is totally flat lined. We are both willing to put in the work and uncover our natural sexual essences (we’re reading David Deida’s book), and I’m just wanting to do my part to my best ability.
I would greatly appreciate your input. Thank you! — Heather M.
Y’know, it’s always a little awkward for me when women ask me for tips on how to be more feminine. Gladly! While we’re at it, let me teach some hawks how to fly better, and give some dolphins swimming tips.
At the same time, I do know what I like, and I have noticed differences between a woman who is super-feminine and one who has not quite mastered that energy.
So, for starters, I’m going to refer you to a book: The Sensuous Woman by J. It’s written by a woman in her late 30s-early 40s, of average looks and figure by her own admission, who somehow has every man wrapped around her finger. She does it by being deeply sensual — taking pleasure in the exercise of her 5 senses. Super-quick read. If you can get past some of the dated references, there’s some gold in them thar pages.
If you want to take it to the next level, get Slow Sex by Nicole Daedone. This book treats the root cause instead of giving you Band-Aid solutions. Watch the video of her I put up on the blog, and learn the technique.
As for pointers from this here guy: start wearing more skirts and dresses if you aren’t already. It’s funny how clothing can just snap you right into one state of mind vs another. If you were wearing a suit at work, change into (more…)
“Well, hello!” she said with a million-candle smile that cut through the darkness of the bar. Even in those three syllables, you could detect a hint of a European accent – several, actually. She was about thirty, of medium build and height with shoulder-length blonde hair. Good-looking but not discomfitingly so, wearing an olive-colored knee-high beige dress that was conservative but flattering to her figure. If you saw her at the supermarket, you’d probably think she was a stylish professional lady, nice if not remarkable, and continue minding your own business.
And you would be mistaken, because Victoria K. is one remarkable woman – probably the most charming woman I have ever met. She was so powerful that, within 15 minutes of meeting her, I felt as if I would have given her anything she wanted, full Brahms CD collection included.
What did she do to win me over so completely, in so little time?
First, she was welcoming. She gave me a big, warm hello, looking at me directly in the eye with a big smile on her face, even though she had never (more…)
A year after the 50th anniversary of the Pill, it thrills me that the news of women’s progress keeps coming. As of 2008, 57% of college graduates are women, and 26% of wives now out-earn their husbands. It’s not farfetched to say the Pill has been instrumental in making it possible for women today to head major corporations, run the world’s #1 university, and lead its fourth-largest economic power.
But have the overwhelming benefits of the Pill also harbored a subtle downside, especially when it comes to women’s love lives?
One of the central tenets of Taoist philosophy is the complementarity of opposites. The principle manifests itself everywhere from elementary particle physics to human relations. Electrons balance protons. Sunlight creates shade. Yin balances yang. To every positive trait, there is a shadow. No coin can have only one side.
In short, there is no unalloyed boon in the world. And the Pill may have been secretly messing with the love lives of smart, successful women for 50 years in at least three ways:
1) The Pill may make you pick guys you normally wouldn’t be attracted to.
In a 2003 paper, researcher Tony Little of St Andrew’s University and colleagues found that taking the Pill may be encouraging women to ‘have relationships with inappropriate men.’
Are we talking about men who eat their steak with a salad fork or maybe something more serious?
Let me explain. Women on the pill were (more…)
I believe that smart, fabulous, successful, attractive women deserve fulfilling, deliriously happy love lives. Sometimes, though, unintentional behaviors ruin our chances in courtship.
In compiling this list, I’m speaking as an author who’s been on the receiving end of hundreds of guys’ letters on their dating woes — and a single guy who’s been on a bad date or two. So what I’m telling you here is straight from the horse’s mouth — if horses had graduate degrees and spoke in complete, remarkably coherent English sentences.
Also note that the subject of this article was framed negatively to get your attention. Now that I have said attention, I will frame the items positively — things you should do. Tends to be even more useful.
So, you’re ready? Here they come:
1. Do everything in your power to keep the first date.
So your guy met you at a party somewhere. He stuck his neck out and wrote the first email, made the first call, and set up the first date.
Sure, you hit it off when you first met, and it was fun talking to him on the phone. But right now, as the moment of truth draws near, you just feel like you need to cancel or postpone. Excuses to cancel seem to be cropping up by the minute.
And you know what? That’s normal. The temptation to cancel the first date at the last minute is (more…)