Advertising Sins: Everything I Do Is Wrong

There’s this dreadful ad presently running:

Women take note: these are shot from YOUR presumed perspective.

Now, from a pure-comedy standpoint, the computer-enhanced doofy expressions on the men’s faces really are pretty funny. They ain’t Mort Drucker, but as caricature goes they’re decent.

Pretty much everything else in this is awful.

Before I even get into the sexism, can I just say that this is a really ineffective ad campaign for milk? The classic “Got Milk?” ads were based on market research that showed that milk is just something most people expect to have in the house, and they only really think about it when they run out. Please, show me one single consumer who thinks “Well, I wasn’t going to get any milk, but… reduces PMS symptoms, you say? Shit, let’s stock up!”

So really, when you come down to it, this isn’t an ad for milk. This is an ad for the concept of “Bitches be crazy.” A popular and long-running concept, it’s the notion that women are fundamentally irrational creatures who cannot be reasoned with or engaged with on any level. All you can do is try to appease this mad creature with gifts, in this case an average of 1.75 gallons of generic milk. (Ladies, I apparently cannot fathom the depths of your lunacies, but… seriously, have you ever sat around going “Gosh, but I could go for 1.75 gallons of generic milk right now, that would surely win my favor”?)

The craziness of women, of course, emanates directly from their uterus. We used to call it hysteria (okay, some still do), nowadays we pass it off as PMS, but either way it’s understood to be a direct correlation. If you have womanly parts, you are bugfuck nuts and there’s nothing to be done about it. Women reading this, how often have your concerns or emotions been dismissed or laughed off on the grounds that it must just be your wacky hormones talking?

And that’s exactly what we’re seeing in this ad. These six guys are completely dismissing whatever their wives or girlfriends are saying. They’re not listening, they’re not engaging, they’re just blindly capitulating to whatever strange mouth-noises she’s making, and desperately hurling dairy products at the problem.

Talk about your problems? Try to understand your wife’s perspective? Actually apologize for something, instead of just making apologetic sounds that don’t relate to anything real? Pfah! Those are tools for dealing with a rational being, not the fearsome and wild-eyed creature known as Woman.

What we’re seeing here is an odd fetishization, in a lot of pop culture, of really awful relationships. Clearly these guys aren’t happy, and clearly the women they’re frantically waving milk at aren’t happy either. And yet this is presented as a normal, standard relationship. This ad is, by its very structure, what Holly has called a “that always happens” joke. Ha-ha, marriage: the union of a miserable raving harpy with a miserable cringing moron, amirite? There is nothing higher to aspire to than that, we are constantly subtly informed: the best-case scenario is a crazy bitch and a stupid asshole making each other unhappy until one of them does the other one the favor of dying. That is the implicit conceptual structure underlying this ad. If we fail to take that idea of marriage for granted, there’s nothing funny about this ad but the amusing faces they’re making.

Oh wait, that’s right.

About noahbrand

Noah Brand is a mysterious figure with a very nice hat.
This entry was posted in advertising sins, noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz, relationships, sexism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Advertising Sins: Everything I Do Is Wrong

  1. “Women reading this, how often have your concerns or emotions been dismissed or laughed off on the grounds that it must just be your wacky hormones talking?”

    Way more times than I could possibly count. It’s screamingly annoying, plus it tends to make you doubt your own sanity.

  2. Han Jammer says:

    These ads seem to be saying that the psychological abuse of male partners is acceptable.

  3. noahbrand says:

    @Han Jammer, I’d say it’s worse than that: I think they’re assuming (whether they know it or not) that psychological abuse is inevitable, an intrinsic component of male-female relationships.

  4. Cassandra says:

    I have a friend stuck in this precise paradigm. His girlfriend breaks up with him on a weekly basis, full with “you done me wrong” recrimination for imagined wrongs, or for perfectly acceptable logical actions which she misinterprets as attacks or slights. He has tried indignation, has tried mollifying, has tried reasoning, has tried patience.
    I have tried to point out to my friend that he’s in an abusive relationship with a psychologically immature partner, and that it is viable to aspire to be in a healthier, saner relationship.
    But a week after the latest breakup, my friend and his girlfriend are back on the couch, watching a movie, as if nothing has happened. And I know they’re three days away from the next dispute, the next “how could you,” the next “you don’t care about me.”
    I believe he is doing himself a disservice by staying in the relationship. Clearly the draw is sex, and the availability thereof – which I understand to be “really good”. And, I imagine, the issue is his belief that she is not easily replaceable – as he’s not-that-rich, not that-good-looking, not-that-young.
    But, as Noahbrand writes so poignantly in this article, “raving-harpy+cringing-moron” does NOT have to be the formula for a relationship. And caricatures like these don’t make it any easier for those in abusive relationships to identify their relationships as such. Caricatures like these help prevent the “aha” moment when an abused partner in an abusive relationship goes “WTF??” and bring about a life-change.
    I wonder, would it be quite so funny if the genders were reversed?
    Would it be just as much of a hilarious knee-slapper to see a cringing, cowering woman (perhaps with a black-eye), bringing home a mollifying six-pack?

