“Why Men Love Bitches.” As soon as I laid eyes on that title, I knew I wanted to get to know this book a little better. And, like most bad relationships, it was good in the beginning. Don’t chase him, Don’t cook for him, Limit your availability, Believe in your worth – most of the first few sections of Sherry Argov’s book are fairly attractive (and contain practices I implement effortlessly, anyway.)
And then we arrive at page 75. Dumb Like a Fox: How to Convince Him He’s in Control While You Run the Show. Just the title gave me an uncomfortable tingle in my lower back. I knew something noxious was lurking on the other side of the page… and then – whoa. Check this one out: “When you appear softer and more feminine, you appeal to his instinct to protect. When you appear more aggressive, you appeal to his instinct to compete.” Yeah, um…. I’m going to have to call bullshit on this.
Maybe the guys she’s been with have had major insecurities… but I am here to tell you that lots of men are attracted to aggressive women. My current boyfriend loves it when I’m aggressive. In fact, if I wasn’t, he’d lose interest.
I don’t know how she does it – I suspect her idea of flirting is squeezing a guy’s bicep and cooing at it – but when I flirt with a guy, I’m usually battling wits or playing some sort of mental tag with him. I’m showing off. I’m “arm-wrestling” him a little. This does not turn guys off… competition is intriguing. However, Argov argues that when you “give a man the impression that you want to ‘wear the pants,'” you’re competing with him. When you compete with a man, according to Argov, he “plays to win at your expense,” since you’ve now become his opponent, and “good luck getting anything that way.” Personally, I prefer telling a man outright what I want and what I don’t want. Why? Because people tend to do better with clear instructions.
She then offers helpful tips on how to make him feel studly. I laughed out loud at the absurdity of these propositions, and when I read them to my boyfriend, so did he.
Argov’s Suggestion: If you hear a noise at night (like a bird pooping on the roof), act really scared. Tell him to check to see “what that noise is about.”
What I’d Actually Do: Grab my asp and pepper spray, get up, investigate, and devise a hypothesis. After determining it was a pooping bird, go back to bed.
Argov’s Suggestion: Ask him to open a jar that you can’t open (even if you can) or unzip your dress (even if you can reach it.) Or, you can ask him to lift a small box for you.
What I’d Actually Do: Open my own jar… though I would definitely let him unzip my dress if I thought it might make him horny… but, dammit, why stop at a small box? I’d make him lift a big box if I was struggling terribly with it – like my 60-inch TV. Thank god he was here to help me get that son-of-a-bitch upstairs.
But here’s the thing, Shel: aren’t you defeating your own purpose in the long run? I mean, are you really going to act that way all the time?? No, of course not – so what happens when you slip up and accidentally lift your own small box or kill your own spider or open your own jar? Won’t his ego be crushed and devastated from the realization that you didn’t really need his help all of those times? How manly will he feel when he figures out you’re feigning weakness?
If you truly want him to feel manly, show that you’re capable and strong. Then when you do need him, he will really feel needed. He’ll know that he did something big. Something important. Something macho.
He might even grunt with pride, if you’re lucky.
Seriously, Shelly, your exes must’ve had issues. Stand up for yourself? Yes. Be mysterious? Definitely. Play hard to get? Absolutely. But please don’t tell me to feign incompetence so that he’ll be attracted to my inferiority. That’s not foxy. That’s just dumb.