  5. Anthony says:

    “What we’re seeing here is an odd fetishization, in a lot of pop culture, of really awful relationships.”

    Yup. Possibly my least favourite of many hated relationship memes in pop culture. Anyone else have any love-to-hate favourites of the genre?

  6. Emmeline says:

    I saw this shitfest of a site yesterday and wanted to punch whoever made it for being so insulting to both sexes. Hey, I have PMS that makes me want to take out my ovaries every time, I can blame it on that!

  7. Shelby says:

    Ugh, I hate PMS generalization. When I was a little girl, whenever I argued with my dad, his first question regardless of the specific disagreement was “Are you on your period?”. If I wasn’t, I was being overly-emotional; if I was, clearly I needed to take Advil and have a quiet lie-down.
    I do not get weepy or angry around my period. I get an urge to eat salty foods for a day or two and sometimes some cramps, but that’s pretty much it. It’s basically like every other day. Why do some people insist that every woman goes batshit insane during her period?

  8. noahbrand says:

    @DMB: I think Emmeline meant the site advertised in the ad, http://everythingidoiswrong.org/. The tagline there is “Are you a man living with PMS?” Unpack THAT crazy shit if you can.

    As to your “testosterone poisoning” theory, I don’t really think it’s equivalent. I mean, as far as I can tell, men don’t get our opinions dismissed as irrational on a daily basis solely on the grounds that we have testicles. Not everything has an equal and opposite counterpart.

  9. typhonblue says:

    Products > people!

    Don’t you love our corporate overlords and their delightful antics?

  10. typhonblue says:

    As for the content of the ad. I am one of those women who goes through a horrible period of irritated despondency prior to menstruating.

    However it *is* possible to look at the calendar, realize that your angst is purely hormonal and wait it out with a cup of tea and a good read instead of inflicting your lack of emotional homeostasis on someone near-by.

  11. noahbrand says:

    @typhonblue: Yeah, I was just talking over the thinking behind this ad with some of the women in my house, and they were saying “Okay, is it impossible in their world to say ‘Sorry, I was being a bitch earlier; I didn’t mean it’? Because I’ve said that like a hundred times.”

    Hell, I’m male, have never had PMS that I’ve noticed, and I’ve had plenty of occasion to say “I’m just in a lousy mood right now; I didn’t mean to snap at you” or something to that effect. Does nobody do this in AdWorld?

  12. trinity91 says:

    as someone who actually has PMS this pisses me off. I *do* actually turn into an emotional mess right before my period starts, but I’ve also been accused of PMSing because I was angry about something.

  13. Corteks says:

    As much as I’ve had female partners blame plenty of mutual misinterpretation on me or expect me to listen to what they meant rather than what they said these things are hardly gender specific things. From my experience I’ve seen these sort of BS ideas trotted out by both sexes plenty of times, in fact I’ve found most times people make sweeping generalizations about a specific gender I’ve seen the very same things accused of a different gender. It’s honestly pretty ridiculous and I have no idea why people are so set on perpetrating it.

    I mean geez there’s been plenty of times I’ve been unable to get my thoughts out into words properly, so I’ve definitely had my own share of “do what I mean, not what I say” (and various other crap). But hey, I try and identify when I’ve messed up and make myself more coherent/whatever needs to be done. Of course laughing at these ideas and just going “well that’s just how it is” doesn’t help at all. We all mess up sometimes and the point is to try and improve rather than just sit there and go “oh I pissed you off? Well this is just how it is. Deal with it.”

    Oh and I just cringe so hard at the nagging wife married to incompetent buffoon archetype. Especially the sit-coms that use this as their main premise. I’ve gotta agree it’s a pretty horrible thing to imply that that’s the status quo. Personally, as a dude, I find it pretty insulting that I’m by default an incompetent moron. No doubt the Nagging wife archetype is insulting to women too, it’s all pretty shitty :/

    “they’re just blindly capitulating to whatever strange mouth-noises she’s making, and desperately hurling dairy products at the problem.”
    Thinking in an absurd, cartoony, sense this is kind of a hilarious mental image 😛

  14. My god, those ads are fucking horrible.

    The idea that women are inscrutable and conniving is so ingrained in North American culture that often, when I’ve straightforwardly stated how I felt or what I wanted, guys have assumed I was lying in order to manipulate them. *Sigh.*

    As for PMS…it just makes sad or annoying things sadder and more annoying, for me. It does not cause me to freak out on my partner for no reason. It does not cause me to speak entirely in riddles and become enraged when my partner doesn’t decipher what I “really mean”. I always say what I really mean. If I’m PMSing I’ll just say it A LOT FUCKING LOUDER and then probably apologize afterward.

  15. unreal man says:

    Well that ad pretty much reflects my recent relationship precisely (though not the milk part of it).

    However, it was me who got together with this woman and it was me who let her get away with her poor behavior for so long. In other words, I did it to myself.

    There are irrational and immature and emotionally unskilled people among men and women alike. HOWEVER, it seems that men are more willing to tolerate it and put up with it in their partner than women. Consequently we see far more relationships that fit the description of the ad than we do with the sexes reversed. The fact that they made this ad is implicit evidence for that.

    So, I really do think it’s down to men to not put up with abusive behavior. Perhaps we’re also lacking the infrastructure to teach them that they don’t have to. Many men will learn from growing up that this is how things are normal and so don’t even consider that they should try to avoid it.

    Mod Note: Edited to remove ‘retarded,’ which is an ableist slur.

  16. noahbrand says:

    @unreal: I think you’ll find that there are plenty of women in abusive or just plain lousy relationships. This ad is more reflective of dubious cultural narratives, to my mind, than any actual facts on the ground.

  17. Jared says:

    I remember when I was about seven, I asked my mom, “What is PMS?” (I think I’dbeen watching Rossane)
    She replied, “An excuse some women use for treating their families like crap.”

  18. unreal man says:

    @noahbrand
    I’m aware of that. The difference is though that those relationships are easily declared “abusive” or “lousy” (not necessarily by her though). But when the woman is doing the abusing, it’s hardly ever called that. Instead it’s regarded as normal or even good. This ad reflects that.

  19. kaija24 says:

    What we’re seeing here is an odd fetishization, in a lot of pop culture, of really awful relationships.

    This is a great phrase and I’m gonna borrow it! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who HATES this trope in advertising, TV/movies, etc. It makes me so angry to see this dysfunctionality and bad behavior for both genders being trotted out as matter-of-fact in so many outlets! I guess I’m going to have to write a letter to the Got Milk people now (I swear, writing letters of complaint could become a full time job). I don’t know anyone who acts like that or interacts in their partnership like that…I don’t know anyone who fits the bumbling man/nagging wife (he’s usually overweight and dumb, she’s usually conventionally hot and whiny…ala “King of Queens”) stereotype either. Most people I know do their best to communicate as best they can and work out the misunderstandings and spats that inevitably occur in any relationship. Yeesh…

    When I was a teen, I had horribly painful PMS and periods, physical discomfort that doubled me up in pain, but it didn’t turn me into a raving bitch. Then I discovered the miracle of birth control and didn’t have to put up with that shit anymore. Now when someone suggests that I’m PMSing, I just roll my eyes and say “I haven’t had a PMS or a period in almost ten years…modern birth control…look it up” and carry on 🙂

  20. marc2020 says:

    I think there are fucked up standards for staying in abusive relationships for ether gender

    Women are conditioned to think its there job to civilise men (because you know deep down we’re all a bunch simple mined uncultured brutes) and if they fail in this task then they have failed as girlfriends/wives and what happens to them as a result is ultimately there fault.

    Men on the other hand are conditioned to believe that they should be strong no matter what the situation (as women are frail, demure creatures that need our constant protection) that its there job to power through and not show weakness even when things are clearly not working. To admit there’s something wrong with the relationship is to fail in this task.

    How nice it is to see these horrible stereotypes played out in commercials.

  21. Sara says:

    @ Corteks, EXACTLY. I’ve known more than one woman who was manipulative or didn’t say what she really meant and then got mad when people couldn’t read her mind, or who made excuses for her bad treatment of people…but I’ve ALSO known plenty of men who wouldn’t say what they meant, who trotted out dumb excuses for their poor behavior, or flipped their lids over really minor things, too. Ironically enough, I once had an ex-boyfriend accuse me of not understanding what he “really meant” BECAUSE I was supposedly PMSing! (I wasn’t at the time.) Manipulative behavior, moodiness, and expectations of mind-reading aren’t constrained to one gender. And of course there are plenty of men AND women who never do any of that!

    Admittedly, PMS can make me snap sometimes, or make me cry a little easier than I usually would. Generally things that upset me when I’m PMSing would still upset me when I’m not; it’s just that, when I am PMSing my reaction is less restrained. However, that still doesn’t mean I find it okay to complete flip out and verbally abuse the nearest man. If I do end up snapping at someone, I almost always feel terrible and apologize right after.

    I’m not sure who I feel worse for in these hypothetical sitcom couples–the men are clearly expected to put up with verbal and psychological abuse, but at the same time, the women also have partners who are not interested in actually engaging with them or listening to them, just trying to deflect their arguments with chocolate and diamonds…I mean milk. Sucks for everybody.

    @ unreal man, I’m sorry you are in a relationship like that. I don’t know that women are necessarily less likely to forgive ALL types of bad behavior. In my experience, most of the het women I know are actually MORE tolerant of being cheated on than the het men, and more likely to forgive a partner who’s been unfaithful, whereas a lot of the men I know have pretty much said that they would never stay with an unfaithful girlfriend (one even said he would kill his gf if she cheated on him). On the other hand, they also tend to be less likely to tolerate violence whereas the men tend to believe they “have to sit and take it” when a woman hits them. (Of course there are probably a lot of men who would tolerate being cheated on and obviously there are women who stay in physically abusive relationships for years; I’m just talking generally about people I know.) Regardless, an abusive relationship is never the victim’s fault. You did NOT “do it to yourself.” I bet you did not know she would be abusive when you got with her so I don’t think you should frame it as, “I got together with her so it’s my fault.” It’s not your fault.

  22. wavevector says:

    @unreal man;

    “So, I really do think it’s down to men to not put up with abusive behavior. Perhaps we’re also lacking the infrastructure to teach them that they don’t have to. ”

    This is an excellent point. Men in our society are trained to be submissive to women in relationships – to always say “yes dear, whatever you want dear”, to apologize, to appease, to grovel. This dynamic does not necessitate abuse, but it certainly makes the relationship ripe for it.

    I have learned through experience (as many other men have) to stand up for myself in my relationship – to say “no” when appropriate, to be steadfast when I’m right (but still be willing to apologize when wrong), to be polite but assertive about my own needs, and never to grovel. It makes a world of difference – I am a better partner this way, and we are both happier for it.

    So it really is disconcerting to see this groveling male / domineering female dynamic promulgated as the norm in popular media.

  23. Han Jammer says:

    @noahbrand

    “@Han Jammer, I’d say it’s worse than that: I think they’re assuming (whether they know it or not) that psychological abuse is inevitable, an intrinsic component of male-female relationships.”

    The meme is not new as you point, “When Moma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy”, this isn’t referencing PSM but it is suggesting that “Moma” can abuse those around her, and they just have to accept it.

  24. kaija24 says:

    Please tell the Got Milk campaign what you think about these insulting ads. Write to them here: inquiries@gotmilk.com I’m composing a polite (ahem…no swearing) but strongly worded missive this morning giving them my two cents.

  25. kaija24 says:

    Sent! I feel better now…taking action always soothes my feelings of irritation about pure D crap like this ad campaign. 😛

  26. elementary_watson says:

    @DMB:

    the unfortunately large number of women who believe (or are taught, but by whom I’m not sure) that if a man truly loves you, he’ll be able to read your mind.

    Well, one of teachers is Natasha Bedingfield with her song “Soulmate”, wondering why she is not in a relationship while longing for someone “who knows how to love [her] without being told”.

    Wow, something of a Deja Writ here …

  27. kaija24 says:

    @elementary_watson: Taking your relationship advice from pop songs (and pop culture in general) is like taking your nutrition advice from McDonald’s commercials. What sells is not what is actually good for us.

  28. I don’t know where that comes from, but it’s ridiculous

    It comes from the idea that you don’t want to be a bitch by arguing or being pushy, and plus women are incredibly complicated and difficult creatures, unlike men, who simply want food, beer and sex. (I’ve heard an incredible number of men, too, push that last bit of nonsense.)

    And of course rather a lot of people are very comfortable in stratified gender roles, even if they complain about them sometimes, such that they get upset and/or reject behavior that doesn’t fall within them. I have dated an unfortunately high number of men who complained about mind-reading games and said they appreciated a woman who said what she was really thinking, but really meant “…..as long as what she’s thinking is what I want to hear.”

  29. Pingback: Got Sexism? « Brute Reason

  30. aliarasthedaydreamer says:

    You know, looking at ads like this, I can’t imagine why marriage rates would possibly go down. This relationship looks so great!

    I think part of where this trope comes from is the idea that men are just fumbling buffoons/slobs who have no idea how to do anything about the house and don’t care, and women are of course naturally much more concerned with such matters. And so the woman is responsible for ensuring the house stays livable — which can either involve doing the work herself, or, in this new and sexism-free age, making her partner do it! Which, of course, will go poorly, and I’m sure there are multiple comedy sketches on this very premise.

    On a side tangent, possibly my second-least-favorite marriage trope is the thing (usually comes up in /r/sex) in which everyone talks in a “that’s how it always is” joke-fashion about how they never get laid anymore once they’re married. Even though plenty of people have great post-nuptial sex, and if you’re not getting your sexual needs met in a relationship, maybe you should talk about it WITH YOUR PARTNER, NOT THE INTERNET, JEEZ. Usually contains whiffs of “dumb [slur] won’t put out, wtf did I marry her for.”

  31. Kari says:

    Ah yes, the old yarn. Women are crazy!! And men are useless!!

    Thaaaaaanks, patriarchy. Way to may things suck for women AND men.

  32. kayle says:

    Dude, the milk is from back in the days of husbands picking up the milk on the way home from the work. It’s also in reference to the idea of husbands always forgetting the milk. the ad is jumping that shark and also pretending that the man got it right all the time in those storys. It’s kind of uber in that way.

    Also, emotional abuse: the unseen part of these paradigms, when they actually happen is that many times, it’s the partner who “misses” “implicit” cues who is being passive-aggressive, a la “Everybody Loves Raymond”, the Dishes episode, and selective literal understandings with self-serving outcomes. And that it’s men who are expected to be clueless (and many describe themselves that way and really are) is itself an issue of sexism that can also be read as emotional abuse with the woman as the victim. That men get to be capable at everything but the relationship, but even that is used as a way to put down women is pretty inexcusable.

  33. kayle says:

    @mythagomythago:
    I’m crying here. So true. And it’s like they go out of their way to find women who will tell them what they want, just so they can ignore them and somehow prove to them that “what those crazy chicks wanted was what I wanted to give them!” Then they punish those women when their jerkitude backfires. I got the ones telling me how unwomanly I suddenly was and how incapable of a relationship I was *for* telling them what I wanted and expecting to be heard and honored. I mean it was to the point that they really define *good* female partners as “people who want what I want.”

  34. Han Jammer says:

    The abuse of males seems to be playing second fiddle to the depiction of pmsing women here, which seems quite gynocentric. Surely the main issue is the fact that ad. campaigns and sitcoms are successfully selling many consumer products to women by depicting them abusing men.

  35. noahbrand says:

    I dunno, Han, I think a campaign centered around the idea that women are crazy and horrible to live with… yeah, that actually is an offensive depiction of women. Indeed, part of what makes it so offensive is the slogan “Are you a man suffering from PMS?” which encourages men to take a problem that women have, ignore the pain involved, and make it all about themselves. And that’s a bad thing to encourage.

  36. @doctormindbeam: It’s unfortunately furthered by the unfortunately large number of women who believe (or are taught, but by whom I’m not sure) that if a man truly loves you, he’ll be able to read your mind.

    I don’t believe my partner should be a mind-reader. However, one of the most common things I’ve wanted from my partners in the past is more attention/compliments, and arguably if a guy complimented me solely because I told him to then the sentiment was totally fake. He wouldn’t actually think I looked pretty at that moment (which is what I wanted)*; he would just be parroting back exactly what I’d asked him to say. I’d venture to guess that a lot of other women feel the way I did; we don’t expect a guy to magically know what we want, we’re just caught in an awkward catch-22 where asking for what we want would prevent us from receiving it. Also, it’s a really scary thing to tell someone “I need more ___ in order to feel loved.” It’s difficult to allow oneself to feel that vulnerable (I don’t see a lot of guys doing it, either).

    However, my parents had the “I’m not a mindreader!” fight with each other all the time (in both directions) when I was growing up. It was a repeating theme with them, and not one that I wanted in my own relationships. So I learned to suck it up and just say shit.

    As for PMS=hangover, I’m not sure, having never had a hangover. Interesting theory, though!

    *I think this is the real problem with many relationships: people want to control things that aren’t controllable, and they beat their heads against the wall trying. We can get our partners to compliment us but we can’t make them think we’re hot; we can get our partners to agree to monogamy but we can’t stop them from fantasizing about other people; etc. A few years ago I learned to let go of the things I couldn’t control. I’m much happier now.

  37. Han Jammer says:

    Noahbrand

    Many products are sold to women in the context of glorifying and normalised abuse of men by women. If mainstream media glorified glorified or normalised abuse of women by men, the immediate response wouldn’t be “hang on, this is wrong because it makes men look bad” and the cultural acceptance of abuse of women then coming as a secondary concern. The primary concern would be the promotion of abuse of women… see the difference now?

    Misandry and gynocentrism are so ingrained in the culture, we often can’t see it.

  38. Sara says:

    @ Han Jammer: Actually, in most cases where certain behaviors (such as rape) are portrayed as normal of men, many people will remark on how insulting it is to men to protray them all as rapists. And they SHOULD react that way in my opinion, because I think we need to dismantle sexism by admitting that it effects everyone and is harmful to everyone. You may have a point in that the men should really be the focus here, but I don’t think remarking on how this is also insulting and patronizing to the women involved is bad. Likewise if the gender were reversed I would say the same–portrayals of abusive men as being normal are harmful to men, and that should be acknowledged as such.

  39. Laura says:

    I thought the ad was kind of funny.

    But my husband said – “Milk? Milk won’t do anything! It’s got to be chocolate!” Because we’ve had a longstanding joke that when I get quiet and withdrawn and he realizes it’s getting close to that time of the month, he’ll go to the story without saying anything and come back with a bag of Hershey’s kisses, and offer them to me, cautiously saying, “Is it time for this” and I’ll snatch them away, “What do you mean! Give me that!” and we’ll both crack up.

    A nice rum-and-coke can also be quite effective, I’ve found.

    Agree with TyphonBlue, though. When you realize what it is, the thing to do is find something peaceful to do and wait it out, and try not to inflict it on anybody else. It helps if your family will get the heck out of your face and refrain from poking you until they get a nice satisfying blowup. And I bet that’s where the “if mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy” thing comes from – if mama ain’t happy go play or something. Sometimes people get extra clingy when mama is irritable because it makes them anxious, and you set up an entire horrible feedback loop. Just hand over the chocolate and walk away clean, ha ha.

  40. Laura says:

    That is what a friend of mine did, who wanted to be sent flowers on her birthday. She tried just about everything else, including sending her husband flowers, but eventually she had to spell it out. My friend thought that having to ask would diminish her pleasure, but it really didn’t. Getting them still meant that he loved her and wanted her to know it.

  41. typhonblue says:

    Wow. This thread has made me really appreciate my relationship.

    The most loving thing my husband has ever done for me is share his vulnerabilities with me. Everything else is a distant second and he has done some adorably sweet things.

    I think I’ll go hug him now.

  42. @doctormindbeam: But the solution to me, then, wouldn’t be to tell your partner, “Tell me I look hot.” It would be, at an unrelated time, to say to your partner, “Hey, do you find me attractive?” And then have a serious talk about it, and tell him that you’d like it if he told you more often that you were hot when he was thinking it.

    I never sank so low as to say “tell me I look hot.” I have told a partner (at an unrelated time) that I thrive on compliments and would like to hear more of them. Your approach is even better because it acknowledges something that actually hadn’t occurred to me: that an uneffusive guy might be thinking nice things but just not saying them. I’m very free with my compliments – if I’m thinking it, I say it (unless it would be inappropriate, like telling a coworker he has a nice ass). I forgot that not everyone is like that.

    Mind you, I’m with someone now where the compliment thing isn’t an issue, so it’s moot. 😀

    @Laura: My friend thought that having to ask [for flowers] would diminish her pleasure, but it really didn’t. Getting them still meant that he loved her and wanted her to know it.

    This is absolutely true. So what if you had to tell someone to do something? If they remembered, and now they do the thing regularly because they know it makes you happy, that’s really satisfying in and of itself.

  43. Pingback: And There Was Much Rejoicing | No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz?

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